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The Origin Prophecy #1

GrayReign (Special Edition)

GrayReign (Special Edition)

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Paperback

SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES:

  • Gold Foil

PLEASE NOTE: As this paperback is shipped directly from the printer, it is unsigned. If you would like it to be signed by the authors, bookplates are available for purchase.

A precarious truce. A world-ending threat. Once the prophecy unfolds, which Gray will reign?

GrayReign is book three in the Origin Prophecy trilogy.

Luna and Caleb face their biggest challenge yet—taking down Alexander. But the enemy is a master tactician and it will take more than wits and bravery to make it out of the conflict alive.

Supernatural meets Shadowhunters in this Romeo + Juliet retelling about two Nephilim at the center of a prophetic war and the forbidden love they will fight to protect.

WHAT READERS HAVE SAID

"Without spoiling anything, the ending is beautiful. This book will bring the reader epic battles, stealthy plans, emotional changes of heart, and of course, steamy romance. The writing quality was on point as always, and this was a great way to end the series." ★★★★★

"The was a perfect finale to the series. I became so immersed in this world I couldn't put it down." ★★★★★

"That's how you end a series. I swear, this book was nonstop action but it also managed the heart-melting romance." ★★★★★

MAIN TROPES

  • Angels & Demons
  • Enemies to Lovers
  • Dark Academia
  • Light vs. Dark
  • Forbidden Love
  • Bad Boy with a Heart of Gold

SYNOPSIS

A forbidden friendship. A dangerous secret. What's done in the dark always comes to light.

After a number of violent incidents brand seventeen-year-old LUNA as a danger to others, she’s committed to a psychiatric hospital, reaffirming what she’s always known—she’s crazy. Only one person disagrees with her diagnosis: the new doctor with the bewildering golden glow who insists she’s “special” and doesn’t belong there. When he arranges to have her transferred to a school in Egypt for children with angelic blood, Luna is forced to question if she’s actually insane or if there’s possibly more to her troubled past than she thought.

CALEB is a Dark Nephilim student at the Tower of Babel Academy in Iraq. Despite being the third generation of his bloodline, he’s more gifted than many of his peers, making him the perfect candidate to go undercover as an exchange student at the school for Light Nephilim in Alexandria. Once there, he has only one mission: find a way to free his grandfather, Alexander the Great, who was entombed after trying to conquer the world.

When Luna and Caleb cross paths, their outcast natures draw them to each other despite everyone around them saying Lights and Darks can’t be friends. With millennia of prejudice working against them, can they overcome the divide built to keep them apart? Or will the building trail of secrets and lies they discover destroy their fragile, new-found bond?

LIGHTFALL is the first book in the paranormal romance trilogy The Origin Prophecy, a loose Romeo + Juliet retelling about two teenage Nephilim caught on opposing sides of an ancient feud. This novel features a slow burn, enemies-to-lovers, forbidden romance and ends on a cliffhanger.

LOOK INSIDE: CHAPTER ONE

Screams flood the cramped room, growing alongside the flames, the writhing tentacles of fire thrashing in every direction, devouring the creaky metal bed frames and mattresses—reaching out to punish everyone present but me. I know in my heart the fire is my friend. It protects me when everything else wants to hurt me.

It saves me even when the screams make me cry.

My eyelids jerk apart as I’m jolted awake by the jarring impact of the plane landing. The tires skid against the runway, the hissing of rubber on tarmac uncomfortably loud in my just-woken—and still drowsy—state, the remnants of my nightmare fading like the dying tings of an echo. 

Weird, I don’t remember falling asleep.

As the plane slows to a stop and the engines cut off, the overhead speakers crackle to life. A male voice makes an announcement in Arabic, followed by what I presume to be the same message in English. “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Borg El Arab International Airport. The local time is 9:40 a.m. and the temperature is 28°C. For your safety and comfort, please remain seated…”

I yawn a few times until my ears pop, releasing the pressure building up in my head. As the pilot’s voice drones on through the cabin, I turn my gaze to the small window beside me. A hazy blue sky and stretch of sand patched with weeds await on the other side of the thick glass, offering a first glimpse at my new home. 

Alexandria.

I press my fingertips to the warm glass. Despite the strange sense of calm overwhelming my body, I’m not entirely sure how I got here. I didn’t even own a passport before yesterday, and the events of the last thirty or so hours are reeling through my head in a muddled fog surrounded by half-answered questions. Questions, which are strangely lacking in fear. All I know is that less than two days ago, I was in a psychiatric ward in central Maine, isolated with no hope of ever seeing beyond the blank gray walls of my cage. Dorothy in my own eternal Kansas. 

