Raphael (Vampires in America #1) Killers of the Dawn (The Saga of Darren Shan #9)

You deserve to know, Hunter, I said, feeling strengthened by his words. My mom . . . after her and my dad got divorced she married this guy and he . . . he murdered her a year and a half ago. Another tear rolled down my face. . . . Then my dad took his own life a few months ago. The story was in the news. All of it was . . .

Yeah, I think so. She couldn’t remember now his exact words, but she’d had a very strong impression. Why else would he lead me here?Eddie shrugged and made a few more thrusts and parries. Never can tell with Andrews.

Well, he’s written—or rather, he’s discovered—a detailed mystery surrounding Mary Francis. I don’t see him as a sloppy guy.Surely the secret room and the body are part of that mystery, and uncovering clues to one will help solve the other, all neat and tidy. I think he’s being so secretive, though, because he used this room without Mrs. Wattlesbrook’s permission and he doesn’t want to upset her. But really, she said, gesturing to the mess, he could be just a teeny, tiny bit less opaque. I can’t find the needle for all this hay.She briefly thought, Well, maybe the body was real, but then scoffed the thought right out of her head. Dead bodies don’t show up then disappear; murders don’t cross her path in real life. Of course this was all part of the game—just as was Mr. Mallery’s amorous confession from the night before. She would not get unduly sucked in. She would not allow her fancy to run wild, imagining murders in the dark and handsome actors genuinely falling for her. She was never the type of child to jump off the garage roof believing that a costume cape could make her fly.

Perhaps the fake dead body was the only intended clue in this chamber? said Eddie, slightly out of breath from ducking under his imaginary opponent’s swing.Maybe. But he went to all the trouble of stowing the corpse in a secret room. Once a secret room is introduced in a mystery story, it always comes back into play. Besides, I don’t know where else to look for clues.

Eddie rested the tip of the foil on the ground. Why does this matter so much to you?

She shrugged, then laughed. I came to get lost in a story, I guess, and ironically the make-believe mystery and murder story seems safer than … than whatever I’m supposed to accomplish with Mr. Mallery, and a lot more hopeful than the news from back home.Hey, Lorrie, Hunter said wrapping his arms around me from behind. Someone call?

Yeah, it was just Daniela, checking in on me, I said sweetly.There’s certainly a lot to check out, he said running his hands up and down my legs and in between them, making me bite my lip in excitement. That’s for sure. Ready to talk about that extra credit?

I nodded and voiced my excitement.It was approaching evening by the time we finished Sex Ed 101. The class took a lot longer than both of us had anticipated. There was just so much for him to teach, and for me to learn. We sat down at the living room table, sore and fatigued, but strangely energetic.