Beautiful Creatures author Kami Garcia will release her next novel, The Lovely Reckless, this fall, and when she does, readers will meet 17-year-old Frankie Devereux, who’s been living her life recklessly since the death of her boyfriend. But when a mistake forces her to transfer to a dangerous public school, she meets the intoxicating Marco Leone — who has a secret that could threaten everything.

The Lovely Reckless hits shelves Oct. 4, 2016 — but EW is honored to present an exclusive excerpt from the book, below:

Excerpt from The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

I stop the car just shy of the starting line.

Cruz opens the door and pulls me out. “I can’t believe it. You smoked his ass.”

“Does that mean I won the race?” I ask.

Cruz laughs. “Hell, yeah.”

I won.

Cruz leads me through packs of spectators, and I can’t stop smiling.

My heartbeat still hasn’t returned to normal when a hand latches onto my wrist and pulls me away from away from the crowd—bands of black ink wrapping around beautiful tan skin. My legs are numb from the vibrating floorboards, and I stumble.

Marco whips me around and stares back at me, our faces so close that I can smell the cinnamon toothpaste on his breath.

“How long have you and Cruz been planning this behind my back?” Anger rages in his eyes.

“I don’t know. A few days?”

People walk around us, giving Marco a wide breadth.

“You need to calm down, Marco.” Cruz is beside me again.

“Don’t say anything right now, Cruz. You lied to me.” He shakes his head, chest heaving like he’s about to explode. Deacon warned her that Marco wouldn’t be happy about me racing. Apparently, it was the understatement of the year.

“The whole thing was my idea,” she says.

“No, it wasn’t.” I’m not letting her take the fall for me. “I offered.”

“You offered?” Marco’s brown eyes drill into me. He gave me the same look after I kissed him at the party—a mixture of shock and confusion. “Of course you did.” He turns his back on me and stalks toward the grass.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I ask, following him. “Hey! You can’t say something like that and walk away.”

Marco makes it to the grass and whips around so fast that we almost collide. “What the hell were you thinking?”

“Umm . . . I don’t know,” I say sarcastically. “How about Cruz needed someone to drive her car so she could pay the rent?”

“That’s not your problem.”

“She’s my friend.”

Marco presses the heels of his hands against his forehead. “Your friend? You hardly know her.”

“You’re pissed off because I’m friends with Cruz?” It hurts coming from Marco, but I won’t give him the satisfaction of letting him know.

“Hold on. That’s why you think I’m angry?” He shakes his head as if my response doesn’t make any sense.

“If that’s not it, then what’s your problem?”

Because I don’t have a clue.

“Street racing is dangerous. You could’ve been killed. Or arrested.” Marco hesitates as if he wants to say more but he’s holding back. “Is that what you want, Frankie? Because every time I turn around, you’re doing something reckless. Jumping into fights. Showing up here with Lex and a wad of cash. Getting drunk at a party with people you barely know. And now you’re racing Cruz’s car? What’s next? Skydiving?”

“Unless you’re suddenly perfect and I missed the memo, you don’t get to judge me,” I shout, even though anger isn’t what I’m feeling. I’m scared—of Marco and how easily he sees the truth about me. Of myself and how much I can’t see.

“Say whatever you want about me. Odds are if it’s bad, it’s probably true.” Marco rubs the back of his neck, dark clouds churning in his eyes. “I’m a screwup. But you aren’t. Promise me you won’t do anything that stupid again.”

Why does he care?

My eyes burn, but I won’t cry in front of him. “I just want everyone to leave me alone.”

Marco reaches out and touches my cheek. “You sure about that?”

I stare at my sneakers.

His expression softens. “Every once in a while the universe gives us what we ask for, so make sure you’re asking for the right things.”

“What do you ask for?”

Marco looks stunned, as if no one has ever asked him a question like that before. We aren’t as different as he thinks. Part of me wants to tell him—to take some of the sadness out of those brown eyes—but I’ve already let myself get too close.

“I want my little sister to graduate,” he says finally. “Go to college and get out of the Downs. I want Cruz’s dad to stop beating the crap out of her.”

“None of that is for you.”

He keeps his gaze focused on me. “There’s no room in my life for what I want.”

“But if there was?”

“I still couldn’t have it.” Marco stares at the ground between us, hands shoved in his pockets. “Some things aren’t meant for guys like me.”