The Storm Spotlight & Giveaway @VeeBergin


The Storm

The Sequel to H2O

by Virginia Bergin


The Storm cover



From Chapter 9 of The Storm by Virginia Bergin

The Spratt led me to another block and into what was basically a cell. As I have actually seen a cell—­in Dartbridge Police Station—­I would in fact say that it was smaller than a cell. There was one tiny single bed in there, one chair, one minute desk, a tiny TV screen stuck high on the wall, and a closet. Not exactly five star, but maybe those people in the camp were so gorged out on scarfing delicious food all day that they just needed somewhere to flop in between.

I had not scarfed delicious food, but I did need to flop—­so I flopped on the bed. Darius hesitated, then took the chair—­keeping his distance from my body, but not—­unfortunately—­from my mind.

“Ruby…” he started up.

“What?” I muttered. It felt like there was this slow-­motion thought whirlpool in my head—­like probably there were things to be said, but all those things were mixed up, bobbing in and out of sight as they swirled around and around and around, spiraling into sleep. Fat chance.

“I’m so glad you’re here,” he says. “I was going to come and look for you.”

“Yeah, Saskia said,” I mumble, my eyes drifting shut.

“You’ve seen Sask?!”

“Yes, Dar, I’ve seen Sask.” I sigh. “She’s in the hospital.” I haul a thing out of the whirlpool; it is Saskia’s foot. “Well, most of her is. Her foot went in some water and someone had to, you know, remove it.”

“Oh my q.”

“With an ax.”

I feel so sick. I think I’m going to be—­my eyes snap open, and I edge myself up. The Spratt is staring at me with a horrified look on his face.

“It was what she wanted,” I tell him. I hear Sask begging: Cut it off, cut it off! “And then I brought her here myself, in an ice-cream van. Have you got something to drink?”

The Spratt seems to take a moment to process this simple request. He gets up and rummages in the cupboard and hands me a can of something. The crack and hiss of the ring pull is loud as a bomb.

“Is she OK?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” I say. “They said she’d be fine. I don’t think the rain thing got her, but she lost a lot of blood.”

I glug the fizzy drink, something disgusting I don’t even like.

“And a foot, obviously,” I add. “I think I’m going to be sick…”

I lurch off the bed looking for something, anything, to throw up into—­there is only a trash can, so I throw up into that, the Spratt rubbing my back and me too weak to resist.

“Sorry about that,” I tell him, wiping spew drool from my mouth. I feel disgusting, inside and out. And I’m dehydrated, aren’t I? You’d think I’d know the signs by now, but, hey, no one’s perfect. (Not even me, booms the troll.)

I sip at the drink in the can. At least it’s a fluid. My stomach grudgingly accepts it.

“She said she didn’t want to come back here, not ever.”

“Yeah, well,” says the Spratt.

“She was screaming her head off about it.”

“Look, Ru,” says Darius. “Saskia…she got a little spooked.”

I am too weak to tell him not to call me Ru. I try to lie down—­the whirlpool starts up and my head spins with it. I sit back up. If I think about how I feel, I really will spew again—­not that there’s anything left in me to spew out, so I might as well attempt to continue with this hideous conversation.

“What about?” I ask the Spratt.

I cannot imagine what’s coming next. There are plenty of things to be spooked about in an apocalypse—­being forced to share a room with Darius Spratt, for example. Sask can’t have liked that unless…

“Well,” says the Spratt, “she kind of got it into her head that…”

He tails off, looks doubtfully at me.


“Oh, it’s such a horrible thing, Ruby. Maybe now isn’t the
best time.”

“Believe me,” I tell him, “there is NOTHING you could tell me that’s any more horrible than the stuff I’ve actually seen.”

The troll within me is stirring. I’ve been in this place for, like, five seconds and I already know that whatever counts as a trauma in this place—­for example, they’ve run out of caviar to put on their cornflakes—­does not count as a trauma in the real world—­of the useless—­where I have been forced to live.

“It’s just a rumor,” he says.

Ha! It’s not even a REAL thing!

“And this place is full of rumors. People say all kinds of crazy stuff.”

Yeah, and outside here, they DO it. (That would include me too, of course.)

“Someone told Saskia they’re experimenting on people,” Darius says.


“You know, trying to find a cure?”

