"The characters grew on me more and more, page after page, layer revealed after layer. I had a lot of fun discovering how they were related to one another. I liked as well that they have or gain flaws that make it difficult to determine whether they are good or evil. " Janine, Goodreads
Sweet Desire, Wicked Fate (#1)
Discovering long lost relatives can be a real nightmare. Do you know who or what you're related to?
Jaden Lisette never imagined she might not live through the month to see her sixteenth birthday, or that befriending reclusive triplets and a mentally challenged man could be her only chance of survival. Days after coming to Louisiana, Jaden falls for the irresistible Briz Nolan. Then she falls into a living nightmare when she discovers a side of her family that she never knew existed. Once she uncovers her family's deadly secret, Jaden is forced into a world she could only imagine in horror movies. There's nowhere to run. To survive, she must kill.
Sweet Desire, Wicked Fate is the first book in a YA romance, fantasy, thriller trilogy that is filled with danger, humor, and the intoxicating passion of first love.
Crumpled on the ground, Jaden awoke to the sound of her cell phone ringing. She rolled onto her back and pulled the phone from her pocket. It slipped from her hand and was swallowed by the muck that immersed her. Her fingers probed through the slime but came up empty-handed.
She stood carefully, her head whirling. The setting sun had alerted the draguitoes that it was dinnertime, and they were determinedly finding their way to the parts of Jaden’s skin that weren’t smeared with mud. Leaning against the mass of tree roots, she waited until her slender legs could hold her up on their own. Fragmented images drifted through her mind. The storm. Breaking the ceramic jug. She looked down. It took a moment for her to register that all five containers had been broken open.
Slowly raising her head, Jaden shifted her focus to the battered house. There were voices mixed in with the discordant noise of insects. Had her mom sent someone to find her? Still groggy, she wobbled over to the back porch, climbed the rickety steps, and stood outside the kitchen doorway. The diminishing sunlight filtered through a hole where the roof had been. Her vision was blurry, her thoughts hazy. Her mother was always telling her she had an overactive imagination. But what the . . . I must have a concussion.
Jaden squinted, trying to comprehend what she was seeing. Four humanoid animals huddled around the tree’s broken branches. At least she thought they were animals. Their scrawny bodies, no larger than newborn babies, looked malnourished and sickly. Horns sprouted from their heads and faces, fangs protruded from their mouths, and their tattered clothes were covered in slime.
The bayou holds terrors that can devour her alive.
All sixteen-year-old Jaden Lisette wants to do is spend time with the sweet and sexy Briz Nolan. But falling in love may not be their fate. When a new, deadlier species of creatures is set loose, Jaden and Briz's chance of survival quickly becomes as murky as the bayou water surrounding them. As Jaden battles her new living nightmares, an old adversary returns, intent on revenge. This time, every last ounce of her strength and courage may not be enough to save the ones she loves...or herself.
Imagine Jade Gone is the second book in the YA romance thriller series Sweet Desire, Wicked Fate. If you like original fantasy creatures, dark suspense, and simmering chemistry, then you'll love Wray Ardan's captivating tale.
JADEN stood on the triplets’ porch, the large T-shirt that served as her nightshirt hanging loosely over her slim body as she leaned back against her boyfriend Briz’s chest. Surrounded by the early morning bayou, Jaden felt as if she’d been transported to another world. A peaceful world. A sane world.
Briz’s arms wrapped around her, comforting her. Reaching up, she placed a hand on his arm. She squeezed it gently, as if to confirm that he was real—and that she was alive. Waking this morning, after four days of drifting in and out of consciousness, she was still unsure of what was real and what was not.
ESERE felt a dense pressure pushing against his eyelids, forcing them to stay closed. Engulfed in darkness, gasping for air, he swallowed hunks of dirt. More filled his mouth as he attempted to spit it out. His heart pounded as he realized he’d been buried alive. He forced his fingers to move through the weight surrounding him and continued to dig. His hands finally broke free from the earth, and the damp air soaked into his leathery skin as he clawed his way out.
Crawling out of his shallow grave, he sat upon the fresh mound of dirt. His skin rippled over his bones as he shivered and stared into space.
“Where am I?” His throat was thick with particles of dirt. “How’d I get here?”
Had he upset Datura, and this was her way of punishing him?
“No. No…” He paused and spit out pieces of mud. “I remember bein’ with the others and torturin’ some man in a truck.”
He looked at the dirt on his hands and the remnants of roots that were sprouting from under his claws. He reached up and felt sprouts on the tips of his ears and on the horn on the top of his head. A smile filled his ashen-colored face as he considered what a truly unusual creature he was—that all the Mal Rous were. How clever the Professor had been, creating him with DNA from scorpion, Calabar bean, vulture and newt.
Esere and each of his four siblings had a unique blend of rodent, insect and poisonous plant DNA—and most importantly a tad of the Professor’s own DNA. The Professor had always believed the combination made the Mal Rous virtually indestructible.
Esere lay back in the hole and stared up at the sky, watching the clouds. Feeling the rain wash the dirt from his skin, he had the sensation of seed pods germinating in the core of his cells, pushing runners through his veins and the entire length of his twelve inch body—filling him with life.
When the sensation of movement in his veins diminished, he sat back up.
A secretion oozed from the tip of his chin horn. Slowly sliding his long tongue over his dry lips and extending it down toward his chin, he lapped up bitter drops of his scorpion venom.
When the precious nourishment dwindled, Esere’s tongue slithered back into his mouth like an eel into its den.
Esere looked out over the bayou as he removed hunks of dirt from his ears.
“I has been here before.” He coughed, clearing his throat. “I recall lookin’ out at this view with the Professor.” Swiveling his head from side to side, Esere took in his surroundings. “I must be near the Professor’s cave.” Esere called out with his weak voice, “Datura, Tig…Ivan, Anders…”
He waited for an answer. All he heard were insects chirring and buzzing.
His eyes moistened.
“I gotta find my family.”
About the author:
Wray Ardan lives on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with an artist, four cats, and a parrot. She is the winner of the Readers' Favorite 2015 Gold Medal for YA Horror for her novel Sweet Desire, Wicked Fate, and the 2017 Readers' Favorite Silver Medal for the second book in the series, Imagine Jade Gone. The stories were inspired by sculptures her partner in life and business, artist Steven Lee Smeltzer created. Currently she is working on book 3. With a desire to promote teens that are PONO, Hawaiian for "doing the right thing," she set up Dakine Teens+ at dakineteens.tumblr.com
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