The Bonding Ritual (Girls Wearing Black: Book Four) (64 page)

BOOK: The Bonding Ritual (Girls Wearing Black: Book Four)
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“Alright,” she said. “We’ll start at the mission.”

She dumped the contents of the envelope out on the table.

“If you’ve been briefed, then you know there is a huge power vacuum in DC right now,” Jill said. “The Samarin clan is on the run at present, but we know that a few of them are working to organize the vampires who are left. Over the past few weeks, our agents in the field have stolen data from the mansions of three vampires who have been in communication with Fu Xi.”

“I haven’t told them anything about Fu Xi yet,” said Eve.

Jill pulled one of the photographs from the pile. It showed a handsome young man walking into a skyscraper in downtown Shanghai.

“Now that Falkon Dillinger and Daciana Samarin are dead,” said Jill. “Fu Xi is the most powerful vampire in the world. And several members of what was once the Samarin clan have contacted him for help.”

Jill pushed Fu Xi’s photograph out of the way, and pulled a printed email from the pile.

“This is an email Fu Xi sent to Nora Jamison,” said Jill. “In the email, he outlines a strategy where a new clan of vampires takes control of Washington DC. As you can see in the email, the centerpiece of his strategy is Thorndike Academy. That’s where you guys come in. The Network needs eyes and ears at the school, and as of this morning, there are still a few slots available in next year’s freshman class.”

She looked up at the boys.
Eddie and Patrick. Two young men, both of them eager to make their mark on the world. Excitable, brimming with confidence, certain that they had what it took to walk into enemy territory and bring the fight to the vampires.

Just like I was.

“Before you agree to do this,” Jill said. “You both need to be aware that you’ll be risking your lives. The Network will provide you all the support we can give, but if you find yourselves in a situation where your cover is blown, we might not be able to help you.”

“We’re aware of the risks,” said

“This is a chance for us to fight for something we believe in,” said Patrick. “How many times in life do you get an opportunity like that? Besides, we’ve all got to die
eventually, right?”

Jill looked at Patrick, and felt like she was staring at a mirror.
A mirror showing a younger, more naive version of herself. These boys had so many things to learn, things that could only be learned out in the field. Like how you’ll react when a vampire steps into the room. And who your real friends are.

And what you’re willing to die for.

“Right you are, Patrick,” Jill said. “Nobody gets to live forever.”





I should start
with a thanks to you, my readers. You’ve been with me for four books now, and I can’t tell you how honored I am that you keep coming back.


Thanks to Chris Stenger for designing all the covers for this series. Chris, your work is magnificent, and will forever be a part of these books.


Thanks to Martha Baum, Napoli Coffee in Albuquerque, and many public libraries for providing me a place to set down my laptop and work on this novel.


Thanks to Kira, Rowan, and Connor for being patient with Daddy since I started working on these books in 2011.


And the final thanks, of course, goes to Julie Baum, who serves as muse, editor, consultant, first reader, last reader, and most favorite person in my life.


Email me at
[email protected]
or look me up at
, and I’ll see you when the next novel is out!

BOOK: The Bonding Ritual (Girls Wearing Black: Book Four)
6.65Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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