Last week we announced that E.M. Marz’s YA Horror Story The Stone Theory: Tales of an Accidental Demon Hunter is our Kids Corner Book of the Week and the sponsor of our student reviews and of thousands of great bargains in the Kids Book category:
Now we’re back to offer a free Kids Corner excerpt, and if you aren’t among those who have downloaded this one already, you’re in for a treat!
One family’s darkest secret. One devastating choice. One chance to save us all.
A thrilling adventure that will appeal to fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, THE STONE THEORY is about the daughter of the last American demon hunter who is prematurely promoted to the head of the family business when her father goes missing on the anniversary of her brother’s kidnapping. With only backstabbing frenemies and untested magical gemstones at her side, 13 year-old Lucy Stone sets out on an action-packed race to hell and back to save her family and destroy the Dark Ones before it is too late.
Before the day is over, two broken, bloodied bodies will lie at her feet. One is the father she adores. The other is the brother she never knew. In her hands, Lucy holds the serum that could heal them. There is only enough for one.
Find out what happens when the prophecy is wrong
5-Star Reviews From Amazon Readers:
“I enjoyed this adventure and passed it on to both my kids and they loved it. i look forward to reading the next book in this series.”
And here, for your reading pleasure, is our free excerpt:
I unlock the front door, slowly push it fully open, and peer inside. The house is completely still with no signs of motion, sound or life. Just before my fear can take me to the paralyzing bad place of no return, the sound of rustling papers and bags comes from the bedrooms. Oh, he’s still upstairs packing, I think to myself.
“Dad?” I call up from the bottom of the staircase. No answer, but the rustling sound continues, growing more and more frenetic with each passing second. Max whimpers at my heels.
“I will not lose you.” Dad’s words scream in my head giving me the strength to move forward. Clasping the bloodstone in one hand and the crooked wood banister in the other, I go up stairs to get him.
“Dad?” I call out again. The response is deafening silence. No more rustling. Instead, the only sound is the floor creaking underneath my boots.
The usually short hallway leading to Dad’s room seems to elongate with every step. I tell myself to ignore the tricks my mind is playing on me. The doorway continues to move further and further away, so I start to run.
The faster I run, the faster the hallway grows. The vertically striped wallpaper leftover from the 1980s becomes more and more dizzying. Still, I never seem to get any closer. After sprinting what feels like at least a mile, I am completely out of breath.
I stop and bend over, placing my hands on my knees for a second. I think back and try to remember the diary. C’mon! Think! My head shouts trying to dispel the fear clouding my thoughts. I can visualize only bits and pieces of text and conversations with Peter. One word becomes a constant theme in my recollections. Illusion.
There was something about the Dark Ones using illusion to disorient or trick their prey. I can’t recall all the particulars, but remember that there is a gemstone that reveals the truth when set in the monocle. Of course, Peter, who is conveniently not here, has the monocle and Lord knows where the stone is now.
This isn’t real, I tell myself. Summoning all my strength, “You hear me!” I shout lifting my face to the sky. “This isn’t real!” I scream standing back upright.
The hallway instantly shrinks back to its original size placing me at the threshold of Dad’s room. The door is slightly ajar.
“Dad?” My now shaky voice loudly whispers through the cracked door. I gently push door open with right arm and step inside.
The sliding closet door has been pulled off the track and sits leaned against the wall. Dad’s dresser drawers are all open with clothes tugged partially out hanging off the sides. On the bed sits an open suitcase partially filled with an unorganized lump of clothing and a single boot. This was the first welcoming sight all day. I began to breathe easy again.
In another house, this would present an alarming scene, maybe even evidence that an intruder has ransacked the place. But in our house, it signaled to me all was well. Here, housekeeping regularly took a back seat to Dad’s pre-occupation with hunting demons and my obsession with finding my brother.
“Dad?” I call again a bit louder. The only response is a cold rush of wind flying out from the master bath sending a stack of papers flying. It is much stronger than at Peter’s house and pushes me off balance. Oh no.
The wind throws my hair all over. I am temporarily blinded by the strands hanging over my eyes. The now familiar, overwhelming stench of rot fills the air. I don’t have to see to know they are here. Standing at my side, Max barks frantically.
