Book of Angels (Night Angels Chronicles, 2) by K.H. Mezek

Who Are the Night Angels? Marianne Tells her Story

In Book of Angels, readers get more insight into who the Night Angels are, from learning about their past lives. After Sera’s Turning, in Strejan’s castle overlooking Lake Roza, Marianne sits with Sera in her room, at the top of a tower in the castle, and recounts her past….

“I was twenty-six years old when I was turned into a vampire. On the edge of old age for those times. Before my Turning, I lived in a village by the sea, in the wild lands of Northern Ireland. My family were Druids. I was married to the gods and no man had ever touched me. We worshiped many gods and practiced human sacrifice. For you, in these days, it’s hard to understand. But for us, it was our life, we didn’t know any different. Everyone had a purpose, to toil or to serve the gods, one or the other. Life was hard, but easier for me than most. Then, the Vikings came to our village and hell descended on earth. A horde of them swept through like devouring insects. They threw my father from the cliffs. My younger sister, they raped and ran her through with a sword. My mother, they crushed her head with an anvil when she tried to protect my sister. They were dragging me by the hair to do the same when a great warrior on a white horse swept down like an angel, his brilliant eyes fixed on me in a stern and noble face.”

Marianne paused in her story, overcome with the memory. Then, she continued. “He lifted me onto his horse. You must understand it was the first time in all my life that a man had ever held me. I fought, clawed, bit and kicked. But he was an unbreakable tower of steel and only held me tighter until, finally I gave up my stuggle. We traveled back across Europe, his warriors torching the land, destroying everything before them. He kept me safe, caring for me. Anything I needed or desired, he gave to me. He became my world and I worshiped him as my new god. He brought me back to Constantinople, to that beautiful city, to his palace. He washed and perfumed me, dressed me in the finest clothes and presented me at the Sultan’s court.”

“You loved him so much!”

“Love?” said Marianne, as if trying to remember what the word meant. “Oh, yes, I loved him. But he didn’t love me. When the Sultan demanded me for his own, my lord gave me up. As a gift. Without a second thought. And then, after I had been taught and trained to obey my new master, the Sultan Turned me.”

“What happened when the Viking died?” I asked. “Did you cry, or was it sweet revenge to watch him grow old and wither away while you stayed young and beautiful?”

A dark fire smoldered in Marianne’s eyes. I dropped my gaze, out of the horror of what I already knew, not wanting to hear what she was going to tell me. “He isn’t dead, Sera. The Viking who saved me and brought me to Mehmet is Fabian Gore.”

I gasped and doubled over in agony. Every evil that existed, every cry of pain, every struggle against the darkness seemed to point back to Gore.

Marianne got up from the bed, walked a few paces, and then turned back to me. “So you see? I have no explanations for you. I now fight against the denizen that once I loved. How can I understand anything of this world, or we creatures that inhabit it?”

****
Book
of Angels
(Night
Angels Chronicles, 2)
by K.H. Mezek
 
Evernight Teen Publishing
Romance,
Fantasy, Suspense, Urban Fantasy
All Sera ever wanted was to solve the
mystery of her dad’s death and find out whether or not the Night Angel, Peter, really
loved her. Now, there are bigger issues at stake. After being saved from death
by the Night Angels, Sera returns to Oak Haven to find her brother, Salem, has
been saved by her nemesis, the sinister Los Angeles mayor-to-be, Fabian Gore.
Sera and her brother meet again in their hometown of Oak Haven as powerful
denizens. And as enemies. Someone is channeling power to the Queen, imprisoned
in St. Catherine’s Monastery. If she escapes, the Ancient Ones will rise up
from their sarcophagi beneath churches throughout the world and wreak vengeance
on denizens and humans alike. 
To thwart
the Queen, Sera has no choice but to form an uneasy alliance with Gore.
Meanwhile, Sera’s power and her connection to the Key of Mystery is growing.
Only she can open the Book of Angels. But whoever does that will become
something that Sera never wants to be: the Seventh Angel. How can Sera solve
her own problems when everyone else wants her to solve their problems as
well?  
Buy Links:  Evernight Teen / Amazon  / ARe
 
