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Endless Knight [Format Kindle]

Kresley Cole

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Extrait

Endless Knight
1

DAY 246 A.F.

REQUIEM, TENNESSEE

FOOTHILLS OF THE SMOKY MOUNTAINS

This is what I truly am. . . .

Jackson stumbled back from me, making the sign of the cross. Just as I once predicted.

With that one gesture, he has broken my heart utterly.

—And yet I could not be prouder, Empress— seductive Death whispered in my mind.

I heard him so clearly; he must be close. I had nothing left to lose, no reason to live in fear of him. Watch your six, Reaper, I’m on the hunt.

A rasping chuckle. —Your Death awaits.—

I started laughing, and I couldn’t stop.

Jackson paled even more. I hoped he would desert me now and take the other three with him, out of my reach.

Because otherwise, the Empress might just kill them all—

Moisture tracked down my face. A tear?

Rain.

As Jackson and I stared at each other, drops began to fall between us.

My laughter died when I saw him clutching my hair ribbon so tightly that his battered knuckles were white—as if by holding on to it, he could hold on to the sweet girl he thought he’d known.

She was gone, replaced by the Empress, still tensed to fight, standing in a puddle of the Alchemist’s remains. As my reddened hair streamed over my cheeks, I felt my face twisting into an expression I’d never made before. One of menace.

I was half-surprised Jackson hadn’t drawn on me, but his deadly crossbow was still slung over his shoulder.

Along with the ominous drizzle, fog began rolling into this ghost town, obscuring everything, but I spied movement out of the corner of my eye. I dragged my gaze away from Jackson to the rest of our ragtag group, three other Arcana like myself.

Selena, Matthew, and Finn.

It was Selena I focused on. She’d removed her bow from her back and was now slipping an arrow from her thigh quiver.

I raised my brows with surprise. I supposed the Archer had finally gotten tired of waiting to kill us.

When she nocked that arrow, the whirling thorn tornado above me tightened. The little vine by my face straightened in her direction, a viper poised to strike.

“So that’s how it’s going to be, Archer?” My voice was raw from screaming in pain. I sounded like a movie villainess. I felt like one too. There’s a heat in battle—just as Matthew had told me. “Do we do this now?” Exhaustion was setting in as my body regenerated. Though the Alchemist’s acid grenades had eaten away part of my clothes—and skin—I still had some fight left in me.

But for how long?

“Whoa, ladies, what’s going down here?” Finn asked in his SoCal surfer accent. “Selena, why in the hell are you drawing on Evie?”

Matthew murmured, “The Moon rises. The Moon sets.”

Selena ignored both boys. “I don’t want to hurt you, Evie,” she said, even as she aimed at me. Her flawless skin glowed, tinged with red like a hunter’s moon. Her long hair streamed around her face, silvery blond, the color of moonlight. “But I will protect myself until you rein this back in.”

“I’ve remembered what we’re meant to do, Selena.” Kill each other. “Give me one reason why I shouldn’t end you right now.” I waved to the two huge oaks I’d revived earlier. Behind her, the ground rumbled as their roots snaked closer, readying to drag her into the earth.

My soldiers awaiting my order. It would be a horrific way to go.

“You need me,” she said. “You and I—along with some other cards—will ally to kill Death. He’s too strong for any one of us to take out alone. We work together until we defeat him. Then all bets are off.”

“And if I say no?”

She drew back on her bowstring.

The glyphs winding along my skin burned brighter with aggression. “Shoot me, Selena. I want you to. I’ll just regenerate, and I’ll bury you.” Big talk, considering I was weakening by the second. My soldiers as well.

Selena chanced a glance over her shoulder. “We don’t have time for this right now! Bagmen are coming, more than I’ve ever seen together.” No night after the apocalypse was complete without those bloodthirsty zombies. “But J.D.”—she jerked her chin at Jackson—“and I only have a few arrows between us. We had to steal a jeep from that militia to get here. Let’s just say they didn’t give it up easily.”

I could hear the Bagmen’s bloodcurdling wails somewhere out in the night. Like counting seconds between a lightning strike and thunder, I figured they were some distance away.

But it also sounded like tons of them.

“On top of that, other cards have been on our trail for a day,” Selena continued. “By now they know you offed an Arcana—the Alchemist’s death will draw them here. Soon.”

Jackson gazed back and forth between me and Selena. Fifteen minutes ago, he’d thought we were two somewhat normal girls—or as normal as we could be A.F., after the Flash.

Now we were talking about killing each other, killing a card named Death. While a thorn tornado swirled above us. Not to mention that Jackson had seen the Alchemist’s remains, and knew I’d ripped a teenager to pieces.

Selena eased up a fraction on her bowstring. “We need to call a truce for the night and get as far away as possible.”

