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ABOUT THE BOOK

Love never dies . . .

It took Lucinda an eternity to find her beloved angel, Daniel. But he waited for her. Now they are forced apart again, to protect Luce from the Outcasts – immortals who want her dead. During their separation, Luce learns about her mysterious past lives. But the more she discovers, the more she suspects Daniel is hiding something.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t true?

Is it really their destiny to be together?

Or is Luce actually meant to be with someone else?

The thrilling sequel to the international bestseller, FALLEN.

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‘Insanely unputdownable. It’s the kind of book I’d read over and over again and still fall in love with each time’
~ Jonne Bombita, Australia

‘One of the most alluring, sexy, thrilling books since The Mortal Instruments
~ Juliette Walkuski, USA

‘Captivating. Intense. Thrilling. A whirlwind series that captures the forbidden love story of star-crossed lovers. Kate takes romance to the next level as you fall into the story yourself’
~ Lydia Amy Jones, UK

‘The Fallen book series is sure to Torment your soul with Passion, and Rapture your heart strings. You’re going to get all the feels’
~ Leah Walker, USA

‘Enthralling, unforgettable, spectacular, remarkable . . . Everything about the book is perfect. Lauren Kate has done it’
~ Nur Marini Binti Nazri, Malaysia

‘Fall in love with this amazing series. A must-read for people who love angel stories and romance with a gothic feel to it. The ending will blow your mind’
~ Carmen Maldonado, Puerto Rico

‘Fallen is the perfect picture of a romance that everybody wants in their life. It proves that everyone can have a happy ending. Even when you least expect them to’
~ Anja Đurđević, Croatia

‘Fallen captured my heart from the moment I saw the cover. It exceeded all expectation. It will leave you breathless and longing for more’
~ Savanna Waters, USA

‘Fallen lends readers their own majestic wings, and slowly transports them to the wonderful world of fallen angels’
~ Ara Hilis, Philippines

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www.laurenkatebooks.co.uk

PROLOGUE

NEVER TEAR US APART

CAM’S BOOTS TOUCHED down on the eaves of the old church beneath a cold and starry sky. He drew his wings close and gazed out at the landscape. Spanish moss, white in the moonlight, hung like icicles from antebellum trees. Cinder-block buildings framed a weedy field and a pair of splintery bleachers. Wind rustled in from the sea.

Winter break at Sword & Cross Reform School. Not a soul on campus. What was he doing here?

It was minutes after midnight, and he’d just flown in from Troy. He’d made the journey in a haze, an unknown force guiding his wings. He found himself humming a tune he hadn’t let himself remember for several thousand years.

Maybe he’d come back here because this was where the fallen angels had met Luce in her last, cursed life. It had been her three hundred and twenty-fourth incarnation—and the three hundred and twenty-fourth time the fallen angels had flocked together to see how the curse would play out.

The curse was broken now. Luce and Daniel were free.

And dammit if Cam wasn’t jealous.

His gaze swept across the cemetery. He would never have guessed he’d feel nostalgic for this junkyard, but there had been something thrilling about those early days at Sword & Cross. Lucinda’s spark had been brighter, keeping the angels guessing when they’d once believed they knew what to expect.

For six millennia, each time she turned seventeen, they’d staged a variation of the same performance: the demons—Cam, Roland, and Molly—tried everything to sway Luce’s alliances to Lucifer, while the angels—Arriane and Gabbe and sometimes Annabelle—worked to usher Luce back into Heaven’s fold. Neither side had ever come close to winning her over.

For every time Luce met Daniel—and she always met Daniel—nothing mattered as much as their love. Time and again, they fell for each other, and time and again, Luce died in a blaze of fire.

Then, one night at Sword & Cross, everything changed. Daniel kissed Lucinda, and she lived. They all knew it then. Luce was finally going to be allowed to choose.

A few weeks later they all flew to the site of their original fall, to Troy, where Lucinda chose her destiny. She and Daniel again refused to side with Heaven or with Hell. Instead, they chose each other. They gave up their immortality to spend one mortal lifetime together.

Luce and Daniel were gone now, but they were still on Cam’s mind. Their triumphant love made him yearn for something he dared not put into words.

He was humming again. That song. Even after all this time, he remembered it . . .

He closed his eyes and saw its singer: the back of her red hair woven loosely in a braid, her long fingers caressing the strings of a lyre as she leaned against a tree.

He hadn’t let himself think of her in thousands of years. Why now?

“This can’s busted,” a familiar voice said. “Toss me another?”

Cam spun around. No one was there.

He noticed a flicker of movement through the shattered stained-glass window on the roof. He edged forward and peered down through it, into the chapel Sophia Bliss had used as her office when she was the Sword & Cross librarian.

Inside the chapel, Arriane’s iridescent wings flexed as she shook a can of spray paint and rose off the ground, aiming the nozzle at the wall.

Her mural featured a girl in a glowing blue forest. She wore a tiered black dress and looked up at a blond boy who held out a white peony. Luce and Daniel 4ever Arriane sprayed in gothic silver letters over the bell of the girl’s skirt.

Behind Arriane, a dark-skinned demon with dreadlocks was lighting a tall glass candle showing Santa Muerte, the goddess of death. Roland was making a shrine at the site where Sophia had murdered Luce’s friend Penn.

Fallen angels couldn’t enter sanctuaries of God. As soon as they crossed the threshold, the whole place would go up in flames, incinerating every mortal inside. But this chapel had been desanctified when Miss Sophia had moved in.

