Book 1 The Whispers of the Sprite
When Ania moves from London to Swansea city in Wales she is hoping that her life will get a bit more exciting, after all she is running away from her controlling mother to taste more freedom and feel more independent. Everything seems to be going the way she wanted until she almost dies while taking a quiet walk around the beach in the late evening.
When she opens her eyes, nothing seems the same...
She starts seeing people that no one else is able to notice. An enchanting looking man keeps following her and Ania’s life seems to getting more exciting than she ever wished for.
After the attack something changes inside her, she has been blessed with the new frightening gift of seeing and hearing sprites all around her... the magical creatures that only existed in folklore, myths and legends of Britain.
Gabriel is attractive and handsome but no ... he is not a vampire. He keeps coming back and Ania feels an instant connection between them but this might get her into more trouble. Supernatural romance is not on her mind right now.
Because he is forbidden to even touch her ... the line between the death and love has never been so thin and the sprites won’t stop whispering until ... she will choose to love or abandon Gabriel
Book 2 The Dark Night Whispers
This year Ania is hoping to snap out of her depressed mood. She spends her summer locked up in her room, thinking about Gabriel who is somewhere between life and death.
So when Adam, Gabriel’s best friend, turns up on her doorstep and tells her that he can take her to him, Ania refuses because she can’t go through the same hell again. Her heart has already been ripped out of her chest.
She returns to Swansea to start another year at University, but her education is not the most important thing – she ends up getting more involved in the new and dangerous world of the Sprites. This year doesn’t seem to be any easier than the last one, and on top of everything else, she has to find the cure for the Iron curse before Gabriel’s life will end forever.
All at once, Ania is juggling her University work, investigating the kidnapping of a young girl from America for the University paper and trying to fight with the attraction to a handsome blond-haired Sprite who has appeared in her life so unexpectedly.
To confuse Ania even more, she is finding well-known fairy tales in her pocket. They don’t seem to make any sense until she makes a decision to follow her emotions and start looking for her real family.
Will she ever get to the end of this emotional rollercoaster?
Book 3 Her Secret Whisper
When Niamh McDonald opened her eyes in the dark cave, she didn’t expect to be a prisoner so far away from home. She didn’t expect to be rescued either.
Niamh was kept in the darkness, not knowing what creature has captured her. Then her life spins out of further control as she discovers her family from California have been lying to her all this time – she’s adopted.
Niamh returns to California, shocked and traumatised. She cannot forget that she is adopted. And then, out of nowhere, a stranger visits her to tell her she isn’t human.
Niamh cannot take any more surprises, so she decides to go back to her place of birth – Wales. She needs her questions answered. Her life transforms further as she finds that Sprites have existed throughout centuries and she is not the only one who can see them.
So why is she connected to Ania, the scrawny Russian girl who rescued her from the dark cave?
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Excerpt - Chapter One:
‘I need to get going,’ I say to Gosia when I look at my watch. When I finally realise how late it really is my heart starts racing.
‘Come on, just one more,’ insists my friend, grinning. She is already tipsy, rolling her blue eyes, as she sips her pink cocktail.
‘You know my mother. She is probably already freaking out,’ I respond and look through the messages on my phone; I received five up to eleven o’clock asking me where the hell I am, but since then nothing else. It’s odd; my mother wouldn’t usually just stop texting, she would start calling until she got through to me. If she knew the name of the bar, she would probably call here just to make sure that I am still alive. Gosia’s ears are ruby red. She is gazing at me looking amused.
‘Whatever, I am staying. That bloke at the bar can’t take his eyes off me.’
‘Well, take care of yourself then. You have to visit me in Swansea when I get settled,’ I say and kiss her on the cheeks, glancing at the man that she is talking about. She’s right, he is looking at her. Around five foot seven, dressed smart with polished leather shoes. He’s her type.
‘I will,’ she nods and hugs me tightly.
When I leave the South London bar, it’s nearly one in the morning. I glance at the taxi for a long moment but then I change my mind. I don’t manage my money well and I am leaving to start my new life tomorrow, so it’s necessary for me to save the cash. I pass through the familiar roads, calculating how long it will take to get to my street. It’s a rather warm September night, although the dark clouds in the sky indicate that it might start raining soon. After half an hour of intensive walking I leave behind the traffic, taking my usual shortcut. These parts of city seem to be asleep. Complete darkness surrounds me. The roads are clear and the unnatural silence fills the air.
