Publication date: March 2013
When Seraphina was younger, she healed her best friend's injured hand. Terrified by the inexplicable cure, the girl shunned her. From that day on, Seraphina found herself without friends, a freak and an oddity. And so she obeyed her mother’s rule to refrain from using her innate ability, heeded her mother's warning that its use could land her in the local mental health facility alongside her aunt and grandmother.
But when sixteen-year-old Seraphina finds a mysterious, wounded boy hiding in the hollow in the woods behind her house, she can't hold out against the overpowering urge to help him. She is drawn to him each night, and as they come to know one another, their irresistible attraction blooms.
She longs to uncover his secrets — where he comes from and why he's hiding and how he came to be so wounded — and to share her own, though she knows it's forbidden. And while her healing touch seems to be helping him, it's hurting her. When the symptoms of psychosis — experienced by the women in her bloodline who used their powers — begin to plague Seraphina, she is faced with the unbearable choice of saving her sanity or the boy she’s come to love.
“There’s something I need to do,” I said. “Something I want to try.” Talking to Luke had given me courage. And I was pretty sure I’d figured out what I’d done wrong with the chipmunk — giving it too much of The Hollow’s energy for its little body.
“What is it?” Zach asked. And there was something about him, sitting there in The Hollow in the moonlight, that for a moment I thought I might want to kiss him. I pushed the thought away, knowing he could never feel the same about a freak like me.
“Come over here,” I said, as I moved to my spot beneath the sequoia.
“Sera,” he said, shaking his head. “You’re not supposed to.”
“You’re not supposed to be here, but you are. And I’m afraid that shutting out the healing might end up being the thing that actually makes me crazy. This could help me understand what the right thing to do is — to give in or not. You’d be doing me a favor. Please?”
He crept over to my side of The Hollow. “Are you sure?”
I nodded. “Are you scared?”
“No,” he said without hesitation.
“It won’t be like with the chipmunk. I know what I did wrong. He was so little. I should have only let a bit of The Hollow go into him. I didn’t remember I needed to control the amount.”
“I’m not afraid,” he said. “I’m only afraid of hurting you.”
My heartbeat sped up. “You can’t,” I replied. “Just sit here beside me and open to the energy I send into your body.”
“If it doesn’t work, don’t be disappointed,” he said, tugging at his jeans.
“It’s okay,” I said, thinking he was the one that was worried it wouldn’t work. “I’m nervous, too. We won’t know until we try.” It had been a long time since I’d healed a human. I imagined roots growing down from my body, intertwining with the roots of the sequoia for strength. “Okay,” I said, “here we go.”
Our eyes met. Heat pulsed between us. I put my hands on his knees — they were solid, he was real. I dropped my shield. At once the power of The Hollow smashed into me along with the pain of Zach’s wounds.
The feeling of damage overwhelmed me. So much damage. The Hollow poured into the deadened, wounded areas. But it was as if they were so starved for healing they pulled me in along with them. And inside there, below the damage raged a raw, rancid pain — as if his initial wounds had been reopened. They burned like nothing I’d ever imagined. It shocked me, like lightning strikes from within. I needed to pull away. It was too much. I couldn’t bear it. I was terrified I’d kill him. But I didn’t know how to pull back, how to make it stop. And there was this magnetism between us that held me to him. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t breathe. I reared back, pulling The Hollow into myself. Zach’s pain was so huge, I couldn’t hold it. My head felt like it would split open. I lost all sense of my own body as I fell into the raging chasm.
About this Author:
Summer Stone loves immersing herself in the worlds that live inside her mind. When she's in the real world, she likes kicking back on the beach, exploring new places, reading (of course) and eating rich, gooey chocolate. She loves spending time with her husband and kids, which she does as much as she can. Summer writes young adult and women's fiction, both supernatural and contemporary, realistic and looks forward to sharing her novels with you!
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