Betrayed, the second installment in the bestselling House of Night series from P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, is dark and sexy, and as thrilling as it is utterly shocking.
Fledgling vampyre Zoey Redbird has managed to settle in at the House of Night. She's come to terms with the vast powers the vampyre goddess, Nyx, has given her, and is getting a handle on being the new Leader of the Dark Daughters. Best of all, Zoey finally feels like she belongs--like she really fits in. She actually has a boyfriend…or two. Then the unthinkable happens: Human teenagers are being killed, and all the evidence points to the House of Night. While danger stalks the humans from Zoey's old life, she begins to realize that the very powers that make her so unique might also threaten those she loves. Then, when she needs her new friends the most, death strikes the House of Night, and Zoey must find the courage to face a betrayal that could break her heart, her soul, and jeopardize the very fabric of her world.
About the Author
P.C. Cast is an award-winning fantasy and paranormal romance author, as well as an experienced speaker and teacher. With her daughter Kristin Cast, she is the author of the House of Night novels, including Awakened, Burned and Hunted. Cast was born in the Midwest, and as a girl fell in love with mythology. After high school, she joined the U.S. Air Force, then taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. Cast's novels are New York Times bestsellers and have been awarded the Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers' Best, and the Laurel Wreath. Ms. Cast lives in Oklahoma, where she is a member of the Oklahoma Writers' Hall of Fame. She splits her time between her ranch and midtown Tulsa where she has a home just down the street from the House of Night...
Kristin Cast has won awards for her poetry and journalism. She also lives in Oklahoma, where she attends college in Tulsa.
P.C. Cast is the author of the House of Night novels, including Marked, Betrayed, Chosen, and Untamed.
Ms. Cast is a #1 New York Times and USA Today Best-Selling author and a member of the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. With more than 20 million copies in print in over 40 countries, her novels have been awarded the prestigious Oklahoma Book Award, YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Prism, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, Booksellers’ Best, and the Laurel Wreath.
Ms. Cast was born in the Midwest and grew up being shuttled back and forth between Illinois and Oklahoma, which is where she fell in love with Quarter Horses and mythology. After high school she joined the United States Air Force and began public speaking and writing. After her tour in the USAF, she taught high school for 15 years before retiring to write full time. She now lives in Oregon surrounded by beloved cats, dogs, horses, and family.
Kristin Cast is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author who teams with her mother to write the wildly successful HOUSE OF NIGHT series. She has editorial credits, a thriving t-shirt line, and a passion for all things paranormal. When away from her writing desk, Kristin loves going on adventures with her friends, family, and significant other, playing with her dogs (Grace Kelly and Hobbs the Tiny Dragon), and is obsessed with her baby.
Read an Excerpt
A House of Night Novel
By P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2007 P.C. Cast Kristin Cast
All rights reserved.
"New kid. Check it out," Shaunee said as she slid into the big boothlike bench we always claim as ours for every school meal served in the dining hall (translation: high-class school cafeteria).
"Tragic, Twin, just tragic." Erin's voice totally echoed Shaunee's. She and Shaunee had some kind of psychic link that made them bizarrely similar, which is why we'd nicknamed them "the Twins," even though Shaunee is a café latte–colored Jamaican American from Connecticut and Erin is a blond-haired, blue-eyed white girl from Oklahoma.
"Thankfully, she's Sarah Freebird's roommate." Damien nodded toward the petite girl with seriously black hair who was showing the lost-looking new kid around the dining hall, his sharp, fashion-wise gaze checking out the two girls and their outfits — from shoes to earrings — in one fast glance. "Clearly her fashion sense is better than Sarah's, despite the stress of being Marked and changing schools. Maybe she'll be able to help Sarah out with her unfortunate ugly shoe propensity."
"Damien," Shaunee said. "Again you are getting on my damn —"
"— last nerve with your unending vocab bullshit," Erin finished for her.
Damien sniffed, looking offended and superior and gayer than he usually looked (even though he is definitely gay). "If your vocabulary wasn't so abysmal you wouldn't have to carry a dictionary around with you to keep up with me."
The Twins narrowed their eyes at him and sucked air to begin a new assault, which, thankfully, my roommate interrupted. In her thick Oklahoma accent, Stevie Rae twanged the two definitions as if she was giving clues for a spelling bee. "Propensity — an often intense natural preference. Abysmal — absolutely horrible. There. Now would y'all quit bickering and be nice? You know it's almost time for parent visitation, and we shouldn't be acting like retards when our folks show up."
