Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly KeatonDarkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her

byKelly Keaton

Paperback | January 3, 2012

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A dark and lush paranormal romance set in a richly reimagined New Orleans—now in paperback!

Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers a message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.
Kelly Keaton is the critically acclaimed author of Darkness Becomes Her and Beautiful Evil. As Kelly Gay, she writes the popular adult series, Charlie Madigan, for Pocket Books. While she calls Raleigh, North Carolina, home, she can also be found chatting about books and life on Facebook and Twitter. Read more about Kelly on her websit...
Title:Darkness Becomes HerFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.8 inPublished:January 3, 2012Publisher:Simon PulseLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1442409258

ISBN - 13:9781442409255

Appropriate for ages: 14


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Story, But Rushed I wish the author actually wrote more.. instead I had to keep filling in missing details in my head. I still want to read the next one though, as the storyline is alright
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing read !!!! I loved this book so much!! I love Greek Mythology so this series is amazing. This book was also very funny and entertaining.
Date published: 2017-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from One of my favourite books! This book, as well as the others in the series are amazing. Very interesting story line and adapatation to greek myhtology
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Bad Fanfiction Rediscovered this book on my shelf and thought I'd give it a go, I wish I didn't. This book screams teenage angst and poor writing. The romance between the two main characters is forced and seems to come out of nowhere. There is very little character development and Ari is your typical, my life is so hard, white, female, boring, character. The writing style is childish and cringe worthy in most parts, very similar to a fan fiction written by a 13 year old. The story line is rushed and as a result the plot leaps around, showing its poor planning. If you enjoy well written literature I would not recommend.
Date published: 2016-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love maybe? This book was so good I love the idea as I am a huge fan of mythology myself. The spin on this story is great. Ari is an amazing young girl and very independent and I love that about her character
Date published: 2015-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from You'll definitely gobble up this mythological tale! Ari isn’t your everyday orphan. She is trained in ways to protect herself, considering she had a horrible childhood being bounced around from horrible foster parents until she settles with Bruce and Casey who are wonderful and loving. She has to find out where her parents are, and what she uncovers isn’t something she’s expecting. Her journey takes her to New 2, just at The Rim where New Orleans was devastated by hurricanes, and what she finds there are no ordinary humans. A tale of a goddess gone psychotic, with vampires, shape shifters, wolves, and even witches banding together to protect each other, Darkness Becomes Her is one paranormal read that sucks you in their world. The setting is excellent and richly detailed that I felt that I was there. World building is also excellent and I love how crazy Athena is. Truly epic! She is one bad ass villain! And is becoming one of my favourites. I could have never imagine clothing to be so scary! That suit was something! Imaginative I tell you. That alone made the creepiness factor rise. Plus the story chugs right along with Ari trying to find out who her parents were and to get rid of the one curse that makes her into a monster. You'll definitely gobble up this mythological tale!
Date published: 2014-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST OOK I EVER READ!!! LOVE THE SERIES! The author is the best. she included so many details at one point i thought i was watching a movie. the story is the best ive ever read and i would recommend this book to anyone. i finished the series and have to admit the best of the three i either this or the last one. you cant go wrong with this book! trust me i am very hard to please.  
Date published: 2014-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular I absolutely love reading and I am really picky on what I read but this book was just wonderful!
Date published: 2013-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read! I picked this book up because it was a bargain book and truth be told I wanted to get to $25.00 for free shipping. Yes Indigo your marketing strategies work! The plot seemed interesting when I read about it online and I figured why not. The first few pages I read had me wondering what I had got myself into and I really didn't know if I would care for the author's writing style but she sucked me in! I found myself disapointed when I had to put the book down and carried it everywhere with me just for the off chance I could sneak a few pages in while doing housework. I think the characters are great, I love the whole combination of Greek mythology, vampires, witches and misfits. I finished the book in a day and as a result had to buy the sequel just to know what happens next. I have even become so fond of the author I bought her other book Embers in a Dark Frost which is another FANTASTIC read and I hightly recommend even though currently it is only in ebook form. Bottom line, I think the book was great and it has introduced me to an author I believe I will be a fan of for quite some time.
