In this sweet young adult love story, sixteen-year-old art nerd Aeon Still is the unwilling subject of a documentary about average American teenagers. She must quickly come to terms with the identity of her mystery parent, Chronos, the god of time, the realization that she wields extraordinary power, and the trials of keeping the town safe all while hiding her secret from a camera crew. Her life is further complicated by the interest of the enchanting new guy in town, Alex, who harbors a secret of his own.
I peered through the glass window in the photography studio door. Several students were developing film, cutting negatives, or checking out cameras. Mrs. Lozano stood off to the left side speaking to the new kid. The twins and his cameraman hovered near. The girls had identical expressions of adoration. Fortunately his back was to me. There was time to hide.
Mrs. Lozano’s gaze flicked to the door. She relaxed her shoulders and reached out a wrinkled finger toward me. By contrast, my shoulders stiffened.
All four turned for a look at what she’d gestured. I dropped my attention to the floor, flushing hot.
Why had I agreed to help? I was shy! Extra credit was a poor excuse when this was one of my best classes and a “free day” was technically against school policy.
The cameraman’s wheezing cough reminded me that my hesitance was being recorded. I swallowed my trepidation, turned the knob, and feigned confidence I didn’t possess.
“Aeon will show you where everything is.” Mrs. Lozano paused until I’d closed the distance. “This is Alex. Alex meet Aeon.” She turned to the twins, sighing. “All right, ladies, let’s talk about depth of field. Again.”
I walked ahead of the new kid, rattling information in a nervous ramble. “The cameras are over here in this cabinet. We are supposed to bring our own film, but if you forget, there’s a can of expired rolls here. It’s a crapshoot if they’ll develop so you’ll want to remember to bring your own. Go ahead and grab one. I’ve got to finish up this roll outside before I can develop. I’ll give you a minute to get ready.”
I left him behind and headed to my usual seat. Rustling for lip balm gave me an excuse to ignore everyone. The telltale clunking of the lens shutting came from the spot I’d left the new kid. A few more clunks meant he was probably ready. I stashed the tube of lip stuff and stood.
A shutter clicked. I jerked, finding a camera set against the new kid’s eye, pointed at me. He clicked it again, resounding clunk proof he was photographing me. I blushed hot and hurried away.
The documentary cameramen jockeyed for position in the cramped corridor of the art wing. I assumed that meant the kid had followed me. Back out into the sun I walked without looking back. There’d be none of that with the danger of being photographed. This time I took a different direction away from school grounds. There was an old asylum a half-mile south. My hopes were high for eerie scenes of disrepair in a place like that.
The new kid fell into step beside me despite my rapid pace. I walked onto the cross street in front of the school.
“We’re allowed to leave school grounds?”
I hadn’t heard his voice until that moment and I wished I still hadn’t. The sound had a deep, almost purring quality to it.
“I dunno.” I crossed the busy intersection, and then weaved in between the cars waiting at the extra slow red light.
He kept pace with me, chuckling in response. Even his laugh was lovely. “Where are we going?”
“An old insane asylum.”
“Nice.” He quieted for all of two seconds. “Is it old because there’s a new one or there are no more insane people?”
“There are always insane people.”
“The city could have shipped them south.” His slow delivery hinted at amusement.
My speed increased across the overgrown parking lot in the hope of losing him. “I’d feign lunacy if that were the case.”
He neared my shoulder, easily keeping pace. “Did you know the word lunacy comes from the sixteenth century and was actually a kind of insanity that was attributed to the changes of the moon?”
I halted, scanning the space for interesting imagery. There were a few good shots for my project. I lifted the viewfinder to my eye and framed a shot of the ivy that had taken over the building’s facade.
“Yes,” I said.
“So you want to be shipped south?”
He’d stopped. His body heat brushed my shoulder.
I gave a breathy snicker that was a combination of laughter and nervousness. I would love to be shipped south.
“What’s wrong with Junction Hill?” he asked.
“It’s cold.” The shutter click punctuated my answer.
“Does it get colder than this?”
I pinned him with a perplexed look over the top of my camera.
The slate-blue eyes that peered over the black metal had me enthralled. He was caught somewhere between boyish good looks and captivating masculinity. Smooth skin stretched over a seeming lack of cheekbones might have been part of why he looked boyish. But the straight Nordic nose, medium width dusky pink lips, and squared chin put him closer into grown man category.
I’d stared for perhaps a second but it felt like a lifetime. I shook myself mentally. “You’re in for a surprise if you think this is cold.”
Time to finish up the shoot. I faced the building again. “Damn,” he said. “It’s freezing.”
