Genre: Angel YA Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Eloquent Enraptures Publishing
Date of Publication: June. 1, 2014
Number of pages: 277
Word Count: 81,119
Cover Artist: Ami Blackwelder
Now that Ali Maney knows the world of Angels and Demons, she is discovering more secrets in the once forbidden books of the angel libraries.
Her relationship with Kian proves to be growing now that they can finally touch, but a few surprises puts her life and her feelings for him in danger.
With Were and Fanged Demons taking over Manhattan, and Ali's brother in danger, Ali will have to be stronger than ever!
Read this second installment of AngelFire Chronicles and find out if Ali and Kian make it to the end.
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/wK_gna1s-7A
Unleashed: Excerpt from Falling Angels
Finally, it was Saturday morning. I had only managed four hours of sleep before I heard a knock on the front door, but since I had been eagerly waiting all summer to visit the Angelfire house again, I didn’t mind. Kian promised and I held him to his word. I practiced my gifts for three months and while most of the time, I crashed and burned, I really felt toward the end that I had grown into my own.
It was just two days before school would begin, and since I finished my summer training, Kian owed me a trip into the angel’s world. I’d wanted to get my hands on the books kept in the secret room; I’d been curious about those for a while and wondered whose pictures I would find. Who else in Manhattan would I discover as angel...or demon?
“Ali!” Mom shouted as she stomped up the stairs, “Kian is at the door.”
I rushed down to greet him before Mom made it to the top step. When I passed her mid-stairs, she gave me a disapproving look, a sharp glare propelling her pupils into the corners of her eyes.
“Got it, Mom.” I swung the door open and a smile beamed across my face from ear to ear. I couldn’t help it. No matter how often I saw him, seeing him again always felt like a rush, a rush of emotion I had been growing addicted to like a gambler in a casino.
“Are you heading out this morning?” Mom stepped onto the first floor and headed towards me.
“Yes, we have plans to meet up with Jennifer and Molly.”
“Just at the ice cream parlor down the block.”
“When will you be back?”
“Geez, Mom, twenty questions much?”
Mom wrapped her palm over my shoulder as Kian leaned forward with a confident disposition.
“Well, with everything we are hearing on the news, we can’t be too careful.” Worry lines creased her forehead. Kian and I glanced at each other.
The news reported people being mauled to death or simply missing. Numbers piled up and no one had solid answers. Pressure mounted on the local police, but Samuel and I knew better. Answers would not be easy. The news could label these incidents as the results of a serial killer or a local gang, but we knew demons had been at work. Fanged and Were demons led by Dameon and Azrael.
“I know. I’m sorry for snapping. Probably late afternoon. I’ll call you.”
“Okay, just don’t forget to call in the afternoon or I’ll have to send your brother to fetch you.” Mom kissed my cheek and I gritted my teeth. Her doting affections reminded me of when I entered elementary school and she would wait at the bus stop for me to make sure I had safely gotten on the bus. Of course, before stepping onto my yellow educational chariot, she’d peck my cheek with a kiss.
“I will.” Kian gripped my hand with his palm. Our fingers interlaced and I waved bye to Mom with my other hand as we stepped onto the sidewalk.
“And don’t do anything more to your hair. Getting used to you as a blonde is hard enough.”
“I won’t.” Now, it was my turn to glare.
“Still don’t understand why you had to change your beautiful chocolate hair color.” She shook her head as she closed the door.
“She’s just worried about you.” Kian drew his face so close to me that I could feel stubble on his chin.
“I know, and I love her for that, but at the same time, I want my freedom, and I forget she is in the dark about a lot. If Mom only knew the half of it, she’d keep me locked up in my room for good.” Plus, I hated lying to Mom. I hated lying period, but I couldn’t very well tell her what I was really going to be doing.
Kian grew serious, “And Samuel? Have you talked to him about staying inconspicuous?”
“Yes, I told him several times about not drawing attention to himself, because we don’t want to attract Dameon to him...or me, but...”
“But what?” Kian stopped mid-step.
“He’s a cop, and with people going missing and others found dead, he doesn’t have the patience to just sit back and wait for Angelfire to clean up the mess. He’s leading two teams to solve those crimes.”
“But will he stay out of the crux of the mess?” Kian’s brows slanted inward. “Stay indoors, just keep to the paperwork?”
“I doubt it.” I watched Kian’s worry lines furrow as the morning glow of the early sun hung behind us and glistened over his soft skin.
