Tara West

YA paranormal/fantasy and New Adult author


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Witch Blood first draft is FINISHED!

Great news, everyone! Witch Blood (Whispers Book Six) is finally finished and with my great beta readers! Then, it’s onto my awesome editor, Theo. If all edits and revisions are completed ahead of schedule, I will not wait until the February 27 release date.  Now, here’s a sneak peak at Witch Blood. Please remember this is the first draft. ❤ Tara

Chapter One

        Witch.Blood.web  Swish, gargle, spit, rinse, spit, spit, spit…

          I couldn’t seem to get the taste of bile out of my mouth no matter how many times I brushed my teeth. I clutched the side of the bathroom counter as I stared at my reflection in the mirror. Dark circles that looked more like bruises hung under my eyes like heavy thunderclouds, a sharp contrast to my ghostly skin tone. My long, dark hair was a straggly mess, and my ordinarily vivid green eyes were dull and lifeless, sunk in their sockets, as if they, too were hiding from the horrors that may be lurking outside my home.

          Basically, I looked like I’d been drug through hell and back. A shiver stole up my spine at the thought. Because it could really happen, since I’ve discovered my history teacher, Mr. Sleznick, was an incubus after my soul.

          After a day of fainting, and then having a vision about my teacher from hell, then trying to control two morphling witch toddlers, you could say I’ve had a stressful day.

          And I thought my week was off to a bad start when I sprouted this pimple on my nose. If only my life was that simple. What I needed was a good night’s sleep.

          Fat chance.

          Since I knew it’s physically impossible to sleep with one eye open, I guess I’d be pulling an all-nighter. My cat, Alessia, who’s also my witch’s familiar, told me Mr. Sleznick’s powers were stronger at night.

          If a soul sucking incubus tried to sneak through my window tonight, I wanted to be ready. I’ve already stolen my dad’s hunting knife and slipped it underneath my mattress, though I don’t know if a knife will be able to ward off his powers, whatever powers he may have.

          Alessia told me every time an incubus kills a witch and steals her soul, he also absorbs her powers, and I’m not sure how many witches he’s already killed or what he’s capable of. One thing I know, he’s impervious to my mind control. He demonstrated that today when I tried to persuade him to let us out of detention.

          I repressed another shudder before splashing my face with warm water. I pumped some makeup remover onto a wet washcloth and cleaned my face. Then, I applied some zit cream to my nose and rubbed moisturizer into my dry zones. If guess if I was going to have my life force sucked out of me by my demonic teacher from hell, I should have at least had clear skin. Besides, just in case I managed to survive my sophomore year, I wanted to look pretty for my new boyfriend Ethan Maeson.

I heaved a sigh as I patted my face dry with a towel.

          At least something had gone right in my life today. Ethan asked me to be his girl, and I said YES! How could I not? I mean, the boy has to just look at me with that smoldering gaze and my insides melted. Not literally, of course, although I supposed they could since he’s an elemental witch, as in he’s got the power to control the elements. So freaking cool. Though Ethan was still honing in his skills, case in point, I accidentally burned my hand a few days ago when I grabbed his arm.

          Note to self. Do not touch Ethan when he’s angry.

          I went back into my bedroom. Alessia was curled up in a white fluff ball, snoozing on my satin comforter. She looked perfectly content, as her nose twitched while she slept. I felt a pang of jealousy that she could fall asleep so easily, then that jealousy turned to annoyance. Didn’t she care that a demon was trying to steal my soul? I may not be the most obedient witch slave, but I’ve always made sure my mom bought the expensive kibbles and I devoted at least an hour each day to scratching behind her ears.

          I dare her to find another witch who gives her so many scratches.

          Relax, little witch. He’s not coming for you tonight. Alessia said this to me in thought, not even bothering to lift her head and look at me with those piercing silver eyes.

          “How do you know this?” I asked, trying to mask my annoyance that my telepathic cat just invaded my mind without permission.

          Has AJ called you?

          AJ, duh. My psychic BFF who literally can see the future. She’s always been able to predict impending death or accidents of her loved ones at least a day or two before they happen. If Sleznick was about to come after me, I’m sure AJ would see it first.

          She’ll warn you before it happens. Alesia confirmed my thoughts, although she was  probably still inside my head, anyway. My brain felt fuzzy. That’s how I knew she was there.

          As if on cue, my phone rang and I jumped.

          I forced myself to calm down when I realized it was probably just Ethan. He stopped by earlier to help me babysit (no, the parents did not know this), and said he’d call me when he got home. I reached for my jeans on the floor and pulled my phone out of the pocket, and then my heart froze when I saw AJ Dawson flashing on the caller ID.

