Book Blitz Kick-Off+Giveaway: Darkness Watching by Emma Adams

Darkness Watching
by Emma L Adams

Release Date: 10th October 2013
Publisher: Curiosity Quills
Genre: Urban fantasy/paranormal

Target Audience: Upper YA/New Adult

Summary from Goodreads:

Eighteen-year-old Ashlyn is one interview away from her future when she first sees the demons. She thinks she's losing her mind, but the truth is far more frightening: she can see into the Darkworld, the home of spirits– and the darkness is staring back.

Desperate to escape the demons, Ash accepts a place at a university in the small town of Blackstone, in the middle of nowhere - little knowing that it isn't coincidence that led her there but the pull of the Venantium, the sorcerers who maintain the barrier keeping demons from crossing from the Darkworld into our own world.

All-night parties, new friendships and a life without rules or limits are all part of the package of student life - but demons never give up, and their focus on Ash has attracted the attention of every sorcerer in the area. Ash is soon caught between her new life and a group of other students with a connection to the Darkworld, who could offer the answers she's looking for. The demons want something from her, and someone is determined to kill her before she can find out what it is. 

In a world where darkness lurks beneath the surface, not everyone is what they appear to be...

Buy Links:

"Emma is an amazing writer. She has become one of my favorites. I couldn’t put Darkness Watching down." - Diane at A Creative Mind

"Darkness Watching provides an original world that is fully complete and from a teens POV. It was dark and entertaining and sometimes teen books don’t go full out, this one did. The world building was truly strong in this novel." - Lexi at 
Book Bliss

"Like good books should, Darkness Watching left me pondering the story after I'd finished reading AND left me wanting more. Adams built a strong world for readers to be immersed. But the regular world retained full realism. Normal every day teen situations felt completely believable." - Erin at 
Erin Albert Books

I have to say, I didn’t see the ending coming! ... the final showdown left me speechless (You will have to read it!)" - Julia at 
Never Judge a Book by its Movie

"This was entertaining from the start...I didn’t want to put it down, and fans of urban fantasies I think will enjoy this. Darkness Watching was definitely worth the read." - Jenea at 
Books Live Forever

"This book is unique, fun and interesting. I kept wondering what was going to happen next...I felt that this book was well written and It was hard to put this book down once I started. " -Jessica at 
Eat Sleep Read

