Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Release Week blitz: Unravel by Calia Read


Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine. 

One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward. 

Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind. 

Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help. 

A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past. 

And now...everyone thinks I’m insane. But, I know he's real, and I know he needs me. 

Do you believe me?

    “What are you doing?”
     Something close to a gasp and wheeze came out of my mouth. I turned around and flattened myself against the tree. My heart thundered as I stared at Lachlan.
     He was taller than I remembered. His dirty brown hair needed a haircut. I couldn’t see his eyes. I could only make out the slope of his nose and outline of his lips that were in a thin line as he stared at me solemnly.
     I was scared out of my mind. All my determination was for nothing and now I was caught. I would never get the chance to go up into that tree.
     And Lachlan was quiet because … well, I had no idea why he was quiet. But every second something wasn’t said, the more terrified I became.
     I cleared my throat. “Y-you don’t still use this, do you?” I croaked. 
     Frowning, he looked at the treehouse and back at me. “No. Not really.” He took a step forward and I dug my fingers into the tree bark. He stopped, only a few steps away, and gave me a curious look before he stuck out his hand.
     “I’m Lachlan Halstead. Who are you?”
     He could tell my parents I was trespassing. He could get me into huge trouble. That was enough to send me running back to Rumor. But my feet stayed rooted in place. I forgot that I had a voice or that I even had a name. I struggled to breathe for a second and just stared at him.
     I forced my tongue to move and with my hand shaking, I reached out and shook his hand. “N-Naomi Carradine. I’m your neighbor,” I said with a squeaky voice.
     Lachlan looked over his shoulder, in the direction of my house.
     Please don’t tell on me. Please don’t tell on me, I chanted in my mind.
     “So what are you doing here?”
     “I just wanted to see the treehouse.”
     “In the middle of the night?”
     “Please don’t tell my parents!” I said frantically. “I only wanted to climb up there. That’s it. I promise!”
     He laughed with ease. “Relax, kid. I won’t rat you out.” He tucked his hands into the pocket of his hoodie and looked up at the tree. “Why do you want to go up there anyway? It hasn’t been used in years. I’m surprised it hasn’t collapsed.”
     I squirmed and looked down at the ground. “Since you weren’t using it, I thought I could,” I mumbled.        
     He kept his gaze on the tree and nodded. “Good enough answer.” Slapping the base of the tree, he looked at me expectantly. “You going up?”
     That’s what I came here for. But now that he was next to me, I was nervous and still scared that he would tell on me.
     I looked away from Lachlan and tilted my head back as far as it would go. I nodded slowly.
     “I’m going up.”
     I gripped the wooden steps with shaky hands. When I peeked through the opening I smiled and hefted myself up. Lachlan was behind me. He immediately walked to the corner, looking bored. I was anything but. I was only a few feet up from the ground but I felt like I was in the clouds.
     “How are you doing over there?” Lachlan asked.
     “I love it,” I breathed.
     “You don’t get out much,” he murmured.
     My shoulders tensed. “I do too.”
     “I’m just kidding.” He walked around. The wood creaked underneath his feet. Finally, he rested his elbows on the ledge next to me and stared out into the sky. “So all you want to do is come up here and sit?”
     He said nothing.
     “I was right,” I finally said. “It’s beautiful up here.”
     The two of us sat in silence, but I was okay with it.     
     “If that’s all you want to do, then you can come up here whenever,” he said.
     My eyes widened before I anxiously turned toward him. “You mean it?”
     Lachlan shrugged. “Sure. But I don’t know if sneaking out in the middle of the night is a good idea for an eight-year-old.”
     My chin went up in defense. “I’m ten.”
     He didn’t look impressed.
     “You’re outside too,” I said. “And you’re not that much older than me. Aren’t you thirteen?”
     Lachlan’s eyes narrowed. “Fifteen.”
     I ticked him off but this was the most fun I’d had in so long.
     “Well, have fun up here,” he said. “I’m going inside. And to bed. Like normal humans.”
     “Hey, wait!” I said urgently. Lachlan stopped and looked at me expectantly. “What did you used to do when you came up here?”
     “A lot of pointless games really.”
     “Like what?”
     He sighed loudly and sat down. “Stupid games. I’d shoot invisible guns, and then climb down to make runs to the house for more ammo. Sometimes this would be my spaceship. A few times this was my secret agency headquarters. Most of the time, I’d make this place my secret hideout. Or a stranded island.”
     I saw all the games he described perfectly. My imagination ran wild, seeking and grabbing everything he was saying with greedy hands. If I looked to the left, I could see mountains with plush green grass and flowers sprinkled throughout. Directly in front of me were palm trees and clean blue waters that touched the sand. To the right were ruins of a castle that once stood tall in Germany. I could see it all.
     “That’s why I always came up here,” he explained. “I could dream up anything in this treehouse.”
     I nodded and tried to keep the huge grin off my face.
     “Dream up anything,” I repeated in awe. “I want to do that.”
     “You don’t do that stuff? You’re ten! All ten-year-olds do that.”
     Not all.
     There were limits that I never crossed. I played board games, Barbies and rode horses. I rarely used my imagination. It never ran wild like Lachlan’s did.
     “No.” I looked down at the wooden floor with shame.
     “Not once?” he asked.
     I said no again.
     He persisted. “You’re lying.”
     I cleared my throat and looked at the sky.
     “I’ll create a story for you. But you have to keep it going.” He stretched his legs and crossed them at the ankles. I couldn’t tell if he was staying solely because he felt bad for his strange, ten-year-old neighbor, or because he might actually enjoy my presence. I’d accept either option.
     “Okay. The world has been invaded by aliens. And now the CIA is relying on you to protect the human race.” He continued on with his storytelling, painting the perfect picture for me to imagine.
     I watched him with fascination.
     “What’s your name?” he quizzed.
     My eyebrows drew together tightly. “Naomi.”
     “No. What is your name?” He emphasized slowly. “Just imagine and you can be anything.”
     I smiled, grasping onto the meaning of his words. The possibilities were endless. “Claire … no, I like Julia. Oh! No!” I excitedly sat up onto my knees. I couldn’t keep up with my brain. It was exhilarating. “I want to change it to Elliot Kid! I like that!”
     “Nice,” he said, and then he smiled. It was true and honest. Nothing deceitful about it. I earned that smile and I’d do just about anything to earn another smile from Lachlan Halstead.
     He talked to me for hours. Until the sun was up. Until my eyes were threatening to quit on me. Until I absolutely had to leave.
     That night, Lachlan Halstead woke me up and pulled my mind into a whole new world. I was way too young to know that at the fresh age of ten, I had willingly handed my heart over to Lachlan Halstead.


Calia Read lives in Germany with her husband and their four kids.
She's currently working on the third book in the Sloan Brothers Series, Ruin You Completely.
*author picture attached to email*

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  1. Three Chicks and their books referred me to this book.

  2. Three Chicks and Their Books!! Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Three Chicks and their books. Thanks for the chance.


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