          I slid my finger across the screen to answer. “Hey.”

          “Sophie,” AJ groaned. “Thank the Goddess you’re okay.”

          “Goddess?” I asked, although I really shouldn’t have been concerned by her sudden change in religious deities. What I should have been worried about is the fact that she thought I wasn’t okay.

          “Witch school, ya know,” she answered casually, as if I wasn’t about to have my soul sucked out of my body by a demonic history teacher with really bad breath.

          “AJ, what did you see?” I snapped, unable to keep the impatience — or fear– out of my voice.

          “There was a man chasing you,” she said. “I couldn’t see his face, so I don’t know who it was.”

          I wanted to respond, I did, but my mouth stopped working, along with my lungs, heart, limbs and brain. In fact, I’m fairly certain the earth stopped spinning, too. I hadn’t had the time to tell AJ that I’d recently discovered Sleznick was an incubus.

          I have no idea how my phone was still attached to my ear, but AJ continued without waiting for my reply. “This guy was chasing you through a crowd.” Then she paused, maybe waiting for my response, but my brain still hadn’t kick started into gear. “His eyes were red,” she added with a gasp.

          Oh, no! That was my brain thinking, but I still hadn’t found my voice.

          “You were at Dreamy World.”

          Dreamy World?

          “Sophie,” AJ impatiently huffed. “Are you there?”

          “I-I’m here,” I answered through a shaky voice, as my world started spinning again, albeit slowly. Dreamy World was an entire days’ drive away. My parents hadn’t taken me there since I was a kid, and after our last trip, Dad said he would never take us again. Maybe it had something to do with me wetting my pants on the haunted castle ride. (I was seven, okay, so don’t judge. Those ghosts looked real, really real, and unlike my BFF, Krysta Richards, I don’t handle floating deceased people very well.) Anyway, anyone who knew my dad knew he preferred camping and fishing to riding Eddie the Elephant rides, and he especially hated the creepy Dreamy World employees telling us to have a dreamy day every time we purchased a soda or even farted in their direction.

          So, no, I seriously doubted I’d be going to Dreamy World any time within the next century. For the first time that night, I heaved a sigh of relief.

          “My dad hates Dreamy World. He won’t take me there.”

          “You’re going soon,” she says. “I see Halloween decorations.”

          I shook my head as I fall back on my bed. The day’s stress had left me physically and mentally exhausted. Now that I knew my teacher wasn’t coming for me any time soon, I gave into the fatigue, and massaged the tension out of my neck with my free hand. “My parents aren’t taking me to Dreamy World.”

          “You were there, Sophie,” she stressed. “I saw you running. You were holding a little girl’s hand.”

          Though I come from a big Italian family, other than my twin nephews, I’m the baby. “I don’t have any little girls in my family.”

          “The dream felt so real. Really real.”

          “I’ll talk to my parents and make sure they don’t have any vacation plans. If they do, I’ll tell them to cancel.”

          “Sophie, listen to me very carefully,” AJ enunciated like I was my dear Aunt Louise who’s lost most of her hearing. “You are going to Dreamy World. What I don’t get is why this guy is chasing you.”

          Crappity, crap, crap! She can’t be right, I told myself. But AJ’s never been wrong about a vision before. “I bet it’s my history teacher, Mr. Sleznick. He’s an incubus, AJ.”

          “Mr. Sleznick? I remember him. What the heck is an incubus?”

          “Ask Aunt B. Actually, is she there?” I managed to ask through a shaky voice. “I really need to talk to an adult witch right now.” Maybe Aunt Bertrice can help me make some sense of all this. Maybe she’ll have some good news like AJ accidentally inhaled some of her incense and her visions aren’t reliable. 

          “She’s playing bunco with her coven.”

          “A bunco coven?” Now I’d heard of everything. I wondered if any of Aunt B’s friends were mind readers like me. I was sure those witches had plenty of tricks up their sleeves. I shook my head, trying to clear it of crazy thoughts. Bunco covens were the least of my worries.

          “Hey, whatever makes them happy,” AJ answered.

          “Would you have her call me when she gets home?” I managed to squeak, though my voice had gone so dry, it felt like I’d swallowed a bucket of sand.

          “Sure. You okay?”

          “Not really.” I sighed as I leaned back against the bed. I was so frayed from fear, my muscles felt liquefied. A lot of crazy things have happened to me since I discovered my powers, but nothing so frightening as discovering my teacher wanted to steal my soul. Then I remembered the one good thing that happened to me tonight. “But Ethan asked me to be his girlfriend.”

          AJ let out this weird girly squeal. What had gotten into my jock friend since she moved to Salem? “I hope you said yes.”