Cam spread his wings and dropped through the broken window, landing behind Arriane.

“Cam.” Roland embraced his friend.

“Take it easy,” Cam said, but he didn’t pull away.

Roland tilted his head. “Quite a coincidence, finding you here.”

“Is it?” Cam asked.

“Not if you like carnitas,” Arriane said, tossing Cam a small foil-wrapped package. “Remember the taco truck on Lovington? I’ve been craving these ever since we fled this swamp.” She opened her own foil package and devoured her taco in two bites. “Delish.”

“What are you doing here?” Roland asked Cam.

Cam leaned against a cold marble pillar and shrugged. “I left my Les Paul in the dorm.”

“All this way for a guitar?” Roland nodded. “I suppose we’ve all got to find new ways to fill our endless days, now that Luce and Daniel are gone.”

Cam had always hated the force that pulled the fallen angels to the cursed lovers every seventeen years. He’d left battlefields and coronations. He’d left the arms of exquisite girls. Once he’d walked off a movie set. He’d dropped everything for Luce and Daniel. But now that the irresistible pull was gone, he missed it.

His eternity was open wide. What was he going to do with it?

“Did what happened in Troy give you, I don’t know . . .” Roland trailed off.

“Hope?” Arriane grabbed Cam’s uneaten taco and downed it. “If, after all these thousands of years, Luce and Daniel can stand up to the Throne and seize a happy ending, why can’t anyone? Why can’t we?”

Cam gazed through the shattered window. “Maybe I’m not that kind of guy.”

“We all carry pieces of our journeys within us,” Roland said. “We all learn from our mistakes. Who’s to say we don’t deserve happiness?”

“Listen to us.” Arriane touched the scars on her neck. “What do we three jaded birds of prey know about love?” She looked from Cam to Roland. “Right?”

“Love’s not the exclusive property of Luce and Daniel,” Roland said. “We’ve all tasted it. Maybe we will again.”

Roland’s optimism struck a dissonant chord with Cam. “Not me,” he said.

Arriane sighed, arching her back to spread her wings and rise a few feet off the ground. A fluttering sound filled the empty church. With deft slashes of her can of white spray paint, she added the subtlest hint of wings above Lucinda’s shoulders.

Before the Fall, angels’ wings were made of empyreal light, all of them perfect, one pair indistinguishable from the next. In the era since, their wings had become expressive of their personalities, their mistakes and impulses. The fallen angels who had given their allegiance to Lucifer bore golden wings. Those who had returned to the fold of Heaven bore the Throne’s hint of silver throughout their fibers.

Lucinda’s wings had been special. They had been purely, stunningly white. Unspoiled. Innocent of the choices the rest of them had made. The only other fallen angel who had preserved his white wings was Daniel.

Arriane crumpled the second taco wrapper. “Sometimes I wonder . . .”

“What?” Roland asked.

“If you guys could go back and not screw up so epically in the love department, would you?”

“What’s the point of wondering?” Cam asked. “Rosaline is dead.” He saw Roland wince at the mention of his lost beloved. “Tess will never forgive you,” he added, looking at Arriane. “And Lilith—”

There. He’d said her name.

Lilith was the only girl Cam had ever loved. He’d asked her to marry him.

It hadn’t worked out.

He heard her song again, throbbing in his soul, blinding him with regret.

“Are you humming?” Arriane narrowed her eyes at Cam. “Since when do you hum?”

“What about Lilith?” Roland said.

Lilith was dead, too. Though Cam had never known how she had lived out her days on earth after they parted, he knew she would have left this world and ascended to Heaven long ago. If Cam were a different kind of guy, it might have brought him peace to imagine her enfolded in joy and light. But Heaven was so painfully distant, he found it best not to think of her at all.

Roland seemed to be reading his mind. “You could do it your own way.”

“I do everything my own way,” Cam said. His wings pulsed silently behind him.

“It’s one of your best traits,” Roland said, looking up at the stars through the ruined ceiling, then back at Cam again.

“What?” Cam asked.

Roland laughed softly. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Allow me,” Arriane said. “Cam, this is totally when everyone expects you to make one of your dramatic exits into that pocket in the clouds.” She pointed to a rope of fog dangling from Orion’s Belt.

“Cam.” Roland stared at Cam, alarmed. “Your wings.”

Near the tip of Cam’s left wing was a single, tiny white filament.

Arriane gaped. “What does it mean?”

It was one white fleck amid a field of gold, but it forced Cam to remember the moment his wings had changed from white to gold. He had long ago accepted his destiny, but now, for the first time in millennia, he imagined something else.

Thanks to Luce and Daniel, Cam had a fresh start. And only one regret.

“I have to go.” He fully extended his wings, and brilliant golden light flooded the chapel as Roland and Arriane leaped out of the way. The candle tipped and shattered, its flame dwindling on the cold stone floor.

Cam shot into the sky, piercing the night, and headed toward the darkness that had been awaiting him since the moment he’d flown away from Lilith’s love.

ONE

WASTELAND

LILITH

LILITH WOKE UP coughing.

It was wildfire season—it was always wildfire season—and her lungs were thick with smoke and ash from the red blaze in the hills.

