YA Book Releases Next Week (March 24-30) Part 1

Here I come with the YA book releases of next week. (Fortunately) we have an abundance of upcoming books, therefore I'm going to split the topic into two posts. For the same reason, this time it won't be in an order of interest, there are eight books in this part, and five in the next, and that is all. So here is part one. Enjoy! :)



  • PublisherSt. Martin's Press
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Pages320
  • Age range12 - 18 Years
  • Series: House of Night Series , #10


Synopsis:


In Hidden by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, Zoey at last has what she wanted: the truth is out. Neferet’s evil has been exposed, and the High Council is no longer on her side—so why is she far from done wreaking havoc in the vampyre world? First a mysterious fire ravages the stables, then, Neferet makes a devastating move that will test them all.With the seeds of distrust sown, everyone must band together—but that’s proving to be more difficult than ever before. The twins are barely speaking and the House of Night’s former enemy, Kalona, has now become their warrior, pushing their trust to the limit. To top it off, Zoey is pretty darn sure she might be losing her mind—she saw something when she looked at Aurox through the Seer Stone that she can hardly explain to herself, let alone her friends. Is it possible that Heath has come back in a different form? Is that why Zoey's so intrigued by Aurox, when it's so obvious he's dangerous? And who would believe her if she told them? Zoey knows that following her instinct about Aurox might be just what they need to defeat evil . . . but if she’s wrong, it could cause the destruction of those closest to her.


Reviews:



From Barnes & Noble
Hidden, as if we had to tell you, is the tenth novel in a vampire-themed fantasy series that just won't let readers go. Mercifully, at long last, a breakthrough has been achieved: The Vampyre High Council has been fully apprised of Neferet's demonic true designs, thus perhaps strengthening the power of Zoey Redbird and her allies. But as this fiction makes clear, the coming battles will not be easy....



About the author:



#1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author P.C. CAST is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance writer, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher. Her novels have been awarded YALSA Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, and have received the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award.  KRISTIN CAST is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the House of Night series.





Read an Excerpt:




CHAPTER ONE



Lenobia



Lenobia’s sleep was so restless that the familiar dream took on a sense of reality that overstepped the ethereal realm of subconscious outlets and fantasies and became, from the beginning, all too heartbreakingly real.
It began with a memory. Decades, and then centuries fell away leaving Lenobia young and na├»ve again, and in the cargo hold of the ship that had carried her from France to America—from one world to another. It was during that journey that Lenobia had met Martin, the man who should have been her Mate for his entire life. Instead he had died too young and had taken her love to the grave with him.
In her dream Lenobia could feel the gentle roll of the ship and smell the scent of horse and hay, sea and fish—and Martin. Always Martin. He was standing before her, gazing down at her through eyes that were olive and amber and worried. She had just told him she loved him.
“It is impossible.” The dream memory replayed in her mind as Martin reached out, took her hand, and lifted it gently. He raised his own arm until the two were side by side. “You see the difference, you?”
The dreaming Lenobia made a small, wordless exclamation of pain. The sound of his voice! That distinct Creole accent——deep, sensual, unique. It was the bittersweet sound of his voice and its beautiful accent that had kept Lenobia away from New Orleans for more than two hundred years.
“No,” the young Lenobia had answered his question as she gazed down at their arms—one brown, one white—where they pressed together. “All I see is you.”
Still deeply asleep, Lenobia, Horse Mistress of the Tulsa House of Night, moved restlessly, as if her body was attempting to force her mind to awaken. But this night her mind did not obey. This night dreams and what might have been ruled.
The sequence of memories shifted and changed to another scene, still in the cargo hold of the same ship, still with Martin, but days later. He was handing her a long string of leather tied to a small pouch dyed a deep sapphire blue. Martin put it around her neck saying, “This gris-gris protect you, cherie.”
In the space of a heartbeat the memory wavered and time fast-forwarded a century. An older, wiser, more cynical Lenobia was cradling the crumbling leather pouch in her hands as it split and spilled it contents—thirteen things, just as Martin had told her—but most of them had become unrecognizable during the century she’d worn the charm. Lenobia remembered a faint scent of juniper, the smooth feel of the clay pebble before it turned to dust, and the tiny dove’s feather that had crumbled between her fingers. But most of all Lenobia remembered the fleeting rush of joy she’d felt when, in the midst of the disintegrating remnants of Martin’s love and protection, she’d discovered something that time hadn’t been able to ravage. It had been a ring—a heart-shaped emerald, surrounded by tiny diamonds, set in gold.
“Your mother’s heart—your heart—my heart,” Lenobia had whispered as she’d slipped it over the knuckle of her ring finger. “I still miss you, Martin. I’ve never forgotten. I vowed it.”
And then the dream memories rewound again, taking Lenobia back to Martin, only this time they weren’t at sea finding one another in the cargo hold and falling in love. This memory was dark and terrible. Even dreaming, Lenobia knew the place and the date: New Orleans, March 21, 1788, not long after sunset.
The stables had exploded in fire and Martin had saved her, carrying her from the flames.
“Oh, no! Martin! No!” Lenobia had screamed at him then, now she whimpered, struggling to awaken before she had to relive the horrible end of the memory.
She didn’t wake. Instead she heard her only love repeat the words that had broken her heart two hundred years before, feeling it again as if the wound were raw and fresh.
“Too late, cherie. This world too late for us. I see you again, though. My love for you don’ end here. My love for you, it never end … find you again, cherie. That I vow.”
As Martin captured the evil human who had tried to enslave her, and then walked back into the flaming stables with him, saving Lenobia’s life, the Horse Mistress was finally able to wake herself with a wrenching sob. She sat up in bed, and with a trembling hand brushed her sweat-soaked hair from her face.
Lenobia’s first waking thought was for her mare. Through the psychic connection they shared, she could feel that Mujaji was agitated, almost panicked. “Shhh, my beauty. Go back to sleep. I am well.” Lenobia spoke aloud, sending soothing feelings to the black mare with whom she had a special bond. Feeling guilty for upsetting Mujaji, she bowed her head and cradled her hand, twisting the emerald ring around and around her finger.
“Stop being so foolish,” Lenobia told herself firmly. “It was just a dream. I am safe. I am not back there. What happened then cannot hurt me more than it already has,” Lenobia lied to herself. I can be hurt again. If Martin has come back—really come back—my heart can be hurt again. Another sob tried to escape from Lenobia, but she pressed her lips together and forced her emotions under control.
He might not be Martin, she told herself firmly, logically. Travis Foster, the new human hired by Neferet to assist her in the stables, was simply a handsome distraction—him and his big, beautiful Percheron mare. “Which is probably exactly what Neferet intended when she hired him,” Lenobia muttered. “To distract me. And his Percheron is just an odd coincidence.” Lenobia closed her eyes and blocked the memories that lifted from her past, and then repeated aloud, “Travis might not be Martin reincarnated. I know my reaction to him is unusually strong, but it has been a long time since I have taken a lover.” You have never taken a human lover—you vowed not to, her conscience reminded her. “So it’s simply past time I took a vampyre lover, even if briefly. And that type of distraction will be good for me.” Lenobia tried to busy her imagination with considering and then rejecting a list of handsome Son of Erebus Warriors, her mind’s eye not seeing their strong, muscular bodies, but instead envisioning whisky brown eyes tinged with familiar olive green and a ready smile …
“No!” She would not think of it. She would not think of him.
But what if Travis could really hold Martin’s soul? Lenobia’s errant mind whispered enticingly. He gave his word he would find me again. Perhaps he has. “And then what?” Lenobia stood and began to pace restlessly. “I know all too well the fragility of humans. They are too easily killed, and today the world is even more dangerous than it was in 1788. My love ended in heartbreak and flame once. Once was too much.” Lenobia stopped and put her face in her hands as her heart knew the truth, and pumped it through her body and soul, becoming reality. “I am a coward. If Travis is not Martin I do not want to open myself to him—to take a chance on loving another human. And if he is Martin returned to me, I cannot bear the inevitable, that I will lose him again.”
Lenobia sat heavily in the old rocking chair she’d placed beside her bedroom window. She liked to read there, and if she couldn’t sleep her window faced east so she could watch the rising of the sun and look out at the grounds beside the stables. Though Lenobia appreciated the irony, she couldn’t help but enjoy the morning light. Vampyre or not, at her core she would eternally be a girl who loved mornings and horses and a tall, cappuccino skinned human who had died long ago when he had been far too young.
Her shoulders slumped. She hadn’t thought of Martin so often in decades. His renewed memory was a double-edged sword—on one side she loved recalling his smile, his scent, his touch. On the other his memory also evoked the void his absence had left. For more than two hundred years Lenobia had grieved for a lost possibility—a wasted life.
“Our future was burned away from us. Destroyed by flames of hatred and obsession and evil.” Lenobia shook her head and wiped her eyes. She must regain control over her emotions. Evil was still burning a swath through Light and goodness. She drew in a deep, centering breath and turned her thoughts to a subject that never failed to calm her, no matter how chaotic the world around her had become—horses—Mujaji, in particular. Feeling calmer now, Lenobia reached out again with that extra special part of her spirit that Nyx had touched, and gifted with an affinity for horses, the day sixteen-year-old Lenobia had been Marked. She found her mare easily, and instantly felt guilty at the mirrored agitation she sensed in Mujaji.
“Shhh,” Lenobia soothed again, repeating aloud the reassurance she was sending through her bond with the mare. “I am only being foolish and self-indulgent. It will pass, I give you my vow, sweet one.” Lenobia focused a tide of warmth and love on her night-colored mare, and, as always, Mujaji regained her own calm.
Lenobia closed her eyes and released a long breath. She could envision her mare, black and beautiful as the night, finally settling down, cocking a back leg, and falling into a dreamless sleep.
The Horse Mistress concentrated on her mare, shutting out the turmoil that the young cowboy’s arrival at her stables had caused within her. Tomorrow, she promised herself sleepily, tomorrow I will make it clear to Travis that we will never be more than employer and employee. The color of his eyes and the way he makes me feel, all of that will begin to ease when I distance myself from him. It must … it must …
Finally, Lenobia slept.



