The Ninth Key is the second book in the thrilling, romantic Mediator series, from the New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot.
Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad...particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status—not to mention apparent disinterest in her—make him unattainable.
What Suze can't ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past.
Don't miss the delightfully funny supernatural Mediator series, from New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot.
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About the Author
Meg Cabot’s many books for both adults and tweens/teens have included multiple global and #1 New York Times bestsellers, selling over twenty-five million copies worldwide. Her Princess Diaries series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into several hit films by Disney. Meg is still waiting for her real parents, the king and queen, to restore her to her rightful throne. She currently lives in Key West, FL, with her husband and various cats.
Hometown:New York, New York
Place of Birth:Bloomington, Indiana
Education:B.A. in fine arts, Indiana University, 1991
Read an Excerpt
The Mediator #2: Ninth Key
By Meg Cabot
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Meg Cabot
All right reserved.
Nobody told me about the poison oak.
Oh, they told me about the palm trees. Yeah, they told me plenty about the palm trees, all right. But nobody ever said a word about this poison oak business.
"The thing is, Susannah--"
Father Dominic was talking to me. I was trying to pay attention, but let me tell you something: poison oak itches.
"As mediators--which is what we are, you and I, Susannah--we have a responsibility. We have a responsibility to give aid and solace to those unfortunate souls who are suffering in the void between the living and the dead."
I mean, yeah, the palm trees are nice and everything. It had been cool to step off the plane and see those palm trees everywhere, especially since I'd heard how cold it can get at night in northern California.
But what is the deal with this poison oak? How come nobody ever warned me about that?
"You see, as mediators, Susannah, it is our duty to help lost souls get to where they are supposed to be going. We are their guides, as it were. Their spiritual liaisons between this world and the next." Father Dominic fingered an unopened pack of cigarettes that was sitting on his desk, and regarded me with those big old baby blues of his. "But when one's spiritual liaison takes one's head and slams it into a locker door . . . well, you can see how that kind ofbehavior might not build the sort of trust we'd like to establish with our troubled brothers and sisters."
I looked up from the rash on my hands. Rash. That wasn't even the word for it. It was like a fungus. Worse than a fungus, even. It was a growth. An insidious growth that, given time, would consume every inch of my once smooth, unblemished skin, covering it with red, scaly bumps. That oozed, by the way.
"Yeah," I said, "but if our troubled brothers and sisters are giving us a hard time, I don't see why it's such a crime if I just haul off and slug them in the--"
"But don't you see, Susannah?" Father Dominic clenched the pack of cigarettes. I'd only known him a couple of weeks, but whenever he started fondling his cigarettes--which he never, by the way, actually smoked--it meant he was upset about something.
That something, at this particular moment, appeared to be me.
"That is why," he explained, "you're called a mediator. You are supposed to be helping to bring these troubled souls to spiritual fulfillment--"
"Look, Father Dom," I said. I tucked my oozing hands out of sight. "I don't know what kind of ghosts you've been dealing with lately, but the ones I've been running into are about as likely to find spiritual fulfillment as I'm going to find a decent New York City-style slice of pizza in this town. It ain't gonna happen. These folks are going to hell or they're going to heaven or they're going on to their next life as a caterpillar in Kathmandu, but any way you slice it, sometimes they're gonna need a little kick in the butt to get them there. . . ."
"No, no, no." Father Dominic leaned forward. He couldn't lean forward too much because a week or so before, one of those troubled souls of his had decided to forgo spiritual enlightenment and tried to snap his leg off instead. She also broke a couple of his ribs, gave him a pretty nifty concussion, tore up the school real good, and, let's see, what else?
Oh, yeah. She tried to kill me.
Father Dominic was back at school, but he was wearing a cast that went all the way down to his toes, and disappeared up his long black robe, who knew how far? Personally, I didn't like to think about it.
He was getting pretty handy with those crutches, though. He could chase the late kids up and down the halls if he had to. But since he was the principal, and it was up to the novices to hand out late slips, he didn't have to. Besides, Father Dom was pretty cool, and wouldn't do something like that even if he could.
Though he takes the whole ghost thing a little too seriously, if you ask me.
"Susannah," he said, tiredly. "You and I, for better or for worse, were born with an incredible gift--an ability to see and speak to the dead."
"There you go again," I said, rolling my eyes, "with that gift stuff. Frankly, Father, I don't see it that way."
How could I? Since the age of two--two years old--I've been pestered with, pounded on, plagued by restless spirits. For fourteen years, I've put up with their abuse, helping them when I could, punching them when I could not, always fearful of somebody finding out my secret and revealing me to be the biological freak I've always known I am, but have tried so desperately to hide from my sweet, long-suffering mother.
And then Mom remarried and moved me out to California--in the middle of my sophomore year, thanks very much--where, wonder of wonders, I'd actually met someone cursed with the same horrible affliction: Father Dominic.
Only Father Dominic refuses to view our "gift" in the same light as me. To him, it's a marvelous opportunity to help others in need.
Yeah, okay. That's fine for him. He's a priest. He's not a sixteen-year-old girl who, hello, would like to have a social life.
If you ask me, a "gift" would have some plus side to it. Like superhuman strength or the ability to read minds, or something. But I don't have any of that cool stuff. I'm just an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl--well, okay, with above ordinary looks, if I do say so myself--who happens to be able to converse with the dead.
"Susannah," he said now, very seriously. "We are mediators. We aren't . . . well, terminators. Our duty is to intervene on the spirits' behalf, and lead them to their ultimate destination. We do that by gentle guidance and counseling, not by punching them in the face or by performing Brazilian voodoo exorcisms."
Excerpted from The Mediator #2: Ninth Key by Meg Cabot Copyright © 2006 by Meg Cabot. Excerpted by permission.
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