Rain Falling on Embers
(Katie McCabe, #1)
Publication date: October 3rd 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Middle-Grade, Young Adult
How do you survive the worst thing that can ever happen?
When thirteen-year-old Katie McCabe’ s dad gets sick and is hospitalized, she’ s sent to live with her uncle in a strange town. But within days of arriving, her dad unexpectedly dies.
Struggling with her new reality, Katie is lost. She doesn’t fit in at her new home and never will.
It only gets worse when Katie starts her freshman year of high school and begins to have run-ins with the son of the man who owns the town— a powerful man with ties to her family’ s past.
Then one day, she is attacked from behind. Blindfolded and slung across the back of a horse, Katie is taken up into the hills. Dumped in the middle of the wilderness in an oncoming storm, she is left to find her way home. But how will she survive?
A streak of lightning shot through the sky and brightened the area like a spotlight. And I saw it. A dark break in the stone formation. Praying it was big enough, I hurried forward.
A thunderclap shook the ground, and I stumbled but managed not to fall. Before I reached the crack, the skies opened, and rain poured down. I ran toward the entrance.
The opening wasn’t big enough. With gritted teeth, I beat a fist against the rock wall, then turned to look for somewhere else. What am I gonna do now? Slumping against the formation, I slid down, holding back tears.
From this angle, the crack appeared wider. Maybe I could get through it sideways. The wind whipped up and sent a shiver through me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Please let this work. Wishing I had a flashlight, I wriggled through the entrance.
Phew. Nothing inside but a small cave. No wild animals ready to attack. I sagged against the wall. It took my eyes a few moments to adjust to the dim light coming through the crack. I couldn’t see how far the cave went, and without light, exploring was out.
The rain pelted the ground outside my shelter and the wind gusts grew stronger. Through the crack, I watched as drops were blown nearly sideways. Puddles quickly formed, but fortunately my hideout had enough of an uphill slope that the water flowed away from it.
The wind changed direction and blew in through the entrance. I moved away, chilled to the bone. A violent shudder wracked my body. My fingers were frozen, and my toes felt like little ice cubes stuffed inside my sneakers. My teeth chattered.
I folded my arms and tucked my balled fists into my armpits, hoping they’d thaw. Peering through the dim light, I looked for anything that might help me keep warm. Leaves and pine needles were strewn against the walls. They might be good tinder for a fire, but without matches, a flint kit, or sunlight, getting one started might be difficult. But I had to try.
I scooped dead leaves and pine needles into a big pile. Anything outside would be too wet. Besides, I wasn’t going to poke my nose outside until the storm stopped.
I shuffled a little farther inside, kicking a rock. It skittered across the stone floor and ricocheted against the wall. I picked it up, tossed it in the air, and caught it as an idea formed. If the rock was hard enough, I might get it to spark. Now to find another stone to bang it against.
While searching for something bigger than the pebbles lining the walls, I found a few sticks that might have promise if the rocks failed. Intent on finding a good-sized stone, I moved farther into the cave.
An eerie wail caused my heart to jump into my throat. Darkness shrouded me and the hairs on my arms rose. I turned back toward the entrance and my shoulders sagged. The light coming through the cave’s mouth was nothing but a dark gray ghost wavering in the distance.
Liana Gardner is a Bram Stoker Awards Nominee and the multi-award-winning author of 7th Grade Revolution, The Journal of Angela Ashby, and Speak No Evil. The daughter of a rocket scientist and an artist, Liana combines the traits of both into a quirky yet pragmatic writer and in everything sees the story lurking beneath the surface.
Liana volunteers with high school students through EXP which prepares students for a better life by helping young people gain experience, unlock doors, and build the confidence they need to succeed by bringing industry and schools together to build tomorrow’s workforce and provide career opportunities to students from under-served communities.
Engaged in a battle against leukemia and lymphoma, Liana spends much of her time at home, but her imagination takes her wherever she wants to go. Most recently she was titled Lady of Lochaber and Glencoe and was honored with a star named after her in the Andromeda Constellation.
Liana is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
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