Neferet



Even though the feline was not bonded to her, Shadowfax came willingly at Neferet’s call. Thankfully, classes were over for the night, so when the big Maine coon met her in the middle of the field house it was dimly lit and empty—no students were about; Dragon Lankford himself was also absent, but probably only temporarily. She had seen only a few red fledglings on her way there. Neferet smiled, satisfied at the thought of how she added the rogue reds to the House of Night. What lovely, chaotic possibilities they presented—especially after she ensured Zoey’s circle would be broken and her best friend, Stevie Rae, would be devastated, grieving the loss of her lover.
The knowledge that she was assuring future pain and suffering for Zoey pleased Neferet immeasurably, but she was too disciplined to allow herself to begin gloating before the sacrificial spell was complete and her commands were set into motion. Though the school was unusually quiet tonight, almost abandoned, the truth was anyone could happen into the field house. Neferet needed to work quickly and quietly. There would be ample time to revel over the fruits of her labors later.
She spoke softly to the cat, coaxing him closer to her, and when he was near enough she knelt to his level. Neferet had thought he would be leery of her—cats knew things. They were much harder to fool than humans, fledglings, or even vampyres. Neferet’s own cat, Skylar, had refused to relocate to her new Mayo penthouse suite, choosing instead to lurk in the shadows of the House of Night and watch her knowingly with his large, green eyes.
Shadowfax wasn’t as wary.
Neferet beckoned. Shadowfax came to her, slowly closing the last bit of distance between them. The big cat wasn’t friendly—he didn’t rub against her and mark her affectionately with his scent—but he came to her. His obedience was all that concerned Neferet. She didn’t want his love; she wanted his life.
The Tsi Sgili, immortal Consort of Darkness, and former High Priestess of the House of Night, felt only a vague shadow of regret as her left hand caressed the long length of the Maine coon’s gray tiger striped back. His fur was soft and thick over his lithe, athletic body. Like Dragon Lankford, the Warrior he’d chosen as his own, Shadowfax was powerful and in the prime of his life. Such a shame he was needed for a greater purpose. A higher purpose.
Neferet’s regret did not equate to hesitation. She used her Goddess-given affinity for felines and channeled warmth and reassurance through her palm and into the already trusting feline. While her left hand caressed him, encouraging him to arch and begin to purr, her right hand snaked out and with her razor-edged athame, she quickly, cleanly, slashed Shadowfax’s throat.
The big cat made no sound. His body spasmed, trying to jerk away from her, but her hand fisted in his fur, holding him so close that his blood sprayed, hot and wet, across the bodice of her green velvet dress.
The threads of Darkness that were always present around Neferet throbbed and quivered with anticipation.
Neferet ignored them.
The cat died faster than she’d imagined, and for that Neferet was glad. She hadn’t expected him to stare at her, but the Warrior cat held her gaze even after he had collapsed into the sandy field house floor and could no longer fight her, but lay breathing shallowly, twitching silently, and staring.
Working quickly, while the cat was still living, Neferet began the spell. Using the blade of her ritual athame, Neferet drew a circle around Shadowfax’s dying body, so that as blood pooled around him it poured into it, and a miniature moat of scarlet was formed.
Then she pressed one palm of her hand into the fresh, warm blood, stood just outside the circle, and lifted both hands—one bloody, one holding the scarlet-edged knife, and intoned:
“With this sacrifice I command
Darkness controlled by my hand.
Aurox, obey me!
Rephaim’s death it will be.”
Neferet paused, allowing the sticky threads of cold blackness to brush against her and gather all around the circle. She felt their eagerness, their need, their desire, their danger. But above all else, she felt their power.
To complete the spell she dipped the athame into the blood, and wrote directly into the sand with it, closing the incantation:
“Through payment of blood, pain, and strife
I force the Vessel to be my knife!”
Holding an image of Aurox in her mind, Neferet stepped inside the circle and plunged the dagger into Shadowfax’s body, pinning him to the field house floor while she loosed the tendrils of Darkness so that they could consume their feast of blood and pain.
When the cat was thoroughly drained and absolutely dead, Neferet spoke, “The sacrifice has been made. The spell cast. Do as I command. Force Aurox to kill Rephaim. Make Stevie Rae break the circle. Cause the reveal spell to fail. Now!”
Like a nest of seething snakes, the minions of Darkness slithered into the night, heading away from the field house and toward a lavender field and the ritual that was already underway there.
Neferet gazed after them, smiling in satisfaction. One particular thread of darkness, thick as her forearm, whipped through the door that opened from the field house to the stables. Neferet’s attention was pulled its way by the muffled sound of breaking glass.
Curious, the Tsi Sgili glided forward. Being careful to make no noise, and cloaking herself in shadow, Neferet peered into the stables. Her emerald eyes widened in pleased surprise. The thick thread of Darkness had been clumsy. It had knocked one of the gas lanterns from its resting place on a peg that hung not far from the piles of neatly stacked hay Lenobia was always so meticulous about choosing for her creatures. Neferet watched, fascinated, as first one tuft of hay caught fire, sputtered, and then with a renewed surge of yellow, and a mighty whoosh! it fully caught.
Neferet looked down the long line of closed, wooden stalls. She could see only the faint, dark outlines of a few of the horses. Most were sleeping. Some were lazily grazing, already settled down for the approaching dawn and the rest the sun would bring them until it set and students arrived for their never ending classes.
She glanced back at the hay. An entire bale was engulfed in flame. The scent of smoke drifted to her, and she could hear crackling as, like a loosed beast, the fire fed and grew.
Neferet turned away from the stable, closing the thick door between it and the field house securely. It seems likely that Stevie Rae may not be the only one who will be grieving after tonight. The thought satisfied Neferet, and she left the field house and the carnage she’d caused there, not seeing the small white cat who padded to Shadowfax’s motionless body, curled beside him, and closed her eyes.



