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Tuesday 16 February 2016

☀☄ Asleep - Krystal Wade

Thank you for joining us for the Release Day Pary for Asleep, a Young Adult Horror by (, Blaze Publishing, 338 pages).

PREVIEW: Check out the book's synopsis, a reading of the first chapters and excerpt below.  Read the first three chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Author Krystal Wade will be awarding a Dream Cuff, $25 gift card (amazon or b&n), and more to randomly drawn winners via Rafflecopter during the tour.

Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


“To cure fear, you must use fear.”

Rose Briar claims no responsibility for the act that led to her imprisonment in an asylum. She wants to escape, until terrifying nightmares make her question her sanity and reach out to her doctor.

He’s understanding and caring in ways her parents never have been, but as her walls tumble down and Rose admits fault, a fellow patient warns her to stop the medications. Phillip believes the doctor is evil and they’ll never make it out of the facility alive. Trusting him might be just the thing to save her. Or it might prove the asylum is exactly where she needs to be.

Teaser: Excerpt


     “Spending time in the asylum will do her some good, Stephan.”
     Rose Briar snorted at her mother’s idea of what would do her daughter some good, drawing the attention of her parents to where she sat, quiet for the last hour, in the back seat of the car. She refused to give them the satisfaction of a return glance and kept her gaze on the vast forest rich with the colors of fall streaking by outside the window. She’d look when they couldn’t see, when they weren’t watching Rose for her next outburst of crazy, insane behavior that warranted a trip to an asylum . . . to do her some good.
     When her mother returned to reading over The Shepperd Institute’s brochure, and her father fixed his attention on the road, Rose shifted her eyes to the rearview mirror to get a glimpse of an unguarded Stephan Briar.Wrinkles deepened between his eyes, drawing his bushy brown brows closer together, and his lids were narrowed more than usual, as if the almighty King of Real Estate were lost in thought, or just plain lost.
     Somewhere inside him, somewhere deep and well-hidden, Rose knew he didn’t want to be driving his only child to an asylum—dress it up anyway you want, put ‘Institute’ at the end, she was still on her way to a nuthouse—rocks and a thick cloud of freedom-damning dust trailing behind. Stephan Briar would rather be off showcasing his daughter to his clients, saying things like, “Look at the future of the Briar Real Estate business, Mr. Harris. Soon, she’ll be the one selling your boys a pristine lot in the Smoky Mountains, one they’ll never want to leave. Because my daughter, my daughter, Mr.Harris, she’s golden.”
     But Rose couldn’t live up to her father’s picture-perfect expectations for the future. Selling real estate didn’t top her list of priorities in life. Taking over the family business, while it sounded solid and like a future where she would worry little, made her think of a clamp around her ankle and a chain attached to that and a stake stuck in the very rock which made the Briars their millions.
     Leah Briar’s expectations, however, had been upheld.For years she told Rose cautionary stories of the girl from her high school who showed the kind of promise in art that Rose showed. Until she met a boy. And when she met that boy, she began sneaking out, doing drugs, skipping school, and missing art classes, blah, blah, blah. The fact that all this started after the girl’s little brother died of cancer was a vital part of the story always left out.
     To suit her mother’s purposes, of course.
     Unfortunately for Leah Briar, Rose wasn’t that showcaseable daughter. While her father’s actions shouted look at my Rose, my precious, precious Rose, her mother would find a way to smile and wave and push her daughter into the shadows.
     Leah Briar pushed too hard, made Rose disappear, and one day she snapped.
     And now a commitment unlike any other was in her future.
     Or so they believed.
     Josh and Megan, two people who cared more about Rose than any others in this world, had promised to wait for her at the thick, impenetrable wrought-iron gates of The Shepperd Institute—the first thing Rose noticed when she snatched the brochure from her mother’s purse to get a sneak peek at her new life. As soon as they saw her, they planned to create some sort of diversion that would force the family out of the car.
