M. Lathan lives in San Antonio with her husband and mini-schnauzer. She enjoys writing and has a B.S. in Psych and a Masters in Counseling. Her passion is a blend of her two interests – creating new worlds and stocking them with crazy people. She enjoys reading anything with interesting characters and writing in front of a window while asking rhetorical questions … like her idol Carrie Bradshaw.
Title: Hidden (Hidden Series Book One)
Author: M. Lathan
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.
Book Excerpts: Hidden Book One:
Sienna snatched last week’s Chemistry test from my desk. I hadn’t turned it over. I knew it was a D minus.
She cackled and passed it around.
“Leah, you would think someone who spends most of her time alone would have better grades,” she said. Her birds laughed on cue. “What do you do all day? Obviously not study.” She gasped slowly like she’d gotten a revelation in that blonde head of hers. “You fantasize about us, don’t you? You probably sleep in Whit’s old bed to feel close to her.”
Laughter spread around the room like an airborne disease. Disease. I shivered. That was an intriguing thought; I could almost hear the sound their bodies would make against the floor when it hit.
“Leah, come on. Say something. Scream at me, it’s been a while. At least cry,” Sienna said, laughing and leaning into my desk, closer to danger.
I didn’t cry. I never cry. And if I were going to, it wouldn’t be because of Sienna. I had bigger problems. I’d just broken a promise I’d made to God to not think about hurting His people, His children. And today was not the day to piss Him off.
My old roommate, Whitney Nguyen, graciously returned my test as she cackled with the rest of the birds. She liked the idea of me pining over her, but she knew I didn’t spend my free time thinking about her or sleeping in her old bed. After fourteen years of hard labor as my roommate, she’d given up on being friends or me being remotely normal. The current theory to explain my oddness was that I was in love with all of the girls and consumed by lust.
As long as they didn’t know it was magic.
A far second to oranges, the song I sang in the shower every night had a way of soothing me. More than anything, it made me tired enough to fall asleep. With Whitney gone, I didn’t have to whisper it.
The stars are out,
It’s time for bed.
Now close your eyes,
And rest your head.
May angels shield you with their wings,
As you dream your little angel dreams.
I didn’t recall composing that song, but apparently, I used to think I was good and perfect like the angels. I knew better now.
I stepped out of the shower and tugged a brush through my unruly brown tangles. I stared into the mirror over the sink as I started the song again. My skin screamed winter. I should be a warmer tan; I looked less creepy in the summer. Maybe that was why the girls had been digging into me so hard. I looked rather witchy. The unease that made them mock me was probably their souls warning them, urging them to notice I was different and dangerous.
At my worst, it feels like the fire that could easily shoot from my palm is raging inside of me. My heart picks up, more than when I’m scared. It pounds, I can’t hear. My blood dances, taunting me, begging me to hurt whoever’s hurt me. And I know that I can. I feel that I can.
But I don’t. I breathe and pray and let the magic cool.
Title: Lost (Hidden Series Book Two)
Author: M. Lathan
Genre: YA Paranormal
Three months ago, Christine Grant found herself, love, and impossible friends, while losing the memories of the biggest piece of her past.
Now, her powers are spinning out of control and must be tamed by the woman who saved the world, the same woman Christine is predicted to kill in less than a month.
Wanting to punish catty orphans was just the beginning. It’s only a matter of time before she discovers that the world is not as safe from her as she hoped it was.
Book Excerpts: Lost Book Two:
Fear stole my breath as I plummeted into frigid water. I flailed my arms and legs, uselessly trying to swim against the current. The haunting voice of a child sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” as I sank deeper.
I fought my way to the surface only to be taken again. The little girl droned, “And the rockets’ red glare,” as water rushed into my lungs.
I wasn’t alone. A blurry figure struggled near me, both of us sinking, drowning in red tinted water. Blood. It swirled with the suffocating blue, an inescapable villain dragging us deeper and deeper.
We were two helpless bodies adrift in a world with no air or hope, no chance of survival. The white lights glowing beneath us looked welcoming and safe. The figure gave in. Its lifeless body sank towards the lights as the little girl sang, “And the home of the brave.”
I woke up, pouring sweat, in Nathan’s bed.
With his eyes closed and mouth open, he rolled away and yanked the blanket off of me, attending to my needs in his sleep. I shrugged off the creepy dream of me drowning. Over the last three months, I’d dreamed plenty of things that hadn’t happened. Nate had held me underwater in the pool earlier. I was sure that moment had just followed me to sleep. The odds of it being a vision were low.
