Fragile Darkness: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel

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9780312647049: Fragile Darkness: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel
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Mystery, suspense, romance and a touch of the paranormal, makes Fragile Darkness a strong, unique entry into the YA market!

How do you stop someone you can't see? For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old psychic Trinity Monsour has seen things before they happen. But now, in the wake of tragedy, her visions have gone dark. She can still feel, though, and the danger she senses swirling around a new friend sends her into the New Orleans party scene, where nothing is as it seems, surprises wait at every turn, and the last guy she wants to see is the one she needs the most: the mercurial Dylan Fourcade, part stranger, part friend, part so much more.

It's the so much more that confuses her. How can she be drawn to someone she barely knows?

But whether she wants him there or not, he's by her side, shadowing her every step of the way, until the darkness clears, and a shocking truth emerges―a truth that changes everything.

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About the Author:

ELLIE JAMES believes in dreams and destiny. A graduate of the LSU Manship School of Journalism, Ellie has been writing as long as she can remembering, with tragic poems and tender stories giving way to mystery, adventure, and a fascination with the unexplained. Currently, Ellie resides with her husband and two children in Texas.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

ONE
 

The old house glowed in the moonlight.
With Spanish moss whipping against my face, I slipped from the flagstone path to the shadow of the huge oaks, and lifted a hand to my throat. Breathe, I told myself. Just breathe.
It was March. Spring Break had started with the afternoon bell several hours before. Mardi Gras was in full, crazy swing. Two hours earlier I’d stood among thousands in the rain of doubloons and beads from the Krewe of Morpheus parade. Another six would roll tomorrow, all building to Fat Tuesday in four days.
And yet it was impossible to walk through the old Greek Revival without remembering the night last fall, when the first breath of evil whispered against my soul.
But a respected family lived in this house, a professor at Tulane and an antiques dealer, their five sons ranging in age from twenty-seven to sixteen. Thousands of twinkling lights turned the big white columns into candy canes of green and purple. Light shone from every window. Music blasted. Almost everyone I knew was inside. A nightmare was not about to unfold, only a party. My first since the rhythmic beep of hospital machines had gone quiet.
I needed to go back inside. Victoria or Deuce would notice I was gone, and they’d come looking for me.
After a quick check of the porch, I looked up through the swaying branches toward the sprawl of the sky. There the moon hung like a glowing crescent ornament against a glittering panorama of inky velvet.
Twenty-six days. Sometimes it seemed like only the blink of an eye since that final kiss in the shadow of the roller coaster. Other times it was like the whole world stood still, each moment, each breath, carved in its own eternity. I kept waiting to wake up, to pull myself from the nightmare and find everything as it had been before: my aunt dancing around the kitchen and Chase waiting by the fountain at school, Grace reading palms at her table in Jackson Square and Dylan—
That was where the rewrite stopped, the second his name drifted into the illusion.
“Trying to count the stars, Mile High?”
Turning, I found Deuce slipping between the big old trees, as if his body moved to a hip-hop rhythm only he heard.
“I always like nights like this,” he said, and with his voice the memory returned to the shadows. “When the sky’s so clear it’s like a window to another world.”
At a little over six feet, Deuce had the well-muscled body of a lightweight boxer. He wore his black jeans tight and his button-downs slim-fitting. Tonight’s shirt had a tribal pattern. His ebony hair was closely cropped. Long, thin sideburns angled down into a chinstrap. A thin scar streaked above his upper lip and another through his right eyebrow. On first glance, no one would guess that his soul was that of a poet, and that with only a few notes of his sax, he could stir emotions you didn’t know you had.
Only a few minutes before he’d stood on the steps, surrounded by girls in micro-dresses and knee-high boots.
“Escaped your fan club?” I asked.
He grinned. “They’re recruiting new members.”
My own grin just kind of happened. Deuce had that way about him. In those first few days after waking up in the hospital, riding waves of numbness and grief, I’d never imagined I could smile again. Then he showed up one night with a carton of ice cream. I told him I wasn’t hungry, but he said it didn’t matter.
Ten minutes later we were both covered in multicolored sprinkles and chocolate syrup, while my cat licked anything she could find, and I smiled.
Then I cried.
And there on the hard, cold wood of the kitchen floor, Deuce drew me into his arms and started to sing.
I have no memory of the words, only the feeling of being safe.
A long time passed before he let go.
“I know this great spot south of town,” he said as the back door fell open and music throbbed into the night. Laughing, a group of girls in baby-doll dresses climbed onto the porch rail and started to dance.
The Friday before Mardi Gras, the annual Greenwood bash was revving crazier by the minute.
