From the Back Cover

She wakes up in the hospital, badly burned with no identity.

He’s been trained to kill her before she burns the world to ashes.

When they finally meet, will he be able to take her life now that he’s started to feel for her?

His fate is already written.

The prophecy is already set.

Love between them is forbidden.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Excerpt

Below you can read the first 10 pages of Summer’s End

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Summer

There was a fire. I don’t remember anything before that.

Dooney

Since I was a child, my destiny, the reason I’m here, is to kill her.

Somewhere between then and now

Screaming jolts me from my sleep. A shrill, sickening sound that vibrates deep within me. My stomach lurches as vomit rises up, sitting in my throat. Covering my ears, I pray for it to end. Someone is in excruciating pain. As the seconds unravel, and my consciousness clears, I realise that it’s me; I’m the one screaming out in constant agony. I want to stop but can’t. I need to force it all out, the pain, the darkness and this feeling of complete dread. There’s this great hole in my chest, like an inkblot expanding, taking over me until there’s nothing left.

Sobbing, my energy depleted, my emotions turn to sorrow. The slightest movement makes my flesh tear. My hands are now sore, blistered gloves of skin. I want to wriggle out of this body, discard it like a cheap suit…I want to walk away from this pain, this living hell, this life…I want to die. Why didn’t I die?

The skin holding my face together seems too tight for my skull. I want to rip it off. Digging my fingernails in, I drag them roughly down my cheeks.

“It burns!” I cry. “It burns!” There’s blood caked in my nails, and yet I still scratch. I can’t stop. It must come away, this rotten shell… I want it off me! I tear and claw at it, not just my face now; my legs, arms, and stomach…every touch feeling like a scorch mark, a lighted match etching over this flesh. I know I’m still under here somewhere, a prisoner in my own body. How did I become this? I don’t know if I’ve been brought here to die but right now I’d welcome it. I’m lost, alone in this unknown hell. The real me has to be here somewhere…but who the hell am I? What’s happening to me?

“Help…please help me.”

“Stop!” A slim, tall woman appears. “You must stop.”

I obey without question. Tears trickling down my cheeks feel like drops of acid. The woman moves closer. With blurry eyes I can see that she’s beautiful, the kind of woman people see in dreams…I must look disgusting to her. She smiles, and I immediately relax. Her silver eyes lock with mine, I feel a sense of weightlessness. The pain’s still there, but I’m floating up, away from it. I know when my eyes open again that this nightmare will still be ongoing…but for now, I’m letting go of everything. If this is death, then it can take me. I’m silent, my body numb as I await her instructions. I’m floating somewhere between my body and the ceiling. In this moment, I am content to die. “You need to rest.”

“Who are you?” My voice sounds distant, like it doesn’t belong to me.

“I am here to help you, Summer.”

“Yes, that’s my name, isn’t it…Summer.” I know that but can’t seem to think past it to any other details about myself. Every time I try, a huge mental door clamps down in my mind. Panic bubbles, tightening my chest, I can’t remember one thing about this ‘Summer’ person I’m supposed to be. I have no recollection of anything at all! “What’s happened to me?” I whisper.

“You were in a terrible fire. Luckily, you are still with us.”

“A fire? What fire?” Shaking, I look down at my injuries and anxiety sweeps through me all over again. “I want to die,” I sob. “You should have let me die.”

“Please don’t.” She carefully places her hand on my hair. I feel cooler, like an anesthetic is washing over me. “The process will take a while. I’m going to give you something to ease your pain.”

I feel a pinch to my arm and I’m incredibly sleepy.

“Did you save him too?”

“Save who, Summer?”

“I-I…don’t know…” My sore eyelids weigh down over swollen eyes. “I should have died…” I utter as a welcome abyss embraces me.

* * * *

Waking up slowly, the whiteness of the room glares against my eyes. I look around. There’s nothing in here to indicate where I am, apart from my bed, I’m hooked up to some sort of drip machine. A private hospital perhaps? My mind swims with endless nothingness. I try grasping for memories, anything at all that’s happened before this. Where am I? How did I get here? All I can picture is a thick swirling fog, which completely shadows any thoughts, however hard I focus. Panic flutters like wildfire within. My breath becomes shallow. I struggle to visualize who I am. What I’m doing here. Why can’t I remember? My skin heats up, and I’m completely drenched in sweat.

“Hello?” I splutter. “Hello! Can anyone hear me?” I try to move my legs to get up, but they feel like anchors dragging me back down. My arms tremble, trying to support my weight. I collapse back down in a defeated heap.

