In WICKED AFTER MIDNIGHT by Delilah Dawson, life as a contortionist in Criminy’s Clockwork Caravan should be the height of exotic adventure, but for Demi Ward, it’s total Dullsville—especially when it comes to guys. Ever since a night of hard college partying six years ago ended with her naked and bludded in Sang, Criminy has been like a father to her, and now she’s ready to explore the world on her own terms. But when her best friend Cherie is stolen by slavers outside of Paris, their Sangish road trip turns to tragedy—one Demi’s determined to make right.
Vale Hildebrand, a sarcastic and rakish brigand, finds Demi hiding near her burning carriage. On the run from his own past, he pledges to help her navigate the glittering cabarets of Paris to find Cherie, and Demi quickly becomes a star. Much to Vale’s frustration, Demi soon attracts a host of wealthy admirers, including debonair painter August Lenoir, who lures her into his studio for a portrait—and a sip of addicting, blood-tinged absinthe. It would be all too easy to accept Cherie’s disappearance, and those of a string of daimon cabaret dancers, as inevitable, but with Vale’s ferocious will and Demi’s drive to find her friend, they soon have a lead on a depraved society of Parisian notables with a taste for the obscene. Can Demi unwind herself from Vale and wind her way through the seedy underbelly of Paris in time to save her best friend before she, too, is lost?