But now…

My eyes snap to the tall, brunette man a few inches to my left, in the next seat over. He’s handsome and on the younger side—no older than mid-twenties if I had to guess—and while he’s familiar, I can’t recall his name, only that he’s my guardian on this trip, which should alarm me but, for some reason, doesn’t. I want it to bother me. For all I know, he’s abducted me and no one knows where I am. Something tells me that isn’t the case, but still, why don’t I feel afraid? Or more anxious about my first time on a plane? And why can’t I bring myself to ask the questions anyone else would in my position? It’s as if there’s a fog pressing down on my mind, preventing that part of my brain from working.

Sensing my lingering stare, he looks over at me. His amber eyes seem to glow as he speaks.

“How did you sleep?” he asks in a lilting voice as a gentle smile curves the line of his lips. I can’t pinpoint where his accent is from. He’s definitely not American. If anything, his way of speaking is a strange amalgamation of several different accents, confusing me nearly as much as how I wound up in Egypt. And why.

“F-Fine,” I choke out, my answer garbled from the grainy texture coating my tongue from the dry plane air. I must’ve been sleeping with my mouth open. Clearing my throat, I try again. “Fine.”

“Good.” His smile deepens as he drags the brown leather briefcase on the floor by his feet up onto his lap. As he opens it and gathers our travel documents, I search his sharp, angular face for answers regarding the muddled hours of the last two days. My efforts cease mid-thought when his fair complexion shimmers with something otherworldly, a halo of golden tendrils slithering across the surface of his skin like thousands of small whips of light.

As my eyes widen, taking in his inexplicable glow, the memory of his deep voice stirs in my ears, drawing forth a flicker of a past conversation between us. I was in that cramped, empty room at the hospital, curled up in a trembling ball on the icy floor, and he was crouched in front of me, speaking in gentle whispers.

“Luna, do you know why I’m here? I’m taking you away from this place.”

His hand grazed my shoulder then, but I didn’t jerk away from his touch—not like I have with every other person who has tried to get close to me since the incidents began. I wasn’t sure what, but there was something about him—something that set him apart from the other doctors who had long since cast me off as a lost cause unworthy of their time or attention. A patient incapable of being helped. That something made me want to trust him.

When I asked him why he wanted to help me, he answered with only three words.

“Because you’re special.”

Special. That word rings again in my head, although I still don’t know what he meant by it. If by special, he meant completely deranged, then sure. I’m definitely special, all right.

The light indicating for everyone to keep their seat belts fastened abruptly shuts off with a resounding ding, and in a flurry of movement, the passengers on the plane all climb to their feet, preparing to disembark. My chaperone follows suit, yanking the faded blue backpack full of my few meager belongings from the overhead storage compartment. 

“Ready?” He gestures behind him, holding out his arm in the unoccupied space in the narrow aisle to keep it open for me.

Despite the questions beating against the wall of my skull, I nod and reach out to take my bag from his hand, although I’m not sure I’m ready at all. Every moment since I left the hospital has been like some sort of bizarre dream that I’m sleepwalking my way through, only half aware of what’s happening. I can’t even remember stepping foot on this plane. Maybe I was drugged. It wouldn’t be the first time pharmaceuticals were shoved down my throat in the hope of suppressing whatever inner demons make me do the terrible things that I’ve done. By now, I’m used to feeling nothing, and that’s probably for the best. Every time I start feeling, I only end up having to face what I am.

Dangerous. 

If I weren’t, I wouldn’t have been isolated in a padded room for the past year. Last I heard, the doctors hadn’t made any significant breakthroughs regarding my unhinged mental state, so why was I discharged from the ward? And why can’t I clearly remember agreeing to leave with this man or bring myself to question him about where he’s taking me?

How can I be ready when I don’t know where I’m going?

A strange wave of calm washes over me again, dulling my senses and easing my uncertainty and desire for answers, as well as pushing down the fear creeping to the surface like bile rising in my throat. Sedated, I silently trail the man off the plane, letting him guide my steps without question or hesitation like a dog on a leash. As we walk, my gaze drags across the shining white floors and seemingly endless walls of windows, glancing anywhere but at the people around me. I already know what I’ll find on their faces. How normal they’ll look, their eyes unburdened by guilt.

How I wish I could know what that feels like.

The corridors we progress through are muggy and hot, even with the air conditioners thrumming on full blast through the airport. When we finally reach the line for border control, the heat in the room becomes sweltering as dozens of bodies press in close on each side of us, encroaching on my much-needed personal space. Perspiration beads along my skin, sticking my hair to the back of my neck and drenching my T-shirt and jeans with sweat. God, what I wouldn’t give for a shower. 

My fingers fumble with the blonde locks that now feel like a heavy curtain draped across my back, bundling them on top of my head and holding them there as I let out a breath. As if reading my thoughts, my chaperone offers me a rubber band to tie my hair up. 

