Man, look at those covers! And the story is so fascinating!
The Hightower Trilogy by Jadie Jones is a science fiction and fantasy romance.
Wildwood ~ The Hightower Trilogy Book 1
Tanzy Hightower is not crazy. At least, that’s what she tells herself. Crazy looks more like her mother, who studies each sunrise with the same fascination other women give tabloid magazines in the grocery store checkout line. Crazy sounds like the woman on the radio claiming there’s a whole separate world existing parallel to our own. Still, Tanzy can’t deny the tingle of recognition she feels each time she sees her mother standing at the kitchen window, or hears the panic in the woman’s voice coming through the speakers of her father’s truck.
Tanzy intends to follow her father’s footsteps into the professional horse world. But the moment she watches him die on the back of a horse in an accident she feels responsible for, everything changes.
On the first anniversary of his death, a fight with her mother drives her back to her father’s farm in the middle of a stormy night. Neither Tanzy nor life as she knows it escapes unchanged when she is struck by lightning and introduced to a world… unseen, and receives proof her father’s death was no accident.
Two strangers seem too willing to help her navigate her new reality: Vanessa Andrews, a psychiatrist who believes lightning chooses who it strikes, and Lucas, a quiet, scarred stable hand with timing that borders on either perfect or suspect. But Tanzy has secrets of her own. Desperate for answers and revenge, Tanzy must put her faith in their hands as her past comes calling, and her father’s killer closes in.
“We’ll be fine, Mom,” I offer.
“Thanks for breakfast,” I say. “I really will come back every year, no matter where I go after graduation. Nobody does coconut pancakes like you do.”
“Thank you, sweetheart.” She looks at me, blinking rapidly. “Now go, the day’s wasting,” she says, and then turns back to the sun. I steal one more glimpse of her, and follow Dad to the truck.
We ride in silence for the first few minutes. Dad rolls up the pancakes with one hand so he can eat them like a burrito while he drives. Once he finishes, he wipes his mouth with the paper towel and then tucks it into the pocket of his flannel shirt.
“I don’t know why you like those,” he says, and sucks at his teeth.
“I haven’t liked them since I was about ten,” I admit.
Dad lets out a honk of a laugh. “You’re a good girl, Tanzy,” he says. He turns up the volume on his favorite radio station to listen to the morning show. The voices fade in and out for the first few minutes as we make our way to the main road. The radio host’s voice becomes audible, announcing the beginning of the routine Science Fact or Fiction Friday segment.
“With us today is Dr. Andrews, who has a rather extraordinary theory about light and lightning, and some compelling studies to back up her claims. Dr. Andrews, thank you for joining us.”
“Thank you for having me,” she answers.
“So Dr. Andrews, give us your science fact.”
“Did you know that the human eye sees less than one percent of the color spectrum, and our ears hear less than one percent of the sound spectrum?”
“No, I did not.”
“What do you think is in all that clear, all that quiet?”
Dad glances at the radio dial as if checking the station.
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it,” the host answers.
“What if I was to tell you that there’s an entirely separate world in the clear, undetectable by human senses.”
“A world?” the host repeats. I shift in my seat.
“Yes, a world,” the woman continues. “A world happening around us all the time. It has been operating alongside ours like two plays on one stage.”
“Do you have proof of this world?”
“None that you’d believe,” she replies. A chill of interest conjures goose bumps from my elbows to my wrist. I pull the sleeves on my jacket down to cover my knuckles.
“Well it’s pretty safe to invent something that you claim you can’t prove.”
“There’s nothing safe about it,” she answers.
“I’m not sure what this has to do with light or lightning.” The host’s voice raises an octave, and his question sounds more like an accusation. I lean toward the dash.
“Lightning and other weather events aren’t random. They’re tools of—”
“Okay, that’s all the nonsense I can take for one morning,” Dad interjects, his voice filling the cab, and turns the knob on the radio until a country song comes in clear enough to recognize. “Ruined my morning show and my drive,” he grumbles. “Let’s hope your mom didn’t hear that woman spreading her paranoid crap. She’ll stuff our house with furniture from floor to ceiling just to take up all the empty space. A world in the clear.” He huffs. “What’s wrong with these radio shows and news reports anymore? All they do is try to stir people up. They’ll give any nut a microphone and air time so long as it’ll get a reaction out of somebody.”
