Nora finds forbidden love with her fallen angel, in the first installment of the New York Times bestselling Hush, Hush Saga.
Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. .
Patch has made countless mistakes and has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora. .
After getting paired together in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from Patch, but he always seems to be two steps ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And when her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns the secret about who Patch is and what led him to her, as well as the dark path he is about to lead her down. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may be only one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?.
CHAUNCEY WAS WITH A FARMER’S DAUGHTER ON the grassy banks of the Loire River when the storm rolled in, and having let his gelding wander in the meadow, was left to his own two feet to carry him back to the château. He tore a silver buckle off his shoe, placed it in the girl’s palm, and watched her scurry away, mud slinging on her skirts. Then he tugged on his boots and started for home.
Rain sheeted down on the darkening countryside surrounding the Château de Langeais. Chauncey stepped easily over the sunken graves and humus of the cemetery; even in the thickest fog he could find his way home from here and not fear getting lost. There was no fog tonight, but the darkness and onslaught of rain were deceiving enough.
There was movement along the fringe of Chauncey’s vision, and he snapped his head to the left. At first glance what appeared to be a large angel topping a nearby monument rose to full height. Neither stone nor marble, the boy had arms and legs. His torso was naked, his feet were bare, and peasant trousers hung low on his waist. He hopped down from the monument, the ends of his black hair dripping rain. It slid down his face, which was dark as a Spaniard’s.
Chauncey’s hand crept to the hilt of his sword. “Who goes there?”
The boy’s mouth hinted at a smile.
“Do not play games with the Duc de Langeais,” Chauncey warned. “I asked for your name. Give it.”
“Duc?” The boy leaned against a twisted willow tree. “Or bastard?”
Chauncey unsheathed his sword. “Take it back! My father was the Duc de Langeais. I’m the Duc de Langeais now,” he added clumsily, and cursed himself for it.
The boy gave a lazy shake of his head. “Your father wasn’t the old duc.”
Chauncey seethed at the outrageous insult. “And your father?” he demanded, extending the sword. He didn’t yet know all his vassals, but he was learning. He would brand the family name of this boy to memory. “I’ll ask once more,” he said in a low voice, wiping a hand down his face to clear away the rain. “Who are you?”
The boy walked up and pushed the blade aside. He suddenly looked older than Chauncey had presumed, maybe even a year or two older than Chauncey. “One of the Devil’s brood,” he answered.
Chauncey felt a clench of fear in his stomach. “You’re a raving lunatic,” he said through his teeth. “Get out of my way.”
The ground beneath Chauncey tilted. Bursts of gold and red popped behind his eyes. Hunched with his fingernails grinding into his thighs, he looked up at the boy, blinking and gasping, trying to make sense of what was happening. His mind reeled like it was no longer his to command.
The boy crouched to level their eyes. “Listen carefully. I need something from you. I won’t leave until I have it. Do you understand?”
Gritting his teeth, Chauncey shook his head to express his disbelief—his defiance. He tried to spit at the boy, but it trickled down his chin, his tongue refusing to obey him.
The boy clasped his hands around Chauncey’s; their heat scorched him and he cried out.
“I need your oath of fealty,” the boy said. “Bend on one knee and swear it.”
Chauncey commanded his throat to laugh harshly, but his throat constricted and he choked on the sound. His right knee buckled as if kicked from behind, though no one was there, and he stumbled forward into the mud. He bent sideways and retched.
“Swear it,” the boy repeated.
Heat flushed Chauncey’s neck; it took all his energy to curl his hands into two weak fists. He laughed at himself, but there was no humor. He had no idea how, but the boy was inflicting the nausea and weakness inside him. It would not lift until he took the oath. He would say what he had to, but he swore in his heart he would destroy the boy for this humiliation.
“Lord, I become your man,” Chauncey said venomously.
The boy raised Chauncey to his feet. “Meet me here at the start of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan. During the two weeks between new and full moons, I’ll need your service.”
“A … fortnight?” Chauncey’s whole frame trembled under the weight of his rage. “I am the Duc de Langeais!”
“You are a Nephil,” the boy said on a sliver of a smile.
Chauncey had a profane retort on the tip of his tongue, but he swallowed it. His next words were spoken with icy venom. “What did you say?”
