‘Clockwork Prince’ teasers
Here are teasers from “Clockwork Prince” posted by Cassandra Clare:
They slowed finally at the southeastern corner of the church. Watery daylight poured through the rose windows overhead. “I know we are in a hurry to get to the Council meeting,” said Jem. “But I wanted you to see this.” He gestured around them. “Poet’s Corner.”
Tessa had read of the place, of course, where the great poets and writers of England were buried. There was the gray stone tomb of Chaucer, with its canopy, and other familiar names: Edmund Spenser, who had written The Faerie Queen, “Oh, and Milton,” she gasped, “and Coleridge, and Robert Burns, and Shakespeare —”
“He isn’t really buried here,” said Jem, quickly. “It’s just a monument.”
“Oh, I know, but —” She looked at him, and felt herself flush. “I can’t explain it. It’s like being among friends, being among these names. Silly, I know . . .”
“Not silly at all.”
She smiled at him. “How did you know just what I’d want to see?”
“How could I not?” he said. “When I think of you, and you are not there, I see you in my mind’s eye always with a book in your hand.” He looked away from her as he said it, but not before she caught the slight flush on his cheekbones. He was so pale, he could never hide even the least blush, she thought — and was surprised how affectionate the thought was.
She had become very fond of Jem over the past fortnight; Will had been studiously avoiding her, Charlotte and Henry were caught up in issues of Clave and Council and the running of the Institute —even Jessamine seemed preoccupied. But Jem was always there. He seemed to take his role as her guide to London seriously: they had been to Hyde Park and Kew Gardens, the National Gallery and the British Museum, the Tower of London and Traitor’s Gate. They gone to see the cows being milked in St James Park, the fruit and vegetable sellers in Covent Garden, had watched the boats sailing on the sun-sparked Thames from the Embankment. And as the days went on, Tessa felt herself unfolding slowly out of her quiet, huddled unhappiness over Nate and Will and the loss of her old life, like a flower climbing out of frozen ground. She had even found herself laughing. And she had Jem to thank for it.
“You are a good friend,” she exclaimed, and when, to her surprise, he said nothing to that, she said, “At least, I hope we are good friends. You do think so too, don’t you, Jem?”
He turned to look at her.
Will’s voice dropped. “Everyone makes mistakes, Jem.”
“Yes,” said Jem. “You just make more of them than most people.”
“You hurt everyone,” said Jem. “Everyone whose life you touch.”
“Not you,” Will whispered. “I hurt everyone but you. I never meant to hurt you.”
Jem put his hands up, pressing his palms against his eyes. “Will —”
“You can’t never forgive me,” Will said in disbelief, hearing the panic tinging his own voice. “I’d be —”
“Alone?” Jem lowered his hand, but he was smiling now, crookedly. “And whose fault is that?”
“They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.
Will blinked at her. “What?”
“Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
“I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
“Mauve,” said Will.
“Say something in Mandarin,” said Tessa, with a smile.
Jem said something that sounded like a lot of breathy vowels and consonants run together, his voice rising and falling melodically: “Ni hen piao liang.” *
“What did you say?” Tessa was curious.
“I said your hair is coming undone — here,” he said, and reached out and tucked an escaping curl back behind her ear. Tessa felt the blood spill hot up into her face, and was glad for the dimness of the carriage. “You have to be careful with it,” he said, taking his hand back, slowly, his fingers lingering against her cheek.
*Yes, what he actually says is “You are beautiful.” But Tessa doesn’t know that.
“He’s Nephilim,” said his companion. “And you’ve never cared for them. How much did he pay you?”
“Nothing,” said Magnus, and now he was not seeing anything that was there, not the river, not Will, only a wash of memories: eyes, faces, lips, receding into memory, love that he could no longer put a name to. “He did me a favor. One he doesn’t even remember.”
“He’s very pretty. For a human.”
“He’s very broken,” said Magnus. “Like a lovely vase that someone has smashed. Only luck and skill can put it back together the way it was before.”
Will looked at Jem. His eyes were bluer than blue, his cheeks flushed. He said, “Then you have wasted your time.”
Jem stared back at him. “God damn you,” he said, and hit Will across the face, sending him spinning. He didn’t lose his footing, but fetched up against the side of the carriage, his hand to his cheek. His mouth was bleeding. He looked at Jem with total astonishment.
“Get him into the carriage,” Jem said to Tessa, and turned and went back through the red door — to pay for whatever Will had taken, Tessa thought. Will was still staring after him.
“James?” he said.
Teaser #7 (Dirty Sexy Balcony Scene):
He reached up and unlocked Tessa’s hands from around his neck. He drew her gloves off, and they joined her mask and the hairpins on the stone floor of the balcony. He pulled off his own mask next and cast it aside, running his hands through his sweat-dampened hair, pushing it back from his forehead. The lower edge of the mask had left marks across his high cheekbones, like light scars, but when she reached to touch them, he gently caught at her hands and pressed them down.