Lenobia



The Horse Mistress awakened with a horrid feeling of forboding. Confused, Lenobia rubbed her hands over her face. She’d fallen asleep in the rocking chair near her window and this sudden awakening seemed more nightmare than reality.
“This is foolishness,” she muttered sleepily. “I must find my center again.” Meditation had helped quiet her thoughts in the past. Resolutely, Lenobia drew a deep, cleansing breath.
It was with that deep breath that Lenobia smelled it—fire. A burning stable to be specific. She clenched her teeth together. Begone, ghosts of the past! I am too old to play these games. Then an ominous cracking sound had Lenobia shaking off the last of the sleep that had clouded her mind as she moved quickly to the window and drew aside the heavy black drapes. The Horse Mistress looked down at her stables and gasped in horror.
It hadn’t been a dream.
It hadn’t been her imagination.
Instead it was a living nightmare.
Flames were licking the sides of the building and as she stared, the double doors just at the edge of her vision were thrown open from the inside and against a backdrop of billowing smoke and consuming flames was the silhouette of a tall cowboy leading a huge gray Percheron and a night black mare from within.
Travis let loose of the mares, shooing them into the school grounds and away from the flaming stables, and then he ran back into the flaming mouth of the building.
Everything within Lenobia came alive as the sight extinguished her fear and doubt.
“No, Goddess. Not again. I am no longer a frightened girl. This time his end will be different!”













  • PublisherRazorbill
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Pages496
  • Age range12 - 17 Years
  • Series: SYLO Chronicles Series , #2



Blurb:


From #1 New York Times bestselling author D.J. MacHale comes STORM—the exhilarating, action-packed sequel to SYLO:
"A relentlessly fast-paced, intriguing, expertly-written tale that leaves you breathless and satisfied, yet wanting more. Highly recommended." —James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of the Maze Runner series 
"Absolutely un-put-downable, more exciting than an X-box and roller coaster combined."—Kirkus, starred review
"If you're a fan of The Maze Runner and Alex Rider, you might want to pick up SYLO... A fast-paced read and a huge cliffhanger." —EW.com
"With this extremely high-octane story that's the equivalent to a summer movie blockbuster, MacHale kicks off an apocalyptic trilogy sure to leave readers demanding the next installment."—Booklist
"This action-filled, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it adventure... should leave teen readers clamoring for the next installment." —VOYA
"An entertaining and creepy tale."—Publishers Weekly
"MacHale pens some terrific and unique action scenes... will leave readers hungry for the next installment." —School Library Journal


Reviews:





From Barnes & Noble

Tucker, Tori, Kent, and Olivia have escaped from Maine's war-torn Pemberwick Island, but their arrival in nearby Portland brings them no solace. The town is both damaged and almost deserted; and the city's few survivors seem as hopelessly uninformed as Tucker and his friends. Radio messages about a gathering resistance give them new hope, but also provoke disagreements in the group. Should they join the fight or simply run for their lives? The second installment of a hit dystopian series.


About the author:



D.J. MacHale is the author of the bestselling book series Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure through Time and Space, the spooky Morpheus Road trilogy, and the whimsical picture bookThe Monster Princess. He has written, directed, and produced numerous award-winning television series and movies for young people including Are You Afraid of the Dark?Flight 29 Down, and Tower of Terror. D.J. lives with his family in Southern California. You can visit him online at www.djmachalebooks.com.














PublisherCandlewick Press
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Pages320
  • Age range14 - 17 Years


Synopsis:


Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.
Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava — in all other ways a normal girl — is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naive to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the summer solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.


About the author



Leslye Walton says that The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender began as a short story that came to her while listening to a song. She has an MA in writing, and this is her first novel. Walton is a native of Tacoma, Washington, and she currently teaches middle school in Seattle.


