We liked this beginning but ultimately decided it needs something more. We we’ve cut this scene and reworked it. Here it is, a never before and never again published opening. We tried but couldn’t find the image of the right building available to purchase, so we are linking to it here, because we have no right to display it.
I was swimming through the warm water of the Gulf when someone knocked on the sky. The bright little fishies following me scattered, the crystal-clear water vanished, and I landed on the sand.
The sky above me shuddered. Boom, boom, boom.
The dream tore like wet tissue and for a disorienting moment I didn’t know where I was. Slowly the familiar contours of my bedroom came into focus through the gloom. The alarm clock on my nightstand glowed with bright red. 2:07 am.
Someone was pounding on my door.
“Catalina!” my sister yelled. “Get up!”
The plane. Panic pierced me. I jumped out the bed, sprinted across the bedroom, and flung the door open. “Did the plane go down?”
I sagged against the doorframe in relief. Our older sister, Nevada, her husband, and her mother-in-law were flying to Spain for a funeral. Over the ocean. It caused me no end of anxiety.
“The plane is fine,” Arabella told me.
“Then what is it?”
Arabella’s face was flushed, and her blonde hair stuck out from her head in weird directions. She wore an old, stained Sailor Moon t-shirt and her basketball shorts were on backwards.
“Augustine is downstairs.”
“Augustine who? Augustine Montgomery?”
I snapped out of my relief back into full alert. “Why?” Why in the world would the Head of House Montgomery be downstairs, in the middle of the night?
“He wants to see you. He says it’s an emergency. There is another Prime with him. Hurry up before mom shoots him.”
She turned around and ran down the stairs leading from my loft suite to the rest of the warehouse.
Augustine was absolutely the last person I expected to be in our office at two o’clock in the morning. Something terrible had happened.
I looked at myself. I wore an oversized grey t-shirt that came to my knees and said I ♥ Sleep. No time to change. I ran down the stairs barefoot and followed my sister into a wide hallway. The light in the media room was on, casting a warm electric glow and illuminating the way just enough to see.
Twelve years ago, my father had been diagnosed with MPNST. A malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor. The disease was incurable, but we tried anyway. As we scrambled to buy him more time, we sold our house and moved here, into a warehouse in an industrial park. Nevada, who was seventeen at the time, took over the family business, the Baylor Investigative Agency, and the rest of us, my mom, Grandma Frida, my younger sister Arabella, and our two cousins, Bern and Leon, did our best to help.
Augustine Montgomery was an integral part of that equation. We hadn’t just sold the house. We also mortgaged our business to Montgomery International Investigations and hid that fact from Dad, because it would’ve killed him faster than any cancer. It took us years to get out from under Augustine’s thumb. He had no business being here asking for me. No matter what it was, I had to send him packing.
The hallway ended in a wall and just to the left a door led to a small section of the warehouse designated as the Baylor Agency’s office. The entire family congregated in front of the door, all except Mom.
Grandma Frida, thin, tan, with a halo of platinum curls, looked worried. Bern, my oldest cousin, resembled a bear awakened halfway through his hibernation, big, muscular, his dark blond hair disheveled. He was holding a tablet that looked too small for his hands. Next to him, Leon, his younger half-brother and complete opposite, leaned on the wall, totally awake. Lean and dark haired, Leon was a ball of wiry energy, his dark eyes alert and sharp. And, he still wore the jeans and t-shirt I had seen him in last night. Either he fell asleep in his clothes, or he felt the need to be fully dressed at two o’clock in the morning for some nefarious reason. Leon didn’t have any other kind of reasons.
Ahead of me, Arabella darted up the stairs and into her bedroom and emerged with a huge Texas A&M sweatshirt. She threw it at me. “Boobs.”
Bern woke up enough to roll his eyes. I pulled the sweatshirt on, hiding the fact that I wasn’t wearing a bra. “Who’s with Augustine?”
Bern turned the tablet toward me. On it, security camera footage showed our conference room and two men, both in tailored suits. One, Caucasian, his face shockingly beautiful, with hair such a pale blond, it was almost white, sat in a chair. Augustine Montgomery, Illusion Prime, head of House Montgomery and owner of MII.
Augustine wore a pair of dark pants, a black turtleneck, and a designer black leather jacket. The world had to be close to an end, because I had never seen him without his suit.
The other man, African-American, tall, older, with short curly hair salted with grey, paced back and forth. Expensive black trousers, pale sand-colored T-shirt, loose blue jogging jacket. Everything was of excellent quality and none of it matched. Looked like he got dressed in a hurry and just grabbed the first items he found.
Mom watched them both from the other side of the table, her arms crossed. She chose this spot because that’s where the holster for a hidden gun was attached under the table.
“What’s in the holster?” I asked. Normally it was empty. We didn’t leave loaded guns around the house. But she would have put something in there before letting them in.
“Desert Eagle 50,” Leon said.
The largest legal caliber for a handgun in the US, the Desert Eagle could send a round through a full refrigerator and kill a person on the other side. Mom wasn’t taking any chances.
Bern tapped the tablet and the screen split, the right half showing the feed from the conference room and the left displaying a photograph of the man with Augustine. He looked to be in his mid-fifties, with an intelligent, expressive face, and he smiled at the camera as if he lived a full, rich life and enjoyed every minute of it.
“Carter Anderson,” Bern said. “Psionic Prime, Head of House Anderson.”
That explained the Desert Eagle. Psionics were combat mages with the ability to overwhelm minds. They could make you go blind and deaf, they could force you to flee in panic, or they could subject you to horrible agony. If Mr. Anderson twitched the wrong way, Mom would put a .50 bullet right between his eyes.
“Why is he here?”
“No clue,” Bern said.
“They said they needed to talk to you,” Grandma Frida said. “All the drama. It’s like Primes don’t have phones or something.”
I took a deep breath, opened the door, walked into the office and shut the door behind me. As of two hours and ten minutes ago, I turned twenty-one, reaching the official age of Prime majority. I was now the Head of House Baylor. This was my responsibility. No need to put anybody else in danger.
Anxiety squirmed through me. Augustine was one of very few people outside the family who had seen me use my magic. I avoided displays of my power. My talent was so rare, that when I qualified as a Prime, the Keeper of Records had to create a new term for my power. Almost nobody knew what I did, and I wanted to keep it that way.
A trickle of panic tried to form somewhere deep in the pit of my stomach, a habit born from years of trying to avoid drawing attention to myself. I clamped down on it. I was a Prime and thanks to my Nevada’s mother-in-law, I’d had plenty of instruction on how to handle myself. Time to put those lessons to use.
Think Prime, Head of the House, Victoria Tremaine’s granddaughter, confident, dangerous, not afraid, annoyed… definitively annoyed.
I walked into the conference room with a slightly irritated expression. “Mr. Montgomery, while you’re always welcome in our home, it is the middle of the night.”
“My apologies.” Augustine rose. “This couldn’t wait. House Anderson is in crisis.”
Anderson stopped pacing. “My son is standing on the roof of the Memorial Herman Hospital Tower threating to jump. He is a Psionic Prime. He won’t let anyone near. Augustine says you can get him down.”
Oh good God.
Anderson fixed me with his stare. “What will it take? We’ll give you anything you want. Name it, it’s yours.”
“Mr. Anderson, this isn’t something I do.”
Anderson took a step toward me. “But you can do it.”
“Again, this isn’t something I have ever tried.”
“We are a powerful house,” Anderson said. “We never forget our friends. We honor our alliances and we pay our debts.”
If I jumped on that offer, it would make us look weak and desperate. I had to cut it off and sharply. “House Baylor has no need of additional alliances at this time.”
Behind Anderson Augustine raised his perfect eyebrows.
The man in front of me leaned closer. “It is within your power. All I ask is that you try. That’s all.”
His tone was persuasive, his expression reassuring. He must’ve realized that emotional appeal was his only option. His son was about to die, he was desperate, and he was using all the force of his personality, all his charm, all his confidence and authority to convince me.
“Please try to save my son. He is fifteen. His name is Caden.”
He held out his phone. On it, a skinny teenage boy smiled into the camera. “He likes video games. He has a dog, a chocolate lab. He likes the dance show, the Dance World Tournament.”