“No,” he said. “Let me touch you first.”
The door to the training room opened. Tessa and Sophie turned as Gabriel Lightwood strode into the room, followed by a boy she had not met. Where Gabriel was slender and darker-haired, the other boy was muscular, with thick, sandy-blond hair. They were both dressed in gear, with expensive-looking dark gloves studded with metal across the knuckles. Each wore silver bands around each wrist — knife sheaths, Tessa knew — and had the same elaborate, pale white pattern of runes woven into the sleeves of their gear. It was clear not just from the similarity of their clothes but the shape of their faces and the pale, luminous green of their eyes that they were related, so Tessa was not in the least surprised when Gabriel said, in his abrupt manner :
“Well, we’re here as we said we would be. James, I assume you remember my brother, Gideon. Miss Gray, Miss Collins —”
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” Gideon muttered, meeting neither of their gazes with his. Bad moods seemed to run in the family, Tessa thought, remembering that Will had said that next to his brother, Gabriel seemed a sweetheart.
“Jem is nothing but goodness. That he struck you last night only shows how capable you are of driving even saints to madness.” — Tessa
“What desperation drove you to me, in the middle of the night, in a rainstorm? What has changed at the Institute? I can only think of one thing…”
Will: ““Tess,” he said, and she thought, once again, how no one but him ever called her that. “That is all I think about.”
Tessa: “Jem!” she cried again, and when he did not look up, she strode across the room, and wrenched the bow out of his hand. “Jem, stop!”
“You’re seventeen,” Magnus said. “You can’t have wasted a life you’ve barely lived.”
Tessa pushed the carriage curtains aside. Outside she could see the gaslights going by in a yellow blur; two children were slumped in a doorway, leaning against each other, asleep. Temple Bar flew by overhead.
“Have you ever thought of transforming yourself into one of your parents?” Will asked. “Your mother, or father? It would give you access to their memories, wouldn’t it?”
She turned to look at him. “I have thought of it. Of course I have. But I have nothing of my father’s or mother’s. Everything that was packed in my trunks for the voyage here was discarded by the Dark Sisters.”
“What about your angel necklace?” Will asked. “Wasn’t that your mother’s?”
Tessa shook her head. “I tried. I — I could reach nothing of her in it. It has been mine so long, I think, that what made it hers has evaporated, like water.”
Will’s eyes were dark blue in the shadows. “Perhaps you are a clockwork girl. Perhaps Mortmain’s warlock father built you, and now Mortmain seeks the secret of how to create such a perfect facsimile of life when all he can build are hideous monstrosities. Perhaps all that beats beneath your chest is a heart made of metal.”
Tessa drew in a breath, feeling momentarily dizzy. His soft voice was so convincing, and yet — “No,” she said, sharply. “You forget, I remember my childhood. Mechanical creatures do not change or grow. Nor would that explain my ability.”
“I know,” said Will, with a grin that flashed white in the darkness. “I only wanted to see if I could convince *you*.”
Tessa looked at him steadily. “I am not the one of us who has no heart.”
It was too dim in the carriage for her to tell, but she sensed that he had flushed, as he did when startled or upset, across the tops of his cheekbones. To her surprise, he reached out a gloved hand for her. It just brushed the edges of her curls, the kid leather smooth against her cheek — and the carriage wheels came to a jerking halt. They had arrived.
“Knowing Jem would arrive next, Tessa stepped away from Will hastily, though nothing improper had transpired between them at all.”
“It did not help that Jem had not been there. She had wanted so badly to speak to him today.”
The ghost screeched with laughter. “Love potions? For Will Herondale? T’aint my way to turn down payment, but any man who looks like you has got no need of love potions, and that’s a fact.”
“I did not want to tell you before,” he said. “I did not want you to think I was taking liberties.”
She reached up and touched his cheek, so close to hers, and then the Mark-traced skin of his throat, where the blood beat hard beneath the surface. His lashes fluttered down as he followed the movement of her finger with his eyes.
“Take them,” Tessa whispered.
He flinched away from her, and Tessa dropped her hand, hurt. “Jem, what it is it? You don’t want me to touch you?”
“Not like that,” he flared, and then flushed even darker than before.
“Like what?” She was honestly bewildered; this was behavior she might have expected from Will, but not from Jem: this mysteriousness, this anger.
“As if you were a nurse and I were your patient. You think because I am ill I am not like —” He drew a ragged breath. “Do you think I do not know,” he went on more quietly, “that when you take my hand, it is only so that you can feel my pulse? Do you think I do not know that when you look into my eyes it is only to see examine my pupils, to see how much of the drug I have taken? If I were another man, a normal man, I might have hopes, presumptions even; I might -—” His words seemed to catch; either because he realized he had said too much or because he had run out of breath.
