Monday, June 27, 2011

BLB Blog Tour: The Survivors by Amanda Havard

Reader Girls welcomes The Survivors blog tour today. Author Amanda Havard has provided an excerpt from this novel, the first in a series.

Blurb: In 1692, when witch trials gripped the community of Salem, Massachusetts, twenty-six children were accused as witches, exiled, and left for dead. Fourteen of them survived.

The Survivors is the first installment of the tantalizing tales of the fourteen ill-fated Survivors and their descendants, who have been content in hiding for over three centuries. Isolated on a Montana mountainside, only Sadie, the rogue daughter, dares to abandon the family's sacred hiding place. But no matter how far Sadie runs, something always pulls her back.

On a muggy summer night in Tennessee, she witnesses a shocking scene that will change her life forever. It is the first in a sequence of events that will drag her from the human world she's sought to belong to for over a century and send her back to her Puritanical family and into an uncertain future filled with cunning witches, mysterious nosferatu shape-shifters, dangerous eretica and vieczy vampires, millennia-old mythology, and the search for her own mortality. After all...


The Survivors will steal your heart and invade your mind. Fall into the pages of Sadie's life, a world so frighteningly similar to your own, you'll find yourself wanting to go to the Montana mountains to find the Survivors for yourself.

And it is only the beginning.

We welcome Amanda Havard.

An excerpt from The Survivors (The Survivors Series #1):

The tail end of the 444-mile Natchez Trace Parkway was a straight shot down West End. After driving painfully slowly on deserted city streets, I finally saw the old neon sign for the Loveless CafĂ©, the last landmark before I merged onto the Trace. The ramp for it was marked with a road sign I had seen nowhere else: “No Commercial Vehicles of Any Kind.”

I drove around the twisting road lazily. As expected, I couldn’t see or sense another soul. A few miles in, I stopped in a small parking area where there were other cars—they belonged to campers, I was sure—and got out of the car. I slipped off my shoes and left them in the car—the skin on my feet were the only soles tough enough to endure the speed at which I ran. I secured my car key remote in the tiny pocket in the back of my running pants and took off. The mild night air whipped past me, cool on my skin. The moon had risen since I was at the wedding nearly six hours before, and now the waxing moonlight coated the world around me so that it seemed to glow faintly. I ran for twenty minutes at my top speed and then twenty more at a slower pace. When I hit the Alabama state line, over a hundred miles southeast of where I started, I turned around and headed back to Nashville.

Just past the sign for the exit at Waynesboro, I heard the humming. It was distant, but it was clear. Suddenly, I felt thick curtains of fear hanging in the air, so far away that they only dusted against my skin. As I got closer, the fear swallowed me the way the sea swallows rocks.

I came to an overpass on the Trace and stopped, the humming ringing loudly in my ears now. It was below me. I followed the sounds and moved closer to the edge of the bridge, looking for the source. I looked down—it was about a sixty-foot drop to the ground below. I decided I could jump it. I wanted to be closer. This, I understood, was completely adverse to the typical reaction of a woman alone in the middle of the night. Had I possessed any human instincts at all, I would have run away as quickly as I could. But I didn’t have human instincts. Instead, I was a girl who could tempt fate, who wondered just how much I could endure before being a Survivor became less an inborn trait and more a condition easily changed. I tested my limits, quietly searching for the way to meet my end.

I launched myself over the rails and landed hard in thick brush. The humming quieted for a moment—the source of it had heard me—but then it picked up again. I was close enough to hear voices now. There were people here. I felt their feelings, too. I was wrapped up in a cocoon of terror and anxiety, of anger, and—very distinctly—of homicidal rage. I stayed low to the ground, shielded by the wild grass, but I couldn’t see what was happening from there. There was a tall line of trees above the road. Though I knew I might get caught, I would see better from there. I decided not to consider the consequences just yet. Crouching low, I launched myself over the roadway and into the trees. Neither of them saw me.

From my new perch, I saw a girl with black hair and brown skin lying on the ground and sobbing hysterically. She had to be the source of the fear and anxiety I felt. The rage came from the rugged man on top of her— ripe with alcohol and filth. He was screaming at the girl to shut up, holding her down by her neck. She was fighting him with all her strength, and I could tell by his feelings that he was intent on killing her.

I knew I had to do something. I surely could fight off this man; I was more powerful than any human alive. But if the man fought back, I’d have to defend myself, and I would hurt him. I would do what it took to save this innocent life, but there’d be some kind of fallout I didn’t know how to deal with. I had never actually attacked a human, but I could imagine the mess.