Her bedside clock flashed midnight, but her thin white curtains glowed gray with dawn. The power must be out again. She thought of the biology test awaiting her in fourth period, followed immediately by the sucky fact that last night she’d brought home her American history book by mistake. Whose idea of a cruel joke was it to assign her two textbooks with precisely the same color spine? She was going to have to wing the test and pray for a C.

She slid out of bed and stepped in something warm and soft. She drew her foot up, and the smell assaulted her.

“Alastor!”

The little blond mutt trotted into her bedroom, thinking Lilith wanted to play. Her mom called the dog a genius because of the tricks Lilith’s brother, Bruce, had taught him, but Alastor was four years old and refused to learn the only trick that mattered: being housebroken.

“This is seriously uncivilized,” she scolded the dog, and hopped on one foot into the bathroom. She turned on the shower.

Nothing.

Water off till 3 p.m. her mom’s note proclaimed on a sheet of loose-leaf taped to the bathroom mirror. The tree roots outside were curling through their pipes, and her mom was supposed to have money to pay the plumber this afternoon, after she got a paycheck from one of her many part-time jobs.

Lilith groped for toilet paper, hoping at least to wipe her foot clean. She found only a brown cardboard tube. Just another Tuesday. The details varied, but every day of Lilith’s life was more or less the same degree of awful.

She tore her mom’s note from the mirror and used it to wipe her foot, then dressed in black jeans and a thin black T-shirt, not looking at her reflection. She tried to remember a single shred of what her biology teacher had said might be on the test.

By the time she got downstairs, Bruce was tilting the remains of the cereal box into his mouth. Lilith knew those stale flakes were the last morsels of food in the house.

“We’re out of milk,” Bruce said.

“And cereal?” Lilith said.

“And cereal. And everything.” Bruce was eleven and nearly as tall as Lilith, but much slighter. He was sick. He had always been sick. He was born too soon, with a heart that couldn’t keep up with his soul, Lilith’s mother liked to say. Bruce’s eyes were sunken and his skin had a bluish tint because his lungs could never get enough air. When the hills were on fire, like they were every day, he wheezed at the smallest exertion. He stayed home in bed more often than he went to school.

Lilith knew Bruce needed breakfast more than she did, but her stomach still growled in protest. Food, water, basic hygiene products—everything was scarce in the dilapidated dump they called home.

She glanced through the grimy kitchen window and saw her bus pulling away from the stop. She groaned, grabbing her guitar case and her backpack, making sure her black journal was inside.

“Later, Bruce,” she called, and took off.

Horns blared and tires squealed as Lilith sprinted across the street without looking, like she always told Bruce not to do. Despite her terrible luck, she never worried about dying. Death would mean freedom from the panicked hamster wheel of her life, and Lilith knew she wasn’t that lucky. The universe or God or something wanted to keep her miserable.

She watched the bus rumble off, and then started walking the three miles to school with her guitar case bouncing against her back. She hurried across her street, past the strip mall with the dollar store and the drive-through Chinese place that was always going in and out of business. Once she got a few blocks beyond her own gritty neighborhood, known around town as the Slump, the sidewalks smoothed out and the roads had fewer potholes. The people who stepped outside to get their papers were wearing business suits, not the ratty bathrobes Lilith’s neighbors often wore. A well-coiffed woman walking her Great Dane waved good morning, but Lilith didn’t have time for pleasantries. She ducked through the concrete pedestrian tunnel that ran beneath the highway.

Trumbull Preparatory School sat at the corner of High Meadow Road and Highway 2—which Lilith mostly associated with stressful trips to the emergency room when Bruce got really sick. Speeding down the pavement in her mother’s purple minivan, her brother wheezing faintly against her shoulder, Lilith always gazed out the window at the green signs on the side of the highway, marking the miles to other cities. Even though she hadn’t seen much—anything—outside of Crossroads, Lilith liked to imagine the great, wide world beyond it. She liked to think that someday, if she ever graduated, she’d escape to a better place.

The late bell was ringing when she emerged from the tunnel near the edge of campus. She was coughing, her eyes burning. The smoldering wildfires in the hills that encircled her town wreathed the school in smoke. The brown stucco building was ugly, and made even uglier by its papering of student-made banners. One advertised tomorrow’s basketball game, another spelled out the details for the after-school science fair meeting, but most of them featured blown-up yearbook photos of some jock named Dean who was trying to win votes for prom king.

At Trumbull’s main entrance stood Principal Tarkenton. He was barely over five feet tall and wore a burgundy polyester suit.

“Late again, Ms. Foscor,” he said, studying her with distaste. “Didn’t I see your name on yesterday’s detention list for tardiness?”

“Funny thing about detention,” Lilith said. “I seem to learn more there staring at the wall than I ever have in class.”

“Get to first period,” Tarkenton said, taking a step toward Lilith, “and if you give your mother one second of trouble in class today—”

Lilith swallowed. “My mom’s here?”

Her mom substituted a few days a month at Trumbull, earning a tuition waiver that was the only reason she could afford to send Lilith to the school. Lilith never knew when she might find her mom waiting ahead of her in the cafeteria line or blotting her lipstick in the ladies’ room. She never told Lilith when she would be gracing Trumbull’s campus, and she never offered her daughter a ride to school.

It was always a horrible surprise, but at least Lilith had never walked in on her mother substituting in one of her own classes.

Until today, it seemed. She groaned and headed inside, wondering which of her classes her mom would turn up in.