“A truce—there we go, good idea!” Finn said. “Let’s get on the road and talk this out. Evie, tell me you have my truck.”

“Out of gas.”

“Shit. Ours, too. Looks like we’re on foot.”

No reaction from Jackson. He looked both stunned and whipped with fatigue. Eyes bloodshot. Stubble covering his rugged jaw.

The heat of battle was ebbing; I no longer had to stifle the overwhelming urge to annihilate the other Arcana. Maybe it had flared hotter because I’d denied my Empress nature for so long.

Selena would be an idiot to take me out while Death lived. Was an alliance possible? I needed time to think about everything, to consider my options. “Truce,” I agreed. “For tonight.”

She popped her arrow off the string, sliding it into her quiver with one fluid movement. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Such a show-off.

Without that threat, I began reining in my powers. As my claws morphed into regular pink nails, I directed my tornado of thorns to drop to the street. The barbs plummeted like a swarm of bees dying in unison. On my left forearm, a skin glyph of three thorns shimmered from gold to green before dimming.

I pressed a farewell kiss to the caressing vine. When its length seeped into the skin of my right arm as if submerging underwater, a winding vine glyph glowed, then faded. My red, leaf-strewn hair lightened back to blond. I knew my eyes were changing from green to my normal blue.

Jackson, ever watchful, studied my movements, my reactions. Warily, as he might a wild animal. I didn’t blame him. I would be losing my mind to see this stuff for the first time.

And actually, I had lost my mind when I’d first seen these things through Matthew’s visions.

Tonight Jackson had learned the world wasn’t at all what he’d thought it was. Right now, he looked like he wanted to be anywhere but here.

But if he feared me—or us—then why hadn’t he left?

I was about to ask him when a wave of dizziness and chills hit me, regeneration sapping the last of my strength. The drops of rain were sparse but enough to dampen my hair and uncovered skin. As I limped to go find my jacket, I wondered if I would have time to harvest the life out of the oaks.

I could sink my claws into their bark and suck them dry, like mainlining energy. But it took time. One bad thing about using trees as weapons? After the Flash, I had to load them with my own life force, my blood.

Another bad thing? You couldn’t take them with you.

The others followed me inside, skirting the puddle of remains. Not really “inside,” I thought, gazing at the surreal scene.

Though the house was split in two, its exterior walls and roof collapsed, parts of the parlor were untouched. Doilies clung to tables. The fire lingered in the standing hearth.

This house was like me. We’d started out the day one way, and now we were both damaged beyond repair. But a part of me remains the same. I hope.

Jackson’s gaze flickered over the dribbled burn marks on the floor. Acid had eaten away areas in the same scatter-patter array that marked my blistered legs. The wood was pocked around two perfect footprints, like twin islands.

When he looked at my healing skin, I knew he was putting together what had happened to me here. Surely he’d understand why I’d had to do what I did.

My eyes fell on Arthur’s recorder, still sitting atop an end table, now dotted with raindrops. A tape of my life’s story lay within. It’d clicked off just before he’d threatened to carve up my face with a scalpel. . . .

Matthew crossed to me, grinning down at me from his towering height, big brown eyes so trusting. “I missed Evie. The Empress is my friend.”

The flare of aggression I’d felt while in full Empress mode had faded almost to nothing. Had I really believed that I might harm the others? I was ashamed of my thoughts.

Of course I’d never hurt Matthew. Which meant I’d never play this game.

He raised his ruddy face to the sky, catching drizzle. We’d gone eight months without rain; Matthew had predicted all bad things would come with it.

One threat at a time. “We need to find shelter, sweetheart. Preferably one with a standing roof and no body parts scattered around.” Wincing at the pain in my legs, I asked, “Do I have enough time to drain energy from the oaks?”

Just as Matthew answered, “No,” Finn yelled, “Bagmen!”

Revue de presse

Praise for Kresley Cole:
"Rich mythology, a fresh approach, and excellent writing make this unique vampire tale superb." --Fresh Fiction on A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER
"The snappy dialogue and sensual tormenting make this the best in the Immortals After Dark series so far!"
-- Romantic Times on DARK DESIRES AFTER DUSK
"Kresley Cole knows what paranormal romance readers crave and superbly delivers on every page. . . ."
--Single Titles on KISS OF A DEMON KING
"Not just another romantic read . . . this is a powerful experience!"
--Reader to Reader Reviews on A HUNGER LIKE NO OTHER

Détails sur le produit


En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Kresley Cole est une écrivaine américaine de romance historique et paranormale. Aujourd'hui auteur reconnue, elle fut d'abord une athlète de niveau international, puis coach.
Depuis son premier roman en 2003, Cole a écrit des séries à succès : Sutherland, Highlands, Frères MacCarrick, Les ombres de la nuit. Ces séries sont publiées aux éditions J'ai lu.
Elle vit en Floride avec son mari et beaucoup, beaucoup de chiens

