Shadowfever: The Fever Series by Karen Marie MoningShadowfever: The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning

Shadowfever: The Fever Series

byKaren Marie Moning

Hardcover | January 18, 2011

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“Evil is a completely different creature, Mac. Evil is bad that believes it’s good.”
MacKayla Lane was just a child when she and her sister, Alina, were given up for adoption and banished from Ireland forever.

Twenty years later, Alina is dead and Mac has returned to the country that expelled them to hunt her sister’s murderer. But after discovering that she descends from a bloodline both gifted and cursed, Mac is plunged into a secret history: an ancient conflict between humans and immortals who have lived concealed among us for thousands of years.

What follows is a shocking chain of events with devastating consequences, and now Mac struggles to cope with grief while continuing her mission to acquire and control the Sinsar Dubh—a book of dark, forbidden magic scribed by the mythical Unseelie King, containing the power to create and destroy worlds.

In an epic battle between humans and Fae, the hunter becomes the hunted when the Sinsar Dubh turns on Mac and begins mowing a deadly path through those she loves.
Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Who is the woman haunting her dreams? More important, who is Mac herself and what is the destiny she glimpses in the black and crimson designs of an ancient tarot card?
From the luxury of the Lord Master’s penthouse to the sordid depths of an Unseelie nightclub, from the erotic bed of her lover to the terrifying bed of the Unseelie King, Mac’s journey will force her to face the truth of her exile, and to make a choice that will either save the world . . . or destroy it.
Karen Marie Moning is the New York Times bestselling author of the Fever series, featuring MacKayla Lane, and the award-winning Highlander series. She has a bachelor’s degree in society and law from Purdue University and is currently working on a new series set in the Fever world and a graphic novel featuring MacKayla Lane.
Title:Shadowfever: The Fever SeriesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:608 pages, 9.65 × 6.5 × 1.55 inPublished:January 18, 2011Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385341679

ISBN - 13:9780385341677

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A MUST-READ! I absolutely LOVE this series. This is the last book to MacKayla's story. Iced would be told in another character's pov. So if you stopped reading the series before this book, you need to pick this up! The ending is amazing it to say the least.
Date published: 2017-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! A powerful anchor for the Fae series; MacKayla's journey comes to full height and she shows her true strength as a character. The dilemmas are powerful and get the reader thinking.... Worth the time to read, but it won't take you long, as it will suck you right in!
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional and Fierce! I couldn't put this novel down. It is a compelling story and an epic conclusion to an amazing series...although not a full conclusion as there's now more (thank goodness!). The twists and turns of the plot do no disappoint and Mac does not let readers down: a strong heroine with an amazing spirit and will-do power! You won't be sorry if you read it!
Date published: 2017-08-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Could have been shorter I enjoyed this installment and there were definitely some unexpected plot twists and some good character development. However, it was a little long and reduntant at times and couls have been shorter. Mac kept going over the same things in her head over and over and it got annoying at times. I still really like this series
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This has been a very well written, entertaining, action packed, romantic-ish, dramatic series and this book was probably my favourite so far. A few friends of mine had been recommending it to me for some time and I finally started reading it and don't regret it. I highly recommend this series, it is not predictable and will always keep you guessing.
Date published: 2017-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! A great finish to this series. I thought this was a great ending (although there is still more). Highly recommend to fans of PNR and UF with PNR thrown in.
Date published: 2017-05-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Great book! Exciting, romantic, couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2017-03-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from love! interesting, magical, good escaping :)
Date published: 2017-02-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just a Drug The Fever series was literally a drug for me this whole week. I was completely drowned into the series. An addict no less! It really opened up my mind and the feeling and the end result is spectacular. I'm so damn satisfied. This series is absolutely magnificent, incredible, brilliant and so much more! I am just breathless! Author Karen Marie Moning is literally a God who created this intense, cruel, dark, sexy world!!! I couldn't thank her anymore! Reading this series is like a dream come true, where I wish for something like this to happen and finally, it did; written in this phenomenal series! Absolutely brilliant! The characters are so beautifully created, they had such great dynamics in revealing their nature and the characteristic growth is beyond words. I definitely got the hots for Jericho Barrons! The sexiness with Mac and Barrons broke my scale!!! I am terribly obsessed with their ongoing relationship! The development was so unique and intense its mesmerizing!!! Why did this have to end??? <i>"Because you love me" - Jericho Barrons eye messages!</i>
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Satisfying conclusion to a great series Loved it. I would have given it 5 stars except that it was a little too long and repetitive (how many times did Mac really need to evaluate her feelings for barrons, or talk about jumping his bones!). Still very enjoyable and a great ending for a great series!