Goodread I  Amazon  I  Barnes&Noble  I Nook







  • PublisherHarlequin
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Series: Soul Screamers Series , #10
  • Pages576
  • Age range14 - 17 Years


Synopsis:



Saving the world has never come easy— and Kaylee Cavanaugh's died to prove it…
The final collection of New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series is packed with emotion, with intrigue, with secrets, with family—and above all, with love.
Don't miss WITH ALL MY SOUL FEARLESS NIEDERWALD and a brand-new novella, LAST REQUEST
Saving the world has never come easy—and Kaylee Cavanaugh's died to prove it…
The final collection of New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamers series is packed with emotion, with intrigue, with secrets, with family—and above all, with love.
Don't miss
WITH ALL MY SOUL
FEARLESS
NIEDERWALD
and a brand-new novella, LAST REQUEST


Reviews:




From the Publisher


"Vincent does a nice job of balancing all the various species of character-human, incubus, bean sidhe (banshee), reaper, hellion-with dollops of humor and enough backstory to keep readers new to the series engaged, without dousing the pace for those already in the know." — Booklist on If I Die



About the author:




New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent loves good chocolate, comfortable jeans, and serial commas. She’s older than she looks and younger than she feels, but is convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan. Now absorbed in the dark, tangled loyalties of her UNBOUND world, as well as the travails of a teenage banshee in her SOUL SCREAMERS world, Rachel can be found online at www.rachelvincent.com or urbanfantasy.blogspot.com.





Excerpt:




