Devils & Thieves


By Jennifer Rush

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$23.49 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 3, 2017. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

A thrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycles from Jennifer Rush, author of the Altered saga–perfect for fans of Beautiful Creatures.

Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael is surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called “”kindled,”” and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. To make matters worse, she was recently snubbed by Crowe-the dangerous and enigmatic leader of Hawthorne’s kindled motorcycle gang, the Devils’ League. When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor spreads that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her abilities. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all. Sexy and suspenseful, Devils and Thieves delivers on the bewitching combination of magic and motorcycle gangs.



I HATED THE MALL. I HATED THE SMELL OF FAST, CHEAP food. I hated the windowless walls, the cavernous space that somehow made me feel trapped. Most of all, I hated the echoing cacophony of a thousand voices.

There was already enough noise in my own head.

“Jemmie?” Alex called. “What do you think?” She spun around in the tenth dress she’d tried on in the past hour.

“I like it,” I answered, pressing my fingers to my brow in an attempt to ward off a headache. Then I let my hands fall into my lap and smiled at her.

“You said the same thing about the last dress, and the one before that,” she said matter-of-factly, not at all put out by my fogginess. She was used to it. “But I think you’ll love this next one.”

She disappeared into the fitting room again, not bothering to ask if I was going to try anything on. She already knew the answer—and how to pick her battles.

I was more comfortable trailing along in her shadow anyway. As long as I was with Alex (which was just about always), eyes would never be on me. She was the only daughter of the Medici family, arguably the most powerful kindled family in the US. Her place was here in Hawthorne, New York, with the rest of the Medici clan. She knew where she stood, and what lay ahead for her.

I wasn’t envious of Alex’s beauty. I was, however, envious of her certainty.

Magic was the currency of our world, and Alex was rich. I… was not.

The dressing room door creaked open and she stepped out, this time in a low-cut black dress that barely covered her butt.

“Your brother would kill you if he saw you in that,” I said. “So would your mom. And if you weren’t dead when they were done, then the rest of the Devils’ League would finish you off.”

Alex rolled her eyes. “As if I’d wear it in front of Crowe.”

There was a reason Alex mentioned only her brother out of that long list of potential dress code enforcers: He was the only one who had even a scrap of influence on her.

Crowe Medici was just twenty years old, but he was already notorious in the kindled world. The Medici name carried a lot of weight as it was, but after Alex and Crowe’s father, Michael, was killed in a motorcycle accident down in New Orleans last year, Crowe had ascended to president of the Devils’ League, the one and only motorcycle gang in Hawthorne comprised entirely of kindled. Since then, he’d had a run-in or three with rival gangs in the tristate area, enough to cause whispers about how dangerous he was, how volatile. Not many people had the power to break bones and raise plagues with a simple arch of an eyebrow. Rumors had spread about how he was unstable, but those of us who had known him all our lives knew better. He wasn’t crazy.

He was grieving.

The first anniversary of Michael Medici’s death had just passed. It probably wasn’t such a good time to test him.

“Are we not shopping for an outfit for the Kindled Festival?” I asked Alex. “And will your brother not be in attendance there?”

Alex ran her hands down her hips. “I can wear a coat or something over it until I ditch my brother. He’s not going to be paying attention to me anyway, not with all the other available distractions. The Sixes rolled in last night, and the Curse Kings got here before noon. The Deathstalkers should be here by now, too, I think.” She frowned for a moment before shaking it off.

I had the opposite reaction to the mention of the Deathstalkers. A tiny, forbidden thrill raced up my spine.

“Anyway,” she continued breezily, “I saw Crowe stumble into an alley with one of the Six hangarounds last night. They were all over each other.”

Thrill forgotten, I scowled. “Figures.”

The Kindled Festival was an annual gathering. It was a chance for the families to swap curses and enchantments, celebrate who we are… and make new connections. This year, the Devils’ League was hosting the party in Hawthorne. The Deathstalkers had hosted it in New Orleans last year, and I remembered that time with a special kind of agony. Crowe never should have attended, not so soon after his father had died. He went on a three-day bender and pretty much turned into an asshole. But I recalled the festival with another, more private emotion: euphoria. It had marked the beginning of something promising, but also the end of something that had never had a chance to begin, the death of a wish I’d had for years.

It was complicated.

Alex patted my arm. “My brother’s a hound, Jem,” she said with a wink. “None of them mean anything to him.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better? Which Six girl was it?” I remembered a bunch of them from the previous year.

“I’m getting this dress,” Alex said, sliding her fingers along the hem at her thighs.

“You’re dodging.”

“Am not. I like this dress.”

