Kiss of Death

Kiss of Death

by Lauren Henderson


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Scarlett thought Dan McAndrew's murder was long behind her, but when she and her classmates arrive in Edinburgh for a weeklong field trip, she's startled to be joined by her old St. Tabby's cohorts—and enemies—who are visiting the area on a field trip as well. Even more startling, Callum, Dan's surviving twin, is in the area—and his cold treatment leaves Scarlett wondering what's changed, especially when a series of attacks makes her believe that someone's out to get her for her past mistakes. Would Callum ever hurt her, though? And what's Scarlett to make of her conflicting feelings for Callum, now that Jase isn't around? Even more upsetting, why is her most trusted confidante, Taylor, acting distant and dismissive?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385737807
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 14 Years

About the Author

LAUREN HENDERSON is the author of several acclaimed "tart noir" mystery novels for adults, as well as the witty romance handbook Jane Austen's Guide to Dating, which has been optioned for film development by producer Kiwi Smith. She was born and raised in London, where she lives with her husband. Visit her online at or

Read an Excerpt


Blast from the Past

This is absolutely the worst thing that's ever happened to me.

In the dark, I look sideways at Taylor, who's staring straight ahead, her body stiff with horror. I can tell that she feels the same as I do. She and I have been through so much together; you'd think we'd be immune to anything life can throw at us. We were warned, I suppose. But nothing could have prepared us for this level of atrocity.

I pull out my silenced phone and glance down at it. Oh God. I turn the face to Taylor, nudging her, so that she can see it too. In the glow from the phone, her lips are stretched back over her teeth in a grimace, her eyes narrowed in almost physical pain. She looks like a gargoyle. The bluish light makes her seem even more eerie.

"I can't bear it!" she whispers.

"We have to," I say grimly, looking from side to side just to confirm what I already know: there's no escape.

The clock on my phone is telling me there are fifteen more minutes of this. Fifteen more minutes of sheer hell.

I close my eyes to block out the sight. But then I have to listen to the sounds, and they're even worse without the visuals. Hell, I imagine, is probably something along these lines. Trapped forever, forced to endure this torture, without ever being able to put an end to your misery.

And—an extra twist of the knife—having to watch your best friend go through it too.

A particularly excruciating screech snaps my eyes open in reflex. Nails scraping down a blackboard are soothing compared to this. And yet, if I had to describe the single worst part of the scene in front of me, I actually don't think it would be the noise they're making, atrocious and earsplitting though that is.

It would be the clothes.

I really don't know much about Norway. It has fjords, apparently, and lots of snow, and the people are tall and blond and very, very white: that was pretty much the limit of my Norway Fun Facts up till this moment. But now, looking at the four members of the Norwegian folk group Hurti Slartbarten (or something like that—I may have got some of those umlauts wrong) sawing grimly away at their violins onstage, I can add that apparently, Norwegians have no access to anything resembling modern fashion. They look as if some major blockade isolated them in the late 1980s. The two girls are wearing deeply unflattering red taffeta dresses with square-cut bodices, drop waists, and flouncy skirts, the kind of frocks a vengeful bride would choose for the bridesmaids she's being forced to include in her wedding. And the two boys, in shiny red shirts tucked into black pleated trousers, could be the waiters at the same event.

They are all tall and blond; I got that part right. And they're smiling and nodding at each other as they stand in line, dragging their bows over the strings, deliberately sawing out the kind of noises that would make any normal person stop in horror, stare at their violin, and apologize to the audience for having completely forgotten to tune it before going out on stage.

Taylor and I are right in the middle of the row of seats, thoroughly wedged in by other Wakefield Hall girls. And Miss Carter has strategically placed herself on one end of the row, with Aunt Gwen on the other. To get out, we'd have to clamber over everyone, plus face the wrath of the scariest teachers in the school. I actually duck down and look under my seat, wondering if it might be possible to crawl underneath it—there aren't that many rows behind us, maybe I could sneak out that way. . . .

But then, as I'm curled over, head between my knees, I realize something's happened onstage. There's rustling all around me; people are sitting up straighter. The screeching of the violins is even shriller and less tuneful, if that's possible. Narrowly avoiding cracking my head on the seat in front as I straighten up again, I catch sight of the stage just in time to join, gobsmacked, in the collective gasp as the girls fall back to one side, the boys to the other, and a fifth member of Hurti Slartbarten appears from the wings.

He's wearing the same silky red shirt as the other two boys, but its sleeves are belled out, then gathered back in at the wrists, making it, technically, more of a blouse. And if that weren't bad enough, it's accessorized with a black bow tie at the neck. His hair is gelled up and spiked out as if a pineapple had exploded on top of his head. And though he's tall and blond like the other group members, I can't honestly say that he's as white as they are, because his face is a mass of acne breakouts that match the flaming red of his shirt.

He struts out to the middle of the stage, wiggling his hips and waggling his violin, like he's some sort of pop star. He ducks and grins and winks at both of the girls, flirting with them; then he dances over to stand with the boys and leads them in a trio, chasing the girls around the stage, following them like he's enacting some bizarre courtship ritual, all of them still sawing away at their instruments. Every so often, he turns to wink at the audience, as if he's convinced we're all hypnotized by his sexiness and charm.

