Hollow (A Gothic Shade of Romance #1) Read Online Karina Halle

Categories Genre: Alpha Male, Dark, Fantasy/Sci-fi, Paranormal Tags Authors: Series: A Gothic Shade of Romance Series by Karina Halle

Total pages in book: 107
Estimated words: 100859 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 504(@200wpm)___ 403(@250wpm)___ 336(@300wpm)

From the New York Times bestselling author of River of Shadows and A Ship of Bones and Teeth comes a smutty spooky dark academia gothic romance retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where Kat Van Tassel doesn't have to choose between Brom Bones and Ichabod Crane, and there are worse things haunting them than the Headless Horseman.

Ever since she was a child, Kat Van Tassel knew that her parents had arranged for her to marry her best friend, Brom Bones, when she became of age. That was until Brom mysteriously vanished from the secretive village of Sleepy Hollow when he was just a teenager.
Now, at nineteen, Kat is fulfilling the tradition of attending Sleepy Hollow Institute, a shadowy and prestigious school that is run by her powerful family. There she starts to fall for her new teacher, the enigmatic, smart, and much older Ichabod Crane, whose fascination with dark magic and the occult brings out a new side of Kat—in more ways than one.
Until Brom Bones suddenly appears in her class. Her childhood friend doesn’t remember what happened to him in the four years that he’s been gone, all he knows is that he’s back in Sleepy Hollow for good. The only problem is, he’s not the same man that Kat knew. Cocky and brash as a youth, this Brom is violent and prone to bouts of madness.

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Baltus Van Buren was sitting in front of the roaring fire with a stiff shot of bourbon in his hand, pretending he wasn’t waiting for his wife to leave. She took her time as she always did when she went to the school, puttering around the house as if she was perpetually about to forget something. Over the years, Baltus realized it wasn’t absent-mindedness, though that sometimes came into play, rather her reluctance to leave him and Katrina on their own. She only went to the school for the nights before, after, and during a full moon, but you’d think she had to go to the other side of the country, not a forty-minute ride into the dark woods of Sleepy Hollow.

She’s afraid, Baltus thought absently as he swirled the amber liquid in his glass. But of what?

Though he always asked the question, he had his suspicions. That was why he was waiting for her to leave tonight because he wanted a moment with Katrina alone.

She was six years old, and it was time for his daughter to finally know the truth.

“Goodbye, dear Baltus,” Sarah said, leaning in to kiss him on the cheek. She smelled of cloves and something earthy, like the hard, dark soil that lay under the thin layer of evening frost, rich with decaying leaves.

Baltus forced a smile and eyed her. She was looking worn, her face like parchment, the wrinkles deepening around her eyes and mouth, but she always looked this way before she left for the school. She’d look much better upon her return.

She would have said goodbye to her daughter, but Katrina was already in her bed, fast asleep. At least that’s what Sarah thought. Baltus knew otherwise.

The door opened and closed, and Sarah was gone, a blast of frigid air coming in and tickling the fire. The flames leapt and danced and then settled, and the entire house seemed to relax as if letting out a sigh.

Baltus waited a moment, had another swig of his drink, and listened to the branches of the bare trees tapping the narrow windows of the sitting room, wanting to come in. They sounded like a ticking clock.

Then he said in his loud, fatherly voice, “Katrina?”

He waited a beat, and the door to her bedroom opened a crack, and her pale face peeked through.

“I know you’re not sleeping,” he continued and gestured to the velvet chair beside him. “Why don’t you come here so we can have a chat.”

She paused in the doorway, large blue eyes, pale skin, and hair like cornsilk. “Am I in trouble?” she asked in a small voice.

“Not even a little,” he said, his smile raising up the corner of his mustache. “Come here, my child.”

Katrina walked toward him, her bare feet smacking the floor loudly, which made her father smile to himself. His daughter was never the most graceful little girl, always loud and brash and clumsy, as if her feet were too big for her body, and she had no sense of the space around her. He wondered if one day her mother would make her go to a finishing school or if she’d use her own magic to help her be more “refined.” He prayed she’d leave Katrina as she was.

Baltus was a kind and loving man, beloved all over town for his thoughtful and genial ways, but he was a coward when it came to his wife, and he knew it. Sarah Van Tassel’s roots in Sleepy Hollow were so deep that sometimes he worried he could be uprooted at any moment and tossed away with one defiant look from his wife. After all, when they married it was she who decided to keep her maiden name—Van Tassel—because of tradition on her maternal side, and passed that name onto Katrina. And though Baltus was a witch too, his magic paled in comparison to what Sarah was capable of.

When it came to Katrina, however, that was yet to be seen.

“What is it, Papa?” she asked, climbing into the chair beside him, her legs swinging back and forth. If she had been sleepy before, she was fully awake now, her bright blue eyes looking him over curiously, eagerly, for it wasn’t often she was encouraged to stay up late. “Did something happen to Mama?”

He glanced at her, bushy brows furrowed like dueling caterpillars. “What makes you say that?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Your mother is fine,” he said. He shouldn’t be surprised at how observant she was. That was the whole point of this talk. “She left to go to the school.”

“I know. I heard her say goodbye. It’s just that the house feels different.”

“How so?”

“Like it was holding its breath, and now it’s not.”

Very astute, he thought. He cleared his throat. “Well, dear Kat, that feeling you have, what you’re noticing, that’s energy. And not many children your age would be able to put that feeling into words like you have, but that’s what makes you special.”