A MAGIC DARK & BRIGHT by Jenny Adams Perinovic
I am so excited to be featuring this book on The Midnight Society today! I just know you’re going to want to hear more about it. This is a YA Gothic Romance, with ghosts. Do I know how to pick ’em, or do I know how to pick ’em?
And, it’s brand new! Welcome to the world, A Magic Dark & Bright!
Jenny Adams Perinovic has graced us with an excerpt and giveaway today. Here we go…
She meant to help a ghost…not unleash a curse.
Amelia Dupree hasn’t seen the Woman in White since the night her brother died.
The ghost seems to have disappeared from the woods surrounding Asylum, Pennsylvania—that is, until Charlie Blue moves into the creepy old MacAllister House next door. Amelia can’t help liking him, even though she spent her childhood thinking his grandmother was a witch. And she definitely can’t ignore the connection between his arrival and the Woman in White’s return.
Then Amelia learns that the Woman in White is a prisoner, trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead. Devastated by the idea that her brother could be suffering a similar fate, Amelia decides to do whatever it takes to help the Woman in White find peace–and Charlie agrees to help her.
But when Amelia’s classmates start to drown in the Susquehanna River, one right after another, rumors swirl as people begin to connect the timing of Charlie’s arrival with the unexplained deaths. As Charlie and Amelia uncover the dark history of Asylum, they realize they may have unleashed an unspeakable evil. One they have to stop before everything they love is destroyed.
Advance Praise: “A MAGIC DARK AND BRIGHT is a captivating mystery filled with magic and romance. It kept me enthralled until the heart-stopping finale.” — Lisa Maxwell, Author of SWEET UNREST
A tree grew in the middle of the house, towering above us, its trunk so wide that I doubted that if I wrapped my arms around one side of it and Charlie did the same on the other, our hands would touch. I glanced back at Charlie. Maybe they would, on second thought: his arms were awfully long. A few dozen yards behind the ruins, the ground started to slope gently down to where the trees gave way to a rocky incline. If I listened carefully, I could hear the trickle of water over stones. The river wasn’t that far away.
Beside me, Charlie sucked in a breath. “What is this place?” he asked.
“It’s MacAllister land now, but no one seems to know what it was,” I said. My voice was hushed, awed. Something about this place always reminded me of church—maybe it was the stillness. I pulled my hand from Leah’s and wrapped my fingers around the warm metal of my ring once more. “Asylum was a colony for French refugees. People who fled the Revolution. And this probably dates to the earliest days of the settlement, but no one remembers who actually lived here.”
I stepped closer to the ruins, my feet moving silently across the ground. I reached out and brushed my hands against the stone, expecting it to topple over at my touch. But it was sturdy.
Charlie turned in a slow circle, taking it all in. “What do you mean, no one knows?”
Leah wrapped her arms around her middle. “There’s no record of there ever being any house here, or anyone owning the woods out here before the MacAllisters,” she said. “Amelia’s mom checked the records for us after Mark found it.”
Charlie focused his attention on the last part of her sentence. “Who’s Mark?”
My stomach twisted, and sourness filled my mouth. “He’s my brother,” I found myself saying, before I could even stop it. “Was my brother,” I corrected.
I waited for the gasp, for the pitying look, for the empty I’m sorry. Instead, his forehead creased, and he bit his lip, like he was unsure of what to say. “I’m really sorry you had to go through that,” he said. “Losing someone you love is hard.”
I shrugged and dropped my eyes to the ground, not trusting myself to speak over the lump in my throat.
Leah bumped her shoulder against mine, her show of solidarity. “We haven’t been here in ages,” she said, breaking the awkward silence. “We used to come out and try to find the ghost. Scare ourselves silly. Kid stuff, you know? Or so we thought.”
I found my voice again. “We saw her for the first time out here,” I said. “Standing along the tree line, there.” I pointed back the way we came. He followed my gaze, like he’d see her standing there.
“So you think she’ll be here today?” he asked.
I shook my head. “No. But I felt like I had to come out here. Like I owed it to him, or something.” I dragged the toe of my sneaker through the grass. “He’d tease me about being obsessed with her, but really—he was the one obsessed with this place. He was out here every chance he got. I think he found it peaceful or something.”
Charlie stepped away from us, toward the ruined house, his arms folded across his chest. “It’s kind of creepy, to be honest.”
“Thank you,” Leah said. “Finally, someone who agrees with me.”
“I never said it wasn’t creepy,” I protested.
“I wasn’t counting you.” She flapped her hand at me. “You hate this place.”
She’d meant Mark. We hadn’t talked much about Leah’s relationship with my brother. She’d had a crush on him for forever, and, I think, right before the accident, something had happened between them. But I wasn’t ready to talk about it, about him. Not with her.
Maybe that made me a bad friend.
Still, Leah wore her cheerfulness like a suit of armor, defending herself from darkness and sadness and my moods. She stepped over the remains of a low stone wall and headed straight for the tree. I turned my attention back to Charlie. He trailed his fingers over the curtain of moss that crept from the bottom of one of the windows and turned the gray stone a light, spongy green.
He caught my gaze and gave me a small smile. “Do you bring all the new kids out here?” he asked, his tone light. Teasing.
I shook my head. “Never. I’ve never been out here with anyone but Leah. And Mark. No one—”
Leah’s scream pierced the silent clearing, preventing me from finishing the sentence. I stared at Charlie, bewildered, before I realized that a scream like that meant something was very, very wrong.
She rested against the massive tree trunk, her face pale. She traced something in the bark, like something was written there. She didn’t even seem to notice that we’d approached, or that her hand trembled with every stroke.
“Leah?” My own voice sounded strange to my ears. Too high, too far away. “Are you okay?”
A single tear tracked its way down over her cheekbone. “Help me,” she whispered, her eyes on the tree.
Dread snaked through my blood like venom. I glanced over at Charlie, who shrugged.
“Help you with what? Did something happen?”
She held out her other hand to me, beckoning. I stepped toward her until her fingers closed over my elbow, until I could see what had her so spooked.
I didn’t see the letters at first. Not when all I could see was my brother’s pocket knife, the one I’d given him for Christmas two years ago, jammed into the tree. I froze, unable to move, unable to breathe, unable to think. The last time I’d seen that knife had been after the accident, after Uncle Frank had returned Mark’s belongings to us. His wallet. The ring I wore on a chain around my neck.
And the knife that Mark had carried in his pocket on the night he died.
“Look,” Leah whispered, her voice urgent. She shook my arm, bringing me back to the present. “Amelia, look.”
Six letters were carved into the bark. Six simple letters, made with my brother’s knife.
I stared at them until they no longer made sense, until the letters jumbled around and formed gibberish. Until I blinked, and they appeared in their correct order, in deep, heavy slashes through the bark.