Date published: 2017-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Ending to this Series....For Now.... "Shadowfever" by Karen Marie Moning. Book 5 in the MacKayla Lane series (aka The Fever series) What a fantastic ending to this series! MacKayla (Mac) Lane finally gets all her questions answered. This book is the longest of the series at over 650 pages (mass market paperback edition). In this book, we find out who Mac really is and why she has the extraordinary powers that she has. We also learn what really happened to Mac's sister Alina and why she was murdered. The plan to capture the evil <i>Sinsar Dubh</i> is put into motion but doesn't go according to plan. The story takes many twists and turns and a lot of characters' secrets are revealed. The wall between the Fae realm and the human realm is still down and Mac is the only person that can set the world right again. Or is she? Oh! And Mac and Barrons FINALLY acknowledge their feelings for each other! Such an excellent book! Emotional, heartbreaking, exciting, intriguing and erotic. All the characters have so much growth throughout this series. This book has it all. I absolutely recommend it to all lovers of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. <b>NOTE:</b> I know I said it was the final book of the series, but SURPRISE! It's not! At the time of this review there are (at least) 4 more books in the Fever World, the next one being "Iced" (Book 6 in the Fever World). I will definitely be reading all those books because I'm loving the Fever World and can't wait to find out what happens to other characters.
Date published: 2016-11-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A really good end to the series! Shadowfever . Karen Marie Moning 4 stars I won't do a summary, as there would probably be too many spoilers in it for the previous books. This is book 5 in the Fever series and the final book. I really liked this. I could say this one was the best, along with book 1, Darkfever. I wasn't as happy for the first little bit of the book, but a little ways in (can't say why without it being a spoiler!), it got much better. Of course, everything gets tied up in this book (finally, instead of the cliffhangers all the other books ended on!), and there are surprises thrown in for good measure. A really good end to the series!
Date published: 2013-10-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Will the darkness ever end. . . The fifth and final book in the fever series by Karen Marie Moning. It takes place right where the forth book leaves off. I must say that this was an interesting book series to read. There was well developed characters that you find the answers to who they all really are in this installment. It was a good conclusion for a book series I would normally never read.
Date published: 2012-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The last book in the series, certainly had me sitting at the edge of my seat! Whoaaaaa - this is not what I expected this series to be about or all the twists and turns that follow Mac's adventures in finding her sister's killer. Didn't think it was the person who I originally had thought that had killed Alina. I have a love-hate thing for Barrons, V'lane was intriguing character, but not what I expected either. Be warned - there are some erotic scenes and foul language, but buckle in for a crazy ride with Mac, Barrons, V'lane, Mega O'Malley and the Book. Will she overcome the evil book and have all the prophecies come true? Guess you have to read and find out...hehe you will enjoy it
Date published: 2012-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Yay Mac!! I loved the Mac Series of books. Could some things be improved upon? Of course. There were times that I wanted to slap Mac upside the head for her sheer stupidity and the lack of sex was a little disappointing but hey loved the books anyway and would highly recommend them. I am giving a couuple of sets to friends for Christmas because I think they are that good.
Date published: 2011-10-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Ending to the Series It is amazing how this series and the characters developed throughout the books. The ending was spectacular. I loved how Mac developed. You could really feel the darkness she felt at the beginning. All loose ends are tied up, and things make sense when you thought they never would (ie. why Barrons never tells her anything). PROS: all loose ends tied up, great character development, surprise developments at the end. CONS: Felt the first couple of chapters dragged a little bit, but did help to set the tone. I also don't like the way the author sometimes ends the chapter at a very climactic point but then doesn't continue into it in the next chapter. OVERALL: excellent ending to the series, a definite page turner!
