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Zodiac Academy: The Reckoning by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Zodiac Academy: The Reckoning

by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti


Book 3 in the Beasts and Bullies Series

The answer to your question will be revealed on the Lunar Eclipse. But when finding the truth, don't let the shadows take you.

The week of The Reckoning has begun. And senior students have been tasked with making the freshmen's lives pure hell as they prepare to take their fateful assessment.

With the Lunar Eclipse on the horizon, Tory and Darcy have more to worry about than just passing their exams. A dark plot is unfolding and the shadows are drawing closer...

Age Recommendation:



Urban Fantasy

Bully Romance


Zodiac Academy: The Reckoning is the third book in Caroline Peckham's and Susanne Valenti's Beast and Bullies series, and picks up where the second book left off. Despite Tory and Darcy saving multiple lives with their mysterious fire power, the Heir's are not happy. If anything, their throne is at risk to the twins more than ever. But Tory and Darcy can't focus on that - it's Hell Week. A week where the freshman are preyed on by the rest of the student body, making it harder for them to complete their Element trials, and passing The Reckoning - which they must do to keep their spot at Zodiac Academy. With everyone rooting against them, can the twins pass their trails and ensure their spot in the fae world?

Now this was better. Am I still in love with the series? Will I buy the physical books for my bookshelf of favorites? No. But it was way better than the last two. Tory and Darcy keep getting stronger, which I am all for. I love that their order FINALLY emerged --------spoiler-------> Phoenixes. Literally never crossed my mind. <------------------, and how epic it is. The dialogue is fun, and quite a few times I would laugh out loud - especially Tory's one liners. I do think there are problems, though. Three books in, and the bullying is still happening! Now, don't get me wrong, I don't have much experience when it comes to bully romances, but from what I have heard, by now the bullying is done with. And yeah, yeah, I know that in this world, this is the fae way ... but it's getting tiresome. The one story I am most invested in is Darcy and Orion. I truly do believe they are mates. But this is a problem. I'm supposed to be invested in both these girls. And hell, I like Tory's character. She is funny, and I love that she takes no shit. But the love triangle has gone on too long. And while I really enjoy Tory and Caleb's games - and of the four guys, Caleb is probably m favorite - I want to see Darius and Tory together. The chemistry is there, and now I want it on page damn it.

Three books in, and I finally feel like we are getting somewhere plot wise. Part of the problem is the timeline. Each book covers, what? Like a couple weeks at a time. So plot wise, these books are drawn out. Too much in my opinion. But with the way The Reckoning ended, I'm crossing fingers we are getting into the meatier part of the story now.

  1. Tory and Darius's power connecting

  2. Orion and Darcy first liaison meeting after the kiss

  3. Backstreet Boys

  4. The girls planting the sex toys on the boys couch


  6. Darcy running over to Orion's and OMG THEY FINALLY DID IT

  7. Tory's support for Xavier

  8. Motorcycle race

  9. Tory and Darius sleeping in the same bed

  10. Darcy finding Orion in bed with his numerology book

  11. Orion standing up for the girls when Darius is angry about finding out about Tory burning his room down

  12. Caleb and Tory dancing around the fact that Tory is the one responsible for the Pegasus rumors

  13. Orion and Darcy finally hashing things out


  15. The Reckoning

  16. Um ... Orion "punishing" Darcy ... holy shit.

  17. Orion fighting to save Darcy in the pit, and his heartbreaking "Blue"

Darcy: “You’re popular this morning,”

Tory: “Caleb’s just trying to get into my pants again.”

She snorted a laugh.

Darcy: “How hard are you going to make him work for it?”

Tory: “He took part in the whole throwing us in a pit business. So I’m thinking I’m done with him,”

Darcy: “Yeah, you totally should be. But that look in your eye says you’re not.”

Tory: “That’s just the part of my brain which is blinded by his hotness. I refuse to listen to her because she’s a slut. The sensible part of my brain says hell no and I’ll be keeping company with her and her chastity belt from now on.” Orion: “We have a serious fucking problem. Corbin, tell me what it is.”

He pointed at Tyler who remained dead silent, shrugging his shoulders.

Orion: “Polaris?”

Orion asked Diego who shook his head. His eyes skipped onto me.

Orion: “Miss Vega?”

Darcy: “That our Cardinal Magic teacher is a psycho?”

