Is it almost time for another amazing Rick Riordan Presents book already? The Shadow Crosser, book 3 in the Storm Runner series by J. C. Cervantes, is in bookstores on September 1. That’s less than two weeks away! We’ve definitely got some catching up to do, starting with this sweet excerpt from the book’s gripping opening.
My life pretty much tanked the night I left home with a two-thousand-year-old demon.
Wait. Tanked isn’t the right word. It was more of a slow unraveling, like a thread that comes loose in an old sweater and can never be fixed, no matter how hard you try. All you can do is wait for the dumb hole to get bigger one centimeter at a time.
I should have seen the signs, but in my defense, I was distracted. You would have been, too, if you had spent the last three months, two days, and sixteen hours sleeping in fleabag motels, eating cardboard hamburgers and soggy tater tots, and catching nasty whiffs of Iktan’s demon breath. For the record, demons don’t brush their fangs. And two thousand years is a long time to go without Colgate!
As if that weren’t bad enough, my mom had told me that, regardless of the fact that I was godborn-hunting, I had to do all my distance education homework, which meant hours hunched over my iPad. I had also spent way more time than I wanted to admit looking over my shoulder, expecting Camazotz (Mr. Bat God) to appear out of a trail of black fog so he could rip off my head with his iron claws. I was pretty sure he had dreamed of nothing else since our battle in the junkyard.
So, yeah, I was ready to go home. Back to Isla Holbox, where everything was sun and sea and safety. I was so close, I felt like I could practically fall over the finish line. Because, tonight, Iktan had tracked down the very last godborn I was trying to find: lucky number sixty-four.
The night had started like this:
I tumbled headfirst out of a gateway into a dark alley lit- tered with aluminum cans, Chinese-food take-out boxes, and a sofa hemorrhaging its stuffing. The air was thick and muggy. “Just this once,” I groaned to Ik, “could you make a gateway that doesn’t spin me on extra high and smell like leftover death?”
Tonight, the demon had taken the form of an eleven-year- old human girl with a gap-toothed smile and braided reddish hair. She wore denim overalls and a shirt patterned with little red hearts. But I knew what lay underneath all that.
A green neon sign on the wall above us gave her a sickly glow. If I looked super close, I could see her natural blue pallor underneath the fake human one. Iktan altered her appearance as quickly as someone might change a mask, constantly seeking a disguise that wouldn’t make her itch all over, which was never going to happen, because she was allergic to human flesh. The best part of her allergy? She couldn’t eat humans.
“Death is an acquired smell, Zane,” Ik said, scratching her dimpled chin. “Urgh. Human skin is like poison ivy. What a stupid invention.”
“Skin, or poison ivy?” And, technically, neither is an invention, but I wasn’t about to have that convo right then.