The desperation in his eyes was so raw, it hurt to look at him. “He’s a freshman in high school. I love him very much. His mother loves him very much. Right now, she’s standing by the tower, praying she doesn’t have to watch him fall and break like a doll on a hard pavement. He…”
I held up my hand. I couldn’t take anymore. “I don’t know if I can help you.”
His words came out ragged. “But will you try?”
If I tried and failed, there would be two grief stricken Psionic Primes who could turn all their agony and rage onto me. This was suicide. I didn’t even know them.
Somewhere in the city, a boy stood on a ledge, all alone and in the dark. So desperate and tired of life that he was willing to end it in the most painful way possible.
“Yes. I will try.”
“Are you sure?” my mother asked.
“Take Leon with you,” she said.
“No.” If this situation turned ugly, I didn’t want him getting hurt.
“I will bring her back safe and sound,” Augustine promised.
My mother gave him her sniper stare. “You do that.”
Augustine’s silver Bentley Bentayga sped south on Gessner road, guided by the chauffer in a black suit. It was after two a.m. and even the Houston roads were nearly deserted. The chauffer was squeezing every drop of speed out of the heavy armored car. Normally, the trip to Memorial Herman would take at least fifteen minutes. We would make it less than half of that.
Augustine rode in the front passenger seat, presenting me with a view of his blond head. I wasn’t a violent person by nature, but I really wanted to reach over and thump his thick skull. Because of him, I was now riding in a car in the middle of the night with two Primes wearing a sweatshirt over my sleepy t-shirt and a pair of sneakers. No socks. They were counting on me to save their child and I had no idea if I could do it.
Next to me, Mr. Anderson projected superb calm and confidence, none of which he probably felt. He reminded me of an older version of my brother-in-law. Rogan broke each crisis into manageable chunks and devoted all of his energy into overcoming them one at a time. Mr. Anderson solved the immediate problem – he convinced me to come with him – and now he was in a holding pattern until the next chunk of the crisis required his efforts.
I turned to him. “Before Mr. Montgomery volunteered my services, did he explain the side effects of my power?”
“I told him that Caden would be distraught when you left,” Augustine said.
I thought as much. I turned back to Anderson. “I will use my magic only as a last resort. If I do use it, Caden will need to be sedated immediately after. He won’t be distraught when I try to leave. He will be heartbroken. If you restrain him, he will fight you. He will fight your wife. If he sees me get into a car and leave, he will run after the vehicle until he dies or passes out.”
Anderson stared at the rearview mirror.
“Not to worry,” Augustine said. “It’s temporary. He’ll be fine.”
Such an expert on my powers. “Even if I manage to get him down safely, he will need immediate treatment. This is a one-time only rescue. The next time he sees me, there won’t be an element of surprise and he’ll likely jump.”
“It would help to know why he is up there.”
Anderson took a long moment, then answered. “He is having difficulties adjusting to high school. His middle school was small, exclusive, with an emphasis on nurturing the student’s individual strengths. His new school places emphasis on academic excellence and athletic achievements.”
“Is it Crownover?”
Anderson gave me a surprised look. He must have done a brief background check on me and hadn’t expected me to know what Crownover was. My family didn’t do elite schools. I graduated from Placeholder High just like other normal people.
“Yes, it’s Crownover.”
So, in other words, they took a fifteen-year-old boy, who already likely had emotional issues like most boys his age, out of a school where he felt safe and probably knew everyone and dropped him into a pool of hungry sharks.
It must have shown on my face, because Anderson said, “It’s a fine school. I went there, and my father was one of the first three black students there.”
Caden was a legacy, and of course, the rest of the students would find out about his grandfather and figure out a way to torture him with it. Crownover was the “it” high school for the children of Houston’s magical movers and shakers. My brother-in-law was over six-foot-tall, trained in martial arts, handsome, athletic, with a talent that was off the charts and wealth that made him one of the richest men in the state. Rogan had survived war, capture, and torture. But when he mentioned Crownover, his face kind of hardened. Augustine was also an alumnus and he wasn’t contributing to the conversation, which was rather telling.
“Caden said some things to his therapist,” Anderson added. “It was decided that it would be best for him to spend a night under observation.”
Except he was a Psionic and in emotional distress, and he ended up on the roof instead.
I glanced at the windshield and saw the futuristic crown on top of the Memorial Herman Tower, outlined with glowing red, white, and blue triangles shining against the ink-black sky. We were almost there.
The car pulled into the parking lot. A Hispanic man, his face frantic, ran to the car and swung Anderson’s door open. A blast of icy January air hit me. A cold front had come through and the temperature had dropped down to below thirties. My bare knees shook.
For an instant, Anderson’s expression was pure fear. “Did he?”
“Come on.” Anderson jumped out of the car.
I scrambled out of the vehicle, and Anderson flanked me, looming over me, as if afraid that I might run away. Wind tore at me.
Augustine caught up with us and we charged at a near run through the doors. A group of people waited by the bank of elevators, some in scrubs, others in professional clothes, and all wearing the same panicked expression. They saw us and squirreled out of the way, leaving behind a beautiful black woman in her forties wearing mismatched sweats. Tears streaked her face.
She saw us and met Anderson hallway. “You found her.”
“I did.” Anderson put his arms around her.
My phone chimed. I glanced at it. A screen shot from Bern. He’d found Caden’s story on Herald, the social network devoted to magic users. The last entry said, “My parents are getting a fucking divorce.”
Well, that explained it.
“Are you having a divorce?”
The Andersons started at me, shocked.
“What?” Mrs. Anderson asked.
“Your son thinks you’re divorcing.”
“We had a fight,” Mr. Anderson said. “About his school. There is no divorce.”
“Oh sweet Jesus.” Mrs. Anderson put her hand over her face.
Caden probably wouldn’t believe me if I told him.
“It’s time,” Augustine said, holding the elevator open.
I really wanted to turn around and run away and keep running into the night all the way home. But Caden was alone on the roof, I stepped into the elevator instead. The door slid shut. The last thing I saw were the Andersons looking at me like I was the answer to all of their problems.
The elevator hummed, carrying us forward, brightly lit and perfectly normal. I caught my reflection in the mirrored wall. I looked like I had just rolled out of bed. There was a touch of surreal in it all: me in my sweatshirt, standing next to impossibly perfect Augustine in an elevator of mirrors and electric lights. Maybe I was dreaming.
“When the doors open, turn left,” Augustine said. “Go to the door marked EXIT, and up one flight of stairs. There will be a metal door that will give you access to the roof.”
“And he’s just going to let me on the roof?”
“He is a line of sight psionic. He has to see you to target you, and he isn’t expecting a beautiful girl in her night gown, so you will have a brief window.”
“That is a terrible plan,” I told him.
“Caden is a gentle child,” Augustine said. “He will hesitate to hurt you. If he does, I’ll be there, and I will help.”
“If he sees you…”
“He won’t see me.”
The elevator doors swung open with a soft chime. I made a right and followed the hallway to the exit door and up the stairs. My hands shook.
The metal door handle felt ice cold under my fingertips. I pushed it and stepped onto the roof. The dark sky unfolded above me, impossibly huge and black, with the crown glowing against it. The frigid wind pierced me, going straight through me all the way to the bone.
Caleb was standing on the very edge of the roof, a thin figure in faded jeans and a hoodie, balancing on a concrete ledge. He seemed so very small against the night, like an ant on a skyscraper.
He turned and looked at me, his face lit by the neon glow of the crown. I saw certainty and relief in his eyes. He wasn’t relieved to see me. He was relieved because he made up his mind and decided to jump. I had no time.
“Tell mom I’m sorry—”
I hit him with everything I had.
When the Keeper of Records named my magic, he called me Siren, which fit me well, because like the sirens of legend, I called people to me and they couldn’t resist. And like ancient sirens, I had wings, beautiful wings nobody could see. They snapped open behind my back now, as the focused torrent of magic drenched Caleb.
He froze. His heels protruded an inch over the ledge. One slip and he would die.
“Caleeeeb,” I called him, turning his name into a sing-song lure.
He licked his lips nervously. “Hi.”
“Hello. My name is Catalina.” Magic stretched from me to him now and I wove more and more of it around him with every sound.
“You’re so pretty,” he said.
“Thank you. It’s cold and dark. Do you think we could go inside?”
He nodded, fascinated.