I'm paralyzed. My jaw's still dropped. I think every single member of the audience is in exactly the same situation: unable to believe that this boy with a faceful of spots, dressed like a really camp ice dancer, is acting like he's so gorgeous we're going to start screaming and rushing the stage any second now.

And then, farther down the row, I hear something. The unmistakable, high-pitched sound of mocking laughter.

There's a first for everything, I suppose. I'd never have thought that I'd be grateful to hear Plum laughing sarcastically. But right now, the sound is manna from heaven, because it releases the pressure on my rib cage, which has been almost suffocating me. Like a line of dominoes toppling, every single Wakefield Hall girl starts laughing, giggling at first, and then increasingly loudly till we're howling with laughter. It's a wave, rippling through us, then spreading; I can see the shoulders of the people sitting in front of me rocking as they start laughing too.

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Kiss of Death 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Bella_Jessica More than 1 year ago
The fourth novel of Lauren Henderson's, Kiss of Death, is clever and captors your attention so fully it'll keep you up well into the night, without ever wanting to put it down. I was so excited for this particular novel since it was to be the end of the Kisses and Lies series that I had grown to appreciate so much. With most endings you hope that there will be plenty of suspense with an unexpected twist and Lauren Henderson did not disappoint. Towards the beginning of the book I assumed one outcome for the ending, but the exciting twist at the end was definitely a plus. This entire series is well worth reading and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a little drama, mystery and young love.
tpllaureen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
cute- love, mystery, attempted murders... its all good.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really, really adore this series and I'm glad that Henderson managed to throw everything from the previous books into this one and have it turn out, well, pretty fun. She threw in a few twists, relating to Scarlett, of course, but also Taylor and Plum. The series ends with some revelations about Scarlett and Jase's parents (a bit unrealistic, but I've come this far that it just didn't bother me much), along with some interesting twists in Scarlett's love life. My favorite part, of course, is the way Henderson gives us some fantastic resolution that other authors would shy from. I hope to read more of her writing in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It seemed more interresting then you wood persay not one i wood recommend but OK that seemed more lost and it took forever.......................................:/thx for talkin
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Sparkling_City More than 1 year ago
This book was a great ending to the Kisses and Lies Series. I love the way Lauren Henderson kept you on your toes. And as you read through it you try to figure out the mystery for yourself. The mystery and romance is what caught my attention. The complicated love life of Scarlett was just as exciting as the adventure she was on throughout the book. This series is a definate MUST READ.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MVM95 More than 1 year ago
This was not one of my favorite books. It seemed to drag on and I was struggling to finish. I would recommend it to people who want to finish the series but that is all. Thanks for reading. -MVM(:
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FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
This is truly a great finale to the Scarlett Wakefield series that includes, Kiss Me Kill Me; Kisses and Lies; and Kiss in the Dark. When we begin, Scarlett and her best friend Taylor are sitting among their class of girls from Wakefield Hall.and all they want is for death to come quickly. Their class has gone on a weeklong field trip to Edinburgh, and Scarlett can't be happier. She needs more than anything to leave behind the tragedy of Dan McAndrew's murder. The crime was, of course, solved, but the people around her back home seem to look at Scarlett as if she were somehow responsible. In the dark they sit, listening to one of the worst concerts of their entire lives. The teen groups on the stage are so bad, she and Taylor can hardly hear anymore. What's worse? The lights go up on stage and none other than Callum McAndrew - Dan's twin - is in a kilt, and singing. Scarlett almost passes out. When she turns to the side, her eyes also fall on her - once best friends - Luce and Allison sitting with their class from St. Tabby's. For a little background, Scarlett once went to St. Tabby's and got caught up with the popular crowd, leaving her friends far behind. On top of that, when Dan McAndrew dropped dead at her feet, the school asked Scarlett to leave because of all the publicity. That's why Scarlett ended up having to attend the horrible Wakefield Hall, which is run by her Aunt who absolutely hates her. When Scarlett, Taylor, and the other girls from Wakefield realize that they'll have to spend their whole week with the St. Tabby girls, Scarlett wants to be sick. Not only is everything from her past coming back to get her, but she soon finds herself starring in accidents - such as being pushed over a stair railing and poisoned by an unknown assailant. Could it be her old friends looking for payback, or a twin brother wanting revenge? All Scarlett knows is Taylor is the only one she can trust, and she misses her boyfriend Jase with all her heart and can't understand why he disappeared. It is certainly no surprise that the fourth book in this entertaining, funny, romantic, mysterious series is even better than the first three. With this installment, Ms. Henderson has outdone herself by offering her fans a great ending to what will be, I'm sure, a much-missed series. Quill Says: Great YA writing! It will be interesting to see what this incredible author does next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carlifornia101 More than 1 year ago
Hey my name is carly, i have read the last 3 books and they were awsome! i loved them i cant wait till thi book comes out. Also, the author really gets you hooked because its full of so much mystery! i cant wait to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gross book