She was spared in homeroom, where Mrs. Richards had already finished the roll and was furiously writing on the board about ways students could help with her hopeless campaign to bring recycling to campus. When Lilith walked in, the teacher shook her head wordlessly, as if she were simply bored by Lilith’s habitual lateness.

She slid into her seat, dropped her guitar case at her feet, and took out the biology book she’d just grabbed from her locker. There were ten precious minutes left in homeroom, and Lilith needed them all to cram for her test.

“Mrs. Richards,” the girl next to Lilith said, glaring in her direction. “Something suddenly smells awful in here.”

Lilith rolled her eyes. She and Chloe King had been enemies since day one of elementary school, though she couldn’t remember why. It wasn’t like Lilith was any kind of threat to the rich, gorgeous senior. Chloe modeled for Crossroads Apparel and was the lead singer of a pop band called the Perceived Slights, not to mention the president of at least half of Trumbull’s extracurricular clubs.

After more than a decade of Chloe’s nastiness, Lilith was used to the constant rain of attacks. On a good day, she ignored them. Today she focused on the genomes and phonemes in her bio book and tried to tune Chloe out.

But now the other kids around Lilith were pinching their noses. The kid in front of her mimed a retching motion.

Chloe swiveled in her seat. “Is that your cheap idea of perfume, Lilith, or did you just crap your pants?”

Lilith remembered the mess Alastor had left by her bedside and the shower she hadn’t been able to take, and felt her cheeks burn. She grabbed her things and bolted from the classroom, ignoring Mrs. Richards’s ravings about a hall pass, and ducked into the closest bathroom.

Inside, alone, she leaned against the red door and closed her eyes. She wished she could hide in here all day, but she knew once the bell rang, this place would be flooded with students. She forced herself to the sink. She turned on the hot water, kicked off her shoe, raised her offending foot into the basin, and pumped the cheap pink soap dispenser. She glanced up, expecting to see her sad reflection, and instead she found a glittery poster taped over the mirror. Vote King for Queen, it read below a professional head shot of a beaming Chloe King.

Prom was later this month, and the anticipation seemed to consume every other kid at school. Lilith had seen a hundred of these kinds of posters in the halls. She’d walked behind girls showing each other pictures of their dream corsages on their phones on their way to class. She’d heard the boys joke about what happened after prom. All of it made Lilith gag. Even if she had money for a dress, and even if there were a guy she actually wanted to go with, there was no way she would ever set foot in her high school when she wasn’t legally required to be there.

She tore Chloe’s poster from the mirror and used it to clean the inside of her shoe, then tossed it into the sink, letting the water run over it until Chloe’s face was nothing but wet pulp.

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In poetry, Mr. Davidson was so engrossed in writing Shakespeare’s Sonnet 20 on the board that he didn’t even notice Lilith come in late.

She sat down cautiously, watching the other kids, waiting for someone to hold their nose or gag, but luckily they only seemed to notice Lilith as a means for passing notes. Paige, the sporty blond girl to Lilith’s left, would nudge her, then slide a folded note onto her desk. It wasn’t labeled, but Lilith knew, of course, that it wasn’t meant for her. It was for Kimi Grace, the cool half Korean, half Mexican girl sitting to her right. Lilith had passed enough notes between these two to glimpse snatches of their plans for prom—the epic after-party and the sick stretch limo they were pooling their allowances to hire. Lilith had never been given an allowance. If her mom had any cash to spare, it went straight to Bruce’s medical bills.

“Right, Lilith?” Mr. Davidson asked, making Lilith flinch. She shoved the note under her desk so she wouldn’t get caught.

“Could you say that again?” Lilith asked. She really did not want to piss off Mr. Davidson. Poetry was the only class she liked, mostly because she wasn’t failing it, and Mr. Davidson was the only teacher she’d ever met who seemed to enjoy his job. He’d even liked some of the song lyrics Lilith had turned in as poetry assignments. She still had the loose-leaf paper on which Mr. Davidson had written simply Wow! beneath the lyrics for a song she called “Exile.”

“I said you’ve signed up for the open mic, I hope?” Davidson asked.

“Yeah, sure,” she mumbled, but she hadn’t and hoped not to. She didn’t even know when it was.

Davidson smiled, pleased and surprised. He turned to the rest of the class. “Then we all have something to look forward to!”

As soon as Davidson turned back to his board, Kimi Grace nudged Lilith. When Lilith met Kimi’s dark, pretty eyes, she wondered for a moment if Kimi wanted to talk about the open mic, if the idea of reading in front of an audience made her nervous, too. But all Kimi wanted from Lilith was the folded note in her hand.

Lilith sighed and passed it to her.

She tried to skip gym to study for her bio test, but of course she got caught and ended up having to do laps in her gym uniform and her combat boots. The school didn’t issue tennis shoes, and her mom never had the cash to get her any, so the sound of her feet, running circles around the other kids who were playing volleyball in the gym, was deafening.

Everyone was looking at her. No one had to say the word freak out loud. She knew they were thinking it.

By the time Lilith made it to biology, she was beat down and worn out. And that was where she found her mom, wearing a lime-green skirt, her hair in a tight bun, handing out the tests.

“Just perfect,” Lilith said with a groan.

“Shhhhhh!” a dozen students replied.

Her mom was tall and dark, with an angular beauty. Lilith was fair, her hair as red as the fire in the hills. Her nose was shorter than her mother’s, her eyes and mouth less fine. Their cheekbones sat at different angles.

Her mom smiled. “Won’t you please take a seat?”