I stop and look at my phone again, wondering why Mum hasn't called me yet. She always calls me, even if she knows that I will be home within minutes, just to check. I feel slightly anxious walking alone at this late hour. The streets are so silent; there is no one around, not even cars passing through, which is odd. It seems as though the city has collapsed into a winter’s sleep, instantly forgetting that it's still summer, like some lost soul trying to make its way to Heaven but getting to Hell instead. I think about the enjoyable evening that I had with Gosia. She was excited for me finally gaining a new independence and a new life in another city.
I shiver when the wind starts howling and look around, hoping to spot any living soul near me, but I am alone. I take another shortcut and then feel horribly lost. The silence seems different and I cannot understand why there are no cars around. I stop for a moment to wrap myself in a light cardigan that I find in my rucksack. Only a few seconds pass, but during this short period of time I feel like I am being watched. My subconscious is laughing out loud. I look around but the streets are uninhabited and silent. No one is around but my mind is playing tricks on me. I inhale the thick air filled with my own fear and a cold shiver flows down my spine. A harsh, bitter wind starts to blow again and simultaneously a few streetlights go out, enveloping the street in an unexpected dimness. The tar-black darkness that surrounds me obscures my senses; I can't see anything and my eyes focus, trying to get used to the gloom.
I stop abruptly and for a moment hear only my shallow breaths, then I hear someone’s movements and my heart starts racing while my mouth gets unpleasantly dry. I stop breathing, trying to pinpoint the noise, but everything is still again. The silence buzzes in my ears. My heartbeat quickens, making my mind spin. Suddenly, one of the streetlights comes back on again. I blink rapidly and continue walking while looking around at the unfamiliar surroundings. The houses and streets seem to be under a spell. There is not a human being anywhere around me.
I continue walking, but I don’t hear any more odd movements. Soon I locate a familiar path and reach my street within minutes. I begin to wonder if I actually heard anything and my rational side keeps telling me that it's only my imagination. I approach the house, wondering if my mother will be waiting at the window for me, but all the lights are off.
I exhale, still feeling slightly apprehensive, staring at the round of semi-detached houses in the cul-de-sac. I stop and put my rucksack on the floor to find the keys, and then I hear that movement again and lift my head. The dark figure is walking towards me slowly. This time I am fully aware that it’s not my imagination.
‘Peaceful night?’ says the stranger walking by when I finally have a key in my hand. I smile weakly, dismissing her statement.
In the light from the street I glance at the stranger one more time. The strong fragrance of her perfume reaches my nose and I inhale, recognising lavender. I manage to get a look at her face. She is an older lady with short, silver hair and big, wide, dark eyes, but it's too dark to tell if I have seen her before. As she starts to disappear into the dark alley, the rain starts drizzling. For a moment I wonder what she is doing here. I toy with the idea of her visiting anyone I know. I shake my head, thinking it’s been a rather strange night.
My thoughts are still on the odd noise that I thought I heard in the alleyway. While walking upstairs to my bedroom, I look in to make sure that Mum is still asleep and I quietly close the door. Normally she would wait for me to tell me off. It’s not like her; she always makes sure that I am at home at a reasonable time. I take off my clothes and soon drift off into a dream, forgetting about the woman on the street.
In the morning I have to nag my mother to get up earlier than usual, then a few hours later she still isn’t ready to let me go.
‘Mum, hurry up!’ I shout, walking downstairs with my large suitcases. ‘I have to leave in five minutes!’
‘There is no rush. For heaven's sake, you have all day,’ snarls my mother, appearing from the kitchen still polishing the glasses. Her short, dark hair is untidy. I had wished she would work today; I would have enough time to get to Swansea without delays.
I purse my lips together. Why does she have to be so frustrating?
‘I don’t want to be stuck in traffic. I told you that yesterday,’ I shrug.
‘Don’t talk to me in that kind of tone,’ she barks, pursing her lips. ‘I remember everything you told me, young lady.’
I roll my eyes and then smile. I completely forgot about yesterday. When I woke up this morning I was expecting to have a massive lecture about my late escapade with Gosia, but my mother didn’t say anything, as if she forgot.
She wrinkles her forehead with effort and vanishes back into the kitchen. I head back to the living room, wondering if there is anything else that I have to take.
She appears shortly after me, scanning the suitcases with her brown eyes. She isn’t happy that I am leaving. My mother would love me to start university somewhere close to London, at least so I could still live at home, so when she heard that I had chosen Swansea she was devastated.