It had been almost two months since I stopped letting myself have them or use any of my powers. They were getting worse as I used them openly for little things. I would try to move something, and it wouldn’t just lift. It would slam into the wall before I felt it moving. I didn’t know mental powers could grow, develop even more than they already were. They were getting faster, stronger, and wilder, so I was back to suppressing them like I had at St. Catalina. Life was simpler that way, normal. Or as normal as living with three magical beings that should be extinct could get.
I closed my eyes to force myself back to sleep, and an angry snore rattled Nate’s throat. I reached on his nightstand for my phone. He wouldn’t be able to deny this one. Another series of snores ripped through the silent pool house just as I pressed record. I laughed, and he opened his eyes.
“Smile, baby,” I said. He groaned and reached for the phone.
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, nothing. Just collecting evidence.”
He wrestled my new phone from my hands and held it out of my reach. “How do I stop the video?”
“Like I’d tell you.”
He grunted and threw the phone to the foot of his bed. “That thing is too expensive to be so complicated,” he said.
“It’s not complicated. It’s probably just made for humans and you’re-”
He grabbed me and wedged his fingers under my arms before I could tease him about the side of him that barks. “I’m what? What am I, Chris?” I squealed, flopping around in his arms like a dying fish.
“Handsome!” I offered, to end the tickle attack.
“Smart. Kind. Loving. Sexy!” He relaxed his fingers and slid them from my armpits to my back. “Which one did it?” I asked.
“Sexy,” he whispered and kissed me. And that was really all it ever took to kick things off between us. Steamy kisses, roaming hands.
That was how we’d spent most of our time during our three-month-old relationship – in my bed, in his bed, in the common areas when we had the house to ourselves. I kept waiting for this to get old, his lips on mine, but every kiss felt like the first, and like I’d die if it were the last.
I’d thought I hated Sienna Martin. That was nothing, a childish grudge. I used to hate Remi until my heart started bleeding for her. That was nothing too. Hate was what I felt for Kamon.
I’d give anything to know what he was up to, pull him out of the shadows and into the light. Was he getting close? Did he know who and what I was?
I welcomed the energy that rushed over my skin, and his name echoed in my head.
He was in New Orleans. I knew it for a fact.
I faintly heard when Nate turned off the TV. I didn’t open my eyes, too wrapped up in the buzzing, in the power I pretended I didn’t have.
Behind my eyelids, I saw a blurry picture of my New Orleans backyard.
Kamon chuckled, circling Lydia Shaw near the pool. “Where is she?” he asked.
“That’s not your business, and stay away from this house.”
“She is very much so my business. A girl with her potential does not come along every day. I noticed it the first time I saw her. I knew then.”
Lydia laughed and stepped closer to his face. “I can’t wait for this to be over,” she said.
My muscles quivered. Lydia and Kamon shook with me.
“Me either. I have big plans. I’ve been working on my new title. What do you think of Emperor Kamon? Too much?” He laughed. “There’s finally a date after your dash. I guess I’m lucky Leah’s so unstable. I know you’re terrified. It’s getting so close. July 4th.”
I shook even harder and heard a far away scream.
Lydia spun around, and Remi wiggled her fingers at her, a taunting wave. Her jet-black hair dangled to her waist now. My Master, My Lord, in a fancy, ancient script, was permanently inked on her stomach, right above her low-cutting leather pants.
“Remi is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Her first offering brought my nemesis barging through the doors. In time, she’ll bring me Leah. I’ve seen July 4th, Lydia. It is your pet’s destiny, and I’m going to help her fulfill it.”
My backyard trembled like an earthquake was ravishing New Orleans, and someone screamed, “Emma, hold her head!”
“Wake up, Chris,” Emma said.
I opened my eyes. Nate and Em were shaking me and swatting at my cheeks. Blood was everywhere – on Nate’s hands, his chest, my pillow.
I’d had another fit. Correction. I was still having a fit, shaking and bleeding and buzzing. Em’s thoughts were frantic and in fluent French. But understandable. I had a feeling she could speak Chinese, and I would understand it right now.
She snapped and disappeared, leaving me alone with Nate. His face vibrated as I shook, and he braced me against his chest.
After a moment, his body tensed against mine, and he drew his arms away, no longer holding me. My nails were in his sides, and they didn’t want to let go.
Embers blew around us, and found their way to his head, circling and sparkling, crowning him with fire. I coughed from the smoke tickling my throat. He didn’t seem to see them at all.
A deep voice I’d never heard screamed, “Dali!” It echoed several times after. With each repeat, Nate clutched his head tighter, in pain.
All day I had been questioning where I belonged. Now I knew. I belonged in a cage, not allowed to roam freely around my enemies.
I didn’t want to hurt him. Or myself. I needed to listen to my body. Someone had told me that. Someone …
A flash of light blinded me, and Sophia and Emma appeared when it cleared.