14+ due to adult situations
Excerpt:
The next thing I knew I had leapt
into the air with the two of them, my mind on St. Catherine’s Monastery, and I
found myself hurtling through the Passage, horribly aware of every atom in my
body and the indomitable forces of the universe that were trying to pull me
apart.
As if it were a part of my very
being, I held myself together, “remembered myself”, and traveled through the
Passage.
Within seconds, I was floating down
from the sky, surrounded by the immense, desolate beauty of what looked like a
moonscape. Except that the moon shone brighter and bigger than I had ever seen.
Behind me, sand stretched, wave upon wave of it, with not a hint of grass or
trees, while in front rose a sheer cliff, taller than a skyscraper. The
monastery seemed to grow out of the rock, so closely was it pressed against the
cliff.
“All looks peaceful,” observed Peter.
“Maybe too peaceful,” said Blanca.
Together, we jumped over the fortress
walls, landing in the empty courtyard. We entered the sixth century basilica.
We walked from the vestibule into the ornate nave and down the aisle, toward
the sanctuary. I gazed in awe at the ancient artifacts and the icons shining
with gold. Hundreds of lamps hung from the high ceiling like glittering
galaxies, bathing the vast room in an eerie light. Out of the shadows the
figure of the Abbot appeared, wearing a long gray robe and a cylindrical,
flat-topped hat. His long black hair was tied in a knot at the nape of his
head, a frizzy beard spreading out from his face like tangled wire. His large,
hooked nose resembled a bird’s beak and his dark eyes burned uncannily from
deep sockets.
He greeted us with a humble bow and
wordlessly led us through a dark and narrow arched doorway into a small,
circular, windowless chamber, padding silently on bare feet. The chamber was
empty except for one plain wooden table. On the table sat the black lacquered
Life Box, looking just as insignificant as the Object Holder had when I had
first seen it and fought over it with Salem. This box, though, was about twice
the size of the one that had held the key. And, whereas the Object Holder had a
gold lock and tiny gold key to open it, the Life Box had no lock and no visible
way to open it.
On either side of the table stood two
impressive Bedouin warriors. Each had one hand resting on a curved scimitar and
the other holding the hilt of a knife tucked into a belt. Their faces were
lined and weather-beaten and expressionless, as if carved from the rocks of the
mountain. The desert surrounding the monastery was home to many Bedouin. They
were devout Muslims with a long history of guarding the monastery. They had
made a vow to guard the Life Box with their lives.
The Abbot motioned for the Bedouin to
stand at ease.
Bowing low to us, the guards said in
unison, “Assalamu alaikum.” It meant, “peace be upon you.”
Along with Peter and Blanca, I
responded, “Alaikum assalamu.” This meant, “upon you be
peace.”
Like everything else in my crazy life
these days, I had no idea how I knew to say that, but I did.
The Abbot didn’t speak, just gestured
for us to gather around the box.
“He has taken a vow of silence and
hasn’t spoken in thirty years,” said Peter.
My attention was drawn to the box. I
realized it vibrated and hummed in an almost undetectable manner. Only when I
remained completely still and stared fixedly did I notice it. 
“This it does without stopping and
just today, it gained in force,” said one of the Bedouin.
Sure enough, as we watched, the box
jumped slightly, shuddered, and jumped again before falling back into its
continual vibration. It hummed a little louder now.
As I watched in fascination, I slowly
became aware that the key around my neck was growing heavier and beginning to
burn.
The box vibrated more violently and
hummed louder. As it did, it rose into the air and hovered about two feet above
the table. The vibrating and humming grew so loud I thought the box might split
apart.
The key was searing my skin and I
yelled in pain. I tried to tear it off, but it was stuck to my chest and my
hand burned when I touched it. I felt the Queen’s presence, reaching out to me.
It was pure evil and I felt attracted to it. I wanted to bow down and worship
the Queen, give her the key. I became brutally aware of her perfections and my
own failings. I loved the Queen! I despised and hated myself! Horrible thoughts
rose in my mind, the impulse to do horrible things.
Blood was pouring from my eyes. Tears
or something worse, I didn’t know.
“Take me away!” I cried out to the
others. “She’s grabbing at me. Take me away. Please!
The Bedouin had drawn their swords
and whipped out their daggers, but there was nothing they could do except stand
there, at the ready. Blanca and Peter had drawn their swords, too. They’d
placed themselves as a shield between me and the box. The Abbot ran in front of
us all and pushed Blanca and Peter back.
He turned to face the box, bracing
himself as if against a great wind, and raised his hands to heaven in prayer.
Peter and Blanca were then able to
pull me out of the chamber. I don’t think I could have moved before the Abbot
faced the box. As soon as we were back in the nave, I collapsed onto the
ground, gasping great gulps of air, thankful to find the heat of the key
subsiding. With a great cry, I tried to take it off, but it was stuck.
Completely stuck now. To my skin.
“Fuck this key! Why am I cursed with
it?”
My entire body was bathed in red
sweat. I looked down at myself in horror. What had I become? What nightmare had
I entered? I pushed back my hair and swallowed, my throat dry and constricted.
I had to get control of myself. I breathed in and out deeply.
“She’s getting stronger all the time.
She’ll get out. Maybe soon. And I was ready to help her!” I shuddered.
“But you didn’t,” said Peter.
“At least now we are sure she is
still inside,” said Blanca.
“She won’t stay there.” I could see
my fate, as I had already seen it in my Turning, and it was clearer than ever.
One day I would face the Queen. 
And I would fail! How could I not,
when she was so easily able to deceive and confuse me?
One of the Bedouin exited the
chamber. “The Abbot wants you to know he is now sure someone is channeling
power to the Queen, but he cannot see who.”
