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"Find a reason to make it a good day." - Hazel

"Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic." - J K Rowling

Keyholder (The Wells of Power Book 1)


Beware of the darkness, and those who seek to conquer it…

Octavia Fletcher, the daughter of Rustwick’s wealthy wheat overseer, finds herself bloodbound to a key that holds an ancient magic coveted by all the kingdoms of the land. The Well of Eternal Healing in Hritza has been shrouded in a veil of impenetrable darkness for a millennium, its precious waters cut off by the gods of old. But now, Octavia possesses the key that can unlock it. Captured by a bounty hunter with a mysterious past, Octavia must fight to survive a slew of enemies who are keen to steal her—and the key’s power—for themselves. But danger lurks not only in the evils of men. The darkness surrounding the fallen Kingdom of Hritza is creeping past its boundaries for the first time since its creation, and anyone caught in its clutches perishes. Time is running out—not only for Octavia, but for all the Wells of Power gifted to humanity. Only the Keyholder can walk through the darkness and reverse its destruction, but can Octavia endure long enough to do so? And can she survive her own heart when it comes to the bounty hunter who has proven time and time again that he will do anything to save her?


If Octavia Fletcher had known ahead of time that punching Mildred Creevy in the face would land her in Rustwick’s jail, she still would have done it. It was worth losing the moral high ground of “being the better person” to finally knock the ever-living snot out of that self-righteous trout. Papa would rebuke her. She knew it. But right now, she didn’t care. Mildred didn’t get to talk about Mama that way and get away with it—gods knew she had done it for far too long—and Octavia had let her snide remarks slide one too many times. 

Octavia paced the six feet of space that her wooden, straw-strewn cell provided, running her fingers through her trio of thick brunette braids. Even though her hand hurt and she was now confined to this filthy, stench-filled space, a smile curled her lips. It was quite a sight—blood spurting from Mildred’s nose like a fountain… and the sounds of her squealing like a pig? Priceless.  

Mildred deserved the broken nose, and Octavia wouldn’t apologize for it.     

She brushed the creases of her mud-covered tunic off, flicking bits of dried muck over the straw. It didn’t help her appearance in the slightest. She was covered head to toe in grime. Rustwick’s guards had wrestled her to the ground before she could get away from the scuffle, and all the while, Mildred had been shrieking about how Octavia had tried to kill her. 


If Octavia had wanted to kill Mildred Creevy, she certainly wouldn’t have punched her…

A harsh banging caused Octavia to jump. One of the guards was slamming his fist against the wooden bars. 

“Your father is here,” he grumbled.   

Octavia glared at him but let a small sigh slip out, swallowing hard against a dry throat. She wasn’t intimidated by the imposing Rustwick guard. She was more intimidated by the conversation she was about to have with Papa. 

“You’re lucky your father is rich, girl,” the guard huffed, his caterpillar eyebrows crawling down his forehead in a frown. “Always bailing you out of your own messes.” He shook his head. “Spoiled. That’s what he’s made you.”

Octavia had to bite her tongue to keep from retorting. She was in enough trouble already. She didn’t need a few ill-advised words to extend her stay in this grungy hole. Five hours was long enough. She was starving and cold and not ready to see the disappointment on Papa’s face, but she was thankful that she didn’t have to spend the night here. 

The cell door scraped open, and the guard grabbed Octavia’s upper arm. Her immediate instinct was to pull away from his rough touch, but she quelled the feeling, allowing him to lead her from the dark and damp interior of the jail out into the brisk springtime air. The sun was maybe half an hour from setting, but it wasn’t the creeping shadows of the surrounding town or the two dozen Rustwick guards standing outside the rotting jail that chilled her, it was Papa’s grim stare.

He was sitting atop Bugs, their male Calico, and in his hand, he held the reins of Billa, their female Appaloosa. 

“Here she is,” the guard muttered, pushing her forward. He looked back at another guard and then pointed at Papa. “Did he pay?”

The man nodded. 

Unceremoniously, the guard holding Octavia shoved her. She stumbled, almost tripping, but she was able to regain her balance quickly. She threw the guard a vile look, brushed herself off, then joined Papa’s side. 

