“I keep expecting to wake up and find it was all a bad dream.
Alina will be alive,
I won’t be afraid of the dark,
Monsters won’t be walking the streets of Dublin,
And I won’t have this terrible fear that tomorrow dawn just won’t come.”
I ’d die for him.
No, wait a minute . . . that’s not where this is supposed to begin.
I know that. But left to my own devices, I’d prefer to skim over the events of the next few weeks, and whisk you through those days with glossed-over details that cast me in a more flattering light.
Nobody looks good in their darkest hour. But it’s those hours that make us what we are. We stand strong, or we cower. We emerge victorious, tempered by our trials, or fractured by a permanent, damning fault line.
I never used to think about things like darkest hours and trials and fault lines.
I used to fill my days with sunning and shopping, bartending at The Brickyard (always more of a party than a job, and that was how I liked my life), and devising ways to con Mom and Dad into helping me buy a new car. At twenty-two, I was still living at home, safe in my sheltered world, lulled by the sleepy, slow-paddling fans of the Deep South into believing myself the center of it.
Then my sister, Alina, was brutally murdered while studying abroad in Dublin, and my world changed overnight. It was bad enough that I had to identify her mutilated body, and watch my once happy family shatter, but my world didn’t stop falling apart there. It didn’t stop until I’d learned that pretty much everything I’d been raised to believe about myself wasn’t true.
I discovered that my folks weren’t my real parents; my sister and I were adopted; and despite my lazy, occasionally overblown drawl, we weren’t southern at all, but descended from an ancient Celtic bloodline of sidhe-seers, people who can see the Fae—a terrifying race of otherworldly beings that have lived secretly among us for thousands of years, cloaked in illusions and lies.
Those were the easy lessons.
The hard lessons were yet to come, waiting for me in the craic-filled streets of the Temple Bar District of Dublin, where I would watch people die, and learn to kill; where I would meet Jericho Barrons, V’lane, and the Lord Master; where I would step up to the plate as a major player in a deadly game with fate-of-the-world stakes.
For those of you just joining me, my name is MacKayla Lane, Mac for short. My real last name might be O’Connor, but I don’t know that for sure. I’m a sidhe-seer, one of the most powerful that’s ever lived. Not only can I see the Fae, I can hurt them and, armed with one of their most sacred Hallows—the Spear of Luin, or Destiny—I can even kill the immortal beings.
Don’t settle into your chair and relax. It’s not just my world that’s in trouble; it’s your world, too. It’s happening, right now, while you’re sitting there, munching a snack, getting ready to immerse yourself in a fictional escape. Guess what? It’s not fiction, and there’s no escape. The walls between the human world and Faery are coming down—and I hate to break it to you, but these fairies are so not Tinkerbells.
If the walls crash completely . . . well, you’d just better hope they don’t. If I were you, I’d turn on all my lights right now. Get out a few flashlights. Check your supply of batteries.
I came to Dublin for two things: to find out who killed my sister, and to get revenge. See how easily I can say that now? I want revenge. Revenge with a capital R. Revenge with crushed bones and a lot of blood. I want her murderer dead, preferably by my own hand. A few months here and I’ve shed years of polished southern civilities.
Shortly after I stepped off the plane from Ashford, Georgia, and planted my well-pedicured foot on Ireland’s shore, I probably would have died if I hadn’t stumbled into a bookstore owned by Jericho Barrons. Who or what he is, I have no idea. But he has knowledge that I need, and I have something he wants, and that makes us reluctant allies.
When I had no place to turn, Barrons took me in, taught me who and what I am, opened my eyes, and helped me survive. He didn’t do it nicely, but I no longer care how I