“Which. One.” I shouldn’t care. I totally shouldn’t care. “Was it Katrina?”

Alex swiveled back toward the dressing room. “I’ll change real quick, and then we can leave!”

I grumbled, reading between the lines, and wandered to the front of the store. I was being an absolute hypocrite, and I had no claim on Crowe whatsoever. What the hell was wrong with me? After browsing the racks of sunglasses and taking a few deep breaths, I slipped on a pair of aviators and peered at myself in the mirror. The faint scent of leather and flowers drew my attention away from my appearance.

“Good grief. Speak of the devil,” I muttered as the mirror’s reflection revealed a tall, willowy figure walking by just outside the store. “Katrina freaking Niklos.”

Katrina and a few other Rolling Six girls meandered toward the candy shop across the corridor. One of the girls said something and Katrina hung her head back and laughed. Her animalia magic spiraled around her in faint purple wisps that I knew from experience only I could see. That had been the scent I’d detected, too. Sometimes—scratch that, always—the sensitivity I had to magic was a real pain in the ass.

“Whoa. It’s like you have the power of conjuring,” Alex said in my ear.

I jumped. “Christ. What, did you fly out on your broom?”

“I’ve been standing here for a whole minute. You were just too busy staring razor blades at the girl to notice.”

My shoulders sagged. “I don’t care who Crowe sneaks into alleys with.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” She gave me a mischievous look that made my stomach drop. “Should we mess with her?”


She slung one of her shopping bags over her shoulder and started digging in her purse. “I only have a handful of cuts on me, but I’m sure we can find something. Or I could just make her puke all over herself.”

Alex’s power was the same as Crowe’s—venemon. Magic of the body. Both brother and sister had it running thick through their veins.

“As much as I would enjoy that,” I said, “I say we don’t. Please.”

Alex dug deeper in her purse. “Why not?”

Because I could already feel the heavy scent of at least three different kinds of magic wafting up out of her bag as she pawed through it, mixing with the lingering hint of Katrina’s magic and the honey and smoke scent of Alex’s. Because my vision was already going hazy with swirling colors.

“Katrina isn’t dumb,” I said, taking a few steps away from Alex in an effort to reach fresh air and sanity. “She’ll figure it out, and then she’ll tattle or something.”

“Who cares what she says?”

“What if she tells Crowe?”

Alex looked up and bit her lower lip, considering. Technically the two gangs were allies, but after Crowe’s last encounter with the Rolling Sixes, the peace was fragile at best. We shouldn’t be stirring up crap with them. But Alex automatically hated all of Crowe’s girlfriends, and I did, too, because… well, there were reasons.

Again with the hypocrisy. I tried another tack. “What if she tells the Syndicate?” I asked. “We can’t use magic in front of drecks!” That was our word for non-kindled people—who were all around us right now.

Alex rolled her eyes. “Really? If Syndicate agents are coming, their focus is going to be on the real action at the festival, not a prank at a mall.”

Now I was starting to feel ill, and not just because of the sight and sound of mixing magic. “Maybe you’re right, but if anyone finds out—”

Alex shrugged as she peered between two mannequins standing in the storefront partially concealing our position. “We’ll use something innocuous. Come on. Look at how smug she is. I bet she’s telling everyone she got into his pants.”

I followed Kat’s progress down the corridor, her dark hair shining like oil in the light. I couldn’t help but picture Crowe’s fingers sliding through it and the thrill it would have given her like it had once given me. “Fine,” I said.

Alex smiled, baring her teeth in a way that was more maniacal than pleased. She dropped to the floor so she could get a better look into the bottom of her purse. “Aha. This will work.” She held up a small plank of red wood, about the size of a stick of gum. Scrawled across the length of it in silver sharpie was SMELL: BAD.

The wood plank was called a cut, or charm, and I could immediately tell that it’d been created by Thom Flynn because of the handwriting, and because it was so unadorned. Most kindled created cuts like they were art, etching them with rune symbols or hand-drawing their labels in heady oil paints. Flynn’s cuts were like Flynn: simple and straightforward.

“Why do you have a bad-smelling charm?” I asked, and got a weird look from a passing guy. I pressed my lips together. We weren’t supposed to talk about magic in front of drecks, either.

“You never know when a stench will be called for,” Alex answered. “I like to be prepared for anything.”

Once activated, cuts were easy to use directly, like for protection or as tools—or weapons. It was a little trickier to use them remotely, on a target that wasn’t close by, but Alex was a pro at by-proxy magic.

“Do you know what the smell is?” I asked, nerves creeping in once again.

