Rae of Hope
The Chronicles of Kerrigan
How hard do you have to shake the family tree to find the truth about the past?
Fifteen year-old Rae Kerrigan never really knew her family's history. Her mother and father died when she was young and it is only when she accepts a scholarship to the prestigious Guilder Boarding School in England that a mysterious family secret is revealed.
Will the sins of the father be the sins of the daughter?
As Rae struggles with new friends, a new school and a star-struck forbidden love, she must also face the ultimate challenge: receive a tattoo on her sixteenth birthday with specific powers that may bind her to an unspeakable darkness. It's up to Rae to undo the dark evil in her family's past and have a ray of hope for her future.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/gILAwXxx8MU
For the Rae of Hope review, CLICK HERE!
The Chronicles of Kerrigan
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy (Paranormal, Romance, Suspense)
Word count: 85,000
Page count: 265 pages
Nothing is as it seems anymore.
Leery from the horrifying incident at the end of her first year at Guilder Boarding School, Rae Kerrigan is determined to learn more about her new tattoo. Her expectations are high, an easy senior year and a happy reunion with Devon, the boy she’s not supposed to date. All hopes of happiness turn into shattered dreams the moment she steps back on campus.
Lies and secrets are everywhere, and a betrayal cuts Rae deeply. Among her conflicts and enemies, it appears as if her father is reaching out from beyond the grave to ruin her life. With no one to trust, Rae doesn’t know where or who to turn to for help.
Has her destiny been written? Or will she become the one thing she hates the most—her father’s prodigy.
Book Trailer - http://youtu.be/Ca24STi_bFM
For the Dark Nebula review, CLICK HERE!
Excerpt from Dark Nebula:
About the Author:
A lifespan is spent, seeking success and happiness. People chase after dreams, careers, ambitions, faith, partners, and money; all in the hope of finding the success and contentment they so long for. The only place we need to search is within ourselves. Our inner powers will move us forward--we must show the world our tatùs. Our capabilities and potential are far greater than anything man has ever done, or will do. We are above mankind--above the law which rules over them.
Notes from Simon Kerrigan’s Journal—two decades ago
“The motto of the Privy Council is ‘to protect at all costs’.” Devon walked a little taller and straighter than he had the last time Rae had seen him, his chest puffed with pride.
“The what? Who?” Rae raced to keep pace with Devon’s long strides as the two of them wove their way through the airport’s parked cars with the sun beating down on them.
Devon stopped, let go of one of the suitcases he pulled and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “The Privy Council. I know it sounds old-fashioned, but trust me, it isn’t.” He slipped the sunglasses off the top of his head and onto his nose before he started walking again. “It’s the elite of the elite tatùs.”
Rae hustled to keep up. “I get that there’s a company that works with our…talents.” It had been a year since she had learned about the unique group of individuals that she was now a part of. When she had turned sixteen the previous year, she had woken up with a tatù. A fairy covered her lower back with Celtic design and a sun inset throughout. In certain light, the fairy’s wings appeared to sparkle. Different from a tattoo, it had gifted her with supernatural power. Devon was also gifted with a tatù, a fennec fox, giving him heightened senses, super speed, and agility. However, Rae’s power was unique, even in their already exclusive and insular world. She could mimic another individual’s tatù. No one else could do that. Huge, big-time ability. Because of her singular ability, Rae knew she was “of interest” to the shadowy Privy Council, the ruling body of the tatù community. Everyone knew “of” it but no one actually knew anything about it. To have Devon suddenly working for them gave Rae pause. They’d barely emailed or talked over the summer. Strange for two people just starting a relationship…then again, the pesky societal rules against tatùs and romantic relationships might have hampered the communication also. Unsure whether to outright ask Devon why he had been so distant over the summer or leave it be, Rae squinted and tucked a curly highlighted strand behind her ear to buy herself some time. “I don’t understand what the company does, or why you’re working for them now. You’re only eighteen. Are you an intern or something?”
