Jule Welsh can sing. She enthralls people with her bel canto voice. But it takes more than practice to reach her level of exquisite song; it takes siren’s blood running through her veins. Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High when her relatively normal world begins to resemble a roller coaster flying through a carnival scare house. Her mother is diagnosed as insane and committed, a psycho-stalker is snapping pictures of her to put into his homemade Jule-shrine, her voice is suddenly putting people into comatose trances, oh and the gorgeous new guy in town, Luke Whitmore, is interested in her . . . but also wants to kill her.
Release Date: February 18, 2014 Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Author Website: http://www.heathermccollum.com/
Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/HMcCollumAuthor
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“What will you sing?” Ms. Bishop asks. “Do you need the music?”
I shake my head. I usually sing a cappella. “‘Masquerade.’”
Ms. Bishop nods. “Whenever you’re ready.”
I climb the steps to the stage. The lights are dim. A single spotlight shines white light down on me. I close my eyes against the glare. I feel the magic of the notes form in my lungs. They take on a life of their own, like birds held captive for too long. They flutter excitedly and expand as the familiar opening cadence plays through my mind. I latch onto the end of the introductory stanza and fill my body with breath, the birds growing, dying for freedom; they fly up through my body and out between my lips. The sweet sound is born and euphoria and ecstasy mix to fill me. I wonder briefly if this is what getting high feels like.
With each breath my muscles melt and stretch, relaxing, moving with the internal beat that is as familiar to me as my own heartbeat. In fact, the music becomes my heartbeat. Absently, I’m aware that my arms are moving with expression, adding to the spell of sound that gushes like a great lyrical waterfall from my mouth. I understand the words, the emotion behind them. I’ve studied them my whole life, living with them as my mother rehearsed and explored her talent. They are as much a part of me as my clearest memories. Totally consumed, my mind floats with the notes. As I reach the end of the chorus, I blink but can’t see too much with the strike of the spotlight. I move to the edge of the circle of light. The technical guy doesn’t follow me.
My lungs fill again and I continue through the next stanza. My eyes glance across the still faces, locked eyes, like mannequins, spooky in their trance. Like their lives are suspended on the notes. Even though I would prefer to continue, I let the chorus end. The last note dissolves on my tongue like the last speck of a sweet candy.
A few kids shake their heads. Others blink. Lindsey mouths “wow” to the girl next to her.
Crack! I jump, my calm splintering away at the sound of rock fracturing somewhere in the back of the auditorium. Luke stares at me from the doorway. I can’t breathe. I can’t swallow. I can’t move. His eyes seem to glow with a strange light where he leans in, hands gripping the door support above his head. The muscles of his arms contract as if he’s lifting weights. But it’s the lock of his jaw, the scowl, accented by his piercing eyes, that manacles me to the stage. The tables have turned. Now I’m the one unable to break free. My heart takes on the frantic flutter of the bird, again trapped inside.
“Bravo!” Derek claps loud. No one looks toward the back. Didn’t anyone hear the impact?
I blink and Luke breaks the stare, turning. He’s gone.
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About the Author:
Heather McCollum is an award winning, historical paranormal romance writer. She earned her B.A. in Biology from the University of Maine, much to her English professor’s dismay. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers and the Ruby Slipper Sisterhood of 2009 Golden Heart Finalists.
The ancient magic and lush beauty of Great Britain entranced Ms. McCollum’s heart and imagination when she visited there years ago. The country’s history and landscape have been a backdrop for her writing ever since. She currently resides with her very own Highland hero and three spirited children in the wilds of suburbia on the mid-Atlantic coast.
Facts about Jule and Luke
- Her mother is an opera singer and has recently been committed to a mental health facility.
- Jule’s voice is rich, beautiful and, lately, has the ability to entrance people.
- Jule is starting her senior year at Cougar Creek High School in Summit, North Carolina where she will star in the school’s production of Phantom of the Opera.
- Jule is an only child and lives in an old house across from a new subdivision. She loves to sit on her wrap around porch with her dog, Mica.
- Jule loves lasagna and the smell of lilacs.
- Jule has a birthmark in the shape of a dragonfly on her chest.
- Luke has recently moved to Summit from Boston.
- Luke’s father was a pro hockey player and is now the coach for the local NHL team.
- Luke is very close to his “cousins” Matt and Taylin and all three of them have the same birthday, 31 October.
- Sometimes it looks like Luke has tattoos wrapping around his arms that look like dragons.
- Luke is fluent in French and can speak Scots-Gaelic.
- Luke has a hard time controlling his temper at times.