I used to hate the fact that my world is built on half-truths, held together with white lies. My life itself is an illusion requiring constant effort to maintain. I lie better than almost anyone I've ever met. But if I know the truth about anything, it's this: when people say the devil is in the details, they have no idea how right they are____
"It was a nice service, right?" My best friend, Emma, smoothed the front of her simple black dress, both brows furrowed in doubt. She shifted her weight to her right foot and her heel sank half an inch into the soft ground. "I mean, as far as funerals go, it could have been worse. People cried." She shrugged, staring out at the slowly departing crowd. "This would have been awkward if no one had cried."
It was awkward anyway. Funerals are always awkward, especially in my social circle, where the definition of "death" is under constant reevaluation.
"It was a lovely service, Em." I watched as people fled the open grave in slow-motion retreat, eager to be gone but reluctant to let it show. There were teachers, shell-shocked but in control, looking out of place without their desks and whiteboards. Parents, looking helpless and scared. Classmates in dark dresses, black slacks, and uncomfortable shoes, most in the same clothes they'd worn to the past few funerals.
We were all much too familiar with the routine by now. Whispered names and details. A day off for mourning. Excused absences for the viewing. Counselors on call for grieving students during every class period. And finally, the funeral, where we said goodbye to yet another classmate most of us had known for most of our lives.
I was one of those who'd cried, even though I was among the few who knew that the star of the show-the recently deceased herself-was actually still with us. Right next to me, in fact. A guest at her own funeral.
Sabine leaned closer, Nash's hand clasped in her right one, because her left was still encased in a cast. A curtain of thick, dark hair fell over half her face, shielding her from most of the thinning crowd. "So, seeing yourself in a coffin wasn't awkward? 'Cause it was awkward for me, and I'm not the one being buried today."
"Oh, no, the viewing was totally horrible," Em admitted, her brown eyes wide. Those eyes were all that was left of her, other than her soul. Everything else was Lydia's. Thin, angular face. Petite bones and slim build, similar to my own. Limp brown hair. Freckles. Feet that didn't quite fit into Em's favorite pair of shoes, stolen from her own closet while her mother and sisters shopped for her casket. "But the funeral itself-that was nice, don't you think?"
It was, as it damn well should have been. Em had left funeral details-in her own handwriting-in an envelope on her vanity table the day we'd picked up her shoes and a few other essentials. Once Ms. Marshall was thinking clearly, she'd probably wonder why her seventeen-year-old daughter had given so much thought to how she wanted to be buried, but grief had eclipsed her skepticism at least long enough to arrange the funeral of her daughter's-albeit morbid-dreams.
"It was beautiful, Em," Tod whispered, and I glanced up to find him standing next to me, where there'd been only damp grass a second before. It took more self-control than I'd known I had to keep from throwing my arms around him and trying to melt into him, which had recently replaced hoping for world peace as my new favorite impossible task.
I couldn't throw myself at him because most people couldn't see him. Reapers are sneaky that way.
Beyond that, I couldn't indulge in an embrace from my boyfriend-that word felt so inadequate-because today wasn't about comforting me. It was about burying Emma. Being there for her.
And planning vengeance. Justice for Em and for everyone else Avari and his fellow hellions had possessed, tortured, or taken from us. Today was about plotting retribution for Emma's boyfriend. And for Lydia, and for Sabine's foster mother, and for Brant, Nash's baseball teammate.
And for Alec.
My hand twitched at the thought of him, as if I still held the dagger. I could almost smell the blood. I could still see him in my mind, one of my few real friends, his eyes filled with pain and confusion, staring up at me in fear. Until they'd stared at nothing.
I swallowed my anger at Avari and what he'd taken from us, determined to avoid ruining Emma's perfect funeral with the bellow of rage itching to burst free from me.
Today was a new start for Em, and a new start for us all. We could no longer afford to be victims in Avari's quest to walk the human world. Beginning today, we were soldiers. Warriors, battle-weary and not yet focused, but warriors nonetheless.
Warriors, at least for the moment, in black formal funeral attire. All except for Tod, who could wear whatever he wanted because no one other than the five of us could see him.
I started to take his hand, hoping no one would notice such a small motion, but then Emma made a soft, strangling sound and I looked up to see her staring ahead, frozen like a deer in mortal danger.
Her mother was heading straight for us.
"Kaylee, thank you so much for coming." Ms. Marshall sniffled and reached for my hand, and her tears triggered more of my own. "Thank you all." She glanced at everyone but Tod, whom she couldn't see, and when her gaze lingered for a second on her own daughter, hidden behind a stranger's face, Emma burst into fresh sobs.
"We wouldn't have missed it, Ms. Marshall," Nash said, while I wrapped one arm around Emma.
Sabine stared at us both. The funeral hadn't upset her at all, that I could see, and she obviously didn't understand why it had bothered us, beyond the lie we were telling the world, since Emma was still alive and mostly well.
"Thank you." Ms. Marshall sniffled again, and she didn't seem to notice that her own heels were sinking into the soft earth. "I know Emma would be happy if she could see you all here now."
Em sobbed harder.
"I'm sorry, I don't believe we've met." Ms. Marshall dabbed her eyes with a damp tissue and held one hand out to her own daughter.
Emma cleared her throat and shook her mother's hand. Her mouth opened, but nothing came out.
"This is my cousin. Emily," I said. "She's just lost her parents, so she'll be staying with me and my dad." That was the best story we could come up with. It was heavy on coincidence, but just as heavy on necessity-Em had to live somewhere, now that she'd lost everything she'd ever had. Except for us.
Ms. Marshall's expression crumbled beneath a new layer of sympathetic grief, and her voice shook. "I'm so sorry for your loss, Emily."
But if Em heard her, I couldn't tell.
"She loved you so much!" Emma threw her arms around her mother and buried her tear-streaked face in her mom's hair. "She wouldn't want you to forget about her, but she doesn't want you to worry, either. Or to…" Em nearly choked on her own tears, and we all stood there looking as helpless as Ms. Marshall looked confused and…devastated. She was crying again, and so was I. "Or to…you know…stop living. She wants you to live," Em said into her mother's ear. "And to hug Traci and Cara a lot. And to make yourself happy. She's sorry she called your boyfriend an idiot. It shouldn't matter that he's kind of stupid, if he makes you happy, so Emma would want you to go for it."
She finally released her mother and stepped back, wiping tears with her bare hands. "So you should go for it."
Ms. Marshall's tissue was soaked and when she blinked, more tears fell. "I didn't realize you knew Emma. Do you go to Eastlake?"
"She will," I said, when I realized Em's flood of words had dried up, leaving her speechless and evidently mortified by her outburst. "But she knew Emma from…before. We were all three really close." I couldn't tell whether or not Ms. Marshall believed me-or whether she was even capable of thinking my hasty explanation through at the moment-but she nodded and wiped at her cheeks again.
"Kaylee, when you feel up to it, I hope you'll come over and take something from Emma's room. To remember her by. I'm sure she'd want you to have whatever you'd like."
"We will," Em said before I could speak.
Ms. Marshall frowned, then nodded again and started backing away from us in heels crusted with mud from the recent rain. "Thank you all for coming." Then her two remaining daughters each put an arm around her and led her to the long black car waiting with its engine running.
"I think I scared her," Emma whispered, clutching my hand.
"Yup." Sabine's nearly black eyes were dilated and her mouth hung open just a little. As a mara-a living Nightmare-Sabine fed on fear, but she'd been going hungry a lot lately, since grief and anger had finally overwhelmed the nearly constant state of fear we'd all been living in for the past few months.
"I'm pretty sure it's rude to feed from the dead girl's family at a funeral," Nash said, one arm around her waist, his fingers curled around her narrow hip. He used to hold me like that. I used to like it. But Nash and I were over. We'd been over before we even knew we were over, and I still wasn't sure he'd completely accepted that yet. But it made me feel better to see him touch her in public.
He'd been touching her in private since the very day we broke up.
Sabine lifted both brows at him. "You expect me to believe that if someone threw a pie in your face at a funeral you wouldn't lick your lips?"
"If someone threw a pie in my face at a funeral, I'd…" Nash frowned. "Well, that'd be really weird."
"Weirder than seeing yourself buried?" Tod's hand slid into my grip, his fingers curling around mine, now that there was no one near enough to see me holding hands with empty air. No one except Sophie, my real cousin, and her boyfriend, Luca, who watched us from the other side of the open grave. They knew all about Tod. In fact, my undead reaper boyfriend hardly even registered as "strange" to Sophie anymore, considering that her own boyfriend was a necromancer. And that Luca and Sabine were the only ones among us who'd never died.
Nash's death was classified information, available on a need-to-know basis, and so far, his mom and brother didn't think anyone needed to know. Including Nash.
Emma and I had both died twice, and for me, that second one actually stuck. Now I was a "resurrected American," better known, in colloquial terms, as life-challenged. Or undead. Or the living dead. But I'm not a zombie. I'm just a little less alive than your average high school junior.
"No," Nash said, in that short-tempered voice he seemed to save just for his brother. "Having a pie thrown in my face at a funeral would not be weirder than seeing myself buried."
"Then Em wins this round." He glanced around at the last of the mourners, including my father, who leaned on his crutch, chatting softly with Harmony, Tod and Nash's mom, and his own brother-my uncle Brendon. "Let's get out of here. I've had enough death for one day."
That really means something, coming from a reaper.
*
• *
"You okay?" I tossed Emma a T-shirt from my dresser, and she pulled it over her head. We were nearly the same size, now that she was Lydia. Which meant that the clothes we'd snuck out of her mom's house no longer fit her.
"Yeah." She kicked one of Styx's rubber dog bones out of the way and stepped into a pair of my jeans. "I don't know what happened at the cemetery. I mean, it's not like I'm really dead, but as soon as my mom started talking to you, I just lost it."
That was true. She'd been staring at her mother and sisters for two straight days, at the viewing the day before, the funeral today, then the actual burial, and she hadn't lost it once. Not until her mother was within arm's reach.
"Don't worry about it. You've been through hell this year, Em. I'd be worried about you if you weren't upset." Though actually, I was worried about her. Very worried.
Emma sat on the edge of her bed to pull on a pair of sneakers, and if I'd reached out from the end of my bed, I could have touched her. We'd given up nearly all the floor space in my room for the extra twin bed, and I'd had to get rid of my beanbag chair, which was a real shame, considering we didn't actually need a second bed. Emma could have had mine-I hadn't slept in it once in the nearly two weeks since my birthday/her death-day, in part because I no longer needed sleep, though I'd discovered that I did need rest.
But telling my father that I was spending most of my nights at Tod's place, whether or not my reaper boyfriend was actually at home, would have been…
Well, that wouldn't have been a pleasant conversation. Even if my dad had his suspicions about how physical our relationship had become, I was in no hurry to confirm them.
I may have been practically grown-and technically dead- but I would always be his little girl. He'd made that more than clear.
And I loved him for it.
More comfortable in our regular clothes, Em and I met everyone else in the front of the house, where Sabine had helped herself to a soda without getting one for anyone else. "All I'm saying is that Emily and Emma are practically the same name. No offense, Em," she added when we walked past my father's chair, where the mara was perched on the arm, hopelessly wrinkling the black slacks she only wore to funerals. And, truthfully, she only wore those because Nash had insisted black jeans weren't good enough.
"None taken." Em headed into the kitchen and took a seat at the bar, where she rested her forehead on her folded arms.
"At least she wasn't named after a can of soup," Tod said, and Sabine shot him a scowl. Her last name-Campbell- had come from a hungry worker at the church where she'd been abandoned as a toddler.
"Emma and Emily are pretty similar." Nash sank into my dad's armchair and wrapped one arm around the mam'swaist. "Wouldn't you rather pick something different? I mean, you could be anyone you want. It could be fun. None of the rest of us got to pick our names."
Em didn't even look up.
"We called her Cynthia for three days." Tod shoved a pillow over so I could sit with him on the couch. "She couldn't remember to answer. Calling her Emily is just easier."
"Who cares what you call her? Emma is still Emma, and that's all that matters, right? That she survived." Sophie shrugged in her spaghetti-strap dress, leaning against the wall by the door like she wanted to stay but needed to be near an exit, just in case.
I could tell she was trying to say the right thing. To be useful and insightful. She'd been doing that a lot since she and Luca got together, which seemed to show her that she had more in common with me and my "freak" friends than she would ever again have in common with her fellow dancers and teen socialites. But when filtered through the lens of narcissism through which my cousin viewed the world "useful and insightful" usually came out sounding more like "pointless and trite."
Sophie had come a long way, but the journey was far from over.




