The Book Gazette is pleased to share an excerpt from “The Druid’s Doorway”, a YA urban fantasy novel by author S.G. Daniels. We hope you enjoy the excerpt.
Kase sat at the desk in Granger’s office, gripping a handful of his hair while he recounted for Jake what had happened to Hailey. He didn’t have to be face-to-face to see his best friend was two shakes away from going ballistic. He could hear it in the raw, clipped words he heard through the phone.
“Jake, she’s going to be fine,” he said in a soothing voice. “It was just a few small cuts. She may have a little tenderness wearing shoes for a few days, but she’ll heal.”
Kase had to listen closely. Jake’s voice was only a whisper, as if he were thinking aloud instead of talking into the phone. “She put her stone in my pocket. She could’ve gotten herself killed. God, what was she thinking? I told her I’d be all right. None of that would have happened to her if she’d kept the stone.”
Then he heard Gavin’s voice in the background. “Jake, she made it to a safe place and she’s alive. That’s what you have to look at. The what-ifs don’t matter now. Settle down and use your head.”
“I’m going to break Parker’s other leg…maybe his neck.” Jake’s voice had an eerie coldness that Kase had never heard before. If he hadn’t recognized the voice, he would have had a hard time figuring out it was coming from his best friend.
Kase gripped the phone tightly, starting to second-guess his decision to tell Jake about any of it until he showed up at Granger’s. Maybe he shouldn’t have told him the things Parker had said to Hailey. They hadn’t lied to each other about anything since the day they’d met in first grade. No, he thought, no matter how grim things seemed to get, he wasn’t going to start lying to him now.
“Jake,” he interrupted. “Sean did the right thing to keep her focused. He told me she kept slowing down and whimpering to herself, and he knew something had to be messing with her. He
said there were ghosts shadowing the whole parking lot. He got her through that. At one point, she even screamed something about quicksand.”
He stopped talking, closed his eyes, and listened for some indication that he was getting through to his best friend.
What else could he say to convince Jake that what Sean did was necessary? Now that he knew Hailey was without her stone, it all made sense. Still, none of this was Sean’s fault. He’d never sided with Sean against Jake, ever, but he had to do what he thought was right. He hoped when Jake calmed down and thought it through, he’d realize it too.
After a moment of silence, Kase said, “Jake, he saved both their lives by playing on Shortcake’s stubbornness.”
“I’ll be there in five minutes,” Jake said tersely. “I’m not waiting on Dáithí and Jessie. There’s no telling how long it will be before they come back.”
Kase didn’t have time to tell him to stay put. Jake ended the call.
The Druid’s Doorway
Author: S.G. Daniels
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Jake Reese thinks he’s just a screwed-up high school kid living in a small town isolated in the Arizona desert. Traumatized at an early age by his mother’s sudden death—and believing he might have had something to do with it—he’s allowed his guilt and lack of self-confidence to rule his life.
Hailey is the fiery little redhead that sees Jake as more than a just a good friend. When she invites him as her date to a school function, it brings down the walls he’s built to protect his heart, and sets off a series of events that threaten not only Jake’s life, but that of everyone around him.
The discovery of a portal on the outskirts of town brings Jake face-to-face with death and reveals a closely guarded secret about his mother. No longer is his memory of her the only thing that haunts him. Something evil from her past has escaped through the portal, and nothing will prevent it from trying to steal Jake’s future.
Can Jake overcome his fears to keep Hailey safe? Will the decisions he’s forced to make destroy everyone he knows and loves? And ultimately…is he strong enough to live with those choices?
S.G. Daniels lives in rural Central Illinois with her husband of thirty-one years, and two spoiled cats, Payne and Jenks. She works full-time in a local medical facility as a patient accounting refund specialist. Most of her evenings she can be found in front of her computer, working on story ideas, or learning the ins and outs of the writing world. On the weekends, if she’s not spending time outside, she’s usually found nose-deep in a book. When S.G. unleashes her inner daredevil, she usually takes off through winding timber trails or country roads on the ATV. Her weaknesses are iced tea and pretzels, especially when she’s working on a story.