     And that’s when Rose would run and never look back.She’d change her name, hitchhike to Chicago, and enroll at the Art Institute, where she’d win over some big shot gallery owner with her raw talent and land a deal that would make even her parents proud.
     She’d prove to them once and for all that she could make something of herself, that she was more than they gave her credit for.
     And then she’d never speak to them again.
     Hand on the door, fingers tapping against the fine, luxurious wood paneling, Rose waited. Ready, heart racing, and every nerve on edge.
     The Institute sat on a one hundred fifty-acre parcel in the middle of nowhere, nothing but outcroppings of granite and dense woods around for miles, and Rose and her parents were getting closer and closer to the end of the narrow rock lane.
     Stephan Briar sighed and reached for his wife’s hand, a gesture that would never occur if they were in public. They were both so damned professional, whether surrounded by a network of clients or business peers—and sometimes, okay, oftentimes, even their daughter.
     He’s upset, Rose noted a little sadistically.
     “I don’t know, Leah. Are you sure this is what you want to do?” he asked, the wrinkles deepening ever more.
     Rose gasped and met his eyes in the mirror, an act she immediately wanted to chastise herself for, but the worry evident in his expression, one eye open a little more than the other, the brows arched quite a bit higher, allowed a little bit of hope to break through her flippant demeanor.
     “Of course,” Leah Briar said, flipping down the visor to adjust her perfectly sculpted, dark blond hair in the mirror.“This is what she needs. The doctor will help her understand what she’s done wrong. It’s not like we’ve been capable of achieving that.”
     He looked away from his wife—and the road. The car veered toward the ditch, and Rose’s father jerked the wheel until the tires were once again lined up with the lane.
     Rose’s hope diminished.
     “Here it is,” her father said, rounding a corner that aimed their car directly at the institute they’d decided to commit Rose to.
     Four stories tall, with square, proud turrets at each end and a cylindrical one in the center reaching up toward the sky and ending in a sharp point. The all red brick building appeared more like a castle than an asylum, with brilliant yellow-leaved oaks standing in the lawn and pristine, dark green grass stretching around the building. She could easily imagine royalty roaming around with their fancy clothes and games and events with pitched tents and twinkling lights.That was much more pleasant to envision than the reality of people stumbling about the grounds, all dressed in white scrubs, their hair stringy and expressions blank.
     Rose averted her attention and looked for her friends.But The Shepperd Institute was missing one thing in front of its gates, one thing Rose had counted on and expected and banked everything on:
     Her escape.
     No car blocked the lane. No people. No diversion.
     No Josh.
     No Megan.
     Some friends.
     They’d promised.
     Swore upon their lives.
     Rose glanced at the building, then at the guarded fence that marked the point of no return. She couldn’t cross it. If she did, she’d never make it out again and would become one of those people mindlessly meandering about the lawn. Her face flashed red hot, tears sprang behind her eyes, and in a split second decision, she yanked on the handle and flung the door open and jumped out of the slow moving car amidst the screams of her parents. Rose tucked into a ball and rolled as she collided with the rocks. The landing hurt like hell, and she was lucky she didn’t break any bones, but the car had stopped and her parents would soon catch up to her. So Rose got up and limped toward the tree line—even her arm ached in ways it shouldn’t—crying, crying oh so hard.
     They couldn’t commit her.
     Not because she was an artist. Or because she had friends they didn’t like, friends they swore would let her down one day after they realized she had nothing to offer because she gave it all up for them. They’d use her and leave her.
     Stephan and Leah Briar were right about part of that at least.
     Josh and Megan had never let Rose down like this.
     “Rose! Stop!” her father shouted.
     She glanced back at her parents through the bright yellow leaves, Mr. Briar in his sharp dress pants, button down shirt, and slim red tie, his shoes shiny and hands cupped around his mouth as he shouted; Mrs. Briar with her gray pencil skirt resting just below the knees, a matching blazer, and simple flats, glaring. They wouldn’t come for Rose. They wouldn’t risk their appearance, their professionalism.