‘Are you sure that you want to stay in Swansea? It’s too far if you ask me,’ she adds, helping me with the suitcases.
I sigh. She is still dwelling on the fact that I will be three hours away. However, I can’t wait to be alone.
‘Don’t worry, I will be home often,’ I insist.
When we step outside we walk in silence and the sky is cloudy, but I can feel the excitement in the air along with her tension. I try but I can't read her expression. We put both my suitcases in the car. Mum seems to be lost in her thoughts while I set up my sat-nav. I’ve got everything ready now to leave. I stand in front of her wondering what to say. I shift my body to the side scratching my head nervously. Finally, I look at her and she starts crying. My stomach clenches uncomfortably. I was never good at saying goodbyes.
‘Oh, Ania,’ she whimpers.
I smile weakly, trying to comfort her. I hate that she has to bring up all her emotions at once, but I manage to say, ‘C’mon Mum, I will be fine,’ I say, ‘You have to start going out more. Start thinking about yourself.’
‘I still have to look after you. I haven’t got time for this nonsense,’ she says, blowing her nose.
She stops crying and hugs me for a long while. I hold back my tears. I look at her for a long moment, wondering if I said enough. I swallow a giant lump in my throat and get into the car.
When I am on the road, I can't hold the tears back any longer, wondering if I had made the right decision to leave Mum all alone. I know that this will be tough for me in the beginning, considering the fact that I have never lived alone, but I am twenty-two-years old; I have to start living my own independent life. Mum raised me the best she could and now she has to do something for herself and change her life. It takes me a while to stop thinking about her and my conscience reminds me to stop being a wimp and focus on the road. The life ahead of me is more exciting and I have three hours of constant driving ahead of me to concentrate on.
A new city and new surroundings would bring fresh company. Student life is never boring and George won’t distract me. I keep calling him my informal boyfriend, but he is far from that. He is studying drama in London and our relationship has always been complicated. We often see each other to fulfill our needs of being with someone.
I didn’t intend to move to Wales just to forget about George. I am hoping to start a new and exciting life; the independence is very important. I don’t expect handsome blokes to just fall at my feet. I am nearly six feet tall and this often brings uncomfortable attention from others, especially shorter men. My hair colour doesn’t appear natural – it's bright red. All my friends back home love my red hair, but I always used to hate it. I would love to have long blonde hair and look just like a typical Eastern European girl.
I am very skinny and although I eat constantly, I never seem to put on any weight. My mother, on the other hand, is short and overweight, and her character is very different from mine. Looking at my father's photographs I have a slight resemblance to him; I may recognise my own long nose from him, but he has dark hair. No one on my Mum’s side of the family has bright red hair, but I have never met anyone from my Father's side, so the colour could be from there.
I feel uneasy for the rest of the journey so I stop somewhere near Bristol to grab some lunch. By the time I reach Swansea it's after 5pm and the excitement flows through my body when I park the car in the street. The three-hour journey was exhausting. The sky in Wales is gloomy and cloudy as I expected. After reaching Swansea, I need to make sure that Mum knows that I am still alive, so I send her a quick text. She doesn’t understand that I grew up and am not a child and she still treats me as if I am.
The forecast for today said that it was going to rain. I switch off the engine and begin to stare at house No. 4. The streets are quiet, all the houses are detached and my new home doesn't look appealing. I came here a few weeks ago and everything looked different. Maybe it’s because of the weather or it's just me feeling homesick already.
I was adamant that this house would be perfect for me when I first saw it, so I am not sure why I am feeling this way. I didn't want to live on campus; the idea of living in a block with so many people frightened me. The house that I have chosen has four bedrooms and it is within walking distance from the university and the beach. Inside, I inhale the unfamiliar, dusty air. The windows haven't been opened for a while and I make the quick decision that if I am to live here, I will need to make it a lot more habitable than its current state.
My room is light and spacious and the furniture is almost at the stage where only a touch could break it apart, but that doesn't bother me. This is my new home. It’s a typical student house with a fair-sized kitchen, small living room and a tiny garden in the back. I had an idea what my new life would be like and I had always wanted to live somewhere by the sea. It is strange, but I love the smell of the sea in the air and the fact that I can get to the beach within minutes is very appealing.
