Are you ready for the next scavenger hunt clue? Below, in the excerpt provided by Melissa Marr you will find ONE word bold and red – that’s the one you’re looking for!
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About The Book
This riveting fantasy marks Melissa Marr’s return to the world of faery courts that made her Wicked Lovely series an international phenomenon.
Lilywhite Abernathy is a criminal—she’s half human, half fae, and since the time before she was born, a war has been raging between humans and faeries. The Queen of Blood and Rage, ruler of the fae courts, wants to avenge the tragic death of her heir due to the actions of reckless humans.
Lily’s father has always shielded her, but when she’s sent to the prestigious St. Columba’s school, she’s delivered straight into the arms of a fae sleeper cell—the Black Diamonds. The Diamonds are planted in the human world as the sons and daughters of the most influential families and tasked with destroying it from within. Against her will, Lilywhite’s been chosen to join them...and even the romantic attention of the fae rock singer Creed Morrison isn’t enough to keep Lily from wanting to run back to the familiar world she knows.
Melissa Marr returns to faery in a dramatic story of the precarious space between two worlds and the people who must thrive there. The combination of ethereal fae powers, tumultuous romance, and a bloodthirsty faery queen will have longtime fans and new readers at the edge of their seats.
He smiled and said, “I wanted to wish you happy birthday before I sing.”
Again, she nodded. This time, though, she looked up—and wished she hadn’t.
Creed was watching her with an utterly inappropriate intensity. If her father saw, he’d toss Creed out the door, despite the obscene sum he’d probably paid for his presence. Lily felt like her skin was electrified everywhere his gaze fell. She’d felt a tingle of recognition a few times when she’d seen other fae-bloods, but not like this. Nothing had ever felt like this.
“I didn’t know you did these sort of things,” she finally managed to say.
“Talk to beautiful girls at parties?”
“No. Sing for hire at parties,” she corrected him.
“I don’t.” He smiled, and she wondered how anyone ever thought he was anything other than fae-blood. He radiated energy. Maybe it was harder for people without fae ancestry to see it, but she’d glimpsed it even in photographs.
Lily resisted the urge to match his smile with one of her own and added, “Incidentally, flattering me is pointless. The sons of Daidí’s associates all try it to curry favor with him. I’m immune to praise.” She met his eyes, reminding herself who she was, reminding them both that she was not the shy creature she felt like in that moment when she’d first seen him. “The no-one-else-matters gaze is a nice touch, but Daidí hired you to perform. Tonight will be the beginning and the end of your contact with the notorious Mr. Abernathy, no matter what you do or say.”
“What if I want your favor?” Creed asked as he took a drink from a tray that a waiter held out to both of them.
Lily gave him a derisive smile, but said nothing.
Once the waiter was gone, and they were again alone in the crowd, Creed continued in a low voice, “You’re a hard girl to get to meet, Lilywhite. I took this job specifically to meet you. No publicity. No one outside of the guests here right now even knows I’m doing this.”
“Fantasies of the crime lord’s daughter on your arm to add to your image?”
Creed laughed. “Not quite.”
“I might not believe everything I read, but I’ve seen enough photos of you with different girls to know that you have are two types: ones who add to your reputation and ones who are simply . . . unusual. I’m guessing your interest in Nick Abernathy’s daughter is about a fifty-fifty split between intrigue and business.”
Creed shook his head. “What if it isn’t Nicolas Abernathy’s daughter I wanted to meet, but Iana’s?”
Lily stilled. No one talked about her mother. It simply wasn’t done. Daidí’s considerable reputation for cold vengeance prevented it. “Those are dangerous words.”
“For people of our heritage, there are a lot of dangerous words,” Creed murmured as he leaned close and brushed a kiss on her cheek.
The feel of his skin on hers resonated through her body like she was a vessel for nature itself. If Creed Morrison’s words hadn’t confirmed that he was a fae-blood, his touch would have.
When he leaned back, he paused as if the contact had jolted him like it had her, but then a heartbeat later he was kissing her other cheek and saying, “If you want to talk privately later, I’d like that.”
Lily realized that he was pressing a small card into her hand. She curled her fingers around it so it wasn’t visible to anyone when he stepped back.
Whatever angle Creed Morrison had, Lily couldn’t risk honesty with him. The world was divided: humans made up most of the population, fae-bloods—those with any degree of fae ancestry—existed in secret among them, and true fae lived in the Hidden Lands. Any drop of fae blood was enough to result in imprisonment, but the alternative was to find a way to seek out the entrance to the Hidden Lands, to turn away from humanity. For many fae-bloods, it was safest to simply pass as human. The war carried out by the Queen of Blood and Rage meant that any of her subjects were considered war criminals by the human courts, even those who had not sworn fealty to the faery queen.
“My only heritage is as Nick Abernathy’s heir,” Lily said levelly, suppressing the wince from the physical pain of the lie.
She was, in fact, more fae than human. She’d known that for years. Being so fae meant that the words hurt to utter, but admitting her ancestry to the wrong person could mean the kind of imprisonment that would try even the considerable limits of Daidí’s power. Lily wasn’t foolish enough to risk that with someone she’d just met.
“Liar,” Creed whispered.
“Fae-blood can’t be liars,” she said, twisting the truth just enough to ease the pain of a complete falsehood.
Creed’s expression went carefully blank and he said, “I’m not fae-blood either. Not a drop.” He paused, watching her study him, and then added, “You can learn to hide the physical pain of lying, Lilywhite; surely you know that as well as I do. I know what you are, what we are.”
There was nothing she could say to that, no retort that would disprove his blatant truth.
Creed glanced briefly at her hand, which was curled around his card so tightly that the edges of it were pressed into her skin. Casually, he reached out and trailed his fingers over the knuckles of her closed fist.
She concentrated on not reacting.
“Tonight,” he said. “Later. Anytime. I want to talk to you.”
“I don’t . . .” she looked down at her hand. “I don’t know why you think I’m . . . what you say I am.”
He stared so intently that she could swear she felt his gaze like a physical thing, but she refused to look at him as he said, “Impure water burns your throat. The wrong soap makes your skin blister . . . and alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, they all affect you so much more than they do other people, non-fae people.”
Lily kept her lips firmly closed. She still wasn’t admitting a thing, but she obviously didn’t need to. Creed wasn’t guessing. He knew. He’d known before he’d met her—as she had about him.
“You don’t need much sleep at all unless you have their toxic food,” he continued. “When you do, you feel weak and need to sleep for hours.”
She looked up finally.
“And I’d bet that you have a bit of yard that is meticulously up kept, no pesticides, no gardener allowed in it. You feel it there without needing to hide. Soil or air, water trickling under the earth, or stone humming secrets. You know what you are when you are connected to nature. You know what we are.” His voice grew soft, lulling her into a peace that she only ever felt outside. Suddenly, all Lily wanted was to sit and listen to him forever. There was magic in the way words slid from his lips, magic in the truth of them and in the boy speaking them.
About The Author
Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.
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