"Ah, crap," I said. "I'd totally forgotten about parent visitation."
Damien groaned and dropped his head down on the table, banging it not-so-gently. "I'd totally forgotten, too." The four of us gave him sympathetic looks. Damien's parents were cool with him being Marked, moving to the House of Night, and beginning the Change that would either turn him into a vampyre or, if his body rejected the transformation, kill him. They were not okay with him being gay.
At least Damien's parents were okay with something about him. My mom and her current husband — my step-loser, John Heffer — on the other hand, hated absolutely everything about me.
"My 'rentals aren't coming. They came last month. This month they're too busy."
"Twin, once again we prove our twin-ness," Erin said. "My 'rentals sent me an e-mail. They aren't coming either 'cause of some Thanksgiving cruise they decided to take to Alaska with my Aunt Alane and Uncle Liar Lloyd. Whatever." She shrugged — apparently as unbothered as Shaunee by her parents' absence.
"Hey, Damien, maybe your mama and daddy won't show either," Stevie Rae said with a quick smile.
He sighed. "They'll be here. It's my birthday month. They'll bring presents."
"That doesn't sound so bad," I said. "You were talking about needing a new sketch pad."
"They won't get me a sketch pad," he said. "Last year I asked for an easel. They got me camping supplies and a subscription to Sports Illustrated."
"Eeesh!" said Shaunee and Erin together while Stevie Rae and I wrinkled our noses and made sympathetic noises.
Clearly wanting to change the subject, Damien turned to me. "This'll be your parents' first visit. What're you expecting?"
"Nightmare," I sighed. "Total, absolute, and complete nightmare."
"Zoey? I thought I'd bring my new roommate over to meet you. Diana, this is Zoey Redbird — the leader of the Dark Daughters."
Glad to be diverted from having to talk about my own horrid parental issues, I looked up, smiling, at the sound of Sarah's tentative, nervous voice.
"Wow, it's really true!" the new girl blurted before I could even say hi. As per usual she was staring at my forehead and blushing bright red. "I mean, uh ... sorry. I didn't mean to be rude or anything ..." she trailed off, looking miserable.
"That's okay. Yeah, it is true. My Mark is filled in and added to." I kept my smile in place, trying to make her feel better, even though I truly hated that it seemed like I was the main attraction at a freak show. Again.
Thankfully, Stevie Rae chimed in before Diana's staring and my silence could get any more uncomfortable.
"Yeah, Z got that cool lacy spiral tattoo thing on her face and down along her shoulders when she saved her ex-boyfriend from some scary-assed vampyre ghosts," Stevie Rae said cheerily.
"That's what Sarah told me," Diana said tentatively. "It just sounded so unbelievable that, well, I uh ..."
"You didn't believe it?" Damien said helpfully.
"Yeah. Sorry," she repeated, fidgeting and picking at her fingernails.
"Hey, don't worry about it." I worked up a fairly authentic smile. "It seems pretty bizarre to me sometimes, and I was there."
"And kicking butt," Stevie Rae said.
I gave her my you-are-so-not-helping-me look, which she ignored. Yes, I might someday become their High Priestess, but I'm not exactly the boss of my friends.
"Anyway, this whole place can seem pretty strange at first. It gets better," I told the new kid.
"Thanks," she said with genuine warmth.
"Well, we better go so I can show Diana to where her fifth hour class will be," Sarah said, and then she totally embarrassed me by getting all serious and formal and saluting me with the traditional vampyre sign of respect, closed fist over her heart and bowed head, before she left.
"I really hate it when they do that," I muttered, picking at my salad.
"I think it's nice," Stevie Rae said.
"You deserve to be shown respect," Damien said in his school-teacher voice. "You're the only third former ever to have been made leader of the Dark Daughters and the only fledgling or vampyre in history who has shown an affinity for all five of the elements."
"Face it, Z," Shaunee said around a bite of salad while she gestured at me with her fork.
"You're special." Erin finished for her (as usual).
A third former is what the House of Night called freshmen — so a fourth former is a sophomore, et cetera. And, yes, I am the only third former to be made leader of the Dark Daughters. Lucky me.
"Speaking of the Dark Daughters," Shaunee said. "Have you decided what you want the new requirements for membership to be?"
I stifled the urge to shriek, Hell no, I still can't believe I'm in charge of this thing! Instead I just shook my head, and decided — with what I hoped was a stroke of brilliance — to put some of the pressure back on them.
"No, I don't know what the new requirements should be. Actually, I was hoping you guys would help me. So, do you have any ideas?"
