Fourteen-year-old basketball prodigy, Samaya Lewis, missed curfew one too many times. Her punishment—an all-expense-paid trip to her Aunt Cece’s home in the country. Grounded for ninety days, Samaya is not to look at, touch, or even think about basketball; the “hobby” her mother fears is consuming her life.
Painfully shy and anxiety-ridden, Samaya dreads the coming-of-age experience her mom and aunt have planned. However, after buying the dress and meeting the boy, Samaya’s journey takes a detour when she and a new friend uncover a sinister conspiracy involving a strange man with a powerful secret and dangerous intention for the rural community of Willow Ridge and possibly the world.
Thrust into a conflict she wants no parts of and unprepared to risk her new friendships or basketball, Samaya must decide who and what are important before the sun sets on her summer.
I glanced at our destination. A narrow, graveled path, overgrown with grass, led to a stout brick building. Crumbly, old bricks in a sun-bleached red formed the base while a once-black roof sheltered it from the elements. Nests of brambles and thorns wrapped around the wide brick staircase, and grass pushed itself slightly over the bottom step, desperate to reach the doors. Though the building stood in ruin, it lacked a barrier preventing people from getting close.
“What is this place?” I asked, edging down the path.
The bleak structure seemed out of place, nestled among the mature oak trees and clumps of purple wildflowers. Its shadowy nature reminded me of an abandoned asylum for the disturbed, not something typically found behind a church.
Whitney dusted off the plaque that attacked her toe. “The original First Baptist Church. It’s where our grandparents and possibly great-grandparents worshiped until 1994.”
I quickened my pace. I wasn’t a history buff, but the church had ties to my mother’s family. It piqued my curiosity. Plus, it may aid in my ability to play ball when I get home. She’s sentimental like that.
Shafts of rainbow-colored light burst through gaps in the boarded-up stained-glass windows. Fragmented shapes in red, yellow, and blue danced on the stairs where patches of green and brown moss hadn’t grown.
We climbed the first two stairs with no problem. The old iron banister fell over, but it didn’t deter us from seeking a closer look. Upon reaching the landing, the bricks shifted under my weight. A rumbling groan urged me to run. As the stairs crumbled beneath my feet, the landing gave way with a thunderous crash. Whitney and I leaped out of the way as the decrepit staircase became rubble at our feet!