The Hanging Tree
Michael Phillip Cash
YA Paranormal thriller-suspense,
for YA or Adult, an exceptional ghost story!
Seventeen year old Arielle is at a crossroads in her life. Disenchanted with her father, she is testing the boundaries of his trust by dating someone he does not approve. Under the moonlit sky in Long Island, Arielle and her boyfriend meet beneath the infamous hanging tree. The couple’s destiny is rooted to the five spirits in the tree whose lives and deaths are determined by an ancient curse. Will her future be determined by the past or will Arielle’s choices alter the course of her life?
The bark bit into the delicate skin of Arielle’s back. Stars twinkled above her, dancing in the reflection of Chad’s eyes. “Stop, really. Stop.” She pushed at Chad’s shoulders as he resisted her, his lips caressing the side of her neck. “I don’t want to.”
“Arielle, you promised,.” Chad whispered, assaulting her lips. “I thought you said you love me,” he wheedled.
Arielle looked at the leafy canopy. “I do. I really do, but I…I don’t know if I want to do this. Especially here,” she added practically.
Chad wheeled away, clearly annoyed, and bounced to his car door. The car was his pride and joy, a gift for his eighteenth birthday, a Camaro, light blue and totally awesome. It was a chick magnet, and for a minute he wanted to share that with Arielle. They had been dating for almost six months, and he was more than ready to take it to the next level. It wasn’t his first time, and there were plenty of girls interested in him if Arielle wasn’t. Pulling a pack of cigarettes out of the console, he flipped a Zippo expertly, lit his cigarette, and inhaled deeply.
Arielle walked over and leaned against the car door nearby, moving close to him, trying to feel his moist body heat in the cool summer air. Crickets chirped nearby, and they watched traffic pick up on the road to the left of them.
“Looks like the movie ended,” Arielle offered up some conversation.
Chad nodded but didn’t respond. The silence stretched before them, anxiety building in her tight chest. She loved him, but this was big, huge; she just wasn’t ready. She considered the spreading oak tree before them. Everybody was mad at her, everybody in the world. She knew she was going to be in hot water with her dad that night. He was pissed when she had walked out. She looked at Chad’s profile in the dark, his features limned by the streetlamp. He was tall with sandy blond hair worn long and loose. It caressed his high cheekbones, and he was always brushing it from his warm, honey eyes. When he looked at a girl, she felt special. Well, he wasn’t looking at her now, so she tried again. “They say the tree is haunted.”
“I’m not afraid of ghosts,” Chad declared, his wide mouth scowling. He wanted to punish her. There had been the promise for so long; he wanted to tell her to put up or he was out of here. She was one of the prettiest girls in the school, with hips that moved so gracefully he couldn’t take his eyes off of her. The pale oval of her face gazed up at him, and he brushed her soft lips with his finger. She had the bluest eyes fringed by black lashes. Those eyes lit up with pleasure, and she rubbed her cheek against his knuckles. Picking up a light brown curl, he twined it around his fingers.
“Where’s your penknife?” Arielle asked
Top ten things you don’t know about me:
1. Cotton or Silk? Cotton!
2. Champagne/beer/wine? Sometimes wine, maybe once a year.
3. Plotter/pantser: Como say what?
4. Describe your workspace: Small clean desk, three monitors, a phone and pictures of my family.
5. Sports fan or just tolerate it? New York Teams all the way!
6. Who is your biggest influence on writing? Quentin Tarantino
7. Favorite food – Peter Lugar’s Steak
8. When did you start writing? 5 years old. Started writing screenplays when I was 18. Started writing novels when I was 30.
9. If money were no object, where would you like to live? A villa at the Mirage in Vegas.
10. What’s next for you? Fulfilling a lifelong dream of writing an epic fantasy novel.
As you know, I’ve been on a PNR kick for a while so when I got the chance to read this I was excited. Okay, maybe excited isn’t the best word since I’m jonesing to read Mr. Cash’s book, A Haunting on Long Island (hint, hint) so I thought I’d see how scared he can make me. Well, he succeeded but this book was really different and oh so good.
One thing that you should know about the book, it features stories about how the people got to the tree and why. Some of their stories were fascinating and others…well… Anyway, how the tree and Arielle connect was pretty awesome. I did not see the ending coming at all. It was just a simple task that… oops, sorry almost gave away the ending.
I like Arielle and her dad. I completely understood her need to rebel. I will have to say that Chad was a douche. Yes, I said it but he supposed to be and Mr. Cash wrote him perfectly. And OMG…a Camaro! I dated a Camaro. *sigh*
The only problem I had with the story was that I never figured out about the Gibson Girl. 😉 Maybe another time. Overall, I highly recommend this quick YA PNR. Its fascinating how Mr. Cash wove the stories of the people stuck in the tree and Arielle. Again, the ending was brilliant and I never saw it coming.
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Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RoP5u7uiWU
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Michael Phillip Cash’s first book Brood X- A Firsthand Account of the Great Cicada Invasion is presently under consideration for a film adaptation. His well-received second novel, Stillwell- A Haunting on Long Island, has stayed on the top of Amazon’s “100 Best Seller” in its genre since its release earlier this year. He is currently working on another ghost story. He lives on Long Island with his wife and children.
Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael is giving away 5 signed copies of The Hanging Tree. Rafflecopter is below.