I held out my hand. “It’s scary up here. Will you hold my hand?”
He moved, stumbled, teetering on the edge, his arms waving… My heart jerked, trying to leap out of my chest.
Augustine materialized out of thin air next to Caleb, grabbed a handful of his hoodie and yanked him back onto the roof. Caleb landed onto concrete.
Holy crap. My knees almost gave out.
Caleb righted himself, walked over, took my hand, and offered me a shy smile.
I smiled back. “Let’s go inside.”
We went through the door and down the stairs with Augustine bringing up the rear. Sweat sheathed his flawless forehead. He was breathing like he’d ran up all thirty-three floors to the roof. Augustine Montgomery could turn himself invisible. Nevada would lose her mind when I told her.
We boarded the elevator. Caleb was holding my hand very gently, as if my fingers were made of glass. It wouldn’t last.
Most magic users had to put some effort into doing magic. I was the opposite. I had to hold mine in. My magic ruined lives.
When I was born, a nurse tried to kidnap me. In the years that followed, before I learned to control it, perfectly normal people would grab me and try to run away with me. Other children were encouraged to be cute, to perform for adults. If I smiled, the adults became mesmerized, and if I wanted them to like me, they would love me with obsessive intensity. Other children would cry hysterically when I left the playground.
Right now, Caleb loved me, madly, beyond all reason. Soon touching me wouldn’t be enough. He would want to hold me, crush me to him, rip out a lock of my hair to smell and taste. He’d want a piece of me to stroke and to bite.
The Keeper might as well have called me Orpheus. Sooner or later those who tasted my magic would want to tear me apart and they would love and worship every precious drop of my blood as they killed me. Only my family was immune. I didn’t need to magic them. They already loved me.
Augustine’s face jerked. The perfect mask faded slightly and beneath it I glimpsed a hint of a different face… The illusion snapped back in place. Augustine had reasserted control.
The elevator stopped. The doors swung open and Mrs. Anderson lunged to hug her child. Her arms closed around him, breaking Caleb’s hold on me.
Caleb screamed as if cut. It was a raw animal sound. His stunned mother let go and he dived at me and clamped my hand in his.
I really hit him hard. Normally I was much subtler, but I had no choice.
A man shouldered his way through the crowd, carrying a small medical case.
“Caleb,” I called.
He gazed at me with adoration in his eyes. I knew it was temporary, but even so, it made me cringe.
“That gentleman is going to give you a shot. I’m scared of shots. Are you?”
“No.” He shook his head. “No, I’m brave.”
“Will you show me how to be brave, Caleb?”
He held his arm out, his gaze fixed on me. I watched the needle go in. “You’ll feel a little sleepy in a minute. It’s okay to fall asleep.”
“I won’t leave,” I promised. “I will stay here and hold your hand.”
You are amazing.
Wendy Wellesley says
Wow! Can’t wait for this book – it’s a great opener – really cool to see all the changes.
Katie Griggs-Trevarthen says
I cant wait for this book. Thank you! Eeps!
Wow, 21 and head of house? Of course, that may change with the revisions, but it’s still amazing what Catalina can do and those pieces of her childhood really throw that power into a different perspective! Love it and can’t wait for the final version!
I’m wondering if she is acting head of the house while neveda is away….
Hey, good point! I just assumed Nevada joined House Rogan but this makes sense too.
Of my god. Poor Lina. Y’all were clear about her gifts but I had no idea…
Too bad it had to go, but still. Thanks!
Meryl Markowitz says
I know it’s a deleted scene, but its awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Omg. Her magic is scary
April White says
I am so excited to read this book.
Edge of my recliner! More …
Oh my Lord! Oh my Author-Lord! I think I held my breath all the way! *off to reasearch winged sirens*
MY BODY IS READY FOR HIDDEN LEGACY 4!!!!
Omar Mtz says
This was the forbidden fruit and I just ate it….
I want more.
Also. She needs shockers
Yes! Shockers to give her protection when she uses her magic. Won’t work in a group situation though…
Omar Mtz says
Give everyone shockers!!!!!
Wow. Loved it!
That was FABULOUS!!!! But is Nevada going all House Rogan? Won’t she keep the agency going? Will she take Rogan’s money to pay off Augustine? And going invisible is a very cool trick. How much will Catalina charge for saving Caleb?
I was curious about that too. Why is Nevada no longer the head of her house? This excerpt was awesome, but now I have more questions! 🙂
They’re married and probably going to have kids. Rogan joining House Baylor would imply they needed him, and as Catalina said and demonstrated in the snippet, they don’t roll like that. If Nevada and Rogan remained in separate Houses, idk how their kids would choose which House to belong to. There’s probably House etiquette/rules regarding that sort of thing though.. I think Nevada brought it (what to do if they got married) in HL2 or 3.. The one where she was deciding whether to form her own House. I need to reread again ?
It was explained in the text…. Nevada was on a funeral on spain so next in line is catalina so now, lina is head of the house till Nevada returns.
You’re probably better at reading between the lines than I am, I read this “As of two hours and ten minutes ago, I turned twenty-one, reaching the official age of Prime majority. I was now the Head of House Baylor.” literally.
But I guess it makes sense that it’s temporary because I can’t see Nevada leaving Catalina in charge of the House at age 20-21.
I think we will receive the definite answer on this in Diamond Fire- but there is probably a type of “House Alliance” that is specifically formulated for situation where the head of the a house marries into another house. They can continue to play an influential and mentoring part, but nominally, the next powerful Prime of age will be considered the official Head.
Natasha Johnson says
I think Lina will be the actual head of house Baylor because I think I remember when Nevada was talking about forming a house and Rogan said something to the effect of if Nevada was the head of Baylor and they married house Baylor would become a subsidiary of House Rogan and that was not what they wanted.
What a great scene! Thank you. Reading this made me hold my breath. I can’t wait till Release day. I will have something to read while waiting in line to vote.
Um, this book won’t be out until next year. I’ll be reading Diamond Fire while waiting in line to vote. It’s an in-between Novella.
But yeah, I can’t wait for this book. Yay Augustine!
The upcoming HL book is 3.5 We’re doing early voting tomorrow, so no book for me.
Ooooh! We are so lucky!!
This is so wonderful that I cannot even figure out the measure of amazing that you are replacing this with.
This was riveting! Glad we’ll get to learn more about Augustine. Poor Catalina.
And my takeaway was… Different face under the illusion. Are we sure it’s the real Augustine?
Did Rogan ever see him without his glamor? And what precautions do these people have against a fake coming in and taking over their Houses? Do they check in with each other everyday with a password or something lol probably not since a lot of them are so conceited in their power.
Sandra- Augustine doesn’t look like what people see. All Rogan can perceive is that there are high levels of illusion going on, but I don’t think anyone has seen the real Augustine in quite a while. So it makes sense that when he’s tired Lina can see a different face.
Oh it makes sense that the illusion would drop when he’s exhausted, I agree. I just wanna know, is it really Augustine from Rogan’s college days or is someone more sinister at work here? Just one of many reasons I’m anxious for the next book. 🙂
Tina in NJ says
Judging by the complexity of the invisibility illusion, I’d say it’s Augustine. Only a Prime could pull that off, and a really good one at that.
Also, in a previous book (Wildfire, I think), Rogan tells Nevada that he (Rogan) is one of the few people who has seen Augustine’s real face. And Augustine holds that against Rogan.
Tina- I had completely forgotten about that! Thank you for reminding me! I also agree that it would be pretty difficult to fake a Prime illusion-mage power!
Gina G says
I have always wondered whether Augustine’s real face is scarred or disfigured in some way.
For me, it’s one of 3 ways- he’s disfigured; he’s a 6 and terribly vain, in the way that Primes are; he is doing some sideline stuff and never wants to be associated with it.
He’s a 9 and uses his magic to be a 10. He is very slightly scarred. Rogan has seen his real face.
Vi L. says
I can’t wait to read this book. I love ALL of your writing.
You both are so talented.
Thank you for sharing it with all of us.
Becky C says
Are you sure you can’t work this in?
I wonder if it will stay canon, just outside the books? Or just completely scraped.
Oh wow, wings.
How does the Head of House thing work with marriages? Is Catalina head of house because Nevada can’t be due to marrying into House Rogan, or is there another reason? Thanks for this.