I offered, rage still simmering in me from him attacking my sister. His jaw ticked in a deadly way and my heart thumped out of rhythm.

Orion: “I prefer the term unbalanced and frankly it's the least of your problems.”

His mouth twitched with amusement as he looked away. Sofia: “Did he catch you?”

Sofia asked with wide eyes.

Tory: “Yeah,”

I sighed, though the memory of him kissing me took the sting out of the bite. Maybe Orion had a point about me starting to like it. I’d have to consider going for the throat punch next time.

Darcy: “Well maybe it’s not worth playing his games if he’s just going to catch you anyway?”

Tory: “It gives me a shot at escaping. Besides… it’s pretty hot.”

Darcy: “There it is,”

Darcy said, rolling her eyes as Sofia laughed. Caleb: “Stop power fucking her and start working on what Pyro wants,”

Caleb called and I flinched, yanking my magic back again as I looked around at him and Darcy. Darius: “Are you afraid I’m going to steal her attention from you, Cal?”

Darius asked Caleb with the hint of a smile playing around his lips.

Caleb: “Not likely,”

Caleb replied dismissively but his eyes narrowed.

Tory: “I’m still here. And neither of you are interesting enough to keep my attention for long so there’s no point in you getting your panties in a twist over it. Tory: “Oh my god, puke,”

Tory said and I blew out a laugh.

Tory: “If you keep singing at us I’ll throat punch you like I did to Max.”

Caleb shot to her side in a blur of motion, slinging his arm around her shoulders.

Caleb: “Ohh what beautiful poetry you weave for me, sweetheart. Gets me so hard.” Text:

Lance: I know what it meant. Darius told me after the Fall Party. But I have my own (better) meaning and Solaria has one too.

P.S I fully intend to break that guy’s legs once you give me his name by the way.

Lance: I guess you’re about to go back to radio silence so for what it’s worth…

In Solaria blue means royal.

And to me, blue means you. Orion: “Get something to eat before you head back to your House. And if you get caught then I’m not covering for you. I already had that FIB asshole sniffing around, asking questions about us,”

Darius: “Anyone would think you were embarrassed about luring students out to sneak around after dark with you in your secret cave,”

Orion: “I’m mostly embarrassed it’s you. You’re not even hot.”

Darius: “Bite me,”

Orion: “Don’t tempt me.” Max dropped into his seat the same moment Caleb did and he instantly shifted to yank the horn vibrator out from under his cushion. Geraldine was walking past them and stopped to point, calling out loudly as she spotted what Max was holding.

Geraldine: “For the love of sanitary sausages, please tell me you aren’t bringing your depraved hobbies in here where we all eat our meals! It’s bad enough you paid a griffin to take a dump on your chest without bringing your randy rocket out with you for breakfast!”

Darcy and I nearly choked on our laughter at what she’d accused him of - it was goddamn genius. Orion: “Hungover, Miss Vega?”

he growled and she sighed, realizing her mistake.

Tory: “Yes, sir. If you fancy sending any of your healing magic this way, that would be swell.”

Orion gave her one of his darkest smiles that said he definitely wasn't her friend right then.

Orion: “Oh I won't be doing that. If you turn up to my class hungover you can deal with the consequences.”

He shot to her side at a fierce speed and bellowed,

Orion: “CAN'T YOU?!”

in her ear. It even made me flinch, but Tory winced with pure pain.

Tory: “Ah no shhhh.”

She covered her ears and Orion stalked back to the board with a chuckle. Darcy: “Sir?”

I called and he looked over, raising a brow.

Darcy: “Can Tory have another peach?”

He headed to his desk, picking up another one and shooting over to Tory's desk at high speed.


he boomed and she covered her whole head with her arms.

Tory: “Whhhy?” I imagined a shield into existence, willing it to surround the peach. The fruit pinged off of my desk as air exploded from my palm and it smacked right into the center of the board, bursting into a cascade of orange pulp.

Darcy: “Woops,”

I breathed while Tory fell apart beside me. Tory: “Oh my god, Darcy, do not try that on yourself." He was behind me in a flash, one hand on my throat and one on my stomach as he jerked me back into his chest. His teeth grazed my ear and my whole body convulsed with pleasure.

Orion: “You're supposed to fight back."

Darcy: "I will if you try to bite me, but that's not what you want.”

