Paperback | November 4, 2014

byAndrea Cremer

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The next thrilling novel in the bestselling NIGHTSHADE series, perfect for fans of Lauren Kate, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Ally Condie, and Richelle Mead.

Andrea Cremer is continuing the story she began in in her internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy. In this new installment, Bosque Mar haunts the dreams of both Adne and Logan, trying to escape for the Nether, where Calla, Shay and the other Guardians trapped him in the final battle in the War of All Against All. Will he turn Adne to the dark side?  Will Logan reclaim his birthright?  And will darkness take over our world?  In a novel filled with magic, romance and breakneck action, master storyteller Andrea Cremer's newest installment will not disappoint!

What people are saying about the first three Nightshade novels:

"A book for well-read hopeless romantics who like their heroines conflicted, their love interests smoldering, and thier passions triangulated and torrrid." --The Los Angeles Times

"Sexy and intoxicating, filled with action, suspense and definitely romance." --Romantic Times Book Reviews

"Will keep you reading intently." --Entertainment Weekly

"Intensely romantic." --Justine Magazine

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From the Publisher

The next thrilling novel in the bestselling NIGHTSHADE series, perfect for fans of Lauren Kate, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Ally Condie, and Richelle Mead. Andrea Cremer is continuing the story she began in in her internationally bestselling Nightshade trilogy. In this new installment, Bosque Mar haunts the dreams of both Adne and Lo...

Andrea Cremer is the internationally bestselling author of the Nightshade series, which includes Nightshade, Wolfsbane, Bloodrose, Snakeroot, Rift, and Rise. She is also the author of Invisibility, which she co-wrote with David Levithan, and most recently, The Inventor's Secret and its sequel The Conjurer's Riddle. When she's not wri...

other books by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade: Book 1
Nightshade: Book 1

Hardcover|Oct 19 2010

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The Conjurer's Riddle
The Conjurer's Riddle

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$14.97 online$14.99list price
The Turncoat's Gambit
The Turncoat's Gambit

Hardcover|Nov 15 2016


see all books by Andrea Cremer
Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8.3 × 5.5 × 0.85 inPublished:November 4, 2014Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0147508606

