Be careful what you wish for . . . You just might get it. Nick Gautier is tired of his destiny. He doesn't want to be the son of a demon who's fated to end the world. Nor does he want to see another demon or other preternatural creature who wants to kill or enslave him. He just wants to be normal and have normal problems like everyone else.
But normality isn't all it's cracked up to be. When he gets sucked into an alternate reality where his mother has married his mentor and his Atlantean god best friend has become a human geek, he begins to understand that no life is free of pain, and that every person has a specific place in the universe . . . Even the son of a hated demon. Most of all, he sees that his powers aren't the curse he thought they were, and that the world needs a champion, especially one its enemies can't imagine rising up to defend the ones he should destroy.
Old enemies and new friends square off for a major battle that will either restore Nick to his real world, or end him forever in #1 bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon's fifth novel in The Chronicles of Nick series, Illusion.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon is a regular in the #1 spot. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre in which she writes. With more than 40 million copies of her books in print in more than one hundred countries, her current series include The Dark-Hunters, The League, and Chronicles of Nick. Her Chronicles of Nick and Dark-Hunter series are soon to be major motion pictures.
Holter Graham, winner of AudioFile's 2008 Best Voice in Science Fiction & Fantasy for Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron, is a stage, television, and screen actor. He has recorded numerous audiobooks, including much of Sherrilyn Kenyon's bestselling Dark-Hunter series. The winner of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he has also read works by Scott Turow, Dean Koontz, C. J. Box, and Stephen Frey.
Read an Excerpt
By Sherrilyn Kenyon
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Sherrilyn Kenyon
All rights reserved.
"Nick? Boo? Get up. You're going to be late for school."
Groaning in fear of what he might find this time, Nick opened his eyes to see the navy blue curtains his mom had bought him last year when they moved into their condo on Bourbon Street. Relief flooded him.
It was just a nightmare, after all. Thank you, God!
That was his thought until he realized that the window wasn't the same. Instead of being a large single window, it was two windows with a divider between them.
Ah, crap. Not again. Haven't I suffered enough indignities and horrors? Really?
His heart hammering, Nick slowly swept his gaze around a room he didn't recognize.
His stomach tightened to the point he feared he'd be ill.
"Nick?" His mom knocked lightly before she pushed open the door to smile at him. "So you are up, sleepyhead. Hurry now, or else you'll get another tardy."
Even more unsettled than before, Nick gaped at the sight of her in an expensive dark blue business suit with her blond hair cut short to frame her beautiful face. That definitely wasn't her waitress uniform.
Scowling, she moved to stand by the bed and placed her hand to his forehead. "Are you all right? You look pale."
Stunned, he couldn't speak as he stared at a stranger in his mother's body.
"Cherise? It's London calling. They need to speak to you. Said it can't wait."
His eyes widened at the sound of that familiar deep, thick Tennessee Southern drawl. Bubba? What the heck was Bubba doing in his house at seven thirty in the morning? It'd been bad enough when Nick had come home from the prom and found him here. But that he'd attributed to a date.
No, wait. That wasn't right. Someone had told him at the prom that Bubba was his father now. Caleb?
For some reason, he couldn't remember.
And why in the world would someone in London call his mom?
Maybe London's a name?
No. Not possible. This was bad bad. His mom didn't know anyone named London. ...
"I'll be right there, Michael." She squeezed Nick's cheek. "You don't have a fever. Did you stay up too late?"
Honestly? He feared some kind of terminal brain damage. How hard had that demon slammed him on the ground while they fought to get his mom back?
His door opened again to show "Bubba" in a black Armani suit. Nick only knew that designer brand because they were the ones his immortal boss, Kyrian, favored and Nick had had a seizure the first time he'd gone to pick one up and had seen the cost of it.
Who wore that stuff and why?
Huge as ever, Bubba had abandoned his beard for smooth cheeks and wore a short, stylish cut. Yeah, this definitely wasn't the burly redneck who hunted zombies in the bayou with his lunatic best friend. One who was paranoid as all get out, and armed to a level that the ATF had him on their watch list.
