What game is she playing?
Rowan hadn't seen Lillian in over a year-not since she broke his heart and killed his father in one fell swoop-so why would she pick today to just show up outside his favorite coffee shop, dressed in outlandish clothes and pretending she doesn't recognize him. Is she turning to Tristan now in some pathetic effort to drive them apart? Why insist her name is Lily? And where is her Willstone? Her wild claims of being from a parallel world are just crazy and pathetic...right?
Get a glimpse of Rowan's side of the story in this thrilling e-short edition to The Worldwalker Trilogy by internationally bestselling author Josephine Angelini.
|Publisher:||Feiwel & Friends|
|File size:||2 MB|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Josephine Angelini is the internationally bestselling author of Trial by Fire, Firewalker, and the Starcrossed series. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in theater, with a focus on the classics. Originally from Massachusetts, Josie now lives in Los Angeles with her screenwriter husband, her daughter, Pia Marie, and three shelter cats.
Read an Excerpt
By Josephine Angelini
Feiwel and FriendsCopyright © 2015 Josephine Angelini
All rights reserved.
As usual, I dream about people dying. But this time, they aren't getting pulled apart by the Woven. This time people are killing each other, and I'm at the center of it. I'm just standing there while a sea of savagery heaves around me. I have no weapon, and no witch inside me. I am defenseless. That's not what terrifies me, though. What pulls me up from sleep is knowing that I started it.
I was never supposed to be on this side of the war. There was never supposed to be a war to begin with, because Lillian and I were going to change everything. It didn't turn out that way. In fact, I think I made it worse, which is probably why my guilt chases me around in my dreams.
Spilt milk. I'm done crying over it. Done crying over Lillian, over my father. Just done with all of it. I'm finally ready for this war.
I was born Outland. Bad grammar, I know, but when you're born Outland you don't say, "I was born in the Outlands." That's how city folk talk. And, yeah, I've been living in the cities since I was seven, but how does that old saying go? "Give me a child until he is seven years old and I will hold his heart forever"? From my experience it's true. I may have lived a pampered life as Lord Fall, Head Mechanic of the Salem Coven, for over eleven years, but I still remember. The Outlands hold my heart. I wake fully, opening my eyes, thinking, my heart is held.
I roll over in bed and see pink clouds framed in the skylight over me. Rising at dawn is in my blood. It used to drive Lillian crazy. She loved to sleep in on the weekends but I never got the hang of it. Sleep has never been easy for me, not like it is for city folk. I've never met an Outlander who couldn't wait to open his eyes and see the day. To know he made it through one more night.
Morning was when I liked Lillian best, even if she did snarl at me and throw pillows at my head. Her hair a mad tangle, her eyes puffy; she looked terrible in the morning and for some reason I loved that. I loved how she looked before she put on the gowns and jewels and makeup. Before she put on her title. Sometimes I wonder if I could have found a way to keep her like that — my rumpled, red-nosed, morning Lillian — maybe I could have found a way to stop the war. Found a way to stop her from destroying the two people I loved most. Da and her.
I bathe and dress quickly. I put on my simplest clothes — simple, but they're still of the finest materials. Strange how plain clothes are somehow always the most expensive. There's no point in trying to dress down, really. Everything I have is still the best. Lillian gave me more finery than I know what to do with. I've been quietly liquidating the jewelry, accrued income, and extensive property and channeling it into Alaric's cause. Blood money never washes clean, but it gives both Alaric and me a twisted thrill to know some of Lillian's wealth is being used against her.
On my way out the door I poke my head in Da's room and whisper, "Osda sunalei."
I don't know why I still say good morning to him. His spirit isn't here. It never really was. He didn't feel at ease sleeping in what was to him a giant room. I look at his narrow bed — the smallest I could find — and think how he used to say he felt like he was drowning in it. He stayed here maybe twice a month at most, even though I got a special pass allowing him to stay within the Salem walls after dark. He forced himself to do it, too, for me.
This is where Lillian's guards came for him and took him away. If he'd been Outland they never would have found him.
I pass my cold kitchen and wonder if I'll cook again. I miss it, but I can't imagine myself cooking anymore. The fun of preparing a big meal is in whom you make it for, not eating it.