     And Rose didn’t stop. She headed deeper into the woods, jumping over rocks. Ivy vines grabbed her ankles and threatened to send her tumbling face first onto the hill, but Rose braced her palms on the trees and climbed the steep incline, occasionally slipping on clusters of rocks. She knew this would be the last time she’d see them, her parents, their lack of concern forever seared into her memory. Rose pushed forward, unwilling to care about all the ways they’d failed her.At the top of the hill, surrounded by songs of birds and whispers of crickets unaware of her panic, she leaned against a pine to catch her breath, chest heaving in precious gulps of the frigid October air.
     “Nice place for a breather, if I do say so myself,” a man said, sneaking up from behind and grabbing her by the arm.He jerked Rose back toward the institute, down the hill she’d just trudged up, through branches and vines that didn’t prevent her going down nearly as much as they had going up.
     She couldn’t go back. “Let me go!”
     The man, well over six feet in height, burly with broad shoulders and thick arms and a stern expression that dared Rose to try to fight back, said, “Think you’re the only one who’s ever run? It doesn’t help, you know.”
     Whether it helped or not, Rose fought against him, kicking and screaming and biting and scratching. The man wrapped both arms around her arms and chest and lifted her from the ground, and she swung her legs back in an attempt to kick him in the junk, but she fell short each time. Didn’t stop her from trying.
     Another man, dressed in blue scrubs, jogged up the incline, holding a needle down at his side. The sight of him ramped her panic to a whole new level. Growls escaped her throat as she thrashed about, trying to get away.
     “Just hold her still a moment, would you, Thomas?”
     “No. Please, Thomas. Please. I’m not crazy. I don’t belong here. Please.” Rose kicked harder, flailed more than she had before. She leaned her cheek against his shoulder and tried to bite his biceps.
     “Of course you’re not crazy. That’s what they all say.”Thomas laughed and positioned himself so that Rose’s arm faced the other man. “Go ahead, Martin.”
     Hot tears streaked down her face, and she pleaded, meeting Martin’s eyes and begging with hers. This couldn’t be happening. She wasn’t crazy.
     “I’m sorry,” Martin told her, wiping her shoulder with a cold piece of cotton. He removed the cap with his teeth and jabbed the needle into Rose’s arm. “This won’t knock you out, just calm you down a little.”
     Warmth spread out from her shoulder and blanketed every nerve with calm, even though Rose’s mind still shouted she wasn’t crazy, she wasn’t crazy, she wasn’t crazy. She weakly struggled the entire way to the institute, through the double doors guarded by a man in more blue scrubs. And by the time Thomas sat her in a chair in an office, she didn’t have the energy to struggle anymore.
     “Just in case you’re thinking of running again,” Thomas said, leaning over and applying a bandage to her shoulder, “your fight felt more like butterfly kisses after the shot Martin gave you. Stay put.”
     Hands clasped in her lap, Rose lowered her head to avoid having to look at the man and cried. Tears dripping onto her blue jeans. Onto her hands. Onto the red weave of the wooden armchair.
     Stephan and Leah Briar flanked Rose, neither touching nor looking at her. Someone had handed her mother a clipboard and asked her to fill out a few questionnaires. Her father spoke to a doctor—who sat staring at Rose from behind an assuming wooden desk, his fingers pressed together at the tips—about what happened outside, filling him in on Rose’s attempted escape.
     “That certainly is very interesting,” the doctor muttered, as if this entire conversation bored him, as if she bored him. Rose imagined he must deal with this often, to have one man staking out the top of the hill, just in case, and another armed with a needle, ready to subdue innocent girls and ruin lives.
     Leah Briar leaned over and asked, “What’s your biggest fear?”
     Rose snorted again, trying—and failing—to scoot her chair away from her mother.
     “Maybe you should allow your daughter to fill that out, Mrs. Briar,” the doctor said, one eyebrow slightly raised, judgmental, critical. The movement was almost imperceptible, but Rose always noticed things about people’s eyes, about their faces. It’s what gave her an edge when drawing them, when capturing their emotions on canvas. “It’s her life I’m most interested in learning about.”
