Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of more than forty novels, including the Morganville Vampires series, the Weather Warden series, the Outcast Season series, and the Revivalist series.
Excerpt from book:
***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***
Copyright © 2014 by Roxanne Longstreet Conrad
I stood in the dark corner of my enemy’s house, and thought of murder.
In his bed, Tybalt Capulet snored and drooled like a tooth- less old woman. I marveled as I thought of how the women of Verona—from dewy-eyed maids to dignified ladies—fell swooning in his wake. If they could see him like this (a drunken, undignified mess in sodden linen), they’d run shrieking to the arms of their fathers and husbands.
It would make a good, vivid story to retell, but only among my closest and dearest.
I turned a dagger restlessly in my gloved hand, feeling that murderous tingle working its way through my veins, but I was no assassin. I was not here to kill. I’d come stealthily into his house, into his rooms, for a purpose.
Tybalt, the heir of Capulet, swaggered the streets of Verona and used wit like weapons; that was nothing new among our class of young cocks. He was never above offering insults, to low or high, when opportunity came. Today he’d offended my house. House Montague.
The victim was a serving girl. Insults to servants didn’t call for open challenges from those of my station, but still, it pricked me, seeing the self-satisfied grin on Tybalt’s face as he emerged from that rank little alcove where he’d reduced her to tears; I’d seen her run from him red faced, holding the tattered rags of her clothes together. He’d injured the girl only to prove his contempt for my house, and that required an answer
It required revenge, and that was something that I, Benvolio Montague, would serve him—not in the streets, in open war, but here, in the dark. Tonight I was clad head to toe in disguise, and there was nothing about me to indicate my station, or my house. Tonight I was a thief—the best thief in Verona. They called me the Prince of Shadows. For three years I had stolen from my peers without being caught, and tonight . . . tonight would be no different.
Except that it was different. My hands felt hot and restless. So easy to drag a dagger across that hated throat, but murder spawned murder, and I didn’t want to kill Tybalt. There had been enough of that between our two houses; the streets ran slick with spilled blood. No . . . I wanted to humiliate him. I wanted to knock him from his perch as the man of the hour.
I had the will, and the access. All that remained now was to choose how to hurt him best. Tybalt was the God-crowned heir of Capulet; he was rich, indulged, and careless. I needed to wound him where it counted—in the eyes of his family, and preferably in the eyes of all Verona.
Ah. I spotted a gleam as something caught the light on the floor. I crossed to the corner, where he’d dumped a tangle of clothing, and found the jeweled emblem pinned to his doublet—a gaudy piece in Capulet colors, one that would feed even a well-done-by merchant family for a year. No doubt he’d underpaid for it, as well; Tybalt was more likely to terrify honest men into bargains than to pay fairly. I added the prize to my purse, and then drew Tybalt’s rapier from its sheath, slowly and carefully. It came free with a soft, singing ring of steel, and I turned it in the moonlight, assessing the quality. Very fine, and engraved with his name and cr
Praise for Prince of Shadows:
“Smart, sexy, and addictive…the Prince of Shadows will steal your heart, then he’ll break it.”—Kami Garcia, #1 New York Times Bestselling Coauthor of Beautiful Creatures
“Romance and intrigue abound; I loved it!”—Melissa Marr, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Wicked Lovely Series
“Should a successful author of vampire novels attempt to write an alternative Shakespeare? Thankfully, this one did, as the results are delicious...simply superb.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Evocative and ambitious.”—Publishers Weekly
“Ms. Caine brings fair Verona to life…This is not your mother’s Romeo and Juliet!”—Examiner.com