Authors: Christine O'Neil
Tags: #teen, #ember, #goddess, #young adult, #god, #Christine O'Neil, #romance series, #Chaos, #romance, #entangled, #mythology, #Entangled DigiTeen, #succubus
“It’s going to kill me to lose you, but I can’t stay away,” he muttered, and slanted his lips over mine.
His words should have scared me, but instead they thrilled me. All that mattered was that he wasn’t going to turn me away. Not yet. I wound my arms around his neck and kissed him back with everything I had. His fingers massaged my scalp as he deepened the kiss, parting my lips with his tongue. I moaned low in my throat, and he shuddered against me. I took that as a good sign and trailed my hands over his broad shoulders, down his chest to trace the six pack of his abs. The muscles tensed under my touch, and he groaned before pulling away.
“If we weren’t in a car right now, you’d be in serious trouble.”
Serious trouble had never sounded so good, and I told him so, which only made him groan again.
“You’re going to be the death of me.” He settled back against the seat, sucked in a big breath, and blew it out. “Time to go.”
He ran a hand through his mussed hair and adjusted his rearview mirror. A minute later, we pulled back out onto the road. The car got super quiet again as the adrenaline high from our kiss wore off, leaving behind what still qualified as a hot mess.
Things were still all fuckity with my Mom, and I had no clue whether to tell her about the Council or not. And then there was Bink and Libby. And Eric’s funeral. And Gram’s illness. And that mysterious, awful feeling in my chest that almost killed me.
I stared out the window at the trees flashing by, my mind crowded with a million thoughts. Just when I was close to panic, Mac laid his hand back between us, close to mine.
When I laced my fingers with his, he didn’t pull away. I felt instantly calmer. More centered, and more sure than ever that he cared. A lot. I hadn’t seen all his secrets, and part of me didn’t even want to know the rest. He’d teach me, train me, and I would fall in love with him more every day and then maybe we’d find a way to make it work. And maybe we wouldn’t. Life was so strange, I wondered if the sweet without the bitter even existed anymore.
I’d take it, though. I’d take him for as long as I could get him and worry about the rest when it came. I rubbed by thumb against the ring on my finger. We kept driving and he never moved his hand from mine. When we got to the ‘Welcome to New Hampshire’ sign, he finally spoke.
“Welcome home, Magpie.”
There are so many people I need to thank for their help in writing this book because, frankly, if I had written it all by myself, it would suck.
First, to Liz Pelletier, publisher, collaborator, and editor extraordinaire. This has been the wildest ride ever and I am so happy to have been invited aboard. I can’t wait to write the rest of this series with you.
As always, big ups to my editor Kerri-Leigh Grady. You’re worth your weight (and then some, cuz you iz wee) in gold. I don’t just look forward to seeing how much your input will improve my books (but that sure is nice), I also look forward to reading your comments and LMAO with you. It’s rare to find someone as unflinchingly inappropriate in the name of humor, and I feel that we just might have been separated at birth. Except for the whole eating kale and wheat grass thing. That s*%t’s nasty.
Thanks to Stacy Cantor Abrams for your hard work, eagle eyes, and attention to detail. You never miss a trick, and even when I change your “whom”’s back to “who”’s, and leave“literally”’s in even after you tell me I shouldn’t, please know that I think you’re a genius. Any mistakes in this book, grammar-ly or otherwise, are entirely mine.
I’d also like to give props to my publicity team on this book, Heather Riccio and Jaime Arnold. If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d probably be standing on a street corner with a sandwich board that read “By my book pleaz!” I don’t know how you do what you do, nor do I want to. Let’s leave it a mystery, much in the way that sushi still remains to me.
I can’t forget to send a huge, heartfelt thank you to Maddy Pelletier for being one of my first readers and offering some great ideas and feedback from a teen’s perspective. Without your help, we both know my characters would have been saddled with leg warmers and banana clips, using phrases like “that’s so fresh” and “he’s a jive turkey”.
