Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel by Ellie JamesShattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel by Ellie James

Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel

byEllie James

Paperback | December 6, 2011

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Sixteen-year-old Trinity Monsour wants nothing more than to live a normal life. But that isn't as easy as it seems. Trinity is different. She is special. She sees visions, and for those she's seen, it's already too late.

Trinity arrives on her aunt's doorstep in New Orleans with virtually no knowledge of her mysterious heritage. She begins settling into life at a new school and even starts making friends. But all too quickly her dreams accelerate; twisted, terrifying visions of a girl locked in a dark room. And when the head cheerleader, Jessica, goes missing, Trinity knows she has no choice but to step forward with what she's seen.

But people believe that Trinity has information about Jessica's disappearance not because of a dream, but because she is involved. She is kind-of dating Jessica's ex-boyfriend, Chase, and Jessica did pull a nasty prank on Trinity. Revenge seems like the likeliest scenario.

Nothing prepares Trinity for the dark odyssey that ensues while searching for Jessica, including the surprising romance she finds with Chase, or the shocking truths she learns, not just about the girl who has gone missing, but the past that has been hidden from her.

Ellie James believes in dreams and destiny. A graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism, Ellie has been writing as long as she can remembering, with tragic poems and tender stories giving way to mystery, adventure, and a fascination with the unexplained. Currently, Ellie resides with her husband and two children in Texas.
Title:Shattered Dreams: A Midnight Dragonfly NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.79 inPublished:December 6, 2011Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312647026

