Guest Feature: K.C. Neal

I would like to welcome K.C. Neal onto the blog! You can read my review of her brilliant book, Pyxis: The Discovery, here as well as enter the giveaway to win an e-copy. And if you’re still not convinced, here’s an excerpt. I hope you will agree that this book is fantastic!

In Pyxis: The Discovery, main character Corinne and her friend Mason discover they’re having the same vivid nightmares, and they suspect the nightmares are more than just dreams. Their search for answers hasn’t yielded much, and in the following scene things take a scary turn. It seems their nightmares are becoming real, and their need for help is suddenly much more urgent.

It was a pretty small crowd at the cove, especially for a Saturday night that time of year. Mostly juniors and seniors were there, and a lot of the kids were drinking beer. That wasn’t really my scene, so after a few minutes of hovering around the bonfire with the guys, I drifted back to the path leading to the meadow. The smell of cold, moist soil, pine trees, and sweet grass was like a balm on my stressed brain, and I inhaled deeply a couple of times to soak it in.

When I bent to collect a few pinecones to toss into the fire later, I caught an electric blue flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked up at the sky just as a streak of green light billowed across the stars, followed by an orange glow that pulsed a couple of times before it disappeared.

“Nice,” I murmured, my head tilted back so I could take in the light show. A purple glimmer undulated just above the tree line, and I smiled. Purple was my lucky color, and I was two for two this year: two visits to the cove and two twilight rainbow sightings.

At the far edge of the meadow, I caught a faint white glow. It actually looked like a pulsating cloud of millions of tiny lights. I frowned. That was definitely not part of the twilight rainbow phenomenon. The cloud seemed to bulge out toward me, and my heart thumped uneasily. I blinked hard a couple of times.

Then I smelled it. The spoiled meat, burned rubber scent from my nightmares.

All the air whooshed out of my lungs, I stumbled back a couple of steps, the pinecones falling from my hands. This couldn’t be happening. I sniffed the air again, hoping it was just my imagination. But it was strong enough now to make my eyes water.

I turned to run back to the beach and nearly took Mason out, crashing hard into his chest.

“Oh my God, do you smell that?” The words tumbled from me, and my voice shook with panic. I grabbed his arm. “That’s how the fog smells in my dreams. I think it’s coming from over there.” I pointed to the pulsating glow across the meadow.

“Yeah, I smell it,” he said, looking past me to the meadow. He started guiding me back toward the bonfire. “I think it’s starting to dissipate. But we better get out of here.”

“What is it, Mason? How could that smell be here? What’s going on?” I was practically begging him to answer. My heart raced, and I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. Mason moved faster, towing me by the hand until we reached the edge of the tree line. He stopped just outside the circle of light created by the bonfire.

“Corinne, it’s okay,” he said, holding me firmly by the shoulders. I turned to look back toward the meadow, certain I would see a dirty black cloud billowing toward us. He pulled me around to face him again. “There’s nothing coming after us. We’re okay. Just take a couple of deep breaths.”

I nodded and obeyed. “How did you know to come? Did you smell it from the beach?” I asked once I felt a little calmer.

“No. I just got worried when I couldn’t find you after a while,” he said, but his eyes darted to the side, and I suspected there was something he wasn’t telling me.

“What’s happening, Mason?” I whispered.

“I don’t know. But I don’t think we’re in real danger.” I couldn’t help silently tacking yet onto the end of his statement.

“Okay, if you say so,” I said, not trying to hide the doubt in my voice. I looked back at the meadow. The cloud of pinpoint lights was brighter than before, but it no longer appeared to be bulging toward me. The air smelled fresh again, and my pulse began to slow. I closed my eyes and pressed my fingertips to my eyelids. “God, I feel like I’m losing it.”

We rejoined the group around the bonfire, and Mason didn’t leave my side the rest of the night.

I love to connect with people online, and in particular through Twitter. Please follow me (@KCNealTweets) and tweet at me! To celebrate the launch of Pyxis, I’m doing a Kindle giveaway through the first week of December, so please go to my blog (kcneal.blogspot.com) and enter the giveaway and spread the word. And last, of course I hope you will check out Pyxis – it’s only $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Here are all the places to connect with me around the web:

My blog | Twitter (@KCNealTweets) | Facebook | Goodreads | Google+

Thanks so much for having me on the blog, Hannah!