Strong As Death by M.S. Kaye
Born From Death series, Book 1
young adult paranormal
novel, 80000 words
Release Date: 05/15/14
Cover Art by Winterheart Designs
Ilona runs from her sheltering mother in order to find the truth, why she’s seeing people who are invisible to everyone else. A mysterious boy named Archer guides her through Brooklyn and introduces her to Hendrick, the man who claims to be her father—though he died in 1890. Ilona must discover not only what she must do to rid the city of Soll, a sadistic and powerful spirit, but also what it means to be half ghost. She proves what her mother told her—love is stronger than death.
Ilona let go of the roof overhang and landed with a thunk on the pavement below.
She looked up at her bedroom window, half expecting to see her mother’s terrified face peering down at her. All she saw were her bedroom curtains and the reflection in the glass of the apartment building next door.
She started toward the mouth of the narrow alley. She had walked this way many times—but never alone. No one by her side, no one telling her to keep moving, not dawdle.
At the edge of the curb, she looked up and down the street. She felt like a sailor standing at the bow of a ship, possibilities all around, along with some uncertainty, and the tiniest flicker of fear. But she reminded herself the fear was just of the unknown. She breathed in and could almost smell sea air.
She glanced across the street to the other brick apartment buildings, contemplating walking along the other side. Maybe she could talk a little with the children who were playing on the sidewalk in their puffy coats.
Then she looked back at her bedroom window. Once her mother realized she was gone, she’d freak out—but Ilona was seventeen, almost an adult, perfectly capable of going for a walk by herself.
She turned back to the street in front of her and took a breath. She’ll be fine. She can handle twenty minutes of not knowing where I am.
A woman on the opposite sidewalk stepped backward onto the road. Someone in the deep shadows along the side of a building was talking to her, a low growling sound. Ilona could see only the faint outline of his features.
The woman took another step and stumbled over a pothole, never looking at her feet, only into the shadows.
“What are you doing?” Ilona called. Her voice came out in a puff of white.
The woman continued moving backward over the pavement. She held her hands out in front of her. “Please don’t,” she whispered.
Ilona stepped onto the road. “Hey.”
An engine revved as a yellow sports car turned the corner and sped up. The woman was in its path.
“Move,” Ilona yelled.
The woman only stared at the shadows.
The car didn’t slow.
Then Ilona was across the street, pushing the woman out of the way. The woman tripped over the curb and fell, palms on the sidewalk.
Pain shot through Ilona’s legs.
She flew through the cold air. The car had hit her. She couldn’t move or struggle or even scream. She was helpless, at the mercy of the wind. The buildings around her blurred, seemed to mix with other images, fuzzy outlines. She thought she saw a familiar face, a young man.
The scent of burning rubber mixed with engine fumes. Children were screaming. She swore she could see how their voices thickened the air. She could feel their fear, as if it was tangible, like a punch in the stomach.
Her body smacked into the pavement.
Pain stabbed her head, as if a spear had shot through it and was pinning her to the ground. She couldn’t move, couldn’t even open her eyes.
More screams, running footsteps.
“Just lie still,” a low rough voice said. “Just lie still.”