She shook her head, feeling her plaits tickle her neck. “This is the fever speaking, not you.”
His eyes darkened, and he began to turn away from her. “You can’t even believe I could want you,” he said in a half-whisper. “That I am alive enough, healthy enough —”
“No.” Without thinking, she caught at his arm. He stiffened. “James, that’s not at all what I meant —”
He curled his fingers around her hand, where it lay on his arm. His own scorched her skin, hot as fire. And then he turned her, and drew her toward him.
They stood face to face, chest to chest. His breath stirred her hair. She felt the fever rising off him like mist off the Thames; sensed the pounding of the blood through his skin, saw with a strange clarity the pulse at his neck, the light on the pale curls of his hair where it lay against his paler throat. Prickles of heat ran up and down her skin, bewildering her. This was Jem — her friend, steady and reliable as a heartbeat. Jem did not set her skin on fire or make the blood rush fast inside her veins until she was dizzy.
“Tessa,” he said. She looked up at him. There was nothing steady or reliable about his expression. His silver eyes were dark, his cheeks flushed. As she raised her face, he brought his down, his mouth slanting across hers, and even as she froze in surprise they were kissing.
Dear sensible Miss Gray,
I write to you on behalf of a mutual friend, one William Herondale. I know that it is his habit to come and go — most often go — from the Institute as he pleases, and that therefore it may be some time before any alarm is raised at his absence. But I ask you, as one who holds your good sense in esteem, not to assume this absence to be of the ordinary sort. I saw him myself last night and he was, to say the least, distraught when he left my residence. I have reason for concern that he might do himself an injury, and therefore I suggest that his whereabouts be sought and his safety ascertained. He is a difficult young man to like but I believe you see the good in him, as I do, Miss Gray, and that is why I humbly address my letter to you —
“Must he be here?” Gabriel growled to Tessa the second time he had nearly dropped a knife while handing it to her. He put a hand on her shoulder, showing her the sight line for the target she was aiming at a black circle drawn on the wall. She knew how much he would rather she were aiming at Will. “Can’t you tell him to go away?”
“Now, why would I do that?” Tessa asked reasonably. “Will is my friend, and you are someone whom I do not even like.”
She threw the knife. It missed its target by several feet, striking low in the wall near the floor.
“No, you’re still weighting the point too much—and what do you mean, you don’t like me?” Gabriel demanded.
The darkness came and went in waves that grew ever slower. Tessa was beginning to feel lighter, less like an awful weight was pressing her down. She wondered how much time had passed. It was night in the infirmary, and she could see Will a few beds away from her, a curled figure under the blankets, dark head pillowed on his arm. Brother Enoch had given him a tisane to drink once the [redacted] was cut out of his skin, and he had fallen asleep almost instantly, thank God. The sight of him in that much pain had been more harrowing than she could have imagined.
She was in a clean white nightgown now; someone must have cut away her blood-stiffened clothes and washed her hair before bandaging her — it lay softly over his shoulders, no longer twisted into rat-tails of tangles and drying blood.
‘Tessa,” came a whispered voice. “Tess?”
Only Will calls me that. She opened her eyes, but it was Jem seated on the side of her bed, looking down at her. The moonlight spilling through the high ceilings turned him almost transparent, an ethereal angel, all silver but for the gold chain at his throat.
He smiled. “You’re awake.”
“I’ve been awake here and there.” She coughed. “Enough to know I’m all right besides a crack on the head. A lot of fuss about nothing —” Tessa’s eyes dropped, and she saw that Jem was carrying something in his hands: a thick mug of some liquid that sent up a fragrant steam. “What’s that?”
“One of Brother Enoch’s tisanes,” said Jem. “It will help you sleep.”
“All I’ve been doing is sleeping!”
“And very amusing it is to watch,” said Jem. “Did you know you twitch your nose when you sleep, like a rabbit?”
“I do not,” she said, with a whispered laugh.
“You do,” he said. “Fortunately, I like rabbits.” He handed her the cup. “Drink just a little,” He said. “It is right for you to sleep. Brother Enoch says to think of the wounds and shocks to your spirit as you would think of wounds and shocks to your body. You must rest the injured part of yourself before you begin to heal.”
Tessa was dubious, but she took a sip of the tisane anyway, and then another. It had a pleasant taste, like cinnamon. Barely had she swallowed the second mouthful when a feeling of exhaustion swept over her. She lay back against the pillows, listening to his soft voice telling her a story about a beautiful young woman whose husband had died building the Great Wall of China, and who had cried so much over his loss that she had turned into a silvery fish and swum away across a river. As Tessa drifted off into dreams, she felt his gentle hands take the cup from her and set it down on the bedside table. She wanted to thank him, but she was already asleep.