As if he hadn't morphed into some creepy businessman, Bubba came in and handed a cordless phone to his mom.
Removing her expensive earring, she cupped her hand over the mouthpiece and whispered to Bubba. "I think our Boo is sick. See what you think." She stepped out of the room to deal with her call.
Bubba knelt his gigantic form by the bed and brushed the hair back from Nick's forehead. "You all right, buddy?" Now there was a loving tone Bubba had never used with him before. That was even more terrifying than having a Charonte demon try to eat him.
Completely dumbfounded by it all, Nick dropped his gaze to the huge football championship ring on Bubba's hand. The diamonds on the front formed a pattern reminiscent of a fleur-de-lis. They were framed by the words "Forty" on one side and "Niners" on the other. The name "Burdette" was on the "Forty" side and "Super Bowl XXIV 55-10" on the "Niners" side. Gasping, he fingered the ring as he remembered Bubba's mama telling him how Bubba could have gone pro after college, but had decided to stay home with his wife and son instead. "This looks so real."
Bubba snorted. "It is real, you know that." He duplicated Nick's scowl. "What's going on with you, Squirt? You have a test you're trying to avoid?"
"No. I ... uh ... yeah, no, I'm fine. Not a morning person."
Laughing, Bubba stood up and pulled the covers off Nick. "Come on. Mom made pancakes for breakfast and they're getting cold." He left the room.
Still disoriented and confused, Nick rolled out of bed. This was so screwed up. Raking his hand through his hair, he gaped at the photo on his desk of a sweaty Bubba in a 49ers uniform holding him as a toddler, dressed in a matching 49ers jersey with BURDETTE on the back. At least Nick thought it was him. The face and blond hair belonged to the stranger he kept seeing in the mirror. It was a picture from a newspaper where the 49ers had won the Super Bowl, January 28, 1990.
What the heck?
In 1990, Nick would have been six. The "Nick" in the photo couldn't be more than three or four.
"I'm in another coma." At least that made sense to his scrambled mind.
Yeah, he could definitely go with that. Instead of being sent to the Nether Realm, he was trapped here, wherever here was. Caleb or Kody would wake him up at any moment and everything would be back to normal. He just had to make sure he didn't get sucked into a hell realm and eaten by a demon or zombie until they figured this out and performed another rescue mission.
C'mon guys, hurry. He wasn't sure how long his sanity would hold.
Cringing at what he saw in the bathroom mirror, he curled his lip. Gah, it was so strange to see someone else peering back at him. While he'd never been vain, he missed the way he used to look. The dark hair.
And height. He really missed being tall. Short sucked. How did short guys stand it?
Give me growing pains any day over this.
Turning on the shower, he took a moment to replay the last events he remembered through his mind. He'd been in Le Monde au Delà du Voile—the world behind the veil—where his mother had been taken after being kidnapped by demons. He, along with Kody and Caleb, had fought off the huge demonic werewolf Zavid and demons to get her and his father out. His dad had died in the fighting and he'd given Nick all of his Malachai powers. Powers Caleb and Kody had bound up tight until Nick could learn to use them, and to better protect him from the supernatural predators that wanted to kill him and take those powers for themselves.
Nick froze as another fear went through him. His powers were forever malfunctioning. Could the binding potion from last night be the reason for all of this? Had it backfired and changed everything?
Made sense. He'd once turned his friend Madaug into a goat by mistake. Maybe the potion last night had turned Madaug into a douche. ...
And me into a short loser.
As he left the shower, he winced at his reflection. "And I thought I was skinny before. ..."
Dog, he looked awful. His arms were so frail, he was surprised he didn't snap them off reaching for the towel. Not the image he wanted for the rest of his life. Toweling his now-blond hair, he tried not to think about it as he dressed and headed downstairs. The only good thing about this weird life was the lack of tacky Hawaiian shirts in his closet. It appeared his mom had finally let go of her Magnum, P.I. fetish and gone shopping somewhere other than Goodwill.
