Chosen: A House of Night Novel (House of Night Novels)

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9780312360290: Chosen: A House of Night Novel (House of Night Novels)
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Bloodlust and dark forces are at work at the House of Night...

Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird's adventures at the school are about to take a mysterious turn. Those who appear to be her friends are turning out to be enemies. And oddly enough, sworn enemies are also turning into friends. So begins the gripping third installment of this "highly addictive series" (Romantic Times), in which Zoey's mettle will be tested like never before. Her best friend, Stevie Rae, is undead and struggling to maintain a grip on her humanity. Zoey doesn't have a clue how to help her, but she does know that anything she and Stevie Rae discover about the secretive and sinister power that's turning dead fledglings into bloodsucking monsters must be kept secret from everyone else at the House of Night, where trust has become a rare commodity.

Speaking of rare: Zoey finds herself in the very unexpected position of having three boyfriends. Mix in more than a little forbidden desire to the equation and the situation has the potential to spell social disaster of massive proportions. Then, vampyres start turning up dead. Really dead. It looks like the People of Faith, and Zoey's horrid step-loser in particular, are tired of living side-by-side with vampyres. But, as Zoey and her friends find out, things are not always what they seem...

Chosen is the third in the House of Night series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.

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About the Author:

P.C. Cast is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher. With her daughter Kristin Cast, she is the author of the House of Night novels, including Awakened, Burned and Hunted. Cast was born in the Midwest, and as a girl fell in love with mythology. After high school, she joined the U.S. Air Force, then taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. Cast's novels are New York Times bestsellers and have been awarded the Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers' Best, and the Laurel Wreath. Ms. Cast lives in Oklahoma, where she is a member of the Oklahoma Writers' Hall of Fame. She splits her time between her ranch and midtown Tulsa where she has a home just down the street from the House of Night...

