Sever (The Ever Series Book 3)

By: C. J. Valles
The Ever Series, Book 3


Prologue





Innocence. It’s something I can no longer claim as mine. I’ve kept secrets. I’ve lied to people I love. Sometimes to protect them. Sometimes to protect myself. And I will lie again.

I am human. Still. But I’m a different girl than I was when I first saw Ever. I know that now.

My cheeks are still tear-stained as I stare up at the dark ceiling and try to pretend that things are simple. I want to believe that things are simple, and that my emotions are clear-cut.

I love Ever. Regardless of his infinite past and in spite of my own mistakes. But how can I deny my feelings for the one who sacrificed himself—Alex, whose eyes burned into mine only hours ago?

I try not to think about what lies beyond the mirror. Closing my eyes, I try not to think at all. But it’s impossible. Finally, I sit up and throw back the covers. My eyes are used to the darkness after lying awake for so many hours, and looking around, I enjoy a brief moment of pure happiness.

I’m home. In Portland, Oregon. Not Southern California. Not rural France. Not the Maldives. Not the southern tip of Argentina. Not Antarctica.

Home.

I look over at the dress I abandoned on the chair, and my mind flits across the night with Ever, causing my pulse to race. I never wanted it to end. But it did, because as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t hold time still.

Then I came home and saw Alex on the other side of the mirror.

I close my eyes to escape it, but his image tortures me. Because he paid the price for my choices, sacrificing—and redeeming—himself with one swift slice of a blade. Now, here I am, unscathed and allowed to live out my happy ending with Ever. Only I know this isn’t true. I’m not naïve enough to think that the war for this world came to an end with Alex’s sacrifice.

This is only the beginning.





1: Innocence





Before I knew anything about him, Ever Casey was just a stranger whose beautifully unkempt honey-colored hair obscured his glowing green eyes and perfect features. He was the one person whose thoughts I couldn’t hear and whose mind I couldn’t read with a quick glance into his eyes.

That was before I knew what Ever was. Or maybe I still don’t know what Ever is—what he always will be. It’s possible that I will never truly understand. Either way, I never could have guessed that my entire concept of reality would be so irreparably severed. My new reality leaves me no choice. I have to fight. For my life. And to protect the people around me from the danger I’ve brought into their lives.

Right now, the danger is nebulous, shadowy. Thanks to Alex Rousseau, Ever’s enemy, who tore a hole in this world and gave up his freedom to cast away those who had come for me. In that moment, I was granted a reprieve, a stay of execution. But in saving me, Alex proved to me that you can draw a line in the sand, a line you swear you will never cross, but now I know that you can’t control your heart.

No one is strong enough to sever their emotions and not feel it when the blade runs clean through to the other side.



***



Time passed without my permission. It just happened. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months have passed with a blissful sort of normalcy that has left me aching with guilt. It’s been a year since the night of the party at Ever’s house—a year since I saw Alex, bleeding and trapped beyond the mirror.

Now, somehow, my eighteenth birthday is almost here—after I thought I wouldn’t make it to my seventeenth. With all that’s happened, I should be happy I’ve made it this far. I should be happy to be alive. I should be happy that my life has inexplicably returned to almost normal. But deep down, each time I look into the mirror, all I feel is guilt, even though nothing but my own reflection stares back at me.

Every night for the past year, with tears slipping down my cheeks, I’ve searched for Alex in the darkened glass … and found nothing but my own shadowy reflection. I haven’t told another soul about my ritual, because there is no one to confide in. My friends can never know about the world I’ve stumbled into. And Ever? How could I tell him that—during the brief moments that my thoughts remain invisible to him—I search for his enemy?

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