“No.” Alex was crouching just inside the entrance to the store. “But knowing Flynn, I’m sure it’s uproariously foul.” She set the charm in the palm of her hand and whispered the short incantation, giving it a target. As she stood up, I shifted behind her and grabbed the bar of a nearby clothing rack, just in case. Even though I wasn’t the magic’s target, I never knew how the scent and sight of it would affect me, and I didn’t want anyone to know it could affect me at all.

The wooden cut glowed green with Flynn’s inlusio magic, and despite the fact that it had been created to give off a bad smell, my nose filled with the scent of autumn leaves and cigar smoke—the smell of the inlusio magic itself. Emerald filaments laced my vision, and I clamped my eyes shut in the hope of clearing them away.

“Hey, you okay?” Alex asked.

I forced my eyes open. “What? Oh. Yeah. Headache.”

“Again?” She lifted the charm from her hand, and the light burned out. Once again, it looked like nothing more than a normal sliver of wood. “Want me to—”

“No,” I said quickly as she started to reach for me, ready to use her own venemon magic to heal. “I’m fine.” There was enough magic in the air already.

“Oh, here we go,” she whispered, peering at Kat.

I followed the line of her gaze with a mixture of dread and giddiness. This was the way of our relationship. Alex always did the dirty work, and I always let her. She had enough power and caused enough trouble that there was almost never pressure on me to use my own magic, for which I was very thankful.

The first to catch a whiff of the curse was the shorter girl at Katrina’s left. Her nose wrinkled and she brought a hand up to cover it. “Ewww,” she said. “What is that smell?”

Kat caught on next, and her mouth turned down at the corners as she tried to wave the smell away. “I don’t know. God, that’s awful.”

The dark-haired girl trailing behind Kat said, “I don’t mean to be a bitch, but I think it’s you.”

“Of course it’s not me, you idiot.” Katrina scowled. “I showered this morning.”

“Oh God, it smells like rotten tuna,” another girl said.

Alex barked out a laugh.

Katrina’s head turned, and her eyes immediately found us hunched in the entrance of the clothing store.

“Shit,” Alex said.

“I told you!” I said.

“Go!” Alex pushed me out the door.

“You haven’t paid for the dress!”

She threw it over the shoulder of the nearest mannequin and gave me another shove. “I’ll come back for it later.”

“Alexandra!” Katrina yelled. “Jemmie! I will kill you!” She stormed toward us, her sleek ponytail whipping behind her.

Shoppers slowed to watch our drama. A cluster of dreck girls from Hawthorne High held up their phones, ready to film if a fight broke out.

“Faster!” Alex gave me another shove.

“Don’t push me!” I said over a shoulder.

Kat was gaining ground on us. “Goddamn it, you two! Undo it!”

“Not a chance!” Alex said.

“Hey! Ladies! Stop right there!” A mall cop stepped into our path, his hands held up like he was trying to soothe a bucking horse. Or, more likely, stop a suspected shoplifter.

People pressed up against the storefronts, throwing protective arms around their children like we were first-rate criminals. Laughter bubbled up my throat.

Alex snapped her fingers, and her magic, sweet and smoky and shimmering with golden flecks, hit my senses in an instant even though, once again, I wasn’t its target. She dodged to the left, yanking me with her as I stumbled. The cop—who was the target—doubled over, his face waxen.

Just as Katrina was running past the cop, he straightened and puked all over her. The gathered onlookers took a collective breath. Katrina froze, vomit dripping down her leg and sloughing from her billowy tank top.

“Time to go,” Alex whispered just as Katrina snapped back to life and let out a demon-like snarl.

Alex and I laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed until we were far away from the mall and Katrina Niklos.

“I definitely need to trade for another of Flynn’s cuts,” Alex said.

She turned her car off Reddman Road and onto a graveled one-lane. The woods hugged the drive that wound back to Sable River, and the little cottage that sat on its shore. We were officially on Medici property now, which made us safer than almost anywhere else.

“Because that has got to be the second-best revenge strike we’ve ever put in motion.”

“I think you mean you,” I corrected. “I get dizzy if I even try to cast like that.”

Alex blew out a breath. “It takes practice, Jemmie,” she said quietly. “Don’t tell me you can’t do it. Remember that time Crowe was chasing after us in the woods and you put up that barrier—?”

“We were eleven. I was scared. It was a reflex.” And I’d gotten so dizzy from the rush of my own magic, plus the intensity of the sight and smell of it so close by, that I tripped and fell on my face a second later. Crowe was after us because he’d discovered us in his room and threatened to pull our lungs out through our nostrils—a threat I actually took seriously. But he bounced off my barrier right after I fell. He landed on his butt, already laughing about the instant karma while I wiped mud from my face on the other side.