As if she didn’t even know her daughter’s name.

But her daughter knew hers. “Sure thing, Janet,” Lilith said, dropping into an empty desk in the row nearest the door.

Her mom’s angry gaze flicked to Lilith’s face; then she smiled and looked away.

Kill them with kindness was one of her mom’s favorite sayings, at least in public. At home, she wore a harsher manner. All that her mom loathed about her life she blamed on Lilith, because Lilith had been born when her mom was nineteen and beautiful, on her way to a remarkable future. By the time Bruce came along, her mom had recovered enough from the trauma of Lilith to become an actual mother. The fact that their dad was out of the picture—no one knew where he was—gave her mother all the more reason to live for her son.

The first page of the biology test was a grid in which they were expected to map dominant and recessive genes. The girl to her left was rapidly filling in boxes. Suddenly Lilith could not remember a single thing she had learned all year. Her throat itched, and she could feel the back of her neck begin to sweat.

The door to the hallway was open. It had to be cooler out there. Almost before she knew what she was doing, Lilith was standing in the doorway, her backpack in one hand, her guitar case in the other.

“Leaving class without a hall pass is an automatic detention!” Janet called. “Lilith, put down that guitar and come back here!”

Lilith’s experience with authority had taught her to listen carefully to what she was told—and then do the opposite.

She bumped down the hall and hit the door running.

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Outside, the air was white and hot. Ash twisted down from the sky, drifting onto Lilith’s hair and the brittle gray-green grass. The most inconspicuous way to leave school grounds was through one of the exits beyond the cafeteria, which led out to a small area of gravel where kids ate lunch when the weather was okay. The area was “secured” with a flimsy chain-link fence that was easy enough to climb over.

She made it over the fence, then stopped herself. What was she doing? Bailing on an exam proctored by her own mother was a horrible idea. There would be no escaping punishment. But it was too late now.

If she kept going this way, she’d end up back at her rusting, peeling eyesore of a house. No thanks. She gazed up at the few cars zipping across the highway, then turned and crossed the parking lot on the west side of campus, where the carob trees grew thick and tall. She entered the little forest and moved toward the shady, hidden edge of Rattlesnake Creek.

She ducked between two heavy branches on the bank and let out her breath. Sanctuary. Sort of. This was what passed for nature, anyway, in the tiny town of Crossroads.

Lilith rested her guitar case in its customary place in the crook of a tree trunk, kicked up her feet atop a heap of crisp orange leaves, and let the sound of the creek trickling in its cement bed relax her.

At school she’d seen pictures of “beautiful” places in her textbooks—Niagara Falls, Mount Everest, waterfalls in Hawaii—but she liked Rattlesnake Creek better than any of those because she didn’t know a soul beside herself who thought this little grove of withered trees was beautiful.

She opened her case and took out the guitar. It was a dark orange Martin 000-45 with a crack slanted down its body. Someone on her street had thrown it away, and Lilith couldn’t afford to be picky. Besides, she thought the flaw made the instrument sound richer.

Her fingers strummed the strings, and as chords filled the air, she felt an invisible hand smoothing her rough edges. When she played, she felt surrounded by friends she didn’t have.

What would it be like to meet someone who actually shared her taste in music? she wondered. Someone who didn’t think the Four Horsemen sang “like whipped dogs,” as a cheerleader had once described Lilith’s favorite band. It was Lilith’s dream to see them play live, but it was impossible to imagine actually attending a Four Horsemen show. They were too big to play Crossroads. Even if they did come here, how could Lilith afford a ticket when her family barely had enough money for food?

She didn’t notice when she tumbled into a song. It wasn’t fully formed yet—just her sorrow melding with her guitar—but a few minutes later, when she stopped singing, someone behind her started clapping.

“Whoa.” Lilith spun around to face a black-haired boy leaning against a nearby tree. He wore a leather jacket, and his black jeans disappeared into scuffed combat boots.

“Hey,” he said as if he knew her.

Lilith didn’t answer. They didn’t know each other. Why was he talking to her?

He studied her intensely, his gaze penetrating. “You’re still beautiful,” he said softly.

“You’re . . . really creepy,” Lilith replied.

“You don’t recognize me?” He sounded disappointed.

Lilith shrugged. “I don’t watch America’s Most Wanted.”

The boy looked down, laughed, then nodded at her guitar. “Aren’t you afraid of making that worse?”

She flinched, confused. “My song?”

“Your song was a revelation,” he said, pushing off the tree and walking toward her. “I mean that crack in your guitar.”

Lilith watched the easy way he moved—coolly, slowly, as if no one had ever made him feel insecure about anything in his life. He stopped right in front of her and slid a canvas bag from his shoulder. The strap landed on Lilith’s boot and she stared at it, as if the boy had put it there, touching her, intentionally. She kicked it off.

“I’m careful.” She cradled her guitar. “Right now, the ratio of guitar to crack is just right. If it ever became more crack than guitar, then it would be worse.”

“Sounds like you have it all figured out.” The boy stared at her long enough for Lilith to grow uncomfortable. His eyes were a spellbinding green. He clearly wasn’t from around here. Lilith didn’t know if she’d ever met anyone who wasn’t from Crossroads.

He was gorgeous and intriguing, and therefore too good to be true. She hated him immediately. “This is my spot. Find your own,” she said.

But instead of going away, he sat down. Next to her. Close. Like they were friends. Or more than friends. “Do you ever play with anyone else?” the boy asked.

