As kids Adrian Birichino had grown up in Salem, Massachusetts with his two best friends, Riley Gail and Jon Shelby. They did everything together and would protect each other all the time. Years later, when Adrian and Jon found out that Riley’s father beat her, they wanted in the worse way to get her out of the house. They feared for her life and wanted her father dead. But it seemed that fate had another idea for Riley. You see, Riley was about to move away with her family leaving her two best friends behind and this was the last thing she wanted to do. Adrian and Jon were always there for her and what would happen now that they wouldn’t be near her? So Jon decides that they’ll make a blood bond together and this will keep them close at all times though they may be miles apart from each other. While Riley gets ready to cross the street because her mother is growing very impatient with her, she leans against this eerie old oak tree waiting for clearance to cross. The boys continue talking and the next thing they know Riley is missing. There’s no sign of her anywhere and they have no idea what happened to her when they had their backs turned to her.
Years pass and both men are still terribly haunted by this occurrence even though they have both moved on. Their lives have been permanently changed since that very day that Riley disappeared and no one found her since. Adrian has led a bachelor life throughout the years, though never without a woman on his arm if the desire struck him, but no one could come as close to his heart as Riley did. He always has a secret crush on her and believed they were destined to be together when they got older. Unfortunately, that never happened. His latest fling, Renee, is every bit the pretentious woman you could imagine her to be. She feels that Adrian is the perfect mate for her and she thinks they’ll spend a lifetime together. But Adrian doesn’t see Renee to be anywhere close to the person that Riley was.
If matters aren’t bad enough, Adrian receives a message from Jon’s wife asking for him to return her phone call and mentions that something has happened to Jon. When they speak, he finds out that Jon has taken his own life. The poor man couldn’t deal with the grief of what happened to Riley years prior. His only way to end the misery was to commit suicide. Now Adrian carries the grief of losing both his best friends. He frantically packs a bag and returns to Salem although he hasn’t been there in years. It was a place that he couldn’t face again, but now he seems he has to. When he arrives back to his childhood town, things begin to unravel quickly for him in ways that he never could imagine. He swears he sees and hears Riley and that she’s trying to communicate with him. He thinks he’s losing his mind completely and has no idea how to stop the hallucinations. One thing is for certain though; his life will never be the same again from this point forward.
What happens to Adrian while he’s back in Salem? Does he ever find out what happened to Riley on that fateful day? Is she really dead after all?
I really enjoyed this story because Ms. Ashton has a way of grabbing hold of you in the first few lines and keeping you engrossed until the last sentence. I loved reading all about Salem during the witch trials and loved how the author interwove past and present together. She had me guessing what would happen next and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat with anticipation. I especially loved Adrian’s sharp, but quite dry sense of humor. If you’re looking for a story to get lost into for a few hours you have definitely made the right choice in picking this one up!
Plagued by baffling circumstances surrounding the loss of his childhood sweetheart, Adrian Birichino has spent the last twenty years trying to forget. When fate forces him to return to the town he loathes, his pervasive nightmares turn alarmingly real as a luminous angel steps out of thin air, inducing an accident that leaves his life in familiar hands. Real or not, she feeds a need burrowed deep in his soul. But if she's just a figment of his hyperactive imagination, how had she managed to leave behind tangible evidence of her existence?
Having been catapulted to a sinister spot in time, Riley Gail must find a way to convince Adrian she is real and living in the heart of the infamous witch-huntâ€¦else resign to be immortalized in the pages of history as one of Salema's accused forevermore.