Welcome to my stop on the Hidden tour! Click HERE to view the tour schedule!
Tour Hosted by: Xpresso Book Tours
Hidden by M. Lathan
Series: Hidden, #1
Publication date: November, 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal
Sixteen-year-old Leah Grant has given up on being normal. She’d settle for stopping the voices in her head, intrusive visions of the future, and better odds of making it to her seventeenth birthday.
That’s the thing about pretending to be human in a world where magic used to exist – at any moment, her cover could be blown and she’ll be burned to death like the rest of the witches.
Everything changes when she loses control of her powers and flees the orphanage she grew up in. She desperately wants to be invisible but finds her face plastered on every news channel as humans panic over the possible resurgence of her kind. And now the hunters won’t give up until they find her.
Making friends for the first time in her life and falling in love with one of them drives her to discover why she is unlike any being she’s ever met – human or otherwise. The dangerous powers inside of her that would repel Nathan, her new, handsome reason for living, are priceless to some. The locked up forever kind of priceless. And to others, they are too dangerous to allow her to live.
Let’s hope she can stay hidden.
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We waited in the courtyard for Sister Phyllis to creep out of the building. Most of the nuns were old, but she wasn’t. Her limp was from an injury from the dark days. Something like me hurt her, but she survived.
“Nothing to worry about girls,” she yelled over the horns. “A little steam-” The alarm shut off. “A little steam from someone’s shower,” she continued, softer. “Procedure dictates a roll call, so don’t leave until you respond to your name.”
When Sister Phyllis called my name, I raised my hand so I didn’t have to speak.
I had two plausible exit options: wade through the crowd or cross Sienna and her flock by going on the outside of the group. The third option, go straight to my room from where I stood, would have Lydia Shaw here in no time. I chose option two. Crossing in front of five girls had to be better than shuffling through fifty.
They stood in front of one of the hairy trees behind the crowd. Wet grass and mud slushed under my feet as I approached them.
“Boo!” Sienna yelled, well aware of how easily I startled.
My hand flew to my chest, and my foot caught on a root, sending me barreling to the muddy ground. I waited for the laughter, prayed for it, so I’d know something odd hadn’t happened like one of the hairy branches falling on their heads. Sienna cackled first, then the rest of the crowd. Thank God.
I stood, covered in mud, my right knee stinging, and gasped when I saw my leg. Blood seeped through my pajama pants, right through the rip the raised root made. Not just blood. Magical blood. Blood, that under fire, according to legend, would cast a different color than the typical orange. Back when the world was crawling with us, it was how to tell if a creature was lying about being human. One drop of their blood over a flame. Since witch was the most plausible explanation of my powers, my blood would send purple smoke into the air. One flick of a match and my life was over.
It was far fetched. I knew that. Who here would think to test the Spaz’s blood? But I couldn’t stop the panic in my chest. Or it from rumbling in my stomach. Or it from raising turkey and oranges to my throat. I ran with one hand covering my knee, the other over my mouth. Fast. Spastic.
“Seriously, she makes this too easy,” Sienna shouted, loud enough that I heard her over the laughter.
My stomach twisted again, and I jetted through the doors just in time to make it to the bathroom on the first floor. Then it came up. The puke and the tears. And the blood from my knee smeared on the tile beneath me.
I cleared the floor of my curse, the evil that would cause my death if anyone ever held a flame to it. I tore a line of tissue from the roll and dried my face, furious with myself for crying. I would never live this moment down. Sienna and Whitney and all those who seek to impress them would keep this memory alive for the rest of our time here.
Death. That was what being here was. Why did I fear Lydia Shaw catching me if I was already dead? Why did I care so much about living? I leaned my head against the toilet, rocking myself, trying to erase the notion of not existing. Thoughts like that, hopeless, dark thoughts directed at myself, felt like drinking acid. A burning, bitter feeling that I couldn’t hang on to for long.
Sister Phyllis knocked on the open door of the stall. “Leah, are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes, Sister.” She took my word for it and left me alone like every authority figure here did. I guessed as long as I was okay, they didn’t have to do anything about how I was treated here. And I was treated no better than the vomit swirling around the flushing toilet.
And I supposed I deserved that. But they didn’t know why. They didn’t have a reason. They saw some helpless, quiet girl. Someone who would never speak up, even when they encouraged her to kill herself. Innocent. Defenseless.
But I wasn’t. Nothing in me was good. Our library had pictures of things like me with horns protruding from their heads. That’s what I was, and every part of me wanted to own it and punish them now. Burned to.
I shuddered as that thought possessed me, enraged me. My heart crashed in my chest. I couldn’t hear the toilet anymore, and the bathroom walls blurred. I was no longer in control. God couldn’t help me now. Or them.
I opened my hand and allowed the fire to form there, hovering over my palm, not burning me at all. Their skin wouldn’t be so lucky. I made it shrink in my hand, hiding it until the right moment. That way they wouldn’t have time to run.
I stalked into the hall, knowing that with my distraction and her limp, Sister Phyllis hadn’t made it to the M names. Sienna Martin would still be out there. So would Whitney Nguyen.
The part of me that wanted to be good, that had fought and strained for years against this rage, stalled my feet at the door for a moment. Long enough to notice the hairs standing on my arm. Then I saw her, laughing and enjoying a soul she didn’t deserve. I couldn’t hear the sound, that shrill cackle that had nagged my ears for years, but I did hear the growl rip from my throat…