I turned in his arms, gazing up at him under my lashes as my heart fell into a rampant beat.

Darcy: “Is it?”

He swallowed and his Adam's apple rose and fell.

Orion: “The Lunar Eclipse is approaching. All Fae act crazy when that happens. I can't be blamed.”

A smile danced around the corners of his mouth, revealing the dimple in his right cheek.

Darcy: “That sounds like a very convenient excuse to break the rules,” Tory: “Someone could see us,”

Caleb: “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I promise to stop if I hear someone coming... aside from you of course.” Tory: “What does The Empress even mean anyway?”

Sofia: “She’s associated with all things maternal. She often represents the creation of life, pregnancy, romance-”

Tory: “Well let’s hope this isn’t a prediction,”

I said with an exaggerated shudder.

Tory: “The last thing I need is a little vampire baby nipping at my ankles.” Darcy laughed.

Darcy: “You’d better make sure you learn that spell Orion taught us before you go near Caleb again. I’m not babysitting a kid that bites.” Text: Darcy: You can have a picture if you tell me the real reason you attacked Diego.

I hit send, laughing as I hugged a pillow to my chest. Why is this so exciting?

Lance: Fine. Seeing another guy's hands on you makes me want to rip out their eyes so they never get to look at you again. Darcy:“You haven't made any comment on me coming here,”

I said, growing hot all over and throwing a glance at the exit again. He caught my chin, tugging me back to look at him, sending my heart ricocheting through my chest.

Orion: “Give a guy a second. One minute I'm messaging you wishing I could have you right here and the next thing...”

He leaned in, kissing the corner of my mouth and I melted. Or that was what it felt like anyway. As if there wasn't a single solid organ in my body.

Orion: “Here you are.” I gave him my answer with my kiss. I needed this like the grass needed rain. Without it, I’d wither and die. Orion: “I want you to the point of pain, Blue.”

His old nickname for me made a smile pull at my lips. I slid my hands over his shoulders, digging my nails in as that frustrated ache spilled into every corner of my body.

Darcy: “Then have me,” Orion: “I hope you brought your peach,”

Lance said and a laugh tumbled from my throat as I leaned away.

Darcy: “You're such an asshole,”

I thumped his shoulder and he chuckled, his hands sliding beneath the waistband at the back of my shorts. Orion: “I know.” Orion: “I'm gonna lose my mind over you,” Orion: “If we ever get caught, I'll do everything in my power to ensure you don't get expelled,”

I brushed my fingers across it as my heart beat a little quicker.

Darcy: “Let's plan never to get caught.”

Orion: “Plans are the best way to make the stars laugh,”

Darcy: “Well let them laugh.” Marguerute: “Are you lost?”

Tory: “I don’t think so. I was looking for the hall of basic bitches and average assholes and it looks like I’ve found it now that I see you here.”

I smiled sweetly while quickly tossing up a wall of solid air around me and reinforcing my shields against Coercion.

Marguerute: “Tell me why you’re here,”

Marguerite demanded, her voice laced with Coercion as I’d expected. Her power crashed against my mental shield but I let the look of disdain slip from my face and widened my eyes so that she’d believe the next words from my lips were the truth she’d wanted.

Tory: “I’m here because I spend all of my spare time watching you and wanting to be like you but you’re mean to me and won’t be my best friend forever like I sooo wish you would. So I decided to become you instead. I’m starting off by creeping up here to seduce your precious Darius and screw him senseless just to make you cry. Then I’m going to dye my hair the cheapest, shittiest shade of red I can find and finally I’ll become the head cheerleader because I fucking love being cheery. Mostly I’m going to do it because I’m obsessed with you but partly because I’m a psycho bitch who just wants to ruin your life.” Tory: “You might want to remember this if you come at me again. Because I get the feeling you just threw the extent of your power at me but I barely even scratched the surface of my magic in retaliation.”

Marguerite glared up at me from her puddle on the floor but she didn’t respond. I swung her door shut between us and turned to find the rest of the hall’s occupants standing in their doorways watching our exchange. More than a few of them gave me an appraising look and one guy even bowed his head a little before turning back into his room.

Darius: “I hope you meant the part about screwing me senseless.”

Darius stood leaning against his doorframe at the end of the hall and I mentally shrugged off the altercation with Marguerite as I stalked towards him. I rolled my eyes at him.

