Oh. My. Shit. Y’all.
I am so excited about this book on so many levels, and now, I have an amazing cover to go with it.
If you haven’t been following along with the ethology lessons in Lily Graves’s world, this story is basically my serious—but not so serious—parody of the paranormal high school, featuring Lilith, the daughter of Lucifer, her super-villain partner, a fabulous witch bestie, an overbearing mentor, and wonder-twin guardians.
Feel free to catch up here.
Now, for the money shot…
Isn’t she beautiful? Lori Grundy from Cover Reveal Designs did amazing, detailed work and found a girl who actually looked like Lily. Psst, I don’t have their character pages made yet, but you can take a peek at them over here.
All right, I’m dropping you in an excerpt. Enjoy!
I met Starr in front of her oversized colonial. Inside was all high ceilings and glossy wood. Science, research and teaching, paid my dad well, but we weren’t wealthy like this. This was Jenna wealthy, and the comparison made my skin itch. But Starr’s smile wasn’t fake.
“Hey, girlie. Get in here before anyone else gets home.” Her heels from school clicked along the hardwood floors, clanking as she turned into a kitchen that gutted me with envy. The island in the middle was bigger than the entire room at Uncle Henry’s.
She pulled two small mugs from beneath a sputtering espresso machine. My knees rattled as I cupped the porcelain in my hands. The fragrant foam sat me at her counter. Man, I could get used to the taste of that.
Snow White’s ruby mouth perked, and she sat beside me. “We have to practice down here until my mom gets home because the brats will be mayhem in about an hour.”
“That’s cool. I’m more worried about how long it’s going to take me to scribble spells competently.”
“You and those ten-dollar words.”
I bit my lip and sipped the cappuccino. “My mission this morning didn’t go well. We’re going to need your guy.”
Her cup chinked against the counter, and her fingers tapped her phone. With one final flourish, she scooped up her caffeine and posed. “Done. I’ll have the thumb drive in the morning.”
My phone lit up on the counter, which startled me. I didn’t have people who talked to me anymore, other than Starr. A message popped up:
Meet me at the diner at five.
It was from Evan.
“Well, apparently, you have a date.” The glint in Starr’s eyes made it really hard not to roll my own.
“Then, we’d better get to work.”
“Mmm. While we do, I have some update-worthy news.” She fished out a pad of paper and pencils from one of the island drawers and crafted three doodles she designed for me to practice.
I grabbed a pencil and waited. “Are you going to tell me, or what?”
She fished a locket from beneath her shirt.
“A romantic gesture?”
The purse of her lips confirmed it. From her too-perfect boyfriend. “I don’t think I can stand it much longer.”
“Have you told him how much you hate the socialite stuff?”
“Ugh. Yes. To deaf ears.”
I scribbled out the first spell, wincing at the wobbly and uneven lines. “It’s more torture to slowly peel off the bandage than it is to rip it off. If you’ve made a decision, act on it.”
“And leave me ostracized by my parents, friends, and community for giving up on such a perfect future?”
“Talk about ten-dollar words.”
She snorted. “Yeah.”
“You’ll be in good company.” Both Evan and I were outliers, as Dad would call us. “We’re way ahead of the curve, so…”
“I’m not sure being grouped with Evan is such a positive move.”
I shrugged. “He’s been a pretty good friend so far. Attitude aside, he’s helped me out a lot.”
“You make it hard not to dig my nails in that.”
“Guys and girls can be just friends you know.” An argument I’d had about Blake for three years before we did, in fact, date. But I’d never really thought of him like that until he’d made a move. I scribbled out another drawing, paying less attention to the lines and more to the emotion Blake tapped into my chest. A few bubbles of mist seeped from the paper.
“Hey. Look at that.” Starr hovered above the drawing to see the change. “The spell is still distorted, must have been something inside you. What’d you think of?”
“The one you left at home?”
“Yeah.” I set the pencil down and tried to push the feeling away.
“Got a picture?”
