Winter(129)

By: Marissa Meyer



If she wanted to be a part of his future, she’d have to be a part of it all.

“I would consider it,” she said, then took in the first full breath she’d taken in days. “Someday.”

His grin returned, full force and full of relief.

He put an arm around her and Cinder couldn’t smother her own smile as she leaned against him, staring at Artemisia Lake and the white city and planet Earth surrounded by stars. She spun the cumbersome, hateful foot in her fingers. Ever since she could remember, it had been a burden. A constant reminder that she was worthless, she was unimportant, she was nothing but a cyborg.

She held the foot over the water and let go.





And they all lived happily to the end of their days.





Acknowledgments

My heart overfloweth with gratitude …

For everyone at Macmillan Children’s, including, but not limited to: Jean Feiwel, Liz Szabla, Jon Yaged, Nicole Banholzer, Molly Brouillette, Lauren Burniac, Mariel Dawson, Lucy Del Priore, Liz Fithian, Courtney Griffin, Angus Killick, Johanna Kirby, Anna Roberto, Caitlin Sweeny, Mary Van Akin, Allison Verost, Ksenia Winnicki, and countless more behind-the-scenes advocates for these books. You are all so brilliant and creative and I’m so lucky to be working with you. I also want to give special thanks to the cover designer, Rich Deas, and illustrator, Michael O, who together have created some of the most gorgeous book covers an author could hope for. Thanks also to my copyeditor, Anne Heausler, for your careful attention and surprisingly excellent knowledge of moon geology.

For Rebecca Soler, the ridiculously talented audiobook narrator, along with Samantha Edelson and the whole crew at Macmillan Audio for bringing these stories to life in such a lively and tangible way.

For my intrepid agent and her team: Jill Grinberg, Cheryl Pientka, Katelyn Detweiler, and Denise St. Pierre. Thank you for your constant faith, guidance, and zeal for toasting every milestone. (Winter is done—cheers!)

For my beta readers, Tamara Felsinger, Jennifer Johnson, and Meghan Stone-Burgess, who have been with me since the start of this crazy journey. Time and again you’ve forced me to dig deeper and push harder, and your invaluable feedback has made such a tremendous difference to this series and for me as a writer. Plus, I just really adore you all.

For the Sailor Moon fandom, from those who gave me courage back when I was a fledgling fanfiction writer, to some of my dearest friends who still make me laugh with your hijinks. (There, I put Jacin in a towel. Are you happy??)

We often talk about writing being a solitary profession, but it’s hard to tell when you’re surrounded by wonderful fellow writers as I’ve been. I’m grateful for my local partners-in-crime—Gennifer Albin (we miss you!), Martha Brockenbrough, Corry Lee, Lish McBride, Ayesha Patel, and Rori Shay—for keeping me inspired and focused during our many writing dates and retreats. I’m so glad to have met each of you. Thanks also to Mary Christine Weber and Jay Asher, who joined me for a super-fun interview in the Cress paperback, and to so many writers who have joked, inspired, commiserated, motivated, taught, toured with, and encouraged me throughout this epic book-writing quest: Anna Banks, Leigh Bardugo, Stephanie Bodeen, Jennifer Bosworth, Jessica Brody, Alexandra Coutts, Jennifer Ellision, Elizabeth Eulberg, Elizabeth Fama, Nikki Kelly, Robin LaFevers, Emmy Laybourne, Beth Revis, Leila Sales, and Jessica Spotswood, with sincere apologies to anyone I might have missed.

For the librarians, teachers, booksellers, and bloggers who’ve rallied around this series. From book talks to art assignments, staff picks to GoodReads reviews, your enthusiasm has introduced countless readers to the Lunar Chronicles and I am enormously grateful for all you’ve done.

For my friends and family, who plan launch parties, take photos, make dinners, babysit, pitch my books to random people at the supermarket, do my hair, make crowns, share book recommendations, help me shop for event outfits, and constantly remind me of the important things in life. Thank you; I love you.

For Jesse, who does so much so I can stay focused on writing and dreaming, dreaming and writing. I love you with my whole heart. And for Sarah and Emily, whose smiles have made this the brightest year of my life.

Lastly, I have infinite gratitude for the readers (yes, you!). Over the past years, you’ve made fanart and written letters, held in-depth discussions on the merits of various OTPs, shared with me your struggles and joys, hosted read-a-thons, donned costumes and red high heels, driven for hours to attend book signings, dreamed up movie fancastings, baked Lunar Chronicles cupcakes, started Tumblrs and compiled Pinterest boards, and so so so much more. This tale belongs to you now, as much as to me, and I couldn’t feel as though I’m putting it in better hands. If you need me, I’ll be thanking all the stars for each of you, one by one.


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