Authors: A.M. Hargrove
Tags: #Teen Paranormal
Survival: The Guardians Of Vesturon Book 1
Published by A.M. Hargrove at Smashwords
Copyright © 2012 A.M. Hargrove
All Rights Reserved
No part of the book may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database retrieval system without the prior written permission of the Author. You must not circulate this book in any format. Thank you for respecting the rights of the Author.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the Author’s overactive imagination. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
“This book was so full of emotion. I laughed, I cried (yep, really did), and then laughed some more!
The characters were well thought out, each with their own personality and each easily identified, which was important in the last chapters where we get different points of view all thrown in together. Surprisingly, the author did a terrific job with that, and it was not confusing at all. You always knew who was speaking all the time; that’s sometimes difficult to do.”
“Oh how did I like this book, let me count the ways. Well, first off it had a sci-fi element, but Rayn and his brothers are *swoon-worthy*. Then Maddie had me in tears with her antics towards the end of the book. I kept dying laughing.
I loved this writer’s style and it’s hard to write three different POVs. But I was enthusiastically reading this book. I wanted to pick it up when I had to put it down to do other things.”
“I was quite surprised on how much I enjoyed this book; it held my interest so much that I couldn’t stop reading. I liked the fact that this book had a different twist...instead of vampires or werewolves, I was introduced to beings from another world. There were sad parts where I had to find my Kleenex and wipe my tears and there were parts when I laughed out loud. I like it when an author can make you feel actual emotions.”
“Hargrove does an excellent job weaving such a masterful mystery while giving us a little taste of romance with just enough laughs out loud and heart wrenching moments to keep the pages turning.”
For more reviews, please go to
I’d like to thank my husband, Henry, for all of his encouragement on my journey of becoming a writer. Without him I never would have taken those first daunting steps into this new world.
I would also like to acknowledge my daughter, McIntyre, and her friend, Mary Scott Bennett, for lending me their personalities (minus the clumsiness) on which I based the development of Maddie. A big thanks to my son, T.A.C., for his love, friendship, and shared cooking interests.
I would also like to thank my friend, Karen Sims, for having to endure reading my first and extremely rough drafts of both
and its sequel.
A huge thanks goes to my dear friend, Kathie Bennett, who provided me with great encouragement to move forward with this project as well as an in-depth knowledge of the world of publishing.
And finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a huge thanks to Jennifer Nunez, my faithful editor, who keeps me in line with all the details of the Guardians, and everything associated with them, not to mention her diligence of grammatical issues and other editorial duties. Thanks Jenn for keeping me in line!
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The Guardians of Vesturon
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Maddie slowly cracked opened her eyes to see the brilliance of the morning peeking through her tent. Squinting, she poked her nose out of her sleeping bag to test the temperature, and just as she imagined, the frost in the air nipped at her. She knew she would have to get up soon to use the facilities, if you could call the outhouse that, and to make her breakfast as well as break down her campsite.
She was so warm and cozy though, the thought of moving didn’t appeal to her in the least. It was Christmas morning, however, and she wanted to spend the day roaming the Smoky Mountains, enjoying the scenery. She knew that if she delayed too long, she would have limited time since it would get dark so early this time of year.
She quickly unzipped her toasty sleeping bag, slipped her boots on, threw on a jacket, and unzipped the door to her tent. When she got her first glimpse of the morning, her jaw hit the ground, and she sucked in her breath. She was standing in a winter wonderland, complete with a three inch blanket of snow. She broke out in childlike laughter and jumped around like someone had just handed her a million bucks. She ran around in a circle and then suddenly let herself plop backwards in the snow. She flapped her arms and legs wildly and then stood up to admire her handiwork. Out of her pocket came her camera, and she started to snap photos of the awesome snow angel she had just created.
Maddie was in heaven! This was the first time in her life she had ever awakened to a white Christmas, and she was going to milk this one for all it was worth. This was absolutely the best present she had ever received, and today was the first day since…well, she wasn’t going to let herself think of that. She simply felt sheer, unadulterated, uncomplicated happiness.
After taking care of her outhouse business, she headed back to her tent to make breakfast with some hot cocoa, and sat down to enjoy the view. She was still shocked at her luck. Snow hadn’t been in the forecast, so this was the greatest surprise ever!
In a flash, she had everything packed up, and she was ready to head out of camp. She had spent the night up at Mount LeConte and was now going to head over to the Appalachian Trail. Her next stop would be the shelter at Peck’s Corner.
When she was all geared up, she headed for the trailhead, yet quickly, she realized that she may have some difficulty. The snow had completely covered everything, including the trail, and it might be a bit tricky staying on track. She worried about this until she noticed a single set of footprints that started right at the trailhead and led her in the right direction...down the Boulevard Trail. It was as if her guardian angel had been there and created it just for her. She paused to consider it for a moment, but then, she quickly moved on as she had a lot of ground to cover today and didn’t know the condition of the trails ahead. She said a quick thanks to her “trail guide” and headed down.