He paused on the stairs to gape at the photos of him, his mom, and Bubba from Nick's birth to high school. Dang, is there not one incarnation of my life in any alternate universe where my mom didn't take a photo of me naked in the bathtub with a rubber duck? Really? He didn't know what was more shocking, those weird non-doctored photos or the massive size of this humongous house.
For that matter, it took him several minutes just to find the kitchen. This is worse than trying to navigate Kyrian's mansion. At least there, he had Rosa to ask for directions whenever he got lost.
Eyes wide, Nick hesitated in the doorway as he saw Bubba at the table, reading The Wall Street Journal while his mom cleaned up the griddle that was part of their massive gas stove. That thing alone looked like something out of an alien movie.
He'd never seen a more normal morning scene in his life. And that scared the bejeezus out of him.
She glanced over to him and smiled. "There's my favorite Boo. You feeling better, baby?"
Bubba checked his watch. "You better grab it to go. I don't want to have to talk to Mr. Hutchins again about your tardies."
Nick scowled at the unfamiliar name. "Mr. Hutchins?"
"Principal." Bubba folded the paper up and placed it on the table.
Nick was even more confused than before. "When did St. Richard's get another principal? What happened to Mr. Head?" Did zombies eat him, too?
"Who's Mr. Head?" his mom asked.
Nick stopped while he was way behind. At least until he caught sight of the date on the newspaper by Bubba's hand. His heart stopped. No flippin' way. It had to be wrong. "April 22, 2002? Is this a fake paper?"
Bubba frowned at him. "Maybe we should take you to a doctor."
That was all he needed. A visit to a psych ward. "No, I'm fine. Really."
Discreetly, Nick pulled out his license and checked his date of birth. His stomach hit the ground. If that was right, he was still sixteen, but that wasn't the right birth year for him.
Everything here was wrong.
How is this possible? How?
"I better get to school," Nick breathed. "Where's my backpack?"
His mom ruffled his hair. "I think you left it in your car."
Bubba burst out laughing. "You wish. I'm not letting you drive the Jag until you're eighteen, buddy. It's in your Jeep."
Okay, go with it. Don't react.
All is right in my world.
Yeah, right. Nothing about any of this was right or normal. Which, given his royally screwed-up life, said a lot. He wanted to scream until it went back to the way it was supposed to be.
His mom brought the keys to him and held her hand to his forehead again. "Are you sure you're all right?"
Better a lie than a straightjacket. "Fine."
"Michael ... I'm thinking we might need to take him to a doctor."
"Sweetheart, you've got to quit babying him so. He's a man with a job. He says he's fine. He's fine."
Nick arched a brow at that. Could he still be working for Kyrian or Liza in this place? If Kyrian was around, he might be able to help. Surely a two-thousand-year-old immortal warrior who'd sold his soul to a goddess would know something about alternate realities. For that matter, Nick might be able to borrow Kyrian's ring and summon the Greek goddess Artemis himself and get some long overdue answers.
His mother bit her bottom lip as she brushed her hand through Nick's hair. "He's still my baby."
Grateful that hadn't changed, Nick gave her a quick hug before he headed for the front of the house.
Bubba cleared his throat. "Where are you going, son?"
"Why? Your Jeep's in the garage."
They had a garage?
Nick looked up at the ornate crown molding in this expensive house. Of course they had a garage. ...
"Oh. Okay." He headed in the opposite direction.
With a slight hesitation, he opened the door that he assumed was the garage only to find himself in the pantry.
"Um ... grabbing some Pop-Tarts for the road," Nick said, covering his mistake. Still, they both stared at him as if he'd escaped Arkham Asylum. Offering them a fake smile, he grabbed the pastries, crossed himself, and hoped he got the next door correct.
With a pain-filled groan at his rampant stupidity, Nick pretended to use it before he tried again. At least there were only two more doors to go.
Thankfully, third time was the charm. He let out a relieved breath as he stepped down and saw a red Jeep, black SUV, and silver Jaguar in the three-car garage. Man, that was so wrong. That Jag was the same car Acheron had given him when he'd brought Nick's license over to their condo.
