Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Natasha's Quest by Blair Drake


Natasha's Quest
Finding Magic
Book Six
Blair Drake

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Magic Quest Books

Date of Publication: August 9, 2018

ASIN: B07DFV612Q

Number of pages: 221
Word Count: 77,350

Cover Artist: Jennifer Zemanek/Seedlings LLC

Tagline: What would you do to find your magic?

Book Description:

Tash Pruitt lands in 17th century Massachusetts with a mission which soon becomes clear to her: she has to save Goody Cooke from a charge of witchcraft and escape back to the present before she herself is charged as a witch.

Seventeenth-century Massachusetts, and charges of witchcraft fill the air. When Tash Pruitt is catapulted from the Grey Cliffs Academy into this strange colonial environment, she has no idea that she herself is a witch. All she knows is that she has to save the woman who has taken her in—an unmarried healer—from charges of witchcraft, and keep the woman’s ward safe. Soon enough, Tash realizes that another life she has to save is her own.



Excerpt:


Owww.
Tash lifted her
head and gazed around. She was propped up on her hands and knees like a baby
learning to crawl, planted in the middle of a dirt road. She had landed hard.
Her knee throbbed.
Where was she?
More dirt road
stretched ahead of her, rutted gray and brown. On one side of the road was a
field filled with weeds and wildflowers, bordered by dense forest. On the other
side was more forest—thick, towering pines, streaks of white birch, a crazy
tangle of undergrowth lining the road. She recognized ferns, ragged daisies,
and poison ivy sprouting through a carpet of rust-colored pine needles. She
might have the wind knocked out of her, but she knew enough not to mess with
poison ivy. A painful rash would spoil the soccer season, plus she wouldn’t be
able to get close to Kyle. Poison ivy was contagious, wasn’t it?
Why was she
wasting time worrying about poison ivy when she had no idea where she was or
how she got here? One minute she was standing in her dorm room, her backpack
slung over one shoulder and her phone in her other hand while she texted Kyle
about their plan to study for the calculus final together. The next minute
Headmistress Lalane was ordering Tash to put her phone away and herding her,
along with a bunch of other kids, first to Headmaster Auster’s office, where
they’d stood around, confused, while the office got darker and colder, and then
they’d been taken up to the roof. And the minute after that…
The minute after
that, Tash opened her eyes to find herself crawling down a dirt road, with
pebbles embedded in the palms of her hands and her right knee bruised and
bleeding.
This was really
weird.
She shifted to
sit, swinging her leg around carefully because it hurt. After plucking the grit
out of her hands, she flexed her fingers to make sure they still worked, then
checked her knee. The skirt of her uniform was dirty. The flesh around her
kneecap—her patella; she’d knocked
herself memorizing the proper names of the bones in the human skeleton in
honors biology last year—looked like a puffy pink sponge. The skin was scraped
raw. Trickles of blood skittered down her shin.
She groped for
her backpack and discovered it missing. Great. No tissues. More important, no
phone. No wallet. No money. No anything.
Where the hell was she?
What the hell happened?
She was in major
trouble. Leaving campus without permission was a serious breach. She’d probably
be dragged before the disciplinary board, and they’d contact her parents, and
God knew what would happen next. Loss of senior privileges? Expulsion just
weeks before graduation? Serious shit from Mom and Dad?
Would they go
light on the punishment if she explained she hadn’t done anything wrong? She
was minding her own business, texting back and forth with Kyle about studying
for the calc final, when Lalane poked her head through the open door to Tash’s
dorm room and ordered her to come. Tash obeyed. Surely the school would cut her
a little slack.
Especially since
she had no idea how she’d even gotten here—wherever here was.
Her dorm.
Auster’s office. The roof. She recalled the other kids—nine of them—murmuring
among themselves as Lalane hustled them up the stairs to the roof. She recalled
Lalane dropping something into the pocket of her blazer. She recalled the roof.
The air was chilly, the sky surprisingly dark, clouds as dark as soot
obliterating the morning sunlight.
She reached into
the pocket of her blazer and pulled out a pin. Round, sort of gold, it didn’t
look like much. Why had the headmistress stuck it in Tash’s pocket? Was Tash
supposed to pin it to her blazer?
She did now,
fastening it to a lapel. Who knew why Lalane gave her the pin? Some of the
students were kind of pals with the headmistress, but Tash always maintained
her distance from the administrators. She was a scholarship student. She didn’t
want to run the risk of antagonizing the folks in charge—or to seem like she
was kissing up to them.
She returned her
attention to her knee, using her thumb to wipe the rivulets of blood leaking
out of her torn skin. Now her thumb was bloody, too. Wonderful. She supposed
she could use the tail of her shirt to mop up the mess, but then her shirt
would be stained, and she’d get in trouble for that.
