Three years after Rory Riordan foiled her own murder, she still trusts no one. Not Dr. Z, the eccentric college professor who has taken her under his wing, not Benji, the endearing, attractive classmate who insists on following her around, and certainly not Cy, the beautifully dark and mysterious boy who sits on the first row in Dr. Z’s Astrobiology class and asks far too many questions.
When Rory witnesses Cy being abducted by soldiers in the middle of the night, she finds herself submersed in a world that holds even more secrets than she could imagine–even darker secrets than her own.
From #1 New York Times Bestseller Jamie McGuire, experience the perfect combination of her bestselling books Providence & Beautiful Disaster. This New Adult Sci-Fi Romance is an action-packed, whiplash-inducing roller coaster ride. Page after page, this unpredictable, dark and sexy nail biter will keep readers guessing until the very end!
“Welcome!” Dr. Z began. “I am Dr. A. Byron Zorba, and you’ve
arrived at Geobiology and Astrobiology . . . uh . . . with lab. That’s a
separate class. Uh . . . later,” he added. “You should also be enrolled in the
lab, separately from lecture. If not, see administration. So! Here, and in the
partnering lab, you will study organic matter from microbes, rocks, and environmental
samples. In lab, you’ll extract and, more importantly, interpret these samples.
Beyond that, we will reconstruct ancient environments to understand how life
evolved within the samples.”
“Yeesh,” Benji whispered.
“It’s really not that bad. Don’t be a baby,” I said, keeping my
voice low as the professor went over the rules and syllabi.
“I’m still running in the mornings,” Benji said. “You should come
with me sometime.”
“I don’t run.”
“It’s good for you. You should try it.”
“I’m not getting up at the crack of dawn to run until I stop
freezing. That’s not healthy. It’s stupid.”
Benji just smiled, clearly amused.
“Excuse me, professor,” Cyrus said, holding his pen in the air.
“Whom shall I contact . . .?”
I blocked out the rest of his question. The trace of a British
accent in his voice and his perfect grammar would have never piqued my
attention before, but on that day it was annoying and snooty.
Not only was Cyrus tall, dark, and handsome but, as class
progressed, he also proved to be Dr. Z’s most adept and eager student.
“That would be Dr. Rosen,” Dr. Z said. “May I ask . . . from
where do you hail?”
“Excuse me?” Cyrus responded.
“I was curious to know if you happen to be Egyptian?” the
I don’t know what expression was on Cyrus’s face, but he must
have smiled, because Dr. Z clapped his hands once, and a wide grin made his
already full cheeks puff out.
Dr. Z patted Cy’s shoulder and shook his finger a few times.
“We’ll have much to talk about. See me after class.”
“Oh, Christ, get a room,” I snarled under my breath.
The professor’s hobby was trying his hardest to be an Egyptian
scholar. I thought maybe Cyrus’s origin was the reason for Dr. Z’s fascination,
but that didn’t turn out to be it at all. Cyrus never answered the questions
that Dr. Z presented to the class, but he asked at least a dozen of his own. He
was curious, and I couldn’t deny that his questions were a work of art.
Dr. Z answered a few questions before lecturing for just ten
minutes, giving us a reading assignment, and then waving us away, twenty
minutes earlier than expected.
Everyone looked around, unsure what to do until I began packing
my things. That started a chain reaction, and noise filled the room as students
crammed their laptops into their bags and moved to leave.
After our dismissal, Cyrus stood next to Dr. Z’s podium, and they
spoke in low voices with a lot of nodding and a few smiles. Oh, hell no. I
stood up, grabbed my bag, and walked down the steps, standing in the space next
“Cyrus has just returned from a summer in Mali,” Dr. Z said,
“Oh?” I said, with cold eyes. “You have family there?”
“No,” Cyrus said flatly. He didn’t offer further explanation, so
I stared at him until he became uncomfortable and looked away. That was my very
favorite thing to do to everyone.
“Cyrus is researching the Dogon tribe. Very interesting,” Dr. Z
said. “He’s the third member of our team.”
“What?” I said the word louder than I’d meant and high enough to
Cyrus nodded once to us both, and then he was gone.
“Are you replacing me?” I asked, my heart pounding. My assistant
job was connected to my scholarship. If Cyrus stole it from me, I could be in
real danger of losing that money. It was too late to find a student position
that wasn’t already taken.
“Of course not. You saw the data I sent. You’ll never have time
for anything else if I don’t add someone to the team.”
“I can do it,” I said, only feeling a tiny bit relieved. “You
know I don’t go home for the holidays. I don’t mind working weekends.”
Dr. Z smiled. “Rory, I know you don’t mind working weekends, but
He walked out of the classroom, leaving me among his weird
sculptures and artifacts. None of it made sense. Dr. Z had always been careful.
I couldn’t imagine he would invite someone he didn’t trust into his precious
laboratory. Something about Cyrus felt off, but he didn’t seem dangerous or
untrustworthy. If the professor had been considering Cyrus as just a third team
member, he would have mentioned it before today. The only explanation for my
exclusion from this news was that he was planning to replace me. What’s more, hastily
inviting a new student into his lab wasn’t just uncharacteristic; it was
My eyes were all over the place, looking at a different inanimate
object with every thought. I couldn’t lose my position as Dr. Zorba’s
assistant. Everything was riding on it.
The room grew darker, bringing my attention to the large windows.
The clouds outside were gray. At this time of year, the weather was more likely
to bring in a cold front than a storm. The wind began to blow the few leaves
that had just started to fall from the huge oak trees. I pulled one of several
tubes of lip balm from my jacket pocket and ran it over my lips. I loved winter
up until the night I died. Now it just seemed ominous.
Clenching my teeth with determination, I lifted my bag and swung it over my
shoulder. I refused to lose my assistant position with Dr. Z. Cyrus could take
his thought-provoking, eloquently worded questions and shove them up his ass.