Endless Knight (Arcana Chronicles Series #2)by Kresley Cole
Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens/i>/i>
In this seductive follow-up to Poison Princess, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole takes us deeper into the dark world of the Arcana Chronicles.
Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens who’ve been given powers following the apocalypse, and it’s kill or be killed. When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history. One that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. Evie is drawn to Death, but in love with Jack. She is determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, and in the process, struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world, or destroy it.
“An electrifying mix of page-turning, post-apocalyptic adventure and sizzling romance. The Arcana Chronicles will blow you away!”
“The prose crackles with energy and interest, the content is on target in terms of current demand, and this could be the next Twilight.”
“My brain is near exploding with how crazy good this story was… An exceptionally well written plot that will have you turning pages and sticking up a ‘do not disturb’ sign. You won’t want to be interrupted. Especially when Jackson has his smexi Cajun mojo in full swing.”
“Holy Mother of YA Goodness…did Kresley Cole write a book! I’m still getting the chills thinking about this ‘Poison Princess!’… Jack Deveaux, [is] a swoon-worthy character if ever there was one.”
“Kresley Cole knows how to capture an audience because I was gone from page one.”
“An electrifying mix of page-turning, post-apocalyptic adventure and sizzling romance. The Arcana Chronicles will blow you away!”
Read an Excerpt
DAY 246 A.F.
FOOTHILLS OF THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS
This is what I truly am. . . .
Jackson stumbled back from me, making the sign of the cross. Just as I once predicted.
With that one gesture, he has broken my heart utterly.
—And yet I could not be prouder, Empress— seductive Death whispered in my mind.
I heard him so clearly; he must be close. I had nothing left to lose, no reason to live in fear of him. Watch your six, Reaper, I’m on the hunt.
A rasping chuckle. —Your Death awaits.—
I started laughing, and I couldn’t stop.
Jackson paled even more. I hoped he would desert me now and take the other three with him, out of my reach.
Because otherwise, the Empress might just kill them all—
Moisture tracked down my face. A tear?
As Jackson and I stared at each other, drops began to fall between us.
My laughter died when I saw him clutching my hair ribbon so tightly that his battered knuckles were white—as if by holding on to it, he could hold on to the sweet girl he thought he’d known.
She was gone, replaced by the Empress, still tensed to fight, standing in a puddle of the Alchemist’s remains. As my reddened hair streamed over my cheeks, I felt my face twisting into an expression I’d never made before. One of menace.
I was half-surprised Jackson hadn’t drawn on me, but his deadly crossbow was still slung over his shoulder.
Along with the ominous drizzle, fog began rolling into this ghost town, obscuring everything, but I spied movement out of the corner of my eye. I dragged my gaze away from Jackson to the rest of our ragtag group, three other Arcana like myself.
Selena, Matthew, and Finn.
It was Selena I focused on. She’d removed her bow from her back and was now slipping an arrow from her thigh quiver.
I raised my brows with surprise. I supposed the Archer had finally gotten tired of waiting to kill us.
When she nocked that arrow, the whirling thorn tornado above me tightened. The little vine by my face straightened in her direction, a viper poised to strike.
“So that’s how it’s going to be, Archer?” My voice was raw from screaming in pain. I sounded like a movie villainess. I felt like one too. There’s a heat in battle—just as Matthew had told me. “Do we do this now?” Exhaustion was setting in as my body regenerated. Though the Alchemist’s acid grenades had eaten away part of my clothes—and skin—I still had some fight left in me.
But for how long?
“Whoa, ladies, what’s going down here?” Finn asked in his SoCal surfer accent. “Selena, why in the hell are you drawing on Evie?”
Matthew murmured, “The Moon rises. The Moon sets.”
Selena ignored both boys. “I don’t want to hurt you, Evie,” she said, even as she aimed at me. Her flawless skin glowed, tinged with red like a hunter’s moon. Her long hair streamed around her face, silvery blond, the color of moonlight. “But I will protect myself until you rein this back in.”
“I’ve remembered what we’re meant to do, Selena.” Kill each other. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t end you right now.” I waved to the two huge oaks I’d revived earlier. Behind her, the ground rumbled as their roots snaked closer, readying to drag her into the earth.