Date published: 2013-01-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from "Beneath Every Beauty, Evil Stirs" I found that Darkkness becomes her was a great read! I loved all the detail and the characters were desribed with lots of detail but not enough to really give lots away. Most of the characters were kept a secret, personality wise. The were so many surprises in this book, that you never saw any of the events/details coming. This book was totally unpredictabl other then a few parts. The settings were perfect for the plot and the events that occured in the book. The plot, though totally unpredictabl and full of surprise, I found that it was a little too busy or there was too much going on. Also at some times it was a little confusing and I didn't quite understand what the author was trying to describe or say or explain to us. Other then those few parts the book was great! :)
Date published: 2012-08-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The setting is excellent and richly detailed that I felt that I was there. Ari isn’t your everyday orphan. She is trained in ways to protect herself, considering she had a horrible childhood being bounced around from horrible foster parents until she settles with Bruce and Casey who are wonderful and loving. She has to find out where her parents are, and what she uncovers isn’t something she’s expecting. Her journey takes her to New 2, just at The Rim where New Orleans was devastated by hurricanes, and what she finds there are no ordinary humans. A tale of a goddess gone psychotic, with vampires, shape shifters, wolves, and even witches banding together to protect each other, Darkness Becomes Her is one paranormal read that sucks you in their world. The setting is excellent and richly detailed that I felt that I was there. World building is also excellent and I love how crazy Athena is. Truly epic! She is one bad ass villain! And is becoming one of my favourites. I could have never imagine clothing to be so scary! That suit was something! Imaginative I tell you. That alone made the creepiness factor rise. Plus the story chugs right along with Ari trying to find out who her parents were and to get rid of the one curse that makes her into a monster. You'll definitely gobble up this mythological tale! Rating 4/5 Quotes “A child pretending to be a big girl in her frilly ball gown. A child who didn’t know anything about the world she found herself in. A child compared to the old and ancient beings I’d come to know.”—Ari (205)
Date published: 2012-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Darkly Beautiful Such an original, I loved it from beginning to end. With so many mythical creatures, mixed in with the beauty of Mardi Gras and all its many splenders and dangers and intoxicating blur of colours. A must read.
Date published: 2012-02-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awsomely awsome this book was awsome i love greek mitholgy so much and i am glad i finly read this book i loved how she came from forster homes and it made her strong but in her head when she talked to her self she was also week but strong at the same time and then there was sebastain who acted like he hated her at the start then they are now slowly falling in love cant waite for the sec book give this a 11 thumbs up
Date published: 2012-01-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love the mythology! Ari is a bit different. Her hair and eyes make her stand out and being a foster child, she doesn't have any friends. When she finds a strange letter from her dead mother warning her of danger, she sets out to find out who her mother was and that means going to New 2, the place of her birth. New 2 is the re-imagined city of New Orleans, still not rebuilt after hurricane Katrina but now home to people just like her. Different. Freaks. She fits in. The characters in the book were likeable (I liked Violet the best strangely enough) but mostly there's focus on Ari and Sebastian, who I thought was redeemed from his rude appearance too quickly. Their relationship was just too rushed. The first time they go information hunting Ari gets distracted by his hair or his eyes. It doesn't bother me necessarily but it definitely lessens the story. I liked how the people of the city are shrouded in mystery, including Sebastian and his friends, and especially Ari. What she is and her lineage are unknown to her and us for most of the book, and it definitely kept me guessing and wondering what exactly she could do and what her purpose would be revealed to be. It wasn't what I was imagining, but it was awesome! It was a cool suprise and really interesting seeing how the mythology plays such an important role in modern day times. The other part I liked about Darkness Becomes Her was the city. There was a lot of visual emphasis on the city of New Orleans/New 2, from the architecture, sights, sounds, smells, people and clothes. I've pretty much never been anywhere except my hometown so to be able to imagine such a bustling colourful city was great. Include people and creatures with powers scattered throughout and you've got a pretty cool city! Darkness Becomes Her saves the big reveal until the end, after which I became giddy with excitement and upset with impatience, because after such a huge discovery Ari needs to go kick some ass. More of it actually because she kicked plenty already! If you're a fan of mythology check this one out! Review also here: http://allofeverythingforyou.blogspot.com/2011/07/review-darkness-becomes-her-by-kelly.html
