What is a guy to do to get the girl he loves to choose him?
ForNever, Book One
By Rosaline Saul
Heather O'Halloran has lost her faith in love when her parents decide to get divorced.
She decides that never will she allow herself to fall in love with all her heart.
Until she meets Keiran and Jayden, and she is irresistibly drawn toward a boy who reminds her of all things summer.
As Heather encounters a world of magic, what she does not know is this is not the first time they have met.
Long ago, the trio was cursed by a witch, forcing Heather to choose between the brothers, and when she chooses wrong, she dies and is reborn while the brothers remain, waiting for her return.
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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
This book was so compelling and captivating. It had me laughing, crying, and rooting for true love. It is a great story and I easily recommend it for all readers of any age. This is really a fairly clean book, there is no sex and little language. I think it would be great for teens and middle school readers, as well as adults. Everyone can find something that suits them in this book.
About this book
Amazon ISBN 9798848569902
Ingram ISBN 9781393696216
eBook ISBN 9781393612537
Imprint: Fiction for the Soul
Date First Published: 1 November 2012
Paperback Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.79 x 8.5 inches
For readers aged 13 and up
Read the beginning of this story
“I choose you.”
As the words whisper over my lips, Kieran looks at me in shock. He murmurs disbelievingly, “Say it again.”
I feel the dark shadows, which always push and prod into me whenever I am with Kieran lean closer, invading my space, as I say it again. “I choose you, Kieran. I love you.”
He smiles. The smile lights up his face even here in the darkness where we are huddled close to each other against the cold November wind.
From somewhere behind me, I hear Jayden grunt unhappily and close by a crow squawks, the sudden sound loud.
I feel Kieran stiffen under the palms of my hands. Quickly he reaches for my hand. Gripping my fingers tightly in his, he insists, “Run. We must run.”
Bewildered, I step back from him. I have just told him that I choose him. For months, I have battled with my indecision. I love both Jayden and Kieran, but I knew I had to make the choice between them and now that I did, this momentous moment in my life is shattered.
A crow swoops down low over my head. I can feel the wind from its wildly flapping wings brush against my cheek. I look up and I see the moon glint off its black feathers in a rainbow of colours.
Jayden yells, “Run!”
I feel Kieran pull me along with him. I stumble over my own two feet and Kieran clutches my arm in a steel grip to pull me up again. We run toward the cliff. If we are supposed to be running away from danger, why are we running directly toward a dead-end, I wonder panicked.
I feel the crow clutch its claws into my hair, and I feel strands of it yanked out of my scalp. I scream in pain, but Kieran pulls me faster toward the cliff.
We reach the cliff and while we are still running, Kieran scoops me into his arms in one smooth action. He urges, “Close your eyes.”
Petrified I close my eyes tightly and then terrified, I am aware of him running over the edge of the cliff. I feel the nothingness beneath us, and for a moment, it feels as if we are just hanging there, suspended in mid-air. Then I feel an upward current of air lift my hair up and away from my face. It does not feel like we are falling, it feels more like floating, maybe we already collided with the ground, and I am dead. Probably the only explanation for the feeling of weightlessness I am experiencing.
Scared I open my eyes. A very small part of me is relieved I am not yet dead. The cliff face is passing by me, going upward, as if in slow motion. I can see every protrusion reflected in the sharp glare of the moon and I see Kieran’s black coat tails flap up in the wind in front of my face.
I close my eyes again, waiting with bated breath for the impact.
After moments, which seem like decades, I feel him miraculously land his feet onto the ground softly.
He puts me down and my legs feel weak. I stumble backward and Kieran lunges toward me, wrapping his arm around my waist to steady me.
Looking up at the incredibly high cliff, I turn back to look at Kieran. I feel the disbelief of falling down this incredibly high cliff and standing here unscathed, press down on me. He looks away and avoids looking back at me.
As I open my mouth to ask the question burning on my tongue, Jayden calls from in front of us, somewhere in the darkness of the night. “Come on, Kieran! We must leave.”
I see dark shadows dance across the cliff face menacingly, like the shadow puppets against the walls in our cottage. Shadow puppets Clara and I make when we are snuggled closely together in bed and before we blow out the candle. When we let our fingers stretch out against the knobbly wood and we tell each other scary stories.
Kieran pulls on my hand and shocked I turn away from the shadows moving down the cliff like a slow, pulsating waterfall.
I am running again.
As we get to the horse and cart, Kieran lets my hand drop and he makes a running jump onto the back of the empty farm cart.
Jayden clutches me by my elbow and he hurries me toward the front of the rickety wagon.
The horse, which is still tethered to the front of the cart, eats lazily from the bits of grass on the verge of the muddy road.