ISBN - 13:9780147508607


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A living nightmare Adne had never fainted before, but now, even on her knees, she couldn’t keep her balance. Black fog poured into her mind, blotting out the real world and forcing her into a waking nightmare.She knew the scene immediately, but somehow being in the garden amplified her awareness that this dream was something more than a product of her own imagination. She was too aware of the earth beneath her, how alive it was. With her hands on the ground, Adne could feel everything—the channels and pathways of roots and rivers, minerals and magma. And the earth knew her. Beneath her palms, it shuddered.“Very good.”Adne squeezed her eyes shut. She knew the voice but refused to acknowledge it. This is not happening. He is not here.She wished she could close her ears along with her eyes so she wouldn’t hear the footfalls that brought him next to her. His presence was overwhelming. Powerful, and inexplicably alluring.“I love this place,” Bosque Mar said, his voice cool as silk. “The garden was what brought you to me. This is our place.”Still huddled with her eyes closed, Adne whispered, “No.”Bosque laughed. “Such a fighter. You remind me of her.”“Stop.” Adne felt tears rising in her throat.He was close. Too close. She could sense his body as he crouched beside her. “It’s time for you to come with me.”Adne screamed, rolling away from him. “No!”She lashed out with one arm, finally opening her eyes. She struck at nothing but the air.ADNE HAD LEARNED to live with nightmares years ago. Since the day her mother suffered and died, tangled in the shadow grip of Bosque Mar’s evil wraith, Adne often woke trembling, covered in sweat, with a throat raw from screams. Wanting to show a brave face, she hadn’t told anyone—not her father, not even Connor—how frequently the night terrors shook her from sleep, sudden and violent. But life had changed and she couldn’t continue to keep that secret, because now she rarely spent a night alone.When Adne jerked up with a cry that night, Connor was awake immediately. He cradled her trembling body in his arms.“It was a dream,” he whispered before she said anything. “Easy now.”He stroked her hair, his fingers pausing briefly when they found the sweat on the back of her neck.“Your mother?” Connor asked quietly when Adne’s limbs had stopped shaking.Adne shook her head. She wasn’t ready to talk yet.Connor stiffened beside her, and Adne knew why. The nightmares she’d told Connor about had been those of her mother and the wraith. But since the war had ended one month ago, something had changed. The shadows that visited her now were different, and yet unsettlingly familiar.“Do you want to tell me about it?” Connor asked.Shaking her head again, Adne turned her face to press her lips against Connor’s cheek. He took her chin in his hand, turning her farther until her mouth met his. Adne waited for the warmth of Connor’s skin and the gentle strength of his touch to chase the nightmare away, as she knew it would. Though guilt caused a slight twinge in her chest, she hurried to lose herself in the sensation. In the joy and ceaseless thrill of having this man—whom she’d desired since she first knew what it was to want a man that way—in her arms each night, holding her, kissing her. When they were twined together in the dark, Connor made it clear how long he’d wanted her too.After the nightmare, Adne’s desire for intimacy wasn’t only about loving Connor, it was about using him to chase away her fears. And she didn’t want to use him. But Adne couldn’t think of anything else to do. She was frightened by her dreams, but she was more afraid of what Connor would think if she shared the visions with him.Telling Connor the truth was out of the question. Telling anyone was out of the question.Connor’s lips were on Adne’s neck and she closed her eyes. The cold sweat that covered her body gave way to heat spreading over her skin. Adne twisted her fingers through Connor’s silky hair before wrapping her arms around his neck. She clung to him, willing the shadows still creeping into the edges of her consciousness away, her body electric with tremors of fear and desire. Connor had always been light to her. Pure light and hope in the face of sorrow and despair. Whatever darkness threatened her now, Connor would keep it at bay.He had to.• • •The library at Rowan Estate looked like a tornado had torn through it. As Sabine turned in a slow circle, observing the damage, she thought it looked like it had a few weeks ago, right after Shay had closed the Rift that separated the human world from the Nether realm. Considering all the cleanup work and restoration she’d helped with to get the place back in shape since then, Sabine was not amused by this new development.“Over here!” Adne called.Sabine picked her way through the rubble until she reached Adne’s side.Adne crouched among what had been dozens of bookshelves, riffling through splintered wood and torn pages. “Things have been taken.”Sabine leaned over her. “How can you possibly know that?”“You’re not the only one who spent hours getting this place organized,” Adne said. “I gave up days of my life cataloging this section, and I swear it’s not all here. There are books—important books—that are missing.”“Are you sure this isn’t what’s happened to them?” Sabine asked, picking up a pile of debris that looked like it had gone through a shredder.Adne laughed, but Sabine recognized the determined set of her jaw. “No. I’m sure that’s what whoever did this wanted us to think,” Adne said. She swept her arm toward the rest of the library . . . or what was left of it. “They wanted us to think it was an attack, when it was actually a theft.”