He grinned. “You’ve barely learned about your tatù, while most of us have known before we started school. It’s totally understandable you’re confused.” His warm hand grazed the small of her back.
It sent tingles across the fairy tatù, making it feel like the fairy’s wings were actually fluttering. A pleasant shiver ran up her spine from the contact, and Rae paused to enjoy it.
Devon, who probably knew exactly how his touch made her feel, winked at her before he turned serious. “The agency works to protect those of us tatùed and, if needed, Britain. It kinda works like the James Bond movies. Did you know that the prime minister and government have no idea what the Privy Council actually represents? They only know that it does a darn good job. We seldom, if ever, make a mistake.”
We? Rae nodded, not sure if she liked that her boyfriend considered himself part of this group already, when he had told her nothing about it. Don’t normal dating couples talk about stuff that excites them? Boys are supposed to drone on and on about manly things and girls are supposed to—oh I don’t know—something. He’s so different, it’s like he changed without me. Feeling insecurity rise up, Rae shifted uncomfortably and fought to push the emotion out of her way. She scolded herself, Don’t be so sensitive. Just be glad to be back. She had missed everything at school, not just Devon. Well, mostly Devon, but not only him.
She followed him, zigzagging through the parked cars, trying to keep her heavy suitcase on its little wheels. They stopped in front of a shiny, sleek, black car, which had obviously been created for speed.
“What do you think?” Devon let go of the two suitcases and spread his arms. He looked up and down the car, a smile playing on his lips.
“Whose is this?” She tilted her head sideways, pretending to admire it, all the while trying to figure out the make of the car.
Devon laughed, “It’s mine. My dad and I made a deal. I could pick out a car I liked, and he’d pay for it.”
“I doubt your dad, the new dean of Guilder, would agree to this.” She laughed, playfully elbowing him in the ribs.
“Well, you’re half right.” He held his hands up in mock defense. “I paid for half of it with the money I made working with the Privy Council this summer. My dad offered to pay the other half. A graduation gift, he said.”
“What kind of car is it?” It looked like he had taken it right off some futuristic race track.
“It’s a Lotus.”
“A Lotus?” Rae squinted, trying to place the name.
“They make formula cars and a few road ones. It’s a Lotus Exige Cup two-six-zero.” He stood grinning like a kid in a candy store.
Big boy needs an expensive toy. Rae gently touched the black paint, careful not to let her fingernail scratch it. She half expected Devon to pull out the bottom of his shirt to buff her fingerprints out of his paint job. Instead, he just winked at her and moved to the back of the car.
Devon began loading her suitcases into the boot and back of the car. “If I recall, you only had half this amount of luggage last year.”
Rae shrugged and stretched the kinks out of her back from the long flight, ready for the drive to Guilder Boarding School. To the rest of the world, Guilder was an ultra-exclusive, all-male boarding school deep in the unpopulated English countryside, which had only opened its doors to women the previous year. What they didn’t know, was that Guilder catered only to the tatùed community. Rae had successfully navigated the tricky waters of both a new school and a totally new way of life, despite being the focus of almost everyone’s attention, be it for good or ill. She actually had friends at Guilder, something she could not say of her old school in New York. It helps that everyone at Guilder’s kinda like me. Maybe not exactly like her, but enough that they had something in common. She had missed that over the summer, the sense of camaraderie. It felt good to be back— in England and with Devon. “What can I say?” She held up her palms, trying to make her face look innocent. “Molly taught me how to shop, so I took advantage of the great sales in New York this summer.” She opened the passenger door and climbed in. The expected new-car smell mingled pleasantly with the scent of expensive leather. Molly had been her roommate the previous year, and they had become best friends. “Speaking of new changes…I know we’re keeping our boyfriend-girlfriend-thing a secret,” to say any romantic relationship between tatùed individuals was taboo would be a categorical understatement, “but how come you didn’t email me a pic of the car…Or something?” Anything. Or contacted me more than twice this summer? Two short and basically meaningless emails had been his only attempt at communication. She didn’t say it, but even seeing him now didn’t erase her disappointment. Typical guy.