Above her, the
sky was a crisp, vivid blue marbled with rippling white clouds. One minute she
was breathing the aroma of the travel-mug of coffee she filled in the dining
hall during breakfast and brought back to her room, and the next she was
breathing a dry, piney fragrance. No hint of the musty scent hanging in the
corridors of the old school buildings, or the stale smell of the locker room
adjacent to the soccer field, or the ocean-tinged breezes drifting across
campus. Was she even still on the island? She’d never seen this field before,
or these woods.
She forced
herself to stand. Her knee ached, but her leg didn’t buckle. No broken bones,
she decided. Correction: no broken patella,
femurtibia, or fibula. If she
was going to do pre-med next year, a notion she was considering at the moment,
she ought to practice using the correct terminology.
She bent over
and tried to rub the blood from her sticky thumb on a patch of grass. That
didn’t work too well, but a little saliva helped, and she got most of the blood
off. Then she straightened up and started down the road. Maybe her backpack
dropped somewhere along the way. She’d be royally screwed if she couldn’t find
it. It contained not only her phone and wallet but a few textbooks. If she lost
them, she’d have to pay to replace them, and she wasn’t exactly rolling in
money.
Replacing her
textbooks would be cheap compared to replacing her phone. When her parents gave
it to her last Christmas, they went on and on about how much it cost, which
kind of spoiled the whole Christmas thing. You weren’t supposed to mention the
price of presents at Christmas. You weren’t supposed to make a person feel
guilty about the gift you were giving them. You were just supposed to give it
and say, “Merry Christmas.”
She hobbled
along, scanning left and right in search of her backpack. If it slid off her
shoulder somewhere in the field, she would spot it easily, but it could have
landed in the woods. She hoped she wouldn’t have to traipse through poison ivy
to retrieve it.
Like that was
going to happen. How could she think logically when this was so illogical? She
didn’t know where she was. She didn’t know how she’d gotten here. She didn’t
know why she was here.
She ought to be
scared—except she didn’t do scared. Scared was for wusses. Tash was the girl
who killed the spiders venturing into the third-floor bathroom in her dorm. She
was the girl who argued with Mr. Pritchard, the meanest history teacher in the
school, when he insisted on popping surprise quizzes or grading essays on a
curve. She was the girl who stood up to that bitch Susie Martland two years
ago, when she was picking on Mary Ann Leominster, who obviously had Asperger’s,
even if she wasn’t officially diagnosed. Mary Ann was hard-wired and weird,
everyone knew it, but that was no reason for Susie to give her a hard time.
Tash noticed a
movement in the woods. Not her backpack, which didn’t  move, at least not on its own. A shadow
weaving through the trees, meandering toward the clearing. An animal? A
dangerous beast? Not that Tash was afraid, but were there wolves on the island?
The shadow drew
closer, and Tash noticed a flutter of pale gray, and then a crescent of white.
She halted, which actually made her knee hurt a little more, and watched as the
figure moved through the forest toward the clearing.
It was a girl,
dressed in a shapeless gray dress with long sleeves and a full skirt falling to
her feet, which were shod in dusty black flat-heeled shoes. A sagging
drawstring bag hung from a belt around her waist, and a strange white cap fit
snugly over her head. Her hair was tucked up under it, but a few pale strands
leaked out and drizzled down around her round, open face. Freckles dappled her
tiny nose. Her mouth shaped a perfect O as she gaped at Tash.
Tash gaped back.
If this girl was a student at Gray Cliffs Academy,
Tash had never seen her before. It wasn’t as if she knew all the younger
students, but the school wasn’t that big. And if she ever heard about some
eccentric freshman who dressed like a stowaway on the Mayflower, she would
remember.
To her surprise,
the girl broke into a smile as she stepped into the clearing. “Greetings,
wayfarer!” she called to Tash.





About the Author:

Blair Drake believes in magic, especially the magic of stories with fantasy, adventures, romance, action, and surprises. She has loved writing and living in the stories of the Finding Magic series and is so excited to share the quests of the Gray Cliffs Academy students with her readers.

When she’s not writing about magic, she’s reading about it. Her influences are Cassandra Claire, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Garth Nix, and many more.

In the mortal plane, following the lure of magic has drawn Blair into strange and wonderful adventures from Australia to New York City, with many stops in between. She currently lives near Denver. Her very favorite spot is a red loveseat in her office, frequently shared with two cats, an outnumbered Dalmation, and occasionally her bewitched husband.

She might have gone to a school similar to Gray Cliffs Academy and would love to go through a magic portal. In the meantime, she’s creating her own in more books of magic.







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