Tory: “In your dreams.”

Darius: “Every night,”

he agreed and his tone was serious enough that it brought a blush to my cheeks. Darius: “You met Roxy at the party for a bit. She’s come to lose a race against me on my bikes.”

I scoffed lightly, not bothering to respond to that.

Xavier: “Yeah, I remember. You’re not easy to forget,”

Tory: “Neither are you. I still can’t believe Darius is related to someone who’s not entirely obnoxious.” Xavier: “If you’re a Dragon maybe you can marry Darius and save him from Mildred,”

I half choked on my coke and set it down quickly as I coughed.

Tory: “Fuck no. Mildred is welcome to him. I want a front row seat to their wedding so that I can laugh my ass off but that’s the only reason I’ll be attending.” Tory: “I’m not pure. There’s nothing clean and innocent about me. I might be a princess but my crown would be made of broken, dirty things, not gold and jewels. I’d never be good enough for Daddy Acrux. And that’s just the way I like it.” Tory: “Well shit. No wonder I like you so much. You skipped the asshole Dragon genes!” Darius" “Trust you not to even notice when you’ve stumbled upon a secret that could get you killed. No one can know that Xavier isn’t a Dragon.”

Tory: “Why? He’s beautiful. And I’d much sooner be a Pegasus than a grumpy ass Dragon.” Xavier suddenly shifted back into his Fae form and I squeaked in surprise as I found myself in the arms of a very naked boy. He squeezed me against him so tightly that I could hardly breathe.

Xavier: “Thank you,”

Tory: “For what?”

I asked in complete confusion, not really hugging him back because he was really fucking naked. I opted for awkwardly patting him on the back as he refused to release me.

Xavier: “For not even batting an eye. For actually thinking there’s something good about this.” Tory: “I have a perfectly good bed downstairs. Why would you want me to stay?”

Darius frowned like he wasn’t sure what to say to that but he inched a little closer all the same.

Darius: “Because it feels right,” he breathed. Tory: “Are you going to admit that I won?”

I asked, a faint smile pulling at my lips again as I reached the door.

Darius: “Never,”

Tory: “Then I guess this is goodnight.”

I pulled the door open and stepped outside quickly, closing it between us before heading down to my room. It was nearly two am and I needed to get some sleep in before the trial tomorrow. I quickly changed into my pajamas and slid into my bed, pulling the duvet up around me to ward off the chill left in my bones by the storm. I flicked my Atlas on to set an alarm for the morning and it pinged just before I closed my eyes. I pulled it closer to read the message quickly and I bit my lip against the smile which wanted to break free in response to what I read.

Darius: But maybe we could call it a draw? Orion: “What? Do you think I’ve got a girl here?”

I snorted and he raised a brow as he turned back to me. My heart hit a frantic beat and I knew it was partly because I was lying to him. I didn’t think I’d ever lied to him before about anything and I wished I didn’t have to. The thought made me kind of ill and I hoped the bond between us didn’t let him sense that.

Darius: “Apparently not. So I guess you were just in the middle of jerking off over your Numerology book. Again.”

Orion: “Numbers are hot,. But I was actually busy jerking off over your mom. She sent me some dirty pictures. Again.”

Darius: “I made it clear that Milton is being shunned,”

he snarled as we made it into a corner beside one of the fires which burned around the edges of The Orb. He placed a hand on the wall beside my head as I pressed my back to the golden wall but I arranged my features into a mask of mildly bored rather than giving any reaction to his intimidation tactics.

Tory: “And I made it clear I don’t do as I’m told,”

I replied with a shrug, looking up at him as I toyed with the lemonade bottle in my hands.

Tory: “Are you going to punish me?”

Darius growled at me and I smiled despite the shiver that ran down my spine in warning.

Tory: “Do you growl at everyone like that or do I get under your skin more than most people?”

Darius: “I find you particularly frustrating,” Darius: “Your smart mouth is going to get you into trouble with me one of these days,”

Tory: “Is that a promise?” Caleb appeared between us in the blink of an eye, perching on the edge of our table and inspecting his fingernails.

Caleb: “We have a problem, sweetheart,”

he said to me, though he continued to inspect his nails.

Tory: “I know. There’s a Vampire sitting on our dinner,” Caleb: “Do you always hang out with frigid virgins or do you make an exception for this specimen?”