Date published: 2011-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surpassed my expectations The only disappointing thing about this book is the fact that it had to end. I couldn’t put it down and wanted to know what would happen next but as I approached the end I wanted it to be just the beginning. I will miss this series and I hope Moning will write something else in this genre. Once again we begin exactly where we left off in the previous book Dreamfever. We finally get a few answers, although by the end of the book we are still left with some as well. We get a new insight into the unseelie court, learn more about Darroc and Mac’s sister. We finally get to know how her sister was killed and why, but most importantly…we get to know more about Barrons!! Fast paced and exciting Moning wrote the perfect ending to a series that started out slow but finished as one of my most favourite series. I can not recommend this series enough. It’s a definite must read.
Date published: 2011-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A brilliant final! Karen Marie Moning went so far beyond my expectations. It is far the best series I have ever read. And when I say The Best, I mean THE BEST!! and the best of all! I couldn't put this book down, seriously I couldn't! and When I did, it was in my sleep. But even in my sleep I dreamt of Shadowfever. Fever series is such a vast, rich and complex world that it is beyond my comprehension and now that is concluded, I will re-re-re-read these books and enjoyed every single detail that Moning built in those pages. It was such a paradox when I turned the last page of this book. I felt so satisfied and devastated at the same time. I loved every single detail of this story and felt deeply and madly in love with every exquisite character that Moning created. It was really hard and I had to be so brave to turn the last page and come back once again to my realm, my world, my life. Even here, right now, typing these words to express my emotions towards this book I feel I'm still not really here. How could I? this fever is not easy to ease. I do not even think there is a cure to it. But I will gladly live with it. I do not need a cure because I do NOT wan a cure. Every Single Fever Book Totally Consumed Me I Live to Read, but Shadowfever turned my world upside down and while I read this book, I Read to Live. Visit my blog
Date published: 2011-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sad that this is the last in the series. I've had so much fun reading the Mackayla Lane series that I'm saddend by the fact that this is the end. I'm not quite finished yet but it's just a good as the others and I hope I get the ending I want.
Date published: 2011-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it!! I totally loved this series! When I first purchased the first book (Darkfever) in this series it sat on my book shelf for months. I would pick it up read the back then put it back on the shelf. But then I got tired of the vampire books so I finally decided to read it. And I couldn't put it down!! I went out and purchased the next, then the next and so on. I have been itching for a while to get my hands on this book as you know the way Dreamfever ended. Anyways I couldn't put it down, I loved how this book turned out, I was hoping it would end the way it did. I am kind of sad that this is the last book in the series, I enjoyed it so much that I don't want it to end. I loved the characters, the setting, the world that Karen Marie Moning created. I don't know if I'll ever find another series that will be as good as this one. I am very curious as to what she will write about next.
Date published: 2011-04-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shadowfever I have read and enjoyed all KMMs series fever , but by far this was the most compelling one to date . Couldnt put it down and I mean that literally I cant wait to find Dani and Mac come back to each other
Date published: 2011-03-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a gotta read series! Mac has just killed something, someone and when she finally realises who it is her world is shattered! This is how book five, the final book in this series begins. Unlike my other reviews in the series all I am going to say is that it was outstanding!! Moning keeps you guessing through the whole book. Her highlanders from her other series make appearances, and we finally get some answers! Well not all of them. But like Mac we can live with only knowing some of the truth. If you have not read this series, this is the time to start. Thank you Karen Marie Moning for such a great series!
Date published: 2011-02-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So, so enjoyable! KMM has a way of making the reader curious, but always using clever foreshadowing so you think you should have guessed the outcome, but you never can guess! Very clever writing! This is the best book out of the series. I was glad to see some resolution in the end, but still want more!
Date published: 2011-02-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! Definitely the best book in the series, I seriously hope she reuses these characters in some of her next novels, because I am in love!
Date published: 2011-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definately worth the wait I've been waiting for this book for about a year now, and it was definately worth the wait. Karen Marie Moning did not disappoint with the conclusion to the Mac O'Connor / Fever Series. Its a bitter sweet ending. I want more!. If you have read her Highlander series you will recognise some of the characters in this series. If you haven't, they give you enough information that you dont need to have read them. I found it nice to have the extra background on the Scots though. If you haven't read this series, and you are a fan of paranormal save the world from ugly monsters type books, I highly recommend you give this one a try. You will enjoy it.
Date published: 2011-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Epic! That's the only way to describe this book. It had all of the elements that a book should have. KMM you've done it again!
