May your day be merry and bright and filled with good food and laughs whether you are celebrating today or not.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays too from our family to yours.
(Bear denies wearing that Santa suit, but we have pictures as proof, and now you do too! You can click the image to see a larger version if it’s small in your inbox.
L to R: Bear, this random nutcracker that danced into the scene [we have no idea where he came from; he’s not a character in our fantasy books], Papa aka Sarn, Me aka Ran on the festive boxes, and Auntie Sovvan. Uncle Miren took the picture.)
Whatever you do today, make it a good day. Share a smile or a story! We have lots of stories, and our stories make great gifts if you’re a last-minute shopper like our Scribe aka Melinda.
She has the whole cast making truffles and wrapping gifts on Christmas day of all things!
There’s no rest for your hard-working fantasy characters. (She’s even making us fold laundry and stack dishes in the dishwasher.) But I snuck away to send our warmest greetings to you.
Curse Breaker Enchanted is free today, so you can hang out with us when you need a break. (Bear doesn’t wear a Santa suit in it. Maybe we can convince him to wear it in a future book.)
And now, because we have a story in every newsletter, I return you to our preview of His Angelic Keeper Fallen because Christmas isn’t complete without a plucky angel in trouble.
This will be our last look at that book. On Monday, we’ll dive into our last book release of 2021, His Angelic Keeper Tempted with a special preview event.
by Melinda Kucsera
Before she could protest, a warrior angel wearing a hammered steel breastplate emblazoned with a cross-in-glory ran through the door. She wore a modified version of the white robe Sovvan wore, but it stopped at her metal greaves. A flaming sword hung from her belt, and a halo gilded her short brown hair. The warrior angel gripped a metal helm in her gauntleted hand as she followed them.
Sovvan opened her mouth to ask if that angel was Allesariah, but the angel held a finger to her lips and motioned for silence.
“You can see me?” the warrior angel asked.
Sovvan nodded, and the angel scowled. Was she supposed to be invisible? Sovvan wanted to ask, but the angel had told her to be silent. Unfortunately, she didn’t do silence well. “Who are you?” Sovvan mouthed. She hoped the angel could read her lips. Otherwise, this would be a short conversation.
“I’m his guardian angel.” The warrior angel jerked her thumb at the door at the other end of the corridor Malachiah had dragged Sovvan through. She must be Allesariah.
Thankfully, her ex-guardian angel had bent all his attention on his search for the one entity Sovvan didn’t want to meet again, and he wasn’t paying any attention to her. But she supposed their meeting was inevitable since she’d accidentally helped the Adversary cross over to this world in the first place. Of course, at the time, she hadn’t known who the Adversary was. He’d tricked her, but she still bore some of the blame. I’ll make things right. I’ll send him back to Hell, where he belongs.
“He’s looking for the Adversary, right?” Allesariah glared at her with violet-glowing eyes.
Since every angel she’d met had the same luminous eyes, her glare wasn’t intimidating. But Sovvan nodded anyway because it was the truth. “Aren’t you going to help me?”
Allesariah shook her head. “I can’t. He’s your guardian angel. I can’t interfere with his business, even if it is infernal.” But that warrior angel didn’t look sorry. She gripped her sheathed sword as she followed them.
“Who are you talking to? This hallway is deserted.” Malachiah didn’t stop. As he picked up the pace, he swelled until he was twice her height, and Sovvan was already taller than most men.
“Wouldn’t you like to know. Maybe I was talking to the army of angels who’re coming to rescue me.” Sovvan pulled on Malachiah’s arm, but she still couldn’t break his grip. Neither could he hear Allesariah, so that was a potential advantage, just not one Sovvan could take advantage of right now since Allesariah refused to help her.
Malachiah laughed. “There’s no army coming for you. You’re a mistake. None of the other angels will care if you’re gone for good.”