Caleb asked me in a whisper shout which carried to everyone.

Tory: “My main criteria is non assholes so really you’re the one who’s out of place.”

I shrugged at him and he smiled. Darius: “Did you break into my room and steal that dagger?”

he demanded, his voice low and predatory. My heart was pounding, fear licking through my limbs like a living thing but a spark of defiance burned strong in the depths of my soul. Yes he had me at his mercy. Yes he had me beaten. But he would never break me. And after everything he’d done to me, I refused to cower beneath him now.

Tory: “You burned my clothes off of my body on my first day here. You encouraged every asshole in this school to make my life hell. You tortured and tormented me every second you got the chance and you laughed while you did it. You took my deepest fear and dragged me to that pool so that you could force me to relive it and you almost fucking killed me,”

I hissed, all the venom of all the hatred I’d ever felt for him pouring out of me like it was an open wound.

Tory: “So yes. I broke into your goddamn room and I stole your precious fucking treasure and that psycho dagger while I was there. And then I melted every other piece of gold you owned and begged the flames to burn the rest. And I fucking laughed while I did it. It was the least you deserved. And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.” Caleb: “Did you just shove her in the mud?”

Darius: “What does it matter to you?”

Caleb: “It’s just a bit...”

Darius: “What?”

Caleb: “Weak,”

Caleb snapped back and I paused, glancing over my shoulder as I looked between the two of them. Darius moved to square his chest against Caleb’s, rising up to his full height and making the most of the few inches he had on him.

Darius: “You wanna say that again?”

Caleb: “Any asshole can push a girl in the mud, it’s got nothing to do with your power or hers,”

Caleb snarled.

Caleb: “And it’s a petty fucking thing to do to her.” Seth: “What’s going on?”

Darius: “Caleb’s crying because I pushed his little whore about,”

Darius taunted and for some reason those words stung more than him shoving me had. Max looked at me with narrowed eyes and I backed up further. Whatever the hell this was, I didn’t need to stay around and watch it play out. I had a trial to get to and the fewer assholes I had around me during it the better.

Caleb: “Darius is just pouting because she won’t look twice at him,”

Caleb retorted. Seth turned to look at me, a snarl aimed my way through bared teeth like this was my fault. All I’d wanted to do was go for a run. He couldn’t expect me to be on asshole patrol at all times, just in case I ran across one. They were freaking everywhere in this place. Tory: “Or maybe the two of you just want a dick measuring contest but you can’t find a microscope to judge it,”

I snapped. Marguerite: “Sneaking out to go screw Caleb again? You realize he’s just using you for your power, right?”

I lifted my chin and stalked towards her, silently thanking her for the brilliant idea. Caleb was exactly what I needed to take my mind away from my nightmares.

Tory: “You’re wrong, Marguerite. He’s not just using me for my power: he gets my body too.” Tory: “Can I go now? My sex addiction needs an outlet.”

I looked up at Darius like he was boring me and his jaw clenched.

Darius: “You might wanna give Cal some notice if you’re planning on surprising him. Last I saw of him, he was heading back to his room with Milly Badgerville, it might be embarrassing for you if she’s still there,”

Darius taunted as he stepped aside. I snorted dismissively.

Tory: “Let’s hope you’re right and the three of us can have fun together.” Caleb: “Come with me to the fair, Tory...please.”

Tory: “Christ, you look like you’re gonna cry if I say no,” Caleb: “Shut the fuck up and get in the car,” he replied with a smirk. “That’s more like it.” Tory: “The last time you and your friends filmed me you were trying to kill me,”

Caleb: “That wasn’t me.”

Tory: “You were still there.”

Silence hung between us for a long moment and heat built in the space dividing us but neither of us moved to close the distance parting our lips.

Caleb: “You promised to punish me for that,”

Tory: “And maybe I did,” Darcy: “What the hell are you doing?”

I shoved his arms, but he ignored me, keeping me in place as he pushed his knee into my thigh.

Orion: “I’m trying to get Diego Polaris’s saliva off of my girl,”

he growled.

Text: Lance: Do you want a ride home?

My heart beat frantically as Washer stepped past me, making a beeline for a bunch of the performers in bikinis. I tapped out a quick reply, frowning as Washer’s hand landed on one of their bare backs. Run for your life girls.

Darcy: Are you freaking crazy???

