Today we are here to learn a little more about the YA Paranormal Romance Residue (Book #1 of the Residue series) by Laury Falter. To see if this book is for you, take a gander at the excerpt below. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a signed print copy of Residue.
The directions I followed, took me to a quiet side street lined with worn buildings, and more specifically, to an unmarked, weathered door along a row of doors looking remarkably the same.
Without the typical store sign or even a window to peer in, I didn’t know whether I might walk into someone’s house. To be on the safe side, I knocked.
The door rattled loosely against its frame and then settled. A few moments passed and no one came, so I knocked again. Again, there was no answer.
Wondering if the directions were wrong, I tried the door handle. It was unlocked, which almost surprised me. Opening it a crack, I peered inside.
While it was incredibly dim inside, lit only by candles held in wall sconces and open lanterns hanging from the ceiling, I could see that it was actually a store. Disheveled and poorly laid out with towering wooden bookshelves stuffed with merchandise, I couldn’t see all that far inside.
“Hello?” I called out without receiving an answer back.
Figuring they may be in the storage room, if one even existed, I stepped inside.
No one responded so I moved farther down the aisle.
This was no regular OfficeMax or OfficeDepot. It didn’t even resemble a college bookstore. In the place of textbooks on biology, calculus, and the English dictionary there were witch almanacs, spell books for solitary witches, and tomes on spells and rituals for every purpose. Where pens and paper should have been, there were tarot card stacks and candles of every color, style, and size imaginable. Canisters of countless herbs, stones, and gems replaced impulse-purchase bins of calculators and keychain flashlights.
What exactly am I supposed to buy in here? I wondered.
Then, just as I reached the cash register, which looked like an antique ready for a museum, the store’s front door opened, allowing in a thin stretch of light down the side aisle. I listened as the store’s most recent patron strolled toward the back, where I now stood when the scratchy voice of an older woman drew my attention away.
She hobbled out from the back room, hunched and bracing herself against the counter as she walked.
“What you lookin’ for?” she asked.
Hesitating, I didn’t know quite how to explain it and then settled on the most basic of answers. “My school supplies.”
She lifted her chin in a brief gesture of acknowledgement and then shuffled down the long counter, stopping at nearly the end of it. From there, she withdrew a clothed bundle, tied with twine at the top. Rather than carrying it back to me, she dragged it, drawing up dust where it had settled. Leaving it before me, she then held out her hand for payment.
I placed the cash in her palm and she dropped it in a canvas bag beneath the register, without bothering to count it.
“You got the potent kind,” she stated.
“They’re dangerous,” she warned. “Watch yerself with them.”
Interestingly, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that whatever the brisk woman sleeping across the hall from me had ordered on my behalf wasn’t safe.
“All right,” I shrugged. I wasn’t quite sure what was in the bundle or how I should treat them to prevent inflicting harm.
Then several things happened simultaneously. Just as I turned around to leave, the person waiting patiently in line behind me spoke. And just as he spoke, the room broke into chaos.
The wall sconce candles flickered first. Next the tarot cards lifted from their spot on the shelves as if a brisk wind had picked up and carried them, disheveled, through the air. Then heavier things began to move. Candles darted off the shelves like projectiles, hitting the walls with enough force to leave wax marks. Books slid off and slammed to the floor or against the bookshelves opposite them. The ceiling lanterns swung fiercely from side to side, slamming against the whitewash to send down chunks of plaster. The glass canisters banged against each other threatening to break.
That was when I felt arms around me, pulling me to the ground, and a body covering me, solid and secure. My top hat was gone and hands now covered my head with elbows pressed against my ears, dimming the sound of the destruction around us. With my face covered by my own hands and my body in a crouched position, only my legs were exposed.
I had to give the person credit. Despite the devastation going on around us, nothing touched me.
It raged for several seconds, prolonging the demolition of this elderly woman’s store. Then, just as quickly as it had begun, it came to a screeching halt.
My protector’s hands freed my ears and the body stretched across my back moved away. That was when I heard the voice. It was comforting, concerned, and a little uncertain. I was instantly drawn to it, realizing a ridiculous urge to listen to it endlessly. I couldn’t help feeling foolish, especially since his question was so understandable given the circumstances.
“Are you hurt?” he asked.
I felt a hand, warm and firm, on my shoulder, coaxing me to react.
Releasing the breath I’d been holding, I stood and blinked a few times, clearing the haziness in my head.
“Never been better,” I muttered and when he handed my top hat back I heard him chuckle.
A quick look around told me that the elderly woman had survived unharmed but her store had not. Every piece of merchandise now lay broken, littering the floor.
Without any warning whatsoever, she launched in to a tirade, speaking rapidly and in French, a language I hadn’t learned well enough yet. Then she stopped suddenly, to my surprise, with a chuckle, wide eyed and beaming.
I chalked it up to delirium at seeing her store destroyed at some unknown phenomenon until her other patron standing beside me spoke.
“Huh…” he mumbled.
“What?” I asked, still battling the surreal state I was in, watching as the woman shrugged and disappeared into the back room still chuckling.
Then he chuckled to himself, surprised. “She said she’s never seen this before. Apparently she’s read about it and been told of it but hadn’t witnessed it herself.”
“Witnessed what?” I asked, taking my sack of school supplies.
He laughed again, farther down in his chest. “Well…” He cleared his throat uncomfortably. “She thinks she just saw the introduction of two fated lovers.”
“Really? Who?” I asked, my head swiveling back and forth now, profoundly intrigued and looking for the people they were referring to, the two whom they believed to be the cause of this mess.
He hesitated and then spoke deep, firm, and with certainty. “She meant us.”