My gaze drifts out of my window, and to the clear air whistling by the car as we wind down a tree lined road, soaring skyward until it fades to black thousands of miles above us. Maybe it’s just the sound of the tires grinding against the asphalt vibrating through the bottom of the old Ford truck, or the whine of air curling around the hood, but the silence seems fuller than it did a moment ago.
“You are your mother’s daughter,” Dad says softly. “Don’t give wild hares prime real estate in your head. Your mom thinks her fears keep her safe, that they prepare her. All fear does is build walls, Tanzy—walls she can’t break because she’s convinced herself they’re useful.”
“I can cook. And I would rather be outside than inside,” I say, listing off the first two differences I can think of between my mother and me. I can’t imagine islanding myself at home the way she does. We only have one vehicle because she doesn’t like to drive and won’t go anywhere alone. In the last year, the walls of my room, of every room in our house, have felt a little closer in than they did before, the ceilings lower, too. Still, my heart sinks. I have felt the rabbit of nervousness race through me with nothing prompting the chase. What if, one day, I need walls the way she does?
“Before you came along, your mom couldn’t stand to spend a whole day inside. Hell, even a single lazy morning would make her agitated, and she’d need to go for a ride. Then she had that bad fall, and she didn’t want to have another one. Taking a risk has a higher price tag attached to it when you have someone depending on you. And it’s not just that. Being a parent changes things—changes everything. You see the world through the eyes of someone whose sole purpose becomes keeping a tiny, helpless baby safe. This world we’re in has more sharp edges and teeth than you realize.”
“Now who’s paranoid?” I smile at him.
“You’ll see one day, if you decide to have a kid of your own,” he says, his gaze following the nose of the truck as he makes a turn.
“That’s a big if,” I say.
“It’s also a long ways off. It better be, anyway.” He winks.
“Dad, seriously.” I fold my arms across my front. “But is Mom . . . is she okay? I know me leaving next year is hard on her. But she wants me to go, doesn’t she?”
“Of course she does. She’ll feel better once you know what you want to do and where you’re going. It’s the unknown that bothers her most. But you don’t need to worry about her. She’s stronger than you could ever imagine. I think when you have to raise yourself like she did, well, it shapes your perspective.”
“What really happened to her parents? I know you guys have said no one knows, but I always thought maybe it was some secret you were keeping until I was an adult or something. I am eighteen now.” I raise an eyebrow, and try to keep my tone light.
“It’s just something your mom isn’t willing to talk about. It took me a long time to accept it, and it’s natural for you to be curious. That’s a piece of your family and your history, too. But whatever it is, your mom keeps it from us for her own reasons, and I have learned to respect that.”
Windswept ~The Hightower Trilogy Book
Tanzy’s journey continues in Windswept, the second installment of the Hightower Trilogy… An Unseen World believes Tanzy Hightower is the key in an ancient prophecy meant to deliver the only new birth in all of time. They have waited a thousand years for her soul to return to life in human form. Some of them will stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy, and others have sworn an oath to end Tanzy’s existence, permanently. Tanzy’s body is compromised. Her veins are now home to the blood of a savage, wild horse, and its instincts are becoming impossible to control. Her world is also divided. She is determined to rescue Lucas, an Unseen creature who has loved her since her first life, and to find her treasured Harbor and the other stolen horses, which are bound for a catastrophic end in a world she can’t access on her own. Yet the only allies she has left insist she seeks refuge in a remote safe house on the Outer Banks. While her fellow candidates beg her to stay in hiding, new enemies work to draw her out, making it clear Lucas and the horses are hers for the taking. But Tanzy knows all to well that when your loved ones are used as bait, finding them is only the beginning.
“Tanzy.” My mother murmurs my name without reaching for me.
My hands tremble at my sides. I should meet her gaze, but my focus is drawn to her throat. I want nothing more than to cradle my cheek against the soft curve of her neck, to feel safe in her embrace. To feel like her child again. How many times over the course of this past year have I wanted to feel exactly the same way?
