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Authors: Rachel Caine

Lord of Misrule

BOOK: Lord of Misrule
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Table of Contents
 
 
Praise for the Morganville Vampires Series
Feast of Fools
“Rachel Caine brings her brilliant ability to blend witty dialogue, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot.”
—Romance Reviews Today
“A rousing horror thriller that adds a new dimension to the vampire mythos . . . a heroine the audience will admire and root for. . . . The key to this fine tale is . . . plausible reactions to living in a town run by vampires that make going to college in the Caine universe quite an experience.”—
Midwest Book Review
“An electrifying, enthralling coming-of-age supernatural tale.”—The Best Reviews
Midnight Alley
“A fast-paced, page-turning read packed with wonderful characters and surprising plot twists. Rachel Caine is an engaging writer; readers will be completely absorbed in this chilling story, unable to put it down until the last page. . . . For fans of vampire books, this is one that shouldn’t be missed!”—Flamingnet
“Weaves a web of dangerous temptation, dark deceit, and loving friendships. The nonstop vampire action and delightfully sweet relationships will captivate readers and leave them craving more.”—Darque Reviews
The Dead Girls’ Dance
“It was hard to put this down for even the slightest break. . . . Forget what happens to the kid with the scar and glasses; I want to know what happens next in Morganville. If you love to read about characters with whom you can get deeply involved, Rachel Caine is so far a one hundred percent sure bet to satisfy that need. I love her Weather Warden stories, and her vampires are even better.”—The Eternal Night
“Throw in a mix of vamps and ghosts, and it can’t get any better than
Dead Girls’ Dance
.”—Dark Angel Reviews
Praise for Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden Series
 
“You’ll never watch the Weather Channel the same way again.”—Jim Butcher
 
“The Weather Warden series is fun reading . . . more engaging than most TV.”—
Booklist
 
“A kick-butt heroine who will appeal strongly to fans of Tanya Huff, Kelley Armstrong, and Charlaine Harris.”—
Romantic Times
 
“Hugely entertaining.”—SF Crowsnest
 
“A fast-paced thrill ride [that] brings new meaning to stormy weather.”—
Locus
 
“An appealing heroine with a wry sense of humor that enlivens even the darkest encounters.”—SF Site
 
“I dare you to put this book down.”

University City Review
(Philadelphia)
 
“Rachel Caine takes the Weather Wardens to places the Weather Channel never imagined!”
—Mary Jo Putney
 
“A spellbinding . . . thought-provoking, action-packed thriller.”—
Midwest Book Review
THE MORGANVILLE VAMPIRE NOVELS
Glass Houses
The Dead Girls’ Dance
Midnight Alley
Feast of Fools
Lord of Misrule
NAL Jam
Published by New American Library, a division of
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by NAL Jam, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, January 2009
Copyright © Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, 2009
eISBN : 978-1-440-66085-6
All rights reserved
 
NAL JAM and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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 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, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

http://us.penguingroup.com

To Ter Matthies, Anna Korra’ti, and Shaz Flynn—
courageous fighters, each one.
 
And to Pat Flynn, who never stopped.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book wouldn’t be here without the support of my husband, Cat, my friends Pat, Jackie, and Sharon, and a host of great online supporters and cheerers-on.
 
Special thank-you recognition to Sharon Sams, Shaz Flynn, and especially to fearless beta readers Karin and Laura for their excellent input.
 