“Thank you,” Papa said to the man who had shoved her. “I’m sorry for the trouble she has caused.”  

“Keep control of your daughter, Theodin,” he growled. “Next time your money won’t help her.”

“Of course,” he replied, bowing his head. “She won’t be causing any more trouble.” Papa looked down at Octavia, his eyes sharp. “Get on Billa. Let’s go.” 

Octavia obeyed him without a word, hoisting herself up onto the brown and white speckled horse. The clop of the horses’ hooves against cobblestone was the only sound for nearly ten minutes as Papa and Octavia wound their way through the town, riding past shops, through evergreen trees, and then out along the Kraven River, which bordered the Kingdom of Rustwick. It was only when the sounds of the frigid water rushing by became thunderous that Papa finally spoke. 

“Octavia, what were you thinking?” 

His tone wasn’t harsh. In fact, it was so quiet that Octavia could barely hear him. 

She clenched her hands against the reins until her knuckles turned white. “Mildred called Mama a Hritza. She called our whole family Hritza.”

Papa’s almond-colored eyes widened in alarm, the wrinkles on his forehead becoming more prominent. Then he sighed, brushing strands of pepper gray and black hair from his eyes. “Octavia—”

“No! She went too far. I don’t care if Mildred is the daughter of a Wellminder. She could be the daughter of the king! I still would’ve punched her. No one gets to talk about Mama that way. No one.” 

“You can’t punch people who insult us. You’re a grown woman, Octavia. You’re twenty-two years old.”

She ground her teeth. “So is Mildred.” 

“And she has the protection of Asa Draydon! You do not!” Octavia flinched at the sudden sharpness of his voice. Papa continued. “It may not be fair, but Wellminders have privileges the rest of us don’t.” 

“But Papa, we’re not Hritza!” she pressed, unnerved by his willingness to overlook the deep insult. “We are not from that gods-forsaken place!”

“Then you are smart enough to realize that a mere insult isn’t worth losing your family over. Your mother couldn’t handle that. And Bowan? He looks up to you, Octavia. You’re his whole world. You’re lucky the guards only held you in Rustwick’s jail and didn’t drag you to the palace. King Asa isn’t forgiving… and I couldn’t have helped you if that had happened. I almost couldn’t help you anyway.” Papa cleared his throat, giving her a grave look. “It took a lot of convincing to get you free.”

She ran her tongue along the inside of her teeth, grimacing as Billa continued to walk along the river’s edge. How much had Papa spent on her freedom? Shame replaced her anger over the insult Mildred had used as her mind shifted to how Papa must have perceived this… 
The Fletchers oversaw Rustwick’s wheat production. They were blessed by the Well of Bountiful Harvest like everyone else in the Kingdom of Rustwick, but wheat carried a currency with it that other crops did not, making Octavia’s family considerably wealthy. Wealth, however, did not make them invincible. They were just as susceptible to King Asa’s whims as the rest of Rustwick. Money only gave Papa a certain amount of pull, and it seemed he had to use quite a bit of it to get Octavia free.  

She breathed out slowly, pursing her lips. 

Things could have gone far worse for her. Mildred Creevy had always been relentlessly cruel toward Octavia, but Mildred had never gone as far as using that term—a term that referred to those who had angered the gods of old a thousand years ago and triggered the impenetrable darkness. The Hritza were a curse. The lowest of the low. They were the reason humanity had lost access to the Well of Eternal Healing. Using that term was nearly as unforgivable as cursing the gods. The fact that Mildred dared to call Mama that—to call them that—churned Octavia’s stomach. Still… if the guards had opted to take her to King Asa instead of Rustwick’s jail, she had no doubt that she would’ve never seen her family again. 

She silently scolded herself, promising the gods that she would do better—for Mama’s sake and for Bowan’s.

“I’m sorry, Papa,” Octavia said. “Please forgive me. Thank you for bailing me out. I won’t…” She bit her lip. She would never apologize to Mildred, but she would promise Papa to control herself in the future. “I won’t do that again. You have my word.”

He gave her a sad smile, his tired eyes crinkling. “You are forgiven.” 