Lance: Yes. For you ;) Come with me. Darcy: “I wish we could stay at the funfair together.”

I frowned. Orion: “Well...I hear another funfair has popped up in my bedroom for the night,”

he teased. A laugh broke free of my throat and Orion grinned, pushing a lock of hair behind my ear.

Orion: “If you want to go back and find your friends, I get it.”

He squeezed my hand and I interlaced my fingers with his.

Darcy: “Hm, well I quite like the sound of this other funfair. Is there a rollercoaster?”

Orion: “No but there’s a slip and slide?” A deep growl emanated from his throat as he found his way barred by my pantyhose. He ripped a hole in them between my thighs and I sucked in a breath of surprise. Darcy: “Orion!”

I laughed but my laughter turned into a moan as he found his way into my panties and pushed his fingers inside me.

Darcy: “You owe me a new pair,”

Orion: “I’ll get you a whole new wardrobe if you make that noise again.”

Darcy: “What noise?”

I panted and he pumped his fingers harder, drawing a needy moan from my lips.

Orion: “That one,”

he grunted, shifting his free hand between us to undo his jeans. He wrapped one hand in my hair and tugged hard enough to hurt.

Orion: “That’s for Polaris,” he growled as I yelped. I scraped my nails down his chest so hard I drew blood.

Darcy: “That’s for Fran.”

He looked down in surprise, then released a breathless laugh.

Orion: “I like you angry.”

Darcy: “Let’s not make a habit of it though,”

I panted.

Orion: “Deal,”

he groaned as he pushed into me again. Orion: “It just fucks me off that you can go out in public with him and not me.”

Darcy: “Well that’s how it is,”

I sighed, turning to gaze out of the steamy window beside me. I painted a grumpy face on it and wrote Orion above it. He glanced over, breaking a smile.

Orion: “Is that what I look like to you?”

Darcy: “Not quite.”

I added angry eyebrows and fangs, turning to grin cheekily at him. He laughed and I smiled satisfactorily. Orion: “What kind of thing do you have for me?” He shot me a mischievous glance. Darcy: “It will sound crazy,”

Orion: “I like crazy. Did you not get the memo when I tried to cook myself earlier?”

Darcy: “Promise you won’t laugh?”

I asked, heat invading my cheeks.

Orion: “On the stars.”

I nodded, looking out of the window so I didn’t have to see his reaction when I told him.

Darcy: “When we were in the battle and you were about to die, I felt compelled to save you. Like…if I didn’t a part of me would die too. And ever since then, that part of me is getting stronger like it’s become this tangible thing that lives in me. I’ve never been a jealous person before but when I see you with Francesca it’s like I turn into an animal with nothing but basic instincts.”

My cheeks burned hotter and I didn’t dare look at Orion’s face, unsure why I was baring my soul to him right then. I rarely trusted anyone enough to spill my heart out to them, but I always wanted to with him.

Darcy: “I told you it was crazy. He took my hand, winding his fingers between mine and pressing his mouth to the back of my knuckles. I chanced a look his way and my heart pounded as I found nothing but happiness in his eyes. Then he said six words that made my heart shine like the moon.

Orion: "Good, because I feel it too." Tory: “I just want someone to make my heart beat faster. To challenge me and make me laugh and push back against my bullshit. I want to be forced out of my comfort zone and I want to feel excited, exhilarated, afraid. But not just because you’re an asshole. Because I want to feel alive.” Tory: “You’re such a dick,”

Caleb: “Isn’t that why you like me?”

Tory: “No. I like you because you’re half decent in bed.”

A shit eating grin bit at my cheeks at that comment.

CalebL “I’ll work on convincing you of the other half tonight.”

I promised, snatching her hand again so that we could get back to our date. Tory: “Not likely,”

Tory muttered but she let me drag her on with a smile playing around her lips.

The Reckoning: “The wood burns hottest at the heart of the fire. The more hardship you face, the stronger you become.”

The Reckoning: “What does a Fae do when their back is against the wall, Gemini?”

My tongue grew heavy as I mulled over the answer to that question.

Darcy: “They fight,”

The Reckoning: “And what does a Fae do with their heart?” I swallowed as Orion moved forward, reaching toward me almost lovingly, but then a dagger appeared in his hand. The same one he’d had in the cave the other day. He took my arm, holding it above my wrist and I winced, trying to pull free of him.

