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Excerpt from All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman

All of Us Villains

All of Us Villains #1

by Amanda Foody, Christine Herman
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  • First Published:
  • Nov 9, 2021
  • Paperback:
  • Jul 2022
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ALISTAIR LOWE

The Lowes shaped cruelty into a crown, and oh, they wear it well.

A Tradition of Tragedy: The True Story of the Town that Sends its Children to Die

The Lowe family had always been the undisputed villains of their town's ancient, bloodstained story, and no one understood that better than the Lowe brothers.

The family lived on an isolated estate of centuries-worn stone, swathed in moss and shadowed in weeping trees. On mischief nights, children from Ilvernath sometimes crept up to its towering wrought iron fence, daring their friends to touch the famous padlock chained around the gate—the one engraved with a scythe.

Grins like goblins, the children murmured, because the children in Ilvernath loved fairy tales—especially real ones. Pale as plague and silent as spirits. They'll tear your throat and drink your soul.

All these tales were deserved.

These days, the Lowe brothers knew better than to tempt the town's wrath, but that didn't stop them from sneaking over the fence in the throes of night, relishing the taste of some reckless thrill.

"Do you hear that?" The older one, Hendry Lowe, stood up, brushed the forest floor off his gray T-shirt, and cracked each of his knuckles, one by one. "That's the sound of rules breaking."

Hendry Lowe was too pretty to worry about rules. His nose was freckled from afternoons napping in sunshine. His dark curls kissed his ears and cheekbones, overgrown from months between haircuts. His clothes smelled sweet from morning pastries often stuffed in his pockets.

Hendry Lowe was also too charming to play a villain.

The younger brother, Alistair, leaped from the fence and crashed gracelessly to the ground. He didn't like forgoing the use of magick, because without it he was never very good at anything—even an action as simple as landing. But tonight he had no magick to waste.

"Do you hear that?" Alistair echoed, smirking as he rose to his feet. "That's the sound of bones breaking."

Although the two brothers looked alike, Alistair wore the Lowe features far differently than Hendry. Pale skin from a lifetime spent indoors, eyes the color of cigarette ashes, a widow's peak as sharp as a blade. He wore a wool sweater in September because he was perpetually cold. He carried the Sunday crossword in his pocket because he was perpetually bored. He was one year younger than Hendry, a good deal more powerful, and a great deal more wicked.

Alistair Lowe played a perfect villain. Not because he was instinctively cruel or openly proud, but because, sometimes, he liked to. Many of the stories whispered by the children of Ilvernath came from him.

"This is a shitty idea," Alistair told his brother. "You know that, right?"

"You say that every time."

Alistair shivered and shoved his hands in his pockets. "This time it's different."

Two weeks ago, the moon in Ilvernath had turned crimson, piercing and bright like a fresh wound in the sky. It was called the Blood Moon, the sign that, after twenty years of peace, the tournament was approaching once more. Only a fortnight remained until the fall of the Blood Veil, and neither brother wanted to spend it in the hushed, sinister halls of their home.

The walk downtown was long—it was a waste of magick to drain a Here to There spellring this close to the tournament, and they couldn't drive. Both were lost in their thoughts. Hendry looked like he was fantasizing about meeting a cute girl, judging from how he kept fiddling with his curls and smoothing the wrinkles in his sleeves.

Alistair was thinking about death. More specifically, about causing it.

The gloomy stone architecture of Ilvernath had stood for over sixteen hundred years, but in the last few decades, it had been renovated with sleek glass storefronts and trendy outdoor restaurants. Despite its disorienting maze of cobbled, one-way streets, questionable amenities, and minimal parking, the small city was considered an up-and-coming spot for the art and magick scene.

Copyright © 2021 by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

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