Journal

Stop RIGHT NOW if you haven’t read the first two books. Massive spoilers ahoy! 🙂
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Chapter One
Alona

Malachi the Magnificent, Consultant to the Stars, had a storefront in a dingy, rundown strip mall between a sketchy-looking Laundromat and a closed-up nail salon with a big, bright orange health department sticker plastered on its door. It couldn’t have been less magnificent if he’d tried.

My heart sank. This was the guy we were going to for help on life and death matters?

I looked over at Will in the driver’s seat. “You’re kidding, right?”

“What’s wrong?” he asked, making the turn into the crumbling and pot-hole filled lot, which was–surprise, surprise–basically empty even on a warm and sunny Friday afternoon.

“Look at this place! It’s about six seconds from being raided by the police…or Health and Sanitation.” I shuddered.

At least, Madame Selena had had her own building…about sixteen inches from the edge of the highway, but still. And she had a turban. Say what you will, but it certainly added an air of mystery to her, like what, exactly, she was hiding under it.

“Appearances can be deceiving.” Will looked over at me pointedly.

I shoved her…my fine brown hair away from my eyes and glared at him. “Oh, ha, ha. Very funny.”

I’d been stuck inside Lily Turner’s body for almost a month now. My well-intentioned attempt as a spirit to simply borrow her body for the purposes of communicating with the living had backfired in a huge way. And now I had to pretend to be Lily. Or, try to, anyway.

I’m an expert at pretending. I spent a lot of years and even more effort convincing people that the perfectly put together and trouble-free Alona Dare they knew and seemingly loved was the real deal instead of a carefully crafted and maintained cover.

But being a whole other person–someone I’d never met–that was a stretch, even with my skills.

I’d read Lily’s diary–revoltingly full of naive gushing about Ben Rogers, barf–reviewed the contents of her pathetic closet, and dug into the depths of her medicine cabinet (cheap makeup in the wrong color palette and one bottle of expired antibiotics–boring).

But none of that told me how to be her, especially around her family. And I was failing…miserably. I didn’t know Lily’s favorite color, that she was allergic to strawberries (found that one out the hard way), or that she hated that old Backstreet Boys song “Everybody,” which her younger brother, Tyler, played over and over again just to bug her. I’d just tuned it out and chalked it up as another example of Tyler’s bad taste, in music this time instead of fashion.

Trauma and brain injury could explain away a lot, but not enough. The Turners had given me space in the beginning to “adjust,” but now, unsurprisingly, Mrs. Turner was pressing for more time, more interaction…just more from me.


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