Diamond Peak Series Book #1
By- Tahlia Newland
Genre- YA Fantasy
A scream pierces the night. Ariel jolts awake and watches in horror as demons drag her mother into a hidden realm. She finds help and sets off on a rescue mission. But to defeat the demons, who feed on fear and seek to enslave the human race, she must learn a secret esoteric wisdom to awaken the dormant, but potentially explosive, power of her mind.
Walnut, a quirky old wise man, guides her through treacherous inner and outer landscapes, and Nick, the powerful Warrior who travels with them, proves a dangerous attraction. Can Ariel defeat the sadistic demon lord before he kills her and enslaves her mother?
The stakes are high, death a real possibility. Fail now, and she fails humanity.
This book has been awarded the AIA Seal of Excellence in Fiction and the BRAG Medallion for Outstanding Fiction.
And an Excerpt from Lethal Inheritance
The man, tall and—Ariel noted appreciatively—athletically built, pushed off the tree with a smile that softened the sharp angles of his square jaw and straight nose. He looked older than her by several years—twentyish, she decided.
‘Hi, I’m Nick,’ he said in a pleasant voice.
Ariel met his gaze and a blast of energy shot from his eyes into hers. It raced into the centre of her chest and exploded, knocking her breathless. She wrenched her eyes from his and staggered backwards.
‘What the hell?’ She felt as if he’d bludgeoned her with a blunt instrument. ‘What was that?’
‘What was what?’ He sounded completely innocent, and his expression, though a little tense, was carefully neutral, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes.
Had he really not felt anything?
Nick wondered how she’d managed to wrench open a door in his chest and unleash a burst of that unspeakable power. It’d raced up his spine and out his eyes, and after he’d torn his gaze from hers, it’d taken all his concentration to shut the door and keep the rest safely locked up. The girl was dangerous.
‘Nothing,’ she muttered and hurried past him, breaking his self absorption and reminding him that he had a job to do.
‘Wait, I’m going that way too.’ He raced after her. ‘Can I walk with you?’
‘No.’ She sounded pissed off.
Part of him wanted to ask if he’d hurt her, but the wise part told him to shut the hell up. He didn’t want to have to deal with it now. Actually, not ever. ‘I’m not going to hurt you.’
‘Really? So far you don’t inspire me with confidence.’
‘I’m sorry, okay.’ He wanted to say it wouldn’t happen again, but he couldn’t guarantee it.
She stopped and looked at him. ‘So you did do something.’
He avoided her gaze. ‘I didn’t do anything.’
‘Fine. Whatever.’ She walked on. ‘Just leave me alone, all right.’
Well, that worked out well, he thought sarcastically, and followed her in uneasy silence. But maybe she was always that grumpy. Good. He didn’t want to like her. What was so special about her that made Walnut ask him to meet her, anyway? She wasn’t bad looking, he supposed, if you liked redheads, which he didn’t. But her skin was too pale, unhealthy. Funny that, because her toned legs and well-worn trekking boots gave her the air of someone who could handle the outdoors.
None of that would interest Walnut though. He must see talent there, and that made her dangerous, even without the dagger at her side and the strange effect she’d had on him. He noticed the sceptre-shaped hilt and a jolt of something between horror and surprise slammed into him. Where did she get something like that? His hands itched to get hold of it, and his heart ached to think that they probably never would.
He noted his rising resentment with embarrassment, and had to remind himself that, whoever she was, Walnut wanted her safe. He would be polite, but she’d have to earn his respect. ‘What’s your name?’
She didn’t reply, just strode on with a stony expression. He trailed after her.
‘Why are you following me?’ she asked tersely.
‘It’s a public path and I happen to be going in the same direction.’
Silence. But her posture said it all, chilly. She needed some serious lightening up. ‘Okay, I’ll guess. It’s Mavis.’
She strode on without a word.
‘No? Betty, then? Dulcie? Winifred? Willamena?’ He felt her soften at that one. ‘Prudence?’
She cleared her throat.
That got a quiet snort.
‘Murtle? Gertrude?’ Nothing. ‘Do I have to beg or what?’
‘It’s Farty Blardfast.’
‘That’s Slartibartfast actually.’
‘Oh, so you’re telling me what my name is now.’
‘No, that’s what it is in the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy.’
‘I thought that’s what you meant.’
‘It was the inspiration, that’s all.’
‘Pleased to meet you, Farty. I can call you Farty, can’t I?’
She chuckled, then cut it abruptly and returned to her previous stony tone. ‘No, you can’t.’
‘I know, I’ll call you Ariel.’
She stopped walking and swung around, eyes blazing. ‘How do you know my name?’
‘Ah ha, bulls-eye.’ So, he did have the right girl.
She glared at him, then walked on.
‘Why so grumpy?’ he asked, walking beside her now.
‘I’ve had a rotten day, okay?’
‘So consider me here to cheer you up.’
‘Pleased to be of service.’ He did a beautiful impersonation of the sliding doors from the Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy TV series, and got a muffled giggle for his trouble.
‘Did you really just guess it?’
‘Your name? An educated guess.’
‘And the education was?’
‘You match a wanted poster.’
‘Sheesh, can you be serious?’
‘Not so long as you’re grumpy.’
‘I’m not grumpy.’
‘Then I’m serious.’
He took her cue to end the conversation and they continued along the path in silence.
About the Author-
Tahlia Newland, author of the multi-award-winning Diamond Peak Series, writes heart-warming and inspiring magical realism and contemporary fantasy. She is also an editor, a reviewer, an occasional high school teacher, and a mask-maker who loves creating digital art and sitting on her veranda staring at the rain forest.
Tahlia has studied with top Australian editors and has a Certificate in Editing and Proofreading. Before writing full time, she had over 20 years’ experience in scripting and performing as a dancer/mine in Visual Theatre and Theatre in Education. She has had extensive training in meditation and Buddhist philosophy and lives in Australia with a husband, a teenage daughter, and a cheeky Burmese cat called George.