“But you told him how dangerous Dameon can be? How he would kill Samuel at any given chance?” Kian sounded as if he had years of street smarts.
“Yes, of course I did, but Samuel is stubborn.” The cell in my back pocket vibrated and I pulled out the phone.
“Who is it?” Kian inched closer.
“Mom. She texted, Love you and hear from you soon.”
We continued walking until we reached the ice cream parlor. Music set to the fifties permeated the space. “Just make sure you let me know every move Samuel makes. We need to be there in case Dameon shows up,” Kian insisted.
“I will.” I lifted the phone in the air and snuggled close to Kian, “Ready?”
I snapped a photo of us in front of the ice cream sign and then another one of us sitting in the booth.
“Do you think two will be enough to fool Mom?”
“You know her better than I do. What do you think?” he responded.
“I think she will wonder why Jennifer and Molly aren’t in these pictures.”
“Because we arrived before them and once they got here, we started talking and eating and you forgot.” Kian sounded like a guy who had gotten himself out of plenty of shady situations.
“I guess we’re ready then?” I gleamed in delight at the thought of seeing the Angelfire house again. We slipped behind the ice cream parlor and into the empty alley. Our angelic wings sprawled across the air, flapped a few times and then we took off into the sky. I could get used to this.
Like two Sandhill Cranes with sizable wings and perhaps some angelic DNA linked to some ancient existence, we flew from my neighborhood to Eagle Lake where the Angelfire mansion was situated. As much as I had flown the past three months, I still got a bit queasy when I looked down and saw the city from a sky view. Something about minuscule cars and houses felt unnatural and made me feel like a giant and so I kept my eyes on Kian.
We landed behind the mansion where we always entered to avoid being seen out front. As Kian pulled open the iron door, I took in a deep breath, because my feet found land and soon I would be seeing my old home again.
As Kian pushed the large frame, the thick door squeaked. The smell of rusty iron rushed past me as we walked up the spiral staircase. I noticed we never used the first floor and I figured it had something to do with keeping a low profile and staying unseen. The first floor had many more windows.
As we walked up the staircase, I peeked over the railing and the light of the day crept over the bare first floor. Empty of furnishings except for a few boxes, the space seemed much more like a storage unit.
“Why don’t you ever show me down there?” I pointed downward.
“Nothing to show. Sammael doesn’t like anyone sleeping on the first floor…or dining there much. But sometimes we eat in the kitchen downstairs.”
“Why doesn’t he like anyone staying there?” I stopped on the stairs and stared at Kian’s back as he took steps forward.
“Because he feels too vulnerable on the first floor…because,” he hesitated, finding words, “in his mansion in Washington, his wife Ariel died on the first floor after an attack from demons. Azrael was there, briefly. Sammael only saw his back. After Azrael threw a stake into her chest, he vanished into the sky. Sammael couldn’t chase him and be with Ariel at the same time. So, he chose Ariel. She died in his arms. He couldn’t save her.”
“Oh, my God.” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Since then, we all sleep on the second floor and he never eats on the first floor.”
The first room looked much as I remembered with only a few paintings from Van Gogh and Gustav Glimt hanging on the walls. Statues were in each corner and a piano in the center. Yep, still the same.
I slid to the door, which led me to the crimson room, the library. I saw the mahogany door where we once trained, the last room I entered my junior year at Millennium High. Kian called it the Angelfire training room. Now, as a senior and as an angel, I expected I would be allowed to see a bit more. Maybe behind the doors next to the training room or the door on the left wall or right wall?
I scurried to the bookcase on the right wall and pulled out the black bound book which once before had revealed so many strange images. My fingers fiddled with the pages of Azrael and Dameon. Their pictures seemed so different to me now. I saw them more clearly than I ever had as a human. In angel form, I became aware and in tune to the power shifts, tugs and pushes of this underworld. Their evil energy pulsated through my fingers as I felt their image.
I noticed a black door on the right wall near the bookcase and heard loud thumps like bodies being thrown around.
“What is going on in there?”
“Just our angel fledgling room.” The confused motion of my brows asked Kian to explain. “Where we keep rooms for the new angel arrivals to sleep and train.”
“Different from the Angelfire training room?”
“Yeah, the Angelfire room is for the experienced angels. The fledgling room is just for the newbies.”
“Will they fight with us, against Dameon I mean?”
“No, they are strictly housebound angels. Don’t know if you’ll even see their faces. Until they get strong enough in their powers, Sammael doesn’t want them out on the streets.”
“But I’m out on the streets with you.”