I nod. That’s what experimenting is, isn’t it? Trying to find stuff out. I mean, actually, when you think about it, it would even make sense—­in a way, I mean. If this thing doesn’t harm animals, what else would you test a cure on?

People, obviously.


If you knew the world was ending, what would you do?

Me? I’d spend what time I had left with my arms lifted in worship and praise.

Woman praising

Leave me a comment below, what would you do?


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My Secret to Tell Book Spotlight @natdrichards

Title: My Secret to Tell

Author: Natalie D. Richards




Pubdate: October 6th, 2015

ISBN: 9781492615712


About the Book

His smile is a crime.

Emerson May is “the good girl.” She’s the perfect daughter, the caring friend, the animal shelter volunteer. But when her best friend’s brother breaks into her room, his hands covered in blood, she doesn’t scream or call the cops. Because when Deacon smiles at her, Emmie doesn’t want to be good…

The whole town believes notorious troublemaker Deacon is guilty of assaulting his father. Only Emmie knows a secret that could set him free. But if she follows her heart, she could be trusting a killer…

You can’t always trust the boy next door.


About the Author

After years as a professional paper-pusher, NATALIE D. RICHARDS decided to trade in reality for a life writing YA fiction. She lives in Ohio (Go Bucks!) with her husband, three children, and a ridiculously furry dog named Yeti. This is her second novel. Visit her on Twitter @natdrichards or at


This October Natalie D. Richards releases her latest YA thriller, MY SECRET TO TELL. To celebrate, Natalie is here for a quick Q&A and has brought an excerpt to share!

Give us insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Emily’s heart is her greatest strength and her greatest weakness and I love that contrast. She’s a lover of the underdog.  Emmie’s been a lifelong champion for animals in need and is both a devoted daughter and a friend that’s always there with good advice or problem solving.  But sometimes that same heart can lead her to places where maybe she puts too much on the line in her commitment to care for everyone else.




My name lands somewhere between a hiccup and a sob, and my feet stall out on the sidewalk in front of my house. I adjust my grip on the phone, hoping I misheard her tone. This doesn’t sound like Chelsea. This voice is breathless.


“I’m here,” I say. “What’s up? You don’t sound right.”

“I’m not.” She takes a shuddery breath.

My shirt’s sticking to my back and cicadas are click-buzzing the end of another blistering day, but I go cold. Something’s wrong.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

“It’s my dad, Emmie,” she says. I can tell she’s crying.

I grab my chest. It’s too tight. Burning. “What happened?”

Her words all tumble out on top of one another, interrupted by shaky breaths. I try to pick out pieces that make sense. “He’s hurt—bleeding—we’re behind the ambulance and I can’t—he’s not—someone attacked him.”

I start climbing the porch steps, because she’ll need me. I’m her best friend, so I should be there. I need to change clothes and go. “You’re on the way to the hospital, right? They’ll help him there.”

Another sharp breath. “I don’t know if they can. He’s so bad. So bad.”

My heart clenches. “Where are you?”

“We’re almost there. Joel’s with me.”

“Okay, good. I’m coming,” I say, crossing my porch and hauling my front door open. “Let me just call Mom. I’ll borrow the car.”

Chelsea’s still crying when I storm down the hallway toward my bedroom.

“Emmie, I can’t find Deacon…”

“Your brother never answers his phone,” I say, pushing open my door. “I’ll run by the docks first and—”

“No. No, he was there. He was at the house.”

Chelsea makes a strangled sound, and I notice the liquid-thick heat in my bedroom. The kind of heat that tells me the air conditioner is broken. Or my window is open.

My gaze drags to my fluttering white curtains, to the dark smudge on the windowsill.

Chelsea’s voice goes low and raspy. “He ran, Emmie. God, he was there with Dad. He was in the house, but he ran.”

I swivel with an invisible fist lodged in my throat. My bathroom door is open, a red-black smudge beneath the knob.

My mouth goes dry, my pulse thumping slower than it should. Then I see the blood on the floor by my sink, and my heart tumbles end over end.

“We’re here. I’ll call soon,” Chelsea says and hangs up.

I see him, his back to my tub and his dark head bowed on one bent knee. Oh God.

He’s covered in blood. It’s on his legs, his hands. Dripping onto my white tile floor. He looks up, and my heart goes strangely steady.

I take a breath that tastes like purpose. “Deacon?”

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