Girl of the Night Garden Read Online Lili Valente

Categories Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Paranormal, Romance, Vampires, Young Adult Tags Authors:
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Total pages in book: 72
Estimated words: 68129 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 341(@200wpm)___ 273(@250wpm)___ 227(@300wpm)
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Read Online Books/Novels:

Girl of the Night Garden

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Lili Valente

Language:
English
Book Information:

Once there was a girl with a heart as black as night…
Or so legend goes. But I know better. Grown in the Night Witch's garden and tasked with softening the souls of men, the dream spells I spin keep the women of earth safe. Without it, they would be as miserable (and damaged) as my mother.
Let the humans call me names—banshee, nightmare, monster—I sleep deep and dreamless.
Until the day I’m rescued from the sea by a forbidden boy. Until the night we break all the magical rules and the kiss that changes…everything.
Until the moment I realize Mother’s the one who’s been spinning lies.
Now I must choose—between love and duty. Between life and something worth living for. Between the boy who owns my heart and a legacy as wicked as a witch’s curse.
Books by Author:

Lili Valente



Prologue

Foxglove

The night she cut me away from my sisters, the stars wept.

For sixteen years I’d grown side by side with the other girls with the belladonna hair, our cool limbs entwined, our lidless eyes always open, fixed on the aching infinite. In the night garden, far from the realms of man, the lamps are never lit.

But who needs lamps when there are stars?

Stars like diamonds shattered by an angry god’s hammer. Like wet teeth glistening on a bed of velvet.

There is no end to them. They reach back to the beginning and past the beginning to the end, until they reach around the idea of forever and brush fingers with All That Ever Will Be.

I know it. I’ve seen it. I was dreamt in the dark, birthed in shadow, grown with magic and midnight kisses, and watered with witch’s spit.

Back then, my eyes had yet to be ruined by the giddy creep of a glorious sunrise, the scarlet tragedy of a sunset slipping behind sleepy blue hills. I was pure and cool and open, the secrets of the universe burning themselves onto the backs of my always-open eyes.

When I close them now, I see the patterns, the way those perfect points of light bled and swam the night I learned to cry.

“My girls, my sweet beauties. How I’ve missed you.” The words were the same, but Mother’s voice was different. It dipped and fell when it should have swooped and swung, clutched when it should have caressed.

Mother was always happy in the garden. She’d take off her shoes and dance with her toes flicking dirt into the air, tickle the plantings awake with her song and fill her daughters with wonder until it flowed down our throats, fizzing our skin from the inside out.

All of us—we Sisters in our bed, the rows of Earworms curled up like cabbages, the Skritches with their restless twig legs, even the faceless Thieving Trees with their black, sanity-stealing fruit—all of us lived a little harder when Mother came to care for her children. And she’d been gone for so long, leaving buckets of food and water by our bed to ration out for weeks at a time instead of coming to break bread with her girls and tell us stories of the world below.

The Skritches whispered that she had a “lover” on earth, one she sometimes brought to the garden late in the evening, but I had never seen this creature. Once, I thought I caught a glimpse of a figure taller and broader than Mother peeking out from the Thieving Trees’ grove, but it disappeared before my sisters could see it too.

And if they hadn’t seen it, I hadn’t, either.

We were we, after all.

And we all adored Mother. Worshipped her. Ached for her voice and thrilled to see her slipping through the gate after too long away.

That night, our sleepy arms reached for the sky, filled with electricity. Our fingers waved at the stars and rubbed the planets under their hairy chins. Our hips swayed, bumping against the hips of our sisters, all of us giggling, the tangle of our toe roots burrowed deep in the soil assuring us we would never be alone.

We were we for always, each sister as much a part of the others as drops of water in a jar.

“Come little glove, my kind, clever girl,” Mother said, drawing me against her, the fabric of her cloak soft against my skin. “You will be the one to do it best.”

Her cheek was wet when it pressed to mine—hot, shuddery, and soft, the opposite of the steel that kissed my thigh so cold and sharp.

Terrifying, I would have thought, if I’d known the word.

I didn’t. All I knew was that my blood rushed and my skin burned. My mouth opened, and language tried to rise inside of me for the first time.

I’d never needed language before, but now I needed words and will and voice.

Now I needed “Stop!”

And “Please!”

And “Mother, no!”

I came into my I-ness bleeding and crying and reaching pale arms back to my sisters, with red and black rushing from stumps where I had once been melded to other slim thighs and soft calves. I came screaming against the flicker of unfamiliar eyelids, and the jerk-thump-jerk of my new heartbeat.

I hated that lonely lurching rhythm, as painful as the wounds retching my blood onto the soil.

My new limbs, feet, and toes grew in almost immediately—coaxed along by Mother’s whispers and tears—but now that I’d found my voice, I couldn’t silence it.

I screamed without ceasing.

The physical pain was gone, but I was too new to understand the difference between dying and feeling like I was going to die. Between a killing wound and the more brutal, but survivable, rip of a soul being torn apart.

Grief so profound I still lack the words to express it eclipsed thought and feeling. I didn’t know much, but I knew the severing was forever, that I could never reclaim the Everything that I had lost.


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