Read an excerpt from THE DAZZLING HEIGHTS, sequel to THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR!
Katharine McGee returns to dazzle us with her new novel The Dazzling Heights, a sequel to her novel The Thousandth Floor. The sequel continues the story of a 1,000-floor tower where the whole of New York City lives. In the first novel, readers entered the lived of 5 teenagers whose lived are connected by adventure, romance and murder.
WATT just wants to put everything behind him…until Leda forces him to start hacking again. Will he do what it takes to be free of her for good?
When RYLIN wins a scholarship to an upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being there means seeing the boy whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.
AVERY is tormented by her love for the one person in the world she can never have. She’s desperate to be with him… no matter the cost.
And then there’s CALLIOPE, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who arrives in New York, determined to cause a stir. And she knows exactly where to begin.
But unbeknownst to them all, someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. And in a world of such dazzling heights, just one wrong step can mean a devastating fall.
To discover more about the mysterious new character joining the tower, have a read of the excerpt below.
The girl studied her reflection in the floor-length smartmirrors that lined the walls, lifting her mouth in a narrow red smile of approval. She wore a navy romper that was at least three years out of fashion, but deliberately so; she loved watching the other women in the hotel shoot envious glances toward her long, tanned legs. The girl tossed her hair, knowing the warm gold of her earrings brought out her caramel highlights, and fluttered her false lashes—not the implanted kind, but real organic ones; grown from her own eyelids after a long, and painful, genetic repair procedure in Switzerland.
It all exuded a tousled, effortless, glamorous sort of sexiness. Very Calliope Brown, the girl thought, with a frisson of pleasure.
“I’m Elise on this one. You?” her mom asked, as if reading her mind. She had dark blond hair and artificially smooth, creamy skin, making her seem ageless. No one who saw the pair of them was ever quite sure whether she was the mother or the more experienced older sister.
“I was thinking Calliope.” The girl shrugged into the name as if into an old, comfortable sweater. Calliope Brown had always been one of her favorite aliases. And it felt somehow fitting for New York.
Her mom nodded. “I do love that one, even if it’s always impossible to remember. It sounds like it’s got . . . spunk.”
“You could call me Callie,” Calliope offered, and her mom nodded absently, though they both knew she would just call Calliope by endearments. She’d said the wrong alias once, and it ruined everything. She’d been paranoid about making the same mistake ever since.
Calliope glanced around the expensive hotel, taking in its plush couches, lit with gold and blue strands that matched the hue of the sky; clumps of businesspeople muttering verbal commands to their contact lenses; the telltale shimmer in the corner that meant a security cam was watching. She stifled an urge to wink at it.
Without warning, the toe of her shoe caught on something, and Calliope crashed violently to the ground. She landed on one hip, barely catching herself on her wrists, feeling the skin of her palms burn a little with the impact.
“Oh my god!” Elise’s legs folded beneath her as she knelt beside her daughter.
Calliope let out a moan, which wasn’t difficult given how much actual pain she was in. Her head pounded angrily. She wondered if the heels of her stilettos were totally scuffed.
Her mom gave her a shake and she moaned harder, tears welling in her eyes.
“Is she okay?” It was a boy’s voice. Calliope dared tilt her head enough to peer at him through half-lidded eyes. He had to be a front-desk attendant, with his clean-shaven face and the bright blue name-holo on his chest. Calliope had been to enough five-star hotels to know that the important people didn’t advertise their names.
Her pain was already subsiding, but still, Calliope couldn’t resist moaning a little louder and pulling one knee up to her chest, just to show off her legs. She was gratified by the mingled flash of attraction and confusion—almost panic—that darted across the boy’s face.
“Of course she’s not okay! Where’s your manager?” Elise snapped. Calliope stayed quiet. She liked letting her mom do the talking, when they were first laying the groundwork; and anyway, she was supposed to be injured.
“I’m s-sorry, I’ll call him . . .” the boy stammered. Calliope gave a little whimper for good measure, though it wasn’t necessary. She could feel the attention of everyone in the lobby shifting toward them, a crowd beginning to gather. Nervousness clung to the front desk boy like a bad perfume.
“I’m Oscar, the manager. What happened here?” An overweight man in a simple dark suit trotted over. Calliope noted with delight that his shoes looked expensive.
“What’s going on is that my daughter fell in your lobby. Because of that spilled drink!” Elise pointed to a puddle on the floor, complete with a lost-looking lime wedge. “Don’t you invest in a maid service here?”
“My sincerest apologies. I can assure you nothing like this has ever happened before, Mrs. . . . ?”
“Ms. Brown,” Elise sniffed. “My daughter and I had planned on staying here for a week, but I’m no longer sure we want to.” She bent down a little lower. “Can you move, honey?”
That was her cue. “It really hurts.” Calliope gasped, shaking her head. A single tear ran down her cheek, ruining her otherwise perfectly made-up face. She heard the crowd murmur in sympathy.
“Let me take care of everything,” Oscar pleaded, turning bright red with anxiety. “I insist. Your room, of course, is complimentary.”
Fifteen minutes later, Calliope and her mom were firmly ensconced in a corner suite. Calliope stayed in bed—her ankle propped on a tiny triangle of pillows—holding perfectly still as the bellman unloaded their bags. She kept her eyes closed even after she heard the front door shut behind him, waiting till her mom’s footsteps turned back toward her bedroom. “All clear now, sweetie,” Elise called out.
She stood up in a fluid motion, letting the tower of pillows tumble to the ground. “Seriously, Mom? You tripped me without warning?”
“I’m sorry, but you know you’ve always been terrible at a fake fall. Your instincts for self-preservation are simply too strong,” Elise replied from the closet, where she was already sorting her vast array of gowns in their color-coded transport bags. “How can I make it up to you?”
“Cheesecake would be a good start.” Calliope reached past her mom for the fluffy white robe that hung on the door, emblazoned with a blue N and a tiny image of a cloud on the front pocket. She pulled it around her, letting the threads of the tie instantly weave themselves shut.
“How about cheesecake and wine?” Elise made a few brisk motions with her hands to call up holographic images of the room service menu, pointing at various screens to order salmon, cheesecake, a bottle of Sancerre. The wine popped into their room in a matter of seconds, propelled by the hotel’s temperature-controlled airtube system. “I love you, sweetie. Sorry again for flinging you on your face.”
“I know. It’s just the cost of doing business,” Calliope conceded with a shrug.
Her mom poured them two glasses and clinked hers to Calliope’s. “Here’s to this time.”
“Here’s to this time,” Calliope echoed with a smile, as the words sent a familiar shiver of excitement up her spine. It was the same phrase she and her mom always used when they arrived somewhere new. And there was nothing Calliope loved more than starting somewhere new.
The Dazzling Heights hits bookshelves on August 29, 2017.