ISBN - 13:9780312647025


Read from the Book

ONE  “I heard this place is like … haunted.”Stepping around a huge old oak, I lifted my flashlight … and saw the house. Everyone else kept tromping through knee-high weeds, but something held me there, totally still, while Spanish moss slipped against my face.The abandoned Greek Revival rose up against the moonlit sky like something ripped straight from the picture book my grandmother used to keep on her coffee table. Surrounded by seriously old trees and nearly covered by vines, it was big and boxy, with massive columns and wide porches. Once the place had probably been white. Even at night I could tell that. But now it was dirty and worn out. Tired.Alone.It was an odd word, but there you go. Alone. The old place with its dark windows and peeling siding looked like it was …Waiting.A warm breeze blew off the river, but I hugged my arms around myself as I watched them—Jessica, the stupidly beautiful cheerleader; her way-too-skinny best friend Amber; Jessica’s little sister Bethany; and the guys: Chase, the quarterback (and my chemistry lab partner); Drew, who rarely said more than two words at a time; and the massively tattooed Pitre—making their way toward a broken window. They weren’t that far away, but they might as well have been in another state.At the steps leading to the porch, Jessica swung back to me. She was the one who’d invited me to tag along. “What’s the matter, Trinity? You’re not scared, are you?”My throat tightened. I wasn’t scared. That wasn’t the right word. Just … uneasy.Waiting.“Just taking it all in,” I said, forcing my legs to move. Beneath my flip-flops I felt stuff crunch. I didn’t want to know what.Amber made it to the window before she turned back. “Last year,” she said, her eyes glowing, “these two seniors came here—”“Amber!” Jessica shot her friend a shut-up look. “What are you trying to do? Make her leave?”That would be a yes. I was the new kid, after all. On the first day of school when the teacher had said Trinity Monsour, everyone had turned to stare at me, obviously sizing up the new girl. Being from Colorado made me an outsider, but at least I looked like I belonged. With long dark hair and dark eyes, skin my grandmother called olive, a T-shirt and low-rise jeans, I could have been Jessica’s twin.But still. Starting a new school junior year pretty much sucked.“Leave?” Amber said. “No way.” And with that she slipped into the darkness beyond the broken window.Two of the guys—Drew and Pitre—followed. Jessica waited until I reached the big bushes obscuring the porch before taking Chase’s hand and tugging him toward the darkness. Bethany shot me a nervous look, but followed anyway.“You coming?”I recognized the voice as belonging to Amber. Sidestepping broken glass, I reached the tall window and lifted my flashlight, looked inside. They all stood there, waiting.There was that word again. Waiting.And with it my throat tightened.Or maybe that was because of what I saw behind them, neat little piles against the far wall. Ashes.“Of course,” I said against a slap of warm air. Until New Orleans, I’d never known air could be so thick. Breathing was hard enough, but my hair! It had been straight in Colorado. Here it was a frizzy mess. My aunt kept saying I would get used to it, but I think she was just saying that.She does that a lot, tells me I’ll get used to things. But I’ve seen that look she gets in her eyes, the worry.“Then what are you waiting for?” Through a mass of perfect, coffee-colored ringlets, Amber’s smile looked more like a smirk. “Want Chasey to hold your hand?”Jessica’s eyes narrowed, invisible claws coming out for the thousandth time since she’d discovered her boyfriend and I were chemistry partners. Just because we had an out-of-class assignment—But that was another story.She eased closer to him, inserting herself between him and me. Through the play of shadows his eyes met mine anyway, forcing me to look down at an empty fast-food bag trapped by a rock.I so knew he was taken.I also knew I did not want to go into that house. Everything inside of me screamed for me to stay right where I was. But I rubbed my palms against the amazing Rock Revival jeans I still couldn’t believe Aunt Sara had bought for me, and stepped to the broken window.(If anyone had told me back on my birthday in April, that six months later I’d be breaking into a deserted mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans in the middle of the night with a bunch of teens I barely knew, I would have thought they were on serious drugs.)The cold hit like a punch to the gut. I must have staggered from it because Chase lunged for me, his arms reaching out. The warmth of his hand practically seared through the invisible blanket of ice suddenly covering every inch of my body.No, I told myself. No! Not now.Not here!Not in front of these people …The last time I’d felt the icy veil—I stopped the thought, knowing I couldn’t just stand there like an idiot in a trance. No one else heard the buzz. No one else felt like they stood in a freezer. My flashlight showed the sheen of sweat on Chase’s forehead. Everyone had on tank tops—Jessica’s was plastered against her chest. No one was shivering.Only me.And only on the inside.Kind of like the old house.With a pretend laugh, I stepped from the warmth of Chase’s hand and again rubbed my hands against my jeans. I didn’t bother looking at Jessica. I knew she’d be glaring in that she-animal way of hers.“Holy crap.” I gagged on my first full breath inside. Mud and smoke and stale whiskey mixed with something else, something really foul. “How old is this place?”“Real old,” Chase said. “Civil War, I think.”“Wow.” The beams of our flashlights jumped through the pitch-black room, creating a strobe-light effect. I could only catch pulsing glimpses. Floor. Darkness. Empty water bottles. Darkness. Peeling walls.Darkness.By the time I caught detail, it was gone.Refusing to let my hands shake, I played it cool and lifted my light to the far wall, and saw the tattoo. Well, not really a tattoo, graffiti was more like it, intricately painted over the faded image of a paddleboat on the river.The heart was done in black. A red cross ran through the top, with some kind of weird swirl design and grid through the middle, like something you’d see on someone’s arm.Actually, I was pretty sure I had seen it.“Before Katrina,” Amber said, strolling over to dominate the circle of light, “you could still see the blood.”Blood? Inside, mine ran cold.“You still can, dimwit,” Jessica said. “This place didn’t get any water.”“Omigod—” That was from Bethany. I twisted around, found her staring at the back corner. She was really pale—and really glued to Chase. His eyes were narrow, his dimples gone. “W-what’s that?”With my light I followed her line of vision to a small collection of sticks piled on top of each other.Except they weren’t sticks.