Secret Legacy by Carissa Andrews
Nestled in the woods of Windhaven, Blackwood Manor waits to unleash a dark and deadly legacy…
When Autumn Blackwood shows up at Windhaven Academy for the Witching Stick Orientation, she hopes to find out what dormant powers she could possibly possess to have been accepted to the elite supernatural school. Instead, the academy is in chaos as everyone frantically hunts for two missing girls.
But as school begins with Autumn no closer to figuring out her powers, strange occurrences start to follow her everywhere. Even at home, Blackwood Manor keeps many secrets, and Autumn can’t escape its haunting past.
New friends urge her to learn more about her family’s history in order to unlock her powers and make sense of what’s happening at Blackwood Manor, but Autumn’s not so sure. Once an accident brings Autumn face-to-face with death, however, she realizes her gifts are tied to a legacy that can either save or doom them all…
Targeted Age Group:: YA, NA, and Adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 3 – PG-13
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Secret Legacy was originally inspired by a dream I had when I was 14. It was so vivid, that it felt more like a past life memory. I went on to write this book about this mysterious house right then and there (it was my first ever written). In 2019, I decided to resurrect it and do it some justice. Thus, the Windhaven Witches series was born.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I'm not sure I actually come up with the characters. Like with all of my books, I think they sort of come to me with their tales. Secret Legacy was no different. Many of them just 'arrive' in the planning stages of my books and they flesh themselves out as I go along.
By the absurd color of my mother’s face, it’s safe to say I’m royally screwed.
“I asked you a question,” Mom says, her hazel eyes trained expectantly on me.
My mouth drops open and I shake my head. “I don’t even know what that is.”
“Don’t play coy with me, Autumn. This is a big deal—a behemoth deal. You don’t get a packet like this to the Windhaven Academy unless they’ve accepted your enrollment,” she says, placing a protective hand across the large purple packet with sparkly stars across it.
Instinctively, I grab for the envelope, tugging it from under her palm. I pull it to my chest without even looking closely at it. It’s got some heft of it, and I float through the decisions of whether to toss it in the trash or walk off with it.
“Look, Mom, there’s gotta be a mistake here. Or maybe someone is playing a practical joke on me. The Windhaven Academy…that’s a school for kids with unique abilities—the supernatural kids. Why would I apply there, let alone get accepted? It’s ludicrous.”
“That’s what I would like to know. Imagine my shock when the mailman passed it over,” she says, her lips pressing into a thin line. “The last I heard, you were planning on going to the U next year. I know it’s not as early as you would have liked—but trust me, saving for it was a wise investment. Especially with the student loan snafu—”
“You can relax, Mom. There’s nothing to this at all. I still plan to get my forensic sciences degree, for crying out loud.”
I turn on my heel to vacate the premises before things escalate. Mom and the supernatural world don’t have the best of track records, but Mom and money are even worse. The last thing I want is a four-hour discussion about the nature of things and how the system is built to “keep us little folks down.”
Mom follows after me. “Why are you walking away, Autumn? We're not done here. What aren’t you telling me?”
Spinning around, I scrunch my face, trying to hold it steady without drawing out her imagination. “N-nothing.”
“Well, that was convincing,” she says, placing a hand on her hip. “You know, I always thought we had a pretty good thing going here. I know we’ve had our ups and downs, and this last year having to work at the craft shop hasn’t been ideal, but I never thought lying would be a thing.”
“It’s not—I’m not—” I say, unable to contain the anger building inside me. “Mom, I have no idea what this is or why it arrived. If you can’t trust me—or believe me—then that says more about you than it does me.”
Her mouth pops open, but words don’t tumble out in their ordinary pace.
Without wasting another moment, I turn my back on her and stomp upstairs to my bedroom. It’s the one space in this tiny house that’s off-limits for her, and she knows it. After closing the door, I fling the packet onto my bed and lean back against the wood frame.
My brain whirls around, trying to make sense of the past few minutes. There is literally no reason to apply to the Windhaven Academy and even less reason to be accepted. I have no powers at all. None. Trust me, I’d know after the years of wishful thinking and trying to make something amazing happen. I’ve seen close friends learn their abilities and go on to do incredible things. But I’m still here—stuck in Mistwood Point until I can afford to pay to go to the state university like a completely ordinary girl. Meh. At least going for my Forensic Sciences degree would be more interesting than helping out all the old biddies in town with their fabric choices.
“We’re not done talking about this, Autumn…” Mom’s voice filters from the other side of the door.
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