“So case closed?” Connor kicked aside pieces of a shattered marble bust. “Good work, Adne. Can we go home now?”“Hardly.” Adne was bent over the remnants of books at her feet.“I didn’t sign on to play detective,” Sabine said. “Can I go beat up the thieves for information instead?”“Sounds like fun.” Connor laughed. “But it’s thief, not thieves. The second one managed to get away.”“How’d that happen?” Sabine asked. The Searchers weren’t sloppy and the thieves were human; catching them should have been easy.“He displayed his immensely noble character by tripping his associate, so we were busy catching that guy while the first one made it to the getaway car,” Connor said. “He drove into a populated area where we couldn’t pursue him without drawing unwanted attention.”“The tripped associate’s a no go,” Ethan said as he walked up, apparently having overheard the last bit of their conversation.“Why’s that?” Sabine asked.“He’s been hexed.” Ethan sat down next to Sabine. “He can’t answer questions about who employed him or why.”Sabine’s gaze swept over the ransacked shelves. “What do you mean, hexed?”“Hexed, cursed,” Adne said. “Whatever you want to call it.”“Black magic?” Sabine’s frown deepened. “How is that possible?”“Why wouldn’t it be possible?” Connor twirled a lock of Adne’s hair in his fingers. She batted his hand away, but not without throwing a teasing smile at him.“Because the Rift is closed and the Harbinger is gone,” Sabine said. “I thought that meant the Keepers’ magic was cut off. No more wraiths. No more hexes. Nothing.”“The magic from the Harbinger, yeah,” Connor said. “So you’re right about no wraiths, but magic—basic magic—is still around. That won’t ever go away.”“Don’t sweat it.” Ethan put his arm around Sabine’s shoulders. “Black magic keeps us employed. We have to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.”“So you think Logan is behind this hex?” Sabine asked, pulling Ethan’s arm farther around her so she could nestle against him. “And the theft?”“He’s our number one suspect,” Ethan said. “Wait—replace number one with only. Only suspect.”Adne smiled, but her eyes remained worried. “Why did he want those books?”“What were they about?” Connor asked. He’d picked up the pieces of a broken vase and was entertaining himself by trying to fit them back together.“That’s what worries me,” Adne said. “They were about the Keepers’ heritage. Family lines. Legacies.”“You’re worried because Logan’s checking out his family tree?” Sabine asked. “Maybe he’s just lonely. After all, he’s the only Keeper left, right?”“No, he’s not.” Ethan frowned. “There are a few younger Keepers still scattered around the world. They’ve gone into hiding, trying to prevent us from tracking them down. Though it’s sort of a moot point. I think they’re more paranoid about us finding them than we’re interested in hunting them. They’re harmless now. Just humans dabbling in the dark arts.”“Exactly,” Adne said.Connor dropped the vase fragments. They broke into even smaller pieces when they hit the floor. “I think you skipped a few steps. I didn’t get a resolution from that conversation.”Adne smiled. “Sorry. I mean that the Keepers who didn’t end up as withered husks—because they were living on borrowed time—are still out there. But they don’t have power—at least, not power like they used to.”“You think Logan wants to get it back.” Sabine ground her teeth.“Maybe . . . probably,” Adne said. “The books that are missing aren’t only family trees. They recount the origins of the Keepers.”“Hmmmm,” Connor said. “Oh . . . uh-oh.”“Uh-oh is an understatement.” Ethan fingered the hilt of the dagger belted at his waist.Sabine asked, “Can he do it? Find a way to restore their power?”Adne rubbed her temples, suddenly looking weary. “I don’t know and I’m not sure how we find out. Logan took the books that hold the clues we need.”“But we do have this.” Connor produced a small wooden box from inside his long leather duster. “Check it out.”“What’s that?” Sabine asked. She took the box from him, since Adne’s head was still bowed. The box was intricately carved of ebony wood, and it was locked.“We took this off the thief we did manage to catch,” Connor said. “It was the only thing he was carrying. The other guy had the books.”Sabine ran her fingers over the patterns and deep grooves of the wood. “I wonder what’s inside.”“Let’s find out,” Connor said. He snatched the box out of Sabine’s hands and picked the lock. He opened it, peered inside, and frowned.“Give it here.” Adne reached up and Connor handed it to her.Adne gave a little gasp. “Oh!”“What is it?” Sabine peered over her shoulder.Within the box lay a torn sheet of paper, a small, oddly shaped white stone, a pair of gold rings, and a pendant.Sabine reached inside and picked up the rings. “They’re engraved on the inside of the bands.” She peered at the tiny markings. “A. Hart, E. Morrow. Amor et fidelitas.”“‘Love and loyalty,’” Adne murmured. “Wedding rings?”“That’d be my guess,” Sabine said.“Women.” Ethan reached over Sabine and grabbed the piece of paper. “Going for the jewelry before the evidence!”Sabine elbowed him. “The jewelry is evidence.”“Right.” Ethan winked at her before reading the faded ink. “Alistair Hart Nightshade, 1388–1666, Great Fire of London.”“That’s weird.” Adne took the paper from Ethan, turning it over in her hands.“You mean that he died at age 278?” Connor asked. “I’d say that’s par for the course in our line of work.”“No,” Adne said. “I mean that the stuff in the box is way older than this note. This is paper, not the parchment they would have used in the Middle Ages.” She held the paper up to the light. “I think it’s signed on the back, but the ink is really hard to make out. Wait . . . yeah . . . here’s the name. ‘C. Nightshade, 1859.’ Oh great.”“What?” Sabine asked.“That has to be Cameron Nightshade,” Adne said. “He built this place. Rowan Estate is named after his wife. He came over from England in the eighteenth century, she showed up a little later—they were the first Keepers in North America.”“Are you jockeying for Silas’s old job?” Connor asked. “What’s up with the history lesson?”Adne stuck her tongue out at him. “I just happened to spend some time reading the books I was cataloging and not trying to get out of my responsibilities . . . like some people I know.”Connor shrugged. “I’d rather be out in the field than in a musty old room.”“It wasn’t musty until all the shelves were obliterated,” Adne said.“So Cameron left a note in Alistair’s box?” Sabine asked.Adne nodded. “If I’m remembering right, Cameron was Alistair’s son.”“But why would Logan care about this stuff?” Ethan reached into the box, picking up the small white stone. “And what the hell is this white rock doing in here?”Sabine took a closer look at the object and began to laugh.Ethan threw her a sidelong glance. “What?”“That’s not a rock,” she said. “It’s a knuckle bone.”“Gah!” Ethan dropped the bone. Fortunately, Adne shoved the box out in time to catch it.“Why would anyone keep a bone in there?” Ethan said, rubbing his hands on his coat.“It was a thing,” Adne said. “Usually it was only for saints and other famous types, but the bones of the dead were thought to have great power . . . that’s more bad news for us.”“You think Logan wanted this stuff to work some nasty mojo?” Connor asked.“I’d say that’s a safe bet.” Adne picked up the pendant. “This is a lot prettier than the bone.”Sabine leaned close. The pendant was an oval about the size of her palm, hanging from a thin gold chain. The bloodred ruby was rimmed with gold, and a ghostly image—a rose centered between two crossed swords—hovered in the gemstone’s depths.“That’s beautiful,” she whispered.Adne nodded. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”“That’s an intaglio,” Connor said. “It’s kind of a cameo in reverse. They inscribed the image into the gem’s surface—that’s what gives it so much depth. They were sentimental gifts, and the words carved into the setting usually had mystical significance or power—like a talisman.”They all stared at him.Finally, Ethan said, “How the hell do you know that?”Connor coughed, looking at Adne and then away. “I . . . uh . . . may have been doing some reading about jewelry recently . . . uh . . . yeah.”Adne blushed, lowering her gaze back to the contents of the box. A small smile played on the corners of her mouth.“Anyway,” Connor said. “That’s what the necklace is.”Sabine reached out, taking the pendant from Adne. She turned it over.“This is inscribed too,” she said. “Sanguine et igne nascimur.”“‘In blood and fire we are born.’” Adne shivered. “Anything else?”“Another name,” Sabine said, her voice growing quiet. “Eira.”A numb silence fell over the group.“The first Keeper,” Adne said. She snatched the pendant from Sabine. She shoved it into the box and slammed the lid, mimicking Pandora’s futile effort to stop horrors from spilling out into the world. When she looked up at them, she was trembling. “Logan’s going back. Back to the very beginning.”Adne felt the others’ eyes on her as she grabbed the box and fled the library. She had no idea where she was going, but soon she was outside, breathing fresh Colorado air. The day was bright, and though the air still carried a chill, Adne could taste the promise of spring. Her swift walk picked up to a run, her feet seeming to have a will of their own, while her mind was muddled.When she finally stopped, she was breathing hard. Her breath rose in small puffs. Adne looked around, trying to get her bearings as well as understand why putting together the pieces of Logan’s break-in had sent her into a panic. When she saw where she was, her knees buckled and she dropped to the ground.The garden. Bosque Mar’s garden. She couldn’t be here. Not here.Why is this happening?Adne had never fainted before, but now, even on her knees, she couldn’t keep her balance. Black fog poured into her mind, blotting out the real world and forcing her into a waking nightmare.She knew the scene immediately, but somehow being in the garden amplified her awareness that this dream was something more than a product of her own imagination. She was too aware of the earth beneath her, how alive it was. With her hands on the ground, Adne could feel everything—the channels and pathways of roots and rivers, minerals and magma. And the earth knew her. Beneath her palms, it shuddered.“Very good.”Adne squeezed her eyes shut. She knew the voice but refused to acknowledge it. This is not happening. He is not here.She wished she could close her ears along with her eyes so she wouldn’t hear the footfalls that brought him next to her. His presence was overwhelming. Powerful, and inexplicably alluring.“I love this place,” Bosque Mar said, his voice cool as silk. “The garden was what brought you to me. This is our place.”Still huddled with her eyes closed, Adne whispered, “No.”Bosque laughed. “Such a fighter. You remind me of her.”