Date published: 2011-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The end is just the beginning With the 5th book of KMM's Fever series, the story of Mac (and JZB) comes to an end. You will need to read the first 4 books in order for this book to make any sense to you. As a matter of fact, don't even try to read this book before finishing the others as it will have spoilers from the first chapter. The series in order is: 1) Darkfever 2) Bloodfever 3) Faefever 4) Dreamfever 5) Shadowfever Without giving away too much, I will say that I was not disappointed by KMM. The world she has woven with this series is amazing and ever changing. She keeps so much hidden and in suspense to keep us guessing and guessing with all the clues she leaves here and there, only to have a surprise around the corner when you thought you figured it out. She answers some of the questions raised by the series in the last book, but leaves many unanswered and raises new questions that leave you wondering at the end. KMM is getting good at leaving cliffhangers and unresolved things at the end of the novel to let us know there will be more coming. In a way, the Fever series was exciting because it's the story of the world in transition between the that of the Highlander Series, to that of something else. Rather than an end to the series, I see it as the conclusion of the introduction of the new world KMM has created, and there will be many more exciting adventures (and romances) to come full of Fae magic, Seelie, Unseelie, and whatever else goes bump in the night. Overall this was one of the best series I've ever read, and if you are interested in paranormal/fantasy suspense/romance, give these books a try! It is not your straight forward romance, it is so much more.
Date published: 2011-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great ending to a great series Although the beginning was a bit slow for me, I understand the author is trying to explain everything that we've been waiting for. I do wish the author had revealed a bit more in the other books so that this one wasn't so crammed with info. Regardless, I was eventually hooked! There were things I didn't expect and the story was nicely pulled together. Most of it was not predictable (to me). There were a few things unanswered but I'm sure the author meant for it to be that way. Great ending!
Date published: 2011-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best. Series. Ever. Before I begin, let me just say OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. Okay, now I can begin. Oh wait, just one more. Oh. My. Gawd! There. Shadowfever is the fifth and final installment in Karen Marie Moning’s ‘Fever’ series. This is the book that we Fever fans have been waiting for since the release of book four back in August of 2009. Yes, that is seventeen months. Seventeen long gut wrenching months. But you know what? The wait was totally worth it. Even though my expectations were ridiculously high, they were met. Each and every one of them. The main reason why we were so looking forward to this book is because Dreamfever (the aforementioned book four) ended with the cliffhangers of all cliffhangers. It left us with a huge question: Who is the beast? Actually, that is only one question of many. This series is all about the questions. Smexy Books and Fiction Vixen hosted some Fever Discussions to help prepare everyone for Shadowfever’s release. I knew I had many questions floating in my head, but I had no idea how many really. Seriously, how did I manage to get any sleep over the last 17 months?! After these discussions, not only did I manage to find even more questions to ask, I wondered how on earth all of our questions would ever be answered in one book. How will Karen Marie Moning remember all the details needed? Then January 18th arrived and so did the book. I don’t recall there ever being a more anticipated UF book ever. Many of my friends were taking days off work so they can stay home to read. Folks found sitters for their kids. Phones were turned off and twitter was at a crawl other than for the occasional “OMG OMG” tweeted here and there. I could not take time off work, but I did warn my husband that he should pretty much forget I existed until I finished this book. At first Jason thought I was nuts. I reminded him of when Halo 2 came out. Then we had one of those wordless conversations Barrons and Mac have. He looked at me and his eyes said “Well played”. Okay maybe not quite. They more like said “I’m not going to win this so I may as well do what she asks”. And he was quite good. He would come up once in a while to make sure I was still alive, but he wouldn’t stick around to talk or do any such silly thing. Reading Shadowfever was almost surreal. To have waited so long to hold this book and then to actually have it in your hands…wow. And wow really does cover it. Mac is wonderful in this book. She is no longer the naïve young lady that arrived in Dublin all those months ago. She is strong and knows that she has a job to do and is about ready to just get it over with, by any means necessary, so she can get back to her life. Watching her grow through this series has been one of the best parts of these books. Mac really grows up and comes to terms with many things about her life that a weaker person would have shut down to know. Mac really is a strong woman. In the previous books, there was lots of talk about ‘what’s up with Barrons’ and ‘what’s up with V’Lane’, but not as much focus was put on ‘what’s up with Mac?’ In Shadowfever, questions are asked about Mac that I never even thought of asking…but that totally made sense to ask. This really is Mac’s book. Let’s talk about Barrons, shall we? *sigh* He is my number one book boyfriend. He is raw magnetism and sexual power. He possesses every characteristic a great book hero should have. I found that Dreamfever didn’t have as much of Barrons as I would have liked. Then again having him on every page would be okay with me. There is lots of Barrons in Shadowfever. Lots. And…wait for it…we finally find out what the hell he is! I was very happy with how Barrons’ story line turned out. The emotion (yes, I said ‘emotion’ while talking of Barrons), the heartache, the acceptance…all of it superb. I love Barrons. In case I wasn’t clear, I just thought I would say it out right just once. Okay, maybe twice. I love Barrons. Out of nowhere note: Chapter 8. Holy frickin’ cow. End of out of nowhere note. Shadowfever answers all of our questions. And it does so by adding more questions, then some more again, then starts to unravel everything until it all makes complete sense. There are massive twists and turns and surprises in this book until the very last page. You will not believe the ride Karen puts you through but you will be grateful for it in the end. When I finished this book, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I couldn’t sit still but I wanted to. I wanted to tell Jason all about it but I couldn’t find the words. I was happy it was finished but sad too. Mostly, I was in shock at how perfectly Karen was able to write this. She is an absolute genius. I cannot recommend this series enough. It grips you and pulls you along for the ride kicking and screaming, but it leaves you with a big fat satisfied smile on your face. And a major crush on Barrons. 5+ stars
Date published: 2011-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Satisfying End Shadowfever, the long awaited conclusion (?) to Moning's Fever series, was well worth the wait. From the first page that leaves you exclaiming "NOOOOOO! it can't be!", there is one 'oh my God!' moment after another. If you haven't read anything in this series. Don't start here. This book does not stand alone. You must read the series from the beginning. If you want a synopsis of the series, check out my earlier reviews. I'm trying really hard not to write any spoilers, so I'm going to keep this review brief. Let's just say that fans of the series will be pleased with the overall outcome of the story. They will also be surprised again and again with the twists and turns Moning takes us on. Moning, better known for her romance novels featuring the sexy Mackelters, has done an outstanding job delivering an epic fantasy series. She transformed Dublin into a mythological battlefield where the fight for the entire world came down to the actions of a former pink-loving barbie princess. Mac's journey from pink party girl to black and red-clad warrior woman was truly epic and enjoyable to read over the course of the five books. Not only does Moning deliver a great story, she gives us a sastifying one with just about every question answered. And the unanswered questions? Well, looks like this may not be the last we read of this series afterall. I'm not complaining. 2011-002
Date published: 2011-01-20

Read from the Book

Hope strengthens. Fear kills.Someone really smart told me that once.Every time I think I’m getting wiser, more in control of my actions, I go slamming into a situation that makes me excruciatingly aware that all I’ve succeeded in doing is swapping one set of delusions for a more elaborate, attractive set of delusions—that’s me, the Queen of Self-Deception.I hate myself right now. More than I’d ever have thought pos- sible.I squat on the cliff’s edge, screaming, cursing the day I was born, wishing my biological mother had drowned me at birth. Life is too hard, too much to handle. Nobody told me there’d be days like these. How could nobody tell me there’d be days like these? How could they let me grow up like that—happy and pink and stupid?The pain I feel is worse than anything the Sinsar Dubh has ever done to me. At least when the Book is crushing me, I know it’s not my own fault.This moment?Mea culpa. Beginning to end, all the way, I own this one, and there will never be any hiding from that fact.I thought I’d lost everything.How ignorant I was. He warned me. I had so much more to lose!I want to die.It’s the only way to stop the pain.Months ago, on a hellishly long night, in a grotto beneath the Burren, I wanted to die, too, but it wasn’t the same. Mallucé was going to torture me to death, and dying was the only chance I had of denying him that twisted pleasure. My death had been inevitable. I saw little point in drawing