“You belong to the biblical race of Nephilim. Your real father was an angel who fell from heaven. You’re half mortal.” The boy’s dark eyes lifted, meeting Chauncey’s. “Half fallen angel.”
Chauncey’s tutor’s voice drifted up from the recesses of his mind, reading passages from the Bible, telling of a deviant race created when angels cast from heaven mated with mortal women. A fearsome and powerful race. A chill that wasn’t entirely revulsion crept through Chauncey. “Who are you?”
The boy turned, walking away, and although Chauncey wanted to go after him, he couldn’t command his legs to hold his weight. Kneeling there, blinking up through the rain, he saw two thick scars on the back of the boy’s naked torso. They narrowed to form an upside-down V.
“Are you—fallen?” he called out. “Your wings have been stripped, haven’t they?”
The boy—angel—whoever he was did not turn back. Chauncey did not need the confirmation.
“This service I’m to provide,” he shouted. “I demand to know what it is!”
Danger oozes out of every gorgeous pore of Patch Cipriano’s well-toned body. So why is Nora Grey, who excels at keeping her life danger-free, so drawn to him? Why is it that when she looks into his black eyes her body stops listening to her brain? Patch has secrets . . . a dark past that both frightens and intrigues Nora. But how much does she really want to know about what may turn out to be the ultimate bad boy?
How does Nora feel when she and Patch are first paired up in biology class? Would their paths have crossed otherwise? How different—or similar—are Patch and Nora below the surface?
What draws Nora to Patch? How much of it is physical? How much of it is destiny? Should she have tried to fight the attraction?
Why does Elliot help Jules/Chauncey? Why does Vee defend the two Kinghorn boys? Are they equally responsible for what happens?
How is Patch’s relationship with Nora different from the relationship that got him expelled from Heaven? Why was he so resistant to becoming a guardian angel? Where do you think Patch and Nora’s relationship will go?
Why does Jules/Chauncey hate Patch so much? Is his anger justified?
What role does Nora’s father play in her life? In what ways does his death make her more resistant to the supernatural beings in her life? In what ways does it make her more open to them?
Nora needs to take iron pills when she’s under stress to combat her anemia. Why do you think that the author chose this ailment for Nora? What does the iron symbolize?
Why do the various angels control Nora’s mind? How does this make her feel? Do you think events would have played out differently if she’d told more people what she was experiencing?
What does Dabria want from Nora? What does she want from Patch? Why is she an important character?
Patch knows that Nora likes baroque music and uses this information to interpret what sort of person she is. Research the characteristics of baroque music to discover why Patch said what he did about Nora’s personality. Choose your favorite type of music and analyze it to see what it says about your personality.
Can you be a “guardian angel” to someone in need? Sign up to mentor or tutor someone younger than you, or volunteer at the Humane Society.
There’s a lot of mythology surrounding fallen angels. Research their fall from Heaven, what they’ve been doing since, and how they can return to grace.
Nora has to rely several times on the skills she learned at kickboxing class. Join a martial arts or self-defense class and learn how to handle yourself in dangerous situations.
Coach McConaughy makes his students find out as much as they can about their new lab partners. Choose someone that you don’t know very well and find out as much as you can about them. You never know what interesting things you might discover!
This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Becca Fitzpatrick is the author of Black Ice, Dangerous Lies, and the Hush, Hush saga, including Hush, Hush; Crescendo; Silence; and Finale—all of which debuted as New York Times bestsellers. She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned for storytelling. When not writing, she’s most likely running, prowling sales racks for shoes, or watching crime drams on TV. She lives in Colorado with her family. Find out more at BeccaFitzpatrick.com.
"A gripping chiller... Fitzpatrick regularly tweaks the tension, resulting in a fast-paced, exhilarating read. Nora’s tempestuous relationship with prototypical bad boy Patch is genuinely, even unsettling seductive- fans of paranormal romance should be rapt." - Publishers Weekly
"Horror and romance fans who are weary of the werewolf (and vampire) next door will welcome this new take on the heart of darkness." --Booklist
"Hush, Hush has great atmosphere, and had me wondering where in the world -- or out of the world -- this story could go. If the guys had been this dangerous and delicious when I was in high school, I would never have wanted to graduate! I see more fallen angel stories coming from this talented writer." -- Sandra Brown, bestselling author of White Hot and Smoke Screen