“Don’t try to move just yet.” A tall, ethereal woman places her hand on my shoulder.

“Where did you come from?” I say, letting out a startled yelp. “You scared the life out of me.”

“Sorry. How are you today?” She smiles warmly and my anxiety level miraculously plummets. My temperature seems to cool. My heartbeat returns to what feels normal.

“I…I…how should I be? I mean, why am I even here? And more to the point, who am I? Why can’t I remember anything… my own name?”

“It’s natural to have questions, and they will all be answered at the correct time.”

“Correct time? When will that be?”

“When you are ready to hear it.”

“I’m ready now!”

She sits beside me. “You have been in a terrible fire.”

“Why can’t I remember that? Wouldn’t I have burns? And why am I hooked up to this thing?” I wriggle my hand with the drip inserted making the chord rattle against the metal of the bed.

“You were badly burnt…about eighty percent of your skin in fact.”

“What? Then how come…”

“How come you look normal now?”

“Yes.” I frown, looking over my soft, ivory skin.

“We healed you.” She strokes my hair.

“Healed me?”

“You’ve had skin grafts, that is why we helped you to sleep for so long. You were in such pain.”

“How long is long?” I ask.

“A few months.” She continues to stroke my hair, which like her voice, is really soothing.

“And why can’t I remember anything?”

“You’ve been through a major trauma…like when soldiers come away from the frontline, they sometimes get something called post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s like your mind is blocking out anything harmful to you…protecting you.”

“Okay…so will my memories come back?”

“Eventually, we hope.”

We? “So, when do I get to go home…wait, have I got a home? Do I have a family?” My breath quickens, anxiety returns. “It’s going to be alright. I promise,” she tells me. I look into her eyes, forgetting instantly any feeling of upset. “How do you do that?”

“Do what?” She smiles.

“You know…make me feel calmer?”

“Magic?” She laughs.

“Hmmm…so, when can I leave?”

“Soon, when we have taken care of your face.”

“My face?” I grab both cheeks feeling around for abnormalities. The woman pulls a small compact from her white doctor’s coat and hands it to me.

“Now, before you look, it’s only a minor burn, which is a simple fix.” She lets go of the compact.

“Okay.” I brace myself and open the mirror, bringing it up to see my reflection. Full on, my face looks familiar, so that’s a huge bonus. I’m pale and drained, with lifeless eyes. At a guess I’d say I’m late teens, I thought as much. Angling my left side toward the mirror, I gasp. Wincing, I study my profile. “Oh!” Pulling my hair behind my ear, I get a better look.

“It’s really not that bad,” the woman kindly offers.

“I guess it’s not as bad as I was expecting. I mean, it’s not a huge purple map of England across my face that needs to be covered with a large hat or ski mask…” The burn itself is like a thin, dark orange birthmark, which begins at the temple, trickles down over the cheekbone, then heads towards my left ear, escaping under my hairline. “I guess if I style my parting over a little more, my long fringe will hide it…well, most of it.”

“It’ll only be a small procedure.” The woman stands and seems really tall this close.

“No.”

“No?”

“No, I mean I don’t want it covered or removed or whatever it is you’ll do.”

“Why ever not?” Her ageless face crinkles with tiny worry lines.

“This will probably sound really stupid to you but…,” I pass her back the compact, “but this mark is the only part of me that I have that was a part of me before…so I’d like to hang onto it. A sort of reminder that I had a past, that I was somebody…” Tears well, threatening to burst.

“I see, of course…if that is what you wish.”

“Thank you.” I sniffle.

“Don’t cry.” She places her hand over mine.

“I’m scared.”

“I know. You’re in good hands. You’re not alone.”

I nod, but feel incredibility alone, hopelessly lost.

“I’ll come back and check on you later. There are two people outside that are bursting to see you…friends of yours I believe.” She smiles and heads for the door.

“There are?” I feel nervously excited that I have friends…but if my family, my parents aren’t here…then…I can’t even begin to think that.

“Maybe when you see them it will bring back some memories.”

“Fingers crossed.” I cross my fingers on both hands. “Wait, what’s your name?”

“I’m Elle.”

“And I am?” I ask.

“You are Summer.”

“Summer,” I whisper, trying out the sound. “Summer.”

“I’ll let your friends in now.” She nods.

“Elle?”

“Yes?”

“Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She smiles, opens the door, and two complete strangers walk in.

