Fiction Focus: A free slice of Mandi Tucker Slack’s ‘Tide Ever Rising’

Mandi Tucker Slack’s “Tide Ever Rising” is one of our February fiction releases and the star of today’s Fiction Focus.

Slack will be at the Spanish Fork Costco today, Feb. 15, from 12 noon to 3 p.m., signing copies of her book. She’ll also be at the Alco’s store in Castle Dale on Saturday, Feb. 16, hosting her book launch party. The party will be from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and will include prize drawings and refreshments.

“Tide Ever Rising” is Slack’s second novel, the first being 2011’s “The Alias.” Both books are available in book stores and on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.

“TIDE EVER RISING” EXCERPT:

Kadie tossed violently in her sleep. She moaned and rolled over, twisting the sleeping bag around her body. She moaned again, trying to wake up, but she couldn’t seem to pull her mind from the dream.

The raging inferno lit the sky and cast strange, demonic shadows dancing across the snow-covered ground. Kadie cried out and covered her head with her arms as darkness suddenly enveloped her. Frightened, she screamed as the ocean raged around her. Waves engulfed her body and she struggled desperately to keep her footing in the soft sand. Her body rolled with the swell and salty water filled her nose and mouth, burning her throat and searing her lungs.

She coughed and forced her trembling legs to carry her toward the moon-lit beach in the distance. Sobs shook her body as she crawled onto the damp sand and rolled to her back, desperately trying to catch her breath.

“Kadence.”

A voice sounded above the din of the ocean, and knowingly, Kadie rolled to her knees. Charlotte. She rose weakly and turned, trembling, to face the jagged cliffs in the distance. Charlotte stood alone, high atop the precipice. Deep forest loomed behind her and the ocean raged below. The black waves broke on the yawning cliff face, sending fingers of clawing mist high into the air. Charlotte’s nightdress glowed in the moonlight. Its length billowed like waves around her bare legs, and her dark hair rose behind her, dancing in the breeze.

“Charlotte,” Kadie spoke her name as the ocean hissed against Kadie’s legs. The water felt icy cold. “Charlotte!” she called, but her voice was lost on the wind. She suddenly felt desperate to reach her. “Please,” she cried.

Charlotte turned to face her. The girl’s nearly all-black eyes suddenly bore into hers. Terrified, Kadie stumbled, falling into the sand. Charlotte’s hand rose toward her, beseeching, and she caught sight of Adelaide’s pendant gleaming against the girl’s pale chest.

Charlotte’s mouth opened wide.

“Kadence . . . Kadie!”

Kadie’s eyes grew large, and she swallowed when Charlotte called her name once again. Then without warning, the girl fell. Her body soared from the cliff and down into the dark water. She landed in the waves. Her nightgown floated out around her body as it tossed on the angry swells. Kadie screamed, but Charlotte’s voice still rang in her ears. “Kadie . . . Kadie . . . .”

“Kadence!”

Kadie suddenly jerked awake.

Her eyes flew open and she stared wide-eyed at the top of her dark tent. Her breathing was shallow and labored, and sweat beaded thickly against her forehead.

Kadence . . . .” A faint whisper floated around her tent, and bolted upright, shivering.

A twig snapped outside near her tent and she held her breath. Her heart beat chaotically, painfully, against her ribs. A faint whimper and a soft thud sounded above the ocean waves.