He’d become corporeal again, and so had she. They could no longer walk through solid objects like the statues lining this corridor. Maybe her ex-guardian angel could only become intangible for short periods. Sovvan didn’t have any such constraints, but she had been a ghost until she’d become angelic.
Unfortunately, he was also right. The few angels Sovvan had met hadn’t known what to make of her. No one would come to save her, so she’d better save herself.
She tried to grab the weapons from the statues she passed, but Sovvan couldn’t pull any of the maces or swords from their hands. They glared at her with glowing crystal eyes for trying. For some reason, all the statues under the mountain depicted people and creatures fighting. The builders of this place had strange ideas about proper decor.
The Litherians, said the magic she wasn’t supposed to have. It had been quiet since the whole portal to Hell takedown thing, but that power hadn’t been much help during that episode either. This magic only helped when it wanted to, and it didn’t want to help her right now. Nor did she know where it had come from. Her twin was the mage.
Sovvan tripped over some rubble. Had a bunch of walls collapsed? Because stones piled up into small mountains to her right and left. Malachiah just kept striding along as she struggled to get her feet under her. “Let go of me, you creep!”
Sovvan stumbled up the side of another heap toward a giant hole in the floor that was large enough for a dragon to fall through. “Where are you taking me?” She slammed the heel of her hand into his arm again, but it stayed cinched tight around her waist.
When he didn’t answer, Sovvan pressed against her neck and kept pressing on various spots. But she couldn’t find that one spot that had made her go incorporeal before. Damn. Why had it worked earlier and not now? That was so unfair.
Sovvan tripped over some more rubble and managed to slide through his grip that time. But Malachiah grabbed her arm before she could scoot away from him. He twisted her arm behind her back in a joint lock and forced her to rise.
“How did you escape the Agents of Chaos?” Malachiah asked again. His halo had slid down his forehead to rest on the bridge of his nose like an opaque visor. It wasn’t a good look for him. His halo didn’t glow anymore, either. It was just a gold circlet now.
“Wouldn’t you like to know.” Sovvan struggled to stay upright as the debris underfoot shifted. She stumbled on toward the giant hole in the floor. Of course, that would be his destination.
“Fine. Keep your secrets. Soon, I’ll know everything.” Malachiah pushed her when she reached the edge, and he spread his flaming wings.
But he didn’t let go of her. Sovvan pulled him down with her since he still held tightly to her arm. But his grip didn’t hurt. He reeled her back in and wrapped an arm around her waist despite the kicks she aimed at him. They descended in a tight spiral toward the ground far below, and it looked familiar.
I’ve been here before. A momentary feeling of déjà vu washed over Sovvan. I fell through this hole when I saved my nephew. There was the underground river darkly flowing past the broken stones on shore, and the extra-large tentacles stabbing at the shadows. It was the same river she’d fished her twin out of not that many hours before. At least it felt that way to Sovvan, but time moved differently when one wasn’t alive. That all could have happened days ago for all she knew, which only made it more imperative that she find her brother and find out what the hell was going on.
“Where are you taking me?” Sovvan wished her wings weren’t still bound, but they were. She hadn’t found a way to unlock them yet. A gold glow encircled her head in a faint cloud, but it couldn’t be what she thought it was. She was a strange hybrid, not a real angel. How could she have a halo?
A white-glowing cross sailed past her and transformed into a glowing dove as a still small voice spoke. It kindled a fire in her heart. “You’re a child of God. He made all things, the brightest day as well as the darkest night. Be a light in the dark, Sovvan. Light the way for the lost.”
I’ll be that light. Sovvan touched the gold nimbus, and that light permeated every part of her as Malachiah dragged her down toward whatever awaited them below.
Get His Angelic Keeper Fallen today to continue this fun adventure. The sequel, His Angelic Keeper Tempted, releases in less than a week! We’ll have more about it on Monday in our regularly scheduled newsletter.
–Sincerely, Ran, son of Sarn, and my Scribe, Melinda
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