“Bones,” Amber whispered.I swallowed hard as Bethany let out some kind of strangled sound. “I don’t think—”“No one’s making you stay,” Jessica pointed out before her sister could finish. “If you want to leave…”“Probably an animal.” Chase’s voice held absolute calm. “They like to die alone.”Bethany, a smaller, less sexy version of Jessica, looked up at him as if she wanted nothing more than for him to be right. It was so painfully obvious how badly she hung on his every word. His smile was warm as he gave her a brotherly pat on the back.I was quite sure it broke her heart.Around us darkness throbbed, and with every warm breath of wind, the old house groaned. The place was huge. I had no idea how many rooms there were, or who (or what) else could be inside.Waiting.The urge to move was strong. To leave. The stillness felt … wrong.Everything felt wrong.… still see the blood …“I thought everything flooded,” I said, stepping toward the wide hallway that cut through the middle of the house. I’d only been a kid, but my memories of the hurricane were vivid. My grandmother had been glued to the coverage, her eyes worried, her hands fisted together. I’d never seen her like that, and it had freaked me out.It wasn’t until Gran died that I understood why.She’d never been one to talk about the past, had always said, Triny, ain’t no point lookin’ backwards. But I’d never really thought much about it. Maybe because I didn’t have much to look back at. My parents died when I was little—I didn’t even have any pictures of them, didn’t have any brothers or sisters. I had never been anywhere besides the Colorado mountain where Gran raised me, had never even seen an ocean.Gran always made everything sound simple.Never, not even in the aftermath of Katrina, had she mentioned that she’d been born in New Orleans and had lived there for fifty-one years, until my parents died.I still didn’t know why she’d left. Aunt Sara, Gran’s youngest, said her mama had needed to make a clean break.I guess that made sense. That was, after all, sort of why I was in New Orleans. Of course, being an orphan and having no living family besides an aunt I’d rarely seen was the much bigger part.Nothing prepared me for how totally my life was going to change. And even though Gran had watched nonstop news coverage of Katrina, nothing prepared me for how wounded the city was.At sixteen, I was coming to realize there were some wounds you never got over.The old house knew, too.“… Garden District and French Quarter are on higher ground,” Chase was saying. His voice was warm, like some kind of drugging anchor I wanted to grab, but I knew how disastrous that would be.“The roads were like rivers,” he explained, “but most of the houses were okay.”Through the beam of Drew’s flashlight, Jessica’s smile glittered as she dragged her finger along the grid superimposed on the heart. “Which is why the blood is still here.”They were practically begging me to ask. “What blood?”Jessica looked away, down toward a pile of … corn? I tensed, trying to focus on the faint sounds of the city drifting on the night, sirens and the horn of a tugboat, music. Laughter.Crying.In New Orleans, if you listened closely enough, you could always hear something.At least I could.The low buzz threatened to drown it all out. Still cold, I swung my flashlight toward the broken glass, but saw only the shifting shadows of the huge trees beyond.I would have sworn someone had been watching.“No one knows for sure,” Jessica said, and I could hear the deliberate drama in her voice.“But they say when the moon is full…” Like it was tonight. I doubted that was a coincidence.“The walls start to bleed.” That was Amber.“And that you can hear a girl crying from one of the rooms upstairs.”“And smell whiskey…”My heart bumped hard, even though it was obvious what they were doing. They were like lame, wannabe actors reading the script for some low-budget horror flick. And while I hadn’t spent tons of time with kids my age, I wasn’t stupid.Jessica and Amber had been friends forever. Chase and Drew were cousins. They’d all grown up together. I was the new girl.That, apparently, made me fair game.But the cold was real. And the tomblike darkness. The disgusting smell.Still, I swallowed hard and tilted the flashlight to shine on my own face. “I want to see.”*   *   *Sometimes I really regretted my smart mouth. Now was definitely one of those times. Jessica led us through the shadows of the kitchen to a closed door. She pulled it open to a blast of stale air, revealing a hidden staircase.“This is what the servants used,” she said, taking the first step.“You mean slaves,” Amber corrected, lingering at the bottom as the rest of us started up.Her friend huffed. “Whatever.”“The blood is theirs,” Amber just had to say. “Some weird voodoo—”Her terrified scream stopped me cold.“Amber!” Jessica cried as we all swung our flashlights behind us. We saw them immediately, Pitre pressing Amber against the graffiti-polluted wall, his hand over her mouth. Her eyes were wide—furious.“Jerk,” Jessica muttered.But Pitre only laughed. “Sike!”“Let her go.” That was not Chase, as I expected, but Drew. Three words strung together.There’s a first for everything.Pitre’s lip curled as he stepped back from Amber. She recoiled from him, slinking up several stairs while barely seeming to move. All the while she looked at him like he was one of those disgusting cockroaches Louisiana specialized in.Apparently she was a lot more over the night they hooked up than he was.“I think it’s time for you to go,” Jessica hissed, shining her flashlight into his face. “No one wanted you here to begin with.”His mouth curled. “Now who’s scared?”Her eyes got narrow. “Chase. Make. Him. Go.”Chase moved between them like a referee, and in that moment I felt so bad for him. I mean, putting him in that position, making him choose between his girlfriend and his All-State receiver.“I wanted him here.” Chase’s words surprised me as much as they surprised everyone else. I stepped back, but couldn’t stop staring at the way his blue eyes glittered. “If he goes, I go.”The walls pushed closer. Jessica didn’t move, though. No one did. I’m not sure anyone even breathed.It was Jessica who moved first, after a long hot second, glancing beyond Drew to her best friend. Their eyes met. Understanding flared.“It’s cool,” Amber said, even though it was obvious she was lying.The awful drone grew louder, and the walls wouldn’t stop watching. If someone got locked in here—I needed to move. “Then come on,” I said. Standing in place made me feel like a sitting duck.“Need me to lead?” Pitre asked, obviously needling Jessica. “Because I’d be happy to show you where to go—”“Oh, shut up.” With the words she took off.Flashlights in front of us, we all followed, Chase and Bethany behind Jessica, Amber and Drew behind them, me with Pitre. He said nothing, but I would have sworn I saw a flicker of respect in his quick glance. Or maybe that was gratitude.Upstairs, doorways lined each side of an ultra-long hallway, all closed, like in a hotel. Except this had been a house. Actually, was still a house. Just empty.Except for the presence that hummed like invisible blood through invisible veins …Oblivious, Jessica swung open the second door to the left, and vanished inside.Again we all followed. My heart pounded hard as I crossed into the room—the mattresses stopped me. Surrounded by the remains of little white candles and an unbroken chain of dead flowers, they dominated the center of the room, like … an altar.Crouching beside them, Jessica glanced up through a tangle of dark hair, and smiled. “You wanna see?” Copyright © 2011 by Ellie James