Date published: 2011-07-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ... the book was a little confusing at first and leaves you wondering what the heck... but hey thats what sucks you in right? My favorite part is when the character confronts lover boy about who and what is and then he tells her that he is "the same age not some century old pervert" (paraphrased of course) it made me laugh because sometimes when you think about it some novels are really twisted were some old young looked dude comes in and sweeps innocent teen girls off their feet. Talk about perverted! All in all I was drawn in by the writing and believe that it is a worthwhile read if a little on the short side.
Date published: 2011-05-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this book so much that I can't express it in words This is definitely added to my favorite book category along with Julie Kagawa The Iron Series, Cassandra Clare series, Stephenie Meyers books, Pride and Prejudice, Little Women (I added classics because that's what this is going be). In like, a hundred years people will be reading this book just like us with books like Jane Eyre and still love it. I have to say though that it was really, really painful when I got to the end knowing I have to wait FOREVER for the next book!!! Argh. What can I say, Kelly Keaton is teaching me the value of patience. I'm pulling out my hair and banging my head against the wall right now. Anyhow, if you have this in your TBR pile which is the size of your ceiling (like mine) grab it and read it NOW because I promise you, you will LOVE IT!!!
Date published: 2011-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Courtesy of Lost For Words. Source: Received from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. Many thanks goes to Simon & Schuster for sending me this copy for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. My rating: 5/5 Ari has had a tough life, growing up without a mom, and suffering the abuses that come with being a foster child. She's had to grow up fast, but now she's with a couple who really are good foster parents. They are also bail bondsmen, and Ari does help them out with their work. She has some questions about the mother who abandoned her though, and so she sets off to find out what she can about her. Little does she know that she's in for a whole new world of crazy. Having found some information about her mom she continues on to decipher the strange note that her mother had left her. With the help of some newfound friends she'll finally get to the bottom of things and find out just who, or what, she is. Darkness Becomes Her is a genuinely entertaining, thrilling and breathtaking ride. Ari is a tough and sassy main character who uses the f-shot freely and fluently. Her tough girl exterior wards off some, but when she meets a group of kids in the New 2, she realizes that maybe there are others like her, others who are different like she is. I found myself easily identifying with Ari, and I really liked that she opened up to let others in, especially since she normally doesn't let anyone in. The world building of the city, New 2, is portrayed beautifully. New 2 comes to life and is rich with detail. It fully engulfs the reader and draws them in, allowing them to feel as if they were there exploring the different areas of the city alongside Ari and her friends. Though this is primarily Ari's story, there is a romantic element to the book. The name of said element is Sebastian. He and Ari seem to hit it off pretty quickly, but honestly, I can see why she fell for him so quickly as I was falling for him just as fast. The tension between the two sizzles on the page, and makes the read that much more thrilling. It really is nice, for a change, to read a book that doesn't have a love triangle. The love story in Darkness Becomes Her takes a back seat though to Ari's pursuit of her heritage. Another character that I couldn't get enough of was Violet. She is such a cutie, and she alone seems to win Ari over. She almost steals the limelight from Ari in this book and I can't wait to see what happens with her, as well as the rest of the group, in the next book. Keaton has written a brilliant book which tackles many genres, though I'll mention specifically Greek mythos and urban fantasy. It really is a gem, and I know I'll be re-reading this book in the future. The only drawback that I found is that the ending was almost too abrupt, and felt very much like a cliffhanger to me. Now I can't wait for the second book to come out, as I want to know what's going to happen with or to certain characters. All in all, a highly original and fantastic debut young adult book. It's easy to see that Keaton is writing in her niche as nothing is lacking. There is rampant sexual tension; memorable characters; a living, breathing, vibrant world and butt kicking galore. I want more and can't wait for the second book to come out. This honestly is one of the best books I've read this year. I love this book. Period.
Date published: 2011-03-06

