Title: Emerald's Keeper
Author: Holly Dodson
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Mandy Samkirk had no warning of the life-changing events about to unfold; only the lingering worry from a recurring dream that nagged at her thoughts. She could still feel the shadow of evil that hung like an impenetrable cloud in the sky, the smell of decay. Cries for help echoed through her mind with panic so thick it was palpable. She squeezed her eyes shut to block the memory out; the cool kitchen counter beneath her arms anchored her to reality.
“We’ve got a special surprise for you today, sweetheart,” her mother said, setting the last clean plate in the rack beside the sink to dry. The bright smile on her mom’s face had been plastered there all morning.
“What kind of surprise? Is John coming?” Mandy tried not to get her hopes up but failed miserably.
The last time she’d seen John had been at Christmas over a year ago, and that had been the first time she’d seen him since his fight with Dad. He had really looked awful too, like maybe he had the flu or something. Mandy missed him more than she cared to admit.
“Sorry, sweetheart.” Her mother turned to face her across the bar, a sadness in her eyes Mandy hadn’t expected. “He’s not coming. I did try to convince him but well, you know John. He sent you a letter though.” She rifled through a stack of mail on the counter and pulled out a battered envelope, “Here it is.”