Their journey lasted another fifteen minutes as the two of them rode against the flow of the Kraven River until they came upon a vast clearing. There was a large brown-red barn in the distance where more horses were gathered, and to the barn’s left, a two-story farmhouse stood tall against the lush green of the pines beyond. The structures were just visible in the falling light, but now that the sun had dipped below the horizon, night was swallowing everything in haste.

“You better get yourself washed up,” Papa said, eyeing her with slight amusement. “You look like you rolled around in a mud pit. Did you tackle Mildred as well?” 

Octavia shook her head. “No, but I didn’t exactly go easily. The guards had to pin me to the ground before I would relent. Three of them actually.”

Papa huffed, but even in the low light, Octavia caught the grin that quirked his mouth. Although he would never admit it because he was a peaceful man by nature, Octavia knew he was proud of her ability to put up that much of a fight. She supposed it was something that gave him comfort—the fact that his daughter wasn’t totally helpless when it came to defending herself—but she also knew it had been the source of many conflicts over the years. Octavia Fletcher… always getting into trouble. Always getting into fights. Nothing as big as punching a Wellminder’s daughter in the face, but enough that she had gained a reputation amongst the townspeople of Rustwick. 

Octavia slid off Billa as Papa slid off Bugs. Papa grabbed the reins from Octavia and nodded to her. “I’ll tend to the horses. You go inside.”

“Yes, Papa.”

The instant Octavia crossed the threshold into the warm glow of the farmhouse, a blur of a figure tackled her around the middle, nearly knocking her over. 

“O!” A boy with dark brown hair and tanned skin squeezed her tight. Dried clods of dirt fell from her tunic as the boy embraced her, sprinkling the wooden floorboards, but he didn’t seem to mind the mess or notice it at all. 

“Bowan,” she murmured, smiling and hugging him back. He stood a head shorter than her, but at eleven years of age, Bowan Fletcher was growing fast, and it would only be a matter of time before he outgrew her. 

“Papa said you got into trouble.” A mischievous look pinched Bowan’s face. He checked over his shoulder, lowering his voice to a whisper. Octavia knew he was checking for Mama, but they were the only two standing in the living room. Mama must be upstairs. “He said you were in jail?” 

“I was,” Octavia said, matching his mischievous tone. 

Bowan looked flabbergasted. “What did you do?” Then, as if the question triggered his ability to see clearly, he backed up to take in her appearance. “Why are you covered in mud?”

Octavia hashed out the events of her day, not sparing a single detail, and when she got to the part about Mildred’s insult, her brother’s eyes became saucers and his jaw dropped. Color flushed his cheeks, and he put up his fists. 

“That ugly pig!” he hissed. “I would’ve punched her too. Did you make her cry?”

Octavia tousled his hair, smug delight written in her expression. “I made her bleed.”

“Good,” Bowan said, cracking his knuckles. 

“How’s Mama doing?” Octavia asked. She should probably go upstairs to see her, but she needed to clean herself up first. 

“She’s…” Bowan stalled, wringing his hands together. “She’s not been lucid today. She didn’t even know you were gone.”

Octavia’s heart pulled in two different directions. On the one hand, Mama wouldn’t know about her skirmish and short stay in jail—a blessing, really, since it would only upset her, and the stress could weaken her body even further. But on the other hand, Bowan’s comment meant Mama had racked up another bad day. She was still so young—a mere forty-two years of age—but her body was giving out on her, and so was her mind. They had been to every doctor in Rustwick, but no one had any answers for them. Tabitha Fletcher was dying, and there was nothing they could do but watch. 

It was her Mama’s sudden illness that triggered the use of Hritza from Mildred’s lips—Octavia knew it—and it boiled her blood again just thinking about it. 

According to legend, the gods of old didn’t just curse the Kingdom of Hritza by sealing the Well of Eternal Healing and shrouding it in darkness, they also cursed the ancestors of those who escaped the destruction. As punishment for their transgressions, the Hritza would die young. From illness or injury or accident… But no one could prove the theory was real since no one could prove that any ancestors from the Kingdom of Hritza lived. It was simply a story, evolved over the ages by the sheer span of time. 