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  • PublisherRandom House Children's Books
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Pages288
  • Age range12 - 17 Years


Synopsis:



It will soon be another cold winter in the Ukraine.  But it's 1941, and things are different this year.  Max, the devoted caretaker of an animal preserve, must learn to live with the Nazis who have overtaken this precious land. He must also learn to keep secrets—for there is a girl, Kalinka, who is hiding in the park.
Kalinka has lost her home, her family, her belongings—everything but her life.  Still, she has gained one small, precious gift: a relationship with the rare wild and wily Przewalski's horses that wander the preserve. Aside from Max, these endangered animals are her only friends—until a Nazi campaign of extermination nearly wipes them out for good.
Now Kalinka must set out on a treacherous journey across the frozen Ukrainian forest to save the only two surviving horses—and herself.
This sensitive, inspiring tale captures the power of sacrifice and the endurance of the human spirit.


Reviews:



School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 6–8—This story follows the harrowing journey of Kalinka, a Jewish orphan searching for safety, and the horses that provide her with comfort, power, and hope. Set in 1941 in war-torn Ukraine, Kerr's novel is also a tale of survival-not only Kalinka's, but of Przewalski's horses, a rare breed of wild horse that dates back tens of thousands of years. The story opens on the Askaniya-Nova animal sanctuary where Max, the longtime caretaker, has been ordered by the SS to kill all of the animals, including the nearly extinct Przewalski's horses. As Max struggles with the demands of a cruel Nazi officer who has turned the reserve into his headquarters, he meets Kalinka who is travelling alone after witnessing the deaths of her family. With Max's guidance and support, Kalinka and the last pair of the horses embark on a jouney across the Ukranian wilderness. As Kalinka faces frightening obstacles, her ability to communicate with the horses and other fantastical elements give her the courage to face serious threats and her own fears. Threads of "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Hansel and Gretel" contribute to the sense that this is an "old" story handed down through generations. Like the best stories told around a campfire, it is spellbinding, but it can also be terrifying. Ultimately, The Winter Horses ends on a note of hope and triumph-for both Kalinka and the horses. Kerr's novel will be enjoyed by readers who like a touch of fantasy in their historical fiction.—Shelley Sommer, Inly School, Scituate, MA


About the author: 



Philip Kerr is the New York Times bestselling author of the WWII Bernie Gunther crime novels and the children's fantasy series Children of the Lamp.  He lives in England.








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  • PublisherHarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date3/25/2014
  • Pages400
  • Age range13 years


Synposis:




Given the chance, fifteen-year-old Peregrine "Perry" Eckert would dedicate every waking moment to Creatures & Caverns, an epic role-playing game rich with magical creatures, spell casting, and deadly weapons. The world of C&C is where he feels most comfortable in his own skin. But that isn't happening—not if his parents have anything to do with it. Concerned their son lacks social skills, they ship him off to summer camp. Perry knows he's in for the worst summer of his life.
Everything changes, however, when Perry gets to camp and stumbles into the World of the Other Normals. There he meets Mortin Enaw, one of the creators of C&C, and other mythical creatures from the game. Perry's new otherworldly friends need his help to save their princess and prevent mass violence. As they embark on their quest together, Perry realizes that his nerdy childhood has uniquely prepared him to be a great warrior in this world, and maybe even a hero. But to save the princess, Perry will have to learn how to make real connections in the human world as well.


Reviews:



R.A. Salvatore
“A fast-paced coming-of-age story with a fascinating premise which, to the great credit of the author, is seamless and strangely believable.”


The New York Times Book Review
Vizzini is gifted and keeps us engaged…he writes fiction that can be especially meaningful to a savvy, screen-bleary teenage readership. His sentences carry enough charge that an eighth grader might truly discover how a novel is not a movie made extremely cheaply, but an art form that brings its own unique splendors, including the power to explore interiority and consciousness.
—Sam Lipsyte


About the author:



Ned Vizzini (1981-2013) began writing for the New York Press at the age of fifteen. At seventeen, he was asked to write a piece for the New York Times Magazine, and at nineteen, he published Teen Angst? Naaah..., his autobiography of his years at Stuyvesant High School. His debut teen novel, Be More Chill, was selected for the Today Show Book Club by Judy Blume. It's Kind of a Funny Story, a cult classic, was adapted into a 2010 film starring Zach Galifianakis and named one of the 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels by National Public Radio. The Other Normals, his third novel, was a Junior Library Guild selection. He was the co-author, with Chris Columbus, of the New York Times bestselling fantasy-adventure series House of Secrets. He wrote for the New Yorker and Salon. He also wrote for television, including MTV's hit show Teen Wolf. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages.


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Synopsis:


The Truth Comes with a Price
Nikki knew Damon Vessler would not let his prized creation go easily—she simply never imagined the lengths he'd travel to get her back into his clutches and turn her heart toward darkness.
A Seeker at her heels, trained on her blood, Nikki flees with Raven alongside her for protection, while Mace and the other Halflings wage the battle that has erupted on earth. But even as the two boys she loves fight for her, she knows the battle will be hers to win. Determined to uncover the secrets of her past, and exactly how she fits into Vessler's twisted plans, Nikki sets off on her own, and soon discovers facing hellacious beasts is nothing compared to the decision she will need to make. One that could change not only the war and her relationship with Mace and Raven, but also her future with the Throne.



Reviews:



'Sure to appeal to fans of both star-crossed lovers and Stephanie Meyer.'
—Booklist
'A well-written, thoroughly thought-out, and utterly addicting read.'
—USA Today





About the author:




Heather Burch, the author of the popular Halflings series, spent the last seven years in Southern Florida but recently returned to her hometown in the Ozark Mountains. Her books have garnered praise from USA Today, Romantic Times, and Booklist magazine. When not working on her latest novel, she can be found hiking in the hills or planning a trip to the beach with her husband, John, who is her hero in every way.





