Two months ago, Abigail Johnson saved the life of the boy she believes is her destiny and defeated an army of demons that have pursued her ancestors for centuries. Now, she and Kye should be taking their place as leaders of the new generation of Gifted. But the curse they thought was broken has returned, and every minute together brings them closer to death. When remaining shadow demons attack again, the Dragons send Abby to Mexico. Being apart from Kye is slowly killing her soul, and it turns out she isn’t any safer here than she was back home. The shadows have tracked her, the locals expect her to help with their own demon problems, and the more time she spends away from Kye, the more she doubts the destiny that ties them together. When the demons destroy her safe house, Abby has no choice but to take the fight to them. But the arrival of an old nemesis throws their careful plans into disarray, and Abby and her friends find themselves facing new adversaries in a battle that turns fatal. This time, not everyone will make it out alive.
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Nichole Giles, the author of DESCENDANT, BIRTHRIGHT, and WATER SO DEEP, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She is a huge fan of all things paranormal and magical. Her dreams include owning a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming the pet dragon she adopted at a recent local ComiCon. His name is Zane. She also loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.
Q and A with Author
When did you know you wanted to write books?
When my youngest son started preschool, I happened upon a writing class that sounded interesting. I'd always been a reader, but this interested me very much, and I decided to give it a try. It snowballed from there, and I haven't looked back sense. That was about 11 years ago.
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My cell phone buzzes as I scramble out of bed and bolt toward the bathroom to pay homage to the porcelain throne. Pain clenches my insides, leaving me moaning. I could swear I spend more time doubled over, wishing to throw up, than I spend upright—or even lying flat. And there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring.
Except more of the same symptoms. Val promises me there will be lots more of this.
The phone buzzes again, Kye’s ringtone growing progressively louder until it stops altogether. He’ll call back, so I stay put, afraid that if I stand too fast, I’ll pass out again. My days have become an endless cycle of horrendous pain, passing out, and attempting to finish high school before I die.
Some days, dying doesn’t sound like the worst option. But I would like to graduate first. Feel like I accomplished something this time around.
When my phone buzzes a third time in as many minutes, I have to answer and save Kye a trip. I need to see him like I need to breathe, but I have to force some fluids into my system first—despite the potential pain it will cause. I get up slowly, rinse my dry mouth and splash water on my face, determined to make it back before Kye calls again.
The wall is my anchor as I stumble to my room and collapse in a heap on the bed. Healing crystals dangle from each post, and pieces of other natural stones mingle among the potted herbs lining my room. Landon even drilled wires into the ceiling so Mom could hang Gram’s most powerful gems. But none of it is enough.
I pull the comforter over me, shivering. Winter has passed and we’re experiencing the balmiest spring in recent Jackson history, but I’m always cold. And in pain. And exhausted. Thoughts of giving up hover in the back of my mind until the phone rings again. This time, I pick it up, managing a weak smile when Kye’s voice tickles my ear. “Please tell me something has changed,” he pleads, a desperate edge to his voice. “That you were downstairs noshing on disgusting potato chips rather than … you know.”
“Sour cream and onion,” I manage, shoving aside thoughts of any and all food and the consequential pain eating brings.
“Tell me you’re getting better,” he continues, his voice softening. “Make me believe this is something that will pass, something we can overcome. Convince me we’re not dying.”
“I was actually in the greenhouse, gardening.” He knows better, but it’s nice to pretend. “My herbs are thriving, and I’m going to plant tomatoes in a few weeks. You wouldn’t believe what Murtagh’s done with the flower beds. He’s a botanical genius.”
“Of course he is,” Kye says. “So those delicious carrots in the soup your mother sent over yesterday came from the garden, right?”
“Yes. All the vegetables and herbs were home grown. No one does vegetable noodle soup like Marian.” I lean against the wall of pillows, tucking the comforter up to my chin.
“I agree,” he says. “Now tell me you ate some of that soup. Convince me there’s no way you’re going to the hospital for an IV this week.”
Stifling a yawn, I stare out the window at the sun-lit mountains. “I finished the whole pot. Marian was angry because I didn’t leave any for her and Gabe.”
“That’s my girl,” Kye says, sounding satisfied, if unconvinced. I haven’t been able to eat more than a few bites of anything for over a week, but the rest is true. My mom did make soup, and Murtagh really has been hard at work caring for my plants.
“About school tomorrow …” Kye starts.
“I know we’re going to pay for it. Believe me, I’m so weak I can barely stand, and it’s been three days since you kissed me in that alcove. But I can’t breathe. Do you understand? Missing you is more painful than seeing you, so please don’t cancel on me. Please.”
“Relax, babe. I’ll be there. Just making sure you’ve got Gabe covered.”
Gabe = part Dragon, part bodyguard, part babysitter, and total tattletale. He’s been assigned to guard me. All the freaking time. But he does genuinely worry, which is something I use to my advantage—frequently. “I’m going to develop a sudden, inexplicable need for a hamburger between sixth and seventh periods. A craving he couldn’t possibly deny.”
“I know. Especially since it’s probably going straight in the garbage can so I don’t have to smell it.”
“Are you sure he’ll go, rather than sending someone else?”
“I’ll convince him that I don’t know how long my craving will last, and I need it right away. It’ll only buy us fifteen minutes or so, but …”
Kye finishes my thought for me. “It’s fifteen minutes more than we’re supposed to have together.”
“I’ll take whatever I can get,” I tell him.
His answering sigh is shaky. “I feel like there’s an enormous hole in my chest when we’re apart like this.”
“Me too,” I answer, reminding myself I should be glad for the small fragments of time we’ve learned how to steal. Eventually, there will be no more secret meetings behind the curtains in the auditorium, or blissful seconds in the janitor’s closet during lunch. Eventually, someone will see Kye sneaking into my room to hold me in the middle of the night after a particularly hard week, and they’ll send one of us away. At some point, parting will become permanent for us, and we’ll have to learn how to accept it. Somehow. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that point is coming very, very soon.
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