A bolt of lightning snaked from the sky and hit the ground in front of her. The thunderclap that shattered the air was deafening. Gwynneth slammed on her brakes and skidded. It was a slow skid, or it seemed to be. Spinning around and around in a circle, she felt like she was watching herself from afar. Time felt like it was slowing. Oddly enough, she found herself wondering if there would be white or red flowers on Hannah’s casket. Or maybe none at all.
Reality hit her as Gwynneth smacked her face against the steering wheel. Pressing her fingers lightly to her throbbing temple, she winced. She’d forgotten to wear her seatbelt. “Shit!” Thankfully, she was in one piece. Gwynneth opened the car door. Lightning bathed the area in a flash of blue-white light. Icy rain hit her skin. Stupid! You left your jacket back at the funeral home. She checked the tires. The back one was flat and on top of that, her car was stuck in a ditch. “Great.” She had no spare tire and no idea which way led back to the retirement home. Her headlights cast a weak glow through the rain. Soaked to the skin and shivering, Gwynneth peered into the darkness. A muddy road meandered across saturated fields and off into nothingness.
She sloshed back to her car and quickly turned the engine off. I don’t need a dead battery on top of a flat tire. “Okay, Gwen,” she said aloud. “You need to figure out what to do.” Rain ran in rivulets down her face, and her tie-dyed T-shirt stuck to her like a second skin. I’m a soggy, shivering rainbow. Cursing the fact that her cell phone wasn’t charged, she started to walk. “Suck it up, Gwen. It rains in Oregon too.”
Intermittent lightning illuminated the area like the flash of a camera. A snapshot of a road to nowhere. Disconcerted, Gwynneth hoped she was walking in the right direction, at least. Her teeth were chattering so hard that she was in danger of biting her own tongue. Thunder rolled up her spine and along her scalp like probing fingers.
Her thoughts wandered back to Hannah. A diary. I wonder what she wrote about. She wouldn’t read it, of course. It was private. I’m sure she just wants me to throw it away so her children don’t, either. A pang of loss sliced through the cold, Gwynneth shook it off. If I could only turn back time, I’d tell her how much our time together meant. Hannah had always encouraged her to start painting again, but also understood why Gwynneth couldn’t.
A loud “crack” sounded and an iridescent white light surrounded her. Two things registered: a searing pain that ripped down her back and the ground being pulled away at an alarming speed.
* * * *
Pain shot through the back of Gwynneth’s head as she opened her eyes. Somebody was standing over her. She tried to focus on the face, but it hurt too much. A cool hand slid across her forehead. She opened her eyes again.
Pale, almost white eyes. High cheekbones, aquiline nose, and a well-shaped mouth. Long white hair. Ageless. Beautiful, like a Michelangelo. All of those details registered with clarity before agony ripped through her body. She arched her back and cried out. The man murmured something into her ear that she couldn’t understand. She could feel the vibration of his voice and his breath on her neck as he gathered her in his arms. She opened her eyes and saw lightning fork to the ground silently behind him. She blacked out again.
Praise for STRUCK:
Lovely Reads “This book grabs you in right away and hold your attention…I so loved this book and didn’t put it down until the very end.”
Straight from the Library “The characters are well drawn and likable….The action is fast paced– I read the book in one sitting.”
Bex’n’Books “This is a spooky thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. You won’t be able to put it down because you must finish it to see what happens, even if it keeps you up late at night to do so.”
Bibliophilic Book Blog “STRUCK will get beneath your skin from the very beginning. Gwen’s a likable character with a difficult past and tenuous future after meeting Julian. I liked the secondary characters, especially Fenten and Poppy. The characters were definitely all well-developed and engaging.”
I Smell Sheep “Darkly entertaining, Ms. Johal grabs you by the throat with this tale, and I suggest keeping the light on.”
Horror Made “This book grabbed my interest immediately and then whipped me through the rest of the story in about a day…All of the main characters were nicely fleshed out and the best kind of quirky.”
Books are Love “…dark in its undertones…The writing is addictive and makes the story come alive. The story elements are up there with dark stories from Poe.”
I Feel The Need, The Need To Read “I was completely blown away by this book. I had no idea what to expect when I picked it up and I was glued to the pages the entire time.”
Carolyn Spear: Making Romance Magical “Wow! An amazing story… Let me warn you… Don’t read this when you have anything pressing because you will not want to put this book down once you start it. Oh, and maybe don’t finish it right before bed. This story gets in your head and every shadow becomes so much more than a shadow.”
Haunting TV via YouTube “I started reading this book and could not put it down… I definitely recommend you should read this one.”
About The Author
Clarissa Johal is the author of paranormal novels, THE ISLAND, VOICES, STRUCK, and BETWEEN. When she’s not listening to the ghosts in her head, she’s dancing, taking pictures of gargoyles, or swinging from a trapeze. She shares her life with her husband, two daughters, and every stray animal that darkens their doorstep.
Look for her latest paranormal novel, POPPY. Coming 2016 from Booktrope.