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Excerpt #1

"Hey, Ash, you know there's supposed to be a zombie apocalypse today?"
My best friend Cara gestured toward a clove of garlic she'd pinned to her jacket, out of her misguided belief that it would fend off any potential supernatural threats. I decided not to mention that it would only help with vampires, not zombies. Besides, I doubted a single clove of garlic would be much help in surviving the End of Days.
I had my own demons to contend with.
As people sloped into the assembly hall for the annual Careers' Talk, I skimmed through my notes yet again, hoping in vain that something would stick. For me, the following day reserved the title of Doomsday, the day of my interview at my top-choice university. Hell would be a better fate.
"Come on, Cara," said Alice. 'How many times is the world supposed to have ended now?"
"I'm not taking any chances," said Cara, indicating that she wore a headband threaded with garlic, too, perched on top of her purple-highlighted dark hair.
"You'll have a nightmare getting the smell out," I told her. "Aren't you supposed to be going out tonight?"
"Some guys like the smell of garlic," said Cara, although she looked doubtful. 'I think. Hmm. Maybe it's a bit much."
"Well, it better not be Armageddon, seeing as it's my interview tomorrow," I said. "Not to mention we're in a careers assembly."
Cara laughed. "I don't know why I bothered coming, anyway. I've heard all this before."
"Yeah," I said. "Besides, if we're going to die, I'd rather not be in this hellhole when it happens."
"You know, Ash," said Cara, squinting at me―the fluorescent lights in the hall gleamed far too brightly for a Monday morning―"you look like a walking zombie. When did you last get a decent night's sleep?"
"Define 'decent'?" I said.
"More than an hour. And not in the middle of school."
I blinked, looking at her concerned face. Her dark eyes―outlined in purple, in blatant defiance of the school's no-makeup rule―saw past my carefully constructed mask. Her penetrating stare saw right through any deception―something most people found a bit unnerving.
"Um…a couple of days ago? I can't sleep, or I forget everything I know about Milton."
"Jesus, girl." Cara shook her head. "Who gives a crap about Milton, really? You're going way over the top about this."
"Maybe." But sleep didn't come easy when the fate of the world depended on my ability to pass an interview. Well, more like the fate of the school's reputation. Ever since they'd found out about the Oxford interview, they wanted to hold me up as a beacon to prospective students. I thought this rather unfair on people like Cara, who'd worked just as hard as I had to get into a top-ten university but didn't have to deal with the indignity of walking around under a spotlight. The worst part? I didn't think I could do it.
I tried not to think about my record, which included scores of disastrous interviews for part-time jobs. And a tendency to panic in unfamiliar situations. But this time, I couldn't afford to screw up. This has to be worth it. Somehow.
"Ash, you'll be fine. You're a genius."
I shook my head. "No, I'm not."
I felt more like an imposter. I might be able to memorise past papers, but that didn't make me an intellectual. I'd rather play Mario Kart than read Wordsworth. Would I really fit in at Oxford?
Would I fit in anywhere?
Most of the time, I just felt scared. Scared and helpless, as if I teetered on the edge of a cliff and I couldn't do a damn thing to stop myself falling.
Mr Darton, our ever-clueless head of sixth form, began his customary mutter into the microphone―always the same speech. We had only one chance and this would affect the rest of our lives. The last thing I wanted to hear right now.
I tucked an errant curl of black hair behind my ear and tried to focus on the passage from Paradise Lost I wanted to memorise. It'll serve them right if I just dropped out and ran away to Australia or something, I thought, and not for the first time, I imagined doing exactly that. I need to get out of here. I felt like a cage surrounded me on all sides, a glass case no one could see but me.
Focus, for God's sake! snapped another voice in my head, jolting me back to reality.
The words jumped around the page, like they possessed a will of their own. I rubbed my temples, fighting the urge to groan in frustration. How would I ever remember any of this when staring down at a table of distinguished literary professors? I'd be lucky if I could remember my own name. In the mock interview with my personal tutor, I'd lost my head completely and babbled about a book I'd never even read for a good ten minutes. Panic obliterated all intelligent thought.
At that moment, the lights in the hall went out, as did the projector, plunging us into dusty darkness. Cara let out a shriek.
"It's happening!" she wailed, clutching at her garlic clove which, not being securely fastened to her jacket, fell to the floor. With another shriek, she dived underneath her seat to retrieve it.
"Calm down! It's just a power cut." I furrowed my brow, trying to read my notes. Everyone talked amongst themselves as Mr Darton struggled to turn the projector back on. I couldn't see any lights outside in the corridor, either. A whole school power-cut. Great. And why did I feel so cold?
A stream of faint winter sunlight shone through gaps in the blinds that covered the windows, lighting the myriad dust motes in the air. I sighed and tilted my head back, rubbing my eyes to stop them from closing. I could feel a headache building behind my temples.
Then a pair of eyes appeared amongst the rafters, and stared right into mine.
They gleamed violet, with vertically slit pupils like a cat's. They blinked, looking down at the confusion below. Then they locked onto me.