I want the life back where I get to drive that without Bubba flipping out on me.
Then again ...
This was a normal life. Really normal, like other people's lives. No one was trying to kill him, or eat him. He didn't have a principal who thought he was the biggest loser on the planet. Half the football team wasn't turning into zombies or werewolves. There was no psycho-demon coach threatening him if he didn't help kill his fellow teammates. Bubba and Mark weren't cattleprod-wielding lunatics.
You know, this has possibilities. It might not be bad to be normal for a while. Weird and poor hadn't worked out that well for him. Rich and well dressed might be another story.
Feeling better about it all, Nick decided he'd stop complaining about everything and just try this life on for a while. It might suit him.
After climbing into his Jeep, he made his way to school, where no one stared at him as if he'd just run over their dog. In fact, it was disturbing how little attention he garnered. No one seemed to care at all that he was here.
I could get used to this.
It took him a second to realize it was Caleb ... Fingerman, not Malphas, who was walking up to him in the hallway.
"Feeling any better?"
He scowled at Caleb's question. "Pardon?"
"I called to check on you, but your dad said you didn't feel well. That you went to bed as soon as you got home, without saying a word to anyone."
Yes, he had. After stumbling through the mansion and finding his room, he'd been hoping it was all a bad dream and that he'd wake up at home.
Bust on that thought.
"Yeah. I think it was just a bug." Nick headed for his locker. As he tried to open it, the larger and snottier Madaug grabbed him and snatched him back.
"What are you doing, buttmunch? You trying to put a love letter in my locker or something?"
Nick shrugged his hold off. "I was going to my locker."
Madaug shoved him across the hall. "Yours is over there, doof. How many paint chips did you eat for breakfast?"
Scowling, Nick met Caleb's concerned gaze.
"Are you sure you're okay?"
Nick returned his backpack to his shoulder. "Can you keep a secret?"
"I think I have amnesia."
Caleb's eyes widened. "From what?"
"Being slammed into lockers by dung-sniffing Neanderthals." Nick passed an evil glare at Madaug as he walked past them. "I can't seem to remember anything. Like, where's my first class?"
"Did you tell your parents?"
Nick shook his head. "You know how my mom is. I don't want to go to the Mayo Clinic for a hangnail. I feel fine. I just can't remember anything."
"That's not fine, Nick. That's a big problem."
Yes, it was. But not for the reasons Caleb was thinking. "Please don't tell anyone, Caleb."
"All right. I'll help, but if it doesn't get better, you really need to have it checked out."
Caleb showed him to his locker and then opened it after Nick couldn't. "The combo is your dad's jersey number, your mom's birth year, and the year your dad's team won the Super Bowl."
He arched a brow at Caleb's dissertation. "How do you know that?"
Caleb shrugged. "We've been best friends since birth. There's nothing about you I don't know."
Yeah, right. He didn't know that Nick didn't belong here, and that in another life Caleb was a badass demigod demonspawn, and Nick was his half-breed demonkyn charge who was wanted by most anything not human-born.
Don't think about it. ...
Grabbing his chem book, Nick stood up, shut his locker, then clicked his heels together three times.
Caleb gave him a strange look. "What are you doing?"
Nick sighed heavily. "Seeing if what worked for Dorothy and witches worked for demonspawn, too."
He scowled. "Dorothy? Demonspawn? What in the name of sanity are you talking about?"
"Nothing." Nick scanned the hall as he tucked his book into his backpack. "So where's Kody?"
"Kennedy. My girlfriend ... sort of." At least she was whenever she wasn't trying to kill or confuse him.
"Did you forget that, too? Casey's your girlfriend."
So it'd seemed at the prom, but given Casey's bipolar affaires de couer, Nick wasn't eager to renew their "friendship." Honestly, he wanted to stay away from her for a while.
Just to be safe.