My soldiers awaiting my order. It would be a horrific way to go.
“You need me,” she said. “You and I—along with some other cards—will ally to kill Death. He’s too strong for any one of us to take out alone. We work together until we defeat him. Then all bets are off.”
“And if I say no?”
She drew back on her bowstring.
The glyphs winding along my skin burned brighter with aggression. “Shoot me, Selena. I want you to. I’ll just regenerate, and I’ll bury you.” Big talk, considering I was weakening by the second. My soldiers as well.
Selena chanced a glance over her shoulder. “We don’t have time for this right now! Bagmen are coming, more than I’ve ever seen together.” No night after the apocalypse was complete without those bloodthirsty zombies. “But J.D.”—she jerked her chin at Jackson—“and I only have a few arrows between us. We had to steal a jeep from that militia to get here. Let’s just say they didn’t give it up easily.”
I could hear the Bagmen’s bloodcurdling wails somewhere out in the night. Like counting seconds between a lightning strike and thunder, I figured they were some distance away.
But it also sounded like tons of them.
“On top of that, other cards have been on our trail for a day,” Selena continued. “By now they know you offed an Arcana—the Alchemist’s death will draw them here. Soon.”
Jackson gazed back and forth between me and Selena. Fifteen minutes ago, he’d thought we were two somewhat normal girls—or as normal as we could be A.F., after the Flash.
Now we were talking about killing each other, killing a card named Death. While a thorn tornado swirled above us. Not to mention that Jackson had seen the Alchemist’s remains, and knew I’d ripped a teenager to pieces.
Selena eased up a fraction on her bowstring. “We need to call a truce for the night and get as far away as possible.”
“A truce—there we go, good idea!” Finn said. “Let’s get on the road and talk this out. Evie, tell me you have my truck.”
“Out of gas.”
“Shit. Ours, too. Looks like we’re on foot.”
No reaction from Jackson. He looked both stunned and whipped with fatigue. Eyes bloodshot. Stubble covering his rugged jaw.
The heat of battle was ebbing; I no longer had to stifle the overwhelming urge to annihilate the other Arcana. Maybe it had flared hotter because I’d denied my Empress nature for so long.
Selena would be an idiot to take me out while Death lived. Was an alliance possible? I needed time to think about everything, to consider my options. “Truce,” I agreed. “For tonight.”
She popped her arrow off the string, sliding it into her quiver with one fluid movement. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Such a show-off.
Without that threat, I began reining in my powers. As my claws morphed into regular pink nails, I directed my tornado of thorns to drop to the street. The barbs plummeted like a swarm of bees dying in unison. On my left forearm, a skin glyph of three thorns shimmered from gold to green before dimming.
I pressed a farewell kiss to the caressing vine. When its length seeped into the skin of my right arm as if submerging underwater, a winding vine glyph glowed, then faded. My red, leaf-strewn hair lightened back to blond. I knew my eyes were changing from green to my normal blue.
Jackson, ever watchful, studied my movements, my reactions. Warily, as he might a wild animal. I didn’t blame him. I would be losing my mind to see this stuff for the first time.
And actually, I had lost my mind when I’d first seen these things through Matthew’s visions.
Tonight Jackson had learned the world wasn’t at all what he’d thought it was. Right now, he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here.
But if he feared me—or us—then why hadn’t he left?
I was about to ask him when a wave of dizziness and chills hit me, regeneration sapping the last of my strength. The drops of rain were sparse but enough to dampen my hair and uncovered skin. As I limped to go find my jacket, I wondered if I would have time to harvest the life out of the oaks.
I could sink my claws into their bark and suck them dry, like mainlining energy. But it took time. One bad thing about using trees as weapons? After the Flash, I had to load them with my own life force, my blood.
Another bad thing? You couldn’t take them with you.
The others followed me inside, skirting the puddle of remains. Not really “inside,” I thought, gazing at the surreal scene.
Though the house was split in two, its exterior walls and roof collapsed, parts of the parlor were untouched. Doilies clung to tables. The fire lingered in the standing hearth.
This house was like me. We’d started out the day one way, and now we were both damaged beyond repair. But a part of me remains the same. I hope.
