Highland Home Series by Shari Richardson
First in the Series Synopsis:
I should have known when he walked into my life that things would never be the same. Hadn't I dreamed of him and the things he'd done before I was born? If only he weren't so fascinating, so beautiful, so much more than any other guy. Maybe then I could walk away.
Mairin Cote is a magnet for weird. Her dreams come true, she can see auras and her mother is in love with an angel. Now the monsters are finding her too. Vampires, demigods and werepanthers have flocked to this small town girl who must find a way to keep her family safe, love the man of her dreams, and navigate the shark-infested waters of Highland Home High School.
Read an excerpt:
Chapter 1Preview the books
The young woman sat beside the bed, holding the boy's hand. Her lips moved in silent prayer, pausing only when he moved restlessly and moaned.
"Mathias?" Her voice was soft but rich.
He moaned again, but didn't wake. The young woman began to pray once again.
"Kathryn!" Mathias sat upright, searching the room with blind eyes. "Kathryn, run. Don't look back, just go!"
"Mathias, my love, I'm right here." She helped him lay back, smoothing her hand over his fevered brow. "Rest, my darling. You'll be well soon."
Mathias lay down, tossing restlessly. From time to time, he would whisper "Kathryn," before slipping farther into unconsciousness. Each time he spoke her name, Kathryn kissed Mathias and resumed her prayers.
Hours passed, but Kathryn, consumed by the life that drained from the man she loved, didn't notice the light draining from the day. She prayed. She held Mathias' hand. She soothed him when he was restless. Outside the window, the sun sank into the horizon. The sound of waves crashing against the shore slipped into the silence that now filled the room.
As the last of the light left the room, Kathryn rose to light a candle. When she returned to her place by his bedside, she set the candle on the table and leaned down to see Mathias better in the flickering light. She put her hand upon his chest and then sat by his side and lay her ear against his still chest.
"No," she whispered, curling her hand into a fist on his chest. "Oh Mathias, I can't live without you." Tears slipped down her cheeks as she closed her eyes and let the grief take her.
Mathias' eyes snapped open. Had she been watching, Kathryn would have seen that warm, dark eyes of his life were gone, replaced by pools of deepest, coldest black. He reached for Kathryn's hand where it lay on his chest, pulling it up to his lips.
"Mathias?" Kathryn blinked away her tears. Her eyes opened wide in disbelief, but there was no fear in her gaze, only the love she had for this beautiful boy.
Mathias licked his lips and ran his nose along the length of Kathryn's arm. She stayed frozen by his side, mesmerized by his gaze, which never flickered from her own. Even after his teeth sank easily into the warm flesh at the bend of her elbow, Kathryn never flinched. The room filled with a wet sucking, disrupted only by Kathryn's one brief gasp. Mathias lovingly cradled her arm against his lips as he drank, insensitive to the monstrosity of his act.
When Kathryn lay pale and still, Mathias blinked slowly. He looked down at the beautiful, pale and cold woman whose glassy eyes were riveted on his face. He brushed his hand along her cheek, lovingly caressing her face as he had done so often in life. It was only when she didn't smile and ask for his kiss that understanding slowly dawned in his gaze and he screamed.
"Kathryn, my love, my heart, my sun. What have I done?" His hands pulled at his face, drawing it into a gruesome mask of pain and anguish.
Lifting her body with infinite care, Mathias lay Kathryn on the bed from which he had so recently risen to this new and monstrous life. He closed her eyes and kissed her pale lips lovingly. "I will mourn you for eternity," he whispered before he threw himself out the window.
My eyes snapped open, my heart galloping along as though I'd just run a marathon. The last image of the young man's anguished face, hauntingly beautiful in his pain, lingered in my mind.
"Mairin, are you okay?" my mom called from the hall outside my bedroom.
"Yeah Mom," I said. "Just a weird dream."
Mom stepped into my room and sat with me on my bed. "Want to tell me about it?"
I shook my head. I wasn't sure how to explain what I'd just dreamed. I knew from the clothes the two people had been wearing that the dream wasn't one of my premonitions, but I had no explanation for who Mathias and Kathryn were or why I would be dreaming about them.
"I think I've been reading too many romance novels." I said, laughing and trying to ease my mother's anxiety. "This one was set in the 1920s I think. Just a boy and a girl. Nothing to worry about."
Mom kissed my forehead. She always worried when my dreams woke me, even when they weren't nightmares or premonitions. "Think you'll go back to sleep tonight?"
"Probably. It wasn't really a bad one." Unless you counted murder as bad, I added silently
"You need to sleep more, baby. Tomorrow's the first day of school and you'll want to be on the ball."
"I'm fine, Mom. Really. It was just weird, not scary and definitely not a premonition."
OK, so that was a lie. Watching that boy drain the life out of his love made my stomach somersault with horror, but I didn't feel like explaining that to my mom in the middle of the night. Despite what he'd done, Mathias didn't strike me as evil or sinister. His obvious grief over what he'd done in my dream hinted at a deeper, purer soul than the act would seem to allow for.
"Okay, okay, I can take a hint. Sleep well, baby. I love you."
"I love you, too, Mom."
I curled onto my side, clutching my pillow after Mom went back to her room where her partner Tawnya was probably waiting for a report of my dream. I knew sleep should have been a dim hope after the dream I'd had, but strangely I didn't feel frightened or threatened by this dream. There was something so compelling about Mathias that I found myself hoping he would be waiting for me when sleep claimed me once again. I closed my eyes, whispering his name and willing him to come to me. When he appeared, waiting at the edge of darkness where dreams live, I reached for him.
Shari Richardson holds a master's degree in English Education and has spent much of her life teaching students the joy of reading and writing. Her love of writing began when she was in elementary school and has carried through her entire adult life. Shari lives in Pennsylvania with her two Chihuahuas.