USA Today Bestselling Author
Nowhere is safe when the gods are wicked.
Since the beginning of times, there have always been two sides: Norms and Idols.
But never have the scales been so unbalanced as they are today.
I’m a Norm, which means, I grew up in fear of the Idols and their godly powers.
And now, I’m going to be surrounded by them, day and night. I’ve been offered a place at the prestigious Gifted Academy, an opportunity very few Norms get.
To survive, I must become invisible. But my hope to get through the academy unscathed goes down the drain when the most powerful boys in school set their eyes on me.
They hate me simply because I’m a Norm. If they knew who I truly am, they’d tear me apart limb by limb. But I’m done cowering away from Idols. It’s time for the Norms to fight back, and it all starts with me.
This story contains dark themes that may be triggering to some readers.
Once again a friend recommended a book that has me binge reading a series. This one is complete so a binge read is in order.
Daisy has been taking care of her sister Rose since they fled the night their parents were killed by Idols. She’s been working at Poppy’s Joint a diner in the Norm area of the city. She was looking forward to some good tips since her sister’s broken arm had put them behind in the rent. Instead of lots of tips from the busy crowd, she ends up with a table of teenaged Idols, rich boys intent on causing havoc.
An accidental pie in the face causes an uproar, customers and waitresses Daisy and her friend Felicity flee. Daisy can’t go home without the rent, so she stays with Felicity but she has a plan that includes sneaking out. She’s going to try to get a job at Unearthly Desires, a strip club. It’s the only way to come up with the money she needs.
What happens next is truly surprising as instead of actually finishing her time on stage she ends up pulled and offered a scholarship to the elite Gifted Academy. The school is exclusive and attended by high ranking Idols and Fringes.
With the added perk of an allowance Daisy joins the ranks, intending on keeping a low profile. She’s also assigned a guide Toby, introduced as a low level Fringe. Unfortunately Daisy seems to be a trouble magnet with her snark.
This is a favorite scene.
Toby stops suddenly and cocks his head. “Are you familiar with the classification of Fringes and Idols?”
I know them inside out, but very few Norms do. All they care to know is to stay away from Idols and mistrust Fringes. My knowledge comes from Dad’s diary, so I can’t tell Toby the truth.
“I know a little.”
“Right. So basically all Fringes and Idols have demigod blood running through their veins, but the lineage is stronger for Idols; therefore, they’re more powerful. The closer they are to their demigod forefathers, the stronger they are.”
“So, what’s the strongest level for Idols?” I ask.
Dad’s diary said the strongest level of power recorded was eighteen, but he wasn’t sure if the Idol was truly an Idol or actually a demigod. He said the most powerful Idols were usually in the fourteen range.
“The Idol history books say eighteen, but no one has ever seen an Idol that powerful. So I’d say for sure seventeen.”
“Really? I don’t think I’ve ever come across an Idol stronger than the fourteen range.” That’s what I peg Rufio and his friends to be, at least.
Toby drops his half-eaten sandwich on the food tray and gives me a droll stare. “What are you talking about? Of course you have.”
“Who?” My stomach clenches painfully. I can guess who he’s going to say.
“The Magnificent Four.”
“Rufio, Morpheus, Phoenix, and Bryce. Man, I think I’ve been too focused on showing you the ins and outs of the school. What you need is a lecture on Idol hierarchy. Rufio, Morpheus, and Phoenix are all level fifteen and the kings of school.”
Crap on toast.
“What about Bryce?”
“Oh, he’s in a league of his own. He’s a fucking seventeen.”
My jaw drops to the floor. I can’t believe I went to complain about noise to such a powerful Idol. He could’ve obliterated me with a snap of his fingers. Lucky me that he didn’t. But still, I’m on the shit list of not only the most powerful Idols in school, but the most powerful Idols ever. Damn, why do I have to be such an overachiever?
Toby’s gaze travels past my shoulder. “Ah, fuck. Here comes Dreadzilla and her posse.”
“Who?” I turn.
A tall redhead is marching in our direction. She’s flanked by two other girls, including the one I almost came to blows with yesterday. Great.
“Her name is Drusilla Dharma. Nasty to the bone. She’s a level twelve Idol. The blonde to her left, the one you pissed off already, is Cherise Blake, a level nine Fringe. And the other chick is Renata Pomme, a level ten Idol. You can ignore her; she’s too stupid to be an issue.”
The three girls stop right in front of our table, all full of smirks and attitude.
“So, you’re the new bitch Norm.” Drusilla gives me a once-over. “I’m kind of disappointed. I thought you’d be more… menacing-looking.”
Queen bee cuts a chastising glance in Cherise’s direction. The girl flinches.
“Do you want anything?” I ask.
“Oh yeah, now that you mention it, I do want something.” She leans forward, bringing her mouth close to my ear. “I want you to pack your measly belongings and get your skank Norm ass out of my school.”
She straightens up with a big plastic smile on her face.
“Seriously?” I scoff. “You guys have nothing better to do than threaten me? How miserable are your lives?”
“Our lives are not miserable,” Renata replies indignantly.
With a huff and a glower, Drusilla turns to her friend. “What did I tell you, Renata? No talking unless I tell you to do so.”