1: Summer

So here I am, eating lunch with my two very stunning friends. Three weeks into my first university year and I still feel completely lost. My ‘friends’ are always oddly close by. I say odd, but it’s also quite comforting. When I woke up I had nothing, no one, so I’m glad that they’re still here helping me get through each day. Next to them though, I feel increasingly average—average height, average looks—a pale sort of girl really. Guess you could say I have pretty eyes. In certain lights, when I’m staring into a mirror, they change from amber to gold. Okay, that sounded vain. I mean, I don’t stare at myself for pleasure. If I look hard enough, I may get the smallest insight to who I really am or was.

The red head on my left is Coral and the chocolate skinned beauty opposite, that’s Persia. They sorted out my Uni forms, new clothes, student accommodation, everything. I figured they’d soon tire of me, being…you know, the lost, pathetic, needy girl. Maybe they’d move on gradually to the cool kids. And yet, on the first day of classes, they were waiting outside for me. I couldn’t be popular, surely? Did I want to be? How can I go back to being someone they liked, when I don’t know if I even like me? Apparently, we’ve always been friends, which is hard to wrap my head around.

There’s evidence, pictures of us doing fun stuff, parties, shopping trips, holidays even. Persia gave me photos of the three of us posing in front of the Eiffel Tower; standing in front of the pyramids and riding the log flume at Disneyland. I want to remember. I’ve seen the world, but don’t recall ever travelling it. And now I’m at a top university back home in England…guess we get around. I asked why my parents weren’t in any of the pictures, surely, they travelled with us? But they always change the subject, tell me it was a gap year… Maybe they think I’m not ready for those emotions yet.

Sadly, any memories of my parents went up in the blaze with them. Do I look like my dad? Do I have my mum’s blonde hair? Did they die quickly or in slow agonizing pain? Did they die saving me, not knowing if I’d made it or not? I want to cry for those I’ve lost, but how can you cry over people when you can’t even picture their faces, or how they used to smell, how they used to hold you? It’s moments like these when I get completely lost inside my own head; an overwhelming feeling of emptiness fills me up. Popular or not, by myself or in a crowd, there’s that little voice in my mind that tells me my loneliness will be never ending and the search for the real me will always be just beyond my reach…

“Summer…hey!” Coral snaps her fingers under my nose. “You phased out again.”

“Oh, sorry.” I shrug.

“Are you going to eat those fries?”

I push them across the table to her.

“You’ll only moan if you put weight on,” Persia says, glancing up from her phone.

“I’ll work it off.” Coral winks. I roll my eyes. “So, what’s up with you today, Sum? You seem…distant.”

“Nothing’s up. Just sat here minding my own business. Isn’t that what I always do-did?” I frown.

Persia puts her phone away and rubs my arm. “Look, stuff will start coming back. Didn’t the doc say it would be a slow process? We’re here to help, in any way we can. Okay? Twenty-four seven, that’s us.”

“Okay.” I attempt a smile. “It’s just so frustrating…”

“Here’s something to cheer you up.” Coral stares past me. “Look who’s making his way over here.”

I follow her gaze, puffing my cheeks out in disappointment. Tyler Gordon and his faithful sidekicks. From my first day here, he’s always hovering somewhere in my vicinity, ‘the joy.’

“Hey, ladies. How are we on this fine summer’s day? All good I hope?” he asks, sitting down, sliding across the bench until his thigh touches mine. I flinch a little. He notices but seems to shrug it off.

“Good, thanks. You?” I ask, trying to appear interested. Taking this as a green light, words practically fly from his mouth at a crazy speed.

“I was good until some idiot decided to park his wheels in my space this morning. I mean, don’t you have to have some sort of permit for a bike like that? Thinks he’s something special. I mean you can’t just turn up and park where you bloody like.”

“God forbid,” I mutter.

“Walking around like he owns the place. I mean—get a haircut, man. Like anyone digs the whole broody leather look. What is this—1992?” Tyler nudges me. I hate being nudged.

“The guy’s a loser,” Leon butts in.

“Is he hot?” Coral asks, applying more strawberry lip balm. Jack clears his throat. He and Leon are still hovering at the back of Tyler like limpets and I have to wonder if that’s how people see me? A hanger-on, that won’t go away…

“Not that I care.” Coral smiles at Jack.

“He’s not your type,” he grunts.

“And who is my type?”

“Get a room,” I whisper. Tyler catches my eye. He stares at me with an amused expression. I feel my cheeks heat and angle my body away from his. Thankfully, he turns his attention on Persia.

“Why are you staring at me?” she asks coldly.

“Why, do you like it?” Tyler leans over the table.

“No.”

“Okay, I gotta ask, what’s with the crazy contacts?”

“What?”

“Come on, a black chick with violet eyes…who are you kidding? You all have them, right?” Tyler laughs.