He tilted his head, and Lilith caught a glimpse of a starburst tattoo on his neck. She realized she was holding her breath.

“What, music? Like a band?” She shook her head. “No. Not that it’s any of your business.” This guy was invading her turf, interrupting the only real time she had to herself. She wanted him gone.

“What do you think of The Devil’s Business?” he asked.

“What?”

“As a band name.”

Lilith’s instinct was to get up and walk away, but nobody ever talked to her about music. “What kind of band is it?” she asked.

He picked up a carob leaf from the ground and studied it, twirling its stem between his fingers. “You tell me. It’s your band.”

“I don’t have a band,” she said.

He raised a dark eyebrow. “Maybe it’s time you got one.”

Lilith had never dared allow herself to dream of what it might be like to play in an actual band. She shifted her weight to put more space between them.

“My name’s Cam.”

“I’m Lilith.” She wasn’t sure why telling this boy her name felt so monumental, but it did. She wished he weren’t here, that he hadn’t heard her play. She didn’t share her music with anyone.

“I love that name,” Cam said. “It suits you.”

Now it really was time to leave. She didn’t know what this guy wanted, but it definitely wasn’t anything good. She picked up her guitar and got to her feet.

Cam went to stop her. “Where are you going?”

“Why are you talking to me?” she asked. Something about him made her blood boil. Why was he horning in on her private space? Who did he think he was? “You don’t know me. Leave me alone.”

Lilith’s bluntness usually made people uncomfortable. But not this guy. He laughed a little under his breath.

“I’m talking to you because you and your song are the most interesting things I’ve stumbled upon in ages.”

“Your life must be really boring,” Lilith said.

She started to walk away. She had to stop herself from looking back. Cam didn’t ask where she was going or seem surprised that she was leaving in the middle of their conversation.

“Hey,” he called.

“Hey what?” Lilith didn’t even turn around. Cam was the kind of boy who hurt girls foolish enough to let him. And she didn’t need any more hurt in her life.

“I play guitar, too,” he said as she started back through the forest. “All we’d need is a drummer.”

Also by Lauren Kate

The FALLEN series

FALLEN

TORMENT

PASSION

RAPTURE

FALLEN IN LOVE

UNFORGIVEN

The TEARDROP saga

TEARDROP

WATERFALL

LAST DAY OF LOVE: A TEARDROP STORY
(ebook short story)

THE BETRAYAL OF NATALIE HARGROVE

TORMENT

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A FALLEN NOVEL
LAUREN KATE

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

Title Page

Dedication

Epigraph

Prologue: Neutral Waters

One: Eighteen Days

Two: Seventeen Days

Three: Sixteen Days

Four: Fifteen Days

Five: Fourteen Days

Six: Thirteen Days

Seven: Twelve Days

Eight: Eleven Days

Nine: Ten Days

Ten: Nine Days

Eleven: Eight Days

Twelve: Seven Days

Thirteen: Six Days

Fourteen: Five Days

Fifteen: Four Days

Sixteen: Three Days

Seventeen: Two Days

Eighteen: Thanksgiving

Nineteen: The Truce is Broken

Epilogue: Pandemonium

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Also by Lauren Kate

Praise for the FALLEN Series

Extract from UNFORGIVEN

Copyright

TORMENT
AN RHCP DIGITAL EBOOK 978 1 407 07846 5

Published in Great Britain by RHCP Digital,
an imprint of Random House Children’s Publishers UK
A Penguin Random House Company

This ebook edition published 2011

Copyright © Tinderbox Books, LLC and Lauren Kate, 2010

First published in Great Britain

Double Day 978 0 385 61809 0 2010

The right of Lauren Kate to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

This ebook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S PUBLISHERS UK
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www.randomhousechildrens.co.uk
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www.randomhouse.co.uk

Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited
can be found at: www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm

THE RANDOM HOUSE GROUP Limited Reg. No. 954009

A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

FOR ELIZABETH, IRDY, ANNE AND VIC.
I HAVE BEEN SO LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First, inexpressible thanks to my readers for all the effusive and generous support. Because of you, I may just have to keep writing forever.

To Wendy Loggia, whose belief in this series was a great gift, and who knows just how to make it more like what it always wanted to be. To Beverly Horowitz for the sharpest pep talk I’ve ever received, and the dessert you stuffed into my purse. To Krista Vitola, whose good-news emails have made so many of my days. To Angela Carlino and the design team, for the jacket that could launch a thousand ships. To my traveling partner Noreen Marchisi, Roshan Nozari, and the rest of the tremendous marketing team at Random House. You are magicians. To Michael Stearns and Ted Malawer, tireless geniuses. Your wit and encouragement make you almost too much fun to work with.

To my friends, who keep me sane and inspired. To my family in Texas, Arkansas, Baltimore, and Florida for so much exuberance and love. And to Jason, for every single day.

For if I imp my wing on thine Affliction shall advance the flight in me.
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—GEORGE HERBERT, Easter Wings

PROLOGUE

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NEUTRAL WATERS

DANIEL STARED OUT at the bay. His eyes were as gray as the thick fog enveloping the Sausalito shoreline, as the choppy water lapping the pebble beach beneath his feet. There was no violet to his eyes now at all; he could feel it. She was too far away.

He braced himself against the biting gale off the water. But even as he tugged his thick black pea coat closer, he knew it was no use. Hunting always left him cold.