Read from the Book

One UNDER THE CAFETERIA TABLE, MY RIGHT KNEE BOUNCED LIKE A jackhammer possessed. Adrenaline snaked through my limbs, urging me to bolt, to hightail it out of Rocquemore House and never look back. Deep breaths. If I didn’t get my act together and calm down, I’d start hyperventilating and embarrass the shit out of myself. Not a good thing, especially when I was sitting in an insane asylum with rooms to spare. “Are you sure you want to do this, Miss Selkirk?” “It’s Ari. And, yes, Dr. Giroux.” I gave the man seated across from me an encouraging nod. “I didn’t come all this way to give up now. I want to know.” What I wanted was to get this over with and do something, anything, with my hands, but instead I laid them flat on the tabletop. Very still. Very calm. A reluctant breath blew through the doctor’s thin, sun-cracked lips as he fixed me with an I’m sorry, sweetheart, you asked for it look. He opened the file in his hand, clearing his throat. “I wasn’t working here at the time, but let’s see. …” He flipped through a few pages. “After your mother gave you up to social services, she spent the remainder of her life here at Rocquemore.” His fingers fidgeted with the file. “Self-admitted,” he went on. “Was here six months and eighteen days. Committed suicide on the eve of her twenty-first birthday.” An inhale lodged in my throat. Oh hell. I hadn’t expected that. The news left my mind numb. It completely shredded the mental list of questions I’d practiced and prepared for. Over the years, I’d thought of every possible reason why my mother had given me up. I even explored the idea that she might’ve passed away sometime during the last thirteen years. But suicide? Yeah, dumbass, you didn’t think of that one. A long string of curses flew through my mind, and I wanted to bang my forehead against the table—maybe it would help drive home the news. I’d been given to the state of Louisiana just after my fourth birthday, and six months later, my mother was dead. All those years thinking of her, wondering what she looked like, what she was doing, wondering if she thought of the little girl she left behind, when all this time she was six feet under and not doing or thinking a goddamn thing. My chest expanded with a scream I couldn’t voice. I stared hard at my hands, my short fingernails like shiny black beetles against the white composite surface of the table. I resisted the urge to curl them under and dig into the laminate, to feel the skin pull away from the nails, to feel something other than the grief squeezing and burning my chest. “Okay,” I said, regrouping. “So, what exactly was wrong with her?” The question was like tar on my tongue and made my face hot. I removed my hands and placed them under the table on my thighs, rubbing my sweaty palms against my jeans. “Schizophrenia. Delusions—well, delusion.” “Just one?” He opened the file and pretended to scan the page. The guy seemed nervous as hell to tell me, and I couldn’t blame him. Who’d want to tell a teenage girl that her mom was so whacked-out that she’d killed herself ? Pink dots bloomed on his cheeks. “Says here”—his throat worked with a hard swallow—“it was snakes . . . claimed snakes were trying to poke through her head, that she could feel them growing and moving under her scalp. On several occasions, she scratched her head bloody. Tried to dig them out with a butter knife stolen from the cafeteria. Nothing the doctors did or gave her could convince her it was all in her mind.” The image coiled around my spine and sent a shiver straight to the back of my neck. I hated snakes. Dr. Giroux closed the file, hurrying to offer whatever comfort he could. “It’s important to remember, back then a lot of folks went through post-traumatic stress. … You were too young to remember, but—” “I remember some.” How could I forget? Fleeing with hundreds of thousands of people as two Category Four hurricanes, one after another, destroyed New Orleans and the entire southern half of the state. No one was prepared. And no one went back. Even now, thirteen years later, no one in their right mind ventured past The Rim. Dr. Giroux gave me a sad smile. “Then I don’t need to tell you why your mother came here.” “No.” “There were so many cases,” he went on sadly, eyes unfocused, and I wondered if he was even talking to me now. “Psychosis, fear of drowning, watching loved ones die. And the snakes, the snakes that were pushed out of the swamps and inland with the floodwaters . . . Your mother probably experienced some horrible real-life event that led to her delusion.” Images of the hurricanes and their aftermath clicked through my mind like a slide projector, images I hardly thought of anymore. I shot to my feet, needing air, needing to get the hell out of this creepy place surrounded by swamps, moss, and gnarly, weeping trees. I wanted to shake my body like a maniac, to throw off the images crawling all over my skin. But instead, I forced myself to remain still, drew in a deep breath, and then tugged the end of my black T-shirt down, clearing my throat. “Thank you, Dr. Giroux, for speaking with me so late. I should probably get going.” I pivoted slowly and made for the door, not knowing where I was going or what I’d do next, only knowing that in order to leave I had to put one foot in front of the other. “Don’t you want her things?” Dr. Giroux asked. My foot paused midstride. “Technically they’re yours now.” My stomach did a sickening wave as I turned. “I believe there’s a box in the storage room. I’ll