As usual, while she hiked, her mind wandered and started drifting in the direction of her parents. She could do that these days without getting weepy about it; college and her roommates had played a large part in that. It was Christmas though, and she felt she was entitled to think about her parents. That’s how she spent most of that day, until she passed the stranger coming toward her. Maddie’s first cause for alarm came when she laid eyes on him, but she never expected how that chance meeting would alter her destiny forever.
I was running down the soccer field toward the goal, preparing to receive a pass from the center forward when my eyes abruptly flew open. My dream had been interrupted by the first hints of cinnamon as it wafted into my room. I threw off the covers, bolted out of bed, and took the stairs two at a time as I headed toward the kitchen. I came to a screeching halt when I saw my mother standing there staring at her watch.
“Well?” I asked.
“Two minutes and ten seconds,” she replied. “I believe that’s a record.”
She was referring to the amount of time it took me to awaken from a dream-filled sleep and get to the kitchen after she had pulled the tray of her yummy homemade cinnamon rolls out of the oven. Just the thought of those deliciously gooey, sweet concoctions made my mouth water, but the scrumptious smell was a knock-your-socks-off aroma that always left me weak in the knees. My mother made the best cinnamon rolls known to man. Whenever I recollect them, I can still taste and feel their sweet melting texture in my mouth.
I shook my head as I pulled myself back to the present and away from one of my favorite memories. I stared at the imposing structure before me--my new home. I was moving into my college dorm at Western Carolina University, located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. My palms grew sweaty as my trepidation mounted, along with my excitement. My roommates should be here any minute so I threw a bag over my shoulder and stuffed a box under my arm. I joined countless other students trudging in and out with various items in tow, including futons, TVs, and other strange things that made me wonder where they would stow them all.
Thankfully, the dorm was one of the new ones on campus. When I entered the building, I was greeted with all kinds of flyers and posters stuck everywhere, announcing one type function or another. Party bulletins were posted on every available piece of wall space, making the halls look like hodge podge decor created by someone with a severe case of ADD. It was mind boggling at first to even contemplate all the activities that would be taking place here. When I walked up to the door of our suite, all of our names were listed in alphabetical order: C. Kittredge, C. Newman, M. Pearce and J. St. Davis. I was “M. Pearce,” short for Madeline Mariah Pearce, and I could officially call myself a bonafide college student!
I felt a huge grin spread across my face. I just stood there and stared, until I heard someone say, “Well, are you going to stand there all day like a roadblock, or are you going to walk through that door?”
I spun around and looked…down…to see an itty bitty, blonde girl with a big grin and eyes that sparkled.
She interrupted me, “Catherine Newman…but you can call me Cat, and I hope to heaven you’re Maddie,” she said as she held out her arms and pulled me into hug that nearly squished the air out of me. That tiny thing was strong!
“Yes, lucky for you, I’m Maddie. Madeline Mariah Pearce that is, from the lovely Spartanburg, located in the magnificent upstate of South Carolina, where the air is pure and the sky is blue and the magnolias are…” I said in an exaggerated Southern accent before she interrupted me.
By this time, she was guffawing, yelling, “Stop! I can’t take any more.”
Cat and I hit it off fabulously. She was half my size. Well, maybe not half, but it felt that way. She stood all of five feet (she was probably closer to four feet ten inches, but she swore she was taller than that), had steel grey eyes and a head full of curly blonde hair, which appeared to be as unruly and uncooperative as mine. It went everywhere, but it suited her perfectly.
Cat was full of life. There was just no other way to describe her. From the first moment I met her, I knew we’d be the best of friends. She was my soul sister, and we were so much alike it was uncanny. Like me, she was constantly in a rush, and she always looked like she had just survived a hurricane. When Catherine made up her mind about something, well, that was it. She was as hardheaded as a cinder block, exactly like me, in that regard. And funny! Good grief, that girl could make me laugh until my sides were killing me.
She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina, so it was easy to find one thing we both loved and that was hiking. She had spent two weeks over the summer hiking the Appalachian Trail and was hooked.
Moments later, two adults appeared, which I correctly assumed were her parents. We quickly introduced ourselves and then the question I had so been dreading was popped.
“So Maddie, are your parents here?”
I felt my head swim a bit as I was thrust into another disturbing flashback.
* * * * *
It was still difficult, after all these years, to think of the day when the doorbell rang, and the police were in the foyer explaining to my dad and I about “the accident.” That’s how we came to label it. It wasn’t her “untimely death” or “the day she left us” or even “the day she died.” It was simply “the accident.”
We were home doing the usual things late one Saturday morning, when a police car pulled into the driveway. I dashed to the window to look out, because in our neighborhood, it was a rare occurrence to see a police car, much less one in your driveway.