Authors: Lesley Livingston
EVERY NEVER AFTER
is a writer and actress living in Toronto. She has a master’s degree in English from the University of Toronto, where she specialized in Arthurian literature and Shakespeare. She is the author of an award-winning urban fantasy trilogy for teens that includes the novels
(winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book Award and Ontario Library Association White Pine Honour Book),
Visit Lesley online at
ALSO BY LESLEY LIVINGSTON
Once Every Never
EVERY NEVER AFTER
an imprint of Penguin Canada
Published by the Penguin Group
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published 2013
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 (WEB)
Copyright © Lesley Livingston, 2013
Owl image © Koshevnyk / Shutterstock
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
Publisher’s note: This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Manufactured in Canada.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Every never after / Lesley Livingston.
PS8623.I925E94 2013 jC813'.6 C2012-905174-8
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tuart Morholt awoke in a bag.
All things being equal, he probably should have considered that a stroke of extreme good luck. Change one single letter in that word, and he could have just as easily woken up in a
. Or not at all. Neither of those possibilities was even remotely a stretch at that moment. As it was, the bag was bad enough. It was made of coarse, scratchy fibres that irritated the skin of his cheek where his face rubbed against it. It bounced roughly up and down in a motion sickness–inducing fashion and it reeked, overwhelmingly, of fish.
Morholt loathed fish.
He loathed a pair of smarty-pants teenage girls named Clarinet Reid and Allie McAllister even more than he loathed fish. And that hatred was particularly relevant to his present situation because those ridiculous, meddling girls were the two reasons he now found himself bound for destinations unknown and—damn all the luck—probably about to be horribly killed.
When, finally, Morholt was unceremoniously dumped out of his bag, he almost immediately wanted to crawl right back into it. The woman standing before him was wearing what looked like a cloak made entirely of raven feathers. Her cheeks and forehead were covered in the bright blue swirls of Celtic war paint. She reached down a hand and grabbed his face. Morholt’s body jerked spasmodically as if he’d been mildly electrocuted.
“Ow! Bloody hell.” He grimaced through clenched teeth.
The woman staggered back a foot, her black gaze sharpening as if she’d understood him. Just as
when she said, in her own, ancient language, “Blood … indeed. You have power. I can smell it on you.”
“I’m surprised you people can smell anything beyond your own rank emissions,” Morholt muttered, forgetting for an instant that the woman could understand him.
But she ignored the insult and leaned in, eyes closed. “You smell of blood,” she said, breathing deeply through flared nostrils. “And fire …”
“And fish. Don’t forget fish.”
“You also smell of gold.” Her hand shot out again and she gripped him hard around the throat with fingers like iron bands. “Stolen gold.”
“Oh!” Morholt gasped at the pain. “That. Yes … well—”
Stuart Morholt silently cursed the names of Clarinet Reid and Allie McAllister. He figured he ought to get in just one more juicy mental profanity, because he was definitely about to be horribly killed. But the truly infuriating thing was this: not only was he about to die—at the hands of a pack of worthless barbarians at the arse end of a backwater world, no less—but he was about to die
of years before he was even born.
EXACTLY 1,951 YEARS LATER
, Clarinet Reid picked up her cell phone and dialed a number. Cringing at the jarring double ring of the British telephone system and half-hoping there’d be no answer, she wondered frantically how, exactly, she was going to explain the situation. By the time her aunt Maggie picked up, she’d decided she might as well just come right out and say it.
“Mags?” she said.
“What’s wrong?” came the immediate response.
“Nothing!” Clare yelped. Then took a deep breath.
I thought we decided to “just come right out and say it”?
muttered her brain in disgust.
Clare muttered silently back. Except she knew her brain was right. Maggie had to know. Clare would need her help, eventually. And sooner or later her aunt would find out everything anyway. Especially if she turned on BBC news to find out that all of Somerset County had been sucked into a time portal.
“Okay,” she continued. “Maybe not …
. More like everything. More like Al is trapped in the past, Milo thinks there’s a dangerous spatio-temporal vortex opening up all over Glastonbury Tor, Boudicca’s blood curse is alive and well, and a very angry goddess is about to unleash a screaming horde of demon warrior women out of a hell pit right in the middle of Somerset.” She stopped and took a breath.
“I see,” Maggie said dryly. “So just a typical day for you then, is it?”
Clare winced. “Pretty much. And here’s the kicker: I still don’t know how he managed it, but … somehow? Stuart Morholt is behind the whole thing.”
There was a long pause on the other end of the line. Then Maggie said, “Tell me everything. Start at the beginning.”
But Clare just shook her head, tears of frustration that Maggie couldn’t see welling in her eyes, and said, “I don’t have
Clarinet Reid turned from where she stood at the open door of the van she’d just tossed her luggage into and gazed in bemusement at the slender, raven-haired seventeen-year-old girl standing next to her. “Excuse me?”
“That should be the name of our blog,” Allie McAllister said, without pausing to look up from whatever it was she was reading off the screen of the tablet computer she held in her hands. “Y’know. Like ‘Bog Bodies’ but—”