I also want to thank Jen Goodman Merenda for her early encouragement. Right from the start, you told me I could do it and the sucker that I was, I believed you and kept on going. I’m so glad I did. Thanks for that, Goody. <3
Along the same lines, thanks to Jill Reinwald Lenkarski for cheering me on, reading my books, and encouraging me- XOXOXO
I also need to thank Mike Wood, for promising to give me his baby if anything happened to him (that’s what godmother means, right?). Thanks for reading my stuff and for being the person I can look to for the truth, even if it means I’m getting fat again. That which makes you a giant bag of douche also makes you my biffle. You’re so money, Mikey.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank my former English professors, Dr. Anne Herzog, Dr. Cheryl Wanko, Dr. Robert Fletcher, and Dr. Margaret Ervin. I know for a fact I wouldn’t be knee-deep in a career that still feels entirely surreal to me if it wasn’t for you all encouraging me to strive for more and reminding me how much I love to learn and to write. I truly appreciate the knowledge you all shared with me and I look forward to coming back and finishing up my degree ASAP.
And, last but not least, I’d like to thank my family:
First, my mom and dad, for so many reasons that, if I were to list them, would require their own, separate book. I love you both so much, and your support and encouragement means the world to me.
My sister Nicole for telling me that I would be a real writer one day and believing it.
Lex and Nicky. I couldn’t love you more if you were my own. Thank you for coming to stay with me this summer.
And finally, my family at home. To my husband Chip, not just for staying up late with me, listening to me babble ENDLESSLY about this book, and quietly supporting every cockamamie idea I have, but for getting right on board the crazy train with me and tooting the m.f. horn. Everything I know and write about love, I learned from loving you. You are my best.
To Ryan, for being funny and smart, and hardworking, and a great and thoughtful gift-giver, for being proud of me and telling everybody about what I do, for sharing my warped sense of humor, but most of all, for that great laugh that makes you look and sound like you did when you were ten. Now if you could just give me back that tequila you stole in Hawaii, we’ll be square…
To Alleesawn, for adding some much needed estrogen to the house, for being my yog-ing and writing buddy, our resident board game pusher, and for inspiring me to write the character of Libby. But most of all, thank you for your help with this book. The late night research, constant gab sessions, and mythology discussions. Your fingerprints are SO all over this book like, it’s like a crime scene. I truly can’t remember what life was like before you came into our house. But I’m guessing messier and filled with less chocolate.
To Justin, for your innate sense of wonder and delight in everything around you, and the warm feeling you give off that makes everyone want to bask in your light, for your fearlessness in life that makes you go out and risk it no matter what, and for your easygoing nature that is so welcome in a house filled with fierce and bloodthirsty debaters. Beah-con!
To Sean, for reading my book and helping me fix it, for getting mad at me when I wear heels or shirts you think make me look less like your mom, for making me coffee and that sweet look on your face when you tell me I need more sleep, for your beautiful mind and ceaseless questions and your knowledge of how to handle tiger trouble. To infini-bee and beyond.
To Spencer. Not just for using your vast powers of geekery to world-build my books with me, or for your tireless baking and creating of dragon egg cakes with me, but also for being so quick to laugh at my bad jokes, helping me pick which shoes to buy, and for sharing my crochety-ness and general dislike of parties. Gleeful misanthropes, unite!
You guys are the best, and I love our midnight movies, watching
Orphan Black, Doctor Who
Game of Thrones,
and playing ALL TEH BOARD GAMES, and the OBFC, and silly inside jokes, and geeking out together, and most of all, thank you for understanding when a deadline means that I can’t do some of that stuff with you all sometimes. I love you all more than words can say even though you’re a bunch of butt-faced nubs.
About the Author
Christine O’Neil was born and raised in Connecticut, where she spent most of her childhood outdoors catching salamanders, frogs, and colds. When she wasn’t terrorizing Mother Nature, she was curled up under the covers with her nose in a book. As an adult, she’s stopped stalking amphibians, but still loves books. When she isn’t reading, she likes to spend her time people-watching. In fact, she’s probably watching you RIGHT NOW O_O She’s also pretty obsessed with writing YA books, but if she had to pick another profession she would be a ninja…or a Professor of the Dark Arts. Christine also writes bestselling adult romance under the pen name Christine Bell.
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