“That’s because you’re a human turned angel by Nathaniel’s death, and because you’re too involved in the situation with Dameon and saving your brother to be locked away somewhere for safe keeping. The angel fledglings were born angels. They just didn’t know it until recently. Like me, they didn’t find their gift till sixteen. More importantly,” his face grew serious, “we need to get to them and keep them on our side, because fledglings have a danger of turning into Dark Angels.”
Then the white door on the left wall thrust open and a head of waist-length blonde curls bounced up to the center of the empty room.
“Ali!” Krysta shouted with enthusiasm as Kian watched the spectacle from the far wall.
“Krysta?” I hadn’t expected to see her anytime soon. I prepared myself mentally for seeing her at school, but it hadn’t occurred to me that I would see her here, now. But of course I would, I mean she is an angel too. I braced myself. “How are you doing?”
“Good, considering.” She half grinned and the spring in her step turned into a stomp. I felt her twist of emotions toward me. My angel form amplified everything.
On the one hand, she had a kinship with me, an old familiar face. On the other hand, I had been an unwelcome human in her fold, and a presence which had resulted in Nathaniel’s death. In a way, I guess she still blamed me.
The room felt emptier without him here.
“Busy over the summer?” Small talk rambled from my mouth, and curiosity tugged on me. I mean, what had she been doing the last three months? She certainly hadn’t hung out with me. Maybe by now, her fumes had cooled over my presence with Angelfire?
“Busy, sure. If you call keeping your eyes on Azrael’s army busy...then yes. I’d call it a few near death experiences, but to each his own.”
I guess not. Her anger reminded me of a fire embers, the kind that grows with every violent breath.
“Are you alright?” I dropped the black book to the shelf and ambled toward Krysta whose wings looked as magnificent as ever. She had a way of always appearing clean and crisp.
However, after she pulled up her long sleeved shirt and rolled up her jeans, scars on her skin became hauntingly visible. Kian darted to her side and scrutinized the abrasions with careful amber eyes.
“What happened?” His voice grew scratchy.
“You don’t want to know, Kian.”
“Did Dameon do this?” Kian sounded furious. I’d never seen him this way. His usual bronze complexion flushed hot red and his hands trembled in fury.
“No,” Krysta lowered her head, unable to look Kian in the eyes. Instead, she glanced up at me and I felt odd.
“Then who? Azrael’s newborn army?”
“No,” Krysta took a step away from Kian, her body language very defensive.
Kian’s brows made a hard slant inward and then his lips puffed. “Who, Krysta? I’ll kill ‘em.”
Her lips sealed shut. I could feel the grind on her lips. She closed them so tightly, as if any air from them might let a secret slip. Kian placed his palm on her shoulder from behind and whispered,
“I can’t tell you.” Krysta’s pleading eyes met mine and I reached out for her as my own curiosity spun. My hands touched hers and then I pulled her into my chest. I’m not sure exactly how she ended up being comforted by me of all people...but I consoled her. I held her for about a minute before she pulled away and regained her composure.
“I need to know.” Kian’s breath traveled from the center of the room to the bookcase where we stood.
Krysta shook her head and then said the name like something shameful she didn’t want to say too loud, “Dumah.”
Kian froze in his step which had been gradually making its way to Krysta. His complexion went from fiery red to pale white as if he had just seen a ghost. His eyes glossed over as if memories had taken hold of him and dragged him to a distant place.
“Kian?” I called to him, but he didn’t respond. “Kian?”
Krysta marched up and shook him until his eyes finally met with hers again. “Are you okay?”
“She’s still alive...after a year of not hearing from her,” Kian said to no one in particular.
“Yes, she’s alive.”
“Who is Dumah?” I almost didn’t want to say the name aloud, the eerie feeling from its first mention still hung in the air like a bad odor.
Krysta turned to me, and her glare felt like a sunburn, but Kian brushed past her mumbling, “It’s okay. She has a right to know too.”
I couldn’t help letting my mind wander, jumping into possibilities of an old girlfriend, an old rival, and even, however unlikely, a human like Lucianda who happened to know of the angel world too. However, nothing could have prepared me for the truth.
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see Krysta biting her lip as Kian clutched my shoulders with his palms and then met my curious eyes. “As you know, when I was younger, I lived in the orphanage. The caregivers took care of me, often beating me with a rod. I guess I got into more trouble than they wanted. What I didn’t tell you, I kept from you to protect you.”
My ears honed in on his voice, “What didn’t you tell me?”