I'm still not used to this. This half-life I'm living. I find myself speaking to empty rooms and engaging in mindspeak with thin air. It reminds me of a stupid body trick Tristan showed me when we were kids. You stand in a doorway and lift your arms so that the backs of your hands press into the frame. You press with all your might for as long as you can. Then you step out of the doorway and your arms seem to float up like magic. They feel so light — light, but also sore. Whenever I find myself imagining I hear someone coming home, I think of that sensation. That weightless ache.
I leave my building (another gift from Lillian) and hurry down the street of my oh-so- fashionable neighborhood. Close to the trains, the park, and the Citadel of course. Close to Lillian. She gave me the building five years ago now. I only use the top floor and the roof. The rest I rent out, the proceeds of which go to Alaric. Not that I spent too much time in my building before this year. Usually, I was with Lillian at the Citadel, but we still slept apart every now and again when we both tacitly agreed that we needed a bit of space between us.
I used to enjoy missing her once in a while. I think that's part of the reason I would go buffalo hunting with Da every year. Spending a month away from her, past the reach of even her enormous range for mindspeak, I would come home so hungry for her I couldn't see straight. It wasn't just a physical need, either. I missed the whisper of her thoughts in mine, the chatter of her busy mind as it reeled through the dozens of tasks and goals she set for herself each day. I used to feel such pride knowing that those goals were as selfless as they were ambitious. The to-do list of things she ticked off in her head each day was a list of things that she thought would make the world a better place. How awed I was to be a part of that. How empty I felt the day that chatter stopped.
I pick up the pace, hitting the heels of my boots against the pavement as if to strike these unwanted thoughts beneath them. I have too much to do today to let myself be distracted by ghosts, but I can't seem to shake them. It doesn't help that I live in Lillian's shadow. Literally — the shadow of the Citadel blots out the thin morning light around me as I push open the door of my favorite café. I can't help but give a bitter laugh at the thought as I taste the tea-perfumed and pastry-sweetened air.
"Something funny, Rowan?" asks Mirabelle behind the till.
She tilts her head down and throws me a look through her eyelashes, pressing her hands against the counter to perk up her breasts. She's really leaning into it this morning. I don't even have to use my willstone to see the flush of lust turning her cheeks pink and softening her mouth. I wonder if non-magical people like Mirabelle know that mechanics like me can look right into them and see that they're ovulating, which sends their hormones through the roof and bathes their brains in dopamine, essentially shutting off all rational thought. I bet they'd be embarrassed.
"It's nothing," I say.
I smile at her, but look away quickly as I do. I don't want to give her the wrong idea. She's a lovely girl, loyal to the cause, funny, and she's got a remarkable body. I'm flattered that she wants me, but there's nothing there for me. I've tried to have sex with normal girls — to move on, like Tristan says a guy should. But I'm not built like that. Sexy isn't on the outside, it's on the inside, and unfortunately for me I know what it's like to love someone from the inside out. That's not something you just move on from, or at least I can't. I'm not like Tristan. Looking at Mirabelle makes me kind of wish I was, though.
She leans closer as she hands me my usual, and flicks her painted eyes to the back of the room. "He's waiting," she whispers.
I take my tea and spice cake and head to a table in the back. I see the messenger. He's the same one who came last week from Alaric's camp. The rough translation of his name is Swimming Otter. He's an Outlander but he looks white, and that's why Alaric uses him to go in and out of the city. He attracts less attention that way. Otter's probably been here since dawn. That's when the guards start allowing Outlanders through the gates.
He's sitting near a window, but that can't be helped. This café is on a corner, and the windows wrap around. I don't sit down with him. Instead I sit at a table next to his, taking the chair that puts our backs to each other. I pull apart my spice cake with my fingers, waiting for him to start.
"We need more of that salve for burns," Otter says.
"More?" I say, trying not to move my lips. "I made two cauldrons full a week ago. What happened? Was there a fire?" There's no way they could need that much, unless there was some kind of disaster.
"We just need more, okay?" he replies. "The less you know, the better. That's the way Alaric wants it."