go get it. Please”—he gestured to the bench— “it’ll just take a second.” Bench. Sit. Good idea. I slumped on the edge of the bench, rested my elbows on my knees, and turned in my toes, staring at the V between my feet until Dr. Giroux hurried back with a faded brown shoe box. I expected it to be heavier and was surprised, and a little disappointed, by its lightness. “Thanks. Oh, one more thing . . . Was my mother buried around here?” “No. She was buried in Greece.” I did a double take. “Like small-town-in-America Greece, or . . . ?” Dr. Giroux smiled, shoved his hands into his pockets, and rocked back on his heels. “Nope. The real thing. Some family came and claimed the body. Like I said, I wasn’t working here at the time, but perhaps you could track information through the coroner’s office; who signed for her, that sort of thing.” Family. That word was so alien, so unreal, that I wasn’t even sure I’d heard him right. Family. Hope stirred in the center of my chest, light and airy and ready to break into a Disney song complete with adorable bluebirds and singing squirrels. No. It’s too soon for that. One thing at a time. I glanced down at the box, putting a lid on the hope—I’d been let down too many times to give in to the feeling—wondering what other shocking news I’d uncover tonight. “Take care, Miss Selkirk.” I paused for a second, watching the doctor head for a group of patients sitting near the bay window, before leaving through the tall double doors. Every step out of the rundown mansion/mental hospital to the car parked out front took me further into the past. My mother’s horrible ordeal. My life as a ward of the state. Daughter of an unwed teenage mother who’d killed herself. Fucking great. Just great. The soles of my boots crunched across the gravel, echoing over the constant song of crickets and katydids, the occasional splash of water, and the call of bullfrogs. It might be winter to the rest of the country, but January in the deep South was still warm and humid. I gripped the box tighter, trying to see beyond the moss-draped live oaks and cypress trees and into the deepest, darkest shadows of the swampy lake. But a wall of blackness prevented me, a wall that—I blinked—seemed to waver. But it was just tears rising to the surface. I could barely breathe. I never expected this . . . hurt. I never expected to actually learn what had happened to her. After a quick swipe at the wet corners of my eyes, I set the box on the passenger seat of the car and then drove down the lonely winding road to Covington, Louisiana, and back to something resembling civilization. Covington hovered on The Rim, the boundary between the land of the forsaken and the rest of the country; a border town with a Holiday Inn Express. The box stayed on the hotel bed while I kicked off my boots, shrugged out of my old jeans, and jerked the tee over my head. I’d taken a shower that morning, but after my trip to the hospital, I needed to wash off the cloud of depression and the thick film of southern humidity that clung to my skin. In the bathroom, I turned on the shower and began untying the thin black ribbon around my neck, making sure not to let my favorite amulet—a platinum crescent moon—slip off the end. The crescent moon has always been my favorite sight in the sky, especially on a clear cold night when it’s surrounded by twinkling stars. I love it so much, I had a tiny black crescent tattooed below the corner of my right eye, on the highest rise of my cheekbone— my early high school graduation present to myself. The tattoo reminded me of where I came from, my birthplace. The Crescent City. New Orleans. But those were old names. Now it was known as New 2, a grand, decaying, lost city that refused to be swept away with the tide. A privately owned city and a beacon, a sanctuary for misfits and things that went bump in the night, or so they said. Standing in front of the long hotel mirror in my black bra and panties, I leaned closer to my reflection and touched the small black moon, thinking of the mother I’d never really known, the mother who could’ve had the same teal-colored eyes as the ones staring back at me in the mirror, or the same hair. … I sighed, straightened, and reached behind my head to unwind the tight bun at the nape of my neck. Unnatural. Bizarre. Fucked up. I’d used all those words and more to describe the thick coil that unwound and fell behind my shoulders, the ends brushing the small of my back. Parted in the middle. All one length. So light in color, it looked silver in the moonlight. My hair. The bane of my existence. Full. Glossy. And so straight it looked like it had taken an army of hairdressers wielding hot irons to get it that way. But it was all natural. No. Unnatural. Another tired exhale escaped my lips. I gave up trying a long time ago. When I’d first realized—back when I was about seven or so—that my hair attracted the wrong sort of attention from some of the foster men and boys in my life, I tried everything to get rid of it. Cut it. Dyed it. Shaved it. I’d even lifted hydrochloric acid from the science lab in seventh grade, filled the sink, and then dunked my hair into the solution. It burned my hair into oblivion, but a few days later it was back to the same length, the same color, the same everything. Just like always. So I hid it the best I could; buns, braids, hats. And I wore enough black, had accumulated enough attitude throughout my teenage years that most guys respected my no’s when I said them. And if they didn’t, well, I’d