Supernatural Reform School or Horrifying Death Trap?
Dedwydd Academy is meant to be a third chance for Briar Williams, exiled from the fae realm of Idyll for her part in a rebellion against the aristocracy and removed from human society for a night of mayhem in the small town of Artis. Upon arrival, she begins to make friends, but she also finds a dangerous enemy in the volatile Jaylin. Now she must navigate a new level of high school politics, one with deadly consequences.
And what will her new friends think when they learn about what she's done?
"An excellent book that sucks you into the action right from the beginning. I loved the characters and especially liked the concept of a young female Fae character whose Fae side is dark and terrible and not ethereally beautiful and wondrous."– Amazon reviewer
"I'm itching to see more of this story line, as we're only getting a small glimpse into an interesting world here. I enjoyed Briar, and was so pleased to see a very diverse crowd of students at the school."– Amazon reviewer
"Promise Me Nothing stands out for its great characters, strong voice, intelligence, and beautifully interwoven plot lines."– Deborah J. Ross review
Chapter One: Juvie Psych Ward Blues
Something was coming. I could feel it.
I'd been in this weird juvie-slash-psych-ward for three weeks now, and things had been ... normal. Well, as normal as they can be when you're fae living in the mortal realm. Everything had seemed a little duller since I got here, a little less vivid and exciting.
But I also hadn't gotten into any fights, which was apparently very good, according to my counselor. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do when I went in for a session. She didn't really ask me any questions about how I was doing or feeling. She made sure I was staying out of trouble, noted some things in my chart, and sent me back to the rec hall. When her pen scratched across the paper, it made my skin crawl, like nails on a chalkboard. It sounded about the same to my ears.
I felt all right, just strange, like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Since I had left my home in Idyll, this was the easiest my life had been. Instead of living in a park, sneaking into the locker room for a shower, and begging, borrowing, or stealing for meals, I got hot showers, warm food, and an actual bed. I could get used to this.
No, of course it couldn't be that simple.
It started in the meds line. The girls in line behind me were chatting and goofing around. I hadn't bothered to learn their names, because no one talked to me if they could help it. It was like they knew that something was wrong with me, and their deepest instincts told them to keep away.
One of the girls, who was either Catherine, Caitlyn, or Callie, had her back to me. When I picked up the flimsy paper cup filled to the brim with the cherry-red liquid meds they were feeding me, she stepped backward, right into my arm. Droplets splattered all over my hand, my shirt, and the counter.
"Oh, sorry," Catherine-Caitlyn-Callie said with a gasp. She whipped her head around, the ends of her blonde ponytail sliding across my face. Then she saw who she'd just apologized to and snickered, turning back to her friends.
I looked at the orderly at the dispensary window. He wasn't the usual guy. "Uh, my meds spilled?"
He shrugged. "Take what's left."
"Don't I need the full dose?"
Another shrug. "I'm just filling in. Take what's left, and I'll note it in your chart."
Goosebumps prickled at the back of my neck, but I gulped down the liquid left in the cup, not even a third of my usual dose, and set the empty cup on the counter. The orderly whisked it away into the garbage can and called out "Next."
He hadn't even looked at my chart, let alone noting anything in it. But I knew that when the orderly said "next," I'd best move on and deal with it some other way.
I licked the few droplets that were still on my hand as I walked away. I had no idea what meds they were giving me, but it tasted like the ripest cherries, not the weird artificial cherry flavor of most medicines. I thought about trying to get more out of where it had splattered across my shirt, but I knew sucking on your shirt was not something normal humans do. To be fair, it isn't even something normal fae do. But I've never really claimed to be either.
Regardless, I was hungry, and that was a distraction from my predicament. I glanced up at the clock. Still an hour before lunch. I had a few stale cookies stashed in my room, but they didn't sound appealing right now. I wanted a burger. Something greasy and horrible for you, not like the weird mostly vegetarian stuff they served here, with occasional meat for garnish.
Instead of heading to my room, I stopped at the bulletin board to peruse the menu. I did this a lot. Whatever bland food they had planned for us never seemed to stick in my mind. Or to my ribs. My stomach not so much grumbled as yowled. Sloppy joes for lunch. Which meant lentils and what they told us was "textured vegetable protein," which I was pretty sure was not any of those three things in the true sense of their meanings.
At least there was chicken noodle soup on the menu for dinner, and that meant real bits of chicken. I looked at the clock again. Only six more hours until chicken.