it out.I’d been wrong. I’d given up hope and nearly died because of it.I would have died—if not for Jericho Barrons.He’s the one who taught me those words.That simple adage is master of every situation, every choice. Each morning we wake up, we get to choose between hope and fear and apply one of those emotions to everything we do. Do we greet the things that come our way with joy? Or suspicion?Hope strengthens . . .Not once did I permit myself to feel any hope about the person lying facedown in a pool of blood. Not once did I use it to strengthen our bond. I let the onus of our relationship rest on broader shoulders. Fear. Suspicion. Mistrust drove my every action.And now it’s too late to take any of it back.I stop screaming and begin to laugh. I hear the madness in it.I don’t care.My spear sticks up, a cruel javelin, mocking me. I remember stealing it.For a moment, I’m back in the dark, rain-slicked Dublin streets, descending into the sewer systems with Barrons, breaking into Rocky O’Bannion’s private cache of religious artifacts. Barrons is wearing jeans and a black T-shirt. Muscles ripple in his body as he casts aside the sewer lid with the ease of a man tossing a Frisbee in the park.He’s disturbingly sexual, to men and women alike, in a way that sets your teeth on edge. With Barrons, you aren’t sure if you’re going to get fucked or turned inside out and left a new, unrecognizable person, adrift with no moorings, on a sea with no bottom and no rules.I was never immune to him. There were merely degrees of denial.My respite is too brief. The memory vanishes and I am again con- fronted with the reality that threatens to shatter my hold on sanity.Fear kills . . .Literally.I can’t say it. I can’t think it. I can’t begin to absorb it.I hug my knees and rock.Jericho Barrons is dead.He lies on his stomach, motionless. He hasn’t moved or breathed in the small eternity that I’ve been screaming. I can’t sense him in his skin. On all other occasions, I’ve been able to feel him in my vicinity: electric, larger than life, vastness crammed into a tiny container. Genie in a bottle. That’s Barrons: deadly power, stopper corking it. Barely.I rock back and forth.The million-dollar question: What are you, Barrons? His answer, on those rare occasions he gave one, was always the same.The one that will never let you die.I believed him. Damn him.“Well, you screwed up, Barrons. I’m alone and I’m in serious trouble, so get up!”He doesn’t move. There’s too much blood. I reach out with my sidhe-seer senses. I sense nothing on the cliff’s edge but me.I scream.No wonder he told me never to call the number on my cell that he had programmed as IYD—If You’re Dying—unless I really was. After a time I begin to laugh again. He’s not the one who screwed up. I am. Was I played or did I orchestrate this fiasco all by myself?I thought Barrons was invincible.I keep waiting for him to move. Roll over. Sit up. Magically heal. Cut me one of those hard looks and say, Get a grip, Ms. Lane. I’m the Unseelie King. I can’t die.That was one of my biggest fears, whenever I was indulging in any of a thousand about him: that he was the one who’d created the Sinsar Dubh to begin with, dumping all his evil into it, and he wanted it back for some reason but couldn’t trap it himself. At one point or another, I’d considered everything: Fae, half Fae, werewolf, vampire, ancient cursed being from the dawn of time, perhaps the very thing he and Christian had tried to summon on Halloween at Castle Keltar—key part there being immortal, as in unkillable.“Get up, Barrons!” I scream. “Move, damn you!”I’m afraid to touch him. Afraid if I do, his body will be cooling noticeably. I’ll feel the fragility of his flesh, the mortality of Barrons. “Fragility,” “mortality,” and “Barrons” all packed together in the same thought feels about as blasphemous as stalking through the Vatican hammering upside-down crosses on the walls.I squat ten paces from his body.I stay back, because if I get close I’ll have to roll him over and look in his eyes, and what if they’re empty like Alina’s were?Then I’ll know he’s gone, like I knew she was gone, too far beyond my reach to ever hear my voice again, to hear me say, I’m sorry, Alina, I wish I’d called more often; I wish I’d heard the truth beneath our vapid sister talk; I wish I’d come to Dublin and fought beside you, or raged at you, because you were acting from fear, too, Alina, not hope at all, or you would have trusted me to help you. Or maybe just apologize, Barrons, for being too young to have my priorities refined, like you, because I haven’t suffered whatever the hell it is you suffered, and then shove you up against a wall and kiss you until you can’t breathe, do what I wanted to do the first day I saw you there in your bloody damned bookstore. Disturb you like you disturbed me, make you see me, make you want me—pink me!