The Shadow Lilies
Sixteen-year-old Julia Reynolds struggles with her parents’ gypsy lifestyle and the urgent need to find out what happened to her missing cousin, Aubree. Soon Julia stumbles upon the mystery surrounding the Ursuline Convent in New Orleans, its banned third floor, and the blessed nails that seal its windows shut.
Solving the mystery of the Ursuline and blogging the story to the entire free world could gain more interest in the disappearance of Aubree. But there’s just one catch: the others who have explored this mystery have one thing in common…they’re all dead.
Things get even more complicated when Julia falls for Ryan Grandle, the hottest guy in her school, and he falls right back. Will she really risk her life and new love to explore an unsolved mystery for the story that could save her cousin? Turns out, staring death straight in the face is just the beginning.
14+ due to adult situations
“I’m sorry the movie was so bad,” he says as we pull away from the theater. “It got decent reviews, though.”
“It’s okay.” I want to tell him that I had barely followed the plot anyway. I was too interested in his hand on top of mine for an amazing two hours, and also trying to sound convincing when I persuaded him to drop me off in front of the convent instead of taking me home.
“You’re sure you want me to leave you here?” he says when we reach the Ursuline. “This place is kind of creepy at night, don’t you think?”
Absolutely. “Well, it’s not like I’m going inside. I told you, I’m meeting my little brother here in a bit. He’s coming from a friend’s house, and my mom can’t pick him up. So I have to walk him the rest of the way home.” I try to look indifferent. “He’ll be here in a few minutes, you know. It’s really no big deal.”
Ryan takes my cue and starts fumbling. He covers both of my hands with his and my insides melt like an ice cube in soup. We stay this way for a few seconds, and my tummy feels tingly and hard as stone in the same moment. I think I’m shaking, but he doesn’t notice.
“Is it okay if I kiss you, Julia?”
I can’t breathe. I simply nod instead. He brushes the top of my hand with a finger before taking it in a gentle grip. I tilt my head upward and our noses graze. The warmth of his freshly-shaven cheek molds to mine as our lips touch. I’m shy to respond at first, but open my mouth slightly and welcome the kiss when I feel his other hand touch my cheek. The waves in my stomach are replaced with mini-fireworks.