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The bad boys and girls of the Winterland are back for the conclusion of Alice and Scrooge’s story. This tale is mad, dark, twisted, sexy, and nothing like the legend you know.
Life for Alice Liddell should be normal. Work, family, and her general sucky life back at her parent’s house, working as a slutty-looking elf in Santa’s shop. But from the moment Alice wakes up from a terrible fevered dream, nothing feels ordinary.
With visions of strange creatures, an obsession with creating top hats until her hands bleed, and an inexplicable attraction to her married neighbor, Matt, she feels like she’s going crazy.
When her illusions of twin elves, singing penguins, and sexy reindeers start to turn into full blown hallucinations, her family feels they have no choice but to find her help.
Her therapist is Matt’s wife, Jessica Winters, someone Alice feels in her gut she shouldn’t trust. But he more Alice loses her touch on reality, the more her parents turn to Jessica.
In one night, Alice loses everything, landing her in an insane asylum where she learns Jessica is not at all who she seems. As Alice’s mind cracks further, her visions feel more like memories.
She’s in a fight for her life against the mad ruler of the institution. Except who will believe her? She’s the insane one, the one who gets visits by ghosts of holiday icons.
But one thing good about going mad? In some places being bonkers is exactly what you need…
To ascend from the madness.
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Read the First Chapter HERE!
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“It’s a party!” A light giggle whispered like a flower petal floating in the wind.
At the same moment a flash of black and white from the corner of my eye, an oval toddler-sized figure, waddled across the walkway. I jerked my head to the end of the row. Nothing.
What was that? Licking my lips nervously, I crept to the end, peering down where the kid might have run.
No kid, no sound of pounding feet or even breathing.
I couldn’t deny this time a trickle of genuine fear scratched at the back of my throat. Yesterday’s incident hadn’t done that, though it really should have. I couldn’t remember hours of my time, of cutting into my skin. But this sank into my belly like rocks.
Nothing’s there, Alice. Shaking my head and trying to ignore the pang in my gut, I returned to the cart and rammed the gingerbread book in its place without looking at it again. Propelling the cart forward, I curved it toward the farthest section, the lights not as bright and never filled with people. When I was little, I used to think this part was creepy and not in the spooky fun way. The kind that felt as if a nail was being dragged down your spine. Eyes watching you.
The whine of the wheels as I drifted down the last row had my hair standing on the back of my neck.
“Don’t let your imagination get the better of you,” I muttered. “You’re not a kid anymore.”
I quickly grabbed at a book, finding its home, and reached up to put it away. A red glowing light flickered by before it slipped behind the shelves. I swiveled sharply, my heart jumping up in my throat, scrambling for the end of the row, peering around. The walkway was vacant. I shook my head, taking in a deep breath. I went to turn back for the cart, when I saw the bulb of red light on the other side of the shelves from me and a dark shadow falling over the books as it headed down the aisle toward the end.
Fear slammed my pulse against my neck, but I propelled myself to move, scooping round the rack to the next row, ready to find something there.
It was empty.
“What the...?” I gaped, staring at the blank wall where the row dead-ended a few yards away. There was nowhere to go. Nowhere to hide. Dread dribbled down my throat, forcing me to swallow.
“Switch! Switch!” Giggling voices jerked my head to the side. At the edge of my vision, two toddler-size figures darted into a row, a blur of green and red. Reacting instantly, I chased after them, determined to find the brats messing with me, ignoring the notion I needed to see they were real. I wasn’t losing my mind.
Jogging after them, I shot down the aisle. The kids were nowhere to be found, and panic generated tears behind my lids. Distant giggles kept me moving, needing to find them. The desperation to prove they were there pounded adrenaline through my veins. Zigzagging through the shelves, I tried to catch them.
Darting out into the kids’ reading area, I found it empty.
A giggle, sounding like a little girl, made me jump around. “Stop it!” I yelled, my gaze scanning every inch, trying to find movement.
“It’s a party!” Another kidlike voice circled me around, ripping the air from my lungs.
“I said stop! You guys are going to get into trouble.”
“It’s a very Merry un-Christmas.” A girl’s voice sang behind me, whirling me back.
“To me?” A boy’s voice crooned back.
“I said stop it!”
“No, to you!”
I didn’t see anything, but their voices lobbed all around me. My teeth sank down into my lip, my chest heaving for air, true terror skulking down on my shoulders, dropping beads of doubt into my gut, whispering, Alice, you are going mad.
“Stop!” I screamed, my hands going to my ears. My back curled as their giggles echoed in my head, thumping at something so deep in the far reaches of my mind bile flushed up my throat, dropping me to my knees, nausea spinning my head.
“Stop it!” I repeated over and over, pressing the heels of my palm into my ears, trying unsuccessfully to block the giggles and singing in my head.
“Alice!” Hands grabbed for me, tugging at my wrists, trying to yank my hands from my head. “Oh fudge…Alice! Stop hitting yourself!” Fingers tore at mine. “ALICE. STOP!”
The pitch of my mother’s demand halted the voices instantly. As if a switch was turned on, the pressure leaked out of my skull like evaporating fog, easing my lungs.
Slowly, I lifted my lashes, looking at the few people in the library standing around, staring at me with horror. Gulping, I licked my lips, my gaze darting to the woman crouching beside me. Her dark brown eyes held even more terror. Her hands still wrapped around my wrists like she was afraid I would hurt myself, her fingers pressing into the wounds still healing over my hands.
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Enter the Release Day Giveaway HERE!
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Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world. She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is Eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.