Lauren Kate: Torment

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Lauren Kate Torment
  • Название:
    Torment
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Random House
  • Жанр:
    Фантастические любовные романы / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2010
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-0-375-89717-7
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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Torment: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts — immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something — something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

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Torment

(The second book in the Fallen series)

(2010)

A novel by

Lauren Kate

FOR ELIZABETH, IRDY, ANNE, AND VIC.

I HAVE BEEN SO LUCKY TO HAVE YOU.

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.

—GEORGE HERBERT, Easter Wings

PROLOGUE

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.

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