          “You know I did.” I draped an arm over my eyes and groaned. That vein above my temple was starting to throb. Another wonderful side-effect of my gnawing panic, no doubt.

          “I’m worried about you, Sophie.” AJ’s voice dropped to a somber tenor. 

          I let out a long sigh, squeezing my fist by my side. “Me, too.”

If you’d like to read a few more chapters, check out Witch Blood on Wattpad.

 

 

 


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A special holiday present for my readers

Don'tTell.web.jpgMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays friends!

As a special holiday present, I’ve made Don’t Tell Mother, book two in my Whispers Series, FREE on Smashwords. Send to your Kindles, other ereaders or read on your computers.

It will only be free for a few days. Book one, Sophie’s Secret, is always free at most ebook sites.

Also, you can purchase the other books in my Whispers Series at all ebook sites. Here’s my Smashword’s page with all five of my Whispers books plus some of my other books.

Here’s my Amazon page. If you are 18 or older, download Say When, book one in my new Something More series for free, too!

saywhen,webAll I ask is that you please leave reviews of any of my books you’ve read on Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, Barnes and Noble or GoodReads. Thanks so much!

I am working on book six in my Whispers series. Sorry it has taken me so long, but a few other deadlines and a back injury have slowed me down. Plan on release either January or February. 🙂


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Another cover reveal! Dragon Storm, my WIP YA fantasy romance

Photographer Marcus Ranum at www.ranum.com and design by Maiarcity at http://maiarcita.deviantart.com/

Photographer Marcus Ranum at http://www.ranum.com and design by Maiarcita at http://maiarcita.deviantart.com/

Squeeee! I just received another beautiful cover from Maiarcita at maiarcita.deviantart.com/ 

Photography by Marcus Ranum at http://www.ranum.com.

Below is an unedited scene from my upcoming YA fantasy romance, Dragon Storm.

Chapter One

Safina had only meant to teach them a lesson. A means to cease their endless torment. Squealing, bullying brats. Their taunts of “witchy girl” made her blood boil, and how her heart ached when they refused to include her in their games.

     She only wanted to prove she was a dragon, not a witch.

     And now she and Mother were fleeing for their lives.  

     She was not used to running this way on human legs. Why couldn’t they break into dragon form and escape into the heavens? If Mother would let her, she knew she could soar higher this time.

     Run, Safina! They will kill us both!

     Mother’s high-pitched cry reverberated through Safina’s brain. But keeping pace with the dragon queen’s long human legs was difficult work. Mother tightened her grip on Safina’s hand, relentlessly pulling her through brush and thickets. Branches ripped open Safina’s human flesh, leaving gaping wounds on her face and arms.

     If Mother would let Safina transform, her thick scales would shield her from the onslaught of branches. Nay, they would burn the trees down and clear an easy escape path.  

     The forest was damp, newly sodden with a heavy summer rain. Sticky dew clung to her skin, soaking her gown which stuck to her legs as she fought to keep stride with her mother.

     The men’s voices grew ever louder.

     Angrier.

     Closer.

     Why couldn’t they fly?

     Despite the moonless night, as black as pitch, Safina’s immortal eyes could see the dense forest was thinning, breaking. They were nearing the shoreline. 

     When we reach the clearing, you must break free with all your might and fly to the heavens!

     Although Mother spoke to her in thought, she did not need to look into Mother’s eyes to read her fear. Panic jumped from the dragon queen’s skin and electrified the air.

     But Mother! Safina swallowed back a lump of bile. Never had she been so frightened.

     Do it!

     Fear pumped wildly through her chest, threatening to crush her lungs as she struggled for breath. Would Mother stay and fight the mob or would she flee with her? Where would she go without her mother? She could not survive on her own.

     At once the trees gave way. The violent sound of waves crashing to the shore thrummed beneath them.

     As one they jumped over the precipice of the rocky cliff, hand in hand.

     Then wing tip to wing tip. Within a blink, they’d transformed. Mother and daughter dragon ─ their glistening amber scales blackened to coal under the starless night sky.

     Ominous clouds threatened from overhead. Murderous horsemen threatened from below.

     Pushing with all her might, Safina strained her wings to put more air beneath her. She and her mother rose high above the onslaught of arrows. Then higher still. In seamless silence the pair traveled.

     For the first time in many moons, Safina felt free.

     She roared her delight.

     How long since Mother had let her fly so high? Why had she been tethered so long? Why should they pretend to be mortals when they could just soar to the heavens?

     A brilliant flash lit the sky, filling the air with a thunderous clap.