At the hospital, we weren’t allowed simple luxuries like hair elastics. Most of the residents had their hair shorn short to avoid them finding unique ways to use it as a weapon to harm themselves or others. My own golden tresses were left alone, thankfully, but I know that’s only because none of the staff wanted to risk becoming my next victim by forcibly shaving my head. 

What the doctors failed to understand is that I never wanted to hurt anyone. The incidents… They just sort of happened—like the madness was leaking out of my body and simply latched onto the first available target. I couldn’t stop the demons from lashing out, no matter how hard I tried to keep them at bay.

The people who get close to me always suffer.

I fling my hair into a ponytail as the line inches forward one trudging step at a time. With every passing moment, my racing heart picks up speed until my pulse is throbbing in my veins like a physical presence trying to break out of my flesh. When I inhale, the dank air—filled with the chaotic hum of dozens of voices all speaking over each other in different languages—presses down on my lungs, suffocating my already irregular breaths and making me feel even more out of place. 

Closing my eyes, I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth like the counselor at the hospital taught me to do when things begin to get…overwhelming. I can’t recall the last time I was around so many people or cooped up in such a crowded space, and the pandemonium of it all is too much to endure. An irrepressible desire to be outside in the fresh air tickles across my skin like an itch.

But then, that peculiar sense of calm courses through me again, and gradually my heart rate slows, and my breathing steadies to a normal pace. When my eyes flutter open, I’m surprised to find myself standing at the front of the line. Strange. I could’ve sworn we were much farther back. I peek up at the graceful form of the man beside me who grins when I meet his gaze, as if he somehow knows what I’m thinking. 

My lips part to speak, but he grabs my arm and escorts me forward before I can utter a word. Clamping my mouth shut, I let him lead me toward the immigration officer beckoning for us to approach her.

The woman, an attractive middle-aged Egyptian wearing a burgundy hijab, holds out an expectant hand for our travel documents. The man offers them to her with an amiable smile.

She glances at my companion’s passport first, and as she stamps it, I catch a brief glimpse of his name. Alaric Walsh.

That’s right, I remember now. He introduced himself at the hospital.

Another recollection breaks free from the fog in my head.

“Are you a doctor?” I asked, looking him up and down with raised brows. He didn’t seem like the other doctors who had all tried and failed to help me since I was committed.

“Yes,” he answered in a soothing voice. “But more than that, I’m a friend. You don’t belong here, Luna. These people don’t understand you.”

“There’s a problem with these documents.” The immigration officer’s curt tone shakes my attention away from the memory. She looks at me, her expression stern. “I can see you have an entry visa, but without evidence of a return flight, I cannot admit you. There’s also the matter of your Letter of Consent… As you are a minor traveling internationally with an adult who is of no relation to you, it needs to be signed by your legal guardian. This hospital release form is not recognized consent.”

My heart drops into my stomach at the thought of what this setback could mean for me. I don’t have a legal guardian who can permit me to travel. I’m a child of the state, and Dr. Walsh—“Call me Alaric,” I remember him saying now—was my one ticket to freedom from who knows how many more years in that padded room. If I can’t enter Alexandria as he intended, does that mean I’ll have to return to Maine or be admitted to some other psychiatric ward back in the States? And if I am allowed into Egypt as planned, what alternative awaits me here? 

Which path should I be more afraid of?

Either way, I know one thing for certain. I would rather die than go back to a hospital, and if it comes down to the choice between freedom or captivity, I’ll make a break for it. I’ll run as far and as fast as I can to avoid wasting away in a cage.

“Please,” Alaric urges, placing his hand on the smooth, gleaming surface of the black counter. The mischievous glint in his gaze unnerves me. “Could you check the documents again?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I notice his forefinger lift a few inches and hang there, suspended in the air, as if he’s pointing at something. His smile, which I had assumed was a permanent fixture, has vanished, leaving his lips set in a serious line. 

“That…” The immigration officer trails off, her dark brow furrowing in confusion. “That’s odd,” she continues after a pause. “I could’ve sworn it said—”

Alaric’s finger drops back to the counter. “As you can see, our documents are in order.”

“Y-Yes.” The woman looks up at him with wide ocher eyes then directs her gaze back down to the bundle of documents laid out before her. In the space of a few seconds, her dubious expression melts into one of indifferent acceptance. “Of course,” she mutters, stamping the pages. “Welcome to Egypt, Mr. Walsh. I hope you and your daughter have a pleasant stay.”

I balk at her casual—and wildly incorrect—statement. 

Daughter?

Alaric’s careful smile returns as we slip away from the counter and continue past the luggage carousel, through customs, and finally toward the exit, following the overhead signs written in English and Arabic to sweet liberation from the stifling confines of the crowded building. The sliding doors swish open at our approach, welcoming us into the dry morning heat. Although there’s no breeze, a faint salty aroma hangs in the air, indicating that we’re close to the water. 