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Amazon.com: 4.8 étoiles sur 5  556 commentaires
45 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Heavy on the Magic, Horror and Cannibalism With a Doozy of a Cliffhanger Ending (B+ Grade) 1 octobre 2013
Par Katie Babs - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
The Poison Princess, the first book in Kresley Cole's Arcana Chronicles ended on a cliffhanger. Let me get this out of the way- The cliffhanger in Endless Knight is more intense, jaw dropping and a doozy of a doozy cliffhanger that may have readers in shock and perhaps anger at Kresley. But this event really turns this story on its ear. The world and the writing is unlike anything I've read by Kresley. Endless Knight has a very different tone and way with words and dialogue that may make readers scratching their heads, wondering where Kresley is taking the heroine, Evie. What Evie goes through is very intense, and at times heartbreaking because she is truly alone in this dangerous world where survival is barely living because if the zombies don't get you, the cannibals will or the weather and lack of food and water may do you in.

Evie is a much stronger person after the events in The Poison Princess. She has come into her powers of manipulating plant life, and has a motley crew of others like her. Her off again, on again love interest, Jack is the only normal human of the bunch and he still frustrates Evie because he's hot and cold toward her. Not that they have any time to work out their problems or time for romance because they're being stalked. This time around the hungry hoard of mindless zombies that roam the land are still a nuisance but it's the cannibals, the humans who want fresh meat they have to keep their eye on. There's also Death and his supernatural minions charting Evie's every move. Death has special plans for Evie. She has this connection to him, and those reasons are revealed in strange dreams. All she wants is to find a safe place and hopefully locate her grandmother, as well as try for some sort of future with Jack.

Things go terribly wrong for Evie and her crew. They're kidnapped by cannibals who'll eat the boys and keep the girls for their own sick pleasures (and may still eat them). But Evie is saved by Death and taken to his fortress for his own purpose. Death hates Evie and wants to kill her, but only on his terms. Evie finally figures out why Death is so full of rage against her, and it's not just because there can only be one victor in this game. She and Death have a past (Evie has a few past lives, while Death is centuries old). These enemies have a bond, and it's nothing like Evie has with Jack. Evie has to decide if she'll allow Death to court her , or stay true to Jack. But Death is seductive and powerful and won't rest until Evie succumbs to him so he can rule the word.

Endless Knight is one trippy book. The cannibal element is bigger this time around, and I won't be eating lasagna for a while (you'll understand this when you read). Kresley has written a more gruesome, electric, sexual and very X-Men like plot with tones of Stephen King's The Stand and Cormac Mccarthy's The Road, much like in The Poison Princess, but on a more disturbing level. That feeling you had while you read or watched The Road is the same as you read Endless Knight. The Poison Princess was more along the lines of a young adult post-apocalyptic tale, but Endless Knight is more horror with a mystical element. It's also a game changer, and Death is the main catalyst who changes the rules. Death speaks in riddles and a ye olde type of language that at times had me confused. I had to re-read what he was saying. I would say this was on purpose but it got to the point where I wanted him to silently brood rather than open his mouth. The way Evie gets him to silently brood gives the book some lighthearted moments that leads to a few sexual charged interactions between the two (poor Jack).

The last thirty pages is a big big shock, like an uber "OMGWTF is Kresley doing?" shock, but you'll be invested and anxious to read the next installment.

Well played, Ms. Cole *Shakes fist*.

Katiebabs
22 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This Book Was The Death Of Me 4 octobre 2013
Par Step Into Fiction - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Does Death remind anyone of Spike on the cover? My friend mentioned that to me and I laughed because he totally does. I never watched Buffy but c'mon, everyone knows who Spike is (James Marsters). But tell me you can't see the same thing when you look at this cover! I absolutely love it!

That being said, let's get to the book. If I could give a book more than five stars, this book would get so many it's not even funny. I was told Endless Knight was better than Poison Princess and let me tell you, I was NOT lied to. This book absolutely blew me away in every sense of the word. I couldn't put this book down; while I was at work, I was sneaking a chapter here and a chapter there even though I knew I had work to do. I couldn't help it, I needed to know what happened next but then it just kept happening over and over again; the need to know more. It's been awhile since I've felt this strongly about a book or at least, it feels like it has. I've enjoyed a lot of the books I've read recently but nothing like this. Not even close.

Endless Knight picks up exactly, and I mean exactly where Poison Princess left off. No crash course refresher here. It's all about getting back to the nitty gritty and finding out more. Jack, oh Jack, he is so sexy and it broke my heart seeing him look at Evie the way he did. It broke her heart, too. She loves him, there's no denying that but there's also no denying the fact that she's changed, whether she wanted to or not. The end of Poison Princess just shows us how much.