As I suspected, all four of them got quiet. I opened my mouth to thank them very much for their muteness, but our High Priestess's commanding voice came over the school intercom. For a second I was happy about the interruption, and then I realized what she was saying and my stomach started to clench.
"Students and professors, please make your way to the reception hall. It is now time for this month's parent visits."
"Stevie Rae! Stevie Rae! Ohmygosh I have missed you!"
"Mama!" Stevie Rae cried and flew into the arms of a woman who looked just like her, only fifty pounds heavier and twenty-some years older.
Damien and I stood awkwardly just inside the reception hall, which was starting to fill up with uncomfortable-looking human parents, a few human siblings, a bunch of fledgling students, and several of our vampyre professors.
"Well, there're my parents," Damien said with a sigh. "Might as well get this over with. See ya."
"See ya," I mumbled and watched him join two totally ordinary people who were carrying a wrapped present. His mom gave him a quick hug and his dad shook his hand with exuberant masculinity. Damien looked pale and stressed.
I made my way over to the long, linen-draped table that ran the length of one wall. It was filled with expensive cheese and meat platters, desserts, coffee, tea, and wine. I'd been at the House of Night for a month, and it still was a little shocking to me that wine is served so readily here. Part of the reason they do is simple — the school is modeled after the European Houses of Night. Apparently, in Europe wine with meals is like tea or Coke with meals here — so no big deal. The other part is a genetic fact — vampyres don't get drunk — fledglings can barely get buzzed (at least on alcohol — blood, unfortunately, is a whole other issue). So wine literally is no big deal here, although I thought it would be interesting to check out how Oklahoma parents reacted to booze at school.
"Mama! You have to meet my roommate. Remember I told you about her? This is Zoey Redbird. Zoey this is my mama."
"Hi, Mrs. Johnson. It's good to meet you," I said politely.
"Oh, Zoey! It is just so nice to meet you! And, oh my! Your Mark is as pretty as Stevie Rae said it was." She surprised me with a soft mom hug and whispered, "I'm glad you're taking care of my Stevie Rae. I worry about her."
I squeezed her back and whispered, "No problem, Mrs. Johnson. Stevie Rae's my best friend." And even though it was totally unrealistic, I suddenly wished my mom would hug me and worry about me like Mrs. Johnson worried about her daughter.
"Mama, did you bring me any chocolate chip cookies?" Stevie Rae asked.
"Yes, baby, I did, but I just realized that I left them in the car." Stevie Rae's mom twanged in an Okie accent that was identical to her daughter's. "Why don't you come out with me and help me carry them inside. I made a little extra for your friends this time." She smiled kindly at me. "You're more than welcome to come on out with us, too, Zoey."
I heard my voice spoken like a frozen echo of Mrs. Johnson's warm kindness, and looked over her shoulder to see my mom and John coming into the hall. My heart fell into my stomach. She'd brought him. Why the hell couldn't she have come alone and let it be just her and me for a change? But I knew the answer to that. He would never allow it. And his not allowing it meant that she wouldn't do it. Period. End of subject. Since she'd married John Heffer my mom didn't have to worry about money. She lived in a gihugic house in a quiet suburban neighborhood. She volunteered for the PTA. She was majorly active in church. But during the past three years of her "perfect" marriage she'd completely and utterly lost herself.
"Sorry, Mrs. Johnson. I see my parents now, so I better go."
"Oh, honey, I'd love to meet your mama and daddy." And, like we were at any normal high school function, Mrs. Johnson turned, smiling, to meet my parents.
Stevie Rae looked at me, and I looked at her. Sorry, I mouthed to her. I mean, I wasn't absolutely sure anything bad would happen, but with my step-loser closing the distance between us as if he were some testosterone-filled general leading a death march, I figured the odds were probably good for a nightmare scene.
Then my heart lifted way out of my stomach and everything suddenly got much, much better when my favorite person in the world stepped around John and held her arms out to me.
She enfolded me in her arms and the sweet scent of lavender that always moved with her, as if she carried a piece of her beautiful lavender farm everywhere she went.
"Oh, Zoeybird!" She held tight to me. "I have missed you, u-we-tsi a-ge-hu- tsa."
I smiled through my tears, loving the sound of the familiar Cherokee word for daughter — it meant security and love and unconditional acceptance. Things I hadn't felt in my home for the past three years — things that before I'd come to the House of Night I'd only found at my grandma's farm.
"I've missed you, too, Grandma. I'm so glad you came!"