Darcy: “They guard it,”

I answered, dragging my hand away from him and his form disintegrated like grains of sand on the wind, leaving me in total darkness once more.

The Reckoning: “And what will a Fae do to claim their rightful place in Solaria?”

The answer slid onto my tongue as easily as breathing. It was instinct. Something I’d known about Fae this whole time, but had failed to truly acknowledge. It was why the Heirs hurt us, why Orion helped them, why Lionel controlled them all.

Darcy: “Anything.” Darcy: “The moon wants you to wear this tonight. If you look innocent, it thinks you might act it too.” I smirked at her as she tossed the dress to me and I pulled it on. It hugged my figure and skimmed my knees.

Tory: “Am I seriously wearing this?”

I asked in amusement. It was cute and I wasn’t sure I could pull off cute.

Darcy: “You are,”

she agreed, pushing me down into the chair by my desk as she started fiddling with my hair.

Darcy: “So, we were up to you wanting to punch Caleb’s face and somehow explaining why you’re sending dirty photos to Darius because I’m still lost as to how he’s any different...”

Tory: “Right. Yeah. Well he’s different because he doesn’t pretend to be anything apart from an asshole,”

I said, biting my lip as I let my mind wander in Darius’s direction.

Tory: “And assholes are hot.”

I could hear Darcy rolling her eyes without even having to see it. Yeah, yeah, I was singing an old tune. We both knew it. I was an addict and I may have been heading for a relapse if this moon got its way.

Tory: “Hate sex is hot,”

I said and Darcy groaned.

Darcy: “I see where this is going,”

Tory: “You don’t. It’s not. I’m just saying...”

Darcy laughed and I joined in.

Tory: “It’s the moon,”

Darcy: “Sure it is. Well I've done what I can to make you look innocent. Let's hope you manage to act it." Darcy: “Doesn’t she look nice?”

Tory: “Holy shit, Darcy. No one wants to look nice,”

Darcy: “Nice girls do,”

she hissed back pointedly. Darius laughed and the sound rolled right down my spine and into my soul.

Darius: “Roxy’s not a nice girl,”

he said, his gaze fixed on mine, his pupils larger than normal in his endlessly dark eyes.

Darius: “No matter how pretty she looks in that dress.” I bit my lip against another smile. I had no real intention of going anywhere near Darius Acrux tonight. Probably. Maybe. Sixty three percent. Dammit. I sighed internally. There was no way Orion could join us tonight and I couldn’t exactly go wandering into the teacher’s quarters moondrunk - though a part of me really freaking considered it. Oh hi Principal Nova I’m just looking for Professor Orion because if I don’t screw him six ways till Sunday the moon is gonna cry. Yah, maybe not. Orion: “You’re in trouble, Miss Vega. You’re out after curfew.”

Darcy: “My teacher told me to,”

I said breathily, relishing the game.

Orion: “Do you always do what you’re told?”

He brushed his fangs down my neck and my whole body convulsed.

Darcy: “No…are you going to punish me?”

I dragged in the dangerous air emanating from him, turning my head to try and capture his mouth with mine, but he evaded me. His hand pressed firmly against my lower thigh and the heat of his skin chased away the cold, burning into my flesh.

Orion: “Do you want to be punished?”

Hell yeah I do. Darius: “I’ve been watching you,”

he said slowly. My heart beat a little faster at that confession and I tilted my head at him, my hair spilling over my shoulder and drawing goosebumps along my skin in the process. Darius observed the movement like he was starving for it, like anything and everything I did now was fascinating to him.

Tory: “Why?”

I asked slowly, needing his answer like I needed to draw breath.

Darius: “Because that’s what I do. I watch you and hunger for you and ache for you. It torments me like I torment you.” The fire in my veins burned hotter at that confession and I shifted in the sand, biting down on my lip as I looked up at him. His gaze lingered on my mouth and the ache in my shoulders heightened to the point of pain for a moment before fading beneath my flesh again.

Tory: “Then why do it? Why not just look away?”

Darius: “I’d find it easier to carve my eyes out than I would to stop them landing on you."

Tory: "So don't stop." Darius: “There are countless people who would say I’m not allowed to want you. But you make me want to burn the whole world down so that I can claim you for my own.”

Tory: “Then we should burn it down,”


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