by Lucy Fenton
Release Date: 08/03/15
Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when your childhood nightmares of being bitten by strange creatures in a dark wood aren’t just dreams?
Sixteen-year-old Arden St. John’s life takes a strange turn when she finds an unusual animal injured near her new house on the south east coast of Australia. When she takes it to the local vet, a terrible truth is inadvertently exposed to her.
She discovers a secret underworld, where witches are commonplace and trolls masquerade as queen bees, terrorising the other students with impunity. A world where vampires traffic in the lives of children, draining their bodies once they reach maturity. Where adults auction their own children to extend their lives.
Arden finds out she’s one of those kids, her life traded by the mother she never knew. Now she’s caught up in this ancient and corrupt economy operating just below the surface of modern society. She’s a hot commodity, and it’s only a matter of time before the vampire who bought her comes to claim his prize.
But Arden’s not going down without a fight.
The further into the bush she went, the more anxious Arden felt. If something happened to me, how long would it be before Dad noticed? I could be dead for days before someone found me, Arden thought, unhappily. The compulsion to turn around and seek out others grew stronger and her footsteps slowed.
And then through the trees, she saw something. Curiosity overcoming her disquiet, at first she thought it was a rocky outcrop and moved towards it, trying to see what was veiled by the leaves of the trees. The flash of sunlight whitened out her vision as she stepped out of the shade into the clearing. Blinded, she waited for her eyes to adjust. Squinting, the blurred shapes gradually resolved into the ruins of a stone building. The roof was gone and the walls stuck up like the blunt teeth of a fallen giant. Arden walked around what had once been a large structure that had been left to crumble back into the earth. It was built on a headland, the view of the ocean clear on the far side. A lone gum tree clung to the edge of the cliff, roots visible where the earth had crumbled away. Dead, its bare branches stood out starkly white against the dark clouds forming over the ocean. There was a storm coming in, but it was still a way out to sea. Catching sight of a marking on the stone, she moved towards it to examine it more closely. It was weathered almost flat, but tracing the rough gritty surface with her finger, she made out the distinctive shape of a convict arrow.
Amazed, she walked in through a doorway, trying to work out what type of building it had been. There had been a large central room with many tiny rooms opening from it. They were small, storerooms perhaps? Exploring deeper into the ruins, there was a room that had been more protected at the rear and the purpose became apparent. The stubbed remains of bars were still embedded in the stone in one section and in the corner of the room were cross hatched markings on the walls, counting off the days. She was standing in a convict gaol.
L. C. Fenton lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children. In addition to her cake- making business, she works as a freelance copywriter and pens occasional articles for various online magazines.
Not being one of those people who had a burning desire to be anything in particular, L. C. worked her way alphabetically backwards through the available degrees at Sydney University. Surprisingly, given the amount of fun she had at school, L.C. finally managed to graduate with a completely unemployable degree in Philosophy. A Law degree soon followed, however, simply to make it possible for some organization to hire her.After ten soul-destroying years wandering aimlessly in the corporate wilderness, L. C. threw it all in and reassessed. Deciding to bring the "one day I will write a book" idea to the present, she started and hasn't stopped. As a huge fan of the romance genre, she writes the kinds of books that she enjoys to read.In her spare time, L. C. Fenton...actually she has no spare time. She sleeps or reads copious amounts of romance novels instead of sleeping.