Margaret K. McElderry Book
May 27, 2014
In the long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Dark Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.
The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris—but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?
When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee — even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned . . .
Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the world in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!
…For a moment Jace just looked at her in astonishment, his lips parted slightly; Clary felt her cheeks flush. He was looking at her like she was the first star that had ever come out in the sky, a miracle painted across the face of the world that he could barely believe in. He swallowed. “Let me —” he said, and broke off. “Can I kiss you? Please?”
Instead of nodding, she leaned down to press her lips to his. If their first kiss in the water had been an explosion, this was a sun going supernova. A hard, hot, driving kiss, a nip at her lower lip and the clash of tongues and teeth, both of them pressing as hard as they could to get closer. They were glued together, skin and fabric, a heady mix of the chill of the water, the heat of their bodies, and the frictionless slide of damp skin.
Jace lifted her, dragging her up his body, and she felt him suck in his breath at the contact. His hands slid under her, grasping her thighs as he walked them both out of the lake. The cold air hit her body and she shuddered; Jace went down on his knees on the powdery sand beach, laying her gently atop the pile of their heaped clothes.
Clary stretched her body out, trying to line herself up with him, and saw his eyes darken as he watched her. Her wet underclothes clung to her body as Jace’s clung to his. She let her eyes roam over him, taking in what was familiar and what wasn’t: the flare of his shoulders, the curve of his waist, the scars on his skin … her gaze dipped lower …
He laughed, a low, dark rasp. “It’s a little unfair,” he said, breathlessly, “that you can tell how much I want this just by looking at me and I can’t tell the same thing about you.” She shifted under him. Their bodies scraped together and his pulse jumped, his hands digging into the sand on either side of her. “Look at me,” she said.
His eyes had been half-lidded; he opened them wide now, and stared at her. There was hunger in his, a hot devouring hunger that would have frightened her if it had been anyone else but Jace. But it was Jace, and she trusted him. “Look at me,” she said, and his eyes raked her, adoring, devouring, swallowing, and her body felt as if burning liquid were surging through it everywhere his gaze touched. He dragged his eyes back up to her face: they fixed on her mouth. “I do want you,” she said. “I always have.” She kissed him, slow and hard. “I want to, if you do.”
“If I want to?” There was a wild edge to his soft laugh. She could hear the soft rasp of sand between his fingers, saw the hesitation in his eyes, the concern for her, and she lifted herself up and wrapped her legs around his hips. He pressed his hot face into her throat, his breath ragged. “If you do that — I won’t be able to stop —”
“Don’t stop, I don’t want you to stop,” she said, and tightened her grip on him, and with a growl he took her mouth again, hot and demanding, sucking her lower lip into his mouth, his tongue sliding against hers. She tasted him in her mouth, the salt of sweat and cave water. She had never been kissed like this before, even by Jace. His tongue explored her mouth before he moved down her throat: she felt wet heat at the hollow of her collarbone and almost screamed. She grabbed at him instead, running her hands all over his body, wildly free in the knowledge that she could touch him, as much as she liked, however she liked. She felt as if she were drawing him, her hands mapping his shape, the slope of his back, flat stomach, the indentations above his hips, the muscles in his arms. As if, like a painting, he were coming to life under her hands.
When his hands slid underneath her bra to cup her breasts, she gasped at the sensation, then nodded at him when he froze, his eyes questioning. Go on. He unsnapped the front and the bra fell open and for a moment he just froze, staring at her as if she shone like witchlight. Then he bent his head again and the feel of his mouth on her breasts did make her scream. She clapped a hand over her mouth, but he reached up and pried it away. “I want to hear you,” he said, and it wasn’t a demand, but a low, prayerful yearning. She nodded and buried her hands in his hair.
He kissed her shoulders and her breasts, her stomach, her hips; he kissed her everywhere while she gasped and moved against him in ways that made him moan and beg her to stop or it would all be over too soon. She laughed through her gasps, told him to go on, tried to hold herself still but it was impossible.