“It’s down by the river,” he said. “What do you say we get out of here and—”
I realized where this whole conversation was going. “Deuce, no. You’ve got a gig.”
“And you’re standing out here by yourself, while everyone you know is inside.”
I hadn’t meant for anyone to see me.
“I saw, Mile High,” he said. “I looked up and saw you out here in the shadows, like you wished they’d swallow you, staring at your phone. You can’t tell me you really want to be here.”
Want. It should have been an easy word. Seven months ago, when I first came to New Orleans, the city where I’d been born but didn’t remember, it was. I wanted to meet people and make friends, go out and be like everyone else. I wanted an awesome pair of low-rise jeans and a new phone. I wanted my lab partner to—
The memory brought the stabbing feeling back all over again. I’d wanted Chase to look at me and smile, to feel the same awareness that rushed through me.
Back then I hadn’t known about the shadows waiting, or strangers who knew more about me, my life, than I did, who could heal with a simple touch, and devastate without lifting a hand.
Now I wanted the horrible things I saw to never come true, the fact that I saw them to never touch anyone I cared about.
Looking at Deuce, there was only one way to answer his question.
“I want you to have this gig,” I said. Playing the Greenwood party was a huge deal. “And I want Victoria to hear Trey sing.” Because whenever she did, my best friend lit up like a thousand-watt lightbulb.
And my aunt. I wanted her to be okay again.
And Grace. I wanted her to come back to New Orleans, for her to be okay, too.
But neither of those had anything to do with Deuce’s question.
The word I’d found scribbled in my journal that morning did.
Tonight.
I didn’t remember writing it, but the therapist I saw every Friday said that was normal, good even. That things locked inside me were finding ways to get out.
But the seven scrawled letters had sent something cold swirling through me.
Running through the dark. That’s all I’d seen since the afternoon I slipped inside a killer’s mind and discovered a deception that left the community in shock.
After that, it was hard not to jump at shadows.
But the word tonight didn’t mean anything ominous. I knew that. It wasn’t from somewhere unseen. It was merely confirmation that spending the evening with friends was the right thing to do.
That was all.
“So yeah,” I said, pushing aside the memory. I’d been here over an hour. Aside from some dizziness, nothing had happened. Nothing was going to. “This is where I need to be.”
Even if the thought of walking back inside the loud crush of people from every high school within thirty miles had my chest tightening all over again.
The charcoal of Deuce’s eyes gleamed. “Needing is a start,” he said all quiet, soulful. “But someday you’ll want again.” Watching me, he slid an arm around my waist. “You’ll want something for you, not only other people. It’s Deuce 101, the law of jumper cables. There may be nothing inside right now, but that doesn’t mean it’ll always be that way.”
I leaned into him, holding his gaze longer than normal before turning back to the oak-shrouded mansion.
“Come on,” I said, sliding my phone back into my hoodie. “Let’s go find Victoria and Trey.”
*   *   *
Through the frantic fusion of music and light, we made our way to the elaborate home theater. Three rows of cushy media chairs faced the giant screen framed by dark velvet curtains, while oil-painted movie posters lined the walls. In every space in between, guys and girls danced, oblivious to the muted movie playing in the background.
I found Victoria immediately, thanks to the bobbing purple feathers of her showgirl headband. I’d done a quick double take when she showed up at the shop in her little black dress and mismatched stilettos, not only in different sizes, but different heights, too. She’d scored them at the Muses parade, one covered in pink and purple feathers, the other shimmering with glitter. In total she’d been awarded seven, all because of a glitter-drenched sign proclaiming herself the founder of Glitterholics Anonymous.
She’d given me a clog and a mule, both the same height thankfully, one with thick purple and pink rhinestone stripes, the other covered in orange sequins.
Now with her back to me, she was absorbed in Trey’s orbit, their bodies pressed tight as they moved in slow, almost nonexistent, motion. If Deuce was the boxer, his Blood Brothas bandmate was pure California beach boy, with sun-kissed brown hair and a lazy, steal-your-breath smile.
He and Victoria, with the pink streaks in her bright blond hair and her tilted green eyes, her compact gymnast’s body, made a knockout couple. Hip to hip, he held her close, his arms slung around her waist. And as I moved closer, I could see his eyes were closed.
The tight feeling in my throat loosened a little.
Their flirting had turned serious the past few weeks. She insisted they were only friends, but I saw the longing in the way she looked at him, and in the way he looked at her. The way he touched her. It was no secret how into each other they were.
It was part of my agenda for the evening, to show her it was okay for her to be happy.
Deuce started toward them, but I caught him by the arm and pulled him back. “Not yet.”
Habit made me glance around, searching the dimly lit sway of grinding bodies f...

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9780857388261: Fragile Darkness: A Midnight Dragonfly Novel (Shattered Dreams)

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ISBN 10:  0857388266 ISBN 13:  9780857388261
Publisher: Quercus Children's Books, 2013
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