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Every Hidden Thing
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
1443410292 (ISBN13: 9781443410298)
Somewhere in the Badlands, embedded deep in centuries-buried rock and sand, lies the skeleton of a massive dinosaur, larger than anything the late nineteenth-century world has ever seen. Some legends call it the Black Beauty, with its bones as black as ebony, but to seventeen-year-old Samuel Bolt, it’s the “rex,” the king dinosaur that could put him and his struggling, temperamental archaeologist father in the history books (and conveniently make his father forget he’s been kicked out of school), if they can just quarry it out.
But Samuel and his father aren’t the only ones after the rex. For Rachel Cartland this find could be her ticket to a different life, one where her loves of science and adventure aren’t just relegated to books and sitting rooms. And if she can’t prove herself on this expedition with her professor father, the only adventures she may have to look forward to are marriage or spinsterhood.
As their paths cross and the rivalry between their fathers becomes more intense, Samuel and Rachel are pushed closer together. Their flourishing romance is one that will never be allowed. And with both eyeing the same prize, it’s a romance that seems destined for failure. As their attraction deepens, danger looms on the other side of the hills, causing everyone’s secrets to come to light and forcing Samuel and Rachel to make a decision. Can they join forces to find their quarry, and with it a new life together, or will old enmities and prejudices keep them from both the rex and each other?
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HE WALKED THE BADLANDS FOR two days without food or water. The boy was naked, painted in white clay, searching for the gift he had seen in his vision. With jagged stones he raked his chest, and still heaven and earth wouldn’t open their secrets to him. He began to despair. He was lost and needed to be guided. He was a boy and needed to be a man. He staggered on into the night, hoping dawn would bring the fulfillment of his vision. But it came instead from the darkness.
Its eye was a gaping hole in a skull built from black bones. The boy struggled with the beast as it tried to drag him beneath the earth. Kicking, yelling, he pushed against the dark teeth to keep the jaws from closing on him. The teeth pierced his hands. He was pulled down to a place without moon or stars, but he fought on. Light disappeared, and time with it. Finally he was still and thought he’d died and would never see the dawn again.
When he woke, the sun was rising and he was walking, streaked with blood, a black tooth clutched in his fist.
I WOULDN’T SAY MY FATHER was a violent man, but he wasn’t afraid to talk with his fists. And I was glad of it. Because if he hadn’t belted Professor Cartland that night in the Academy of Natural Sciences, I wouldn’t have had the chance to see Rachel’s eyes up close.
When I first saw her in the lobby, I didn’t even know her name. She was just an ordinary-looking girl, dowdily dressed with all the flair of a cabbage moth. Her nose and jaw were too big to make her face delicate. Fair hair, quite fine, reddish tinged, parted severely in the middle and pulled back from her face.
She stood out because there were only two girls in the entire lobby—and the other one was Anne Atkinson. I’d glimpsed Anne several times before. She was the oldest young person I’d ever seen. Bowed and strangled in bonnet and lace. Rickety as the aging uncle she steadied during monthly meetings.
And then there was Rachel. I wondered who she’d come with. She left the crowded lobby, where people were talking before the lecture, and wandered into one of the galleries. Behind the giant Irish elk and prehistoric turtle was Hadrosaurus foulkii.
It was still an impressive brute, no matter how many times I’d seen it. Just sixteen years ago Joseph Leidy had dug it up. The first dinosaur skeleton unearthed from American soil. Mounted on its rear legs, it stood fourteen feet tall. Twenty-six feet long, head to tail. Forelimbs gripping a fake tree added for support. You could go and stand right underneath the rib cage.
She was staring at it intently, a vertical line between her eyebrows.
“Never seen it before?” I asked.
She only half turned, just enough to glimpse me, and then directed her gaze back to the hadrosaur.
Just no. “You’re not from here?”
Since it went up several years back, the hadrosaur had become such a popular attraction that the academy had cut back its visiting hours and started charging admission. I figured everyone in Philadelphia had seen it by now.
“We’re visiting from New Haven.”
“Ah.” She didn’t seem at all interested in me. Most girls were. I wondered if I smelled like the pickle I’d eaten with dinner. More likely she was just shy. I wanted her to turn and look at me properly. “Those aren’t the real bones,” I said.
“I know. They’re just plaster casts.”
I studied her anew. “How’d you know that?”
“I read an article.”
I looked around to make sure Professor Leidy wasn’t nearby. Whispered anyway. “They never found the skull, so they had to invent one.”
“They based it on an iguana.”
She was getting more intriguing by the second. And then she looked at me straight on for the first time. Her gaze was frank. No flirtatious lift of an eyebrow, no smile. I got the feeling she’d be just as happy without me. Happier maybe. For a moment I couldn’t think of anything to say. Unusual for me.
“That’s a very pretty hairpin,” I lied.
“No, it’s not.” She gave a little sigh, like she was disappointed in me.
I’d never met a girl reluctant to talk about her hair ornaments. I chuckled. For a second I thought she might too.
I added, “I just thought it was . . . unique in its . . .”
“It’s just a regular hairpin,” she said, touching it.
The tip of her left thumb and index finger were both stained with ink.
She saw my gaze and answered before I asked. “I draw my father’s specimens for him.”
Tonight, everyone crammed into this building was a naturalist of some sort. Probably her father was just another gentleman dabbler.
“He’s a collector?”
“Yes. And he’s quite exacting in his drawings.”