"You must be Zoey's grandmamma," Mrs. Johnson said when we'd quit clinging to each other. "It's so good to meet you. You have a fine girl, here."
Grandma smiled warmly and started to reply, but John interrupted in his usual I'm-so-superior voice.
"Well, actually, that would be our fine girl you would be complimenting."
As if on a Stepford Wives cue, my mother finally managed to speak. "Yes, we're Zoey's parents. I'm Linda Heffer. This is my husband, John, and my mother, Sylvia Red —" Then, in the middle of her oh-so-polite introductions, she bothered to actually look at me and her voice came to a breath-gulping halt mid-word.
I made my face smile, but it felt hot and hard, like it was poured plaster and had been sitting in the summer sun and would crack all to pieces if I wasn't careful.
"For the love of God what have you done to that Mark?" Mom said the word Mark like she'd say the word cancer or pedophile.
"She saved the life of a young man and tapped into a Goddess-given affinity for the elements. In return Nyx has touched her with several unusual Marks for a fledgling," Neferet said in her smooth musical voice as she walked into the middle of our awkward little group, hand extended directly to my step-loser. Neferet was what most adult vampyres are, stunningly perfect. She was tall, with long waves of dark auburn hair and brilliant, almond- shaped eyes an unusual shade of moss green. She moved with a grace and confidence that was clearly not human, and her skin was so spectacular that it looked like someone had turned a light on inside her. Today she was wearing a sleek, royal blue silk suit with silver spiral earrings (representing the path of the Goddess, but it's not like most parents knew that). A silver form of the Goddess with upraised hands was embroidered over her left breast, as it was over all the other professors' breasts. Her smile was dazzling. "Mr. Heffer, I am Neferet, High Priestess of the House of Night, although it might be easier if you would just think of me as you would any ordinary high school's principal. Thank you for coming to parent visitation night."
I could tell that he took her hand automatically. I was sure he would have refused it if she hadn't caught him by surprise. She shook his hand quickly and then turned to my mom.
"Mrs. Heffer, it is a pleasure to meet Zoey's mother. We are so pleased that she has joined the House of Night."
"Well, uh, thank you!" my mom said, clearly disarmed by Neferet's beauty and charm.
When Neferet greeted my grandma, her smile widened and became more than just polite. I noticed that they shook hands in the traditional vampyre greeting style, grasping each other's forearms.
"Sylvia Redbird, it is always a pleasure to see you."
"Neferet, it makes my heart glad to see you, too, and I thank you for honoring your oath to look after my granddaughter."
"It is an oath that is not a burden to fulfill. Zoey is such a special girl." Now Neferet's smile included me in its warmth. Then she turned to Stevie Rae and her mother. "And this is Zoey's roommate, Stevie Rae Johnson, and her mother. I hear that the two of them are practically inseparable, and that even Zoey's cat has taken to Stevie Rae."
"Yeah, it's true. She actually sat on my lap while we watched TV last night," Stevie Rae said laughingly. "And Nala doesn't like anyone except Zoey."
"Cat? I don't remember anyone giving permission for Zoey to get a cat," John said, making me want to retch. Like anyone except Grandma had bothered to talk to me for an entire month!
"You misunderstand, Mr. Heffer, at the House of Night cats roam free. They choose their owners, not the other way around. Zoey didn't need permission when Nala chose her," Neferet said smoothly.
John made a snorting noise, which I was relieved to see everyone ignored. Jeesh, he's such an ass.
"May I offer you some refreshment?" Neferet waved graciously at the table.
"Oh, golly! That reminds me of the cookies I left in the car. Stevie Rae and I were just on our way out there. It was really nice to meet y'all." With a quick hug for me and a wave for everyone else, Stevie Rae and her mom escaped, leaving me there, even though I wished I were anywhere else.
I stayed close to Grandma, lacing my fingers through hers as we walked over to the refreshment table, thinking how much easier this would be if it was just she who had come to visit me. I snuck a look at my mom. A permanent frown seemed to have been painted on her face. She was looking around at the other kids, and hardly even glanced in my direction. Why come at all? I wanted to scream at her. Why seem like you might actually care — might actually miss me — and then show so obviously that you don't?
"Wine, Sylvia? Mr. and Mrs. Heffer?" Neferet offered.
"Thank you, red please," Grandma said.
John's tight lips registered his displeasure. "No. We don't drink."
Excerpted from Betrayed by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast. Copyright © 2007 P.C. Cast Kristin Cast. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.