Thanks always to Lucienne Diver.
THE STORY SO FAR . . .
Claire Danvers was going to Caltech. Or maybe MIT. She had her pick of great schools, but because she’s only sixteen, her parents sent her to a supposedly safe place for a year to mature—Texas Prairie University, a small school in Morganville, Texas.
One problem: Morganville isn’t what it seems. It’s the last safe place for vampires, and that makes it not very safe at all for the humans who venture in for work or school. The vampires rule the town . . . and everyone who lives in it.
Claire’s second problem is that she’s gathered both human and vampire enemies. Now she lives with housemates Michael Glass (newly made a vampire), Eve Rosser (always been Goth), and Shane Collins (whose absentee dad is a wannabe vampire killer). Claire’s the normal one . . . or she would be, except that she’s become an employee of the town Founder, Amelie, and befriended one of the most dangerous, yet most vulnerable, vampires of them all—Myrnin, the alchemist.
Now Amelie’s vampire father, Bishop, has come to Morganville and destroyed the fragile peace, turning vampires against one another and creating dangerous new alliances and factions in a town that already had too many.
Morganville’s turning in on itself, and Claire and her friends have chosen to stand with the Founder, but it could mean working with their enemies . . . and fighting their friends.
1
I
t was all going wrong, and Morganville was burning—parts of it, anyway.
Claire stood at the windows of the Glass House and watched the flames paint the glass a dull, flickering orange. She could always see the stars out here in the Middle of Nowhere, Texas—but not tonight. Tonight, there was—
“You’re thinking it’s the end of the world,” a cool, quiet voice said behind her.
Claire blinked out of her trance and turned to look. Amelie—the Founder, and the baddest vampire in town, to hear most of the others tell it—looked fragile and pale, even for a vampire. She’d changed out of the costume she’d worn to Bishop’s masked ball—not a bad idea, since it had a stake-sized hole in the chest, and she’d bled all over it. If Claire had needed proof that Amelie was tough, she’d certainly gotten it tonight. Surviving an assassination attempt definitely gave you points.
The vampire was wearing gray—a soft gray sweater, and
pants.
Claire had to stare, because Amelie just didn’t do pants. Ever. It was beneath her, or something.
Come to think of it, Claire had never seen her in the color gray, either.
Talk about the end of the world.
“I remember when Chicago burned,” Amelie said. “And London. And Rome. The world doesn’t end, Claire. In the morning, the survivors start to build again. It’s the way of things. The human way.”
Claire didn’t particularly want a pep talk. She wanted to curl up in her warm bed upstairs, pull pillows over her head, and feel Shane’s arms around her.
None of that was going to happen. Her bed was currently occupied by Miranda, a freaked-out teenage psychic with dependency issues, and as for Shane . . .
Shane was about to
leave
.
“Why?” she blurted. “Why are you sending him out there? You know what could happen—”
“I know a great deal about Shane Collins that you don’t,” Amelie interrupted. “He’s not a child, and he has survived much in his young life. He’ll survive this. And he wishes to make a difference.”
She was sending Shane into the predawn darkness with a few chosen fighters, both vampire and human, to take possession of the Bloodmobile: the last reliably accessible blood storage in Morganville.
And it was the last thing Shane wanted to do. It was the last thing Claire wanted for him.
“Bishop isn’t going to want the Bloodmobile for himself,” Claire said. “He wants it destroyed. Morganville’s full of walking blood banks, as far as he’s concerned. But it’ll hurt
you
if you lose it, so he’ll come after it. Right?”
The severe, thin line of Amelie’s mouth made it clear that she didn’t like being second-guessed. It definitely couldn’t be called a smile. “As long as Shane has the book, Bishop will not dare destroy the vehicle for fear of destroying his great treasure along with it.”
Translation: Shane was bait. Because of the
book.
Claire hated that damn book. It had brought her nothing but trouble from the time she’d first heard about it. Amelie and Oliver, the two biggest vamps in town, had both been scrambling to find it, and it had dropped into Claire’s hands instead. She wished she had the courage to grab it from Shane right now, run outside, and toss it in the nearest burning house to get rid of it once and for all, because as far as she could tell, it hadn’t done anybody any good, ever—including Amelie.
Claire said, “He’ll kill Shane to get it.”
Amelie shrugged. “I gamble that killing Shane is far more difficult than it would appear.”
“Yeah, you are gambling. You’re betting his life.”
Amelie’s ice gray eyes were steady on hers. “Be clear on this: I am, in fact, betting all our lives. So be grateful, child, and also be warned. I could concede this fight at any time. My father would allow me to walk away—only me, alone. Defeated. I stay out of duty to you and the others in this town who are loyal to me.” Her eyes narrowed. “Don’t make me reconsider that.”
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