Once, when I'd cut my finger on a kitchen knife, I'd gone into shock and nearly passed out. My vision turned blue around the edges, and everything acquired an odd, blurred quality. Right now, looking into those sinister, alien eyes, I felt exactly the same.
I'm going mad. It's not real. Cara's superstitions have made me start seeing things.
That, or the lack of sleep. I realised I'd stopped breathing. I could feel sweat on my forehead, but at the same time I felt cold all over, cold as the frigid December air outside. As if fresh snow covered me, slowly seeping into my skin through my hoody and jeans. But at the same time, it felt more like the kind of paralysing chill I associated with that moment in horror stories when someone saw a ghost.
Was it a ghost? I'd always thought ghosts would look…human. If I believed in them, which up until now, I thought I didn't.
All around me, I could hear the other students chatting, laughing. No one screamed, cried, or ran for the doors. It was as though my own private bubble of horror enclosed me like the cage I'd envisioned earlier. Trapped.
Then I heard a faint whisper, almost like a breath.
I would have screamed if I'd been capable of making a sound. I knew beyond doubt that those eyes, that voice, belonged to something which wasn't human.
The eyes blinked again, becoming part of the shadow once more, as the hall lights came back on. For a moment, a swathe of blackness remained in the rafters, like a single patch of mist left behind after a fog has lifted. Not a single speck of dust disturbed the area around it.
Then it vanished.
I still couldn't breathe. Those cold eyes remained imprinted on the insides of my eyelids, light purple, glowing and staring.
Staring at me.
I blacked out for a minute. When I came to, I heard Mr Darton's low mutter into the microphone-not that anyone listened. Whispers filled the air, ordinary conversations. People talked about their plans for the weekend, not about monsters with violet eyes or piercing, unnatural coldness. The more studious skimmed through revision notes. I looked down and saw mine scattered all over the floor. I didn't remember dropping them. I didn't remember anything but those awful eyes.
I've cracked. Did staring violet eyes fall under the category of stress-induced hallucinations?
Cara tried to laugh off her moment of panic.
"I didn't really think it was the end of the world," she insisted.
The end of the world. Maybe that was what I'd seen. A sign.
Excerpt #2
It started out as yet another exam dream. I sat in the school hall, looking at an unfamiliar paper, as all the other students began to write with frantic enthusiasm, pens racing down the page.
I didn't revise this at all. Panic rose within me. I looked around desperately. Everyone else scribbled away. The clock ticked, seconds passing. Minutes. Shit.
I felt a familiar surge of dizziness; my breath stuck in my throat, my heart pounded. I stared at the back of the seat in front of me, which seemed to waver and shimmer before my eyes, turning to blackness―
And a face grinned at me. Sharp teeth formed a malevolent smile. Violet eyes stared at me, unblinking. I could see nothing else for the smoke, which completely obscured everything before my eyes.
Then my chair tipped backward of its own accord. In slow motion, it leaned back, teetered for a moment. The demon grinned as I sat there, powerless to move.
The panic inside my chest spilled over and I tried to cry out. But I couldn't move my jaw, couldn't open my mouth. I was frozen to the seat as it hit the floor with a soundless thud.
I couldn't move.
I couldn't feel anything.
And I couldn't speak, couldn't scream.
I lay on my back, and around me, people continued to write, like robots programmed to scribble endless pages. No one spared a glance for me. I was trapped there on the floor, and no one even knew I was trapped.
The eyes blinked, then vanished.
My heart restarted with a jolt, hammering in my ears. I fought to escape the trap. My eyes felt as though something heavy weighed them shut, but I managed to force my eyelids apart. The sight of my digital alarm clock greeted me, sideways; I'd fallen asleep at my desk, my head resting on my laptop, the cold edge digging into my face.
I tried to lift my head, but I couldn't. I tried to open my mouth, but my jaw remained locked.
Impossible. I'm awake. Trapped again, this time for real. Not a muscle in my body responded to my pleas. I couldn't feel my hands, but I knew my right hand rested under my chin where I'd used it as a pillow. I couldn't feel my face, either.
I'd lost all feeling in my entire body, as if something invisible laid on top of me, pinning me down.
I tried to cry out, but not a sound escaped.
Move! I thought, trying to lift my head. The weight continued to press on me. I recalled one of those websites I'd browsed had mentioned poltergeists that sat on people in the middle of the night, leaving them unable to move. This felt just like it. Terror washed over me, cold and merciless.
Every short breath hurt my chest. Let me go. Please. Please―I'll do anything, just let me move.
"Anything, Ashlyn?"
That voice.
What do you want from me?
Somehow, not being able to see the speaker made it a thousand times worse. It felt like a thousand invisible hands gripped me all over, numbing all sensation. At the edges of my vision, I thought I saw dark shapes, but no eyes, no mouth for the voice.
Finally, the messages between my brain and nerves seemed to hit home, and I managed to raise my head, to lift my arm an inch. Slowly I regained feeling in my limbs. I shifted, twitched my hands, my feet.
Even then, I knew they watched me.
That day, the fear began.


