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The Lost Heir
Allison Whitmore (with Erin Virginia & Grace Arden)
Published by: Booktrope Publishing
Publication date: December 8th 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Isabella Foxworthy was just another girl…until she learned she was an empath, able to read the energy of others. A secret world known as the Violet City lies beneath her family’s hotel in Los Angeles. Through this discovery, Isabella is catapulted into a whirlwind of magic, adventure, and danger. The Violet City holds the key to protecting her stability; her family hotel, her friends, and her very sanity.
With morphlings, empaths, and fair folk also comes a powerful entity that twists her mind into knots, threatening everything she loves. Now, Isabella and her new friends—a guitar-playing jock, his gifted but neurotic brother, and a set of over-indulged twins—have until her 16th birthday to save her world with the help of someone who’s been lost for a very long time…the lost Foxworthy heir. But will they find him in time? And will he be a friend or foe?
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The sun was beginning to set and the bright day had begun to dissipate as dusk slowly fell over the Culver Hills village center, if one could really call it a village in the middle of Los Angeles. The air grew dense and musty. All the street lamps were off except one, which flickered in a slow, steady beat. Only a small number of cars cruised the road as the kids walked down Main Street toward where the Foxworthy Hotel was perched at the top of the hill. This dark stillness was not usual for this time of day. Something was off.
“Get off me!” The voice filled Isabella’s ear a block away from the hotel trolley stop. Her gut tore in two with fear. ”Give that back.”
Isabella slowed down to see Cleo marching back toward the same two bullies she’d rescued Pythian from the other day, one of whom had Xander by the shirt collar as the other was rummaging through Xander’s backpack. Cleo’s shoes lay in a clump.
“There are so many goodies in here. Gum drops. Chocolate snatches. Debbie cakes. And my personal favorite—this camcorder. Oh, wait… no. There’s a little digital camera, too. Looks like Christmas came early for us. Isn’t that right, Sloane?”
“Put my brother down, or you’ll be sorry,” Cleo shouted.
As requested, the boy shoved Xander, sending him tumbling into a nearby thorn bush. “Ahhrrk!” Cleo went straight to his side.
It looked like the kid with Xander’s backpack might consider going for Cleo’s purse, but before that could happen, the other boy, Sloane, said, “Dude, let’s get outta here.” Seth, who was bigger and taller than both of them, and Isabella, whose nostrils flared like a lion, hustled after them.
“I know those guys,” Isabella told Seth.
“Go back and stay with Cleo,” he said.
“Watch me, Superman.”
They looped around the corner as the bullies flew up the service road that led to the back of the hotel. Before they could get too far, four figures in black appeared; from where, Isabella could not tell. Two grabbed the boys. Another took Xander’s backpack. Seth and Isabella both stopped. Cold licked Isabella’s heart. Not an eerie cold, but like a soothing glass of cold lemonade on a scorching day in July.
“What do we do?” Isabella whispered.
“I would tell you to go back, but you’d just make too much noise arguing with me, so I say just shut up.”
“If you tell me to shut up one more time…”
The two figures holding the boys seemed to melt into the darkness of the trees.
“Where the hell did they go?” Seth asked, protectively pushing Isabella behind him.
She did not fight it. She was starting to become frightened, less of the situation and more of herself. Things had been off more than usual today. For the first time since her parents’ death, she’d felt completely protected, and she wasn’t sure it was all due to the necklace she had been wearing. It was so bizarre.
She was attuned to Cleo and Xander, who were usually never around at the holidays because, like her friend Lana, their parents traveled at that time. She’d felt everything from them: Xander’s exhaustion; Cleo’s boredom and overprotectiveness of her brother. The Logan brothers, however, were different. One minute, she felt Micah’s agitation with Xander, but the next, it would grow cold. And Seth—that boy, she couldn’t get a handle on at all. The only thing she got a sense of was fierce protection, particularly for Micah, but for her as well. She really did not know why.
That was never part of it; she had never felt the direction of a person’s emotions until now. She’d never felt so hot and cold about it. The five of them, connected by a string. It made no sense. Why would she be connected to these random kids?
The two figures in black who had stayed behind whispered to each other. Seth stepped to the side, taking Isabella with him. ”We should go back.”
But he was too late. The men had spotted them and were heading their way. Neither Seth nor Isabella dared to move. In an instant, the tallest of the figures, a young man of about twenty, stood before them. His skin was a beautiful caramel color, his eyes a startling green, and his hair—Isabella saw, as he pushed the hood off his head, he had a nest of shiny curls. He wore a goatee, and his eyes drooped with intellect.
“Declan Timothy. This is Max.” He thumbed at the guy behind him. “Just wanted to give this back to the kid.”
He pushed the backpack into Isabella’s arms. Her vocal cords decided to twist into a knot, so she was unable to say thank you.
“And to tell you to be careful. Tonight is going to change things for you.”
That did it. No more evil cats holding her tongue hostage. “What the heck does that mean?”
“You’ll see. If you need us, ask Theophilus where to find us.”
“Wait a minute,” Seth said, pinning Declan with a heated gaze. “Who are you guys?”
“The Midnight Brotherhood. Be careful, Isabella. And you—make sure she listens.”
“Sure,” Seth replied.
Then they, too, faded into the night.
Seth and Isabella looked at each other, not saying a word. For some reason, words did not seem appropriate at that moment.
When they returned to their friends, Seth spoke quietly as Isabella returned Xander’s backpack to him. “Let’s go home.”
The trolley was nowhere in sight, which was more evidence to Isabella that something was not right. From the bottom of the hill, the hotel was as dim and desolate as it had appeared from the center of the village. With heavy legs, they began up the hill. They climbed the front steps and walked into the lobby. Candlelight dotted the room. Elyse was the first person to approach them; her waitress apron was undone, her hair out of place.
“Thank God you’re all right.”
“What’s going on?” Isabella asked.
“I…” Elyse burst into tears.
“Elyse, tell us now! What happened?”
Elyse wiped her face. “I don’t really know. Everything blacked out for a while. It went cold, and I got really tired. It almost felt like I fell asleep for a while, but then when I woke up, I was standing in the same place I had been before. Right inside the Lily Field ballroom. And then—”
Allison Whitmore was born in Los Angeles and loves to tell good coming-of-age stories with a hint of romance. You will find her characters going on an adventure or two as well. Outside of writing, Whitmore enjoys classic films, hiking and spending time with family and friends. She loves it when fans reach out to her. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @alli_whitmore or join her on Instagram @allisonwhitmoreauthor.