Nothing good comes from living in the Devil’s swamp.
Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn’t half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.
Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.
Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell―the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.
But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there’s something else that draws Willow to him.
When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they’re leading to her own death.
The walk is littered with stones and broken twigs. Leaves rustle like crackly paper. The wind brushes my skin so lightly that it’s almost a sigh. And then, only a few minutes later, I see the thing Beau wants me to see, sitting in the middle of it all.
“What is this?” I ask.
I bound over to it. Tree roots pop up from the ground like veiny scars intersecting a path. The crazy boy has made a platform for us out of wood, with four stilt legs beneath it digging into the ground. The wood is pine and smells like it, too. I run a finger along the edge, feeling where he smoothed it. It’s newly made, I can tell by the flakes that pepper the forest floor like pencil shavings and the rich wood smell. Atop the platform are another four posts with a fifth in the center, and draped over that is a canopy of white fabric. It sways in the breeze like spider’s silk.
“I wanted us to have a place to hang out,” Beau replies. “Where we won’t run into Old Lady Bell, Charlotte, or Grandpa, and where we can both be alone to relax.”
His eyes roam the swamp around us.
The makeshift pavilion is smaller than my room, but still it’s the most beautiful thing. Clear lights are strung around it, reminding me of fireflies. There is not enough space in my lungs for the quick breaths of excitement I find myself taking. I gasp at the beauty of it all.
“How did you get them to light up?” My question is filled with wonder.
“Battery powered,” he says, his grin growing. “Wait till you see inside.”
He helps me onto the platform that protects us from wandering critters below. It’s easily five feet up. I try not to catch my feet on the lights.
Beau pulls back the drape. A small cluster of cushions sits on the ground, fronted by a tiny wooden table topped with freshly fallen leaves and sticks, reminding me of a bird’s nest. A pink magnolia marks the middle, the source of the floral smell that sticks to the air.
“You did this?” I ask, mesmerized.
“All by myself,” he says.
It’s hard to imagine. Sure, I can see how Beau would bring the cushions and lights and tools to the island by boat, and how he could use the resources already here-the trees and stump for the table, the sticks and flower and leaves-to construct everything, but what I can’t see is why Beau would go through the trouble. Isn’t he the boy Jorie warned me about-the one who breaks hearts? Isn’t he the one Gran swore was darker than the night? That Beau doesn’t match the one standing before me, watching my reaction.
“I love it,” I say.
And then I wrap my arms around this surprising boy and press my lips to his.
- Welcome to my blog! You are a new to me author, so can you tell me and my readers about yourself-what have you written, do you have a day job, and what is your favorite TV show (plus anything else you want to tell us!)
Hi, I’m Amber. Bookworm. Author. Wife. Mother. Caffeine addict. Slytherin. Huge supporter of diversity. Lover of Gilmore Girls. Teen books by me are Before You, After Us, and Wicked Charm. Adult books by me are Until You Find Me and Captured By You. I love a good villain, and a happy ending. I live with family—including three puppies, a kitty, and two dragons—on the Florida coastline. You can often find me with my toes in the sand and my mind in the clouds. A book in hand, of course.
- What can you tell us about Wicked Charm?
A girl named Willow Bell moves into an old house at the edge of the Georgia swamp and runs into the brooding guy next door, Beau, who may or may not be a liar. But when girls from their high school start showing up dead in the bog, Willow and Beau must search for the killer, unless the killer is closer than anyone realizes.
- What made you write a book set in a swamp?
I spent half of my time growing up in Georgia, and the other half in Florida, where there was no shortage of swampy waters and gators and southern charm, which inspired Wicked Charm. I spent most of that time reading thrillers and imagining the things that could go wrong in such an eerie setting. I drew on this to crate the background scenery, then added a complicated guy who likes to talk in riddles, a curious, feisty girl, and a string of shadowy murders. And isn’t the swamp just the perfect place for a thriller?
- If you could only read 1 author for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
Oh, no! This is soooo hard. But, if I had to pick…I think J.K. Rowling. I could never give up Harry Potter. It’s a series close to my heart. It changed my life.
- Where can we stalk you online?
I’m often online, and love to connect with readers! Come find me here:
- What should we be on the look for from you in the future?
I’m currently in the middle of writing a novel set in a small town where nothing is as it seems and secrets are the most guarded possessions. There’s a troublemaker, a rule follower, and a past that could ruin them both. I am always writing something, so keep an eye out for new books coming soon!
Thank you so much for having me! I hope readers love WICKED CHARM as much as I loved writing it.