Only one thing could warm him today, and she was out of reach. He missed the way the crown of her head made the perfect resting spot for his lips. He imagined filling the circle of his arms with her body, leaning down to kiss her neck. But it was a good thing Luce couldn’t be here now. What she’d see would horrify her.

Behind him, the bleat of sea lions flopping in heaps along the south shore of Angel Island sounded the way he felt: jaggedly lonely, with no one around to hear.

No one except Cam.

He was crouched in front of Daniel, tying a rusty anchor around the bulging, wet figure at their feet. Even engaged in something so sinister, Cam looked good. His green eyes had a sparkle and his black hair was cut short. It was the truce; it always brought a brighter glow to the angels’ cheeks, a shinier sheen to their hair, an even sharper cut to their flawless muscled bodies. Truce days were to angels what beach vacations were to humans.

So even though Daniel ached inside each time he was forced to end a human life, to anyone else he looked like a guy coming back from a week in Hawaii: relaxed, rested, tan.

Tightening one of his intricate knots, Cam said, “Typical Daniel. Always stepping aside and leaving me to do the dirty work.”

“What are you talking about? I’m the one who finished him.” Daniel looked down at the dead man, at the wiry gray hair matted to his pasty forehead, at his gnarled hands and cheap rubber galoshes, at the dark red tear across his chest. It made Daniel feel cold all over again. If the killing weren’t necessary to ensure Luce’s safety, to save her, Daniel would never raise another weapon. Never fight another fight.

And something about killing this man did not feel quite right. In fact, Daniel had a vague, troubling sense that something was profoundly wrong.

“Finishing them is the fun part.” Cam looped the rope around the man’s chest and tightened it under his arms. “The dirty work is seeing them off to sea.”

Daniel still gripped the bloodied tree branch in his hand. Cam had snickered at the choice, but it never mattered to Daniel what he used. He could kill with anything.

“Hurry up,” he growled, sickened by the obvious pleasure Cam took in human bloodshed. “You’re wasting time. The tide’s going out.”

“And unless we do this my way, high tide tomorrow will wash Slayer here right back ashore. You’re too impulsive, Daniel, always were. Do you ever think more than one step ahead?”

Daniel crossed his arms and looked back out at the white crests of the waves. A tourist catamaran from the San Francisco pier was gliding toward them. Once, the vision of that boat might have brought back a flood of memories. A thousand happy trips he’d taken with Luce across a thousand lifetimes’ seas. But now—now that she could die and not come back, in this lifetime when everything was different and there would be no more reincarnations—Daniel was always too aware of how blank her memory was. This was the last shot. For both of them. For everyone, really. So it was Luce’s memory, not Daniel’s, that mattered, and so many shocking truths would have to be gently brought to the surface if she was going to survive. The thought of what she had to learn made his whole body tense up.

If Cam thought Daniel wasn’t thinking of the next step, he was wrong.

“You know there’s only one reason I’m still here,” Daniel said. “We need to talk about her.”

Cam laughed. “I was.” With a grunt, he hoisted the sopping corpse up over his shoulder. The dead man’s navy suit bunched up around the lines of rope Cam had tied. The heavy anchor rested on his bloody chest.

“This one’s a little gristly, isn’t he?” Cam asked. “I’m almost insulted that the Elders didn’t send a more challenging hit man.”

Then—as if he were an Olympic shot-putter—Cam bent his knees, spun around three times to wind up, and launched the dead man out across the water, a hundred feet clear into the air.

For a few long seconds, the corpse sailed over the bay. Then the weight of the anchor dragged it down . . . down . . . down. It splashed grandly into the deep aquamarine water. And instantly sank out of sight.

Cam wiped his hands. “I think I’ve just set a record.”

They were alike in so many ways. But Cam was something worse, a demon, and that made him capable of despicable acts with no remorse. Daniel was crippled by remorse. And right now, he was further crippled by love.

“You take human death too lightly,” Daniel said.

“This guy deserved it,” Cam said. “You really don’t see the sport in all of this?”

That was when Daniel got in his face and spat, “She is not a game to me.”

“And that is exactly why you will lose.”

Daniel grabbed Cam by the collar of his steel-gray trench coat. He considered tossing him into the water the same way he’d just tossed the predator.

A cloud drifted past the sun, its shadow darkening their faces.

“Easy,” Cam said, prying Daniel’s hands away. “You have plenty of enemies, Daniel, but right now I’m not one of them. Remember the truce.”

“Some truce,” Daniel said. “Eighteen days of others trying to kill her.”

“Eighteen days of you and me picking them off,” Cam corrected.

It was angelic tradition for a truce to last eighteen days. In Heaven, eighteen was the luckiest, most divine number: a life-affirming tally of two sevens (the archangels and the cardinal virtues), balanced with the warning of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. In some mortal languages, eighteen had come to mean life itself—though in this case, for Luce, it could just as easily mean death.

Cam was right. As the news of her mortality trickled down the celestial tiers, the ranks of her enemies would double and redouble each day. Miss Sophia and her cohorts, the Twenty-four Elders of Zhsmaelin, were still after Luce. Daniel had glimpsed the Elders in the shadows cast by the Announcers just that morning. He had glimpsed something else, too—another darkness, a deeper cunning, one he hadn’t recognized at first.

A shaft of sunlight punctured the clouds, and something gleamed in the corner of Daniel’s vision. He turned and knelt down to find a single arrow planted in the wet sand. It was slimmer than a normal arrow, a dull silver color, laced with swirling etched designs. It was warm to the touch.