“Okay,” Octavia murmured, pulling Bowan into another hug. The two of them fell silent. They never spoke about the possibility of Mama actually dying, but every time Mama had another episode, the reality of it grew sharper. 

Bowan wriggled out of his sister’s embrace, scrunching his nose. “You smell.”

Octavia chuckled. “I know.” 

She walked to the kitchen to grab the pail of clean water they kept on the floor next to their wooden dining table. She would refill the pail later. It would probably be easier for her to jump into the river with this much muck caked all over her, but it was chilly outside, and she didn’t want to be out in the dark. 

“Fix me a bowl of Mama’s stew while I get washed up?” Octavia asked with a devilish smile.  

Bowan gave her a stern look and crossed his arms, but then he sighed, resigning himself to her request with a smirk. “Fine. But only because you punched Mildred.”

“You’re the best!” she called, already halfway up the stairs. 

When she got to her room, she peeled off her clothes, tossing them to the floor by the foot of her bed. It was a modest space, but roomy enough. The only things in here were a bed, a small dresser with three drawers, and a wooden chair Papa had made. It was simple, but perfect. Papa liked it that way, and so did she. Octavia had always admired Papa for his rustic approach to life, even with their wealth. He made things with his hands and worked hard to provide for his family. The Fletchers were not above anyone else just because they had money—and it was that sentiment that Papa had instilled into her and Bowan.  

Octavia gave a longing look toward the bed. She yearned to cocoon herself into the blankets and pass out, but she was too hungry to sleep. 

After dunking a rag into the pail of water so she could mop up the grime coating her skin, she pulled on clean trousers and a new tunic, cinching the fabric around her waist with a belt made of old leather. Then she shoved her feet back into her leather boots.

“Mama?” Octavia called in a soothing voice, walking down the short hall. 

She poked her head into her parents’ bedroom. Mama was sitting up, tucked under a large handmade patchwork quilt, and she looked exhausted. Dark bags hung under her brown eyes, and her thin black hair was woven into a disheveled braid. Her face, once so full of life, was now hollow and empty most days, and since falling ill, she had lost a lot of weight. 

Octavia walked over to the bed and sat down on the edge, grabbing Mama’s hand. 

“How are you feeling, Mama?” she asked softly. “Do you want me to bring you a bowl of stew? Bowan is heating some up over the fire.”

She stirred, looking up as if just now noticing Octavia’s presence. 

“You look lovely today,” she murmured. “Do you think you could…” She paused, locking eyes with her daughter, and then a delighted smile lit her face. “I have to tell you something, Sissy. I simply can’t keep it in anymore.” She clasped Octavia’s hand tightly. “But you have to promise not to tell Mother, okay? She wouldn’t approve.” 

Octavia felt a lump building in her throat. Mama thought Octavia was her sister again... She fought against the desire to cry, stuffing it down as deep as it would go. Since the onset of this illness, Octavia had learned to play along with Mama’s failing mind, because trying to coax her back to reality in the past had only ended with Mama dissolving into hysterics. 

“I promise,” Octavia said with a smile. “I won’t tell.” 

Mama’s face gained the smallest tinge of pink. “There’s this man I met at the marketplace a few weeks ago. He’s lovely, and I have seen him every day since. I can’t stop thinking about him, Sissy. He’s the kindest, most handsome, most amazing man I have ever met!” 

Octavia’s chest felt hollow as she gazed into Mama’s excited face, but she maintained a cheerful expression. “He sounds wonderful.”

A giggle passed Mama’s lips. “This is going to sound crazy but… I want to marry him, Sissy! And he wants to marry me too. We’ve talked it all out. He’s going to build us a farmstead and grow wheat. Wheat!” Her voice was giddy. “Oh! I can’t wait for you to meet him. I know you will love him!”

“I’m sure I will.” 

“I’m sorry I haven’t told you about him yet, but I wanted to know first. And people might say a few weeks isn’t enough time to know, but for me, it is.” She peered into Octavia’s face intently. “You’re not mad I didn’t tell you sooner, are you?”

