Эприлинн Пайк: Illusions

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Эприлинн Пайк Illusions
  • Название:
    Illusions
  • Автор:
  • Жанр:
    Фантастические любовные романы / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2011
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-06-166809-8
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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Illusions: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Laurel hasn't seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice. But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

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Эприлинн Пайк

Illusions


To Gwendolyn, who was with me for every minute of revisions. Every. Minute.


Chapter One

THE HALLS OF DEL NORTE HIGH BUZZED WITH FIRST-day-of-school chaos as Laurel wedged herself through a crowd of sophomores and spotted David’s broad shoulders. She twined her arms around his waist and pressed her face against his soft T-shirt.

“Hey,” David said, returning her embrace. Laurel had just closed her eyes, prepared to savor the moment, when Chelsea caught them both in an exuberant squeeze.

“Can you believe it? We’re finally seniors!”

Laurel laughed as Chelsea let them go. Coming from her, the question wasn’t exactly rhetorical; there had been times Laurel doubted they’d make it through junior year alive.

As David turned to his locker, Chelsea produced Mrs. Cain’s summer reading list from her backpack. Laurel suppressed a smile; Chelsea had been fretting over the optional books all summer. Probably longer.

“I’m starting to think everyone read Pride and Prejudice,” she said, tilting the paper toward Laurel. “I knew I should have gone with Persuasion.”

I didn’t read Pride and Prejudice,” Laurel countered.

“Yeah, well, you were a little busy reading Common Uses of Ferns or something like that.” Chelsea leaned in so she could whisper. “Or, Seven Habits of Highly Effective Mixers,” she added with a snort of laughter.

How to Win Fronds and Influence Poplars,” David suggested, raising his eyebrows. He straightened abruptly, his smile widening and his voice getting just a touch louder. “Hey, Ryan,” he said, extending a fist.

Ryan bumped him and turned to run his hands down Chelsea’s arms. “How’s the hottest senior at Del Norte?” he asked, making Chelsea giggle as she went onto her toes for a kiss.

Sighing contentedly, Laurel reached out for David’s hand and leaned against him. She’d been back from the Academy in Avalon for only a week, and she’d missed her friends — more even than last year, though her instructor, Yeardley, had usually kept her too busy to dwell on that. She’d mastered several potions and was closing in on more. The mixings were coming more naturally too; she was getting a feel for different herbs and essences and how they should work together. Certainly not enough to strike out on her own like her friend Katya, who was researching new potions, but Laurel took pride in her progress.

Still, it was a relief to be back in Crescent City, where everything was normal and she didn’t feel so lonely. She smiled up at David as he swung his locker shut and pulled her close. It seemed monumentally unfair that she and David had only one class together this year, and despite having spent the past week with him, Laurel found herself clinging to these last few minutes before the bell rang.

She almost didn’t notice the strange tingle that made her want to turn and look behind her.

Was she being watched?

More curious than afraid, Laurel disguised the glance over her shoulder as a toss of her long blond hair. But her watcher was immediately apparent, and Laurel’s breath caught in her throat as her gaze locked with a pair of pale green eyes.

Those eyes weren’t supposed to be light green. They were supposed to be the rich, emerald green that once matched his hair — hair that was now a uniform black, cut short and gelled into a deceptively casual mop. Instead of a hand-woven tunic and breeches, he was dressed in jeans and a black T-shirt that, no matter how good they looked on him, had to be terribly stifling.

And he was wearing shoes. She’d hardly ever seen Tamani wearing shoes.

But light or dark, she knew his eyes — eyes that featured prominently in her dreams, as familiar to her as her own, or her parents’. Or David’s.

As soon as their eyes locked, the months since she’d last seen Tamani shrank from an eternity to an instant. Last winter, in a moment of anger, she’d told him to go away, and he had. She hadn’t known where, or for how long, or if she’d ever see him again. After nearly a year she had almost gotten used to the ache she felt in her chest every time she thought about him. But suddenly he was here, almost close enough to touch.

Laurel looked up at David, but he wasn’t looking at her. He, too, had noticed Tamani.

“Wow,” Chelsea said from behind Laurel’s shoulder, breaking her reverie. “Who’s the hot new guy?” Her boyfriend, Ryan, scoffed. “Well, he is; I’m not blind,” Chelsea added matter-of-factly.

Laurel still couldn’t speak as Tamani’s gaze flitted from her to David and back again. A million thoughts spun through her head. Why is he here? Why is he dressed like that? Why didn’t he tell me he was coming? She hardly felt David pry her hands from his shirt, lacing his warm fingers through her own, which were suddenly cold as ice.

“Foreign exchange, I bet,” Ryan said. “Look at Mr. Robison parading them all around.”

“Maybe,” Chelsea said noncommittally.

Mr. Robison said something to the three students who were following him through the hallway, and Tamani’s head swung so that even his profile was no longer visible. As if released from a spell, Laurel dropped her gaze to the floor.

David squeezed her hand and she looked up at him. “Is that who I think it is?”

Laurel nodded, unable to find her voice; though David and Tamani had met only twice before, both events had been… memorable. When David looked back toward Tamani, so did Laurel.

The other boy in the group looked embarrassed, and the girl was explaining something to him in a language that was clearly not English. Mr. Robison nodded approvingly.

Ryan crossed his arms over his chest and grinned. “See? Told you. Foreign exchange.”

Tamani was shifting the weight of a black backpack from shoulder to shoulder, looking bored. Looking human. That by itself was almost as jarring as his being here in the first place. And then he was looking at her again, less openly now, his glance veiled beneath dark eyelashes.

Laurel fought to breathe evenly. She didn’t know what to think. Avalon wouldn’t send him here without reason, and Laurel couldn’t imagine Tamani abandoning his post.

“You okay?” Chelsea asked, stepping up beside Laurel. “You look kinda freaked.”

Before she could stop herself, Laurel flicked her eyes in Tamani’s direction — a move Chelsea tracked instantly. “It’s Tamani,” she said, hoping she didn’t sound as relieved — or terrified — as she felt.

She must have succeeded, because Chelsea only stared in disbelief. “The hot one?” she whispered.

Laurel nodded.

“Seriously?” Chelsea squealed, only to be cut off by a sharp gesture from Laurel. Laurel glanced covertly over at Tamani to see if she’d been caught. The tick of a smile at one corner of his mouth told her she had.

Then the foreign exchange students were following Mr. Robison down the hallway, away from Laurel. Just before Tamani disappeared around the corner, he looked back at Laurel and winked. Not for the first time, she was supremely grateful she couldn’t blush.

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