I don’t have contacts…weird thing to assume…

“What’s your point?” Coral huffs. “Or did you want some for yourself?”

“Nah, why mess with perfection?” He laughs. “You girls wanna come see us win our game tonight? We could get something to eat afterwards?” His warm breath hits my ear. The guy has no spatial awareness.

“Err…” I look to Persia for help.

“Beats studying.” She shrugs.

“Thanks,” I mouth. I just wanted to go back to my room after class, get in my PJs, and snuggle up with a good book.

“I’m in. Hot guys in tight shorts…heaven.” Coral grins at me.

“Yeah, great.” I shrug, irritated.

Tyler puts his arm around me and I tense up. Yes, he’s good looking in an obvious way. Yet, there’s a needy, desperateness about him that makes me put an invisible wall between us. I guess it’s sort of nice that he sees me when most people don’t look further than my friends, or my scar…or does he just see me as easy pickings? A charity case…the broken girl he can fix? Whatever the attraction, I’m just not ready; I don’t know if I’ll ever be.

“Nice one.” He rises from the table and nods to Jack and Leon to follow. “Later, ladies. Oh and, Summer, wear that red jumper I like…you know, so I can spot you in the crowd.” He winks. My stomach churns. Gross.

“Perfect,” I snap, looking at no one in particular. “I just wanted to chill alone tonight.”

“That’s what you do every night.” Persia sighs. “Look, we worry. We know you want the old you back. Hiding away is not the answer.” She smiles warmly, waiting for me to give in. “And if you’re not into Tyler, that’s fine. Maybe you should give boys a miss for a while until you’re feeling more like your old self again…We just want to get you out, have fun. Live a little, you’re allowed to. Life’s given you a second chance, grab it.”

“I guess.” I say, not very convincingly. I stiffen on hearing shouting coming from the window behind me.

“What’s all the noise outside?” Coral stands, towering over me and peers out of the canteen window. “Let’s go see. I love a bit of drama.”

“Funny, you’re usually at the centre of it.” Persia laughs.

“We’ll be late for Art. I hate walking in late. Everyone stares.” I wince, remembering last period when this had just happened. This complex is like a maze. Even after three weeks, I still use my map to get around. Too late, they’ve already moved toward the doors. “Okay, I guess we’re walking in late together,” I mumble and slowly follow.

Outside, there’s a small crowd gathering. I can’t see much but hear raised male voices, so I edge my way through. Of course, Tyler is in the thick of it, threatening some poor guy, backed, of course, by the rest of the football team. Coward. I go around again, trying to get a better view of his victim.

“Man, this is my space. So, for the last time, move your pile of junk,” Tyler goads. Jeers of support come from his crew. There’s a small gap I inch my way in, apologizing with each bump and stare-down.

Then I see him, ‘the biker guy’, and it feels like my breath has been completely sucked from my body. He looks slightly annoyed, yet he doesn’t respond. His silence unnerves me…why? A huge gasp escapes my lips while trying to slow down my irate breathing. In answer to Coral’s question earlier, yes, the guy is indeed hot. But then so am I, boiling hot in fact…

What the hell?

He stands, arms crossed, stoically guarding his bike. He doesn’t seem at all bothered by the juvenile threats. His black hair’s unkempt, wild almost. His jeans are ripped, and his biker jacket is worn at the elbows. I’m guessing this is from a hard life and not to look cool…although he does.

He turns his face away from Tyler; an angry orange burn weaves down his neck and under his collar. Automatically, I touch my own scar and then quickly smooth my hair over it. Turning back, his expression reads ‘boredom.’ Every time he looks in my direction, it’s like I’m being punched in the gut, winded even. I’m starting to sweat at the hairline.

He slowly scans the crowd. Fearing his gaze, I take a step back. His intense green eyes widen when he spots me. My lungs are on the verge of exploding.

He smiles, like he knows something I don’t. My skin crackles with instant heat. Everything and everyone seems to fall away. It’s just him and me. Neither of us looking away. I don’t think I’m breathing, I can’t remember how to…I’m spinning, losing control of my limbs. Someone has stolen all the air. Panic rushes to my head.

Patterns flash before my eyes. Voices become muffled around me. Someone’s shouting, which is drowned out by the deafening buzzing in my ears. An intense pain shoots up my spine as I hit the floor. Every breath is a struggle. Watching his boots walk away, I reach out for him…he has to come back. For reasons beyond me, I need him to stay… I can’t seem to move my limbs at all. My entire body feels like it’s on fire. Who is this guy? Why am I reacting this way? What’s happening to me?

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