A girl steps between us—a girl I met moments ago. Her name has already escaped me, incinerated by the shock of seeing my mother come through the cloak of fog and trees. Whatever else she said, mere seconds ago—something important—has scattered from my mind like ash in the wind.
My mother. My mother is here. Here, in the woods lining Vanessa Andrews’s house. Vanessa, who’s been playing mind games with me for months, who knows what I’m going to do before I do. My mother wouldn’t, couldn’t be on Vanessa’s property without her knowing, could she? If she knew what danger she was in, she’d never have come. But she’s here. . . . She’s here.
What if this isn’t my mother at all? What if it’s an Unseen creature borrowing her face? A chill pricks my thudding heart, slowing it in my chest.
“Who are you?” My voice falters, and I withdraw behind a line of shadows. The taste of metal floods my mouth, and everything inside of me begins to hum. I mean the question for my mother, but the girl answers instead.
“I’m Jayce, remember?” she says. “We’re here to help you, Tanzy. Both of us.” Her fingers are strangling the strap of her messenger bag. Her white-blonde hair frames her narrow face. The ends are dyed pink, a shock of color against her alabaster complexion. Faint lines of darker pigment zigzag across her exposed skin. Two bright stripes descend from the inner corners of her eyes, tapering to a point at either edge of her mouth.
I recognize those markers immediately—the stain of Vires blood flowing through her body, which means she’s met Asher. If the pattern on her skin is any indicator, he transfused her with the blood of a tiger. Fresh suspicion prickles my spine, and I’m suddenly comforted by the knowledge that I’m one of the strongest mortal creatures on this side of the veil.
Jayce may have the stripes of a tiger, but the deepened hue of my skin, my long lashes and dark, wild hair, all of it emerged after my transfusion in the hospital. Asher completely siphoned my blood and replaced it with the Vires blood of a wild horse—the horse Spera saved from death a thousand years ago. The horse who laid down its life for her, and for her future incarnations, apparently. The horse now rendered to porous stone in Vanessa’s magnificent mansion, not a hundred yards from where we stand.
Vanessa, who I trusted. I wonder if I’ll ever trust blindly again. I hope not. I clinch my hands to fists and step out from the shroud of shadows.
“Who are you?” I say, staring hard into Hope’s eyes this time so there will be no misunderstanding.
“I’m your mother,” she says meekly.
I close my eyes and steel myself against the rising memory of the letter she left in my empty room:
This house is no longer your home. I am no longer your responsibility, and you are no longer mine. Don’t look for me. You won’t find me. Our paths will not continue unless we walk them alone. Leave, Tanzy, and don’t come back.
SHE SIGNED it with her name instead of her role. Perhaps that hurt worst of all. Not my stripped belongings, the bedroom she left bare save a lantern and a pathetic scrap of a note. Not the days I spent in the hospital wondering if she was okay, when she should have been worried about me. Not the hundreds of unanswered phone calls.
She locked up the house. Our home. Abandoned it. Abandoned me. She isn’t my mother anymore. She’s just . . . Hope.
Young-adult author. Equine professional. Southern gal. Pacific Northwest Transplant. Especially fond of family, sunlight, and cookie dough.
I wrote my first book in seventh grade, filling one hundred and four pages of a black and white Mead notebook. Back then I lived for two things: horses and R.L. Stine books. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and I still work with horses, and hoard books like most women my age collect shoes. It’s amazing how much changes… and how much stays the same.
The dream of publishing a novel has hitch-hiked with me down every other path I’ve taken (and there have been many.) Waitress, farm manager, road manager, bank teller, speech writer, retail, and more. But that need to bring pen to paper refused to quiet. Finally, in 2009, I sat down, pulled out a brand new notebook, and once again let the pictures in my head become words on paper.
As a child, my grandfather would sit me in his lap and weave tales about the Cherokee nation, and a girl who belonged with horses. His words painted a whole new world, and my mind would take flight. My hope – my dream – is that Tanzy’s journey does the same for you.
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