Jackson’s gaze flickered over the dribbled burn marks on the floor. Acid had eaten away areas in the same scatter-patter array that marked my blistered legs. The wood was pocked around two perfect footprints, like twin islands.
When he looked at my healing skin, I knew he was putting together what had happened to me here. Surely he’d understand why I’d had to do what I did.
My eyes fell on Arthur’s recorder, still sitting atop an end table, now dotted with raindrops. A tape of my life’s story lay within. It’d clicked off just before he’d threatened to carve up my face with a scalpel. . . .
Matthew crossed to me, grinning down at me from his towering height, big brown eyes so trusting. “I missed Evie. The Empress is my friend.”
The flare of aggression I’d felt while in full Empress mode had faded almost to nothing. Had I really believed that I might harm the others? I was ashamed of my thoughts.
Of course I’d never hurt Matthew. Which meant I’d never play this game.
He raised his ruddy face to the sky, catching drizzle. We’d gone eight months without rain; Matthew had predicted all bad things would come with it.
One threat at a time. “We need to find shelter, sweetheart. Preferably one with a standing roof and no body parts scattered around.” Wincing at the pain in my legs, I asked, “Do I have enough time to drain energy from the oaks?”
Just as Matthew answered, “No,” Finn yelled, “Bagmen!”
Meet the Author
Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Game Makers series, and five award-winning historical romances. A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings. You can learn more about her and her work at KresleyCole.com or Facebook.com/KresleyCole. Sign up for Kresley’s email newsletter to receive the latest book release updates, as well as info about contests and giveaways (KresleyCole.com/Newsletter).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Oh My Empress!! Oh Jack! Oh Death!! <3 This book is wild, action packed, a bit exotic and filled with a hot and steamy love triangle. *sigh* That's everything a girl could dream of in a book. Endless Knight starts off exactly where Poison Princess left off. Evie has just discovered her full power potential and defeated the arcana card The Hermit, who was a nasty, utterly evil and foul man who tortured and experimented on young women. Jack, the rugged and wildly sexy Cajun, along with the rest of the crew, Matthew "Matto" the Fool, Finn the Magician and Selena the Moon have just located Evie and are amazed and stunned by the sight they come upon, Evie in full out Empress mode. All too soon, they set off to continue their arduous journey in search of Evie's grandmother. Along the way they will endure many hardships including hordes of bagmen, armies of cannibals, and several other powerful Arcana cards, including Death himself. Evie will discover that her and Death have quite the history! And what of her and Jack? Their relationship is filled with many highs and lows, but when Evie finds out that Jacks been keeping devastating secrets from her will she be able to forgive him? ;) I am so in love with this book and this series. It is beautiful and complicated and has just the right balance of page turning action and unbelievably seductive romance. By the time I finished reading Poison Princess I was head over heels for sexy Cajun Jack but upon reading Endless Knight I find myself torn between Jack and Death. Death, you are the ultimate bad boy and your history makes it impossible not to sympathize with your loneliness and troubled heart. He would be so easy to love! All the characters are extremely well developed and you feel for each and every single one of them. The imagery is quite stunning and Kresley Cole's words make it so easy to slip into this Apocalyptic decrepit wasteland and takes you beyond the imaginable! I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment, but until then I will definitely be enjoying rereads of Poison Princess and Endless Knight and keep submerging myself into this wicked love triangle. I am a long time fan and follower of Kresley Cole, and I especially love the Immortals After Dark series. Cole knows exactly how to deliver paranormal romance and keep you addicted! :D
Endless Knight surpassed my expectations. Kresley is an INCREDIBLE author and have to say my absolute favorite!!! I started reading her immortal after dark series and couldn't wait for the arcana chronicles. I give Endless a 5 star for all its depth. Reading the other reviews I could not agree more about Deaths sex appeal but I'm a sucker for that Cajun ;) YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. Not a page goes by without being captivated in this second installment for the Arcana Chronicles. Kresley PLEASE write book 3 quickly I need to find out what happens to my new fictional friends!!!!!!!!!! <3.x.<3.x.<3.x.<3.x.<3
I couldn' put this book down and stayed up all night to finish! Team Death!