Octavia shook her head, squeezing Mama’s hand. “I’m not mad. I promise. I’m really happy for you.”

Abruptly, Mama’s eyes seemed to take on a slight surprise, but then they appeared to cloud over. She sat there without saying a word.

“Mama?” Octavia whispered.

But she didn’t reply. She simply stared past Octavia, her gaze fixed on the far wall of the bedroom. Octavia dug her fingernails into the flat of her palm and took several deep breaths.  

Every time Mama became like this, the episode would last longer, and Mama would slip further away. It was only two weeks ago that Mama had started asking who they were when she wasn’t lucid, and that was the first time Octavia felt truly afraid. 

With a heavy heart, she leaned over to kiss Mama’s forehead. “I’m going to bring you some stew.” 

She rose from the bed and walked to the door, feeling like a lead weight was pressing down on her chest. She felt so helpless… 

“Octavia?” Mama whispered. 

Octavia froze with her hand on the doorknob. Then she turned around to look Mama in the face, now noting the clarity that filled her eyes.

“Could you go into town tomorrow to get me more of that herbal tea? The one with lemongrass and chamomile? I think it also has cinnamon and hibiscus in it. That one helps me… it helps me feel better.” 

She nodded. “Of course, Mama. I’ll go first thing tomorrow morning.”

Mama closed her eyes, breathing deep. “Thank you, my love. I think I’m going to rest now.”

As Octavia closed the door, a deep sadness clung to her, burrowing into the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t imagine losing Mama, but she also understood that it was going to happen. Octavia didn’t know how much time Mama had left. All she knew was that she had to cherish it. 

Enjoy the chapter? Sign up for Keyholder's Kickstarter (launching June 25th) to get a special edition of Keyholder with FULL COLOR internal illustrations! All you need is an account on Kickstarter pre-launch link:

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About Danielle

Author Bio

Danielle Harrington is a stay-at-home mom, award-winning author, and hardcore science nerd. She earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Biola University and taught high school chemistry for five years before becoming a full-time writer. Her inner fangirl perks up at the mention of Quidditch, BookTok, Middle Earth, and the perfect hand-crafted chai tea latte.

Danielle lives in Idaho with her husband, daughter, and three cats. Her current mission: Give readers twists they don't see coming and imaginings that keep them thinking long after the story

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The Hollis Timewire

Series Book 4

The epic conclusion...

Hollis Timewire never wanted to be a hero. But when Arthur Evandrum, the leader of the Pure Ones, forces her to use her incredible power to control and imprison citizens, Hollis has no choice but to fight back.

As she struggles to resist Arthur's coercion and grapples with the responsibility of being a leader, Hollis discovers there is more at stake than her own freedom. Mysterious events are unfolding at the lab in Area 7, and she must uncover what they are before it's too late.

With the help of her closest allies, Hollis races against time to unearth what’s happening behind the scenes. As she delves deeper into Arthur's twisted vision for the future, Hollis’s own morality is called into question. Will she make the ultimate sacrifice to protect what she believes in? Or will she succumb to Arthur's power and become another pawn in his game? The fate of society rests in her hands.


"THE EMPOWERED ONES is without a doubt one of the best YA Dystopian finales I have ever read. Harrington has tied this story together with poise and perfection."


"Fast-paced, emotionally charged, and compelling in narration, THE EMPOWERED ONES is the series finale we all needed. A true dystopian novel in every sense of the word. This book will have you feverishly flipping pages, although you’ll wish the story would never end."

-KAYLA ANN, Bestselling Author of WELL OF DREAMS

"An epic, thrilling, heart-wrenching finale that will leave you breathless until the last page. Just when you think you've figured out what's going to happen... BAM! Plot twist! Full of action, mind games, and some really cool abilities. You definitely don't want to miss this finale OR this series!"


"Harrington is such a talented storyteller. She did a phenomenal job keeping me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what happens next. This book broke my heart in the best possible way! I highly recommend this series!"


"To say this book wrecked me is a severe understatement. Harrington stabbed my heart, twisted the knife, pulled it out, then tore it to SHREDS. She took my expectations, raised them, and still exceeded them. This story was everything I hoped it would be. And the ending had me sobbing more than any book I've ever read."


