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Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author:Cassandra Clare

“Two nights ago,” said Johnny, clearly feeling he was earning his payoff. “Body’ll probably be dumped tomorrow night. All you have to do is show up and catch the dumper.”

“So why don’t you tell us how to do that?” Emma said.

“Word on the street is that the next body dump will be in West Hollywood. The Sepulchre Bar.”

Emma clapped her hands in excitement. Her boyfriend said her name again, warningly, but Kit could have told him he was wasting his time. He’d never seen a teenage girl this excited about anything—not famous actors, not boy bands, not jewelry. This girl was practically vibrating to pieces over the idea of a dead body.

“Why don’t you do it, if you’re so worked up about these murders?” Cameron demanded of Johnny. He had nice eyes, Kit thought. They were a ridiculously attractive couple. It was almost annoying. He wondered what the fabled Julian looked like. If he was sworn to be this girl’s platonic best friend for eternity, he probably looked like the back of a bus.

“Because I don’t want to,” said Johnny. “Seems dangerous. But you guys love danger. Don’t you, Emma?”

Emma grinned. It occurred to Kit that Johnny seemed to know Emma pretty well. Clearly she’d come around before asking questions—it was weird that this was the first time he’d seen her, but he didn’t come to every Market. As she dug into her pocket now, took out a roll of bills, and handed it over to his father, he wondered if she’d ever been in his house. Whenever clients came to their home, Kit’s dad made him head down to the basement and stay there, not making a sound.

“The kind of people I deal with aren’t the kind of people you should meet” was all he said.

Once Kit had wandered upstairs by accident while his father was meeting with a group of robed and hooded monsters. At least Kit thought they looked like monsters: their eyes and lips were sewn shut, their heads bald and gleaming. His father had told him they were Gregori, Silent Brothers—Shadowhunters who had been scarred and magically tortured until they became something more than human; they spoke with their minds, and could read other people’s. Kit had never come upstairs again while his father was having a “meeting.”

Kit knew his dad was a criminal. He knew he sold secrets for a living, though not lies: Johnny prided himself on having good information. Kit knew his own life would probably follow the same pattern. It was hard to live normally when you were constantly pretending you didn’t see what was going on in front of your face.

“Well, thanks for the info,” Emma said, starting to turn away from the booth. The gold hilt of her sword gleamed in the light from the Market’s illuminated stalls. Kit wondered what it would be like to be Nephilim. To live among people who saw the same things you did. To not ever be afraid of what lurked in the shadows. “See you around, Johnny.”

She dropped a wink—at Kit. Johnny whirled around to look at him as she disappeared back into the crowd with her boyfriend.

“Did you say something to her?” Johnny demanded. “Why’d she zero in on you like that?”

Kit held his hands up defensively. “I didn’t say anything,” he protested. “I think she noticed me listening.”

Johnny sighed. “Try to get noticed less.”

The Market was starting up again now that the Shadowhunters had left. Kit could hear music and a rising bubble of chattering voices. “How well do you know that Shadowhunter girl?”

“Emma Carstairs? She’s been coming to me for stuff for years. Doesn’t seem to care that she’s breaking Nephilim rules. I like her, as much as you can like any of them.”

“She wanted you to find out who killed her parents.”

Johnny yanked a drawer open. “I don’t know who killed her parents, Kit. Probably faeries. It was during the Dark War.” He looked self-righteous. “So I wanted to help her out. So what? Shadowhunter money spends.”

“And you want the Shadowhunters paying attention to something that isn’t you,” said Kit. It was a guess, but, he suspected, a good one. “Have you got something going on?”

Johnny slammed the drawer shut. “Maybe.”

“For someone who sells secrets, you sure keep a lot of them,” said Kit, jamming his hands into his pockets.

His father put an arm around him, a rare affectionate gesture. “My biggest secret,” he said, “is you.”