Rylie has it all - great friends, dream boy, loving
family. But on the eve of her sixteenth birthday,
her perfect little world shatters. A stranger
claiming to be her real mother appears with a
secret: Rylie is a faery whose powers will be
unleashed on her birthday. Captured and forced
into a new life, Rylie struggles to keep everything
she loves and discovers a terrifying truth: some
promises cannot be broken.
My mother led her into the living room. The lady’s piercing green eyes rested on me,
sending a chill down my back. My father followed her gaze. “Rylie, do you know this woman?”
“No.” I shook my head slowly. “I’ve never seen her before.”
“Rylie, maybe you should go to your room,” Dad suggested, his gaze demanding I do as he
“No. If this has something to do with me, I want to hear it.” I crossed my arms and sank
against the back of the couch.
Mom and Dad exchanged a worried glance, but turned back to the lady on the
couch. “Please, go on.”
Without taking her eyes from me, the lady calmly stated, “My name is Azura, and I am
Rylie’s birth mother.”
My father, who was always a level-headed man, was on his feet in seconds, his face
hard. “What are you talking about?”
I felt like I had fallen into some kind of parallel universe. Did this woman just say she was
my birth mother? How could she be my birth mother? That would mean I was adopted, but
wouldn’t my parents have told me something like that?
My mother shook her head. “Birth mother? Rylie isn’t adopted.” She reached over and took
my hand. “Believe me, I’ll never forget the eleven hours of labor.”
The woman sat perfectly still in the blue armchair across from us, with her hands clasped on
her lap. “I know it’s hard to accept, but it’s true. Your daughter died shortly after she was born. I
switched the infants. Rylie is mine.”
The wind left me as if I had been punched in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe, and the room
spun. I gripped the pillow next to me with my other hand as I clung to my mother.
Silence filled the room for a moment, and then my father exploded. “You need to leave
now!” He pointed to the door. “Get out of this house and don’t come back without a court order.”
The lady smiled sincerely, her face still as calm as it had been when she walked in the
door. “Please, hear me out. I realize this is a lot to take in.”
“No! This is preposterous! Nobody died. Rylie is ours.” Dad’s voice was like thunder.
I studied the lady. She seemed so honest and soft-spoken. Why would she pretend
something like this? Why would she ruin our family if it weren’t true? And if was true, why was
she coming clean now? Something in me believed her even though I didn’t want to. I swallowed
hard and rubbed my sweaty palms on my shirt.
“Let her talk,” I said hoarsely.
“Rylie, you can’t believe her.” Dad looked stricken.
“I’m curious as to why she thinks I’m her daughter. Let’s hear her out.” I crossed my arms
and scooted closer to my mother, comforted when she wrapped an arm around me.
Dad turned back to the woman called Azura, and his frown deepened. “Fine.” He sat back
down in his seat and glared. “Talk.”
“Thank you. I’m going to tell you something not many humans know, and I have to trust
you to keep it secret for Rylie’s sake.” She addressed the statement to my parents.
Humans? Who talks like that?
Julia Crane is the author of the YA paranormal fiction novels: Keegan's
Chronicles, Mesmerized, Eternal Youth, and Dark Promise. She was greatly
encouraged by her mother to read and use her imagination, and has believed in
magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Julia
has traveled far and wide to many of the places her grandmother told her about,
gaining inspiration from her journeys to places like Nepal, Cyprus, Sri Lanka,
Italy, France and many more. And who knows? Maybe the magical creatures she
writes about are people she met along the way.
Keep updated by joining her mailing list.
When Talia isn’t hiding in the closet from her six children munching on a
chocolate bar, she enjoys hiking the red rocks in Utah or sitting on the beach with a
Kindle in her hands and her toes in the ocean
Talia has written a number of books for young adults, including Damaged:
Natalie’s Story, Teagan’s Story: Her Battle With Epilepsy, If I Die Young, Secret
Bloodline, Lost and Found, and The Gifted Teens Series. Connect with Talia
online at http://www.taliajager.com