Excerpt #3
So much for being the amazing Oxford candidate.
No dark spaces waited for us around the assembly hall this time. Mr Darton stood barring the door to make sure no one sneaked in to get a look at the exam papers. I raced through quotations in my head, praying to the gods of exams that the right question would come up. Avoiding a panic attack would be nice, too.
Breathe. I didn't want a repeat of the interview. The word fiasco came to mind when I thought of the day after the demons came, when I'd sat before the stereotypically grey-bearded distinguished professor of literature and, intelligently, said, "I like, um, reading."
Thirty minutes of nonsensical rambling later, I'd left the interview room and walked right through a dark space that looked as though it had been torn out of the universe. A patch of air, densely black yet somehow transparent, so I could see through to the other side, where people walked along the corridor, talking, completely oblivious to the darkness.
Only I could see it.
And before I could even gather my thoughts, a pair of violet eyes stated at me from the blackness.
I cracked. I screamed my head off and ran.
"I think you made quite an impression," said Mum, after I'd calmed down. "Not everyone runs screaming out of their interview."
"Ha-freaking-ha," I said sourly. Hardly the impression I'd hoped for―Ashlyn the lunatic as opposed to Ashlyn the knowledgeable literary critic.
The next day, my parents frog-marched me to the doctor's for anxiety medication.
Like medication would make a difference. No prescribed medicine could cure fear of the dark. Or demons.
The fear never really went away, for all that I treated the demons like a minor annoyance. I'd chosen that over giving into insanity and locking myself away. Slowly, I'd adjusted to their staring eyes, like people who went on those reality TV shows must adjust to cameras being there all the time.
A reality TV show is a pretty good comparison. The demons watched me like a fascinating performance, just for them. Everywhere: at school, in the street, at the shops. Dark shapes would appear and I'd be greeted by cold violet eyes and a chill that went bone-deep. But they'd never tried to harm me. Hell, I didn't even know if they could. They just watched me curiously, as if my seeing them astonished them as much as it did me. After a while, I grew sick of it and stared back. I was bravest in my room, where they couldn't get to me. Sometimes, when I was alone in the house, I felt that prickling sensation along my spine and just knew that when I looked up, I'd see one, outside my window. But they never came inside, oddly enough; it contradicted their other behaviour because they had no physical substance, if the OED experiment proved anything. I assumed they could materialise anywhere at all. They appeared inside the school building all the time. Strange that they left my house alone, but not something to complain about. The idea of creepy eyes watching me in the shower―well, I'd almost rather have one of those nightmares.
Sometimes, like today, I spoke to them, like a five-year-old conversing with imaginary friends. Albeit vicious ones who refused to let me be. Insulting them brought no satisfaction; it was like swearing at my laptop when it stalled, like hurling insults at the wind.
The clock's ticking brought me back to the present. Shit, how do I have only five minutes left? I pushed my hand to its limits, pen racing down the page, but the stubborn hand of the clock ticked on relentlessly. I wished it would stop.
The clock's hand stopped.
Holy shit.
I glanced from side to side. Did I do that? Impossible.
The old school's clock broke down, that was all. People couldn't do things like that.
People couldn't.
I looked around frantically, searching for any sign of a demon. Any shadow could be a dark space, right?
Don't be an idiot―finish your answer!
I scribbled the end to my final paragraph, splattering ink everywhere.
A minute later, Mr Darton said to our deputy head, Mrs Cathers, "I make it half past the hour. Do you?"
The two exchanged whispers. I heard the clock mentioned. I can't have done that. There's only so much weird I can see in one day.