I think Nevada thought about this in the HL book where she was contemplating forming her own House. I must reread… unless someone knows the answer? ?
OMFG if this scene/version got deleted what are we getting in it’s place.
Can’t wait for Hidden Legacies 4
If this was the rejected text, I Can. Not. WAIT to see what you chose to replace. it. Wow. Just. Wow.
WOW I really liked this! Fun glimpse into Catalina and her power.
Sue Dyke says
Wow! I’m eagerly awaiting this one.
Pat Sciarini says
A great surprise! And wonderful beginning, whether used or not, for more exciting stuff yet to come! I love the passion that you put in your writing, and so pleased that you share it with us!
This is awesome. Augustine’s always getting the family in trouble. I just realized this means Cat can’t date 🙁
Shannon from Texas says
Couldn’t she? So long as she doesn’t use her power?
Hmm – if her boyfriend (assuming she’s straight from book 3?) fell solidly in love with her, would he also be immune to her magic? How would she be sure he really loved her? What if he honestly believed he was, but was wrong? Oh, that could get ugly…
Patricia Schlorke says
What about Alessandro from House Sagredo? He was immune to Catalina when she was tested as a Prime. 🙂
Do we have a name for this ship yet? Catassandro? Cassandro? Alelina? Alessina? Alina? Caal? ?
Patricia – I’m with you! Alessandro can shake off her power’s effects, so she could at some point (after lengthy tests, I’m sure) be certain that he is truly in love with her for who she is and not because she wishes him to be!
Alessandro was not immune. Catalina’s making him cross the line was how she proved she was a Prime. Alessandro just muscled up.
Maybe date someone online until their relationship is solid? Then again.. What if he doesn’t fall in love with her and get caught in her power when they meet up? Poor Catalina… ?
Holy shit. That’s a lot of scene.
(Also, I’m snickering at Placeholder High, even though the usage is obvious. What counts as a normal high school education, and the various permutations thereof having recently been on my mind.)
Yup Placeholder High is funny/bleak.
Also, in the revision, they should make sure that the kid’s name is consistent throughout: Caden vs. Caleb.
Wings. I like it.
Tina in NJ says
Happy Birthday, Catalina! This was fabulous! Loved Augustine’s help. And good for Bern, finding the divorce reference.
Tina in NJ says
I did the math. Catalina turned 18 either during or just after Wildfire and she just turned 21 in this scene. The three years of protection for House Baylor after becoming a House just ended.
Oh shit.. Things are about to get hairy ?? I can’t wait!!
Even your rejected attempts are A+++
Joe Healey says
If this wasn’t good enough, I can hardly wait for the published version! All sorts of interesting subplots and questions.
– Catalina getting “training” from Rogan’s mother; that’s just a nice thing to have happened
– Nevada no longer being the head of House Baylor, because . . . (in the trials she said she was going to marry Rogan, but there was no implication of an impact on House Baylor)
– What happens with the Baylor Investigative business?
– Backstory on Catalina as a child; I don’t recall this in the earlier books
– Augustine going invisible. (And why didn’t he do that and just go grab Caleb? It apparently was hard work for him, but he was still able to do that. Is he trying to hide this capability?)
Mama Rogan loved Arabella too. Must be nice for Nevada to get along with her mother in law lol
Caden would probably notice the door opening and closing and suspect foul play. So he was backup.
Oh wow. That was cool.
Thank you for sharing. The cool thing is that was awesome and yet didn’t make the cut which means the final one is even better which is kinda mind blowing. Yet exciting!! ???
Robbie Wiley says
I see where you got Catalina’s power. The way we all react to your writing is so much the same. At first we just obsessively love it and then it gets more and more and then we’re shrieking at your interns and demanding bits of your hair in the mail…..
+1, was thinking the exact same thing! So easy to cross from adoration to obsessive!
Bev Hill says
+1. So True ?
Ouch, there is more truth in that than is comfortable to contemplate.
Bwahahahhaha that is eerily apt. Poor Author Lords..
Joy! And it’s not THAT long until it is in my hands for real. SUPER JOY!!!
Thank you so much!
Trish Henry says
Wow! That was so great! Very excited to read this story whatever it ends up being. Yay! Thanks!
This is so good it should have a published home somewhere. If not an opener, maybe a flashback or part of another Hidden Legacy novella?
Oh so excited to read this. Thrilled that more books are coming. Thank you!!!
Thanks, it’s really great! I cannot get enough of Augustine, the invisibility!!, the mask slipping (what does he really look like?? Is that why he does not date?). His remark that Lina is attractive was interesting. . . I thought the siren wings would be for catching the boy as he fell, happy I was wrong!
Augustine has two younger siblings to care for, so with his other responsibilities his time may be very limited. Or he may have a woman on the side.
Ms. Kim says
Noooooo. Don’t give it up! How about using the Die Hard bldg? But if not that exact scene, do we lose the boy? Does Catalina get to tell his parents not to ever, ever, ever send him back?
Oh my god…. I am SO excited about this book god!!!!
omg that was amazing!!!!! super excited and looking forward to HL 4!!!! thanks y’all!
Wow. Love it.
Ellen D. says
Excellent as always. Counting the days for #4 release.
Did anybody else have that moment where you try to keep scrolling looking for more? I caught my self in time then laughed cause no one saw that but me. Why? Cruel world Why? Lol. Thanks Thanks a lot really feel the thanks guys.
@Milly Yes! I had that exact feeling. At the start, I noticed how tiny the scroll bar was and thought the post would be extra long, so when it ended I was like nooooooooooooo. Still, a little went a long way. It grabbed me right away. I can’t wait for this book and every other one related to it, lol.
Wow! that is amazing. Thank you for sharing that excerpt since we’d never be able to read it elsewhere.
I agree. Welldone.. and this shouldn’t be a deleted scene…ugh
Remember, they said, we reworked it. Which means you got to see the raw, in the book, you will get to see the cooked version.
It’s probably only a deleted scene because what they have now is better.
Wow!!! What an amazing piece only to be discarded.
Do you need a picture of the top of the tower? I work by there and can get one tomorrow. Surely you can use it if I took it.
Wow, again. You guys are so amazing. I think you have a little of Catalina’s siren ability because I just fall more and more in love with your writing every time I read your work. Sigh. ❤️
No fair!! Even the discards are amazing!! Can’t wait, Can’t wait, can’t wait…
Wonderful. I can’t wait until it is out and I can read the entire thing.
Susan Linch Ravan says
I was hooked! Great excerpt!
Sheila Jacobson says
A couple of things: You described the 2 men in the office as wearing tailored suits, and then in the next 2 paragraphs described them as wearing casual clothes.
The boy is called Caden first, and then Caleb.
I know you re-wrote this; but just wanted to point out the inconsistencies so they didn’t stay in the final draft.
cheryl z says
Are you kidding?
It’s a deleted scene, it won’t be in the final draft. I’m usually a stickler for grammar, but in a deleted scene I’m just happy for bonus content, who cares about little screw ups.
That was a very astute observation, bless your heart.
LOL! A Southerner, no doubt.
Patricia Schlorke says
Thank you for this wonderful deleted snippet! I agree with the others about the question of Nevada not the Head of House Baylor since she married Rogan? This will be an interesting twist of House politics. 🙂
Two weeks for the wedding of Nevada and Rogan. 😀
I think that meant that while Nevada was on the other continent, the next of-age prime would be the acting Head of their house, so that’s why Catalina was named as the head?
I noted that. I thought it meant that she was also now a head of the house since she tested to be a prime of the House Baylor. Since she was under aged before and is now of age, she is one of the heads. They needed more than one previously, I believe.
Perhaps two Heads of Houses can’t marry and still both retain their position according to the rules? I don’t know. But with two living Primes, i.e. Catalina and Arabella, House Baylor would still be viable and House Rogan would not if Connor had to give up his position, as Connor and his mother are the only Primes. But as this scene was cut, there is no guarantee any of this will apply in the eventual story.
I hadn’t considered the ‘Acting Head’ possibility, rather than the ‘actual Head’, if that makes any sense (and boy does that look weird typed out…)
Patricia Schlorke says
At least you didn’t say ‘Talking Head’…that would really be funny. 😀
Small mercies 😉
“I’ve got a fever…..and the prescription is….more cowbell”. (To those that recognize the quote).