“I wanted to surprise you with something cool when you flew in. You know how hard it is to get a Lotus?” He leaned over and planted a quick, hard kiss on her lips before starting the engine. “Missed you. I’m glad you’re back.” He drove out of the airport and onto the motorway with precision and ease.
Either you really wanted to surprise me or you just made that up and you’re avoiding the loaded question. Rae straightened in her seat. Why do I always have to notice and question everything? I’m only making myself miserable. She forced herself to change the subject. “You just graduated last year and already you’re working for this Privy Council?” She still couldn’t grasp his job description. Maybe some sort of private eye or intern superhero? It wasn’t like he had actually answered the question either.
“Hey, what can I tell you? I aced all the tests; they offered me the job. They know at Guilder I’m acting as your mentor, so I got the green light to continue here. Your protection is one of their top priorities.”
Rae stared at him. Part of her was happy to know he would be around. The other part was stunned that the Privy Council would be that interested in her welfare. It creeped her out a little. “You’re pulling my leg. How’d they know about me?”
“Come on, the daughter of the infamous Simon Kerrigan?” He glanced at her and reached over to pat her knee when she rolled her head to look out the window. Fabulous, the one thing about me I want most to forget is the one thing that makes me interesting to the secret squirrels. Devon, mistaking her reasons for withdrawing from the conversation, set out to reassure her. “Don’t worry. No one knows about our relationship, so it’s all good. If the Privy Council found out, they’d definitely send me far away from you.” He shrugged. “Look, this is something I’ve dreamed about doing. Who wouldn’t want to help their country? I’ve spent my entire life following the rules others have set out. Now it’s fun bending them to save the day.”
“It sounds dangerous.” Even with the abilities of his tatù. Not to mention, these dreams of his weren’t something they’d ever talked about. She didn’t understand the fascination or the inclination.
A deep chuckle erupted from his throat. “Now you sound like my mother.”
Ohhh, I can’t resist this one. “I don’t think she wants to protect the same body parts I’m interested in.” She gave him a sly look, fighting back the urge to smile.
“Yuck!” He pretended to gag. “I hope not.”
Rae chuckled, despite her worry. “I don’t want any part of you getting hurt, or in danger. Your mother doesn’t know half of what this world is capable of–”
“Any more than you do. You’re sixteen, newly initiated and only beginning to grasp a hint of your talent. I can take care of myself, and I’ll take care of you as well. It’s my responsibility and my job now…though I can’t consider hanging out with you, work.” He grinned. The adorable dimple Rae loved appeared on his cheek. Yup, definitely missed that.
“Fine.” She breathed out through her nose, a calming technique she had learned long ago. She had just returned and didn’t want to argue. “You win.” She shifted in her seat, taking in his thin, muscular outline. He looked even more handsome since she had gotten off the plane. “Tell me more about the jobs you’ve done over the summer. It all sounds pretty cool.”
“The rush is amazing, and the pay, incredible. Bet I’ll be loaded before I’m twenty.”
Not if you spend money on cars like this.
Devon grinned, his thumbs tapping against the steering wheel. He talked the rest of the drive about the training he and Julian, their friend, had done over the summer.
Rae listened, fascinated, but also noticed he didn’t give specifics about anything. Either the jobs were a secret or he had just spent the summer training and there were no specifics to give. Hopefully it’s the latter of the two.
The motorway turned into a slip road and soon they were driving along the countryside, towards the familiar grounds of Guilder College.
The football fields were full of male students scrimmaging. The oriel windows on the old Tudor buildings were wide open, airing out the rooms in preparation for the arrival of the students who would live there for the next school year. The ivy on the red brick and wood danced in the wind, as though in anticipation. Rae could not wait to get to Aumbry House and to her dorm room. She wanted to see who had already arrived. Molly had e-mailed to say she would arrive the next day. Finally emerging from her own reverie, she realized her cheeks hurt because she had been grinning for a while.