“That was one seriously badass reflex, my friend,” Alex replied.

I turned toward the window, thinking of what had happened the very next day, how it had changed my life forever, how it had cemented my decision to avoid using magic whenever and however I could. “It was a fluke.”

“You have greatness under all those layers of denial, Jemmie. Someday we’re going to dig it out.”

Alex’s constant faith in me felt good, like a warm fire on a cold winter’s day. If only it were actually warranted. The magic that ran in my family, the Carmichaels, was protective locant magic. My dad had it in spades. The barrier I’d thrown up that day was so wide and so stubborn that Lori, Crowe and Alex’s mom, had to call Dad in to remove it, and it had convinced him that I would be as powerful as he was… but he was wrong. And so was Alex.

Sure, I might have magic. I just can’t use it.

And in the kindled world, that made me about as useful as a dreck.

The road curved inward and the Medici cottage came into view. It was a slouching, one-story house surrounded by flowers that looked as if they’d been planted deliberately in a neat rainbow of color. They hadn’t. Lori Medici was originally a Stoneking and had the terra magic many in her family were known for. She could walk into a forest and speak to the trees like they were old friends. She’d used her magic to coax the heart of the woods to beat stronger around the cottage.

On either side of the front door, giant hydrangea bushes bloomed all summer long, even in the heart of the hottest months. Wildflowers had sprung up between the hydrangea blooms in purple and yellow and cornflower blue. A twisting rose bush had been creeping for years up a peeling white lattice on the corner of the house, and although it was an antique rose, meant to only bloom once a year, it kept producing buds from spring to fall. On the far side of the house, facing the river, a magnolia tree hung heavy with flowers. Only a dusting of loosed petals lay in the grass.

Alex parked at the head of the driveway. We got out and walked around the house to the river’s edge. The Sable River here was narrower and shallower than it was in town, but it was no less beautiful to look at. Here the sandy bottom glittered in the sunlight. Water trickled over a cluster of rocks, producing that spa-like tranquil sound of gurgling water.

I lay on the ground beneath the magnolia tree, sunlight peeking through in crosshatches. I kicked my shoes off and dug my toes into the grass. Alex lay down beside me, closed her eyes, and breathed out. This was our happy place, the cottage and the woods. In this place, with my best friend at my side, I felt like I belonged.

“Have you thought about what you’re going to do this fall?” Alex asked after a moment.

“No.” I closed my eyes, too, and let the sun warm me, my hands splayed across my stomach.

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t know what I want to do.” I didn’t have to see her to know she was now looking at me, frowning.

“Are you considering moving to the city, maybe following in your dad’s footsteps?”

“Are you kidding me?” I fought to keep a sneer of disdain on my face, but I couldn’t hide the tremble of my lower lip that said this conversation was getting to me.

“Aw, Jemmie,” Alex said. Her fingers brushed my arm. “I shouldn’t have mentioned him.”

Dad had left Mom and me the day after Crowe chased us through the woods, and he’d barely been involved in our lives ever since. A founding member of the Devils’ League along with Crowe’s father, Owen Carmichael now worked for the Syndicate, of all things. That agency served as a check on kindled powers, and they’d been down on the Devils ever since a brutal gang war with the Deathstalkers that had ended seven years ago with the violent death of the Stalkers’ president, Henry Delacroix. Just after it happened, my dad left the Devils—and our family—to work for the other side.

And I was pretty sure it was at least partly my fault.

I pulled my arm out of Alex’s reach. “It’s all right,” I said, laughing to hide the catch in my voice. “I just don’t think a job with the Syndicate is in my future.”

People with locant magic often worked for the Syndicate, using their power to protect others and even bind criminals’ magic so it couldn’t be used against innocents. If the Devils’ League wasn’t my chosen family, a job with the Syndicate might have been a natural choice for me… assuming I could actually cast.

So what was I supposed to do now that I’d graduated from high school? Go to a dreck college and pretend I was like them? Marry a dreck who had no clue about the world I’d been raised in? No thanks. But I wasn’t so sure I could stay in Hawthorne, either. It wasn’t exactly easy for me to be here, and living in a less magical place would be a relief in some ways. Except—I would have to leave my mom and Alex, the only two people in this world who really cared about me, with or without magic.

“You know,” Alex said, and the way her voice crept up an octave immediately caught my attention. She sounded uncertain, and Alex was rarely uncertain.


“Now that you’re eighteen, you could apply to be a prospect.”

I laughed. “You know I don’t have a bike.”

“And you know there’s one in that shed behind your house.”

The one that had been my dad’s. “If you think going for a patch is so awesome, why don’t you do it?”

