Authors: Alyson Noel
“So, why don’t you invite me in, and we can remind them?” He grins, face lit with possibility.
“Never,” I say, but he laughs at the word.
“Saw you with my brother.” His gaze moves over me. “Guess that explains your attraction to me—he looks just like me.”
His cocky grin fading when I roll my eyes in response.
“Well, you sure spend a lot of time thinking about me—searching for me—don’t you, Santos?” he says, determined to make me admit the ridiculous.
“Don’t flatter yourself, Coyote. It’s an occupational hazard. Purely job related,” I say, seeing the way he drums his fingers against the steering wheel, wearing a smirk so smug and arrogant, I long to wipe it right off his face.
“You’re truly gifted, Santos. I saw that tonight. A little too soft in the heart, but there’s no reason we can’t remedy that. Shame to see you waste your gifts on my brother.”
“You’d rather I waste them on you?”
“Yes,” he says, not a hint of irony in his voice. “I’ve been nothing but nice to you and yet, look how you treat me. I don’t know what you’ve been told, but you’ve got me all wrong.”
“You stole my grandmother’s soul!” I say, my voice outraged. “You call that playing nice?”
He shrugs, rubs a thumb over the face of his watch. “Maybe not nice, but it had to be done. And yet, look how you managed to save it—while allowing several of my people to remain in the Lowerworld. It’s pretty much a win-win, wouldn’t you say? See how well we work together?”
I shake my head in frustration, about to walk away, when he turns the key, sparking the engine to life as he says, “I don’t know how much you think you know about coyotes, but I’ll tell you this—they go to great lengths to look after their family. It’s
that matters most, Santos, don’t ever forget that. The bonds of family can never be broken. And whether you realize it or not, you’ve been working for me since the day you started having those dreams.”
I swallow hard. My breath quickening, palms moistening, his words reverberating through me.
“You know, the ones where you get all hot and steamy with my brother?” He laughs, flicks his tongue across his front teeth, grinning in a way that’s both lurid and obscene.
“Is that it?” I cross my arms before me, trying to appear calm, cool, not the least bit disturbed, though I’m pretty sure he’s not fooled. His words have shaken me to the core. “Is that all you got?”
“Hardly.” He smiles. “You and I are just getting started, you’ll see. But in the meantime, enjoy your time with my brother—you know, the Echo.” He laughs, pulling away from the curb just as I turn to see Dace peering around Paloma’s blue gate, looking for me.
“We’re all heading for breakfast,” he calls the second he spots me. “Everyone’s coming, it won’t be just us. I hope that’s okay?”
I rush toward him, eager to erase the energy of his brother and replace it with his. Barreling into his arms, I inhale his warm, earthy scent and say, “Sounds good to me. I’m starving.”
He holds me tightly to his chest and looks past my shoulder, catching a glimpse of his brother’s truck. He pulls away and says, “Is that Cade?” He squints into the distance.
I nod, hoping he doesn’t think something weird, because there’s no good way to explain the conversation we had.
“What’d he want?” he asks, his voice as confused as his gaze.
I sigh, picking my way over a bed of rocks as we head for the gate. “He wanted to warn me,” I say.
“About me?” His brow slants with worry.
“No. About him. He wanted me to know he’s the bad twin.” I take a deep breath, knowing it’s as close to the truth as I’m willing to get.
Exhaling softly when he wraps an arm around me, and says, “He’s probably just upset about Lita. She broke up with him. He’s not exactly used to rejection. It’s a whole new experience for him.”
“Sounds like Lita got her soul back,” I say, taking one last glance down the street, ensuring Cade’s gone—or at least for now anyway. Then I slip through the gate with Dace right beside me, the two of us heading into Paloma’s adobe where all our friends wait.
A big sparkly thanks goes to the following people who either knowingly, or unknowingly, contributed to the creation of this book:
Alicia Gates, for guiding me on a wondrous journey to the Lowerworld.
Daniel and Emily in Taos, for their willingness to share their stories and give me a glimpse into their lives.
Javin in Santa Fe, who took time out from a busy schedule to talk about life on the reservation.
The kind and generous staff at the amazing Inn of the Five Graces—if I could live there, I would!
Mary Castillo, for the friendship, the laughs, and the book on
Marlene Perez, Debby Garfinkle, and Stacia Deutsch—gifted writers and good friends, our “coffee talks” mean more than you know!
The awesome people of St. Martin’s Press, including, but certainly not limited to Matthew Shear, Rose Hilliard, AnneMarie Tallberg, Rachel Ekstrom, Elsie Lyons, and everyone else who helps turn my manuscripts into books.
My wonderful agent, Bill Contardi, and my wonderful foreign rights agent, Marianne Merola—you guys rock!
My husband, Sandy, for pretty much everything.
My family—you know who you are and you’re awesome!
And, last but not least, my readers—thank you for allowing me to live this wonderful dream!
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Alyson Noël is the author of the Immortals series, the Riley Bloom series, and seven other novels for St. Martin’s Press. She lives in Laguna Beach, California, where she is at work on her next book. Visit her on the Web at
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
. Copyright © 2012 by Alyson Noël, LLC. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
Cover design by Elsie Lyons
Cover photographs: girl © Bill Miles Photography; birds © blinkblink/Shutterstock; trees © andreiuc88/Shutterstock; texture © stock09/Shutterstock
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
ISBN 978-0-312-66485-5 (hardcover)
First Edition: May 2012