Vivian’s life is finally on track. She has a job she loves as an ER doctor and has just met – literally – the man of her dreams. But when her eccentric grandfather is murdered and designates her as his next of kin, she discovers that she is the last of a race of beings known as dreamshifters. It is her task to guard the doorways between waking and dreaming, which have already begun to unravel, spilling dangerous creatures from dream into the waking world. When she sets out to close the open doors and protect her town and the people she loves, Vivian confronts dragons, intrigue, and the dark secrets of her own family history. In the end, she comes face to face with a sorceress seeking eternal life and ultimate power. Vivian must find a way to stop her, or reality will be forever altered.
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
Pages: 305 Pages
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Jehenna reached again into the bag and pulled out an envelope, laying it on the table on top of the will. It had been sealed and then neatly sliced open. Vivian’s name was written in a spiky black hand.
“You’ve opened it,” Vivian said, taking the envelope and drawing out a single sheet of loose-leaf paper.
“It was left with Mr. Smoot with instructions for him to get it to you at once should Mr. Maylor pass on. Mr. Smoot thought it best he should understand any bequests so he can offer you his best assistance.”
The note was written in the same bold, black hand as her name on the envelope:
You are young yet, and I had hoped to save you this moment for reasons beyond the scope of this note. If you are reading this now, it is because I am dead. You are my only heir, which makes you a Dreamshifter, and sadly, the last of them. I have done what I can to help you, little as it is. Unfortunately, it is not safe to write more, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Be careful of doors, they can lead to unexpected places. Edwin Smoot, my attorney, will explain more to you. TRUST NO ONE until you have time to talk with him.
Vivian reread this missive twice, then folded it and put it back inside the envelope.
“He says his attorney is Mr. Smoot.”
“Mr. Smoot was unavailable,” the smooth voice answered. “Your grandfather’s death was sudden. Mr. Smoot believed it would be best for you to know at once.”
“He might have called.”
“He felt a face to face would be more productive and has scheduled you in for Tuesday next, if you will be available then? In the meantime we had promised to deliver the bequests immediately upon Mr. Maylor’s death.”
“I really think I’d rather wait and talk with Mr. Smoot.”
“Ms. Maylor, you are being stubborn. Mr. Maylor was getting old—he had a hard time accepting that times change. When he was young, Mr. Smoot would have been available to personally deal with all of his needs. Now Mr. Smoot himself is aging. He also runs a busy and successful law firm. He must use his staff, or he cannot get his work done. Mr. Maylor did not understand this, but I’m sure that you will.”
The wide eyes were serene and steady, but Vivian felt a growing unease. Memory ghosts swept her mind with cobwebby fingers. She had seen this face before, feared it, somewhere, in Wakeworld or Dreamworld.
Jehenna set a package on the table. It was wrapped neatly and precisely in brown paper, corners creased and symmetrical and secured with clear packing tape. Vivian’s name was written in the same black hand as the envelope and the letter.
Time slowed as she put her hands to the paper—smooth beneath her fingers, except for the places where it had once been folded; here there were little ridges, the edges of the tape snagging on the skin of her fingertips. When she tore the paper away, everything in her world came to a sharp focus.
This moment. This act. In the middle of the torn paper sat a wooden box with dragons carved into the top, dark with age. A box big enough for secrets, small enough to carry with you. A box she had seen once before.
Kerry Schafer lives in Colville, Washington, with her family, which includes two cats, a rescue fish, and a preternaturally large black dog. A self-styled perpetual student, she earned an RN from Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta; a BA in English (Honours) from York University in Toronto, Ontario; and an M.Ed. in counseling psychology from Washington State University.
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