It's been two months since the dark tunnels of the underworld came for Nikki Beckett. That night, Nikki's boyfriend, Jack, made the ultimate sacrifice and took her place in the Everneath for eternity - a debt that should have been hers. Every night Jack appears in her dreams, lost and confused, and wasting away. All Nikki wants is to save him before it's too late, but no matter how hard she tries to reach for his hand, she can never find it.
Desperate for answers, Nikki turns to Cole, the immortal bad boy who wants to make her his Queen - and the one person least likely to help. But it seems Nikki has touched his heart, and surprisingly, Cole agrees to help in the only way he can - by taking Nikki to the Everneath himself.
As they descend into the heart of the Everneath Nikki and Cole discover that their journey will be more difficult than they'd anticipated, and more deadly. Nikki vows to stop at nothing to save Jack - even if it means making an incredible sacrifice of her own…
Seventeen-year-old Nikki Beckett has just returned from the mythical underworld known as the Everneath, where her six-month stay felt (to her) like a century. Now her father, the town's mayor, doesn't trust her; her relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Jack, is in flux; and everyone else thinks she's a recovering drug addict. She has six months of real life left before she must make a choice: be eternally condemned to the Tunnels, where her life will be drained away, or become one of the immortal Everliving, feeding off of "Forfeits" like herself, who have succumbed to despair (Nikki's pain is the result of her mother's death in a car crash). With her former captor, Cole, pressuring her to choose the latter option, Nikki discovers the awful truths about the Everneath. Jumping frequently between Nikki's time before and after her capture, this dark romance, Ashton's debut, is complex and intriguing. Drawing inspiration from such myths as Osiris, Orpheus, and Persephone, it explores the nature of loss and longing and what it means to be alive. Ages 14 up.