“Ha! As if I’d join a club where my brother was the president. No freaking way. Bad enough being part of his family.”

I knew she was mostly joking, but also that she’d never be able to take orders, especially from Crowe. She just wasn’t built for it. I wasn’t sure I was, either. “So you think I should join even though you never would? Hypocrite much? Gunnar told me all about the hazing, by the way. I can’t believe you’d wish that on me.”

“Oh, you wouldn’t be a prospect long. Crowe would make sure you moved up to full patch fast—it’s not like anyone would vote against having you. Your locant power is something the Devils haven’t had access to since your dad left.”

In dreck motorcycle clubs, women weren’t always allowed to be members. But with the kindled, parts didn’t matter—power did. “I’m sure they can find someone else if they really want to. Someone useful.”

“Stop that,” she snapped. “You always put yourself down.”

I sighed. “Just being realistic.”

“You know you have more magic than you’re willing to use. I wish you’d tell me why.”

I wished I could. “It’s just… I’m not good at it. Practicing doesn’t help.”

“I’d buy that if you ever actually practiced!”

“It doesn’t matter, okay? Crowe doesn’t need me. He doesn’t want me, either. He barely even notices when I’m in the same room with him.”

“That might be the biggest lie you’ve told all day.”

I squinted against the light as the wind shifted, pushing the branches of the magnolia tree out of line with the sun. My rebellious heart pounded eagerly in my chest. “Did he say something?”

Alex sat up and folded her arms around her legs. “No. Nothing out loud.”

“Isn’t that the way one says things?” I pushed myself up on my elbows. Part of me wanted to coax more from her. Part of me wanted her to say that what Crowe and I had had before was not completely broken.

One moment had changed everything between us, the thread that connected us burned away—and he’d been the one to set it on fire. He’d chosen that moment just to hurt me, too. Or maybe he’d never cared at all. Which made me lucky, I supposed. I’d surely dodged a bullet.

At least that’s what I told myself whenever I crossed paths with him, because admitting the truth would be worse.

I missed Crowe Medici. But telling myself I hated him was much, much easier.

Alex pulled a tube of lip gloss from her bag and drew the wand across her lips. “Forget Crowe. I’m the one who needs you.”

I hung my head back. “Now you’re being ridiculous.”

“It’s true. I would wither and die without you.” She smiled, her lips bright red and glittering. “Or, more accurately, I’d be in jail with no one to bail me out.”

I laughed. The wind subsided and the sunlight faded as the tree branches settled again.

A single magnolia petal fell from above, drifting back and forth like a feather.

Alex had it all wrong. She didn’t need anyone. It was me who couldn’t survive without her.

“You’ll figure it out, Jemmie,” Alex said softly. “But if you want my opinion, you belong right here in Hawthorne.”


  • Praise for Devils & Thieves:

    * "Rush has given a lot of thought to her world-building here, and the result is a fascinating new world where magic and crime intersect. Urban fantasy is hard to get just right in YA, but she succeeds completely. Teen readers will find a lot to love about Jemmie's complicated life, and they will definitely leave wanting more."—Booklist (starred review)

  • "It's a juicy plot, and the drama starts thick and heavy and doesn't let up right until the last page...The pace is quick, with an effective balance of romance, angst, and magic."—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

  • ""Harry Potter" meets Sons of Anarchy...Rush manages to weave a compelling sensual tapestry around a crew of gorgeous, Jack Daniels-swilling magicians, making this a darkly charged page-turner for older fantasy fans. ­Purchase where ­Bardugo and Holly Black fantasies are popular."—SLJ

  • "The fast-paced suspense builds throughout the novel, and the magic in the story is depicted through beautiful and sometimes horrific imagery."—School Library Connection

  • Praise for The Altered Series:

    "Within minutes, this medical-engineering thriller will have readers glued to their seats....Riveting."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Action-packed...[Anna's] interactions with the boys...keep the story moving quickly, along with a steady unfolding of revelations and events."—Publishers Weekly

  • "Rush keeps it fresh with this fast-paced novel, full of last-minute surprises and unexpected twists . . . The mysteries laced throughout the action add suspense, making the moments of romance even hotter."—Romantic Times

On Sale
Oct 3, 2017
Page Count
336 pages

Jennifer Rush

About the Author

Jennifer Rush is the author of Devils & Thieves and the Altered Saga. She currently lives in Michigan with her family, where the winters make her grumpy and the summers make her forget the winters. When not writing, she can be found curled up with a good book or out wandering, either by foot or by car. She dreams of seeing the world someday (as long as it’s not winter).

Learn more about this author