Excerpted from Illusion by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Copyright © 2014 Sherrilyn Kenyon. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Nick impressed me in this book. He wakes up in another dimension and doesn't even take the time to see what his life is like without demons. He immediately realizes he needs to get back to his body because that's were his world-ending powers are and he can't leave them unattended. That showed real maturity and growth with this character. Next Caleb, he was barely seen in this book and didn't really have much to add to the story till the end, which I hope gets more light in the next book. Now onto the star, Kody. Kody is a character I've always hated. But I always hated people like her that's always keeping secrets and then demanding to be trusted when they've done nothing to earn that trust. Finally getting more light shined onto Kody's past which is Nick's future finally gave a reason as to why she kept so many secrets. Though there were still times that had me complaining about how stupid she is. The comedy was far better then the last book. I was actually invested in the outcome of this book compared to the last book which had become a chore to keep reading. This book still has that "power of love" theme running and it's nice to see that everyone acknowledges that Cherise is probably the most important person to protect due to how she affects Nick's growth. Start from the beginning of the Dark Hunters and come on board. You don't have to read the DH'ers first but they are so great! You would be missing a huge chunk of the evolution of Nick. Illusion, is by far the best CON book yet. We are almost halfway done with CON and that much closer to Nicks DH book! I am in count down mode now to Nicks HEA! I have read everything Sherrilyn Kenyon has ever wrote I love her books she is a good author can't wait for the next book to come out.
It was completely worth the wait.
Since all the others were amazing this one should be great also
OMG. I so love this author and all that she writes, especially anything connected to the Dark-Hunter world. The Chronicles of Nick is her spin-off YA series that follows Nick in an alternate timeline as we follow his story as he tries not to become the most powerful demon in existence and the end of the world. This series is enjoyable on its own and the although it is so much more enjoyable if you also read her adult paranormal series, The Dark Hunters. By reading both you really get an appreciation for the complex universe this author has created. You also will get all the inside jokes and references to the other series. There are 32 books in that complete series, get reading… Don’t worry though if you don’t wish to take the time (but it is worth it) Kenyon still gives you enough information to make sure you don’t get lost along the way. There was so much to love in this story, and it is going to pain me, but I will try to keep this spoiler free. I am just going to have to find someone in real life that has read it all too so I can go all fan girl with them. This is a book not to miss in this series. So much was explained here I could not believe my eyes at times. I tend to be a little slow at times and will not see plot twists coming until I am right on top of them, but this one I figured out! Well Kenyon did practically spoon feed it to us over the first half of the book, but still I got it before it was printed in text! Sorry, proud of myself. Kody is a major character in this story and also Nick’s girlfriend, she was also sent to this timeline to kill him and stop who he is to become. In this book we learn who her parents are, sorry small spoiler(and all you are going to get), we learn so much of her back story I could not believe it! It is all coming together and I am simply amazed at where it is all going…WOW, it is going to be one hell of a ride. From what I have gathered through online rumors and/or author interviews, Nick’s series is going to cumulate with his own Dark Hunter story and I have a feeling it is going to be amazing, as big as Ash and Styxx’s stories. At the end of the last book we were kinda left with a ‘What the Hell?’ feeling, as Kenyon dropped a major cliffhanger twist in the epilogue. This story picks up right where that left off and we quickly learn what is going on. If I remember right I kind of thought this is where she was going. It was quite interesting and a we get to see a different side to some much loved characters, what they could have been life if they had made different choices or had different circumstances influencing their lives. Of course in the end this alternate timeline from the Dark Hunter world was set back to where it should be. There is much more to come as Nick still could be turned towards the dark side. I am still blown away about the Kody character though, it was almost more her book than Nicks, although his character developed a lot here too. I really don’t have any negative points to share about the story, so I guess this is just going to be another love fest review. But, if you haven’t read this series and it looks like something you might enjoy, do start with the adult series and read everything in order. I know it is a lot of books, tell me about it, I’ve read most of them twice now. The series will be so much more enjoyable, and think of all the hours of great reading you will have ahead of you. I have yet to come across an author that compares to Ms. Kenyon in story telling ability, there are many that remind me of her, but she stand out among the others. She can tell one hell of a story and writes a tortured hero like nobody else. Her world is complex and a real battle of good over evil filled with such good lessons for life about love, friendship and honor.