“Stop.” Adne felt tears rising in her throat.He was close. Too close. She could sense his body as he crouched beside her. “It’s time for you to come with me.”Adne screamed, rolling away from him. “No!”She lashed out with one arm, finally opening her eyes. She struck at nothing but the air.Bosque wasn’t in the garden. Adne was alone. Choking on her breath, she began to sob.It would have been easier for Adne to face the idea that between grief and exhaustion she was having some sort of psychotic episode. But Adne knew magic. And she felt its presence all around her, along with the overwhelming sense that something was coming for her.Adne always thought she would welcome the absence of nightmares about her mother’s death. But those dreams had fled only when the new visions had arrived. Though she could hardly believe it, the new dreams were worse. These weren’t grief-ridden images of the past. Adne sensed they were portents of the future.The nightmares had begun when the sun set on the day of the Searchers’ greatest victory. The Rift had been closed. The war was over. With her limbs tangled in Connor’s, Adne had fallen asleep. She’d expected a peaceful night. Though her heart still ached from losing her father and her brother, Adne believed that their sacrifices had helped set the world right again.She wasn’t ready for the tide of horror that visited her while she slept.In her dream she’d been walking through the Rowan Estate gardens. Dead wolves lay on the frozen ground all around her. Adne passed them without hesitation. The wolves weren’t her concern. She was needed elsewhere.Adne stopped when she reached the withered hedge.“I knew you’d come.” Bosque Mar materialized before her. “We have so much to discuss, Ariadne.”Bosque reached out to her. Without hesitating, she took his hand. He smiled at her. His smile contorted, mouth stretching wide into a grotesque grin until the skin split open. The handsome face of the man dropped off in clumps of flesh until his true visage was revealed.Adne screamed until her cries roused her from sleep.The details of the nightmare weren’t always the same. Sometimes it took place in the Rowan Estate library. Sometimes in the bowels of the Pyralis volcano while the fire wolves, the Lyulf, stalked around her. But no matter where Adne found herself in the dream, Bosque was always waiting for her. And she always went to him when he beckoned.The first night she’d woken trembling after the dream, Adne thought she could pinpoint its source. Her first and last encounter with Bosque Mar was branded on her mind, vivid and disturbing.“What a lovely young thing.” Bosque watched Adne move, running his tongue over his lips as if tasting the air. “And with such power. You’ve been playing with my garden, dear. Without permission.”He twisted his fingers and Adne stumbled. “Please stay awhile. I think you could be quite useful to me.”She rolled over, clawing at the rug beneath her feet, which had begun to unravel. Its loose threads wound together into thick ropes that wrapped around her ankles and continued to snake their way up her body.Amid the chaos of that final battle, Bosque had singled Adne out. When he’d spoken to her, she’d felt his gaze as acutely as if he’d been touching her. Even as she’d struggled against the bonds he’d invoked to hold her captive, Adne had shivered, unable to fight the awareness that with one look, Bosque understood who she was and the power she could wield more than anyone else ever had.She didn’t know what that meant.Adne had pushed aside the unpleasant dream as she would any other, assuming the nightmare was simply the aftermath of the war.But the next night she’d dreamed of Bosque Mar. And the next. And the next.Adne had told herself repeatedly that the nightmares meant nothing, that they were the last shreds of fear left from years of fighting the Keepers. Bosque Mar had been banished from her world and he had no way of returning.And yet, every night the Harbinger visited her while she slept.Today the dream had intruded upon her waking mind. She couldn’t bear it.Crumpled on the ground, Adne held the wooden box tight against her chest. Logan needed something from Rowan Estate, but he didn’t have it—at least not everything. They’d kept this box from him. That meant Adne could stop him before he managed to pull off whatever scheme he was concocting. By outmaneuvering Logan, she would keep the nightmares from coming true. Whatever Logan was searching for, Adne had to find it first.The crunch of boots sounded on the garden’s gravel path. Adne looked up to find Connor bearing down on her. He crouched beside her.“What’s up, buttercup?” Connor’s tone was casual, but the skin around his eyes was tight with concern.Adne knew her face was streaked with tears. Trying to pretend they weren’t there was pointless.“I shouldn’t have run out of there,” she said. “I freaked.”“Uh-huh.” Cupping her face in his palm, Connor rubbed the tear tracks on her cheek with his thumb. “I got that much. But it’s not like you, Adne. Why’d you spook?”Adne grimaced, wishing Connor had picked a word other than spook. It was too close to the truth. She felt haunted.Choosing her next words carefully, Adne told him, “Knowing Logan was here. Seeing all that history of the Keepers. I thought it was over. The war. The loss.”“It is over,” Connor said with a dry laugh. “Logan Bane might have the coin to hire half-competent thieves, but can you imagine him pulling off anything more?”“I don’t know.” Adne lowered her gaze.Logan had been a spoiled child and an arrogant S.O.B., but Adne suspected that much of Logan’s behavior had been posturing. None of them had seen beneath the surface of the Keeper heir’s façade. The break-in made Adne realize she was afraid to find out.“So.” Connor cleared his throat. “I don’t mean to be insensitive, but Sabine and Ethan would like to get back to the Academy. Me too.”Adne nodded, letting Connor pull her to her feet. She tucked the box under her arm. Connor looked at it and frowned.“You keeping that?”“Yeah,” she answered. “I want to put it somewhere Logan won’t be able to get at it. Just in case.”Connor shrugged, but then he looked into Adne’s eyes. “Are you sure there’s nothing else you want to talk about?”“I’m okay,” Adne insisted. “Just an overreaction.”