learned how to deal with that, too. My current foster parents, Bruce and Casey Sanderson, were both bail bondsmen, which meant they put up the bail money so defendants could avoid jail time until their court appearance. And if the person didn’t show for their appointment with the judge, we hunted them down and brought them back to jurisdiction so we weren’t stuck footing the bill. Thanks to Bruce and Casey, I could operate six different firearms, drop a two-hundred-pound asshole to the floor in three seconds, and cuff a perp with one hand tied behind my back. And they called it “family time.” My hazy reflection smiled back at me. The Sandersons were pretty decent, decent enough to let a seventeen-year-old borrow their car and go in search of her past. Casey had been a foster kid too, so she understood my need to know. She knew I had to do this alone. I wished I’d gotten placed with them from the beginning. A snort blew through my nose. Yeah, and if wishes were dollars, I’d be Bill Gates. Steam filled the bathroom. I knew what I was doing. Avoiding. Classic Ari MO. If I didn’t take a shower, I wouldn’t get out, put on my pj’s, and then open the damn box. “Just get it over with, you big wuss.” I stripped off the last of my clothes. Thirty minutes later, after my fingertips were wrinkled and the air was so saturated with steam it was hard to breathe, I dried off and dressed in my favorite pair of old plaid boxers and a thin cotton tank. Once my wet hair was twisted back into a knot and a pair of fuzzy socks pulled on my forever-cold feet, I sat cross-legged in the middle of the king-size bed. The box just sat there. In front of me. My eyes squinted. Goose bumps sprouted on my arms and thighs. My blood pressure rose—I knew it by the way my chest tightened into a painful, anxious knot. Stop being such a baby! It was just a dumb box. Just my past. I settled myself and lifted the lid, pulling the box closer and peering inside to find a few letters and a couple of small jewelry boxes. Not enough in there to contain an entire life story. No doubt I’d have more questions from this than answers—that’s usually how my search went. Already disheartened, I reached inside and grabbed the plain white envelope on top of the pile, flipping it over to see my name scrawled in blue ink. Aristanae. My breath left me in an astonished rush. Holy hell. My mother had written to me. It took a moment for it to sink in. I trailed my thumb over the flowing cursive letters with shaky fingers and then opened the envelope and unfolded the single sheet of notebook paper. My dearest, beautiful Ari, If you are reading this now, then I know you have found me. I had hoped and prayed that you wouldn’t. I am sorry for leaving you, and that sounds so inadequate, I know, but there was no other way. Soon you will understand why, and I’m sorry for that, too. But for now, assuming you were given this box by those at Rocquemore, you must run. Stay away from New Orleans, and away from those who can identify you. How I wish I could save you. My heart aches, knowing you will face what I have faced. I love you so much, Ari. And I am sorry. For everything. I’m not crazy. Trust me. Please, baby girl, just RUN. Momma Spooked, I jumped off the bed and dropped the letter as though it burned. “What the hell?” Fear made my heart pound like thunder and the fine hairs on my skin lift as though electrified. I went to the window and peeked through the blinds to look one floor down at my car in the back lot. Nothing unusual. I rubbed my hands down my arms and then paced, biting my left pinkie nail. I stared at the open letter again, with the small cursive script. I’m not crazy. Trust me. Please, baby girl. Baby girl. Baby girl. I had only a handful of fuzzy memories left, but those words. . . I could almost hear my mother speaking those words. Soft. Loving. A smile in her voice. It was a real memory, I realized, not one of the thousand I’d made up over the years. An ache squeezed my heart, and the dull pain of an oncoming headache began behind my left eye. All these years . . . It wasn’t fair! A rush of adrenaline pushed against my rib cage and raced down my arm, but instead of screaming and punching the wall like I wanted to, I bit my bottom lip hard and made a tight fist. No. Forget it. It was pointless to go down the Life’s Not Fair road. Been there before. Lesson learned. That kind of hurt served no purpose. With a groan, I threw the letter back into the box, shoved the lid on, and then got dressed. Once my things were secured in my backpack, I grabbed the box. My mother hadn’t spoken to me in thirteen years and this letter from the grave was telling me to run, to get to safety. Whatever was going on, I felt to the marrow of my bones that something wasn’t right. Maybe I was just spooked and paranoid after what I’d learned from Dr. Giroux. And maybe, I thought, as my suspicious mind kicked into high gear, my mother hadn’t committed suicide after all. © 2011 Kelly Keaton

Editorial Reviews

*"Keaton creates a New Orleans setting rife with Gothic rot and decay, and allows Ari to discover, articulate, and explore a range of political and ethical questions without ever striking a didactic note. Deft character descriptions humanize not only the creatures, but also help to individuate characters who suffer a variety of physical and emotional challenges. A great choice for a book discussion group willing to take on another round of vampires. The cliff-hanger end promises a sequel."--Booklist, starred review