Question – Is there a hint of a potential romance between Catalina and Augustine? (Ignore the age diff) or the hot Italian from her Prime test…I think his name was Alessandro Sagrado or something like that?
Loved that SNL skit!
Darla Bauer says
I thought there was a hint of something with Alessandro during her testing too. Not sure about her and Augustine but I am super interested in him as a character and really want to know his story!
Even your rejected writings are A+++
Amazing as always. ???
Felt so good to be back with the Baylor’s! Thanks so much for sharing.
Maybe some day this can be part of a novella filled with Catalina’s adventures, outside of her books.
I wonder if Augustine will start obsessing at some point after multiple exposures…
Thanks for a fantastic surprise!
I hope your father is enjoying his time with you.
Oooohhhh good question!! I think the authors already said somewhere that she sheds magic (idk the proper term) like the way Nevada gets a ping when someone lies. What does longterm exposure to Catalina do? I think Cornelius might be a good test subject since he lived with her and now works with her (I’m assuming the agency is still running?).. And what about her friends from school? Just how bad does it (her magic runoff) get? Did she have to keep changing schools? How does she protect herself and others from herself? Again, poor Catalina ?.. Her power is like the physical embodiment of the old adage, “be careful what you wish for.”
“Passive field” is the term. And yes, Ilona has said before (and it says here as well) that Catalina’s passive field has to be constantly under her control or it would influence people. Personally, since Alessandro was able to shake off her power effect on him, I hope they end up together so she can be sure in her heart that he loves her for herself and not because she wants him to love her.
Thanks for the clarification. It’s kind of sad if you think about it.. That her options for a romantic partner are limited to those who are immune to her.power.. Like, how many people are there? Her dating pool must be so small. Though, from the little we’ve seen of Alessandro, I def ship them. Still, it must suck.
Poor Catalina for sure. It’s not just romantic interests, it’s everybody. No friends, no casual acquaintances. Yikes
Her family isn’t affected. The assumption is that it’s because they already “true wuv” her, but what if it’s close blood relatives? In which case, she won’t be caught by her grandfather’s — aka Caesar’s — passive field of total trustworthiness and affection. In which case, she’s the perfect one to find Caesar! (She still doesn’t need to be head of house to do it).
I understand. Thank you.
Claire M says
Oh. My. Wow. That was a heck of a ride. I’m almost disappointed it’s not the final draft but that’s okay. I know whatever is in the actual book will be just as good and hit just as hard.
Thank you so much for sharing!!
Getting more excited for Catalina’s story now.
I am counting the days . . . it can’t get here fast enough!
I’m always amazed at the quality of the discarded material. The more I know about Catalina, the more interesting she becomes. How much restraint does have have to spend each day trying not to accidentally affect the people around her?
Right?! If a smile can make adults fawn over her as a child… Imagine her response to some dude telling her to, “smile more”? Lol
Gai LaMarche says
I live close to there. Want me to take a photo for you?
I can’t wait for the book to come out. This is one of my favorite series of the authors. And, like Milly, I kept trying to scroll down for more written goodies. Thank you for the preview. And, I can’t wait to find out how she ends up as the head of the agency. There has to be a good story there, too.
All of the above just amazing can’t wait for the book to be here, thank you you are truly genius’s in the work you write ????
Thank you! Made my afternoon!
I was born in Houston Memorial Hospital, so I especially got a kick out of this scene. Hidden Legacy is such a creative series with beautiful chemistry between Nevada and Rogan! Can’t wait for the wedding release and future books in the series!
Angela Shikany says
Pulled me right in. So good. Rough drafts deleted scenes….I’ll read them all. Now I’m desperate for more. You are Siren authors!
Amy J says
Thank you for sharing this with us. I kept scrolling at the bottom looking for more. I can’t wait to return to this world.
DeeAnn Fuchs says
Niiiice! I’m really looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for the excerpt!
Thank you for sharing! I’ve had a shitty day and this was such a gift! Thank you ❤️
I love it! My two favorites of your series are Hidden Legacy and Innkeeper. Thanks for sharing.
The good news — a scene, even if an evicted one, from an upcoming Hidden Legacy novel. YAY!!!
The bad news–
1. The book does not exist yet, writing books takes -time-
2. Production of a book, editing, promo, cover art acquisition, printing, distribution, etc. etc. take time|
3. Time to availability thus is going to be months and months away…. waaahhhhh!!!
4. No instant gratification for continuation there.
OTOH there is more Maude versus Bridezilla with shorter term arrival times, and the ALs HAVE graced the audience with the scene above, and the Hidden Legacy 3.5 will be out in what, two weeks or so?
d LM a says
Compelling gripping intense
Focus; is this from diamond fire OR is this from the book after?
A wonderful share
The book after that, HL 4 (hopefully realeased sometime next year). Diamond Fire is 3.5 ?
kara rogers says
Loved it!! “Placeholder High” gave me the giggles. Thank you for the treat!
I noticed that too, and wondered whether it was commentary on Catalina’s part, or the ALs just hadn’t chosen a name for the school yet.
Thanks. It was fun!
Why isn’t Nevada head of the house anymore? Is it because she’s marrying Rogan?
Bill G says
Cool. Thanks for letting us peek behind the curtain.
If my discarded words were that mesmerizing, I would dance with joy
I just had myself semi convinced that I could wait until the book is released…
Now I definitely can’t!!!
I love this world and set of characters.
I’m just so excited to see more of Hidden Legacy coming our way. Cant wait to read Diamond Fire and then this coming after it.
Little confused on how Catalina is head of house- I’m guessing it’s because she married Rogan?? I thought they were going to keep their houses as essentially partners. Or is she acting head of house while Nevada is away? But then why would Catalina have had training…
And did Catalina get better with her magic to avoid effecting Augustine, or is he somehow now immune to her? I remember in the previous books both he and Rogan were effected just by being in Catalina’s proximity. Did she get better accuracy maybe?
So much to look forward to!
Ugh that “she” in my second paragraph referenced Nevada btw. whoops.
I KNOW. Wings are so great. And Arabella giving her the sweatshirt because “boobs” so practical. And Leon ready to rock and roll. I love this family.
Once again, I am amazed at your ideas…and this was considered a bad one??!
So good! I can’t wait to read the next book.
karen h says
Thank you for sharing this!
I can’t imagine how hard it must be for Catalina to use her power.
Katherine Buchanan says
So good to see old pancakes again. I forgot how much I love, love, love this world. So happy and now so sad. I can’t wait for the next book! I’ll just have to go back and reread them all. Thank you Authorlords.
Loved it. So interesting to see Catalina’s ability. In Nevada’s books she didn’t go in depth with it. From Catalina’s point of view it seems so much worse. Everyone around her except her family is an enemy. A potential kidnapper, a murderer in waiting. She’s lived her whole life being aware that anyone who falls in love with her could end her life.
That could cause a deep psychological problems. I can’t wait to read more.
By they way I wanted to read this when I saw it in my email. Unfortunately
my phone decided to fart out and not connect to my Internet.
For 2 hours.
Love it ?
Deb in PA says
Thanks for the snipett. It was great! Can’t wait until the book comes out.
Thank you. I love that in a few paragraph you really filled in more of who Catalina is how difficult her power is to live with. Can’t wait for the novella and the book to learn more.
Oh wow, starting off with a bang! This will be another great book; I really enjoy these characters.
FYI- Anyone here try Freebooksy? I got some interesting Kindle books they listed. Always looking for new authors while waiting.
Never heard of them, but I have used bookbud. Try them for free books. There are more than you can ever read, many from best selling authors.
Judy B says
That was amazing,,,
Lynette Connelly says
Thank you so much for this! It was a wonderful surprise that made my day. I absolutely loved it!
Thank you so much for this! It was a wonderful surprise that made my day. I absolutely loved it!
Awesome fun as usual! ? Thanks!
I read this earlier in the car and just came across it in my email and read it again. Holy crap! Epic. Thank you.
Margaret S. Patton says
Awesome! Love it! Want more! (I’m a greedy little pig, aren’t I?)
Wow…. Just… wow…..
Dr Susan says
Thanks so much for sharing this with us.