“You know we’re not going to let Logan mess with the glorious future that awaits us.” He grinned and Adne laughed.“Yeah, I know.”When Connor put his arm around her shoulders, Adne’s mood lightened. His presence made the waking dream fizzle to insignificance. For a moment, Adne would have called herself happy. But something flickered on the edge of her vision. She turned and her heart stuttered. A wolf watched them from the edge of the forest that bordered the garden.“Connor.” Adne clutched his arm.“What is it?” He was instantly tense. She didn’t have to look to know he’d already drawn a weapon.Adne was about to point, but she blinked and the wolf was gone.“Adne?” Connor scanned the space around them, searching for the cause of her alarm.“It’s nothing,” Adne said, her throat still tight. “I thought I saw . . . but it was nothing.”“You sure?” Connor asked, still waiting for any signs of imminent danger.“Yes.” Adne leaned into him, trying to convey an ease she didn’t feel. “I’m just on edge. Please get me out of here.”“With pleasure, little lady.” Connor gave a whoop and scooped Adne off the ground. Adne shrieked as Connor carried her back to the manor, making her laugh by kissing her noisily and teasing her about his plans for the night until a blush scorched her cheeks. But when she stopped laughing and laid her face against Connor’s neck so she could smell his skin and the leather of his duster, Adne wondered if she wasn’t losing her mind after all. A wolf had been watching them. She knew she’d seen it.But seeing the wolf wasn’t the problem. The wolf wasn’t a stranger. Adne could never have mistaken that charcoal fur, which she’d wept into after the wolf warrior had been slain. Nor would she ever forget those silver-flecked eyes—eyes that had been gazing at her just moments ago in mutual recognition.It didn’t matter if her brother was a wolf or a boy. Adne would always know Ren Laroche.MAGIC PROVED TO be much more work than Logan Bane had ever imagined—at least magic you had to do yourself. It turned out that most spells required an array of ingredients, many of which were very unpleasant to handle and even worse to smell. Other spells required bodily fluids—his bodily fluids. Magic was rank sweat, putrid odors, congealed blood, and gag-inducing dissections with no guarantee that the spell would even come off right.But as unappealing as all of that might be, the greatest obstacle to Logan’s goal was what he needed most, the key to successfully casting the most powerful spells: multiple casters.Realizing how much he’d taken for granted all of his life was another hard lesson, as if the whole dreadful business with the Scion and his Searchers hadn’t been bad enough. Day after day, the same question dogged Logan’s steps. Had he made the right choice?At the time, Logan had convinced himself that giving aid to the Searchers was the only choice. A matter of survival. He’d seen the writing on the wall the moment his pack of Guardians divided, half of them going over to the Searchers. Rebellions were like plagues: catching, devastating.If his father, Efron, hadn’t blamed him for Calla’s betrayal, things might have gone differently. But Logan’s father made it clear that he teetered on the verge of disowning his only son and heir. More concerned with keeping the taint of rebellion off himself than protecting Logan, Efron had effectively demoted his son. With no pack to rule, Logan would have been denied his father’s legacy. And while the wealth and privileges of a Keeper’s life remained his to enjoy, Logan knew well that his reign as lordling among his peers would soon end.With his inheritance stolen, Logan went to the Searchers, offering his services to their misguided yet indefatigable cause. He freely admitted to himself that he’d gone out of spite and in haste, not thinking through the full ramifications of his actions. He’d thought he’d made allowances for all possible outcomes.Should the Searchers lose, Logan still had the pretext of being their prisoner. Efron Bane’s arrogance ensured that he would much more readily accept the possibility of his son’s failure than his treachery.But they didn’t lose. And Logan had no idea how ill prepared he was for that scenario, despite his laying bets on the Searchers’ chances. His self-assurance began to crumble when Sabine tore out his father’s throat. Rebellion from a distance was an interesting concept. Up close, made of spilled blood and rent flesh, it was nothing other than a ghastly reality.Logan would have run at that point, if not for the knowledge that his throat would be the next one torn to shreds by a Guardian. Forced to remain beside his father’s corpse while the Nightshade and Bane alpha males battled, Logan couldn’t fight off the creeping knowledge that all of this was horribly, horribly wrong. He was not meant to be here. Had no business being a part of this folly. This was not his legacy.Logan’s mind had fogged with doubt. He was surrounded by a haze of blood and violence, and then Calla had been at his side, forcing him to say the words. To invoke the source of the Keepers’ power: Bosque Mar. Logan renewed his blood oath, calling Bosque from beyond the Rift. When Bosque appeared, condemning Logan for his treachery, Logan had been surprised by the sting of Bosque’s words. As Bosque spoke to him, Logan’s blood felt like barbwire, twisting and tearing within him.Cowering from fear and shame, Logan had watched as the Scion—he couldn’t think of that force of wild magic as the boy who’d been called Shay—drove his master into oblivion, sealing the Rift forever. As Rowan Estate shook and Logan literally saw his world crumbling, he’d summoned the strength to crawl along the quaking library floor. When the ground beneath ceased its violent shifting, Logan scrambled