First of all, Kresley Cole is a brilliant author and this book series is outstanding. Endless Knight starts off where Poison Princess ended. I have fallen in love with these characters, especially Jack.... and to my suprise even Death. So many suprises and now there are even more layers to the story. Only a few issues - The books are way too small & the wait in between the books is sooooo long I want to pull my hair out. The book cover on Poison Princess is exactly how I pictured Evie & JD BUT The cover to Endless Knight was off or something -- maybe its just me or is that a different Evie? -- ??? Anyone else think this series should definetly be a movie? Summing this up... You need to read these books ASAP you actually should already be in the car driving to get the book cause your Death awaits...
I finished the book in one day because i just couldn't put it down. The book is amazing. I loved the surprises in this book. Definitely some twists in the plot. My only complaint is that I have to wait for book #3 to see what happens next.
I read a ton of series, that being said this one is in my top 3. This story line can go so many different ways, its an agonizing wait. KC is one of the best! Team death all the way....
SOOO GOOD AND HAWT >3< I really hope Kresley chooses ARIC (death) I would be so heart broken if Evie decides to go to jack and stay with him. Jack had done her wrong and I always felt that something was off between evie and jack although I feel so excited when evie is with Death (Aric) Please please please have evie end with aric(death) they would be the best match. She seems happy whenever. Dang this book is so good can't wait for the 3rd book.
So you could tell there was going to be a "love triangle." I thought there was no way Death could win any points in my book, Jack is just such a great male character. I really like him. But, I was wrong. I now really really like the Death character too. Ahhh. A true love triangle that is going to be sweet torture to read. And that is only one aspect of this great series! This storyline has many layers. many fresh and interesting characters. I am a huge Kresley Cole fan! You do not have to be a "young adult" to enjoy this series. I love it. I can't wait for the next book. I hope there are many more to come.
OMG!!! i couldnt stop turning that page! i absolutely loved it!!! Kresley Cole you did it again! How you can make Death look so tempting! Oh Evie is going to have a lot of decision making to due between the roguish and spicy Cajun (Jack) or the seductive and powerful Death. The ending completely blew my mind! I loved the way Cole developed her characters, I like Evie more in this book then in the first because her fierceness shows more and she is becoming more of a leader. The twist and turns of this story just leave me wanting for more! I can't wait until the next book comes out!
Cole weaved a wonderful, original story (which it seems is near impossible anymore). The character development was awesome. The first book was amazing, and somehow she made this one even better. Usually sequals are weighed down with a love triangle. Not this one, I did't know weather to love or hate death, love or loathe Jack. I don't know how I'll sleep till the third book is released.
This is one of those rare times where the 2nd. installment is better then the 1st. It was so full of surprises, I read this in 2 sittings. I can't wait to read the next one, the wait is really going to be excruciating! I will tell you that your feelings for some of the players will change drastically. Once more of the past is revealed you will find yourself seeing things in a new light. Kresley Cole is a genius.Whatever she writes is great, but she out did herself this time!
Pretty much read it straight through. Cole has outdone herself again. Nail biting ending that will make you scream for another page. Its going to be a long year waiting for the next book...
Better than poison princess. I'm loving Evie with Death. This series is a must read. I have an extreme guess........ hear me out i think that Death and Jack are the same person. Just like Evie has two completely diff human forms so could Death A.k.a Jack. I think the fool helps him hide his true self. Since the fool owes him a favor. Death has been playing at being "jack" to get close to Evie before the games start. In their past lives Evie was cruel to him. I think he was trying to get the advantage on her before the next games. He kept playing his role of "protector" when he noticed how different and innocent she is this game. And the fool helped him with this. Notice when reading that jack never touches anyone but Evie and her mother......and her mother died. I think I could be right!
THIS MIGHT BE MY FAVORITE BOOK EVER!
This book did not disappoint. I can't get over the ending!! This has the book I've been dying to read and I told myself I wouln't tear through this one like I did PP and make it last longer but kImade it one night; I am seriously considering re-reading them both right now. Hands down one of my all time favorite series and I can count those on one hand.
Didn't like this as much as the first, drug on too slowly at times...a lot of times. The sex was better though and can't wait for book 3. Brynn S
Cant wait for the next love Evie and Jackson
This book was pretty epic! I couldn't stop reading it! There was a lot of suspense and romance (and it was steamy!) You must read this series! These are great for people who like the post apocalyptic books! READ IT!