Excerpt #4
David turned to me. "You okay? I saw that girl stand on your foot."
"I'll live," I said, examining the ugly purple bruise already forming. "Ouch."
Then I saw something that chilled me instantly. Not two feet away from me―one of those dark spaces, a patch of nothingness, like a tear in the universe. I stared helplessly, waiting for the inevitable pair of malevolent purple eyes to meet mine.
But there was nothing there. Just blackness.
"Ash? What're you looking at?" said Sarah.
"Nothing," I said, tearing my gaze away. "Thought I saw someone I knew."
Out of the corner of my eye, I continued to watch the dark space.
"I think clubbing's kind of overrated," said Alex. "Yeah, it's fun for a bit, but I'd rather be watching a film or sitting in a pub or something."
"Ditto," said Sarah.
I shifted my gaze back to the dark space- and I almost stopped breathing. Something stepped out of the darkness.
The something was a shadow, black as the gap itself, hunched and shapeless, but as it moved, it seemed to solidify into an animalistic shape, crouched on all fours. Shadows blurred around it like a long shaggy coat.
This was no demon; it was something else. I could hear its soft footfalls on the pavement. This creature was here, physically, not hiding behind a dark space. Before, I'd always instinctively known the demons weren't part of the world as I knew it. But this creature was as solidly here as I was.
I backed away, almost tripping over the front step of Satan's Pit.
"Ash? You okay?"
"Fine," I said, amazed at how steady my voice sounded, despite the tremors that made my heart rattle against my rib cage. "It's really cold out here. I think we should go back inside."
"You sure?" David looked at me doubtfully. "Okay, then."
Coward. A sharp voice in my head berated me for running away. But I didn't want this, not now. Not now I'd almost regained a normal life.
But before I could follow Alex, Sarah, and David back inside, someone grabbed my arm.
"It's sensed you," a voice hissed. 'You can't go back in there."
I turned. It was the girl who'd knocked into me earlier, the red-haired girl from the car.
Swaying unsteadily on her three-inch heels, she pointed at the creature, which crept closer until its muzzle almost brushed my feet. It looked like a shadowy, oversized fox, but the eyes it fixed on me were crimson, like bloody gouges in its face.
I felt an icy claw grip my heart, rooting me to the spot.
"Shit," I whispered. "What the hell is that?"
"A shadow-beast. It can't see you, but it can sense you," whispered the girl. "Move."
But I couldn't move. I was backed up against the door to Satan's Pit.
The girl swore, stepping back to stand beside me. Dark tendrils rippled across the pavement like a creeping plant. The creature edged forward, raising its head to bare two rows of teeth. Shit, I thought. It's really going to kill me.
The girl cursed, and moved in front of me, taking something out of her bag so fast her hands appeared blurred. A plain, black Japanese-style fan, patterned with flames. She held it out in her right hand, between us and the creature.
Confusion leaked through my terror. What's she doing?
For a second, I saw something flicker down her arms to her fingertips, then flames appeared out of nowhere, igniting the fan. She made a threatening motion toward the creature, which let out a high-pitched squeal. Faster than I could blink, it leapt at the dark space, vanishing into nothingness.
The girl flicked the fan, and the flames receded, becoming a simple pattern once again. She snapped the fan back into its case and stashed it in her bag. I couldn't stop staring at her, speechless.

About the Author
Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing fantasy and paranormal for young adults. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also wrote various novels and short stories. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, she can usually be found in front of her writing desk, creating weird and wonderful alternative worlds. Her debut novel The Puppet Spell, published in January 2013 by Rowanvale Books, is a fantasy tale for young adults and the young at heart, inspired by her lifelong love of the fantastical, mythology, and video games. Emma also writes supernatural fantasy novels for older teens and adults. Her next book, Darkness Watching, is the first in the upper-YA/New Adult Darkworld series, and was published in October 2013 by Curiosity Quills Press.

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