I sip my tea, swallowing some of my frustration. A witch would have a much easier time getting information from this messenger than from me. Alaric doesn't really understand how powerful I am. Or maybe he doesn't trust me when I say that I'll never let another witch claim me. He's heard how mechanics are drawn to witches, how we crave the power they give us. If he only knew how much. This new willstone of mine is like an empty lung that pulls and strains for air every second of the day. My one comfort is knowing that there's no witch strong enough to fill it, none but Lillian, and I didn't smash my first stone to get away from her only to allow myself to be claimed by her again.
I'm offended, but in a way I can't blame Alaric. Like any other addict, my craving compromises me. It makes me sick to think it, but he's right. I crave Lillian, our biggest enemy, and I'm a little ashamed that Alaric knows that.
"I'll have the salve ready before noon," I say. "I'll drop it off here, like last time. Mirabelle will dole out a small portion to each of your couriers as they come to her register to buy tea. Work out a password with her before you go." I expect him to leave now, but he doesn't. "Anything else?"
"I have to show you something," Otter says. He sounds anxious.
I glance down and see his hand twisted back toward me, palming a small vial. He slips me the vial and I move it into my lap to keep it hidden under my table while I look at it. It's filled with blood. My willstone flares subtly as I sink into its composition. The world tips sideways as my consciousness falls in deeper and closer. I see palettes, white cells, and the plasma to red cell ratio. Hang on. Something's off. Down I sink, into an individual cell. I'm so shocked by what I find that I almost drop the vial.
"Where did you get this?" I hiss.
"Can you fix her?" Otter asks.
There's a strained note to his voice, even though he's doing everything in his power to conceal our conversation and act naturally. Whoever this woman is, she means a lot to him. That's why I try to keep my voice neutral, because I know she's going to die a painful death.
"Look, Otter," I begin, realizing that there's no way I'm going to keep the pity from my voice, "I'll make a strong opiate for you to give to her. Lots of it. Enough to last her until —" and here I stop.
"I can sneak her into the city and get her to you. I'll pay whatever you ask."
He hasn't heard me. I don't blame him. I wouldn't want to hear me, either. "It's not about money," I say. "She's got a wasting sickness, and it's too far gone. The Salem Witch couldn't fix this."
"She's carrying my baby." The words choke out of him.
I look out the window at the people walking past. Vague expressions and easy strides show how smooth life is for them. None of them know that there's a guy dissolving just inches away from them on the other side of the glass.
"I'm sorry," I say. A long silence hangs between us. I can feel the heat coming off his back as he struggles not to cry, like his pain is radiating around him in a hot cloud. "How far along is she?"
"Four months," he replies. His voice is thin and tinny. He's calm again, having bit back the enormous helping of hurt he's been served. He's an Outlander. He's probably had plenty of practice losing people he loves. I don't have the heart to tell him he's about to lose two more. His woman probably won't last another week — too soon to try to save the baby.
He stands up and leaves the café before I can ask him any more questions. We've already been talking for longer than we should, and we've been sloppy about it. The seating area is starting to get crowded and we may have already been overheard. Still, I wish he hadn't left. Something isn't right about that woman. Her sickness is so advanced I can't see how she could have been well enough to get pregnant to begin with. Her disease has many causes, but the result is the same. Cells divide at an alarming rate, but they are dummy cells that do nothing for the body. All they do is reproduce and spread while the person wastes away. If it's caught early enough it's easy to cure, but if it isn't, the end is horrible. What this poor woman had was beyond anything I'd seen in a living body. Her cells were so shot through, as if all of them had been riddled with tiny bullets. It's hard to believe she isn't dead already.
I'm still thinking about the doomed woman and baby when I lift my eyes and look out the window.
Lillian is looking right at me.
I jump up and hear a clatter as my chair and the table next to me tip over onto the floor.
She's just staring at me — wild eyed, confused, and frightened.
I'm vaguely aware of the fact that I'm causing a scene as I race to the door, my arms paddling over shoulders and heads as I swim against the tide of people coming in for their morning tea. Mirabelle calls my name, but I'm already out on the street.
Lillian is running away from me, bounding along on her toes in her peculiar way. She runs like a deer, buoyant and graceful, and she's surprisingly fast for someone so fragile. I chase her, even though it doesn't make any sense. I haven't laid eyes on her in a year and I can't stop myself from following her.