“Happy to be back?” Devon teased.
“Maybe a little.” She shrugged and tried to act like she didn’t care, but the look on Devon’s face told her he didn’t buy it. “Okay, I’m very excited to be back.”
“You’re all right?” Devon tugged at his ear. “You know…with everything that happened… with Lanford, before the summer?”
Rae’s smile slipped and she turned silent, staring out the window as they drove under the bridge that connected the two round towers of the main building. She fought the sense of betrayal and fear that she had kept a lid on all summer long, determined not to think about it. I don’t want to feel like this. She tried to laugh, but it came out wrong, more like a harrumph. “You mean, the headmaster who fooled me into trusting him and let me believe he was on my side?” She didn’t wait for a reply and pointed at one of the towers they’d just passed. “Or do you mean the part where he trapped me in there and tried to force me to finish something my good-for-nothing father started? Or the part where he tried to shoot me and ended up slipping on ice and breaking his head?” She forced herself to stop talking, feeling a tide of emotion starting to well up inside her and fearing the consequences of letting it out.
Devon’s raised eyebrows and hanging mouth made her realize what she had just said.
She reached over and touched his leg. “I’m okay, honestly. I was trying to make a joke; and apparently, I failed. After everything I learned last year, I shouldn’t have let my guard down for anyone.” Tucking an escaped curl behind her ear again, she added, “Except for you, and Julian… and Molls.”
“You’ve just ranted like that, and then say you’re totally fine?” Devon’s voice carried nothing but gentle concern and the promise of support. She had missed him over the summer.
She sighed, pushing her shoulders back and sitting up straighter, mentally pulling herself up by the bootstraps. She needed to reassure Devon that everything was fine. Fake it ‘til you make it, right?
“I can still hear my father’s stupid voice in my head, but I’m going to be fine.” We are above mankind--above the law which rules over them. She dropped her head and squeezed her eyes shut tight for a moment forcing her father’s words out of her thoughts. “Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to get a job with the Privy Council, or act as some secret agent for the government, like you.” And make up for my father being the Hitler of the tatù world. Great job, being the daughter of the world’s evil genius.
Devon chuckled. “I think being away made you a bit crazy. How about you get that massive talent of yours under control before you decide to save the world? And for the record, that’s my job at the moment.” Devon grabbed her hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze.
“You can keep the job…for now. When I graduate, I’ll let you work with me.” She stuck her tongue out at him. She hated to admit it, even to herself, but he was right. My tatù ability is powerful and I barely know how to use it. I might be able to mimic other tatùs, but using them properly is the challenge.
“Thanks for the offer, but secretly dating you is all I can handle at the moment. I don’t know if I could handle working side by side day in and day out and pretend I didn’t have feelings for you.” Devon pulled into the parking area by Aumbry House. He jumped out of the car and opened Rae’s door before she unbuckled her seat belt.
Now that’s the kind a thing a girl likes to hear “Thanks. I–”
“Devon! Ms. Kerrigan!” A pleasant-sounding male voice shouted from across the parking lot, near the Refectory Hall. Rae turned and saw the new dean, Devon’s father, waving as he walked over.
Devon stiffened and moved a few inches from her.
“Hello, Mr. Wardell. I mean, Dean Wardell. Congratulations on the new position.” She shifted her weight, making a conscious effort not to look at Devon.
Dean Wardell raised his eyebrows, his gaze shooting back and forth between them. He smiled and rubbed his hands together. “Glad you brought our star student back in one piece. I just wanted to say hello and let you know Headmaster Carter wants to speak with you both, as soon as you’ve unloaded Ms. Kerrigan’s suitcases.”
