Rift HealerRift Healer is the first installment of the 'Forest Magic' series, a Young Adult Fantasy/Romance set in Central and Western Massachusetts. After a minor earthquake, the enchanted forest in Bidwell, MA, is infested with monster-spewing rifts. Gisele Westerfield's great nephew, the gifted Micah, and his distant cousin, Selena, arrive to assist. Together with Gisele's summer students, twins Haley and Lacey, they will try to heal the magical forest. Much to the consternation of the beautiful Selena, Micah identifies Haley as The One whom he'll share his future. But after witnessing a terrifying display of Micah's Gift, Haley cools to his advances and unexpectedly discovers her own Gift-- she can heal the earth. Monsters, mayhem, and teenage angst follow the small group as they confront evil in the forest and a dangerous prediction that 'one will fall'. Will they heal the rifts in time? Can they save the unicorns? And is Haley really destined to be with Micah?
Surprised at how far forward she’d crept in her seat, Haley pushed her butt against the backrest. “What else can you do?” she asked, not at all sure she wanted to know.
He swallowed. “Right. That brings us to my Gifts. As opposed to Talents or Skills, Gifts are thrust on you like a moldy fruitcake no one else wanted and you have to learn to make the best of them. People are born with their Gifts, which can appear at any point, but for most of us, they emerge during puberty–as if we don’t have enough to think about at that time.” He looked up at the ceiling, remembering. “Well, they’re not all bad.”
“Tell me about yours,” she whispered.
He tore his eyes from the ceiling, caught and held her gaze. “I can make people do anything on command.”
“Like, hypnosis?” she asked, blinking under the over-bright fluorescent lights, her spoon halfway to her mouth.
“Almost,” he said. “Except, a hypnotist is unable to persuade his clients to do anything they wouldn’t ordinarily do. And I can.” He shrugged his shoulders, almost as if he were apologizing.
Haley frowned as she sorted through this weird information. “So, let me get this straight. You think you could tell me to do something—anything–and I’d do it?” Her brows knitted together and she shook her head in disbelief.
“I don’t just think. I…know.” He lowered his voice as he leaned forward. “I could make you run around doing cartwheels in the parking lot if I wanted to. You would be unable to refuse.”
At that, she sat straight up, staring at him. She didn’t believe it—not quite, but she was too afraid to disbelieve.
“It’s true.” He nodded. “Fortunately, I have a strong code of honor that I adhere to and I do not abuse my Gift. But I could make you do whatever I want.”
She shook her head. “I don’t believe you,” she said in a low voice.
“I guess I’ll have to prove it to you. Put that spoon down,” he ordered.
She looked at it, all but forgotten until now. Realizing she wanted to let go of the spoon, she frowned. “No,” she said between clenched teeth as she fought the urge to comply.
“Haley,” he took a deep breath. “Put the spoon down.”
The fingers holding her spoon twitched as she looked into his eyes and said, “No,” in a voice she almost couldn’t hear herself. Her mouth went dry with the effort.
“Put-the-spoon-down-now.” His glacial blue eyes bored into hers. Her right hand trembled with the effort of resisting his will. Then she watched, wide-eyed, as her traitorous thumb lifted on its own, causing her spoon to waver and fall to the table with a clatter in the quiet restaurant, spilling its load of ice cream.
She swallowed. “How did you do that?” she asked, now truly frightened.
Diane has lived in Massachusetts all her life where early on, her artistic talents were fostered, though her skills as an "excellent report writer" were often noted in previous employment. On her brother Rick's birthday, November 16, 2004, seven months after his death, she woke from an amazing dream which would not fade. She outlined the dream, made a few quick notes and days later produced a 12 page short story. After deciding her story was interesting but incomplete, she began writing her first novel, using her dream as its climax. She now believes the dream to be a 'Spirit Gift,' sent by her brother. Diane continues to reside in Central MA with her husband and a very naughty Basset Hound named Basil and his new adopted sister-Basset, Ruby, both of whom cleverly wreak havoc on the Haynes' formerly well-ordered lives. She spends her time writing, reading books about writing, talking about writing, painting with watercolors, antiqueing and attempting to train a very reluctant Basil and a willing, but highly comedic Ruby.
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