I tuck straggling pieces of hair behind my ear just in time to see the shapeless dark shadow emerge from the bathroom. It quickly grows expanding from the floor to the nine foot ceiling above us. Two dark arms emerge reaching down towards me. It has no legs yet continues to move towards me, as if floating just above floor. With a wave of its arm, the bedroom door slams shut.
I leap the two steps back to the door and frantically pull at it. It doesn’t budge.
“C’mon open!” I continue to pull at the door until the rancid breath on the back of my neck begins to envelope me. It makes the smell of the decaying rats in the boiler room seem as pleasant as the latest pop star’s department store fragrance. I have no choice but to turn and face my enemy.
I pivot around on the heel of my boot where my eyes meet the Dark One waiting for me. It is much larger than the ones at Peter’s.
When I try to scream, nothing comes out. I guess it doesn’t matter because it’s not like anyone would hear me. The thought of being completely alone with this thing leaves me paralyzed with fear for the second time in one day. The only thing still moving is my heart which is beating so fast and loud I expect it to pop through my chest any second.
A long face begins to form in the shadow. A nose protrudes, followed by a pointy chin. Hollow eye sockets take shape. Its arms move fluidly reaching toward my neck. As its hands close in on me, long, bony like fingers form and extend towards me. Razor sharp nails lengthen out inches beyond the fingertips towards my neck. A mouth forms and screams “mine” in a voice that sounds like a band of screeching dying animals in the throes of agonizing pain.
It turns out that I’m not the Stone the Dark Ones are after. Like everybody else today, they want the bloodstone.
A wave of relief washes over me empowering my first move that, unsurprisingly under the circumstances, is one of retreat. Without taking my eyes off of the thing in front of me, I stumble backward into the dresser knocking over a lamp which crashes to the floor.
I continue to slowly edge backward towards the farthest corner in the room, not noticing the sound of glass crunching under my feet.
The Dark One mirrors my every move breathing its foul stench over me every inch of the way. Its hands constantly hover just above my neck. It has grown even taller, forced to hunch over to fit under the high ceiling, bringing its face closer to mine. It reaches for me again just missing my throat.
Max leaps, coming between me and the beast. The thing swats Max away like a fly. Max’s body flies into the dresser and slams whimpering onto the ground. The thing raises its head to the ceiling and bellows out a roar.
“Max!” I move towards his limp body lying on the floor but the monster lunges in front of me cutting me off from him. The demon resumes its original path, creeping slowly towards me.
Once backed into in the corner, there is nowhere else to go. I am tempted to take off the necklace and throw it to get one last chance to escape. As if it can read my mind, we both simultaneously reach towards the jewel.
My right hand meets it first. I look up into its eyes to see the pulsating reflection of my hand on the amulet. For a second, the shadow’s eyes change from a lifeless gray to the same bright sapphire color as mine. Not just mine though, like Mikey’s and Dad’s.
Why emit just an illusion when it can rip out my heart? Maybe it can’t. Time to test the theory. I angrily rip off the necklace and plunge the bloodstone into the mid-section of the shadow.
The Dark One howls like a tortured animal while a bright red color bleeds out from its eye sockets. Sparks materialize where my hand has disappeared into the demon. An electric shock hurls me backwards into the corner, bloodstone still in hand.
The howling shadow pulls away for a second before jutting its face back towards me. Its nose nearly touches mine. The shadow lets out one last scream, jerks backward toward the bathroom shriveling and shrinking in size, before melting away into the wall.
Max lies silent. His eyes stay closed. Using what little strength is left, I pull myself towards him sliding on the glass covered floor, ignoring the tiny shards slicing into my hands and forearms. Reaching Max, I rest my head on the floor next to his. Lying on my side, I lift my hand place it on the slowing, weak beat of his heart.
“C’mon boy,” I whisper closing my mouth on a lone salty tear. “Don’t leave me now.”
“Lucy? Max?” I hear Aunt Lil’s voice yell from somewhere afar. I feel like I am falling. Then there is nothing but darkness.