Ange in Australia says
And this was deleted!!! I can’t wait for the book. ❤️
trailing wife says
Truly. I find myself moved to tears for Catalina. I’m a little afraid of how hard the final story will hit me… which absolutely will not keep me from preordering it as soon as Amazon lists it.
+1 My thought exactly.
+1 to not know if you’re loved for youself or because of your powers…very lonely. At least she’s sure of her family
+1 and more than that, she probably blamed herself at some point because her powers were inadvertently making good people behave that way. Look how against using them on someone she is.
Ange said it right and first. If this need more, I will be one of the first to hit the purchase button.
Oh my goodness! So amazing. Cannot wait for the next Hidden Legacy. Thank you Authorlords!
Thank you, Thank you! This came at the right time, cutting into the wait. It will take some adjustment, seeing through Catalina’s eyes, but it felt so good to be back into this world.
Thank you again.
+1! Well said.
Beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. If you replaced it with something you like better, I can’t wait to read it.
That was unexpected…thank you
Maria R. says
Once more thank you for making my grey day brighter.
I hadn’t understood why Catalina was withdrawn, it make sense now.
I was SO in the same boat as you! The more I know about her the more I’m amazed- although Arabella is still my favourite and hope to get plenty of her popping in!
Barbara Mildenberger says
I love this family (even Leon)! I love the whole Hidden Legacy series! I can hardly wait for book four. Thanks for letting us in on “the beginning that will never be”. It’s hard to not take your greatness for granted! You are so good at what you do! Thank you so much!
Sometimes, as I am reading these amazing snippets from you guys,I realize that I have gone tense and am holding my breath! I don’t know it until I finish and have to suck in some air. Lol
It’s so going to be Augustin for her, isn’t it! I’m so excited about that! I thought at first it would be the prime from Italy that she tested against. I love Augustine, can’t wait to read more about him and Catalina.
That’s what I thought 🙂
And now I am eally really curious who it will be for Arabella….
ooohh… that would be so interesting… I thought it would be that other Prime also… which I suppose now, would be too predictable of an ending…
Isn’t Augustine 10 + years older than her though?
If one or the other is under twenty-one years old, the age difference is important.
Claudia C says
He’s much older than she is
Augustine is not a love interest for any of the Baylors. 🙂
Yes, felt it didn’t make sense 🙂
I always thought it would be Cornelius, after Catalina was a couple of years older than 18.
I’m so sad. I love him. Maybe he will have to go the way of Hugh and get his own series. I mean, how many people can go toe to toe with Mad Rogan! Now let me go reread Hugh’s magical story again. I’m in Texas as well and so sick of rain. A hot cup of tea and bag of chips and Hugh will sure keep me from noticing the downpour outside.
I love Catalina, but there’s an amphitheater in my head and the whole crowd is shouting ‘Leon. Leon. Leon.’ I can’t wait to read it.
Christina Hanley says
zed at how good you are at pulling me in and getting me emotionally invested im your characters. TBH it almost sucks because its hard to transition to other authors while I wait for your books- either that or re-read your series for the billionth time!!! Love it thank you so much for posting this!!!
Haha, I have the hardest time too. I pretty much dislike most others. I now swap between Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh, and AL. Any others just make me mad for various reasons. For example, I did like Meljean Brooks’ Kraken King, but then her first book, Iron Duke… was very disappointed in the male set up to be the “hero.” So it kinda ruined that entire series for me. Just stick to my three. I realized the other day I can’t even read normal books anymore. I need the paranormal element or I’m bored.
Susie Q. says
Try Patricia Briggs, Eileen Wilks, Anne Bishop, Elizabeth Moon, Chloe Neil, Jennifer Estep, David Weber, Eric Flint and Tanya Huff for strong competent women not waiting for rescue.
Loved it, all your stories come alive for me can’t wait for the next book!
Tim McCanna says
Whoa! It’s because of writing like this I was able to make my sister a convert and then within the last couple of weeks I bought the first Kate and Curran for my oldest brother after failing to talk him into trying it on his own
(He’s pretty much been an SF fan but I love him anyway). Today he told me he’s on KD book two 🙂
The two of you and Seanan McGuire are the only authors that have never disappointed me in anything that you have published and that I have read and I have averaged 3 books a week for over fifty years.
It’s because of authors like you that I return to the keyboard to tell my own stories but damn you set the bar really high ?
Try Kelley Armstrong. I’m currently unemployed, so it’s 1-3 books per day for me, and Kelley Armstrong has also never disappointed me. Even though I am pretty sure that whoever writes her “back of book” blurbs hates her and wants to make people not buy the book, because they often sound terrible. But after Bitten, she has never disappointed me. And I agree with you about the AL’s & Seanan McGuire.
Capt Pat says
Try Anne Bishops The Others series. It is addictive.
Wow. Just wow. I can hardly wait. Which is strange because I am reading another book I am all wrapped up in. I agree with everyone, you are so very good.
Kim Kinsley says
Absolutely awesome! Thanks for the snippet to help tide us over- I LOVE the Hidden Legacy series. Seriously the highlight of my day!
I am happy to read anything you write, even scenes you aren’t happy with and delete.
Love you guys!
I can’t wait for this to come out. Is this a book coming out after the wedding book? I hope you write a bunch of books with these characters. Thanks for sharing this deleted scene with us.
What a beautiful kitty! If you don’t mind my asking, is it your cat? I ask only because the cat photos I use aren’t. S/He looks like a juvenile in this picture. So pretty.
Dear wicked, tricksy, wonderful, irritating, overly energetic Authorlords- AAARGH!
Sara T says
That was amazing!
Breaks my heart like sun going down to the sea. No, this isn’t a beginning, it is complete.
Vasanti Ramesh says
Oh wow! That was an unexpected and very welcome surprise!
Woooh! Awesome! Thank you. ^.^
Vasanti Ramesh says
I don’t know where else to post random comments, so I am doing this here. I just returned from a holiday in (guess where?) Russia! It was fabulous. But the key point here is that one of the first people I met in St. Petersburg was a beautiful woman who introduced herself ” Hi, I’m Kate. Or you can call me Katya.” :-). I am quite sure she must have wondered what was with the big fat grin on my face. 😀
Vasanti, if you’re on Facebook, there’s an Ilona Andrews Fan Page where we love stories about Kate/Katyas and anything IA related! <3
Vasanti Ramesh says
Thanks much, Rosanna! Will do!
Thanks much, Rosanna! Will do!
Oh my gosh! What a read. Thank you for sharing it
Actually y’all could do what the movies do and have a deleted scenes section?
Amanda P says
Fantastic read, looking forward to the book. ? On a train into Paris at 7pm so made my journey a fun one ?
Esther Cohen says
It’s an excellent opening. Please don’t delete it.
Why wouldn’t Nevada still be the head of the house? She’s the oldest.
In this version of the future, perhaps Nevada chose for some reason to join House Rogan instead. Or House Tremaine even. Perhaps two Heads of Houses can’t marry and still both retain their position according to the rules? I don’t know. But with two living Primes, i.e. Catalina and Arabella, House Baylor would still be viable and House Rogan would not if Connor had to give up his position, as Connor and his mother are the only Primes. But as this scene was cut, there is no guarantee any of this will apply in the eventual story.
Nevada’s not there. If she is still head of house, Catalina would likely hold it pro tem in her absence.
True, and something I hadn’t considered straightaway.
Regardless, discarded scene or not, it made for a gripping read and has provided many angles to ponder, considering the many and varied speculations 🙂
We don’t actually know what it means to marry into or out of a house. Being excised is stricken from the records. But with House Howling, David Howling was the second heir of House Howling, his hated brother the first heir and a recognized Prime. The sister had married out of the house, and David’s mother was registered in the New York Collins House. There may have been a divorce, but it’s unclear how joining or leaving a house works.
There’s a lot of fluidity in that lack of explanation. I’m sure we’ll get a summary of how that affects House Baylor in book 4.
When it comes to marriage and houses on amiable terms, swapping between houses may be as easy as changing one’s residence from one (US) state to another.
(For detail, it’s not easy, but it’s not extremely difficult. You just go to the new DMV and get the addressed changed, then adjust you insurance and where you file taxes.)
That said, Nevada Rogan (Baylor) will have three Houses that she would qualify for. Two of those houses have two living primes instead of Nevada. Who knows what has happened in the past three years? Mostly, I just hope Evil Grandma has taught Nevada the Tremaine Key.