     Safina staggered, tumbled. The force and weight of the thunderbolt threw her off guard.

     Above her, she could feel her mother’s panic but had no time to register her own. She spiraled several times, trying to catch the air with her wings.

     Her body slammed. She heard a crack, wondering if her skull had broken. She shook her dizzy head and looked down to see she was riding astride her mother.

     You are too heavy. Break to human form.     

     Safina obeyed. Again she was a mortal girl. She felt the tension give way beneath her mother’s scales. She and her mother soared higher, above the din of the storm, up to where Safina could see the stars and the full moon in all their brilliance.

     Moonlight lit her mother’s scales in myriad hues of fire.

     Safina was envious. She wanted to be a dragon, not ride astride one. She struggled to stand so she could jump from her mother and fly. Only when she leaned her weight on one side did she register the pain. It shot up her arm like a rush of venom. She squeezed her eyes shut and cried out.

     Her mother roared.

     Safina’s heart twisted and ached. She knew Mother shared her pain, too. ‘Twas part of their connection.

     Silent tears streamed down her face. Not tears of pain in the mortal sense, but tears of regret.

     Safina had so longed to fly.

     Resigning herself to sit between the crook of Mother’s powerful wings, she cradled her arm in silence, waiting for the tears to subside.

     The cool night wind sent a shiver down her spine as the icy current from Mother’s flapping wings numbed her human flesh.     

     Safina did not balk.

     Lifting her chin toward the heavens, she breathed in deeply, filling her lungs with a cold rush of air. How she relished the feel of freedom. 

     If only her life could be like this always.

     Where will we go, Mother?

     Even through her thoughts, Safina could hear Mother’s heavy sigh. She knew the dragon queen was angry. She had broken her mother’s trust this night and had almost cost them their lives.

     Across the ocean. Mother answered flatly.

     Far away from mortals?  Safina hoped never again to see another human child. 

     We will never escape the mortal world. For now, we can only hope to escape these men.

     Safina swallowed hard as she recalled the murderous looks in the villagers’ eyes. Some carried torches and clubs. Others were armed with arrows and swords. Why were mortals cruel and indifferent to dragons? Their race had never sought to harm humankind. Perhaps Mother would find a new village without hateful children and a murderous mob.

     Perhaps we will find humans who like dragons.

     Nay, child!

The dragon queen’s pitch turned shrill, urgent. Humans and dragons can never be friends. Her tone softened, saddened. Mortals will never like what they fear.

 


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Whispers Book Four, Visions of the Witch, is Here!

visions.redo_webIt’s FINALLY here! I’d like to extend a special thanks to Heather Marie Adkins for helping me write this book. It’s much longer than the others, with a lot more magic, too!

Visions of the Witch, Whispers Book Four, by Tara West and Heather Marie Adkins

For three teenage girls, moving to a new school can be drama enough. But AJ, Krysta and Sophie have to contend with issues most sophomores don’t – namely their developing magical powers.

After a terrifying accident, AJ discovers how her family history of witchcraft shapes her powerful abilities. She and Krysta are sent to live with an eccentric aunt in Salem to learn the ways of their own magic. But even there, AJ’s visions become ever stronger, and her dreams are haunted by cryptic messages from a witch who was murdered centuries before.

Separated from her friends, Sophie withdraws into herself and begins to use her powers in dangerous ways. While AJ and Krysta struggle to unravel the mystery behind AJ’s dreams, Sophie must learn how to control her anger before her power consumes her. With the help of three adorable kittens, a few new friends, and two really cute guys, all three girls must find strength within themselves before they can master their magic.

Purchase Visions of the Witch on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. iTunes, Sony and Kobo links coming soon.


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From Hags to Hogwarts: How witches have evolved in literature

Oh, my SQUEE!!! My article “From Hags to Hogwarts: How witches have evolved in literature” is actually featured on Wattpad this week on the front page! Please click here to read it, and while you are there, you can read Sophie’s Secret for FREE.  I wrote this article while researching The Salem Witch Trials for Whispers, Book Four, Visions of the Witch (2013).

Also, today is the LAST day to enter my Amazon giftcard giveaway. Click here to go to my Curse of the Ice Dragon giveaway now and register for that Amazon giftcard. Big THANKS to Promotional Book Tours for hosting it!


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Enter to win a signed copy of Curse of the Ice Dragon!

That’s right! I’m giving away six signed copies of Curse of the Ice Dragon over at GoodReads. The contest lasts a month, so you’ve got plenty of time to enter. In the meantime, you can preview the book here:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Curse of the Ice Dragon by Tara West

Curse of the Ice Dragon

by Tara West

Giveaway ends November 07, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win