He stopped before removing each piece of clothing from either of them, asking her with eyes and words if he should keep going, and each time she nodded and said yes, go on, yes. And when finally there was nothing between them but skin, she stilled her hands, thinking that there was no way to ever be closer to another person than this, that to take another step would be like cracking open her chest and exposing her heart.
She felt Jace’s muscles flex as he reached past her for something, and heard the crackle of foil. “Good thing I brought my wallet,” he said, his voice unsteady.
Suddenly everything seemed very real; she felt a sudden flash of fear. “Wait,” she whispered. He stilled. His free hand was cradling her head, his elbows dug deep into the sand on either side of her, keeping his weight off her body. All of him was tense and shaking, and the pupils of his eyes were wide, the iris just a rim of gold. “Is something wrong?”
Hearing Jace sound uncertain — she thought maybe her heart was cracking, shattering into pieces. “No,” she whispered. “Just — kiss me,” she pleaded, and he did, not moving to do anything else, just kissing her: hot languorous slow kisses that sped up as his heartbeat did, as the movement of their bodies quickened against each other. Each kiss was different, each rising higher and higher like a spark as a fire grew: quick soft kisses that told her he loved her, long slow worshipful kisses that said that he trusted her, playful light kisses that said that he still had hope, adoring kisses that said he had faith in her as he did in no one else. Clary abandoned herself to the kisses, the language of them, the wordless speech that passed between them. His hands were shaking, but they were quick and skilled on her body, light touches making her want more and more until she pushed and pulled at him, urging him against her with the mute appeal of fingers and lips and hands.
And even at the final moment, when she did flinch, she pressed him to go on, wrapping herself around him, not letting him go. “Jace,” she whispered, and he bent his head to kiss her as he carefully, carefully started to move. She could see in the tension of his body, his grip on her shoulder, that he didn’t want it to be over too quickly: he closed his eyes, his lips moving, silently shaping her name.
In the past days, weeks, her body had been torn by weapons, by shards of glass, flung through Portals, broken and bruised. Now she let all that fall away, let her body remind itself that it was also a thing that could give pleasure to her, and to the person she loved most in the world. “I love you,” she said, her hands in his hair. “I love you.”
She saw his eyes widen and something behind his expression crack. The last wall around his heart, the last piece of self-protection he’d held in place. It crumbled away into blazing light as he came undone against her, like sunlight bursting into a room that had been walled up for a long, long time. He buried his face in her neck, saying her name over and over before he collapsed against her shoulder. And when finally Clary closed her eyes she thought she saw the cavern blaze up in gold and white, wrapping them both in heavenly fire, the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.
“We forgive you,” Jocelyn said. She was still crying, in the same soundless terrible way, just as she had every year on Jonathan’s birthday when she had held the box with his initials on it and wept.
“No,” he said. “There’s no forgiveness for what I did. I know where I will burn when I die.”
“Heaven does not forgive, but mothers do,” said Jocelyn. “When you were a baby inside me, I dreamed of everything for you. That you would be handsome and strong and good. That I would sing to you and love you and take care of you.” She gripped his hand tightly. “Maybe not in this world, but in another, I believe that was the truth.”
“Don’t forgive me,” he whispered. “Hate me. Rejoice that I’m dead. After all I have done, the last thing I would wish to bring to you was more grief.”
“Jonathan,” Clary whispered.
His eyes moved toward her. “And sisters,” he said. “Do sisters forgive?”
To Arthur Blackthorn, head of the Los Angeles Institute:
We beseech you once more on a matter of great import. As you know, in past months, the marked and mutilated bodies of both our people and yours have been found all around the city of Los Angeles. This is your domain and so once again we humble ourselves before you and ask for aid. After the events of the Dark War, the Fair Folk no long fall under your protection and the protection of the Accords, but still we hope. It is rare for Faerie to admit itself to be desperate, but we are desperate now. If you will not give us succor, then at least perhaps you will bargain with us. Investigate the deaths of our people and we will grant unto you the return of your nephew, the brother of the children now living in your house.
The Wild Hunt does not give back what belongs to it, but we will give Mark Blackthorn back to you.
We await your words.