to his feet. And he ran.He didn’t stop running until he reached the private airstrip where his father’s Dassault Falcon 7X was waiting for him. Logan had called the airstrip as he ran, knowing the pilot and crew were on call 24/7 to accommodate spur-of-the-moment trips. Wheezing, Logan boarded the plane and ordered the pilot to take off immediately. Once they were airborne, the flight attendant offered him a cocktail, which Logan refused. As much as he felt like he needed one, Logan knew he needed a clear head more. The glossy-lipped stewardess then took off his shoes for the usual foot massage she provided, and gasped. Logan’s feet were bleeding. He wasn’t surprised. Without a word, the flight attendant washed and bandaged his feet. His father’s staff knew better than to ask questions. No matter what they witnessed.Logan practically lived aboard the private jet for the first month after he fled Colorado. He didn’t feel safe staying in one place for more than a few days. It was only a matter of time before the Searchers came after him. Once the fallout from the last battle at Rowan Estate had settled, those wretched, duty-bound warriors were sure to begin hunting down all the Keepers. At least the ones who survived the war.As it happened, there weren’t that many.The Keepers had always been selfish with their powers. That hoarding, territorial quality paired with preternaturally long lives meant very few Keepers had children. Offspring were considered necessary for the future, to carry forward the blood oath and maintain the link between Bosque Mar and the earth. But nurtured and coveted Keeper children were not. Logan had always sensed that his father regarded him as a nuisance. Logan had never known his mother, and his father rarely spoke of her. Lumine Nightshade had more kind words about Marise to offer than Efron did. Despite the absence of affection between them, Logan and his father reached a common accord: they were both waiting for Logan to grow up.And grow he had. Logan was eighteen. He’d come of age. And his life had shattered into a thousand jagged pieces. He didn’t know what to do with himself—with the exception of avoiding the Searchers. Logan definitely knew to do that. But he decided it was time to stop running. He ordered the pilot to fly to Montauk, where he knew he would find someone—or two someones—willing to take him in.• • •“I don’t know what you’re complaining about,” Audrey said, offering Logan a clove cigarette, the day after he’d arrived. “It could be much worse.”Logan took the slim black cigarette with a nod of gratitude.“She’s right, you know,” added Chase. “Take Mother and Father, for instance.”Audrey smirked, settling on the divan next to her brother. Chase and Audrey Roth were twins and thus the rare exception to Keepers having no more than one child. They were unexceptional as Keepers, however, in their lack of regard for their deceased parents. That they could speak with such nonchalance of their parents’ devolving suddenly from living beings to rotting flesh and, finally, to bones and dust, leaving Chase and Audrey orphans, was a testament to that.The Roth family had steered clear of Keeper politics, focusing on the economic strings their kind liked to pull. Montauk’s distance from any of the sacred sites also kept the Roths out of the bloodier side of Keeper affairs. Logan hoped that meant this place and its inhabitants weren’t on the Searchers’ radar. He felt safe enough to stay in Montauk. For now.The waterfront estate was too modern for Logan’s taste. He preferred residences that recalled the grandeur of Europe, and a time when the notion that all people are created equal was known to be hogwash. He couldn’t deny, however, that the mansion and guesthouses offered every comfort and were architecturally stunning, with their clean lines and airy rooms.Though they’d elected to receive their education via private tutors rather than enroll at the Mountain School—the Roth twins subscribed to the popular East Coast idea that the world ended west of the Mississippi—Chase and Audrey had long been friends with Logan. Their father, Weston Roth, had partnered in investments with Efron Bane for over a century. And Logan and Efron had visited the Roths’ Montauk home often.The two men had a natural affinity that Logan supposed was due to their shared origin story. Both originally human, Efron and Weston had been elevated by their wives to join the ranks of the Keepers. Though his father was too powerful for any of his peers to publicly disparage him, Logan knew that an elevated Keeper was considered somehow lesser than those who could claim the birthright.Logan half agreed with that sentiment. Though he was happy to be his father’s heir, Logan’s pride derived from his mother’s ancestry. Her bloodline could be traced back to Eira: the first Keeper.Not that it mattered. Now that the Rift was closed, there was no such thing as a Keeper. Logan looked at his smooth, unlined hand and slender fingers holding his cigarette. He sighed, wondering how soon he’d show signs of age.“Still melancholy?” Chase offered a lazy smile. “How can I cheer you up?”Logan looked away from Chase, ignoring the flirtatious curve of his lips. With silky black hair and olive eyes, Chase would have been a welcome distraction. But Logan couldn’t afford distraction right now. Logan’s gaze flicked back to Chase.“I’ll think of something,” he answered. Logan didn’t want to fan flames, but neither did he want to smother any spark Chase might be kindling.Logan supposed that might be the one good thing about having the elder generation of Keepers gone: no more antiquated rules about sexuality. No more lying about who he was. And from the sly gleam in Chase’s eyes, it was clear he counted that fact as a silver lining too.Pushing her lip into a pout at being ignored by the boys, Audrey said, “I miss Joel.”Chase groaned, throwing his arm over his eyes. “Not again.”