Wednesday, 17 February 2016

The Demon’s Grave by E.M. MacCallum



Title: The Demon’s Grave
Author: E.M. MacCallum
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy


When strange shadows and messages plague Nora's daily life she fears for her sanity. To escape questions from her family, Nora joins her friends on a weekend getaway. Despite not liking Aidan Birket, Nora finds his remote, Victorian house charming. Until they discover the marble doorway on the third floor and, against Nora's better judgment, they open it.

Trespassing into an unfamiliar world called the Demon's Grave, the group face a charismatic demon and six nightmarish Challenges as punishment. Those that make it to the end can go home, but those that don't will be his forever. Friendships are tested, secrets revealed and sacrifices will be made.

Nora battles zombies, doppelgängers, eyeless bikers, and the demon—whose interests are more than just a game of cat and mouse. If it's all in her head, then it should be easy. But, if not, it means the demon knows about her sticky past, and the death of her twin sister.




Excerpt #1 (Chapter One)



"Good idea," Phoebe said and changed the subject. "We should ask Aidan to come."

"Uh, no."


"He's cute."


"He's creepy."


Phoebe rolled her dark green eyes. "You're irrational."


"And you're pushy." I looked up at her and flashed teeth in a satisfied grin.


Phoebe sighed. "Touché. So, meet at lunch tomorrow and we'll figure it out? And, just so you know, Aidan's coming. Read's already asked him."


I faltered in my step. "Read is an asshole."


Phoebe grinned. "Told'ja. And we might not have to look for a place to camp."


Adjusting my backpack on my shoulder I started to slow as we reached my locker. I noticed Phoebe didn't carry anything with her. She rarely left the school with more than a few books at a time. "What do you mean? Did Robin get angry about Whitefish Lake again?"


Phoebe snorted. "Yes, but that's not it. Aidan says he has the perfect place."


Aidan Birket was coming. Something about that made my stomach drop. I never really liked Aidan and not knowing why was doubly frustrating. He wasn't mean, cruel, annoying, or any quality I can list that would stretch my dislike beyond instinct. There was something about him that was just off.


"What perfect place?" I asked, hearing the edge. I focused on the locker door instead of Phoebe.


"Wouldn't say. I guess we find out tomorrow." Phoebe leaned against the locker next to mine and stretched her arms over her head. Her olive tanned stomach was toned to perfection. I suppose wanting to get into physical education had benefits.


"You do that to make people jealous?" I asked and tugged down her white t-shirt. "You'll stop traffic."


Already there was an anonymous whistle from the crowd.


Grinning, Phoebe lowered her arms and jutted her chin at me. "What's that?"


To my horror, she was looking at my fist. A bit of paper poked out.


So much for a temporary distraction. "Nothing."


Dismal is the Demon's Grave. It didn't even make sense. Maybe it was someone with really similar handwriting and it somehow got stuck in my book.


Unless it wasn't my book. Students scattered their stuff across the library tables like they were prepping a picnic. Marly from my media class had been across from me this afternoon.


Dropping the backpack off my shoulder, it fell with a thud against the linoleum.


"You okay, Fuller?" Phoebe quirked a thin, yellow brow.


"Yeah, yeah," I muttered and pulled the Writing for the Media book free.


"Are you missing something?"


Flipping the book open I saw my name scrawled at the top.


My shoulders slumped and hope whistled by. It must have been a prank. There was no point wasting time thinking about a stupid note with finals in a few weeks.


"Hey look." Phoebe's swan-like neck stretched. "It's your book, imagine that," she said flatly.


Part of me wanted to tell her what I'd found but if she mentioned any of it to my family I'd be wheeled off to the sanitarium. I wish that were a joke.


Until I could explain the note, I'd have to hide it.


Slipping the note in my jeans pocket I started stuffing the locker with books I didn't need. Slamming it shut I met Phoebe's eyes. "It's nothing," I said, hearing the darkness in my own voice. "You should go save Robin instead."


Looking past Phoebe I could see the petite former cheerleader arguing with a handsome, blonde guy from the football team. Phoebe had pointed him out once or twice. If someone was into sports, leave it to Phoebe to know who they were.


"That's weird," Phoebe said slowly, eyes narrowing.


I took advantage of Phoebe's distraction and slammed my locker shut. "I'll see you tomorrow!" Before she could speak, I bolted into the streaming crowd.


As much as I adored Phoebe, she'd never understand the note or my family.





Author Bio


E.M. loves long walks through bookstores, Disney, horror movies/books, anything supernatural, and researching random facts. She lives by a lake out in the Canadian wilderness with internet access, her husband, and a rag-tag band of pets.
"The Demon's Grave" trilogy came out mid-2015
"Zombie-Killer Bill" novella will be re-released 2015
If you'd like to know more, please visit: www.emmaccallum.com.






Excerpt #2 (CH 20) - Faceless


“Aidan,” I insisted in a whisper.


A few car lengths north of the Chevy a stereo crackled to life. An echoing voice sang followed by a choir of voices that doo de doo’ed in the background. The slow song sounded like something from the 1950's.


Read and I exchanged a curious glance as the echoing main voice mentioned a game. Read pulled his hand from mine and we both wiped our slick palms on our jeans.


“What is it?” I asked Aidan. “What should we be looking for?”


He didn’t answer, his eyes kept wandering to the cars then down the street and to the motorbikes.


Read’s shoulders sagged, exasperated. He looked ready to say something when the roar of an engine smothered the music as well as my yelp. It stopped Read cold.


Aidan jumped and grabbed my arm as if I were the one to save him.


Craning my neck to see if there was a single vehicle taking up the roadway, I saw none. It had been so loud I couldn’t pinpoint the direction it came from.


The music began to take over the street once more, a new song erupting from the crackling speakers.


Between shallow breaths, Aidan said, “come on.”


Before Read or I could question him, Aidan stood up and started in long, purposeful strides, the kind that was harder to stop.


Read nudged me to move, or rather shoved me. Panicked, we hurried to Aidan. Looking to him, our pace quickened to keep up. Aidan stared straight ahead. His lean figure was rigid, but he hadn’t slowed.


Keeping close to the buildings, we passed the occupied car playing music. I could see three teenage boys inside. The muffled vintage music carried through the window.


I felt the scream choke in my throat as we passed. The passengers didn’t have eyes.


Their shapeless pale faces lacked not only the eyes but also mouths. The skin where lips should be had stretched horizontally, sealing any opening. The only portion of their faces that was noticeable was the lump of their nose—without nostrils. Even their hair was all the same color, styled the same, with a part in the middle, and they wore the same collared shirt and slacks.


I thought to myself, It’s just a few of the faceless, nameless people of this city, like any other...right? Maybe the demon had a sense of sick, very sick, humor.


I could hear, the eerie chorus of voices within the car, making it all the more surreal.


The three boys in the car watched us pass, as is if they could see. They turned their heads as we hurried along and I found myself staring back for as long as I could.




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