—shatter your self-control, bring you crashing to your knees in front of me, even though I told myself I’d never want a man like you, that you were too old, too carnal, more animal than man, with one foot in the swamp and no desire to come all the way out, when the truth was that I was terrified by what you made me feel. It wasn’t what guys make girls feel, dreams of a future with babies and picket fences, but frantic, hard, raw loss of self, like you can’t live without that man inside you, around you, with you all the time, and it only matters what he thinks of you, the rest of the world can go to hell, and even then I knew you could change me! Who wants to be around someone that can change them? Too much power to let another person have! It was easier to fight you than admit that I had undiscovered places inside me that hungered for things that weren’t accepted in any kind of world I knew, and the worst of it is that you woke me up from my Barbie-girl world and now I’m here and I’m wide awake, you bastard, I couldn’t be more awake, and you left me—I think I’ll scream until he gets up.He was the one who told me not to believe anything was dead until I’d burned it, poked around in its ashes, then waited a day or two to see if anything rose from them.Surely I’m not supposed to burn him.I don’t think there are any circumstances under which I could do that.I’ll squat.I’ll scream.He’ll get up. He hates it when I’m melodramatic.While I wait for him to revive, I listen for sounds of scrabbling at the cliff’s edge. I half-expect Ryodan to drag his broken, bloody body up over the edge. Maybe he’s not really dead, either. After all, we’re in Faery, maybe, or at least within the Silvers—who knows what realm this is? Might the water here have rejuvenating powers? Should I try to get Barrons to it? Maybe we’re in the Dreaming and this terrible thing that has happened is a nightmare, and I’ll wake up on a couch in Barrons Books and Baubles and the illustrious, infuriating owner will raise a brow and give me that look; I’ll say something pithy, and life will be lovely, chock-full of monsters and rain again, just the way I like it.I squat.No scrabbling in the stones and shale.The man with the spear in his back doesn’t move.My heart is full of holes.He gave his life for me. Barrons gave his life for me. My self-serving, arrogant, constant jackass was the constant rock beneath my feet, willing to die so I could live.Why the hell would he do that?How do I live with that?A terrible thought occurs to me, so awful that for a few moments it eclipses my grief: I would never have killed him if Ryodan hadn’t appeared. Did Ryodan set me up? Did he come here to kill Barrons, who was never invincible, merely difficult to kill? Maybe Barrons could be killed only in his animal form, and Ryodan knew he’d have to be in it to protect me. Was this an elaborate ruse that had nothing to do with me? Was Ryodan working with the LM, and they wanted Barrons out of the way so I’d be easier to deal with, and the abduction of my parents was mere sleight of hand? Look over there while we kill the man who threatens us all. Or maybe Barrons had been cursed to live out some hellish sentence and could be slain only by someone he trusted, and he’d trusted me. Beneath all the cold arrogance, the mockery, the constant pushing, had he given over that most private part of himself to me—a confidence I’d never earned, as I couldn’t have proven any more surely than if I’d stabbed him in the back?Oh, gee, wait, I did. On Ryodan’s word alone, I’d turned on him.The accusation of betrayal in the beast’s gaze hadn’t been an illusion. It had been Jericho Barrons in there, staring at me from behind that prehistoric brow, baring his fangs, reproach and hatred blazing in his feral yellow eyes. I’d broken our unspoken pact. He’d been my guardian demon and I’d killed him.Had he despised me for not seeing through the hide of the beast he’d worn to the man within?See me. How many times had he said that to me? See me when you look at me!When it mattered most, I’d been blind. He’d been dogging my every step, treating me with that characteristic Barrons’ combination of aggression and animal possessiveness, and I’d never once recognized him.I’d failed him.He’d come to me in a barbaric, inhuman form, to keep me alive. He’d set himself up as IYD regardless of what it might cost him, knowing he would be turned into a mindless, raging beast capable only of slaughtering everything in his immediate vicinity but for one thing.Me.God, that look!I cover my face with my hands, but the image won’t go away: beast and Barrons, his dark skin and exotic face, its slate hide and primal features. Those ancient eyes that saw so much and asked only to be seen in return burn with scorn: Couldn’t you have trusted me just once? Couldn’t you have hoped for the best, just once? Why did you choose Ryodan over me? I was keeping you alive. I had a plan. Did I ever let you down?“I didn’t know it was you!” I gouge my palms with my nails. They bleed for a brief moment, then heal.But the beast/Barrons in my mind isn’t done torturing me. You should have. I took your sweater. I smelled you and granted you passage. I killed fresh, tender meat for you. I pissed around you. I showed you in this form, as in any other, that you are mine—and I take care of what is mine.Tears blind me. I double over. It hurts so bad I can’t breathe, can’t move. I hunch over, curl in on myself, and rock.