#1 New York Times bestseller
A USA Today bestseller
One of NPR.com's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels
More than 3 million series copies in print!
There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.
"Sexy and fascinating and scary . . . I loved loved loved it!"--New York Times bestselling author P.C. Cast
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Luce barged into the fluorescent-lit lobby of the Sword & Cross School ten minutes later than she should have. A barrel-chested attendant with ruddy cheeks and a clipboard clamped under an iron bicep was already giving orders--which meant Luce was alreadybehind. "So remember, it's meds, beds, and reds," the attendant barked at a cluster of three other students all standing with their backs to Luce. "Remember the basics and no one gets hurt." Luce hurried to slip in behind the group. She was still trying to figure out whether she'd filled out the giant stack of paperwork correctly, whether this shaven-headed guide standing before them was a man or a woman, whether there was anyone to help herwith this enormous duffel bag, whether her parents were going to get rid of her beloved Plymouth Fury the minute they arrived home from dropping her off here. They'd been threatening to sell the car all summer, and now they had a reason even Luce couldn't arguewith: No one was allowed to have a car at Luce's new school. Her new reform school, to be precise. She was still getting used to the term. "Could you, uh, could you repeat that?" she asked the attendant. "What was it, meds--?" "Well, look what the storm blew in," the attendant said loudly, then continued, enunciating slowly: "Meds. If you're one of the medicated students, this is where you go to keep yourself doped up, sane, breathing, whatever." Woman, Luce decided, studyingthe attendant. No man would be catty enough to say all that in such a saccharine tone of voice. "Got it." Luce felt her stomach heave. "Meds." She'd been off meds for years now. After the accident this past summer, Dr. Sanford, her specialist in Hopkinton--and the reason her parents had sent her to boarding school all the way in New Hampshire--had wanted to consider medicating her again. Thoughshe'd finally convinced him of her quasi-stability, it had taken an extra month of analysis on her part just to stay off those awful antipsychotics. Which was why she was enrolling in her senior year at Sword & Cross a full month after the academic year had begun. Being a new student was bad enough, and Luce had been really nervous about having to jump into classes where everyone else was already settled.But from the looks of this tour, she wasn't the only new kid arriving today. She sneaked a peek at the three other students standing in a half circle around her. At her last school, Dover Prep, the campus tour on the first day was where she'd met her best friend, Callie. On a campus where all the other students had practicallybeen weaned together, it would have been enough that Luce and Callie were the only non-legacy kids. But it didn't take long for the two girls to realize they also had the exact same obsession with the exact same old movies--especially where Albert Finney wasconcerned. After their discovery freshman year while watching Two for the Road that neither one of them could make a bag of popcorn without setting off the fire alarm, Callie and Luce hadn't left each other's sides. Until . . . until they'd had to. At Luce's sides today were two boys and a girl. The girl seemed easy enough to figure out, blond and Neutrogena-commercial pretty, with pastel pink manicured nails that matched her plastic binder. "I'm Gabbe," she drawled, flashing Luce a big smile that disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced, before Luce could even offer her own name. The girl's waning interest reminded her more of a southern version of the girls at Dover than someone she'd expectat Sword & Cross. Luce couldn't decide whether this was comforting or not, any more than she could imagine what a girl who looked like this would be doing at reform school. To Luce's right was a guy with short brown hair, brown eyes, and a smattering of freckles across his nose. But the way he wouldn't even meet her eyes, just kept picking at a hangnail on his thumb, gave Luce the impression that, like her, he was probablystill stunned and embarrassed to find himself here. The guy to her left, on the other hand, fit Luce's image of this place a little bit too perfectly. He was tall and thin, with a DJ bag slung over his shoulder, shaggy black hair, and large, deep-set green eyes. His lips were full and a natural rose colormost girls would kill for. At the back of his neck, a black tattoo in the shape of a sunburst seemed almost to glow on his light skin, rising up from the edge of his black T-shirt. Unlike the other two, when this guy turned to meet her gaze, he held it and didn't let go. His mouth was set in a straight line, but his eyes were warm and alive. He gazed at her, standing as still as a sculpture, which made Luce feel rooted to her spot,too. She sucked in her breath. Those eyes were intense, and alluring, and, well, a little bit disarming. With some loud throat-clearing noises, the attendant interrupted the boy's trancelike stare. Luce blushed and pretended to be very busy scratching her head. "Those of you who've learned the ropes are free to go after you dump your hazards." The attendant gestured at a large cardboard box under a sign that said in big black letters PROHIBITED MATERIALS. "And when I say free, Todd"--she clamped a hand down onthe freckled kid's shoulder, making him jump--"I mean gymnasium-bound to meet your preassigned student guides. You"--she pointed at Luce--"dump your hazards and stay with me." The four of them shuffled toward the box and Luce watched, baffled, as the other students began to empty their pockets. The girl pulled out a three-inch pink Swiss Army knife. The green-eyed guy reluctantly dumped a can of spray paint and a box cutter.Even the hapless Todd let loose several books of matches and a small container of lighter fluid. Luce felt almost stupid that she wasn't concealing a hazard of her own--but when she saw the other kids reach into their pockets and chuck their cell phones intothe box, she gulped. Leaning forward to read the PROHIBITED MATERIALS sign a little more closely, she saw that cell phones, pagers, and all two-way radio devices were strictly forbidden. It was bad enough that she couldn't have her car! Luce clamped a sweaty hand around thecell phone in her pocket, her only connection to the outside world. When the attendant saw the look on her face, Luce received a few quick slaps on the cheek. "Don't swoon on me, kid, they don't pay me enough to resuscitate. Besides, you get one phone callonce a week in the main lobby." One phone call . . . once a week? But-- She looked down at her phone one last time and saw that she'd received two new text messages. It didn't seem possible that these would be her two last text messages. The first one was from Callie. Call immediately! Will be waiting by the phone all nite so be ready to dish. And remember the mantra I assigned you. You'll survive! BTW, for what it's worth, I think everyone's totally forgotten about . . . In typical Callie fashion, she'd gone on so long that Luce's crap cell phone cut the message off four lines in. In a way, Luce was almost relieved. She didn't want to read about how everyone from her old school had already forgotten what had happened toher, what she'd done to land herself in this place.