by L.J. Leger
Available on Amazon
Fairy tales and haunted woods lead us through L.J. Leger's Beauty and the Beast story of one girl with the weight of a village on her shoulders and the attention of a very unlikely soul.
Jenna is chosen for the coveted task of gathering the magical fruit to preserve the peaceful balance of the secret valley where she and many others live. During the harvest, one fruit is damaged and the task of healing the bruise falls on Jenna’s shoulders. She must enter the Wraith’s Forest, retrieve a magical blade from the specter who lives there so the valley will remain a utopia. But once she makes contact with the Wraith, her fear slowly disappears and her curiosity is aroused with more questions of why the Wraith is in the Forest and the true purpose for the harvest. If you love Beauty and Beast type fairy tales, Wraith’s Forest is the book to read. Perfect for Young Adults!
Jenna came to a thicket of dense branches. She stumbled along the edge for a while, then pulled her dress hem from the back to the front and tucked it through her belt to make a pair of pants. She dropped to her hands and knees, hoping to find a way to the other side. The branches curved up from the base of the tall bushes. She slid between two of them, ignoring the overpowering scent of earth and decayed leaves. Too soon, the Wraith might stir her own scent with them, burying her forever. Struggling to forget that thought, she squirmed ahead. After several more feet, she broke free.
The fresh, clear air refreshed her. Her chest labored for each breath. Odors of rich earth still filled her nostrils. She scrubbed a grimy hand over her face. Dirt turned to mud where the cold sweat coated her cheeks. She suppressed a hopeless sob. Sitting on the damp ground, she flipped her dress hem up and tried to wipe some of the grim away. Several spots stung from tiny scratches.
"I will not cry. I will be strong," she whispered, hoping the sound of her voice might bring a measure of calmness to her. She glanced around.
The forest had brightened. The moon had risen, casting light through the towering canopy. Off to one side, ahead of her, the trees thinned. She shoved up from the ground and lurched along in that direction until she came to a small clearing.
No more than thirty feet across, the clearing's leaf-layered ground held several fallen limbs and a large, high-back chair. The chair, in itself, should have caused the chill bumps to cover Jenna's skin, but it didn't. Her gaze snagged and remained riveted on a tall, dark figure standing in the center of the open space. With her legs threatening to collapse, Jenna eased down beside the nearest tree without taking her gaze off the creature.
Moon beams lit on the form clothed in tattered black robes. Random sparkles sprang forth as the light touched the material. His face, hidden within the hood, tilted back toward the night sky. A gloved hand lifted and reached, his fingers moving slightly, to the stars above.
Sorrow radiated from the creature, almost tangible in its strength. A sharp pang pierced her chest, and tears threatened once more. Sympathy dissolved her fear in minute degrees. She felt a strange kinship to the Wraith. Today she had departed her home, thrilled for the end of her enforced labor, and now she hid not far away from the forest's spectra. Both of them were alone, denied family and home. Her life stretched before her as a dark empty void, much like his existence. She wanted more than that, wanted to refill the emptiness with love. Instinctively, the desire to comfort him leaped into her mind, demanding she go to him.
She stood and lifted one foot to step into the clearing. In the span of a second, the Wraith stood before her, pressing her against a tree. All thoughts of compassion fled under his assault. Her heart skipped a beat then accelerated. Fear returned in full force, sucking the very air from her lungs.