I light a few candles to kill the musty smell in the room. It feels bizarre being away from my mother and knowing that I can do whatever I want. My suitcases need unpacking, but just when I am about to start unzipping one, I hear noises coming from the hall. I leave my luggage and rush downstairs.
‘I think I packed too many clothes,’ says a girl in a high-pitched tone trying to get through the door with the extra-large suitcases. She is talking to herself. I stare at her from upstairs, not sure how to react. I hesitate, wondering if I should help her.
‘Hey,’ I shout. My voice sounds unnatural but I walk downstairs, smiling. She notices me and looks relieved.
‘Oh thanks, I’m glad that someone is here! I’m Amy,’ she introduces herself, beaming.
‘My name is Ania,’ I say, helping her with her heavy belongings. She glances at me for a few seconds, analysing my red hair. I didn't expect anyone to be here so early; I thought that everyone was going to start arriving tomorrow.
When we manage to get her suitcase to the living room, surprisingly there’s more noise in the corridor. The doors are wide open and a boy walks in. He has short, spiky, chocolate hair and narrow eyes, dressed casually in jeans and jumper.
‘Hello,’ he says. ‘My name is Carl.’
‘Oh … hi, I just arrived. I’m Amy,’ chuckles Amy. She is blushing, gazing at him intensely underneath her long eyelashes. She is much shorter than me. Her light blonde curls clash with her intense red lipstick. She is pretty, but her heavy makeup makes her look older. The foundation is a few shades too dark. Carl runs his hand through his short hair and smiles, looking curiously at me.
‘My name is Ania,’ I barge in, wondering if we should move to the living room. I know that sooner or later they will start asking about my accent. Moreover, I should get used to the fact that I am the tallest. ‘I am originally from Russia and I moved here a few years ago.’
This isn’t quite true, because I moved to London with Mum suddenly and unexpectedly. Mum received a job offer in one of London’s hospitals and a few days later we were on the plane. I am still trying to find out why Mum decided to move to England so suddenly, but it remains a mystery. Our life in Russia wasn't bad at all, but one cold winter day when I came back from school all my bags were packed and Mum announced that we were leaving the country. I was sixteen when I had to leave all my friends behind and the place where I was born, without any explanation. I refused to leave and demanded to know why, but Mum wouldn't tell me anything. Her decision was final and it didn’t matter how much I screamed that I didn’t want to move.
‘Russia!’ roars Amy and her eyes widen. ‘That’s exciting. I never knew anyone from Russia.’
‘Well, me neither. I am sure it will be fun living together,’ chuckles Carl, staring at Amy who still seems bewildered.
‘So, where are you from?’ I ask her.
‘Not far from Swansea, it’s a small village called Pontyclun.’
I nod, although I have no idea where Pontyclun is. During a moment of awkward silence, Amy takes an opportunity to reapply her makeup. After a few minutes of intense searching through her large suitcase, she takes out a small bag and starts powdering her nose.
‘Well, I am from Birmingham and this is my second time in Wales,’ Carl states, shifting his weight to the side. ‘I came a few weeks ago to see if I like this place and decided to stay.’
‘I just wanted to get away from London.’
‘I love shopping in London; there are so many bargains there. Me and my sister always take a cheap coach and we come back to tonnes of designer clothes,’ declares Amy.
I exchange looks with Carl who looks confused. Finally he says, ‘Okay, cool. I don’t think it’s a good idea to stay here with our cases. I’m going upstairs to check out my room.’
‘Good idea,’ I say.
Before we leave, we help Amy with her luggage while she opens up her room. All the rooms are similar in size, although Amy got the biggest bedroom. She starts clapping when she walks through it looking very excited.
I wasn’t expecting to meet anyone today. The term doesn’t start until next week and most of the students will be arriving in the next few days. My life is taking a new turn and I am convinced that I will make the most of my time in Swansea.
About the Author:
Joanna Mazurkiewicz was born in Poland. She moved to United Kingdom when she was only nineteen and just finished high school. She had aspired to be a writer upon completion of the Harry Potter series but also enjoyed reading books like 'Gone with the Wind', 'Animal Farm' and 'The doll'. She graduated from Swansea University with a bachelor degree in American Studies. While studying in the UK she made a decision to start writing fiction in English.
The "Whispers of the Sprite" is her first debut novel and she is currently working on the second book in the series. Joanna lives in Cowbridge, a small town in South Wales near Cardiff with her boyfriend Bruce. She enjoys cycling around Welsh countryside some of which has become the settings in her first series.