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Synopsis:



In 1897 London, something not quite human is about to awaken
When mechanical genius Emily is kidnapped by rogue automatons, Finley Jayne and her fellow misfits fear the worst. What's left of their archenemy, The Machinist, hungers to be resurrected, and Emily must transplant his consciousness into one of his automatons—or forfeit her friends' lives.
With Griffin being mysteriously tormented by the Aether, Finley turns to Jack Dandy, but trusting the master criminal is as dangerous as controlling her dark side. Meanwhile, Sam is searching everywhere for Emily. He would walk into hell for her, but the choice she must make will test them more than they could imagine.
To save those she cares about, Emily must confront The Machinist's ultimate creation—an automaton more human than machine. And if she's to have any chance at triumphing, she must summon a strength even she doesn't know she has….


Reviews:


From the Publisher
"A well-calculated blend of paranormal romance and genuinely innovative story." -Kirkus Reviews
"Surprising, vivid and cohesive-the work of a pro." -Kirkus Reviews on The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (starred review)
"Teens will enjoy the fast-paced action." -VOYA on Girl in the Clockwork Collar


About the author:



In her other life, Kady Cross is a USA TODAY bestselling author of over 20 books. She lives with her husband who shares her love for the slightly twisted and all things geek, and a houseful of cats with whom she shares all her secrets. When not writing, she’s either trying to create the perfect lip gloss or teaching herself to solder. She has a weakness for all things girlie, sugar skulls and boots. Her love of books and makeup borders on addiction. Visit her at www.kadycross.com.


Read an excerpt:




