Published by Skyscape
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy
Seven girls tied by time. Five powers that bind. One curse to lock the horror away. One attic to keep the monsters at bay. ** After the storm of the century rips apart New Orleans, sixteen-year-old Adele Le Moyne wants nothing more than her now silent city to return to normal. But with home resembling a war zone, a parish-wide curfew, and mysterious new faces lurking in the abandoned French Quarter, normalneeds a new definition. As the city murder rate soars, Adele finds herself tangled in a web of magic that weaves back to her own ancestors. Caught in a hurricane of myths and monsters, who can she trust when everyone has a secret and keeping them can mean life or death? Unless . . . you’re immortal.
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Alys Arden was raised by the street performers, tea leaf-readers, and glittering drag queens of the New Orleans, French Quarter. She cut her teeth on the streets of New York and has worked all around the world since. She either talks too much or not at all. She obsessively documents things. Her hair ranges from eggplant to cotton-candy-colored. One dreary day in London, while dreaming of running away with the circus, she started writing The Casquette Girls. Her debut novel garnered over one million reads online before being acquired by Skyscape in a two book deal. Rep’d by ICM. Website Twitter: @alysarden Facebook Blog
I sprinted the remaining six blocks home and slammed the front gate behind me, pausing on the stoop to catch my breath. I grasped one of the slick, wet bars and looked both ways down the street.
No one. Nothing.
Safe behind the iron gate, my pulse mellowed, but then I remembered there was a giant hole in the back of our house—not exactly high security.
Rain dripped from my dress and weighed down my Docs as I stormed to my room. I kicked off the boots and flopped onto my bed, not caring when my hair soaked the pillow.
What the hell just happened?
The stake was still clutched tightly in my right hand. I loosened my grip, allowing blood to flow back to my fingers, and then turned the piece of iron over and over, examining it, but there was nothing to give me a clue.
Blue eyes. Dead, blue eyes. Why were his eyes still so blue? He showed no signs of decay, but the Storm hit over two months ago. My hands began to shake. I set the stake down on the bed as I tried to recall the scene in exact detail.
The black sedan seemed undamaged, except for the smashed driver’s-side window. Gray suit, blond hair, blue eyes. My breathing picked up. What if the man hadn’t actually been dead and I’d neglected to help him?
No, he had no pulse. He could not have still been alive. And yet, he certainly couldn’t have died two months ago. Did I discover a man who’d just died?
I sat up quickly, knocking the stake off the bed. My heart pumped faster as I tapped 9-1-1 a second time.
I dialed four more times until I finally heard ringing.
“Hello! I need to report a murder!”
“You have reached the New Orleans Police Department’s automated hotline. If you’re calling to report a missing person, please visit our website at www.nopd.gov. If you’re calling to report a crime or another emergency, please stay on the line.”
“You’ve got to be kidding! Who in this city has Internet right now?”
An instrumental version of “Mardi Gras Mambo” started playing. Then a gentle scraping sound came from the ground next to my bed.
I glanced down.
“What the . . . ?”
The stake was standing upright on its point. I blinked several times. As the hold music droned on, the stake slowly started to turn, grinding itself into the floorboard.
“To report a dead body, press one. To report a dead animal, press two. To report a non-Storm-related violent crime, press three.” I pressed the number three without looking.
“Please state the nature of your call. You can use phrases like, ‘My house has been robbed.’”
“Um, I’d like to report a crime. A dead body, possibly a murder—”
“Thank you for calling the NOPD. Who am I speaking with?” asked a despondent female voice.
The stake stopped turning.
“Hi, my name is Adele Le Moyne.” My tongue garbled the words. “Miss Le Moyne, what’s your location?”
“Burgundy S—but the body’s on Chartres Street around
“There is a separate line to report Storm victims, Miss Le Moyne—”
“He’s not a Storm victim! I mean . . . his eyes were still normal, so he couldn’t have been dead for that long, right?”
“Calm down. Slow down. Did you witness any acts of violence?”
“No, I was just walking and found him in a black town car on the side of the street, about forty minutes ago. I tried to call earlier, but the line was busy.” Talking about the corpse brought the reality of postStorm New Orleans to a whole new level. My father and I had been driving down that street less than twenty-four hours ago.
“And you have reason to believe this was a homicide?”
“Yes. I mean, I don’t know. It didn’t look like he’d been in a car accident . . . His driver’s-side window was smashed in.”
“Did you see any other distinctive wounds or unusual markings?”
A splinter of wood cracked—the stake was twisting itself into the floor again.
“Um, no, but I was only there for a minute before I ran away.”
“Okay, Ms. Le Moyne, any other details you’d like to report?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“All right, we’ll send a unit over to investigate. I just need your contact information; an officer will reach out to you for an official statement.”
I gave her my info and hung up the phone.
“What the heck?” I tugged the stake out of the floor. It felt hot.
I flung it into the nightstand as if it had some contagious disease, slammed the drawer, and fell back onto the mattress with an incredulous head shake.
“I’m losing my mind.”
When I woke, the sheets were damp. I was unsure whether it was from the rain-soaked clothes I’d fallen asleep in or from the layer of sweat coating me thanks to the humidity and lack of air-conditioning. My face throbbed from when I’d accidentally rolled over on it, and my left palm ached. The silk sash wrapped around my hand was now encrusted with dried blood. I pushed it over enough to reveal my watch.
“Nine o’clock?” I groaned. “Ugh, jet lag.” That was four a.m. Paris time. Immediately, those dead blue eyes popped into my mind. Memories of the nonsensical events at the Ursuline Convent attic followed.
I suddenly wanted something to do—anything to avoid the vivid memories. There was still the daunting task of moving my entire life’s contents upstairs to the attic. Perfect.
First, I retrieved the first aid kit. The alcohol stung, but the cut on my hand wasn’t that bad; the blood had made it seem far worse. I wrapped it tightly, applying some of the ointment Ana Marie had given me, and wondered where my father was, out past curfew.
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