Sophia pried my clenched jaw open. Something warm filled my mouth and slithered down my throat.
Then there was nothing but darkness.
Title: Shattered (Hidden Series Book Three)
Author: M. Lathan
Genre: YA Paranormal
Christine and Nathan’s quest for normal may rip them apart….
Someone as powerful as Christine Gavin cannot afford to be reckless, and after accidentally ending the world, her caretakers give her something she has wanted for years–a normal life without psychic powers. But it comes at a great price, one her boyfriend has to pay.
A dangerous hunter plotting to kill her and the world growing closer to another magical war are little things compared to what fate has in store for her next.
Book Excerpts: Shattered Book Three:
Love makes you do crazy things. It makes you lurk in shadows, duck behind buildings, compromise everything you thought you knew about yourself. All I know now is that I love him. All I know now is that his soul and my soul are meant to be one.
That’s why I’m here in the shadows, on yet another mission to get the life I should rightfully have. But I didn’t inherit patience, so this waiting is driving me insane.
The moon is fighting to be seen through the other lights in the sky. I wish I could see the beauty in it. I remember Emma looking up to the sky in awe like it was this magical thing, naturally perfect. When I look at something like the moon, I want to change it, make it better, make it suit me even more. And now I know I’ve lost my mind because I’m thinking about the moon. I hate waiting.
But I stay there, quiet as a mouse, barely breathing.
Then, as if I’d done enough for God to smile on me, the impossible happened right before my eyes. A smile stretched across my face as I listened and finally learned the value of patience.
Chapter One – Nathan
I must be quiet. Even my breaths are too loud.
That was how I felt around John, even as he lay there dead. Lydia Shaw’s morgue was about as silent as our home used to be. Don’t make too much noise, Nathan. John needs silence to read his paper, Nathan. He’d turned our home into a prison–an eerily quiet, suburban prison.
I stepped towards the smelly lump under the white sheet and breathed slowly, silently out of my mouth. He reeked of magic.
I’d heard death had a way of pardoning sins and turning awful people into saints. That wouldn’t be true for me. I’d hated John when he was living and breathing and ruining my life, and I still hated him now. His stubby toes were exposed and blue. Blood no longer pumped through his veins, bringing life to the feet he used to annoyingly tap on the floor for hours, and I still wanted to punch him in the face.
Lydia nodded to the body, asking if I wanted the sheet raised. I shook my head and moved on to the next lump. My mother’s body barely made an impression against the sheet. She was all bone, a tragic sort of skinny that made your skin crawl.
I suppressed a shiver. Lydia’s sheets were too short. My mother’s toes were also exposed and blue, but unlike John, I didn’t want to punch her in the face. I stared at her red nail polish that was still perfectly intact, remembering a time when she’d twirled around the kitchen to dry her wet toes while she cleaned.
Two birds, one stone, she’d said. She wasn’t a skeleton in this memory. My mother was once a very beautiful woman, before John wore her down, before the perfect life she so desperately wanted started to eat away at her.
Lydia and Christine were staring at me, either waiting for me to say something about their bodies or their deaths. “You need longer sheets,” was all I could manage.
“I’ll see what I can do about that,” Lydia said. “I will need to keep them here for evidence. After, we can bury or cremate them. Let me know what you decide, and I’ll arrange it.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Whatever is least inconvenient for you,” I said.
Christine gasped softly and wrapped her arms around her stomach. Her lips trembled like the temperature had dropped thirty degrees suddenly, and she was staring into thin air like she could see something I couldn’t.
Her voice shook when she whispered, “Theresa wants me to-”
“I don’t care what she wants,” I interrupted. She looked crushed, so I softened my tone. “I’m sorry, babe. What I meant was … I don’t want to communicate with her. Now or ever, please.”
If I had known her psychic powers were sensitive enough to actually see or hear the dead, I would’ve asked her to stay upstairs in her mother’s office. Humans like my girlfriend had brains that performed at extremely high levels, making it possible for them to do all sorts of crazy things. While an untrained human mind sensed normal things, her mind–and the minds of psychic hunters–could see the future, hear your thoughts, and know any and everything there was to know. And while a normal human brain told legs and feet to move, she could easily make her brain move me.
I’d thought she could only feel death or the chill of a ghost, but the way she was looking at absolutely nothing made it clear that something, someone, was there.
“She didn’t want to talk to me when she was alive,” I said. “…so she won’t get the chance to do it now.” I ignored the half-truth in that and how much I wanted to apologize to my mom. I’d let Devin St. Jermaine end her life last night, but I was too upset to say anything. After all, John was here with her, and historically that had meant to be quiet.