I WISH I WAS NICK BECAUSE I WOULD HAVE POWERS AND KODY IS AWESOME
Can't wait for the next book. At the end we can begin to see nicks malachai personality manifesting. Cant wait for the next book. Maalphas is my favorite character so it will be interesting if the author kills him anf nik turns evil surprising us all or overcomes his destiny
In a word - fantabulicious!!! What a great mind Ms. Kenyon has. This is a great young adult series, although I must admit that I prefer the Dark Hunter series for adults. That is how I started this series actually. I loved Nick's character in that series, and after something significant happens in that series (not going to plot spoil for this series as I don't know how or if it will work it's way into this story line) I was excited to see if Ms. Kenyon could change events or shed some light on that story line with this spin-off series. I wasn't the most excited that the "hot" aspect that I love Ms. Kenyon for would be more G-rated, but I really wanted to see where she could go with Nick's story. As you can see, we are on book five, and I am still reading and can't wait for the next! I am hooked! The mind of this woman and how she can weave a story -- LOVE IT!!!!! Even without the hotness that oozes out of the Dark Hunters book, her books always get the message across. Love can fix even the brokest of people and family are those you love and cherise regardless of "bloodline". Love yourself. Even through all of that gushiness, this would be a GREAT read for the YA boy. Lots of great battles, great girlfriends, and dealing with every day teenage angst. Nick's wonderful sarcasm shines through as usual and at times had me laughing out loud. If you have not started this series yet, please don't start with this one. You will probably be completely lost and really not appreciate how good this series is. To Ms. Kenyon: Bravo! Another one out of the park! Do you ever take time to sleep? I have devoured ALL of your books. Cannot Wait to see where that wonderfully imaginative mind of yours takes me next! Thank you for another great read! -- SPeeD
Would have to rate this a 5 as it kept me turning the pages. I have loved Nick all along and was so unhappy at what he was to become. . He came along way in this book to recognize what he is and what his powers are, but I am so ready for him to start getting some breaks and I am so praying him and Kody have a HEA. It was a real shock to find out what her ancestry is. It was so funny to see the characters in the alternate universe be so different from the ones we know ad love. His father surprised me a lot by the way he was with Nick. Great book waiting for the next one.
I read it one day because I couldn't put it down. I hope there will more soon
I thought this story was great can't wait for the next book.
One of the best series I've read. Love the tie in the the adult series
In my review of the last book, I pretty much said there was no chance of this book being good. I was wrong. Either because my standards were already on the floor and because this book is just that good, I don't know. But let's start with Nick. Nick impressed me in this book. He wakes up in another dimension and doesn't even take the time to see what his life is like without demons. He immediately realizes he needs to get back to his body because that's were his world-ending powers are and he can't leave them unattended. That showed real maturity and growth with this character. Next Caleb, he was barely seen in this book and didn't really have much to add to the story till the end, which I hope gets more light in the next book. Now onto the star, Kody. Kody is a character I've always hated. But I always hated people like her that's always keeping secrets and then demanding to be trusted when they've done nothing to earn that trust. Finally getting more light shined onto Kody's past which is Nick's future finally gave a reason as to why she kept so many secrets. Though there were still times that had me complaining about how stupid she is. The comedy was far better then the last book. I was actually invested in the outcome of this book compared to the last book which had become a chore to keep reading. This book still has that "power of love" theme running and it's nice to see that everyone acknowledges that Cherise is probably the most important person to protect due to how she affects Nick's growth. The villians of this book seemed like a pair of twits that just needed to be smacked across the back of the head and reminded how the Scales of Good And Evil works but I could understand their logic which made them bearable. All and all, if you are a fan of this series (not counting the last one), you'll definitely enjoy this book.
Ive read all the chronicles of nick books and love the series. I enjoy seeing the characters develop especially nick coming to grips with his destiny and powers that he could end the world. Also what is HEA?
Very good book i recommend it, but read books 1-4 first the this one.