Editorial Reviews

"James crafts a sexy, suspenseful paranormal thriller." -Kirkus Reviews"Ellie James has created a haunting, mystical page-turner of deceit, betrayal and magic with Shattered Dreams. Trinity receives a bit too much "new kid" attention upon her return to a recovering post-Katrina New Orleans when her psychic visions link her to a missing classmate (who just happens to be the recent ex of the new guy in her life). Trinity soon realizes her unusual gifts may do more than help find a kidnapped cheerleader - they may reveal secrets about her past as well." -Kimberly Smith, Cool Kids Read"The first novel in The Midnight Dragonfly series takes flight with a powerful mix of mystery, magic, and romance. SHATTERED DREAMS is an entrancing debut brimming with all the things that make New Orleans unforgettable!" -Shannon Delany, author of the 13 to Life series"A cruel prank, a mysterious psychic gift and the ghostly streets of New Orleans set the stage for Ellie James' hauntingly readable SHATTERED DREAMS. A word to the wise -- this tale of love, betrayal, and stalking evil is best read with the lights on." -Jana Oliver, author of The Demon Trapper's Daughter"Well-written and filled with both dramatic and romantic tension, SHATTERED DREAMS is an exciting debut you won't want to miss." -Jenna Black, author of Glimmerglass and Shadowspell"With SHATTERED DREAMS Ellie James delivers all the goods--in very high style. Set in post-Katrina New Orleans, SHATTERED DREAMS takes readers on a rollercoaster ride of thrills and chills while exploring the deepest recesses of friendship, family and love. The romantic relationship between Trinity and Chase brings to life the unyielding power of young love. In addition, James captures the sultry atmosphere of New Orleans with such skill that you'll hear the blues echoing from the French Quarter, feel the sweltering heat rising from the wet cobblestone streets and smell the dank earthiness of the river." -New York Times bestselling author Linda Castillo"A haunting and engaging story with characters who will stay with you long after you finish the book. Ellie James is a debut author you won't want to miss." -CC Hunter, author of Born at Midnight"Mesmerizing! With Shattered Dreams, Ellie James has woven unforgettable characters and dark elements into the richness of New Orleans to create a beautifully haunting tale that will stay with the reader long after she turns the final page." -Rachel Hawthorne, author of the Dark Guardian series