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Classic fairy tales get a modern take in this series that's equal parts puzzle and page-turner.  

What if Snow from Snow White and Rose Red woke up in a mental hospital with no memory of how she got there?

Ever wonder what happened to the Little Mermaid after the end of the story?

And Cinderella’s glass slippers may have been more than fashionable footwear - could they have a power all their own?

In Magically Ever After, the happy ending is only the beginning . . .

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"Everyone, you remember Neve," he said, smiling at the group. "Unfortunately, she doesn't remember you, so let's take a moment for everyone to introduce themselves, shall we?"

The young girl was Alice, who turned out to be seventeen, not twelve, as Neve had thought. Next to her was an older woman named Nancy who crocheted while she talked. Then came Peter, followed by a thin woman with long, dark hair and trembling fingers named Melissa, and a short, squishy man named Adam.

Tala tossed her thick braid over her shoulder and crossed her legs. "I'm Tala,” she said, not knowing Neve was already privy to that fact. "And this is Torbin."

The big man didn't look her way, but Neve saw his jaw clench.

And suddenly, it was all too much. Before she knew what she was doing, Neve bit out, "And does Torbin have some kind of problem with me?"

She swallowed. Had she really said that out loud?

Tala's eyes narrowed, any semblance of friendliness evaporating. "What makes you say that?"

Neve licked her lips, bravado slipping. "He seems kind of . . . angry."

"Well, he can't tell people when they do stupid things," Tala said through gritted teeth, "like touching a sociopath. So perhaps that gets a bit frustrating."

"All right, that's enough." Doctor Alberich intervened, holding up a hand. "Neve, I'm sure Torbin has no reason to be angry with you. Do you, Torbin?" He turned toward the large man, whose whole face seemed to tighten-Neve could swear she heard his teeth grinding-before he jerked his head slowly from side to side, then looked to the floor.

"Of course not," the doctor said, and was that a bit of a smirk on his face? But then it was gone, and Neve thought she must have imagined it. "Neve, I'm certain we all want you to feel welcome here, right group?"

Everyone nodded silently, except for the girl, Alice, who said, "Yes," in a quiet voice.

"Excellent." Doctor Alberich opened his notebook, pen poised over an open page. "Who would like to begin?"

Neve listened as Nancy talked about her anxiety, crochet hook flying over blue-green yarn. She snuck a glance at Torbin, who was still focused on the floor so she could study him a bit without him noticing. She was once again struck by how big he was-at least six-four, she guessed, with bulging muscle everywhere. His T-shirt clung to his chest, the hoodie unzipped over it, and for the first time she noticed the pendant he wore around his neck. She couldn't really make out the design from where she was, but it was metal-pewter perhaps, or worn silver, oval in shape and maybe two inches long. A hand wrapped around it and she realized he'd caught her staring. His eyes narrowed as he tucked the pendant inside his shirt and crossed his beefy arms over his chest.

Her face flooded with heat and she should have looked away-wanted to look away-but she didn't.


Don't trust him. Had her delusion been her subconscious warning her away from this man, who obviously had an axe to grind when it came to Neve, despite what anyone else said? A reflex of self-protection since her memories had abandoned her?

"Neve, would you like to share?" Doctor Alberich asked, finally tearing her attention away from where Torbin glowered across the circle.

She really had no desire to share, but what was it that Lily had said? Give him what he wants?

Of course, Lily had then tried to tear her throat out, so perhaps any advice should be taken with a grain of salt.

Still, Neve did want to get better, and if this was part of her recovery, she'd do it. If there was any hope of regaining her memories, or simply preventing losing them all again, she would take it.

"Uh, I'm Neve," she said in a rough voice, searching for a friendly face in the group and settling on one, then another, while avoiding Torbin and Tala altogether. "I've been here for a while, although I don't remember it." She gave a little self-deprecating smile and a few of the patients smiled in return.

"I have amnesia, as well as a delusional disorder. At least that's what Doctor Alberich tells me. I'm, uh, sorry if I've done anything to any of you in the past. I honestly don't remember it." Heat rushed up her neck as her gaze dropped to the floor. Maybe that would be enough to appease Torbin. "I just want to get better and I hope we can be friends."

"That's very good, Neve," the doctor said, and Neve finally looked up to see him smiling at her. "We all want the same thing, so I think you're off to a great start." He checked his notes. "Who's next?"

Melissa raised a tentative hand and he nodded at her.
She was describing a nightmare she'd had when Neve felt a rush of dizziness and the world began to spin.
No. Not again. She clenched her eyes shut, and tried to breathe deeply, to ignore what was coming. But even though she couldn't see it, she could smell the pine and dirt . . . could hear the birdsong and the chirp of crickets.

"Neve." A woman’s voice.

"No, I'm not listening to you." She pressed her hands over her ears. "You're not real. You're a delusion."

"Neve, stop that."

How could she hear her so clearly, even with her ears covered?

"Get out of my head!"

"Please, we don't have much time," the woman said. "I'm blocking him out, but I won't be able to for long. You need to listen to me. You're in danger."

Neve couldn't resist. Despite the warnings, she had to see. Had to know. She opened her eyes to find the same woman from before watching her with concern in her dark eyes.

"Why is this happening to me?" Neve asked, more to herself than anyone else.

The woman-Rose-smiled softly. "Be strong. You can do this."

"Do what?" she asked. "I don't even know why I'm talking to you. You're a delusion."

The woman scoffed. "I'm your sister."

"What?" Neve blinked in surprise. "No! No, you're a-I'm not going to talk to you. I'm not going to listen." She clenched her eyes shut, her fingers curling into fists. "Go away!"

"Neve, you have to listen!"

"No!" She could control this. She’d fight it off.

Be normal.

"I'm not listening," she said, murmuring quickly. "My name is Neve. I'm in the Blackbriar Institute. Today is-"

"Blackbriar?" the woman repeated, but her voice was fading away. "What's Blackbriar?"

"-Tuesday." Neve said through gritted teeth. She could imagine if she'd open her eyes, she'd see the colors whirling, fading back to the familiar. She swayed back and forth and tried to ignore the dizziness.

"I'm in group therapy. We're having chicken sandwiches for lunch-" She was running out of things she knew. Things that were true.

So she started over.

"My name is Neve." Her voice grew stronger as the woman's grew quiet. "I'm in Blackbriar. There is no forest. My name is Neve."


Her eyes flew open...




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