Kieran clambers over the wooden backrest of the cart and then sit down hurriedly. He leans forward to undo the reigns twirled around the front guard.
Jayden places his hands on my hips, and he looks down into my eyes pensively. He smiles sadly and then as he lifts me and I am face to face with him, he says softly, “I will always love you.”
I frown and immediately I feel remorseful for him. I know he heard me tell Kieran I choose him. Is Jayden still trying to convince me I should have chosen him?
Kieran yells, “Hurry up. They are coming.”
Jayden sets me down on the seat and then he swings himself effortlessly onto the back of the wagon as Kieran lashes the whip onto the horse.
The horse whinnies and then with a jerking motion the cart starts to move. Kieran prompts the horse to go faster by yelling at it and lashing the whip over its back.
Loudly I ask appalled, “Why are you doing this, Kieran?”
He glances toward me anxiously and whips the horse again. I do not recognize the look on his face.
“Why are you doing this? What is going on?” I ask him, pulling at his forearm to make him stop hitting the horse. The horse gallops faster and faster and the cart jump and skip over the rutted path.
Jayden climbs over the backrest from behind me and I move aside so that I am sitting between Jayden and Kieran. I lift my dress to make space for him and I notice the hem is mud-soaked and heavy.
I ask again, apprehensively, “What is going on here?”
Jayden starts, “There is this, um.”
Kieran interrupts him, “Not now, Jayden. I will explain everything to you as soon as we get you home.” His eyes do not look away from the road.
The moon is shining brightly, illuminating the tall trees and bushes crowding in onto the two ruts in the road. I see the dark gloom, which is recently always with me, filtering through the bushes on either side of us. I have never really been afraid of these shadows because once I got used to them, they seemed harmless and not dangerous at all. The shadows I saw earlier mirrored on the cliff were menacing though. They looked like long claw-like fingers reaching out toward me. Also, I do not know if it is because of Jayden and Kieran’s sudden panic and strange behaviour, but I now feel terrified of these shadows.
I yell involuntarily when I see a figure standing on the grass median between the two muddy grooves that the wheels of many, many wagons have made when they travel this busy road.
I hear Kieran gasp loudly.
Jayden reaches his arms around my shoulders and pulls me into him. He puts his palm over my ear as he pulls my face tightly into his chest. I feel smothered and then when he stiffens against my cheek, I hear a faint, far-away yell of frustration.
The figure in the middle of the road, in front of the wagon, floats above the ground. The tips of its black smoky skirt are skimming the tall grass. As the wagon approaches, it waits, it waits and when the wagon reaches it, it lunges up and swoops down onto the girl. It opens its hideous mouth and screeches sharply.
The boy driving the wagon crashes the whip down onto the apparition. The other boy, whom she should have chosen, holds the girl tightly.
The ghoul reaches the girl and then with an ominous cackle it sweeps through the girl and takes her soul with it.
Jayden feels the moment she dies. She slumps against his chest and he feels his heart break. How long has he loved her? How long has it really been?
Kieran interrupts his moment of self-pity, by asking—his voice desperate, “Is she okay?”
Jayden shakes his head in denial, as he says, “No. She is dead.” His voice in his own ears sounds callous and uncaring.
“NO!” Kieran yells up into the sky. He pulls at the reins to slow the horse down.
“Keep going, Kieran. We need to get her home quickly before the moon reaches its apex.” Jayden urges impatiently.
Kieran asks sadly, “Do you really want to do this again? Get her body indoors before the moon reaches its highest point in the sky, so we can re-play all of this again?”
Jayden’s eyes tighten briefly while he looks across her dead body at his brother. “To be loved by her, even briefly because she keeps choosing you, I will do it again and again, forever.”
Kieran sighs deeply as they turn a corner in the road sharply and barely miss the trunk of a giant oak tree. Ahead they see the thatch-roofed cottage just off the edge of the road. The white smoke from the fireplace drifts lazily up into the sky. The yellow candlelight glares through the perfectly square windows.
If only they had reached it earlier. If they could have reached the safe haven of her home, the shadows would not have been able to take her once she stepped over the threshold.
If Kieran knew she would be revealing her decision on this moonlit night, he would not have suggested they go so far away from her cottage.
Earlier that afternoon, Kieran and Heather took the horse and cart, then drove out toward the cliffs. They stopped the cart where the road ends and then they climbed up to the top slowly, following the goat trails. They reached the top of the cliff, moments before the sun started to melt into the horizon. This was one of her favourite places. They could spend hours here, sitting quietly next to each other, because she loved to watch the sunset and afterwards, she could be very lyrical about the many wonderful colours painted across the sky in broad pastel brush strokes.