“Who’s Joel?” Logan asked.“Her wolf pet,” Chase answered. “Efron sent him to Father to be our bodyguard, remember?”“Ah, that’s right.” Logan recalled that Joel had been a brawny wolf of the Bane pack. One of the youngest, but still a decade older than the wolves Logan had been set to inherit.Audrey threw a silk pillow at him. “He was not my pet. Joel adored me.”“He had to adore you,” Chase replied. “You just chose to believe his sentiments were genuine.”“How do you know they weren’t?” She flipped her glossy raven ringlets as if to prove a point.“Because he was a Guardian,” Chase said. He lifted his arm to look at Logan. “Am I right?”Logan shuddered, remembered the gurgles coming from his father’s throat after Sabine tore it to shreds. He hadn’t revealed the truth of Efron’s demise. It was too horrible to repeat. If there were still Guardians around, representing a similar threat, Logan might have felt compelled to warn his peers. But just as there were no more Keepers, there were no more Guardians.“Even if you’re right,” Audrey said, sulking, “it was still awful that we had to shoot him.”“There was a wolf running wild through the house,” Chase countered. “It’s not like we could have released him into the Hamptons.”“Don’t mock me.” Audrey glared at her brother. “I liked Joel. He was lovely.”“We could have made him into a rug.” Chase grinned wickedly. “Or stuffed him. You could still have cuddled him in bed every night.”Audrey jumped up. “That’s vile. I was sleeping with the boy, not the wolf.”“I certainly hope so. Though if you’re that kinky, I’m kind of impressed.” Chase laughed, nonplussed by Audrey’s sudden pummeling of his chest. Logan began to laugh too. Audrey was neither kinky nor did she know how to throw a punch.Finally shoving Audrey back onto the divan, Chase asked Logan, “What’s really bothering you?” He paused, drawing a breath. “Money trouble?”Audrey gasped, narrowing her eyes in warning at Chase.“No, no,” Logan said quickly, and was rewarded by the tension going out of the room. “Money is never an issue.”He wasn’t deceiving them. Logan had problems, but none of them were financial. The Keepers were bereft of their magic, but worldly assets they still held in spades. And in terms of net worth, Logan remained among the wealthiest of Keepers. Efron Bane had been shrewd in his investments and solicitous of all the right relationships: finance, politics, entertainment—there wasn’t a place Efron was without connections. Now those strings had been placed in Logan’s hand to pull as he wanted.“When you called, we thought”—Audrey threw Logan an apologetic glance—“you might need help.”Logan took a long pull from his cigarette. “I do need help. Just not that kind.”He didn’t know if Chase and Audrey would understand, even if they were sympathetic to him. It would be easier if his aim was vengeance or sheer hatred. But neither of those motivations matched the stirring in his blood. The sense of loss that followed him no matter where he went.“Two things,” Logan said. “I need access to your father’s library.”“You shouldn’t have trouble finding it,” Chase remarked. “It takes up half of the east wing.”“His private library,” Logan said, tapping ash from the cigarette’s glowing tip.Chase and Audrey exchanged a glance.“Yes, I know about it.” Logan looked at each of them steadily. “I assume you know where the key is.”“What’s the second thing?” Chase asked.Logan smiled at him, noting that he hadn’t answered the question.“Some spells require three supplicants to succeed,” Logan said, pointing at Chase, Audrey, and himself. “One. Two. Three.”The twins stared at him for several minutes. Logan found himself enjoying how disconcerted they seemed.Chase leaned forward. “This is a joke.”“Not at all.” Logan stabbed out the cigarette and stood up. “I need to cast a few spells. Learn magics from the books your father has secreted away in his library. Then I’ll want to cast more spells.”“Why on earth would you go meddling with magics?” Audrey asked, exasperated. “Didn’t you tell us when you arrived that you feel like you have a target on your back?”Logan pursed his lips but didn’t answer.“Casting spells is like planting a homing beacon on yourself,” Audrey continued. “Do you want the Searchers to find you?”He didn’t. “I don’t have any choice.”“Of course you do,” Chase replied. He waved at their surroundings. “What more do you need than this? Can spells bring you happiness?”“I’m not after happiness,” Logan told him. He couldn’t pinpoint what it was that had driven him to an obsession with the Keepers’ history. Why he hired thieves to ransack Rowan Estate and bring him as much of Bosque Mar’s collection as they could manage. One of the fools had been caught. Damn him. But what Logan had managed to get his hands on proved useful enough. It at least pointed him in the right direction.Logan couldn’t expect the twins to understand something he didn’t fully comprehend himself, but he needed their help.Giving Audrey a direct look, he said, “How do you expect you’ll look in ten years?”She lifted her chin in pride. But when Logan said, “Twenty?” her face fell.If there was anything Keepers had in common, it was vanity.“Bosque Mar kept us from aging,” Chase interjected. “And he’s gone.”

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Snakeroot

"The swift pace, romantic sensuality, and powerful magic will keep readers glued to the page."--Booklist

"Cremer, as always, keeps the narrative moving along briskly . . . Plenty of suspense sets the stage for continuing this hit series."--Kirkus Reviews