Jennifer Green says
Love the story save it for her side stories you can slide it in somewhere, it’s to good to toss. Like the Blue & Gold I have a
1988 California Catalina.
Interesting to read a snippet that didn’t make it to the final draft because it didn’t have enough oumph to your taste. Fascinating to get a glimpse of Catalina’s inner thought process, especially since she is 21 years old! All grown up and head of House! I can see why the next trilogy is going to be based on her! The way she visualises her power is compelling to. Love this and many thanks for sharing.
But but but it’s perfect reading….why would you delete???
Can you please throw these imperfect for you (perfect for us )crumbs more for our consumption..we would loooooove to devour them!! And I really can’t wait for the book…
Thankyou for this ..
Love your writing ?
This is killing me. I want want want. Greed humanity’s worst sin.
I love this series so much. I can’t wait for more.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Wow, I am constantly amazed how your writing sucks you in and makes you part of the scene. Thank you for what you do!
ohhhh! so awesome!
Nooooooo! Nevada shouldn’t be relinquishing her status as Head of House! Catalina can have her own story without being Head! Nooooooooo!
*sob* maybe I’ll feel better about it after Diamond Fire. But probably I’ll just cry a lot. Of course I’ll still by the book. I just might sob my way through it.
Oops, she is 21. For 2 hours 10 minutes. And this bit IS awesome. But she still doesn’t have to be Head of House. It changes nothing.
I love this glimpse into the writing process: “Placeholder High.” On my first read, I didn’t even notice the name. On my second read, it occurred to me that the word could literally be a placeholder for whatever the final school name would be.
Thanks for this glimpse into Catalina’s future. I love the way she channeled the whole “You’re irritating me, a Prime” attitude. That scene was such a great “fake-it-’til-you-make-it” moment and it reminded me of all the times in my younger days when doing that was how I managed to survive crazy work assignments. haha! It made Catalina instantly relatable to me. Already know I’m going to love her.
After another read, I have so many questions! Like:
1. Are the wings not just invisible but also incorporeal? Because they went through her clothes! Can they be felt if someone stands next to her? Can she fly? Can she be injured if her wings are injured? Can she lose her power if she loses her wings?
2. How precisely can she direct her power? I’d been under the impression that it was a wide blast because of the battles in HL, but this excerpt demonstrates that she’s capable of precision – her power didn’t affect Augustine even though he was right next to Caden. (Though come to think of it, her power also didn’t affect others in the room during her Trial).
3. What’s the significance of Augustine jerking in the elevator? Was it her power affecting him in an enclosed space? Or is that him recovering from expending so much magic to be invisible?
So many new facets to discover! I’m excited!
I’m pretty sure the wings are made out of her power/energy and are incorporeal as well as invisible, because people would have slammed into them by now (and as you say, clothes). I don’t know if you watch Supernatural, but the angels there appear with shadow wings when they show themselves as angels to mortals without burning their eyes out. I imagine Catalina’s same as that- you see them if you’re the direct victim of her active power, otherwise no. Didn’t the soldiers found wandering in the bushes describe her as “an Angel”?
Given the Baylors’ place of residence, the high school would probably be in Spring Branch ISD – either Northbrook or Spring Woods.
Both are very good schools, but not speciality schools like Crownover is written to be. I am sure that the ALs would have either assigned a name, or chosen to make one up, just in case…
Wonderful! Please do not throw this out! It is very special!
Thank you so much!
Squeee! And a book for Arabella, Bern and Leon please with back stories for mom & grandma.
Thank you so much for this!! I looooovveee the idea of Augustine being vulnerable and showing his true face. I can’t wait for this book! I also really like the idea of Catalina being with someone older. . . .although I kinda always assumed that it would be Cornelius 😉
Ilona confirmed that Augustine will not be a love interest for any of the Baylors. 🙂 it’s in the comments here somewhere.
“Needs something more”…Dearest Authorlords, this scene already packs an intense wallop. I’m almost afraid to see what “more” is going to look like rewritten!
I love the additional insights we get into Augustine. I hope the final product delivers more on his character.
This was so good it broke my email. I had to shut down my computer and restart it just so I could read it. The only thing I couldn’t understand was the two men were wearing suits in the security footage but were really in other clothes. I read it four times and still didn’t get it. I guess i’m really tired.
The blue feathers should be the book cover. Only that and your name at the top and the book title. In a world of cluttered book covers, it would be the most compelling book on the shelf — even more powerful than Iron and Magic and Magic triumphs, which were great. I was so repelled by the Hidden Legacy
covers that it took me almost a year to start reading the first book.YUCK!!! And my loss.
The building was really interesting, but just another building.
Maybe if you wait until your “company” has flown home and the stress is less, you can reread this and fix whatever you don’t like in about 5 minutes.
I love these characters and this world and would love it if you turned it into a serial.
I hate to think that this gem is a throw-away, but then I love whatever you do, and after all, this is your vision and your story to tell. Thanks for injecting my day with some excitement.❣️?
Oh my goodness I wasn’t expecting this! This is amazing, what could be better?!
Thank you as always Authorlords!
So..this was cut.
This Book will be the book of books.
I will love it, sleep with it, show it to my friends.
I will be affected by the authorlords magic once again,
AND IT WILL BE GLORIOUS!!!!!!
(holds that hand tight, gives the arm for the shot – because i am brave too)
Courtney Mincy says
I will love it, and pet it, and call it George!
No, no, no George is all grown up now and has left ‘The Edge’ and is in ‘The Innkeeper World’ now ?
Of Mice and Men, originally.
Opus is the best.
Ann Michelle says
Hahahaha, one of my favorite comments myself! Love it.
OMG!!! Catalina & Augustine??
I. Can’t. Even. I’m freaking the f*** out. Fan girl gone wild. Etc.
Ista in Sydney says
Angie Papas says
Extremely well written. Thank you.
As always I love visiting the worlds you create. Thank you
Too excited for book 4 to type anything atm! *fangirling over Catalina’s alluring perspective*
Love it!!! Too bad it was cut, but thanks for sharing!
Really loved this little piece. I am so glad you gave us an ending to the story. Can’t wait for the book to come out!!
Jennifer Sweet says
Amazing, thank you for sharing. You guys rock.
Holy WOW! That was awesome. So very excited to see the version that passed your muster! 🙂
K Loudamy says
I officially find the ALs, even the stuff that they cut, amazing!
I love it. I look forward to loving the final version too.
No longer objective, full bore BDH member here.
Pam Martin says
For a piece being cut I really, really did enjoy it. I did always want to know more about Catalina’s power and this was cool. Thanks for this!!
Love the writing, especially this line “And like ancient sirens, I had wings, beautiful wings nobody could see. They snapped open behind my back now, as the focused torrent of magic drenched Caleb.” The imagery is awesome. I’m really looking forward to this book. If this was cut, the actual scene most be super. ☺️
Ann Michelle says
Yes, the wings were a cool surprise, weren’t they?! Can’t wait to know more..
That was awesome! I can’t decide if you’re the best authors for giving us this or the worst authors due to the tease! Really looking forward to this book. It’s already preordered.
Really? Where did you find it? I only found out the name — Sapphire Flames — on the next thread (“Gloomy Wednesday”).
I wanna preorder it, too!!!
This isn’t from Diamond Fire this is from HL #4.
Which is why I want to pre-order it now. Once it’s on pre-order, it’s REAL and I can start counting days.
Or did Bri think it was from Diamond Fire?
Just got email from Amazon about Diamond fire delivery on November 6th.Counting down the days.
Then I saw this on your website. Catalina is 21. Wow . And this was wonderful and you have such a magical way with words . You can understand the Loneliness of Catalina and the burden of being a Prime .
She is blessed to have a supportive family .
Thank you and love the blue wings. They are mysterious and mystical and just lovely.
I’m screaming inside my head from excitement!!!!!
I love it!!! Can’t wait it!!
Thank you so much for the glimpse !!!
barbie doll says
I had no thought about how dreadful her magic could be. That would be a burden no matter what the age. It is interesting to see her as House Baylor. Has Nevada abdicated? The book should be fantastic
I love this scene but have the same question. How/why is Nevada no longer head of House Baylor? Why wouldn’t Catalina just be the Heir of House Baylor?