Rae nodded, still afraid to look at Devon. He had gotten his fennec fox tatù from his father so sharp eyes ran in the family. The last thing she and Devon needed was for anyone to guess at their relationship. Instead, she looked straight at his father. He looks uncomfortable. I must be making it obvious how hard I’m trying not to look at Devon. Have to think of something else. So Carter is staying around as headmaster? That’s…interesting…I guess. She felt her head tilt to the side as she tried to figure out her feelings about Carter’s continued presence on the campus. She had spent most of the previous year convinced he was the enemy, until he had come to rescue her from Lanford. The Dean seemed to relax as she pondered. Crisis averted.
“Julian’s looking for you, Devon. He’s in the room opposite yours. He arrived earlier today.” Dean Wardell turned and smiled purposefully at Rae before heading across the football pitches. “Have a nice afternoon.” Hmm…maybe not so much averted just yet.
Devon and Rae pulled her suitcases from the boot of the car. They walked towards Aumbry House.
“Is it going to be this awkward every time we’re in public together?” Rae whispered.
“I bloody hope not.” He rolled his eyes. “It’s probably ‘cause it’s my dad. he would kill me if he knew there was anything more going on between the two of us besides mentoring.”
My thoughts exactly. But we need positive reinforcement, not agreement on future mutual destruction. “You do have an excellent track record of being the faithful, obedient son. I doubt he’ll suspect a thing.” Rae nudged him with her elbow.
He bent forward towards her, but instinctively straightened up a second before Madame Elpis entered the main lobby.
“Welcome back, Ms. Kerrigan.” Madame Elpis smiled genuinely, her voice a pleasant, almost sing-song tone. “You’re the first here, so you can pick a room on the third floor. I’ll see you both at dinner.” Madame Elpis whistled as she strolled outdoors.
Rae’s eyebrows went up and her mouth hung open. She watched the tall, hawk-nosed, normally austere and perfunctory woman walk with a light skip down the path outside until she disappeared from sight.
It’s the twilight zone. I’m in the twilight zone. Any second now, I’m going to hear that theme music. “What the –?” Rae sputtered. Madame Elpis had been rigid with her strict demeanor the previous year, and her magpie-crow tatù suited her to a tee. She had always been “in the know” and quite cranky at the best of times. Now it seemed as if someone had switched her personality for a that of a happy little songbird.
Devon gently put his fingers on Rae’s chin and closed her mouth. He smiled as he leaned forward and kissed her quickly on the lips. Rae closed her eyes to savor the feeling, Madame Elpis completely forgotten.
“She fell in love.” Devon pulled away. He grabbed two suitcases, dragging them towards the black and white marble staircase.
“She did, and she’s waiting for another kiss.” Rae puckered her lips, eyes still closed.
“Not you, silly. I’m talking about Madame Elpis.” Devon laughed from several feet away.
Rae opened her eyes, heat rising to her face. She grabbed the remaining case and ran to catch up with him. he had already gone halfway up the first set of stairs.
“Holy smokes, Rae. Is half of New York in these suitcases?”
She ignored his question. “Who’s the lucky, or not so lucky, guy?”
“Madame Elpis? Do you remember the English Professor from your first term?”
“Professor Lockheed?” Rae stared at him incredulously. She knew she and Devon were breaking the rules of the tatù world by dating but she simply could not imagine the ornery Madame Elpis stepping even one toe out of line.
“Yeah. Well, not him, but his brother Donald.”
“Donald?” Rae repeated then started smirking.
“What’s so funny?”
“Do you know Madame Elpis’ first name?”
“Not off the top of my head.”
“It’s Daisy.” She had to stop when they reached the first landing, she couldn’t stop laughing.
“I don’t get it.” Devon shifted his weight, one foot on the next set of stairs.
“Donald and Daisy.” She raised her eyebrows. “You know, on Disney? Donald Duck?”
Devon still seemed lost. “She’s got a magpie, not a duck.”
“I can’t believe you’ve never watched cartoons as a kid,” Rae muttered under her breath before following him up the next flight with her head down. She might as well keep quiet. How come no one ever gets my jokes? They’re not that bad. She brought her head up about to explain the joke.
