Defying Destiny (Afterword Academy #3) - Katie May

Chapter 1


I still can’t believe this is fucking happening. My head is spinning so fucking fast, I think it might wrench itself off my neck. It’s hard to maintain control of my anger right now when every part of me wants to ignite and chase after Lilith. Rage burns inside of me, blurring my vision. When I get a hold of that bitch, I’ll rip her limb from fucking limb and feed her to the Verniquin.

But right now, the only woman that I care to lay my hands on is my sweet Hadley. Though we removed Abram’s dagger from her body, Caius still ate her fucking essence, claiming it was for her own good.

But now, looking at her cracked face and her grayed-out skin, I’m not so sure his motives were selfless.

Glaring up at the smoke monster that is Caius, my blood sears through my veins. “Youuuu. You did this to her!”

I can see the smoke making up his face startle, his wispy hands coming up in a placating fashion. “I saved her, Braxton.”

Pushing myself up from the ground, I clench my fists and bare my teeth. “You fucking ate her. You ate her, then lied to us! Told us it was the only way to save her, but really, you just want her for yourself!”

Preston’s hand grips my shoulder. “He saved her, man. You saw her. She was on the verge of being lost forever.”

Yanking myself out of his grasp, I storm over to Caius. “So he says. Why should we believe him? He has lied and cheated. He killed, saying it was for her!”

“And I’d do it all again,” Caius growls out. “I killed Lucifer centuries ago in Hadley’s name, because he and Lilith murdered my Claire and ripped her from my fucking arms, then condemned me to an existence you couldn’t even fucking dream of having to suffer through.”

I fold my arms over my chest, trying to grasp on to anything solid, knowing any assault I make on Caius would have no results, seeing as he has no fucking body. “Spare me, Darkness. You’ll get no pity from me.”

The smoke surrounding Caius begins to swirl like a tornado. I pissed him off.


“I don’t want your pity, Demon. What I want is to retrieve her essence and reunite it with her soul.”

“How fucking convenient that her essence is stuck with your body,” I growl. “That was your plan all along, right? Lock her essence with your body, so we have to save you in order to save her. I should kill you where you stand.” That’s a bluff, and we both know it. I can’t kill Caius when he’s in this shadowy form, but it’ll sure be amusing to try. Again and again and again.

“Enough of this!” Preston’s voice booms around the room, drawing all of our attention. “Fighting is going to get us nowhere. You heard the voice—it said we need to work as a team to fight this, to get her back.”

I scoff. “Work with the enemy? I’d rather find her myself. For all we know, he was in cahoots with Layla this entire time.”

“You don’t really believe that, do you?” Karston asks, while Auston levels Caius with a look that mimics my own. We’re all feeling the loss of Hadley as keenly as a blade in our chests. I know that at any second, I’ll fall apart, but for now, I need to keep a level head. I need to get my—our fucking girl back, or the Afterlife as a whole will be meaningless. “He saved her, Brax. We all saw it.”

“Maybe we saw what he wanted us to see, Kars,” I counter. Am I arguing just for the sake of arguing? Probably. But I trust Caius as much as I trust Lilith, which needless to say, is not at all. “Did you ever think of that? We know he has the power to plant images in our minds. How do we know that this isn’t another one of his tricks?”

“We don’t,” Auston admits as he drops to the floor, gently brushing Hadley’s hair away from her grayed-out face. His eyes shutter with emotion, emotion we no doubt all feel whenever we stare into our beloved’s sunken face. “But we don’t have a choice but to trust him. That last voice was Hadley’s, and if she says we need to work together, as much as I don’t fucking like it, then that’s what we have to do.”

How can I do this?

I drop down next to Hadley,