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Authors: Kami Garcia,Margaret Stohl

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Fantasy & Magic, #Love & Romance, #Paranormal

Dangerous Creatures

BOOK: Dangerous Creatures
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Table of Contents

Copyright Page

In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at [email protected] Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.

For Link and Ridley, because we knew there was more to their story—and for our readers, because they asked to read it.

Contents

 
  1. DEDICATION
  2. EPIGRAPH
  3. BEFORE : Ridley
  4. CHAPTER 1 : Home Sweet Home
  5. CHAPTER 2 : Symptom of the Universe
  6. CHAPTER 3 : Master of Puppets
  7. CHAPTER 4 : Learning to Fly
  8. CHAPTER 5 : Sweet Child o’ Mine
  9. CHAPTER 6 : Welcome to the Jungle
  10. CHAPTER 7 : Another Brick in the Wall
  11. CHAPTER 8 : Stairway to Heaven
  12. CHAPTER 9 : Use Your Illusion
  13. CHAPTER 10 : Dream of Mirrors
  14. CHAPTER 11 : Read Between the Lies
  15. CHAPTER 12 : Hell on High Heels
  16. CHAPTER 13 : Bleeding Me
  17. CHAPTER 14 : Appetite for Destruction
  18. CHAPTER 15 : Rock of Ages
  19. CHAPTER 16 : For Those About to Rock
  20. CHAPTER 17 : Runnin’ with the Devil
  21. CHAPTER 18 : Metal Gods
  22. CHAPTER 19 : Something to Believe In
  23. CHAPTER 20 : The Divine Wings of Tragedy
  24. CHAPTER 21 : Expendable Youth
  25. CHAPTER 22 : Damaged Soul
  26. CHAPTER 23 : Comfortably Numb
  27. CHAPTER 24 : Wish You Were Here
  28. CHAPTER 25 : Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
  29. CHAPTER 26 : Back in Black
  30. CHAPTER 27 : Fly to the Angels
  31. CHAPTER 28 : Fear of the Dark
  32. CHAPTER 29 : We Are Stars
  33. CHAPTER 30 : Some Kind of Monster
  34. CHAPTER 31 : Flash of the Blade
  35. CHAPTER 32 : Disposable Heroes
  36. CHAPTER 33 : Oh Yoko!
  37. CHAPTER 34 : Symphony of Destruction
  38. AFTER : Fade to Black
  39. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
  40. COPYRIGHT
  41. A PREVIEW OF
    ICONS
  42. A PREVIEW OF
    UNBREAKABLE

 

 
Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris? Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior.
I hate and I love. You ask why I do this?
I do not know, but I feel and I am tormented.
—C
ATULLUS

BEFORE

Ridley

T
here are only two kinds of Mortals in the backwater town of Gatlin, South Carolina—the stupid and the stuck. At least, that’s what they say.

As if there are other kinds of Mortals anywhere else.

Please.

Luckily, there’s only one kind of Siren, no matter where you go in this world or the Otherworld.

Stuck, no.

Stuck-
up
? Maybe.

Stupid?

It’s all a matter of perspective. Here’s mine: I’ve been called a lot of things, but what I really am is a survivor—and while there are more than a few stupid Sirens, there are zero stupid survivors.

Consider my record. I outlasted some of the Darkest Casters and creatures alive. I withstood whole
months
of Stonewall Jackson High School. Beyond that, I survived a thousand terrible love songs written by one Wesley Lincoln, a clueless Mortal boy who became an equally clueless quarter Incubus. And who, by the way, is not the most gifted musician.

For a while, I survived wanting to write him a love song of my own.

That was harder.

This Siren gig is meant to be a one-way street. Ask Odysseus and two thousand years’ worth of dead sailors if you don’t believe me.

We didn’t choose for it to be that way. It’s the hand we were dealt, and you won’t hear me whining about it. I’m not my cousin Lena.

Let’s get something straight: I’m
supposed
to be the bad guy. I will always disappoint you. Your parents will hate me. You should not root for me. I am not your role model.

I don’t know why everyone seems to forget that. I never do.

No matter what she says, Lena was meant to be Light. I was meant to be Dark. Respect the teams, people. At least learn the rules.

My own parents disowned me after the Dark Claimed me as a Siren on my Sixteenth Moon. Since then, nothing rattles me—nothing and no one.

I always knew my incarceration in the sanitarium that my Uncle Macon called Ravenwood Manor was a temporary pit stop on the way to
bigger
and
better
, my two favorite words. Actually, that’s a lie.

My two favorite words are my name,
Ridley Duchannes
.

Why wouldn’t they be?

Sure, Lena gets the credit for being the most powerful Caster of all time.

Whatever. It doesn’t make
me
any less excellent. Neither does her too-good-to-be-true Mortal boyfriend, Ethan “the Wayward” Wate, who defeats Darkness in the name of true love every day of the week.

So what?

I was never going for perfect. I think that should be clear by now.

I’ve done my part, played my hand, even thrown in my cards when I had to. I’ve bet what I didn’t have and bluffed until I had it. Link once said:
Ridley Duchannes is always playing a game.
I never told him, but he was right.

What’s so bad about that? I always knew I’d rather play than watch from the sidelines.

Except once.

There was one game I regretted. At least, one that I regretted losing. And one Dark Caster I regretted losing to.

Lennox Gates.

Two markers. That’s all I owed him, and it was enough to change everything. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

It all started long before that. There were blood debts to be paid—though this time it wasn’t up to my cousin and her boyfriend to pay them.

Ethan and Lena? Liv and John? Macon and Marian? This wasn’t about them anymore.

This was about Link and me.

I should’ve known we wouldn’t get off easy. No Caster goes down without a fight, even when you think the fight is over. No Caster lets you ride off into the sunset on some lame white unicorn or in your boyfriend’s beat-up excuse for a car.

What’s a Caster fairy-tale ending?

I don’t know, because Casters don’t get to have fairy tales—especially not Dark Casters. Forget the sunset—the whole castle burns to the ground, taking Prince Charming down with it. Then the seven dwarves go all ninja and drop-kick your butt straight out of the kingdom.

That’s what a Dark Caster fairy tale looks like.

What can I say? Payback’s a bitch.

But here’s the thing:

So am I.

 
CHAPTER 1 

BOOK: Dangerous Creatures
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