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The Hollis Timewire

Series Book 3

An idea can be as powerful as an ability...

When Hollis Timewire and her friends are miraculously rescued from execution at the hands of President Camille, they discover there are other Diseased Ones in hiding—and their vast, clandestine society is more extensive than Hollis ever could have imagined. They are led by Arthur Evandrum, a fellow Diseased One who has big plans for Hollis.

As she acclimates to a new way of life, Hollis is charged with seizing the Area 19 Testing Center and assassinating President Camille. But she pushes back. She fears killing the president will send a message that the Diseased Ones are just as dangerous as history says they are. Working with Jonah and her friends, both old and new, Hollis is under the wire to take over the government with as little bloodshed as possible.

Questions and doubts arise as she formulates a plan, and a disturbing revelation thwarts her strategy, leading to a series of unspeakable tragedies that change her world forever.


"Immersive, thrilling, and masterful! Harrington weaves together an epic tale that leaves you on the edge of your seat wanting more. A must-read for dystopian lovers."


"Hollis Timewire returns and takes the world by storm in this heart-stopping continuation. THE PURE ONES is action-packed, gut-wrenching, and full of twists that will leave your head spinning in the best way possible."


"THE PURE ONES took the Hollis Timewire series to a whole other level. This book is full of unexpected twists, controversial turns, and new characters that keep you guessing from page one until the very last word." 


"THE PURE ONES had me from the very first page. It's everything you're looking for in a YA fantasy. The adventure, romance, and shocking twists are so, so good! And the writing! The writing is next level amazing. I could not put this book down. The Pure Ones is going to be your next favorite read." 



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The Hollis Timewire

Series Book 2

She's starting the revolution...

After the government's brutal attack on the Diseased Ones, Hollis Timewire must wade through the carnage of her treacherous mistake.

The survivors want justice, and now Hollis faces impending execution. Each day, she must prove herself to be a model community member. But chopping firewood for the new camp in the forest isn't enough.

Hollis longs to redeem herself, and this sparks an idea to rescue the little boy from the Testing Center. Stealing the government's secret weapon might just be the perfect way to destabilize the system - enough to bring the whole thing crumbling down.

But unseen forces are at work. The world is not what it appears to be, and society has a dark secret that not even Hollis is prepared to face.


"THE UNSEEN ONES is raw, compelling, emotional, and filled with high stakes. Everything you'd want in a sequel. I'm so excited about this series!"


"THE UNSEEN ONES is a gripping, fast-paced story that delves deeper into the dark world of Hollis Timewire as she's forced to endure change and growth to protect those she loves."


"Hollis Timewire leads a revolution for the Diseased Ones in a heart-pounding sequel you won't want to put down!"

-KARIN BIGGS, Author of THE KING'S 100

"I dare say this book is even better than the first one in the series, and I LOVED the first book. I could not put THE UNSEEN ONES down! Hollis Timewire has to be one of my favorite YA fantasy characters ever!"


"An unstoppable addition to the series. THE UNSEEN ONES grabs you at the beginning and doesn't let go. The twists keep you guessing the whole way through."

-K.A. FOX, USA Today Bestselling Author of THE DEVIL'S OWN

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The Hollis Timewire

Series Book 1

Life is easy in 2647, unless you're a Diseased One...

On the morning of her 16th birthday, Hollis Timewire receives the worst possible news. She can't become a citizen of the world. She's a Diseased One. 

Born with a biomarker that bestows dangerous, brain-altering powers, Hollis is forced to hide underground with other Diseased Ones, who believe that the government falsified history to cover up their genocide. 

Now Hollis must discover the truth, and is willing to risk anything, including her powers, to go back home.


"A dark imagining of an all-too-possible future with a surprise ending that will leave you begging for more."

-K.A. FOX, USA Today Bestselling Author of THE DEVIL'S OWN

"This riveting debut was fast-paced and exciting. I fell in love with the characters and the world. THE DISEASED ONES kept me engaged to the very end - a spellbinding story from a talented author."


"A compelling tale of discovery and harnessing your true powers."


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