I'm a HUGE fan of Cole's I.A.D. series and decided to give her teen series a try. Soooo glad!!! Addictive, love the Cajun aspect and the total twist on characters. My heart is torn between Jackson and "Death"!
Amazingly written - as per a Kresley book - and well worth the journey. The tension was high, and you will be constantly reading faster and gripping the edge of your nook or hard copy! We need another Poison Princess ASAP Kresley.
Wow. This book really blew me away. The firsy book was great a real build up but this one was just...wow. I am not a YA fan or an end of the world fan yet I could not put this book down. You must read the first in the series to get the full affect.
this book was way better than the second one.. i liked the first book but it had nothing on this one. the cliffhanger is just wow and i was totally rooting for jack and evie but i think im leaning towards death.. anyway you look at it this book is definitely a keeper cant wait for the next i hate i read too fast..
Amazing!!!!! I didn't think it was possible for me to love the second book as much as I loved the first, but I definitely loved this book!! I am still in shock from the cliff hanger at the end. I need to read the next one NOW!! I was always a fan of Jack and Evie however, with Death in this new book I just can't decide who I like more!!
And what an adventure it is. If you haven't read [[ASIN:B007EDYRTQ Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles)]] let me give you a little back story - the world has been turned into a post-apocalyptic battlefield after "The Flash". No vegetation - the ground is ash with few survivors. A game has started - 22 kids with supernatural powers are battling to survive and there can be only one winner. They are not only fighting each other, there is real evil out there - bagmen (zombies), cannibals and cutthroat bands of militia. At the end of Poison Princess when we left Evie and her gang of misfit toys which includes her hot Cajun Jackson, she had gone all Evil Empress. Sure Evie killed the Alchemist, but he was a really bad guy. Evie's getting some respect. Navigating this post-apocalyptic world is making this sixteen about to be seventeen-year old grow up fast. But Jackson is being so cold to her she's afraid this new and improved Evie is making him want out. But she's got other things to worry about - cannibals, bagmen and Death, oh my. But once Jackson decides Evie is his, she's his. And just when Evie and Jackson catch a break, bam! they're fighting for their lives. We meet some really scary new Arcana who make the ones in the first book seem tame. We get a lot more of Death, whose name we find out is Aric, in Endless Knight. Evie knows there is a connection between her and Death. How can she be attracted to someone who apparently wants to kill her? It's getting more complicated, now Evie has two hot guys wanting her. I'm both afraid and anxious for the next book. I'm loving every minute of this journey Evie and the gang are on. Kresley Cole takes us on quite a wild ride. I love her writing style - action, suspense and humor all in the mix as well as drawing in the reader from page one. She's so good at that as we've seen in her other series, Immortals After Dark.
Well, Kresley Cole certainly knows how to keep her characters on their feet. After an exciting introduction to the world of The Arcana in Poison Princess, she doesn't miss a beat when Endless Knight starts. Jack has been blindsided by Evie's secret and her abilities, and he's not entirely sure what to do. Evie is learning more about this deadly game and her abilities as she draws allies to her side. But when Death catches up to them, he isn't anything like she expected. Evie and Death, they have a history, a long and deadly one that she is going to have to face head first if she's going to escape. Death knows all her secrets and all her tricks, and he's prepared. What he isn't prepared for is Evie. Evie isn't like the past Empresses, and he finds himself falling for her in a whole new way. And Evie isn't immune to his charm. With several of the Arcana already fallen, she finds herself in the middle of a potential love triangle. Now, I'm not always a fan of love triangles, but this one was a little different. Her feelings for Death belong to the Empress, while her feelings for Jack belong to Evie. She will have to find a way to separate the two, and she needs to do it quickly. The lives of her friends are on the line. I loved getting to know Death better. His character is one of more fascinating ones so far, and I'm really excited that we may be seeing more of him. There's a ton of growth and development for everyone in Evie's circle that really keeps things moving. And Kresley Cole doesn't skimp on the action. Holy cow does a lot happen. I devoured this book. **I voluntarily read a review copy of this book**