2. Of the three, ISLA’s cover is my favorite. The color combination soothes my soul. Plus, if you have ANNA and LOLA in the new cover, and are like me, you want all three matching covers in the same format. With ISLA in paperback, now that’s possible!
3. You thought I was going to say JOSH here. (Which, yes, JOSH, obviously.) But what I’m actually going to say is ISLA. I love her. I love Anna and Lola, too, but Isla reminds me so much more of who I was in high school. So even though I’m a Cricket girl myself, Isla is the heroine after my own heart. I love her. I love this book. Happy, happy paperback release day!
Channel the noble ostrich who, when faced with extreme danger or undeserved criticism, simply buries her head in the sand and lashes out blindly with her hind legs, maiming any who would try to get close to comfort her. Like a motherfucking adult.
Sometimes she just wants the fairytale. For time to stop and let her just… breathe. Let her be someone other than Lily Evans.
She wanted to be someone in a fairytale. You live a quiet life, where you have all the books you want and it’s easy to learn things without having to go through hoops and loops just to actually get into a school willing to teach you as long as you want to learn.
She wanted to live a life where for once, wanting to be in love and still be a pretty meaningful person were not oil and water.
Sometimes she gets so tired saving herself and being this strong mighty woman. Sometimes she just wants to have someone hold her and just let her cry it out.
Maybe that’s why Lily Evans is so infatuated with Regency Romances. You’re this bored wallflower or spinster or noble woman whose family needs money and somehow this handsome duke just comes in and saves you and loves you exactly as you are.
Sometimes, in her heart of hearts she allows herself to dream of a possibility that she may one day just love like that and let go of every single string she held that controls her life.
She wanted a day, one day, to be swept off her feet and let somebody other than herself worry about her.
Was that so anti-feministic? To admit to weakness and the need to have someone else help her? To admit that she’s so tired of it all there are days when quitting seems the easiest task to do?
She sighed for the nth time and let herself fall down into the grass. the gentle waves lapping upon the shores of the Black Lake were comforting.
She needed a good crying episode. And she needed it soon.
“Are you alright?”
The soft question jolted her out from her reverie and she looked up at him, still in his Quidditch gear with his hair tousled, as if he just got off his broom.
“Couldn’t sleep. Never could really before a match. It’s the nerves you see.”
Oh yes, the nerves. She’s got a lot of those.
“The Duke and I? Why Evans you fancy yourself a member of the peerage?”
She quickly flipped the battered book she was holding in her hands and sent him a steely glare as he made himself comfortable beside her, resting his head upon his arms that he tucked underneath them.
“I happen to like the Regency.”
“What’s not to like, you inherit land, you get so much quid, you find yourself a pretty gal and make little heirs. Life was so much simpler. Except when you’re a Duke and you’re forced upon the marriage mart. ‘Least that’s what my granddad used to say.”
Her eyes bugged out at his story and she quickly raised herself from the grass, her arms supporting her as she turned to look at James who was watching the night sky with a soft expression on his face.
“Your grandfather was a Duke?”
“Yep. Say Evans, did you know that that bright star you see over there is Sirius? Alpha-Cannis. Imagine that.”
“Your dad’s a duke then too, I presume?”
She gulped. And wanted to whack herself on the head. Of course, Charlus Potter died from Dragon Pox just this summer. His wife, unable to bear his loss, followed a week after. James was all alone now.
“S’okay. It gets easier by the day. They were old you know. My dad held out against marriage for so long. Mum was literally under his nose, he just never noticed.”
“She’s nobility too?”
“Her dad’s a Marquess. My grandda Potter was grandda Black’s best friend.”
“Everyone in the peerage is a cousin of everybody else. Sirius might be a great great great uncle thrice removed or something like that.” He mumbled the thought with a wave of his hand. “That one’s Ursa Minor. I like it better.”
“So Sirius is a member of the British peer too?” She said, blatantly ignoring his star gazing. She hated Astronomy.
“The Noble House of Black, Evans. They even have a coat of arms. What do you think?”
She swallowed and stared down at gangly, messy arrogant James Potter.
“So… you’re a Duke?”
“I guess. No one really wants to go to Parliament anymore though. The Prime Minister gets a bit twitchy with the magical peerage present.”
She let out a squeak and told her racing heart to stop.
For years, years, she denied any sort of feeling for James. But he was changing. He was, for all intents and purposes, her most beloved friend. They ate together, they studied together, and she witnessed first hand the mellowing of his demeanor. How he finally deemed it proper that he grow up. Now she understood. He was a Duke.
“It must be hard for you James.”