Kristin Cast has won awards for her poetry and journalism. She also lives in Oklahoma, where she attends college in Tulsa.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1
“Yep, I have a seriously sucky birthday,” I told my cat, Nala.
(Okay, truthfully she’s not so much my cat as I’m her person. You know how it is with cats: They don’t really have owners, they have staff. A fact I mostly try to ignore.)
Anyway, I kept talking to the cat as if she hung on my every word, which is soooo not the case. “It’s been seventeen years of sucky December twenty-fourth birthdays. I’m totally used to it by now. No big deal.” I knew I was saying the words just to convince myself. Nala “mee-uf-owed” at me in her grumpy-old-lady cat voice and then settled down to lick her privates, clearly showing that she understood I was full of b.s.
“Here’s the deal,” I continued as I finished smudging a little liner on my eyes. (And I mean a little—the line-your-eyes-till-you-look-like-a-scary-raccoon is definitely not the look for me. Actually, it’s not the look for anyone.) “I’m gonna get a bunch of well-meaning presents that aren’t really birthday presents—they’re stuff that’s Christmas themed because people always try to mush my birthday with Christmas, and that seriously doesn’t work.” I met Nala’s big green eyes in the mirror. “But we’re going to smile and pretend we’re fine with the dorky birthmas gifts because people do not get that they can’t mush a birthday into Christmas. At least not successfully.”
Nala sneezed.
“Exactly how I feel about it, but we’ll be nice ’cause it’s even worse when I say something. Then I get crappy gifts and everyone’s upset and things turn all awkward.” Nala didn’t look convinced, so I focused my attention on my reflection. For a second I thought I might have gone too heavy on the eyeliner, but I looked closer and realized that what was making my eyes look so huge and dark wasn’t anything as ordinary as eyeliner. Even though it had been two months since I’d been Marked to become a vampyre, the sapphire-colored crescent-moon tattoo between my eyes and the elaborate filigree of interlocking lacework tattoos that framed my face still had the ability to surprise me. I traced one of the curving jewel-blue spiral lines with the tip of my finger. Then almost without conscious thought I pulled the already wide neck of my black sweater down so that it exposed my left shoulder. With a flick of my head I tossed back my long dark hair so that the unusual pattern of tattoos that began at the base of my neck and spread over my shoulder and down either side of my spine to the small of my back was visible. As always, the sight of my tattoos gave me an electric thrill that was part wonder and part fear.
“You’re not like anyone else,” I whispered to my reflection. Then I cleared my throat and continued in an overly perky voice. “And it’s okay not to be like anyone else.” I rolled my eyes at myself. “Whatever.” I looked up over my head, half surprised that it wasn’t visible. I mean, I could definitely feel the ginormic dark cloud that had been following me around for the past month. “Hell, I’m surprised it’s not raining in here. And wouldn’t that be just great for my hair?” I sarcastically told my reflection. Then I sighed and picked up the envelope I’d laid on my desk. the heffer family was embossed in gold above the sparkling return address. “Speaking of depressing... ,” I muttered.
Nala sneezed again.
“You’re right. Might as well get it over with.” I reluctantly opened the envelope and pulled out the card. “Ah, hell. It’s worse than I thought.” There was a huge wooden cross on the front of the card. Staked to the middle of the cross (with a bloody nail) was an old time scroll-like paper. Written (in blood, of course) were the words: He IS the reason for the season. Inside the card was printed (in red letters): MERRY CHRISTMAS. Below that, in my mom’s handwriting, it said: I hope you’re remembering your family during this blessed time of the year. Happy Birthday, Love, Mom and Dad.
“That’s so typical,” I told Nala. My stomach hurt. “And he is not my dad.” I ripped the card in two and threw it into the wastepaper basket, then stood staring at the torn pieces. “If my parents aren’t ignoring me, they’re insulting me. I like being ignored better.”
The knock on my door made me jump.
“Zoey, everyone wants to know where you are.” Damien’s voice carried easily through the door.
“Hang on—I’m almost ready,” I yelled, shook myself mentally, and gave my reflection one more look, deciding, with a definitely defensive edge, to leave my shoulder bare. “My Marks aren’t like anyone else’s. Might as well give the masses something to gawk at while they talk,” I muttered.
Then I sighed. I’m usually not so grumpy. But my sucky birthday, my sucky parents...
No. I couldn’t keep lying to myself.
“Wish Stevie Rae was here,” I whispered.
And that was it, what had me withdrawing from my friends (including boyfriends—both of them) during the past month and impersonating a large, soggy, disgusting, rain cloud. I missed my best friend and ex-roommate, who everyone had watched die a month ago, but who I knew had actually been turned into an undead creature of the night. No matter how melodramatic and bad B movie that sounded. The truth was that right now, when Stevie Rae should have been downstairs puttering around with my lame birthday details, she was actually lurking about somewhere in the old tunnels under Tulsa, conspiring with other disgusting undead creatures who were truly evil, as well as definitely bad-smelling.
“Uh, Z? You okay in there?” Damien’s voice called again, interrupting my mental blahs. I scooped up a complaining Nala, turned my back on the terrible birthmas card from my ’rentals, and hurried out the door, almost running over a worried-looking Damien.
“Sorry... sorry... ,” I mumbled. He fell in step beside me, giving me quick little sideways glances.
“I’ve never known anyone before who was as not excited as you about their birthday,” Damien said.
I dropped the squirming Nala and shrugged, trying for a nonchalant smile. “I’m just practicing for when I’m old as dirt—like thirty—and I need to lie about my age.”
Damien stopped and turned to face me. “Okayyyy.” He dragged the word out. “We all know that thirty-year-old vamps still look roughly twenty and definitely hot. Actually one-hundred-and-thirty-year-old vamps still look roughly twenty and definitely hot. So the whole lying about your age issue is a nonissue. What’s really going on with you?”
While I hesitated, trying to figure out what I should or could say to Damien, he raised one neatly plucked brow and, in his best schoolteacher voice, said, “You know how sensitive my people are to emotions, so you may as well just give up and tell me the truth.”
I sighed again. “You gays are freakishly intuitive.”
“That’s us: homos—the few, the proud, the hypersensitive.”
“Isn’t homo a derogatory term?”
“Not if it’s used by a homo. By the by, you’re stalling and it’s so not working for you.” He actually put his hand on his hip and tapped his foot.
I smiled at him, but knew that the expression didn’t reach my eyes. With an intensity that surprised me, I suddenly, desperately wanted to tell Damien the truth.
“I miss Stevie Rae,” I blurted before I could stop my mouth.
He didn’t hesitate. “I know.” His eyes looked suspiciously damp.
And that was it. Like a dam had broken open inside me the words came spilling out. “She should be here! She’d be running around like a crazy woman putting up birthday decorations and probably baking a cake all by herself.”
“A really awful cake,” Damien said with a little sniffle.
“Yeah, but it’d be one of her mama’s favorite recipes.” I gave my best exaggerated Okie twang as I mimicked Stevie Rae’s countrified voice, which made me smile through my own tears, and I thought how weird it was that now that I was letting Damien see how upset I really felt—and why I felt that way—my smile actually reached my eyes.
“And the Twins and I would have been pissed because she would have insisted we all wear those pointed birthday hats with the elastic string that pinches your chin.” He shuddered in not-so-pretended horror. “God, they’re so unattractive.”
I laughed and felt a little of the tightness in my chest begin to loosen. “There’s just something about Stevie Rae that makes me feel good.” I didn’t realize that I’d used the present tense until Damien’s teary smile faltered.
“Yeah, she was great,” he said, with an extra emphasis on the was while he looked at me like he was worried about my sanity.
If only he knew the whole truth. If only I could tell him.
But I couldn’t. If I did it would get either Stevie Rae or me, or both of us, killed. For good this time.
So instead I grabbed my obviously worried friend’s arm and started pulling him toward the stairs that would lead us down to the public rooms of the girls’ dorm and my waiting friends (and their dorky presents).
“Let’s go. I’m feeling the need to open presents,” I lied enthusiastically.
“Ohmygod! I can not wait for you to open mine!” Damien gushed. “I shopped for it forevah!”
I smiled and nodded appropriately as Damien went on and on about his Quest for the Pe...

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780312360306: Chosen (House of Night, Book 3)

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Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin, 2008
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Abacus, 2001
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