EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Ruling Destiny by Alyson Noël

Did you enjoy our first excerpt of Ruling Destiny? As an extra special treat, we have a second excerpt to get you excited about the release on June 6!

Returning to Braxton, I say, “So, what should we do between now and curfew?” 

A slow smile spreads across his face. Like a person rearranging a room by moving a lamp from one corner to another, it effectively brightens the mood. 

In one fluid move, he’s standing before me, offering his hand. 

A moment later, I’m wrapped in his arms as Braxton sweeps me across the stone floor, our bodies swirling in perfect time with the concerto, until he twirls me into a darkened corner lit by a single flickering torch. 

“I brought these back for you,” he says, slipping a hand into his jacket. He retrieves a pair of beautiful emerald-and-pearl earrings. 

“How?” I gape at them. “And—I mean, where?” 

“I didn’t steal them off a noble—if that’s what you’re thinking.” He laughs. “I thought you might like to wear something on your Trip that wasn’t borrowed from Wardrobe.” 

“Other than my talisman, you mean?” 

Braxton grins. “May I?” He gestures toward my ears. 

I slip out my small golden hoops and insert the new earrings. “What do you think?” I ask, wishing there was a mirror nearby. 

“I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” he says. 

My cheeks instantly flush, and the moment I’m back in his arms, his lips parting for mine, I can’t believe I wasted so much of this night hunting for lies and cooking up intrigue, when this— right here, secure in Braxton’s warmth—is the only place I want to be. 

His lips find my neck, trailing a path of sweet, fevered kisses down to my collarbone. “What happened here?” he asks, tracing a finger along the scratch on my throat. 

“It’s nothing,” I say, trying to silence him with a kiss. But unfortunately, he’s also noticed the finger-shaped bruises marking my arm. 

“Natasha, did something happen today?” 

The question almost makes me laugh—so many things happened. But Braxton’s gaze is brimming with worry, so I do what I can to ease his concern. 

“I’m fine,” I say. “Better than fine, because I’m right here with you.” I burrow back into his arms, returning to where we left off. 

“Your scent reminds me of springtime and sunshine and laughter and joy.” He kisses me with a wanting that matches my own. “And you taste like faith and hope and promises kept.” He groans low and deep as his hands trail down to my waist and his lips find their way back to mine. “What have I done to deserve a girl like you?” He kisses me until I’m dizzy with it, until I’m forced to pull away, drag in a breath, before I go back for more. “Tasha,” he says, his voice barely a whisper. “I need you to know, I’ve never felt this way before.” 

We kiss frantically, hungrily, taking all that we can. I slide a hand under his jacket, my fingers making quick work of the row of buttons lining his dress shirt. 

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone, ever.” He presses the words into my flesh. 

Not even Elodie. 

The thought is like a sticky lyric now stuck in my head. But I force myself to tune it out and focus on the feel of Braxton instead. 

Like the way his fingers trace along the seams of my dress, moving up and over my rib cage before pausing at the undercurve of my breasts. 

I arch into his touch, wishing we could immerse ourselves in each other until we are one, intertwined, no clear boundaries between his body and mine. 

And all the while we kiss like we’re starved for it—our lips eternally seeking—our hands greedily exploring. 

We are hooked. Addicted. Completely and utterly lost in each other. 

And the best part is, we’ve only just gotten started. 

When Braxton lifts me off my feet and places my back against the wall, my legs instinctively fold around his hips, tethering our bodies so tightly, a low, sexy grumble sounds deep in his throat. 

With a wash of stars glimmering above and a wide splash of ocean breaking below, my palms skate over the muscled curve of his chest, then down along the taut valley of his torso, and then down lower still. 

“Tasha…” he breathes, his own hands skimming past my knees, under my dress. His fingers move gently, reverently, pausing in question when his thumbs edge against the flimsy strip of lace—a barrier so easily breached with a simple nod of my head. 

I shutter my eyes, marveling at the relentless scorch of his touch. 

“Tasha, I—” His lips retreat; he presses his forehead to mine. And as my eyes slide open and our gazes lock, I know he’s on the verge of telling me something—when a new symphony suddenly blares from out of nowhere, drowning out the vibrant chords of Vivaldi.


The second I stepped through the doors of Gray Wolf Academy, my world disintegrated. Here, time is malleable. It can be manipulated, shifted. Changed. And for those of us who Trip—or travel through time—the possibilities are infinite and perilous.

Now my life is caught in the secrets of everyone around me. Arthur, the eccentric billionaire who rules this school. Killian, who could be the only honest person here…or the biggest liar. And Braxton, magnetic, gorgeous, and unfathomable. The only thing I trust about him is our electric connection.

Whether we’re Tripping through Renaissance Italy or thieving from a ball in Regency England, my life’s become a web of lies and strange truths. And beneath the surface is an elaborate puzzle, filled with cryptic symbols and priceless treasures scattered across history—all somehow connected to my strange ability to see through time.

But Arthur has a dangerously ambitious agenda. And if what my dad taught me is true, I’m not just a threat to everyone at Gray Wolf.

…I’m a threat to time itself.

RULING DESTINY by Alyson Noël releases June 6, 2023! Find out where to preorder it here.

Alyson Noël is the #1 NYT best-selling author of many award-winning and critically acclaimed novels for readers of all ages. With 9 NYT bestsellers and over 8 million copies in print, her books have been translated into 36 languages, sold in over 200 countries, have made the NYT, USA Today, LA Times, Publisher’s Weekly, Wall Street Journal, NCIBA, and Walmart Bestsellers lists, as well as several international bestsellers lists. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she’s lived in both Mykonos and Manhattan and is now settled back in Southern California. You can learn more about her books at www.alysonnoel.com.

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