I absolutely love Finn and Matthew; Finn is so much fun - I want to be friends with him. He would be so much fun to be around, he's such a jokester and always seems to have a good time. I mean, who doesn't want to surround themselves with someone like that? Matthew, though crazy is actually very humorous, as well though I think it's unintentional it still works. There's Selena, whose a tough pill to swallow but she really comes around in this book. The supporting characters really shine in this book, at least in my eyes. I don't want to say they steal the show because they don't, that job belongs to Death but we'll get to him momentarily. Lark is a new character we're introduced to and she's one that I've kind of been on an emotional roller coaster with. Do I hate her or do I like her - at times I really can't tell.

Death, oh Death I how I love thee though I really shouldn't. I'm sorry, Cajun, but my heart has been stolen by Death himself. Oh my holy hottness - there are no words to describe how I feel about Death. Seriously. I hated him because he's Death and he's trying to come between Evie and Jack and oh heck no, that's not happening. Not on my watch. Turns out, the battery must've died because that's exactly what happened. He squeezed his cute little, toned behind (I'm imagining he has a very nice bum indeed) right there in front of Jack, in my eyes. You know what's scarier though? Not only getting the reader (me) to fall for him but also Evie. Yes, you read this correctly. Welcome, ladies and gentleman, to one of the hottest love triangles in YA today. I kid you not. If you do not come out of this book with some crazy ass feelings about both guys then I need to ask if something is seriously wrong with you. Or should I be asking myself if I am the one with the problem because I actually think I like Death more than Jack. Shocking, I know but I do not lie.

You know a good book never lacks a healthy amount of action, betrayal, drama, tension, kissing-oh god was there ever some hot kissing-death, destruction and insane amount of feelings. The feels that I am feeling after finishing - I cannot stop thinking about this book and I am dying knowing I have to wait for the next book! Seriously, if you've read Poison Princess I want to know why you haven't gone out and gotten Endless Knight already? You need to get this book now and drop everything else you're reading. I loved it so much that I want to read it again. I won't because I have other books to read but the temptation is there. Maybe I'll re-read the last 25% of the book again! THAT ENDING-oh, that ending . . .

Reviewed by Jessica @ Step Into Fiction
13 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 She just keeps getting better! 1 octobre 2013
Par K. Hobbs - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
After reading Poison Princess, I found myself both enthralled with the book, and dubious as to how this series was going to go. The first book was exciting, provocative and such a great foundation, and I was unsure how Kresley was going to one-up it. I should never have second-guessed her!

Endless Knight is one of my favorite books of hers, in any of her series! It's such a great combination of genres - horror, thriller, romance, mystery - I found myself having to pause because I was reading so fast! I think one of my favorite things about Kresley's books and characters is that they all have a reason for what they do and say. They are multifaceted, and its easy to step into their shoes and understand their motives. You find yourself loving or hating characters, but your opinions evolve as the story progresses. It's real, and gritty, and fascinating to read.

She's gotten good at leaving you aching for more, as well. Not sure if I like that or not! Haha. But really, the story is so engrossing, I feel like I could pick it up and read it all over again, and STILL be in awe!
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Love love love this series! 1 octobre 2013
Par Tessa Overbay - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
This book had so many twists and surprises, I couldn't put it down. And bad Kresley for ending it at that point. I CANNOT wait another year for the next book. I will literally go moitier fou. I love how Evie really tries to be so 'good'. And that everyone else isn't what they seemed. I had decided to dislike Jack at the end of Poison Princess. And since this book literally picks up where the first left off, well, you should really read the first in the series to know what I mean. I feel a little nicer towards him, now. But I'll make a more informed decision once I learn HIS endgame. Because things are never as they seem. Kresley Cole is by far my favorite author. Steamy and sexy Heroes. Sweet and Sassy Heroines. Very little in the book that I disliked. But I'm me, read it, decide for yourself. And heck, we can discuss it if you'd like.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 I'm so disappointed and disgusted with Evie 6 novembre 2013
Par jen7waters - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Why, Kresley, why the love triangle?? The story was going great, I was loving all the new info on the Arcana and the developments on Evie and Jack's relationship, BUT THEN COMES THE LOVE TRIANGLE and ruins it!! I'm so, so tired of these things, they just make females look/sound annoying and pathetic, and what makes me angrier is the lack of self-respect! One minute she's kissing one dude and in the next she's thinking about the other, for crying out loud, I can't with this bs. I thought I could trust you Kresley, I really did, but apparently I was wrong. I don't even know if I want to keep reading the series now.
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