Daniel’s breath caught in his throat. It had been eons since he’d seen a starshot. His fingers quaked as he gently drew it from the sand, careful to avoid its deadly blunt end.

Now Daniel knew where that other darkness had come from in this morning’s Announcers. The news was even grimmer than he’d feared. He turned to Cam, the feather-light arrow balanced in his hands. “He wasn’t acting alone.”

Cam stiffened at the sight of the arrow. He moved toward it almost reverently, reaching out to touch it the same way Daniel had. “Such a valuable weapon to leave behind. The Outcast must have been in a great hurry to get away.”

The Outcasts: a sect of spineless, waffling angels, shunned by both Heaven and Hell. Their one great strength was the reclusive angel Azazel, the only remaining starsmith, who still knew the art of producing starshots. When loosed from its silver bow, a starshot could do little more than bruise a mortal. But to angels and demons, it was the deadliest weapon of all.

Everyone wanted them, but none were willing to associate with Outcasts, so bartering for starshots was always done clandestinely, via messenger. Which meant the guy Daniel had killed was no hit man sent by the Elders. He was merely a barterer. The Outcast, the real enemy, had spirited away—probably at the first sight of Daniel and Cam. Daniel shivered. This was not good news.

“We killed the wrong guy.”

“What ‘wrong’?” Cam brushed him off. “Isn’t the world better off with one less predator? Isn’t Luce?” He stared at Daniel, then at the sea. “The only problem is—”

“The Outcasts.”

Cam nodded. “So now they want her too.”

Daniel could feel the tips of his wings bristling under his cashmere sweater and heavy coat, a burning itch that made him flinch. He stood still, with his eyes closed and his arms at his sides, straining to subdue himself before his wings burst forth like the violently unfurling sails of a ship and carried him up and off this island and over the bay and away. Straight toward her.

He closed his eyes and tried to picture Luce. He’d had to tear himself away from that cabin, from her peaceful sleep on the tiny island east of Tybee. It would be evening there by now. Would she be awake? Would she be hungry?

The battle at Sword & Cross, the revelations, and the death of her friend—it had taken quite a toll on Luce. The angels expected her to sleep all day and through the night. But by tomorrow morning, they would need to have a plan in place.

This was the first time Daniel had ever proposed a truce. To set the boundaries, make the rules, and draw up a system of consequences if either side transgressed— it was a huge responsibility to shoulder with Cam. Of course he would do it, he would do anything for her . . . he just wanted to make sure he did it right.

“We have to hide her somewhere safe,” he said. “There’s a school up north, near Fort Bragg—”

“The Shoreline School.” Cam nodded. “My side has looked into it as well. She’ll be happy there. And educated in a way that won’t endanger her. And, most importantly, she’ll be shielded.”

Gabbe had already explained to Daniel the type of camouflage Shoreline could provide. Soon enough, word would spread that Luce was hidden away there, but for a time at least, within the school’s perimeter, she would be nearly invisible. Inside, Francesca, the angel closest to Gabbe, would look after Luce. Outside, Daniel and Cam would hunt down and kill anyone who dared draw near the school’s boundaries.

Who would have told Cam about Shoreline? Daniel didn’t like the idea of their side knowing more than his. He was already cursing himself for not visiting the school before they made this choice, but it had been hard enough to leave Luce when he did.

“She can start as early as tomorrow. Assuming”— Cam’s eyes ran over Daniel’s face—“assuming you say yes.”

Daniel pressed a hand to the breast pocket of his shirt, where he kept a recent photograph. Luce on the lake at Sword & Cross. Wet hair shining. A rare grin on her face. Usually, by the time he had a chance to get a picture of her in one lifetime, he had lost her again. This time, she was still here.

“Come on, Daniel,” Cam was saying. “We both know what she needs. We enroll her—and then let her be. We can do nothing to hasten this part but leave her alone.”

“I can’t leave her alone that long.” Daniel had tossed out the words too quickly. He looked down at the arrow in his hands, feeling ill. He wanted to fling it into the ocean, but he couldn’t.

“So.” Cam squinted. “You haven’t told her.”

Daniel froze. “I can’t tell her anything. We could lose her.”

You could lose her,” Cam sneered.

“You know what I mean.” Daniel stiffened. “It’s too risky to assume she could take it all in without . . .”

He closed his eyes to banish the image of the agonizing red-hot blaze. But it was always burning at the back of his mind, threatening to spread like wildfire. If he told her the truth and killed her, this time she would really be gone. And it would be his fault. Daniel couldn’t do anything—he could not exist—without her. His wings burned at the thought. Better to shelter her just a little longer.

“How convenient for you,” Cam muttered. “I just hope she isn’t disappointed.”

Daniel ignored him. “Do you really believe she’ll be able to learn at this school?”

“I do,” Cam answered slowly. “Assuming we agree she’ll have no external distractions. That means no Daniel, and no Cam. That has to be the cardinal rule.”

Not see her for eighteen days? Daniel couldn’t fathom it. More than that, he couldn’t fathom Luce’s ever agreeing to it. They had only just found each other in this lifetime and finally had a chance to be together. But, as usual, explaining the details could kill her. She couldn’t hear about her past lives from the mouths of angels. Luce didn’t know it yet, but very soon, she would be on her own to figure out . . . everything.