     The way he spoke held a level of condescension in it that Rose wasn’t accustomed to hearing people use around her parents. She lifted her head and met the eyes of the doctor, Underwood according to the tag attached to the breast pocket of his lab coat. Rose decided that maybe he wasn’t evil incarnate, that maybe she could like him, then took the clipboard from her mother.
     Question after question about Rose’s greatest fears were on the page. Any phobias, do you see things that aren’t really there, have conversations with any of those things, do you fear failure, on and on and on the list went. While her parents continued speaking with the doctor about her supposed illness and current treatment, she wrote responses down the best she could, in barely legible handwriting. Yes, she feared she’d be locked in here the rest of her life, never able to go to art school. Yes, she had phobias, if being afraid of being insane was a phobia. No, she never saw things that weren’t really there. After five pages or more of these questions, they switched to a new format. What school do you go to? What are your plans for the future?
     “And you’re sure her living arrangements will be as private and in the nicest part of the facility as you can provide?” Leah Briar asked, one leg crossed over the other, one palm flat on that knee. “We know there are some . . . Well, we understand you cannot control all of the people who come through those doors.”
     “I assure you, we’ll take great care of your daughter here at the institute, Mrs. Briar. While your donation is greatly appreciated, it will not grant her any more privileges than any other patients are afforded.”
     Rose understood by the turn in conversation that this signaled the part where her parents would depart, where she’d be confined to some room, a prison, and even though she’d sat here quietly filling out forms, part of her itched to run, itched to be free. She sent her brain out in search of control of the drugged muscles, then jumped up from her chair and stumbled toward the door.
     “Rose, don’t. Not again,” Stephan Briar said.
     “It’s okay, Mr. Briar,” Dr. Underwood said calmly, “if she doesn’t attempt this, it will eat her alive forever. She won’t make it far.”
     Determined to prove the doctor wrong, that she would make it far, she opened the door to run off and spotted a guy seated at a table in the center of the wide open room outside the office. He was a perfect specimen of a man, all broad shoulders, lean muscles cording his arms, a mop of dirty blond hair swept to the side. He lifted his head, and she saw that his face was perfect too, a square jawline and short nose. But his eyes. They were vacant. Gone. No one was home. He began rocking back and forth in the plastic chair, head down, and repeated numbers as he looked at his arms, at his legs. By the time he lifted his shirt and the hem of his pants to reveal bruises all over his body, Rose knew she couldn’t take any more. She couldn’t become like him.
     “One, one, one. Two, two, two. Three, three, three,” the guy repeated, again and again and again.
     “You’re wrong.” Rose cast one last glance at her parents and the doctor, the Briars turned in their chair facing her, bemused, as if they couldn’t quite figure out what to do in this situation, the doctor tapping his fingers together, studying, not at all concerned that a patient was about to escape, which should have concerned Rose but didn’t. “I’m not crazy.”
     She limped down the corridor as fast as she could, occasionally bracing her hand on the wall to hold herself up.Rose peered into every open door, searching for an exit. She paused at an area where stairs climbed up and down on her left and right. On the left, leading to other parts of the interior of the building. To the right, freedom.
     An orderly stood by the double doors at the bottom of those stairs, arms crossed over his chest, staring smugly.

Available NOW!

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About the Author

Krystal Wade can be found in the sluglines outside Washington D.C. every morning, Monday through Friday. With coffee in hand, iPod plugged in, and strangers-who sometimes snore, smell, or have incredibly bad gas-sitting next to her, she zones out and thinks of fantastical worlds for you and me to read. How else can she cope with a fifty mile commute?

Good thing she has her husband and three kids to go home to. They keep her sane.

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