Sixteen-year-old Jack Ironwood knew exactly what he wanted. Until he got it.Jack was content to stay unnoticed by pretty and popular track-star, Natalie Segetich, until he overhears her claim that something took her friend Emma. As a soulshifter who can cross into the underworld, Jack knows the human-stealing Enuuki—hell’s messengers—are real and that a successful rescue mission would secure a future otherwise out of his reach. Working together, Jack and Natalie devise a plan to outwit the ruler of the underworld. Then on the eve of the quest, as Jack stands on the verge of seeing his dreams come true, he realizes he’s no longer sure what he wants. But it’s too late to back out. Pursued by the dark lord’s henchmen and ghastly mutant creatures, Jack and Natalie struggle to come out ahead in a battle and barter for souls. In the end, Jack will have to decide his own fate, because nothing short of a deal with the devil will get all three of them out of hell alive.
After years in the corporate world, Barbara found herself with a second chance to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her lifetime love of books and the written word returned one answer: writer. Drawing from her experience with technical writing, she began by writing non-fiction magazine pieces and achieved both regional and national publication. Her success encouraged her to complete a novel. She learned much from her first manuscript, critiques, books, contests, and blogs. In 2012, her novel Thunderstone, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and won a critique by Publisher’s Weekly. A few months later, she was offered publication by Scribe Publishing Company.
Barbara has a few other novels in the works, including a Thunderstone sequel. If she’s not reading or writing, Barbara likes to walk, garden, and sew. She works in a library and lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with her husband, daughter, and their cat – who often acts like a dog.
Jack’s brain worked to comprehend how the hero Pryderi could have such a techno-sounding theme song. Eventually the wrongness brought him to consciousness. He’d been dreaming as his phone rang. Grabbing it from the night stand, Jack answered without bothering to see who it was, so as not to wake his little brother. “Lo.” He flopped onto his pillow with the phone on his ear.
He heard only a tentative whisper. “Jack?” He pulled the phone from his ear to read the display. “Natalie?”
“Oh God, Jack, I’m so scared.”
Jack sat up, fully awake. “What? Why?”
“Red eyes.” She sucked in a jerky breath.
“Where?” Jack’s heart thumped in his chest. Blindly, he searched for his jeans with his free hand.
“At my window. What do I do?”
“Turn on every light in your room. Right now.” Jack found his jeans, but didn’t put them on. What was he going to do? Rush over there? He’d only expose himself to the hellcats or whatever else might be out there.
“Okay. They’re on.”
“Downstairs, too. And especially the outside lights.”
“Is it one of those evil cats—hellcats?”
“Could be. I assume all your windows have screens? If that’s what’s out there, they can’t enter unless there’s an opening. And they’re made of darkness; they can’t exist in the light.”
Natalie laughed, but her voice shook. “My dad is going to kill me for having all these lights on.”
“Tell him you had a nightmare.”
“This is a nightmare.”
Jack chuckled softly. “True.” His smiled faded though, as he realized what the visit meant: the god of the underworld now knew about Natalie.