If your soul has been plunged into the dark depths of despair, how hard would you fight to claw your way back to the surface? Can the life you lost be restored, or is it destined to be forever phased out of existence? Fated to dissolve into a distant memory.
The Black Market—a ferocious, starving beast. An endless sinkhole of precious valuables; the playground for blood-thirsty power seekers. Only one thing feeds its hunger like no other…human life.
A sinister criminal ring has descended on the small town of Norton Springs, instilling fear in the residents. A vicious wave of disappearances coupled with the gut-wrenching horror of infants being ripped from the arms of their helpless mothers has the town quaking in terror.
When Gabe Thornton strolls back into his hometown, his main goal is to claim the one woman that has always denied her feelings for him—Nora Jacobs. The last thing he expects is to be thrust into a storm of devastation and chaos. Will his strength be enough to save them from the dark souls that threaten to destroy their chance at happiness?
Broken futures. Shattered dreams. Mind-numbing loss. When your heart has been ripped away from you—how do you find the will to go on?
No one is safe. Everything you thought you knew is about to change in this second installment in The Darkness Series.
Gripping Red’s hand tight, the two ran up the stairs, Brooke wincing each time one of the boards squeaked under the pressure of their weight. At the top, the door was open, a fact that had Brooke’s heart jumping up her throat like it was on a damn trampoline. Peering out, she ensured there was no one in sight before tugging Red forward. A few steps into the carpeted foyer, the sound of voices drifted towards them. Panicking, she pulled Red into what she thought was an empty room and shut the door.
Panting, she leaned against the door, trying to catch her breath.
“We have to hide here, Red. I’ll check if it’s safe in a few minutes.” When there was no reply from Red, Brooke turned her head, searching. “Red?” The other woman stood frozen, unmoving in the middle of the room.
“What are you—ahh…” Brooke stepped up beside Red, concerned why she was non-verbal. The room was not empty as she had expected. It wasn’t empty at all and the scene before them was a terrifying one.
Cots. Rows and rows of cots and each one was occupied with a tiny infant. Some were sleeping, wrapped in thin blankets. Others were squirming, having come loose from their bundle. A few were wailing, a loud sound that would make any dog in the surrounding area sit up and take notice. How Brooke didn’t hear them, was beyond her. The adrenaline was a roar in her ears, blocking out everything except listening for footsteps of anyone that might be approaching. A quick count revealed twenty-four cots. Twenty-four babies either stolen are birthed by a mother that was likely a prisoner in the same house of horrors she was trying to escape from.
Covering her mouth, Brooke suppressed a scream of disgust. Children. Helpless infants all lined up and ready to be sold by the indescribable monster, Marcus. An auction straight from a mother’s worst nightmare.
“Red,” she tried to get her attention. “Red,” she said with more force. When that still didn’t work, she reached out and lightly shook her. The haunted, empty look in her eyes when Red finally acknowledged her, broke Brooke’s heart into a million tiny pieces.
“My sons. My daughters…” she moved towards the cots. “I—I have to find them. I—I—I didn’t get to—to hold them,” she stammered, peering over the cots at the tiny faces. Her heartbreak was written all over her face as she searched from cot to cot for her children.
Not being able to stand seeing her torment, Brooke rushed to her side, trying to tug her away. “Red, I don’t think they are here now. These…these are infants. As in just born, and you—” Red’s head whipped around to pin Brooke with furious eyes.
“Shut up. You know nothin’. My children are here. They are here.” Tears sprang to Brooke’s eyes at the utter despair in Red’s voice.
“I really wish they were, God, Red. But I promise you, we will make these bastards pay. We will find your children and make sure they can never do this to any other woman,” Brooke’s promise was fierce and true. She would shut this operation down, even if it killed her to do it.
Cassia Brightmore is a new indie author. Her debut novel, Malevolent is the first book in the Darkness Series and can be read as a standalone.
Writing has always been a passion of hers and publishing her first novel is truly a dream come true. She enjoys writing dark stories that she hopes will thrill the reader.
Cassia lives in Grimsby, Canada with her two furbabies, Harley and Molly.
Restless Girls Exclusive Interview:
1. Tell us about the cover for this book and how it came about. Do you give the artists complete artistic freedom or are you 100% involved in the process?
~ I was completely involved with my cover designer, Mayhem Cover Creations throughout the entire process. I wanted the cover to really capture the essence of what the story is about and draw the reader in. We went through several drafts before we came up with the final product, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It was important to me that the cover represent what Evanesce is all about.
2. Which writers inspire you? Did any of them (or their work) inspire this book?
~I am a huge fan of writers I read when I was growing up, such as Julie Garwood, Nora Roberts, Judith McNaught. These ladies are masters at story-telling in my opinion. There are too many favorites that I have in present day to name – there are several that have inspired and encouraged me and my work and I couldn’t be more grateful to them for their support of not only myself, but all indie authors.
3. I’ve read a couple of excerpts and it seems as if the main characters in this new book are different. Give us an insight into your main characters. How different are they from the main characters in Malevolent? Any similarities?
~The main characters in Evanesce are all new. It is a standalone book that can be read as part of The Darkness Series, however its not necessary to read Malevolent first – but I do recommend doing so to truly get the experience of the series. You will see some familiar faces from Malevolent in Evanesce as some characters play a key role. In Evanesce you will meet Gabe, Nora, Theo, Brooke and Marcus as new characters. Each has their own story and their own suffering to endure. Evanesce packs one hell of a ride for all of them.
4. Do you base your characters on people you know? Name them after people you know?
~Some characters have characteristics of people I know. I try to add in a little of everyone that is special in my life. In Malevolent, the main character Gwyn is named after my late grandmother.
5. When did you decide to become a writer and/or why do you write?
~It’s always been a dream of mine to write, my mom and my grandma were my biggest cheerleaders in encouraging me to follow that dream. I have written several short stories in the past – Malevolent is the first book I was brave enough to publish and share with the world.
6. You seem pretty normal and your books are extremely twisty and heart wrenching. Where do the your ideas come from?
~I am a fan of the dark. I love getting lost in a book that completely rips me apart and then puts me back together again. I feel like I get the most invested in those types of stories and I want to provide that kind of experience for readers. My ideas…I can’t honestly say where they come from. The characters seems to take over and tell their own story.
7. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
~I work from a plot outline. However, there are times when the story changes on me once I start writing. In Evanesce, the ending was completely different in the plot than it ends up in the book. Sometimes, things just don’t work once the words start flowing.
8. How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
~I believe I am still evolving. I try to be very open to feedback from readers and take suggestions into account to help me grow and improve. One thing I’ve learned is to not limit myself. In Malevolent, I believe I held back a little bit – in Evanesce, I really put my heart into the scenes, emotionally.
9. What is the hardest thing about writing your books?
~If you have read my work, you will know that no character is safe from being killed off. Some of those scenes are the hardest to write, as I truly grow attached to all of them. Losing them is like losing a part of myself.
10. How many books are you planning for this series alone? Will there be a SAM book for me? *I mean your readers*
~The Darkness Series will have 3 books. Malevolent, Evanesce, Denouement. As far as Sam goes, yes – there will be a novella for him and you – I mean him and whomever he ends up with haha.
11. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
~I would just love to keep writing and sharing my books with readers. It’s truly been a dream come true and I hope that I can reach a larger audience with each new release.
12. Is there anything I’ve missed that you feel your readers should know? Any favorite quotes? Last words?
~Just a thank you to everyone that has supported and encouraged me, I truly appreciate it! And to you, for taking the time to do this with me.