She let her hand run through his hair. She loved his hair, did she say that? Soft and inky, like the night sky he was watching. He closed his eyes and adjusted so that his head lay upon her lap.
“Sometimes I wish it was like the Regency.”
His hoarse whisper made her eyes widen and she grinned down at him.
“Why, James, are you looking for a knight to save you from your maidenly woe?”
She laughed lightly at him and resumed brushing his hair from his head.
“It was easier then. There was no war, there was no responsibility. You tie your cravat, then you pick a girl to dance with at a ball. Drink a Firewhiskey or two, then go home and do it all over again. Life was easy.”
“You can have all the books you want, and you can learn whatever you want, without worrying if you’re going to get in schools. You don’t have to beg Slughorn for a recommendation letter. You just have to want to learn. Then you meet someone at a dance, then you fall in love. No one expects you to be lonely just because you want to study. Everyone falls in love and everyone learns a little bit of everything.”
“Yeah, that sounds nice.”
“I want to live back then.”
James was quiet for a moment before he stood up. Brushing himself off as best as he could, he presented Lily with a bow.
“My lady, I am James Ignotus Potter, Twenty-First Duke of Hastings, and I am completely besotted by your lovely, lovely green eyes” she blushed and said eyes looked upon him with mirth. Satisfied that she was out of her melancholic mood, he allowed his eyes to drift down to her chest, “and your wonderful, robust and just properly sized-”
“Heart. My goodness, whatever were you thinking?”
She laughed gaily at him and flicked his nose with her fingers.
“Ow! A lady must never flick a duke.”
She stuck her tongue out cheekily at him and he merely tweaked her nose in retaliation and proceeded with his speech.
“Now where was I? Yes, Lily Evans of the pretty eyes and the big heart, would you do me the great pleasure of dancing with me.”
“Why, Your Grace, of course I will.”
She grabbed his hand and he spun her rapidly in circles that had her laughing, and seeing the stars he loved so much blur in front of her eyes as she saw him and only him.
When he stopped spinning her, she felt so light headed that she stumbled, but as usual, he was there to catch her.
He simply rested her head on his chest, wrapped his arm around her, and held her hand tightly with his other hand and kept swaying her to a music only he can hear in his mind.
“I know you’re sad Lily.”
“It’s just one of those days. I just want one day, you know, to have no worries, just to be free, just to breathe easy for once.”
“You’ll get into the Apothecary, I know it.”
“You don’t. And neither do I. But I have to try, I only wish it weren’t so hard.”
He swung her around and pressed a soft kiss to her temple.
“Then tonight you’re not Lily applying to be a potioneer, you’re simply Lily, a lady who is good in potions and snared herself a Duke.”
“When we marry will you give me a laboratory of my own in our manor?”
She meant it as a joke but when James pulled away from her, there was no lie in his fawn colored eyes, that seemed to be more captivating under the stars.
“I would give you everything I have Lily, if only you were never sad again.”
Her breath hitched and it hit her, just how much she was thankful that James was here, just how happy she was just because he came, and how much she loved him.
But he can’t know that… she wasn’t sure if he felt the same way.
Sure he saw her as a friend, but things change between an infatuated arrogant boy of fifteen to a wonderul, brave and loyal man of sixteen. With that change maybe he forgot about her.
So she ducked her head against his chest, pressed herself closer to him and let him hold her, let him dance with her under the stars. And for the first time in three weeks since she started her application, Lily Evans felt like everything would be okay, as long as James was here.
So… What do you think the rest of the series would have turned out like if Frankenstein just hadn’t picked up Rai’s casket in the building? M-21 and M-24 would have finished their mission, they wouldn’t have threatened the kids, Jake and Mary wouldn’t have come over either.
Takeo and Tao wouldn’t have joined the household. So there would be no security trio at the school. …The DA-5 wouldn’t have even been sent to South Korea in the first place. Actually, no the DA-5 WOULD have been sent over, because Crombell would have still gotten his data and had everyone killed in the lab.
Regis would have been picked up by the Central Order (and possibly killed because of Gejutel being a traitor and his own actions?). There might have been some time between him being captured though, and he would have needed to be brought in front of Raskreia.
Which would have then left Frankenstein, Rai and Seira (if she went back with them. And Regis, depending on what happened) to fight Cerberus.
The 5th season wouldn’t have existed, because Mark wouldn’t have been needed. On the other hand, that might mean Crombell didn’t get Frankenstein’s data. But the fifth season is also where all the Elders start coming over and. Yeah. I think that would have been the series over at that point, before Muzaka got woken up…