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by Patricia Keiller
Category: Young Adult/Mainstream
Description: An encounter with a white stag, a rare and almost mythical creature grants fourteen year old Heather McDermott amazing powers. Powers that she will need in order to protect herself from a ruthless enemy, an enemy who seems intent on ruining her life, and who will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
eBook Publisher: ebooksonthe.net/ebooksonthe.net, 2008 ebook
eBookwise Release Date: January 2009
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [94 KB]
Reading time: 54-76 min.
Fourteen year old Heather McDermott stared wistfully out of the window. Heavy grey clouds hung like a blanket over the nearby loch and the tall fir trees which grew on the shore line. Heather gazed further into the distance. The fir trees spread as far as the foot of the mountains where the dark green of the trees was slowly replaced by more sparse vegetation. Heather glanced up at the sky once more, it was going to rain, but she could not stand being cooped up indoors a moment longer. Heather ran into the hallway of the fifteenth century Scottish castle that had been her home for as long as she could remember, grabbed her raincoat, which was hanging on a hook by the entrance, and dashed outside.
Heather headed towards the loch. As she walked on she felt a sense of peace and belonging. Heather had traveled to other places in the United Kingdom, as well as various places abroad, but so far no place she had seen had matched the beauty of her beloved Highlands. As she reached the loch the sky grew even darker, and droplets of rain began to fall onto her raincoat. Realizing that the rain could only get heavier, Heather started running back to the castle. Five minutes later she was standing in the hallway soaked and cold. Her father, Duncan McDermott, was there to greet her.
"You're wet through, go up to your room and get changed," he insisted.
Heather did as she was told, and twenty minutes later she descended the stairs to the hallway with dry hair and a fresh set of clothes. She was on her way to the kitchen to get a snack, but as she went past the study, she noticed that the door was ajar, and she could hear raised voices coming from the room. Her father was not alone. Heather stood behind the door and listened.
"I think you'll find my offer very reasonable, Mr. McDermott. I'm well on the way to getting planning permission for this project, and when all the villagers see how many new jobs my theme park is going to bring, I'm sure I'll get their backing as well," a man's voice said.
"We're not moving and that's that!" Heather's father replied defiantly.
"Have it your way McDermott, but you will eventually come round to my proposition," the man exclaimed coolly. Heather thought there was no mistaking the hint of threat in his tone.
Heather held her breath, and pressed herself up against the wall as the man suddenly swept out of the room. She was free to observe him, even though he had not seen her. The man was about forty, flashily dressed, with oily, slicked back dark hair, heavy gold rings on his fingers, and he was smoking a foul smelling cigar. The man saw himself out, slamming the huge oak door that dominated the hallway behind him. Once he was gone Heather stepped into the study. She noticed that her father looked visibly shaken.
"Who was that man, Dad?" Heather asked.
"Johnny Perkins. He has a chain of theme parks and he wants to build one here. He wants our castle. If he has his way our home will become part of his tacky park. He's going to build rides and hotels. It's going to destroy the natural beauty of this place, not to mention the effect it's going to have on the wildlife," Duncan McDermott sighed.
"We can't let him do it, can we, Dad?" Heather said, close to tears. "What can we do to stop him though?"
"I honestly don't know, Heather," her father replied miserably.