Today I have one of my bestie friends visiting and telling us about her debut release with Secret Cravings Publisher.
When Calliope Flood catches the unwanted attention of prettiest and most privileged girls at her new school, she learns they are possessed of more than just good ole’ Southern charm; they are also possessed by the demons of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Whether she likes it or not, the Ravens want the pretty new girl to become one of their members. Their club is so secret, only a select few know their truth. As a budding journalist, Callie is more interested in investigating them than joining them. When people begin to disappear, she soon discovers the Ravens aren’t just interested in her for her looks; slowly, she learns she’s a legacy. Calliope enlists her eccentric Aunt, her new friends, and a quietly disarming Southern boy to form their own group, The Virtues, to free the girls, and the town, from the demons that have taken over their lives.
Callie strode purposefully into the Journalism room. School didn’t officially start for another half hour, but she knew she would find Meg in there anyway. She hadn’t yet reached the editor’s office when she could hear her yelling on the phone.
“Are you kidding me, Jim? How can you raise the printing rates on a school, for God’s sake? Why don’t you jack the rates up on one of your country club buddies?” Meg stood behind her desk, the phone tucked under her chin and shoulder, holding a sheaf of papers. She looked as angry as she sounded. “I’m sure one of those phonies from Suture Cove wouldn’t even notice a rate hike.” Callie realized “Suture Cove” must be Meg’s moniker for Sutter Cove, where she and her aunt had dined the other night. There had been a lot of plastic surgery on display. She stifled a giggle and caught a glare from Meg.
“Whatever, Jim. Thanks for nothing.” Meg slammed down the phone with such force, the internal bell dinged. She looked up and greeted Callie and Cayden with a nod.
“Hey. Why are you here so early?”
Callie moved excitedly to Meg’s side of the desk. “I’ve figured something out about the Ravens!”
Meg clucked her tongue and said, “So have I. Seems they have more pull than just with the headmistress.” She glared at the phone. “That was our printer. He claims if I don’t give him right of final approval on each edition of the school paper, we’ll have to pay more than double for “community-irresponsible material”, whatever the hell that means.” Meg slumped into her editor’s chair and sighed. “Man, this place is starting to really piss me off.”
“Meg, are you listening? I’ve figured it out.” Callie tried again to get her friend’s attention.
“You should listen, Meg. It’s way out, but she’s totally right.” Cayden added.
Meg ran her hands through her hair. “Okay, okay. Tell me the earth-shattering news, already.”
Callie paused to make sure Meg really paid attention. Satisfied she had her, she spilled her secret.
“The Ravens are possessed by the seven deadly sins.”
Meg blinked at Callie. “What’re those? Some kind of freaky seven dwarfs or something?”
“Jesus, Meg. No. The seven deadly sins. You know, from the Bible?”
“Are you pulling my leg here?”
“Nope and I’ve figured out at least four of them. I need to work on the remaining three. There’s also the link between them and my mom.” Meg stared at Callie, who paced excitedly. She listened slack-jawed until Callie finished, and then flipped open the lid of her laptop and typed furiously.
“Greed, gluttony, sloth, pride,—these are mortal sins. Are you sure about this, Callie? Listen to what this website says. Theologically, a mortal sin is believed to destroy the life of Grace within the person and thus creates the threat of eternal damnation.”
“Damn right it is. Here’s more: “Mortal sin, by attacking the vital principle within us—that is Charity—necessitates a new initiative of God’s mercy and a conversion of heart.” Meg stared up at Callie. “Attacking charity? Oh, my God.” She closed the laptop lid and glanced at Cayden, who nodded at her with dawning understanding. “Does she get it yet, handsome?”
Cayden shook his head. “I don’t think so. At least she hasn’t said anything about it.”
Callie stared at Meg and Cayden. What were they talking about? “Get what?” she asked them both.
Meg came around the back of the desk and perched on the front, facing Callie.
“If the Ravens are the seven deadly sins, Callie, that makes you…….Charity.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Charity?” Callie tried to keep the incredulousness out of her voice. Truth be told, she wasn’t feeling exactly “charitable” anyway.
Meg had left the desk and paced, muttering to herself. “No, it all fits. It all comes together, like a puzzle.” She whirled and pointed at Callie. “And you, Sunshine, you are the key.”