Chris wandered away from my mother’s body and caught a tear under her eye. I hated seeing her cry, but the panic that stirred in my chest had nothing to do with her tears. I didn’t want my mom to tell Chris anything about our relationship, things that would make me seem like a liar. She’d say she loved me, she’d say we were close, and I didn’t have enough space in my head to sort through the truthful lies I’d told.
I sat in the far corner of the room, out of his way, and opened my binder. Multicolored sticky notes covered the inside flap, my reminders for things I needed to remember for the week.
Max extra credit sketch due Mon.
History take home quiz due Tues.
Don’t ruin your life.
“My dad is going to be pissed,” I said.
“Because I still live with you?” he asked.
I chuckled. Though new to my life, my dad was a real dad. Not a friend kind of dad. He took his role seriously, and he’d asked me a million times to kick Nate out of the house. He saw me as seventeen days old rather than seventeen years, and it didn’t help that Nate had threatened to kill him during their first conversation.
Things hadn’t gotten much better since then. Dad mostly ignored Nate when he accompanied me to his house or if we sat in on one of Dad’s healing sessions with Sophia. While she chanted over his brain to heal the injuries regaining his memories of Mom had caused, Nate usually sat there like a mute unless I asked him something directly.
“No,” I said. “He’s going to be mad about my grade on the history paper he helped me with. I got a C.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “He’s going to be more upset than me. I don’t really care.” He shot me a worried look. “I mean ... I care, but a C on one paper isn’t going to ruin my whole semester. That’s all I meant.”
My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I welcomed the distraction from talking about Trenton. It was a text from Emma.
She’d sent me screen shots of two new blog posts: one with me walking to the Wall of Shame and another that announced I was in a classroom cleaning with the hot janitor.
Should be fine, I replied. I’ll tell my mom just in case.
I forwarded the messages to Mom and started my homework. For the extra credit in Max’s class, he wanted us to sketch a scene depicting one word. I’d chosen happiness, and I was going to draw this moment of Nate cleaning, while I sketched, in our chaotic life that had somehow become normal.
For the next hour, I moved from class to class with Nate as he cleaned. My sketch went from awful to great to awful again. As I contemplated starting over, my phone buzzed. It was an email I’d been expecting all day from Gregory.
He’d sent one every day since warning me about taking the potion permanently. They were always the same: an inspirational quote about power, forgiveness, or letting go of the past.
Today he sent: Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. –Mark Twain. Then he added: Never forget the good you did and the good you can do. The portal is the past. Forgive yourself and reach towards your future.
He ended with the same line every day.
There is greatness inside of you, my dear, just waiting to be unleashed. Have a happy day.
He hated the idea of me not using my powers, but he was the only one. The potion kept me in control. It was why I wasn’t sitting in a corner, worrying about things I had no business worrying about.
But since I loved him so much, I responded in the same way every day–some variation of: Thank you. I will work on forgiving myself, but for me, being powerless feels better. There was a part of me that hated typing those words, but that didn’t stop me from taking the potion. Nothing would.
“Almost done,” Nate said. “The next classroom only has a work order for a light bulb.” He pointed to the long cardboard box at the bottom of his cart, and I packed up once again.
In the next room, Nate stood on a desk and unscrewed the blown light, and I tried to salvage my sketch. Max gave these extra credit assignments every week, but he wanted them perfect. Messy sketches earned zero points.
I was so focused that I almost didn’t notice a pink balloon falling to the floor in front of me. When it hit, it stole Nate’s attention. It was the strangest thing I’d ever witnessed. A phantom balloon. Nate jumped off of the desk and landed right by it.
“Where did this come from?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe it was under a desk. Maybe the wind blew it out.”
Nate popped the balloon and tossed it into the trash bucket on his cart. Then another appeared. It floated out of thin air and landed near me like the last one. “Okay?” I said. “Maybe Emma?”
He took out his phone. I assumed it was to call her. While he dialed the number, two more pink balloons appeared.
“Em?” Nate said. “Yeah. What’s with the balloons?” I kicked one away and watched it bounce across the floor. “You’re not sending balloons to Christine?” I snapped my head up. “Okay. Let me call Sophia. We’ll call you back.”
He didn’t look at me as he called Sophia. He tapped his foot nervously and said, “Come on. Answer the phone.”
As he waited, another balloon appeared. Then ten more. Then a cloud of them hovered over our heads and rained down in the classroom. My heart pounded in my throat as pink and yellow streamers looped through the light fixtures. With each pop of color, my stomach sank deeper.
Hidden (Hidden Series Book One):
Lost (Hidden Series Book Two)
Shattered (Hidden Series Book Three)