First, I love the scene and I’m sorry it didn’t make it into the final story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
Secondly, I too am confused as to why is Nevada no longer the head of House Baylor. I understand she is having her HEA but she also fought tooth and nail for the Agency and her House. It just doesn’t seem in character for her to just give it up after building it and the Agency and fighting to keep them viable through everything.
Nevada is temporarily on a trip.
In the opening lines of the scene.
“As of two hours and ten minutes ago, I turned twenty-one, reaching the official age of Prime majority. I was now the Head of House Baylor.”
That’s pretty unequivocal. Not “acting head while Nevada is away.” Head. OTOH, it’s a deleted scene, so maybe the AL’s intention was “acting head” and it would have been clarified in the editing. But if not, I’m going to add that this time frame also puts House Baylor as just a few days out of the protection of Emerging House Law. I find it impossible to believe That control-freak, bound by love & duty Nevada would even be on that plane right now (vs. home prepping for any attackers who were just waiting for the legal protection to end), much less that she would hand the full responsibility of House Baylor over to just-barely-legal Catalina at such an incredibly vulnerable time.
Anyway. I’ve made my point enough here. It’s a hard balance. If book 1 is Catalina as Acting Head while Nevada is in Europe (perhaps ending with Catalina handling the whole thing so well that Nevada is willing to hand over the responsibility AND Catalina, Avoider of Attention, WANTS the job), then there will be no Nevada or Rogan at all and people will be disappointed at not getting even a glimpse of them. If Nevada isn’t in Spain for the whole book, then there’s got to be a damned good reason why she wouldn’t still be Head of House. Ultimately, I do trust the AL’s to provide such a reason or somehow otherwise make it work. They have yet to let me down ever. It’ll be pre-ordered the second it’s announced.
Many thanks for this.
I’m really looking forward to Catalina’s books ?
Oh, GAWD! You’re going to CUT this? It’s awesome! It’s glorious! It’s WONDERFUL!
Please hang on to this and re-use. Much too good to let go.
xoxo – A.
Thank you for sharing. I love the additional insight into Catalina’s powers.
Carol Munekata says
I loved this little bit. Am very happy it was shared. While Augustine may never be a Baylor love interest, I am hoping to see him get one in a future book just to see his life made (cough) interesting. Perhaps a Null of some sort? Or at least someone who is totally unimpressed with his illusions and attitude.
I was thinking of the prosecutor who drags people away in chains. I got the impression they have some kind of history.
Ann Michelle says
Yeeaahh. Me too.
Susie Q. says
I’m thinking someone of higher status, self confident and able to see through the illusion of masculine perfection that Agustine is so fixated on presenting to world to the real Gus and his imperfections. I want to know what he’s so insecure about and why.
Susie, the fact you called Augustine “Gus” and made me associate him with Donald’s cousin Gus makes you my favourite person of the day ?. I hope he gets someone who sees through his illusion and tears down his control as well! But, you know, in a good way.
Yes, another vote for giving Augustine an HEA. Assuming he’s not on Caesar’s side, of course. I’m still not 100% convinced he’s a good guy, as much fun as he is.
Nancy C. says
Gah!!! That was awesome, beyond awesome!! I cannot wait to read this book, I am looking forward to it being in my clammy, greedy hands. My precious!!
Catalina is going to be a very different heroine than Nevada. I do think she will prove just as interesting and admirable, with her own problems and strengths.
As much as I liked this small window into her life, if you say it wasn’t germane, I have to believe you. Thank you for letting us see it.
I did think that “House Baylor” was building a house near Rogan’s. Is that only for weekends, not finished, or did I get it wrong?
So lovely to see the guest appearance of the “Space Defense Laser” (family nickname – from too many Saturday morning cartoons). In the daylight, the crown feature looks as if it’s just been stuck on the building like a bow on a box, but a night shot like the picture you linked to is beautiful.
It’s great fun living in Nevada’s neighborhood. Thank you for the chance to chase “Easter eggs” in the HL books.
Well if this is what you cut I can’t wait to read what you left in.
I don’t normally read snippets because I want books to be all new when I read them. I made an exception for this because it was cut. Now I’m all excited for the rest of the book.
Me, too! For the same reasons. So +1!
Just wondering, could Augustine have used a levitation prime in case Cadenleb jumped, to lower him slowly to the ground?
The snippet made my day. I was feeling bleh and then surprise! this cheered me up.
I was wondering same thing
Thank you! ❤️ snippets.
Liv W says
Wow. Thanks so much. This was quite a rush; really looking forward to seeing the revised version in the final product. ?
I’m eagerly anticipating Diamond Fire. And, deliberate planning or not, your releasing it on November 6 is genius. ?
This was awesome! Thanks for sharing and I absolutely can’t wait to start reading Catalina’s books 🙂
Hope after Caleb woke up (if he is still in the scene) that he will be less obsessed with Catalina (or maybe got a bit embarrassed after fully recovered from his ‘adoration’ phase), as to not make it more difficult or awkward for the Baylors *fingers crossed*
Ann Michelle says
Though I’m psyched to learn more of the stories of the entire Baylor clan (they are ALL such interesting characters -best cast of characters I’ve found in long time, maybe ever- I’m worried/hoping you’ll have the energy to satisfy your hungry fans), I can’t help but be really totally bummed if Rogan and Nevada disappear into HEA. I love them so, so, so much!!!
And why is Augustine so interesting all of a sudden? Did I miss something?
I know I’m having trouble following the trail of tidbits and clues; I keep getting lost on these sites.
Also, do any of these stories lead us finally to Caesar? Surely Nevada and Rogan will still be pursuing that trail? I’m betting on two different characters as Caesar and I just want to eventually know! (Something about how Victoria’s visitor, in epilogue of third book, said he hated to be bored shocked me into remembering the oh-so-kind Scottish dude, since it echoed his comment to Nevada. Surely not. So, still betting on Nevada’s childhood hero.).
And though it would be too simple to thrust Segrado in too much, I’m glad we’ll see something of him. What a welcome friend he could be to Catalina to find someone able to resist her.
Echoing a previous comment, I had never thought of the burden or sorrow of her gift. And the idea of invisible wings- so cool!
Augustine started to become interesting when he honestly advised Nevada that it was not in her interest to use her talent to find the kidnapped little girl. Then he volunteered to go on a raid. H’mm, not standard CEO Prime. Obviously he has a reason for his illusory appearance. Would Rogan know it, would that be a reason for a friendship (possibly Rogan’s only friend) between them. Ah, a series with so many interesting characters. So many places to branch off. Excellent. And I love the snippets, but then I always did clean up the crumbs from the cake.
Oh, my money is fully on “Scottish” dude, not just as Caesar, but as the Baylor’s grandfather/sperm donor. If he has the same power as Catalina, and can control it, it would explain why everyone thinks he’s so awesome & trustworthy. And how he inspires such devotion in his followers.
Billie Dee says
So, so good. This is like awesome dangerous foreplay….and now we have to hold our breath until November sixth. Can’t wait to see what you kept of this and what you left – the wings are super great imagery. Thank you for this sweet agony!
Wow! Dancing with delight, even if this isn’t in the book, this still means there is a book! Thank you, thank you, thank you…
I ship Catalina and Alessandro ❤️
AJ Rother says
Just found this, and wow! If this doesn’t make the grade for the book I am even more eager to get my hands on the final product.
Diane D. says
Ohhhh, I so want this book! If this was the “not good enough” opener, I can hardly imagine what we’ll be getting instead! Catalina’s power and its drawbacks offers so many story possibilities.
I’ll add my voice to those also hoping Augustine meets his match before you’re done with this world.
Re. Memorial Hermann Medical Center, why not just ask local fans to send their own pics with “Allowed to publish” boilerplate? Surely at least one w/b good enough. That *is* a cool tower, especially at night.
Thank you for posting. So excited for book 4 & more stories about the sisters & cousins.
Bliss Crimson says
I feel so sad for Catalina. The part on how as a child random people would try to kidnap her. That is so scary, it beats out any horror movie. Her power must have given her nightmares. =( I hope she finds someone other than her family who can be friends with out that getting in the way.
Tina Black says
You folks are the best.
This makes my heart happy. Hope all in your family feel better soon.