“It’s just not possible,” said
Blanca. 
The Bedouin bowed respectfully. “I
only tell you what the Abbot believes.”
“Thank you,” said Peter.
The Bedouin continued. “The Abbot
further believes that you must discover who is doing this. You must stop them
or she will escape.”
He bowed again and returned to the
nave.
“He’s right,” I said, as we walked
out of the sanctuary and into the vestibule. “She and her sons will kill me and
take the key.”
“Coward.” Blanca kicked the church
door open with her foot. “We might as well be protecting a pile of trash! If it
weren’t for the key around your neck, I’d kill you myself!”
For the first time, Blanca’s words
didn’t bother me. “You can call me what you want, I don’t care. But you better
listen because she will escape and we won’t be able to stop
her. We need to figure out what to do instead of arguing all the time.”
“Well said,” said Peter. “Let’s get
back to the castle and tell the others.”
We were outside of the basilica now
and we stood for a moment, surveying the courtyard, the full moon casting eerie
shadows across the ground. I looked more carefully and saw that some of the
shadows moved like living things.
“What’s that?” I asked.
Peter and Blanca looked up to the sky
and I did the same. A gathering storms of wispy black tendrils snaked across
the sky, mirroring the moving shadows on the ground.
“What the hell…” I said.
“Wind demons,” said Blanca.
I looked at Peter inquiringly.
“Seventy-two demons were captured by King Solomon and then released by mistake.
Up there you see maybe twenty of them.”
The Abbot and the two Bedouin had
joined us in the courtyard.
“We have never seen them here
before,” said one of the Bedouin.
“And so many,” said Peter. He sighed.
“I hate wind demons.”
The Abbot was motioning us to follow
him. We hurried across the courtyard, which was now filled with a howling wind,
the shadows of the wind demons slithering back and forth across the stones like
snakes. A group of monks appeared, running in the opposite direction, heading
for the church.
“They will pray,” yelled one of the
Bedouin above the din.
This was not making me any happier. I
had just escaped the clutches of the Queen and now I had to contend with wind
demons? Was there no end to the problems I had to face in one day?
The Abbot led us into the Fatimid mosque
that stood across from the church. Standing on its own, opposite the gigantic
bell tower, was the minaret and we entered and climbed swiftly up the stairs.
It was from this highest point that the muezzin sang across the desert, calling
the followers of Islam to prayer, five times a day. We climbed out onto the
little platform that ran around the top of the minaret, and from here, I felt
the full force of the gale. The shadows screamed and I could see cavernous,
greedy mouths appear and disappear as they whipped around the tower, creating a
whirlpool of darkness. Only when I looked straight up could I see clear sky and
stars. But that opening was growing narrower by the minute. All around was
completely empty of light, as if the very sky itself had been sucked into a
giant black hole of whirling mouths and tails, into which we, too, would be
sucked if we tried to fly upward.
Peter and Blanca unsheathed their
swords and I did the same.
Peter pointed with his sword. “We
must fly straight up. They don’t dare come too close to the minaret.”
The Abbot nodded, making motions that
we should hurry.
“Put your sword away,” Peter said.
I began to object, then obeyed. This
didn’t seem like the time to argue.
He gripped my arm. “Listen carefully!
Jump onto my back. Once we’ve achieved the Passage, we’ll be safe. Until then,
you must hold your breath—don’t breathe, understand? If you do, the shadows
will enter and steal your soul.”
I nodded, terrified.
I jumped onto his back and held on
tightly.
The Abbot raised his arms, while the
Bedouin brandished their swords at the swirling darkness. It seemed to abate a
bit, and Peter and Blanca seized that moment to leap into the air. I breathed
in deeply and held onto my breath.
All was chaos in the tunnel through
the shadows, the terrible wind trying to push us back down, a screaming noise
like a thousand pigs being gutted. Flying straight upward, the two Night Angels
fought the demons with their swords, slicing into the tendrils that tried to
encircle them.
I was sure we had almost made it when
I felt an icy tendril touch my leg. I almost opened my mouth to scream. As it
was, I let go of Peter with one arm and tried to reach down to bat at the
tendril. I felt myself slipping halfway down his back and scrambled to pull
myself back up again.
I was falling!
The snaky thing had my ankle now. I
tried to kick with my foot to shake it off, while struggling to get a better
hold on Peter. I was growing weaker. I had to take a breath. My chest was
exploding.
And then, the Passage was achieved
and we were through. I pushed away from Peter with relief, feeling the now
familiar force of my molecules trying to split apart and me holding them
together, as we rocketed through space and time, landing within seconds in the
little garden of the castle. 

Key of Mystery, Book 1,  is also available now:  Amazon   Evernight Teen    ARe
About the
Author:
Karen
Hunt aka KH Mezek
 is
the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays
and short stories. ‘Reflections from Istanbul,’ an excerpt from her childhood
memoir, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the
co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated
youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting
youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree
black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing
and kick-boxing trainer. As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt
right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in
Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her
adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London
and a village in Yugoslavia. Key of Mystery and Book of Angels, volumes
one and two in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, are published with
Evernight Teen.  
* * *
Giveaway:
$25 Amazon GC and $25 Evernight Teen GC
 

 

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