In a moment, I had examined all the angles, formed a game plan, and was ready to pounce. But out of the darkness, another body—a guy about my age, maybe even younger—appeared. His skin was pale and glowed in the moonlight, much like my own, but his features were dark. He looked menacing. I couldn’t tell where he came from. My senses were momentarily blinded by his presence, and though the impairment quickly remedied, I could get no read on him specifically.

“Clarence, you get off of her!” the young man yelled, his voice unclouded by the Southern drawl of the older man. He charged at the drunkard. The girl screamed, her fear upgraded to full blown terror as the young man ripped Clarence off her and flung him off the road and into the tree line below me. The young man sped off into the woods toward the old man’s hunching form, his figure a blur as he moved at speeds that rivaled— if not exceeded—my own. I blinked twice, sure I had seen it incorrectly.

I could see the men from my place in the trees, but I had to remember that my original goal was to save the girl. She was shaking on the ground, clearly in shock. I was torn. I so wanted to see what this younger man was, but I was scared for the girl, too. I dropped to the ground next to her. She screamed when she saw me. I put my finger to my lips to silence her, grabbed her up in a swift motion, and sprinted as fast as I could toward the town. In the few seconds I had her in my arms, I drowned in her terror, her disbelief, and her gratitude for these strangers who had come between her and death. I set her down gently in front of a 24-hour McDonald’s with two police cars parked out front, and before she had time to react at all, I sprinted back to where I had been, hoping I hadn’t missed seeing anything too important.

I had to ask myself why I was running back. My goal had been to save the girl, and having ensured she made it to safety, my part in this was over. But I couldn’t pull myself away from seeing what the young man would do. I made it back to the tree line and watched from behind a low branch dangerously close to the men. The old man was standing against the trunk of a giant oak, struggling as if he were bound though I could see nothing holding him.

The rage I had sensed earlier still hung in the air, but it was evaporating as the old man struggled against the invisible chains. The young man paced with intent, seeming to calculate his next move. I knew the old man was going to die. I struggled over whether to get involved. It seemed like an opportunity for me. Morbidly, the danger in this situation was an incentive to get involved. I wanted to find my breaking point. But I willed myself to stay still. Painfully, I understood these urges meant that I was as eager to die in reality as I was in the abstract. The old man yelled, a gurgling, painful sound erupting from his throat. Unable to turn away, my eyes were glued to the scene.

Then the young man growled. I gasped at the sound—it was the kind that came from an angry lion, not a human being. The young man thrust his arms out toward Clarence, and he began to writhe in pain. His legs twisted underneath him and went limp but he remained upright. The younger man pressed his wrists together with his palms fanned out. When he twisted his hands, the assailant let out a cry. He was gasping for breath. I could feel his pain.

“Clarence, Clarence, Clarence,” the young man said, a mocking tone in his voice. “Why didn’t you believe me?” His question was clearly rhetorical. The assailant could not answer, overcome with his pain. “I told you that was your last shot. I swore if you touched a hair on another girl’s head, I’d kill you. I offer every man a chance to change, Clarence. A chance to make his peace with God. But you didn’t do that, did you? You thought I wouldn’t find you here, but here I am, keeping my promise.” He began to pace back and forth again. His body looked almost relaxed. Apparently, it took no effort for him to restrain the old man this way. “If you’d listened to me, I wouldn’t have to do this.”

The assailant choked out a laugh. He was trying to be defiant, scoffing at the young man’s abilities, attempting to look brave in the face of death, I suppose. Laughing, though, was not the right thing to do. It angered the young man considerably.

He raised his left hand and held it as if he were pressing the old man against the tree though he was several feet away from him. The man’s chest became pinned to the tree. Then he raised his right hand and clenched his fist, crushing the man’s windpipe. I felt my own throat close as he did this.

The young man was taking Clarence’s life without even touching him. I was shocked. It wasn’t the violence or the power that was unbelievable. I had seen comparable talent before—Mary and Catherine, two of the elders of my family, were capable of the same thing. What stunned me was that this was not a human capability. As I watched this young man torture the assailant, I understood that, without a doubt, I had met an Other.

Another one like me.

About the author: Amanda Havard has been telling stories since before she could write. She grew up in Dallas, Texas, where her first book was published in her elementary school library at age 7. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Vanderbilt University. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her baby grand piano and more story ideas than she could tell in one lifetime.
Amanda Havard's website & blogFor more about The SurvivorsGoodreads
Purchase at: Amazon (hardcover/paperback/Kindle
Barnes & Noble (hardcover/paperback/Nook)

Next on the tour: It's All About Books

Thanks to Amanda Havard and Book Lovin' Bitches tours.

1 comment:

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