“Hey. I’m human, which means I’m curious. Come on. Was he embarrassing?”
Unlocking my phone, I gave her free reign on my photos. Her eyes grew and grew before it dropped to her lap and her mouth followed.
“Man. Talk about pretty. And you were popular.”
“My friends were popular.”
“So, our friendship means I’m popular? It doesn’t feel that way.”
“Okay. You’ve got me. Although, you’re more infamous because of the delinquent.”
“I’m sure I’m breaking all sorts of social norms with the pair of you.”
Her laugh made the grime from my old life slip away, even if just a little.
“I knew there was boy drama in your life somewhere. Makes me feel less alone, you know, so stop holding out on me.”
“He broke up with me for my best friend after I moved.”
A sharp intake of breath released a hiss from her ruby lips. “Bastards. You should sic your psycho on them.”
That teased a laugh out of me, and I took up scribbling again.
Each round sent new billows of fog into the kitchen, larger and thicker each time, until Starr had to turn on the oven fan to clear the room. Her siblings giggled and ran around in it, but the distraction stalled the magic.
The eldest sat at a stool opposite me, looking a bit more traditionally like a witch.
“She’s not a witch,” Starr’s sister said.
“Nope. She sure isn’t.” Starr wrangled one of the other three siblings, who squealed and kicked her feet as she got swung around. “You know what she is?”
Brown gaze overbearing, almost like a hot touch.
“Nephilim. A strong one. Lucifer’s.”
Alarm clanged straight through me, and my fingers dug into the counter’s edge without my consent. I looked to Starr for an explanation. How could she know that unless her sister already told her about my mother?
“Mary’s what we call a bloodhound. She can interpret magical origins of pretty much anything, and she just started training this last year.” The child in her arms swung down to its feet and tugged her toward the fridge. “Fine. Yes. I will feed you heathens, but you have to go wash up first. You know what momma says.”
“The war on germs means hand-to-hand combat,” the youngest three hollered before zooming off to the bathroom.
“The war on germs means hand-to-hand combat?” I asked.
Starr shrugged. “If it works, it works.”
“Speaking of work, I’d better go meet Evan. I’ll keep practicing and let you know what’s up tonight.”
“Yes. I want to hear all about your date.” She shooed her eldest sibling off the stool to do as the littler ones had, and with no retort, I ran off to meet Evan at the diner.
He sat on the bench outside with two Styrofoam cups—the smaller of which he extended to me before I sat. Coffee.
“Thanks.” Starr’s words wiggled in my brain, but I shook it off. We were barely friends, and I needed more of those than I did anything else. “How come we’re not inside?”
The chill battled with the heat in the cup against my fingers.
“I can’t stay. Have to get straight home.”
“What, are you grounded?”
The straw bent under the pressure of his mouth. “Not yet, but I will be.”
“What did you—?”
“We have to go in this weekend. It’s our only option. Sunday between dusk and dawn, so whatever you have left to figure out, figure it out.”
Offense pounded against my lungs and heart. Good thing I’d made some progress, and really, I didn’t want to wait longer than I had to. Not with people in danger. So, I agreed and sipped my coffee, burning my tongue.
“Good.” Evan stood and walked away, stunning me in my seat for a few minutes before I made my own way home.
The Official blurb:
Lily is the daughter of Lucifer, a mother she’s never met.
When she’s laughed off the soccer field, Lily’s delivered to her FBI uncle and a new, paranormal, high school where she’ll be trained to keep other creatures in line.
Gaining few allies under the thumb of her obsessive mentor, she struggles to prove that something more is going on in their little town than anyone wants to admit.
If you like the innocence of Twilight, the snark from Buffy, and the wit of the Lunar Chronicles, you’ll be engrossed by Alisha Costanzo’s new dark and satirical YA series.
Read GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR and fall into a world worse than hell–welcome back to high school.
Stay tuned for more mini-ethology lessons from Lily Graves’s world and sign up for an ARC of the first in her series, GIRL WITH THE GLOWING HAIR.