“They moved me around a lot. A foster home here and a foster home there. They tried to keep families together,” he stared at me with intensity, “Foster homes took in both me and Dumah, but we didn’t last long anywhere.
Dumah had a restless spirit and the minute we settled, she’d find her way into her new parent’s wallet or catch fire to the kitchen towels. I have to admit, I often joined in on the antics. But we eventually found ourselves runaways at twelve.”
I nearly fainted as I took in all this information. “Dumah is your sister?”
“My twin sister,” Kian clarified. “We didn’t much like the rules our foster families gave us, so we fended for ourselves on the streets of Manhattan. For four years, we rummaged through garbage, begged, stole, anything to survive. We had a few close calls with some shady characters.”
Then Kian looked off to the lone window behind me. His eyes searched the clouds in the sky. “What happened?”
“At sixteen, everything changed. My hands began to get ice cold. Dumah began to move objects with her mind.”
“Objects?” I needed an explanation. I knew angels had natural gifts, but telekinesis seemed like an unfair power given to any one person.
“Not all objects, but anything made of wood. She developed some sort of ability over the natural environment. She started moving tree branches while we hung out in the park as I sprouted ice from my palms. We didn’t know what was happening to us.” Kian looked at the floor, his eyes reddened and his throat grew too painful to swallow.
“So, the two of you developed your angel gifts?”
“Yes, but then...” a lump sank in his throat and a tear slid down his cheek.
I took his hand and caressed his soft fingers before Kian finished his story.
“One weekend, while we waited for Jimmy the dishwasher to give us a bag of the unused breads in the back alley of the restaurant, a local gang called Loco staggered half-drunk up to us.
One of the guys tried to put his hands on Dumah and she slapped him. I threw my palms up to shoot ice at all of them, but I had little control over my powers at sixteen and didn’t even understand them. Then someone from behind gripped my wrists, tied a thick rope around them and then knocked me to my knees. Within seconds, my feet were bound and I had a black eye.
Out of my other eye, I saw the man with his hands on Dumah and he pushed her up against the wall. A few of the fellows cheered him on as I struggled to get back up, but each time I managed to get an elbow to the floor, someone from behind would hammer me back down.
After a few minutes, the man dragged Dumah further into the alley until I could no longer see her. I could only hear her, screaming.”
My eyes must have looked of dread as I listened to the story. Kian’s face flushed deathly white with a few tears streaming over his cheeks.
“I screamed for her and fought the man on top of me, but he was too heavy. I couldn’t get out from under him. Then silence. I didn’t hear Dumah screaming anymore and then the gang disappeared. When I could, I ran to her. I found her curled in a ball on the ground. We didn’t move until dusk, but even then, Dumah didn’t speak to me.
That morning, we bumped into a young man about our age wearing a black leather jacket with just one red stripe.”
“Yes. He whispered something to her and she followed him. I warned her not to go, but she wouldn’t listen. She yelled something about me not being there to protect her and so she didn’t want to see me anymore. She disappeared with him and I haven’t seen her since.
Later, Sammael found me and I lived with him. When Dameon appeared at Millennium High and Sammael revealed Dameon’s true identity to me, I figured Dumah had become one more on a long list of his victims, which made me even more determined to save you from him.”
“But she’s not dead?” I posed the question with a stare at Krysta, who now stood several feet to the side of Kian.
“No, she’s not and worse, she is a Dark Angel.”
About the Author:
Ami Blackwelder is a Paranormal and SciFi author. Her stories range from Tween & YA to Adult. Growing up in Florida, she graduated UCF and in 1997 received her BA in English and additional teaching credentials. Then she packed her bags and travelled overseas to teach in Thailand, Nepal, Tibet, China and Korea. Thailand is considered her second home now. She has always loved writing and wrote poems and short stores since childhood; however, her novels began when she was in Thailand.
Having won the Best Fiction Award from the University of Central Florida (Yes, The Blair Witch Project University), her short fiction From Joy We Come, Unto Joy We Return was published in the on campus literary magazine: Cypress Dome and remains to this day in University libraries around the USA. Later, she achieved the semi-finals in a Laurel Hemingway contest and published a few poems in the Thailand’s Expat magazine, and an article in the Thailand’s People newspaper. Additionally, she has published poetry in the Korea’s AIM magazine, the American Poetic Monthly magazine and Twisted Dreams Magazine.
Indie Film Project http://ShifterEvolutions.blogspot.com
Need a Book Cover or Trailer? http://YourBookCoverDesigner.blogspot.com