In this edge-of-your seat, tension filled retelling of Cinderella, a vengeful schizophrenic pulls sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine into his dark world. She must make a choice: save her abusive, alcoholic father and bitter little sister and allow the only people who’ve treated Haley like family to die, or seek out the killer and save them all.
They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that’s great . . . as long as you don’t die.
Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother’s name are all she has left.
Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father’s footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.
Little do they know someone’s determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
“Since you’ve refused all offers to run away and leave this town behind, you could try this.” Christine took a hit of her thinly wound joint, winked, then held it out for Haley. Like tonight would be any different from the other five hundred times Christine had offered.
“Not happening.” But maybe, just maybe, being high would make walking through the squeaky front door hurt a little less. Maybe the pot would snuff out the anger and fear that burned and spread like uncontrolled wildfires in Haley’s head when Dad yelled, when he grunted disgusting noises because she took too long to clean his mess or get him another beer, and when Jocelyn just sat there and watched.
Dad’s favorite. Dad’s favorite because he thought she chose him instead of Mom the night she decided to leave. Dad didn’t know the truth. Jocelyn didn’t either.
“Not today, anyway.” Hopefully that day never comes.
“Always helps me get over my issues, but suit yourself.” Tucked into her too-large, red and black flannel jacket, Christine finished off the awful smelling joint with a shrug, then jogged across the cracked asphalt, hundreds of jagged tar lines holding the road together like band-aids. She forgot to say goodbye. As usual.
Haley stood on the side of the street between the power lines and her yard covered with a thick layer of pine needles and red leaves, the closest thing Deerfield Massachusetts had to a sidewalk. She stared through the yellow glow of the streetlamp Christine ran under, waiting for her to walk into her house. Once she did, Haley jogged up the few steps to her front porch, pulled open the screen door, took a calming breath, then walked in. No one was waiting. The only greetings she received were sounds of the late-night news reporting the most recent murder, the smell of stale beer, and that ever-unsettling panic in Haley’s chest, the panic that never went away while under the same roof as Dad.
Backpack slung over one shoulder, she ditched her plain black work shoes next to the pile of others by the door and crept through the house that didn’t appreciate anyone creeping around. The worn floorboards rattled with every step, despite Haley’s efforts to place each foot gently in front of the other. She passed the kitchen on her way down the long hallway. The cramped space was a mess of dirty pots and pans sitting and crusting on the stovetop, trash overflowing the can and spilling onto the floor, empty plates scattered on the table. All left for Haley to clean. All left for Haley to worry over.
On the way to her room, Haley paused by the arched opening leading to the den. Dad and Jocelyn sat in each other’s company, watching TV as so many normal families would. But did all those families take advantage of one member? Did they pretend like that member didn’t exist unless they needed help with something? Or was Haley the only lucky one?
“Deerfield police found Jeremiah Woodson dead this morning along the bank of the
Connecticut River. Investigators say he suffered a bullet-wound to the head and are
searching for clues.”
When I read a blurb detailing CHARMING as Cinderella meets Saw, I wondered how on earth Wade would successfully integrate such a beloved fairy tale with such a gory thriller! But let me tell you, she does, and it is FAN-TASTIC. I was sucked into the story on page one and devoured it clear to the end! I loved the character cast, each one fleshed out so completely. Wade has an easy-to-read writing style that captures descriptions in such a real and visual way. The dialogue is so natural and each scene flows so organically to the next. Another highlight of CHARMING is that it beautifully captures the romantic elements of a true Cinderella story in such a sweet, subtle way and without the graphic, smutty make-out scenes that are prevalent in a lot of today’s young adult stories. This was a huge bonus for me. I highly recommend CHARMING to fans of fairy tale remixes, thrillers, and anyone that enjoys a well-written story!
Content: Contains some recreational drug use by secondary character
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About the Author
Krystal Wade is happily married to the love of her life (don’t gag) and raising three beautiful children in the gorgeous state of Virginia. They live just outside Washington, D.C., and every day she wakes up to find herself stuck in traffic trying to get there. When she’s not working, commuting, or chasing after her three children (four if you count the man), you can usually find Krystal outside talking to her chickens like they’re the cutest things in the world (they are), or training her amazing dogs how to herd said chickens (which they love), or curled up on the sofa with a good book (why can’t that be 100% of the time?).