Obviously he wasn’t from the North. I considered asking where he’d come from, but figured he’d tell me if he wanted me to know. Instead I concentrated on getting the photographs I needed for my project. His camera shutter opened and closed as though he, too, had decided to snap a couple of photos. Maybe he’d be occupied enough by the camera that he’d give me some peace.
“You don’t talk much,” he said.
“My thoughts are best expressed through interpretive dance.”
The new kid was blessedly quiet for several moments. Did my dry response finally shut him up?
“No,” I said.
“Oh.” It was an almost glum response.
I was probably coming off as rude instead of shy. My cheeks warmed a little. Maybe it was time to share. “I’m too introverted to dance in public.”
“You had me going for a minute there.” He chuckled softly. “I was trying to picture you in a swan outfit.”
He lifted one shoulder in a negligent shrug. “I hear the word dance and I think chicks in tutus. Is your project about crazy people?”
That had been a quick topic change. But it was better than discussing me in a tutu. I shook my head. “My project is on things that are dilapidated, derelict, and/or decrepit.”
Again he laughed. “Good words.”
He was quiet while I took two more photos, walked around the building, and then began looking for a way inside. But the conversation took on an accusatory vein when he spoke again. “Do you have a hatred for the human race or only for me?”
I faced him. Surprise drew my features wide. His eyes, intense and a little narrow, snared me in a figurative net.
I took a stealthy breath. “What makes you think I hate anyone?”
He settled onto his heels as though he’d expected a fight and hadn’t gotten one. His downturned lips didn’t ease. “I’ve been trying to start up a conversation for ten minutes, but you won’t budge.”
“So because I’m not a motor mouth that means I hate humankind?”
“Usually girls won’t shut up.”
I didn’t know why, but his comments were beginning to offend me. “Maybe you hang out with different girls.”
“Or maybe you’re the different one.”
“Thanks.” I glanced down at my watch. After another quick photo of a dumpster between weeds as tall as trees, I started back for school.
I glanced over my shoulder without fully turning or stopping. His camera was to his eye. The shutter clicked.
Another shot of me!
No doubt a score of wrinkles formed around my narrowing eyes. He’d obviously laid in wait for that expression, too, because the camera’s clunk echoed in the parking lot again.
I charged toward school.
He was quickly on my heels. “That’s a cool name by the way. It’s Latin for ‘time eternal’ right?”
Startled, I nearly tripped on a crack in the pavement. He was the first person who had ever known what my name meant. Most people asked me about the movie with Charlize Theron. He probably read a lot. Maybe his looks weren’t all that he had.
“Yes,” I said, slowing and looking at him.
His lips twisted at one corner — a condescending expression, or perhaps I was reading into it. “I take it most people have no clue what your name means?”
I nodded for him, relaxing now that I knew that smirk wasn’t meant for me. “They assume it’s from that cartoon and movie.”
“What cartoon and movie?”
“The one with Charlize Theron?”
His head cocked to the left. “Who is Charlize Theron?”
“Have you been living under a rock for the last ten years?”
“No, I just don’t particularly like movies.” His tone had soured. Now I was the one doing the offending.
I shook my head and strode ahead. “There was a stylized cartoon on MTV back in the early nineties called Aeon Flux. They did a live-action remake of it a few years ago.”
“Was she as mute as you?”
He chuckled. “Well, mute girl, I didn’t get your full name.” “Mute girl works for me.”
I was apparently quite amusing because he laughed again. “Aeon mute girl? Okay. I’m Alex Chattan and I’m the new guy in town. Pay no attention to the weirdo stalking me with a camera.” He shot a look over his shoulder. “Oh wait, I see you have one, too.”
“Seems an epidemic,” I drawled while hiding a smile.
- Q:Is there a sequel to Time’s Daughter?
- A:There is a crossover with an unreleased series (The Only Sorceress) written but not a second book.Originally Time’s Daughter was a series (as many have guessed). But in book 2 I had a love triangle that destroyed the romance from book 1. My trusted beta readers did NOT like this (obviously!). So I decided to end it at book 1.
- Q:Will you write any more Young Adult books like Time’s Daughter?
- A:I have several other YA stories in the works. However they’re not sweet romances like Time’s Daughter (though one is a romance, it’s just not overly sweet).I’ll post once I’ve got any additional news on that.I DO want to write more sweet romances since this one was such a hit. The inspiration hasn’t hit me yet but I’m sure it will :)Thanks so much for reading!!
- Q:In Time’s Daughter where is Aeon from?
- A:Junction Hill, New Hampshire (a fictional town)
- Q:Is the high school in Time’s Daughter modeled after a real school?
- A:Yes, it’s loosely based on my high school, Concord High from circa 1995.