Kieran did not expect to find Jayden there, staring out toward the horizon. Jayden looked sad and lonely, and Kieran felt brief sorrow for him.
When Jayden heard them, he turned and smiled up at her. His eyes always focused on her first. His dark, brooding eyes were always imploring her silently to realize how much he loved her.
She dropped down next to him innocently and laughed exuberantly, causing the corners of Jayden’s mouth to lift. She pulled her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them as her eyes fixed on the setting sun. Jayden followed her gaze.
Kieran sat down next to her. Without looking, she reached for his hand and twined her fingers through his.
Later, after the sunset, Kieran was leaning against a tree trunk and she was standing flirtatiously close to him. He was filled with immediate joy and dread when she proclaimed her choice. The first thought that rushed through his mind though was the distance back to her home. He should have let his morals and principles fly away on the wind. He should have taken her into his arms there and then, and he should have kissed her without the restraints of proper conduct. He should have told her how much he loved her. He should have known they could never outrun the shadows.
Kieran stops the horse and cart when they reach the cottage.
Jayden takes her lifeless body gently into his arms. He folds his arms tenderly around her shoulders and under her knees, and as he cradles her against his chest, he jumps off from the wagon. He walks around toward Kieran and then together they walk to the door.
Kieran knocks softly and the chatter from inside the cottage stops abruptly.
They hear footsteps drag across the stone floor and then the wooden door creaks open.
“Who goes there?” A deep voice asks.
Kieran steps back when he recognizes the gruff voice of Mr. O’Halloran. He does not know what to expect from him when he sees his daughter’s lifeless body in the arms of Jayden.
Jayden replies brusquely, “It is I, Jayden. Son of Fitzgerald.”
“Jayden my boy, step inside. If you are looking for Heather, she left with Kieran to watch the sunset.” Then he sees her, and worriedly he reaches for her. “What happened? Mary come here quickly,” he calls across his shoulder with urgency.
There is a commotion deeper within the cottage and then his wife comes rushing toward the door. Clara, her younger sister, follows closely behind her mother.
Immediately when her eyes settle on her daughter, she starts moaning, “What happened? What happened?”
Mr. O’Halloran turns abruptly and walks back into the cottage, while Jayden follows him, dragging Mrs. O’Halloran and Clara with him. They move around him and cling to him in panic and fear, moaning incessantly, “What happened? What happened?”
Mr. O’Halloran swoops the empty wooden bowls and cutlery off the table with one swoop of his large hand and says softly, “Put her here.”
Carefully Jayden lays her body down onto the long rectangular wooden table. Her light brown hair fans out around her face. He looks down at her sadly, as he gently folds her arms across her chest. He feels tears burn behind his eyelids as he pinches them tightly closed and he leans down toward her. He kisses her softly on her forehead.
When Jayden straightens up again, he notices a wailing Mrs. O’Halloran hanging onto Kieran.
Mr. O’Halloran is frowning deeply, and he asks harshly, “What happened here?”
“I am not sure, Sir.”
“What do you mean, you are not sure. My daughter went out with Kieran this afternoon and YOU bring her back dead.”
“I happened to be up at the Outlook when they arrived there this afternoon. She was fine when we left and then on the wagon, she merely fainted. I was concerned and when I looked, she had stopped breathing. We tried to get here as fast as we could.”
Mr. O’Halloran turns to Kieran. “Is this what happened, young lad?”
“Yes, Sir.” Kieran lowers his gaze. Mrs. O’Halloran stumbles away from him and into her husband’s arms.
Mr. O’Halloran says gruffly, “Leave now. Let this family mourn in peace.”
Kieran moves toward the table. He lifts her limp hand to his lips, and he mumbles softly, tasting the salty taste of his tears on his lips, “I love you. I am so sorry this happens every time you choose me, but just like Jayden, I cannot stop. I also have to let it happen repeatedly until we can somehow break this curse.”
Mr. O’Halloran’s voice echoes loudly behind him. “I said leave now, lad.”
Kieran turns away from her and then nodding his head at Mr. O’Halloran, he walks toward the door and out to the wagon.
Jayden is already waiting for him, standing next to the wagon and scuffing his leather shoe across the moist, muddy ground. He says casually, “We should leave the wagon here.”
Kieran pushes his hands deep into his pockets. His shoulders slump forward slightly as he walks away from the cottage.
Jayden smiles despondently, falling into step next to him. “Lighten up, brother. This is not the end of it.”
Kieran replies miserably, “Here we go again.”Copyright © Rosaline Saul (published by Fiction for the Soul). All rights reserved.