The brunette shrinks in on herself, keeping her gaze downcast.
Who needs enemies when you have friends like Dreadzilla?
I glance at Toby, who’s visibly tense.
Long and sharp nails dig into my skin when Drusilla grabs me by the chin and forces me to look at her. “Leave Gifted Academy, or we’ll make your life hell.”
My blood reaches boiling temperature. I yank her hand off me and stand up. “Don’t fucking touch me.”
Drusilla’s green eyes widen, but the gesture only lasts a second before her gaze narrows to slits.
“Kneel,” she says, only her voice sounds different, almost as if several people are speaking through her.
My knees buckle under me. I fight the compulsion as hard as I can but end up stooping in front of the bitch anyway.
“Drusilla, cut it out.” Toby forgets his lunch and stands.
Shit. I don’t want him to get in trouble with these girls because of me.
“Shut up, Fringe, or you’re next,” Drusilla snaps.
“Let me go,” I say through clenched teeth.
She laughs and her minions follow suit. “I think not. I like seeing dirty whores where they belong.”
I’m shaking and sweating, but no matter how hard I try to break free from the Idol’s power, I can’t.
“What’s going on here?” a masculine voice asks from behind the mean girls.
They turn, allowing me to see who’s standing there in all his cruel beauty. Rufio. Fuck. The last thing I wanted was for him to witness my humiliation. Even so, my stomach begins to spiral out of control and a strange feeling hits my chest, taking my head for a spin. He’s hateful, so my reaction to seeing him is nothing but idiotic.
In my defense, now that he’s not leveling me with a murderous stare, I can really pay attention to his looks. His hair is dark with long bangs that are styled in a messy way. His cheekbones are high, and his lips are full—and very kissable. Damn it. Why does he have to be so attractive? His friends are all too good-looking as well. It must be their closeness to the gods. No wonder they’re called the Magnificent Four. It’s almost as if their godly beauty is an attempt to hide their ugly hearts.
Rufio’s tie is loose around his neck, and the top buttons of his shirt are undone, which just adds a devil-may-care vibe to his image. As if he needs extra sexy points.
“Oh, Rufio. I’m just putting the Norm in her place,” Drusilla replies. Her tone has grown sweeter to the point that it might give me a toothache.
“Let her go,” he replies, hard and cold. It leaves no room for argument.
The compulsion keeping me on my knees evaporates. I quickly jump back to my feet and wipe the dirt from my legs, but my tension has doubled. Rufio’s presence here is even more reason for concern.
Against my will, shakes rack my body as I wait for the Idol who wishes me dead to strike. I didn’t buy his kindness during math class for one second.
Drusilla sashays toward Rufio, stopping only when she’s in front of him, invading his personal space.
“I haven’t seen you around lately.” She places a manicured hand on his chest.
Rufio drops his gaze to Drusilla’s face. Then, with a tsking sound, he pushes her off him and walks around her toward me.
“Are you okay?” he asks as if he’s truly concerned. There’s nothing in his tone or expression that shows his duplicity. Even so, I’m wary. He may have an excellent poker face, but I know he can’t be trusted.
“Yes, I’m fine.” I turn to my tray. I was only able to eat half my lunch before Drusilla showed up, but I’m no longer hungry.
“Why are you asking if the Norm is okay? I don’t get it,” Drusilla’s friend asks, the one who Toby said wasn’t very bright. I’m beginning to agree with his assessment.
Instead of answering her, Rufio simply looks over his shoulder and focuses on the ring leader. “You are to leave Daisy alone.”
Drusilla’s eyebrows rise. “Uh, what?”
“You heard me. Now move along.”
Hercules, Michelle. Wicked Gods: A Paranormal High School Bully Romance (Gifted Academy Book 1). Kindle Locations (1327-1394). Infinite Sky Publishing. Kindle Edition.
The same boys who caused the trouble in Poppy’s Joint attend this school and in an awkward twist of fate, her room is next door to them.
Bryce seems to be more friendly than the others, and offers a compromise when she asks for music to be turned down, noise cancelling headphones for the win. The other guys seem to be intent on causing her all kinds of headaches and embarrassments.
Most of the Idols pretty much want her gone, but Drusilla and her crew, Renata and Cherise are really over the top with that.
There’s a lot going on with the guys as well as we get glimpses of their pasts. Of course Principal Fallon is Bryce and Rufio’s mother so that’s a real interesting situation.
There also appears to be several different factions of Idols. Those who want to take over, those who want a peaceful existance and the Knights who try to thwart the evil being done by the takeover guys.
I loved this book, with all the twists and turns on top of the guys starting to protect Daisy. There’s definitely the start of a relationship there, especially with Bryce.
There’s a cliffhanger, OMG ending which is why I’m very glad I can just jump into the next book.
5 Contented Purrs for Michelle!
Click the Cover for More!
USA Today bestselling author Michelle Hercules always knew creative arts were her calling but not in a million years did she think she would write a novel. With a background in fashion design she thought she would follow that path. But one day, out of the blue, she had an idea for a book. One page turned into ten pages, ten pages turned into a hundred, and before she knew, her first book, The Prophecy of Arcadia, was born. Michelle Hercules resides in The Netherlands with her husband and daughter.