All Fall Down (Embassy Row, Book 1)
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1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.
As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her -- so there's no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.
Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can't control Grace -- no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.
Assure myself of where I’m not. The bed is soft and warm, so I know that last night I didn’t have an incident. But I also know that what happened wasn’t a dream. Oh how I wish it were a dream … The Scarred Man was there. I lie perfectly still, trying to control my breathing, desperate to convince myself that I could have been seeing things. I could have been hearing things. After all, I was jet-lagged and exhausted, compromised by adrenaline and subpar lighting. I try to tell myself there was.
Head, emphatic, as if she can see me. I can handle stressful situations. I am equipped. Prepared. Drop me into a war zone and I’ll be fine. But this is different. “Grace, tomorrow night is very important for your grandfather.” Ms. Chancellor’s voice is low. Her words sound mildly like a threat. “Then he should ask me!” I don’t mean to shout — but I can’t stop myself. The dress is too tight and I can’t breathe. “He should talk to me,” I go on. “He doesn’t want me here. And he really doesn’t.
Blurt. She smiles. “Then perhaps we will ride the carousel together sometime soon.” Moving down the line again, I feel half a step behind my body. I no longer think about my sore feet or my tight dress. My mind is too busy imagining Princess Ann and my mother sliding down the embassy’s banister and lying on the beach. I finally realize why the girl in my mother’s pictures looks so familiar. I curtsy when my grandfather is greeted by Ann’s husband, the prince. His mother. And finally the king.
I push off the wall of the Egyptian embassy and start down the street that winds and climbs to the city center, all the time keeping my eyes glued to the stones beneath my feet, searching for any irregularities in the pattern, for the symbol that marked the entrance that I found last night. Four hours later, I’ve seen three tunnel entrances, and I highly suspect I know about one more. The city is no doubt lousy with them, and they could lead anywhere. But I don’t care how many there are. I only.
Want to stop it. I just want everything else to burn with me if I have to go. I think about the file in Ms. Chancellor’s office — the one where she kept the Scarred Man’s picture and the newspaper clipping. I want to know what else she might have under lock and key. So I allow myself one more foolish act. I don’t even look back. It’s easy enough to get there. I just put on clean clothes and brush my hair and my teeth. No one is going to bother the ambassador’s granddaughter on the last day of.