This is crazy. She's darting from street to street, zigzagging and backtracking like she has no idea which way to go. Where's her guard? Her mechanics? And what the hell is she wearing?
The streets seem impossibly full of pedestrians all of a sudden, and I lose her. Clever thing — she must have ducked down somewhere. I've just passed a nearly deserted alley and I double back. I see a drainage grate up ahead. The refuse around it has been recently disturbed. I slow down to a walk, trying to gather myself. I need to think. Why is Lillian hiding in a filthy hole? And why do I care?
I take a deep breath and let it out, praying for strength. Why is this happening today? Waking with Lillian on my mind is an everyday occurrence, so why did the Great Spirit pick today to twist the knife?
"You know you can't hide from me, Lillian," I say. She doesn't respond, so I reach into her hiding place and scoop her out with my hands. Her skin is clammy and cold. I can't remember her skin ever being cold before.
I place her on her feet but I'm not sure she's going to be able to stand on them for much longer. Her eyes can't focus and her head is lolling on her neck. Her cold skin heats up in an instant, and now she's burning.
"Who are you?" she asks.
I could strangle her. What game is she playing? "You know damn well it's me." Her green eyes are blank. "Rowan," I say, in case she can't see straight.
Is she drugged? Her pupils are dilated and I can feel her heartbeat skipping around unevenly. "What did you take, Lillian? Belladonna?"
Nothing. She doesn't understand me. I've never seen her like this before. I should throw her back into that drainage ditch, but I can't. She's so weak and there's something off about her. I run my hands over her face, scanning her body. My willstone throbs to be near her again; her dark river of power flows so close to my thirsty stone. I want to dive into her. I need to calm down and go slowly.
I ease into her and hit a giant wall. I've never tried to scan her with this new willstone and it feels awkward, like when you put a favorite shoe on the wrong foot. I'm not her mechanic or her claimed anymore, but I've scanned lots of people who are not my stone kin. This isn't normal. Is she blocking me, or is she blocking herself? Her body is obviously reacting to something — erratic pulse, dilated pupils, hot and cold flashes — but I can't find what it is. There are no toxins in her system. It almost feels like she's rejecting the pollen in the air, but how can that be? Lillian's known how to process pollen since she was a kid.
I need to see her willstone. I trace my fingers down her neck and search for the chain so as not to actually touch her stone. I don't want to be too tempted. I hate that my fingers are shaking, but I haven't held her stone since that last time we made love. Memories of her skin, her scent, and her sighs are coming thick and fast. Focus, jackass.
Excerpted from Rowan by Josephine Angelini. Copyright © 2015 Josephine Angelini. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends.
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.
Table of Contents
Preview: Trial by Fire,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a rip off!!!!! There are about 178 pages total but only 25 pages are the novella. It's supposed to be Rowan's POV, but it just fills in how he got Lily from the city to the Outlanders that first night. Don't waste your money or time!
This needs to be free
You can't call one chapter a novella. I thought the whole "178 pages" was the story, but only like 25 pages were the actual story. The story is amazing from his point of view, but now I'm furious because the rest is missing after only getting started.
Fantastic. a beautifully written book. Good luck to Lily on her adventure. # Rowan & Lily
This was short. Like short, short. So this is going to be a super short review. I will admit that I was a bit disappointed to realize how short Rowan is. I initially thought it would be more like a novella, but it's more like a chapter or two. I did enjoy it however, even if it was for a brief time. Rowan starts just before Lily shows up in Salem and ends just after he accepts that Lily is not Lillian and she goes to sleep in the tent while still at camp. What I liked about Rowan is that we got a bit more back story into his past and his relationship with Lillian. We also see a bit more of the relationship dynamic between Rowan, Tristan, and Caleb as well. If you're a fan of Josephine's Woldwalker Trilogy and need something to tide you over before Firewalk comes out (five days!) and love extras download a copy of Rowan and spend a few minutes inside his glorious head.
Only about 28 pg are written from Rowans point of view. The rest is the first 2 chapters of Trial by Fire. Not worth the $2 I like novellas and the little extra tidbits they offer. BUT some are just a waste of money. This is one. If anything it should have been a free bonus chapter. I love the first book, can't wait to read the second, and I enjoyed Rowans side but this is a rip off. What's the point of paying twice for the same thing.