What the—? She froze midstride, startled when a blurry picture began to flash behind her eyes. Small choking noises escaped as her breath caught in her throat. She squinted, trying to get a clearer glimpse of the fuzzy scene. She felt the handle of her suitcase slip from her hand but barely noticed it tumble down the stairs. This had never happened before. Could someone be trying to kill me? Or contact me?
Devon rushed to her side. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”
She heard the fear in his voice but could not reply. She gave her head a slight shake and focused on the mental picture. The old dean, now new headmaster, Carter, paced in his office, his hand nervously running through his dark hair as he talked on the phone. Rae could not hear what he said, but the agitation in his body language worried her. The caller on the other end must not be giving him good news.
She blinked. As fast as the image had appeared, it disappeared. Dazed, she realized Devon had an arm wrapped tightly around her waist, gently shaking her shoulder with his free hand.
“Rae…Rae…Can you hear me? Kerrigan! What’s going on?” Alarm filled his voice.
Slowly she turned her head to focus on him. “Sorry. I’m okay. I—it—” She pressed her lips, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Then something clicked. “I had some vision-thing of Carter. That’s never happened before. Right out of the blue, it popped up. I saw him—just now—” She swallowed, wondering if it would happen again. Taking several deep breaths, she relaxed and let her shoulders drop. “I don’t know where I picked the tatù ability up. Not sure if it’s new or a development of another I already have. It was freaky.” She reached her hand around his neck and stroked her fingers through his hair. She had really missed him this summer, and now here he was. He smelled and felt so good. Focus girl, focus. “I didn’t expect it.”
His bright blue eyes stared deeply into hers. After a few moments, he released his hold on her waist and slowly stepped back.
She knew he was not convinced. “Honest, I’m fine. I’m not gonna pass out, or anything.” As she spoke, her mind replayed the mental picture of Carter. He had gotten his haircut, and almost appeared a bit younger.
“What did you see? Is Carter okay?”
“He seemed angry or upset, or maybe both.” She closed her eyes, trying to remember every detail, but it was like trying to remember the details of a dream. She could taste the fear from the vision but could not remember where it had come from. “I don’t know if the image is happening now, if it’s in the past or something that hasn’t happened yet. I don’t get it.”
“I got a bad feeling.” Devon shook his head, his forehead creasing with lines. “Let’s toss your suitcases in a room and go see him right away. Something’s going on, and I’m willing to bet it’s pretty important.” Quick as a flash, Devon ran down the stairs to grab the fallen suitcase and back up ahead of her before Rae could reply.
About the Author:
Wanita May grew up in the fruit belt of Ontario - St.Catharines. Crazy-happy childhood, she always has had a vivid imagination and loads of energy.
The youngest of six -- four older brothers, and a sister -- taught her at a young age to be competitive in all aspects of life.
At sixteen, she began competing in athletics (track and field) and before she turned seventeen, she was representing Canada in high jump. She continued to compete, breaking Canada's JR High Jump record (1.92m - 6' 3 1/2" for those metric-ly challenged). She attented University of Toronto, and Kansas State University - winning CIAU's and becoming All-American 6x - NCAA Indoors Runner Up + more.
But you're not interested in her athletic career - unless of course you're curious to know she stands 1.70m (5'7") and has jumped 20cm over her head on more than one occassion. She's represented Canada at the World Championships, World Jrs., won Francophone Games, and loved every minute of every competition. From the grueling workouts, the crazy weights she lifted on her back, the days she thought her lungs were going to spit out of her mouth for lack of oxygen, the travelling around the world and the opportunity to read - her favourite past time.
Wanita and her husband now run an online business, dealing in antiques and collectables - particularly jewelry and porcelain.
After her father passed away in 2009, from a six-year battle with cancer (which she still believes he won the fight against), she began to write again. A passion she'd loved for years, but realized life was too short to keep putting it off.
She is currently represented by Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Wanita is a writer of Young Adult, Fantasy Fiction and where ever else her little muses take her.