London, Autumn, 1897


A giant tentacle slapped the front of the submersible, driving the small craft backward in the water. A crack no wider than a hair split across the view screen as suckers the size of dinner plates pulled free.
"Mary and Joseph," Emily O'Brien muttered as murky water from the Thames began to seep in through that crack. A sound like breaking ice followed as pressure from the outside pushed against the glass, demanding to get inside like a rowdy drunkard at a tavern door.
"Goin' up!" she yelled. "The control room's been breached!" She shoved hard on the guiding lever, forcing the vehicle to rise quickly.
The crack grew.
Emily held her breath.
The glass popped-another crack shot downward.
She should have covered the glass with a protective metal grid.
Water spilled onto the control panel. Sparks flew. Emily pulled her goggles down over her eyes and shoved against the lever, as though she could make the craft move faster with sheer force of will.
Well, actually she could probably do just that.
Water ran onto her boots. The glass was a spiderweb of cracks. Any second the entire thing would burst inward, cutting her to ribbons before she drowned.
Her jaw set stubbornly. Fear was for the weak. "This is not my day to die!" She tore off her gloves and set her bare hands against the sub's control panel. She took a deep breath, ignored the tiny trickles of icy water that ran beneath her palms and commanded the craft to rise. The mechanized workings of the craft recognized the order and jumped to do her bidding.
The sub shot upward so quickly she lost her footing, landing hard on the wet floor. Daylight flooded the cabin as the glass shattered. Daylight, not water.
"Emily!" cried a voice in her ear. "Em!"
"I'm all right," she replied. Later she'd smile over the worry in Sam's voice. With the amount of time she'd spent worrying over him, it was nice to have the tables turned.
Her enjoyment was brief. She rose up on her hands and knees only to slip on the wet metal beneath her boots. Pain exploded in her chest as she hit the metal floor. A tentacle as thick as her waist whipped the air where her head had been not two seconds earlier as she rolled to her back. Suckers attached to the ceiling and pulled. The submersible's nose pitched down, cold, pungent water spilling inside the jagged hole left by the shattered glass.
Emily grabbed hold of the foot of the ladder to keep from tumbling through that hole. Her chest hurt from the fall, and from her heart pounding against her ribs. Were they broken or just bruised? Would one pierce her lung?
It wouldn't matter if the beastie pulling her under the water succeeded in killing and probably devouring her. She'd take her chances on a punctured lung.
Cold, dirty water sloshed over the tops of her boots and soaked through her woolen trousers as she pulled herself to her knees. Clinging to the ladder, she rose to her feet and began to climb. Her sodden clothes and sloshing boots worked against her, keeping her movements slow and awkward.
She turned the wheel on the ceiling hatch, arms straining as she pushed against it. The Thames rushed into the craft over the jagged opening in the front of the craft. She had but seconds before it was completely pulled under. A tentacle brushed her leg. She shuddered, heart racing. Emily put all of her strength into opening the hatch, ignoring the burning in her chest and arms.
The lock disengaged with a thunk. She pushed the hatch open and scampered up the ladder as the tentacle reached for her once more. The rubbery flesh looped around her boot, but she yanked her leg up before it closed around her leg like a vice. She climbed onto the top of the submersible and slammed the hatch on the slick, gray appendage, amputating the tip. It slid away, leaving a bloody trail.
A roar escaped from the water. Emily looked up in time to see the Kraken rise out of the river. And though it had been a long time since she'd been to church, or even believed in God, she crossed herself.
"Emily!"
It was Sam. He stood on the dock, the helmet off his underwater suit, a look of absolute terror on his rugged face. It was that look that decided her fate. She was not going to let him see her die. He might be physically the strongest person in the world, but inside he was as soft as a puppy.
And she loved him for it.
So Emily ran. The submersible shook as another tentacle hit-the Kraken was coming for her. She almost slipped but kept moving. Her fingers fumbled at her belt, pulled the gun strapped there free of its holster. She aimed it at a point just above Sam's head-the building behind him-and pulled the trigger.
A thin rope with a claw attachment on the end shot from the gun and latched on to the wooden building. Emily wrapped both hands around the pistol and pulled the trigger again. She was yanked off her feet just as a massive tentacle came smashing down on the top of the submersible, driving it completely underwater. She sailed through the air like she'd been shot from a cannon-right into Sam's arms.
He reached up and grabbed the taut line and pulled, yanking the claw free from the building so it could retract without pulling Emily any farther. Behind her, the monstrous sea beast thrashed in the Thames, sending waves as big as fishing boats crashing onto the dock.
Her shoulders hurt from being jerked like a fish on a hook. Sam's chest was warm and broad. I could stay here all day,Emily thought. She glanced up into intense eyes almost as dark as his hair. "Thanks, lad."
He didn't speak. He just held her. Her heart thumped. Was he going to kiss her? Because she would like that, very much, even if she did have the faint whiff of chamber pot about her from the river.
A sound like the igniting of a gas lamp-a hiss and pop-broke through the air, destroying the moment. What the devil…?
Both Emily and Sam turned to see Griffin, the Duke of Greythorne, in wet shirt and trousers, kneeling on the deck as though he'd been struck by more than just a foul-smelling wave.
"Bloody hell," Sam whispered.
Emily followed his gaze. Her jaw dropped. Bloody hell, indeed.
The Kraken hovered just above the surface of the Thames, trapped in a watery bubble of bluish light. It waved its tentacles but remained held. The thing was as big as several carriages stacked together, and yet it reminded her of the glass globes her mother used to admire-the ones that were filled with water and particles of white substance that looked like snow when shook. Only this globe held the largest sea creature she had ever seen, and made it seem as ineffectual as a delicate crystal novelty.
Finley Jayne, Emily's good friend and fellow member of Griffin's little group, ran forward to help him, yanking off the helmet of her underwater suit. Finley was a pretty girl-honey-colored hair with a streak of black in the front, and amber eyes. It was no secret she and Griffin had feelings for each other, though they'd continued dancing around them since returning from America a few months ago.
"I'm worried about him," Sam said as he released Emily.
She tried to hide her disappointment. "Griffin? Me, too. He looks so tired."
Together they approached the other couple. Jasper joined them. He was a blond, green-eyed American with more charm than sense and the ability to move faster than humanly possible. Like the rest of them, he wore a diving suit. He, Sam and Finley had tried to secure cables from Emily's craft to the Kraken, so they could capture it, but the monster had proved too wily. Griffin had remained on the dock to use his own abilities to assist.
He'd ended up capturing the bloody thing all by himself. His power was increasing-a fact that was as frightening as it was awesome.
Finley helped Griffin to his feet. His reddish hair was a damp mess and his gray-blue eyes were heavy. "Aetheric containment field," he told them. "It will hold it until the Royal Society gets here."
His friends exchanged glances. To have conjured such a huge amount of energy from the Aether and directed it so precisely was a remarkable feat. Griffin had been honing his skills like mad as of late, though he didn't care to explain why. That had everyone worried, because previously Griffin had said he was reluctant to give too much of himself to the Aether for fear it would consume him.
Emily worried it had begun to do just that.
"Tarnation," Jasper murmured, his attention turning to the thing in the Aether bubble. "A real live Kraken. I always thought the stories were just make believe."
So had Emily, though there'd been sailors about Ireland who'd told stories of seeing the giant octopuses on their travels. Kraken were monstrous creatures that could destroy a ship and devour its crew in as little as thirty minutes. Those who had seen one up close didn't often live to tell about it, which explained why they were believed to be more myth than fact.
The Kraken they'd caught was a small one if the accounts were to be taken as truth. It was said that a mature Kraken could make a frigate look like a toy. Those large ones could overpower and snap the large ship like dry tinder.
If this was a young one, she hoped its mama didn't come looking for it. It thrashed against its prison like a child in the middle of a tantrum, but Griffin's power held fast. He refused to allow Finley to support him, and wavered slightly as he stood on the dock, pale-faced.
Emily glanced back at the Kraken and at the energy that encased it. She shivered, and not just because of her damp clothes. Griffin's power scared her at times; there seemed to be no rules or boundaries to it. The Aether was not only the spirit realm, but was made up of pure lifeenergy. Everything, living and dead, was part of it, fed it.
And as much as it fed Griffin, it also fed off him.
"You all right, Miss Emmy?" Jasper asked. While their plan had been for the underwater team to secure the Kraken, and keep it from attacking the dock, Emily had been charged with the task of trying to drive the thing to breach for capture. If that failed, the plan had been to try to force the thing out to sea once more.
"Right as rain, lad," she replied. "Though I'm a wee bit concerned about the submersible. I don't think there'll be any saving her."
The cowboy smiled. "Better to replace a ship than you, darlin'." He winked and then walked toward a group of people who had just arrived in a large vehicle pulled by several automaton horses. The back of the vehicle was a huge metal tank.
"Looks like the Royal Society has arrived," Sam announced. He hadn't even bristled when Jasper flirted with her. While this was a good sign, showing that he trusted her and was secure in their relationship, a little jealousy wouldn't have been unwelcome. She was becoming one of those foolish girls who wanted to be the center of the universe.
"That tank's not very big." She frowned. "It will fit, but just barely."
He shrugged his incredibly broad shoulders. "It should hold until they get to the aquarium. It won't be our problem regardless."
He had a point. And perhaps it was for the best if the beast had limited movement for those giant tentacles could crush a man to death with the ease of snapping a twig.
To say the society people were amazed would be an understatement. They stared openly-not just at the Kraken but at the containment bubble, as well.
The Royal Society was scientifically driven, of course they'd be enthralled by what Griffin had conjured. Griffin didn't look the least bit concerned-another disturbing fact. He had always stressed the need for secrecy, knowing full well that society would either fear them or exploit them for what they could do.
The Society's driver backed the vehicle as close to the edge of the dock as was safe. Two men scampered up iron ladders bolted to the side of the tank to turn matching wheels. A loud clang-almost like that of a church bell too close to your head-sounded as the lid of the tank flipped open.
"How the devil do we get it into the tank?" One of the lady members asked.
A group of spectators had gathered round. Emily wasn't the least bit surprised. There seemed to be nothing Londoners liked better than a scenario in which someone might get maimed or-if the onlookers were very fortunate-killed. Unfortunately, a crowd made the chance of an accident all too great.
"Maybe I can tip the carriage over the edge of the dock," Sam suggested. "It would make driving the thing into the tank easier."
Griffin shook his head at Sam and straightened his spine. He even waved Finley off as she tried to offer him support. Emily's chest tightened. She'd known Griffin quite a while now, and she knew that stubborn expression on his face. What was he about?
The bubble containing the Kraken began to float toward the society's vehicle. The crowd gasped in unison.
"Bloody hell!" someone gasped.
Sam scowled. "Now he's just showing off."
Emily stared as the water-filled Aether field slid down into the tank as carefully and precisely as though gently placed there by a giant, invisible hand rather than the force of Griffin's will. The men on the tank slammed the top down as the bubble burst and water splashed over the side.
One of the men from the society turned to Emily and Sam, his eyes wide. "What did that?" His mustache twitched.
"It's a new scientific advancement for the navy," Emily lied, jaw clenched. "A device meant to save sinking ships or drowning men. It's still being tested."
"Brilliant," the man replied, looking slightly dazed. "Simply brilliant. Who built it? I would very much like to ask the fellow to speak at one of our gatherings."
Blast. "I cannot tell you that, sir. Only His Grace has that information, and you know how close he likes to hold such things." And she was going to kick His Grace's backside for such a blatant display of his abilities.
The man nodded and set off toward Griffin, who looked as though he might fall down at any moment. He swiped at his nose with a handkerchief, then shoved the linen in his pocket, but not before Emily saw the blood on it.
Damn fool. He wouldn't learn his limits until his brain slid out his nostrils.


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