Excitement buzzes through me. I’ve never seen the sea in person before.

The minutes pass by without either of us speaking as we stand at the taxi rank outside, waiting for the next available cab. Gradually—perhaps thanks to the fresh air in my lungs—that curious fog lifts off my brain. As it fades, freeing me of that invisible restraint, I blurt out, “Why did she suddenly think I’m your daughter?” My stomach twists at the thought of a family—the one thing I’ve never had the luxury of and can’t imagine ever having. As much as I crave a father, this man is a stranger to me, so him feigning the part has me flustered, regardless of how kind he’s been since we met. The mere notion of it doesn’t make any sense either. Alaric doesn’t look remotely old enough to be the parent of a seventeen-year-old—a fact the immigration officer should have noted. 

A thousand other questions spiral through my head, but I’m too afraid to ask them. Asking questions never did anything good for me. Silence was always safest around doctors and social workers, even though they were meant to protect me. 

“A simple mistake, I’m sure.” His tone is innocent, but he keeps his eyes fixed ahead on the bright yellow horizon, avoiding my questioning gaze.

“I’m not buying that,” I force out, despite my reservations. “She had two reasons for refusing to admit me, and one simple ask from you and she swung the gates of Egypt wide open.”

Maybe Alaric does magic tricks as a hobby or side gig to make extra money. From what I’ve heard, illusionists are good at sleight of hand. Why else would the immigration officer let me through after stating my documents weren’t in order unless she thought she read the provided information wrong? Which Alaric and I both know she didn’t.

He considers me for a moment, averting his gaze when a battered black and yellow taxi approaches. As it rolls up beside us, he opens the back door and offers me a nonchalant shrug. “Let’s just say I used my incredible powers of persuasion.”

I climb into the taxi and sink into the seat with his cryptic answer swirling through my brain. Alaric slides into the backseat next to me, slamming the door shut behind him. “Serapeum, min fadlik,” he instructs the driver.

The man in front of me, who smells strongly of tobacco and garlic, grunts and takes off at a breakneck speed that sends my stomach lurching.

Stewing in my own confusion and annoyance at Alaric’s lack of a proper answer, I stare out the window, watching the city—a mesh of ancient and modern—whip past in a dizzying, sand-colored blur. Occasionally, I spot the Mediterranean Sea peeking back at me through the staggered gaps in the buildings, but it, too, flashes by before I can get a good look at the sparkling surface reflecting the sun. Disappointment rises in me, extinguishing what little excitement had managed to break through my shroud of doubt and unease. Nothing new there. My life has been a constant shift from one place to another like I’m nothing more than a piece on a chessboard—a pawn surrendered to an invisible enemy in a game I never asked to play. Why should my move here be any different? I’ve never had any say in what happens to me, which is why I don’t waste my breath questioning these things anymore. Others will always dictate my fate.

But what fate does Alaric have planned for me? And why did he let that lady believe I’m his daughter?

I roll my teeth over my lower lip, considering the nagging thought biting at me like a mosquito in the heavy heat of the summers in New England. “Back at the hospital…you said they didn’t understand me.” Although I don’t turn to look at Alaric, I can sense his perceptive eyes watching me.

“Few can.”

“Because I’m crazy?” My voice catches on that word. I’ve always hated it. I hate how it’s come to define who I am.

Warm fingers wrap around my shoulder, comforting me much like the same action did two days ago when we met—the bright-eyed doctor and the broken girl. 

“You aren’t crazy, Luna. You just don’t know what you are.”

What I am?

This question scratches at the seam of my lips, but I can’t find the courage inside me to ask it. My voice wobbles when another thought pushes through in its place. A dangerous thought. A thought that terrifies me to my core. “Where are you taking me?”

“Someplace where you will be among others like you. Someplace where you will be safe.”

Safe from what? From myself?

Nausea churns my stomach as I gauge the deeper meaning behind his statement. “So, another hospital,” I realize with dread.

His soft voice fills my ears as his slender fingers squeeze my shoulder again. “No, not another hospital,” he promises.

The cab comes to a screeching halt, throwing me forward. The seat belt locks, and I wince when the rough fabric strains against my chest, cutting into my neck. Beside me, Alaric’s posture is poised and eerily still, as if the sudden stop hasn’t had an effect on him.

“We’re here,” he says in a buoyant tone, offering me an encouraging smile. 

My brows knit together as I glance between his bright, joyous expression and the mound of rubble waiting outside. The only elements still intact that I can see from the taxi are a statue of a sphinx and a random pillar, but even those don’t provide any clues or context that would suggest this could possibly be our destination.

I wrinkle my nose. “These are ruins. There’s nothing here.”

With a low chuckle, Alaric pushes open the door. “Just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Come on.”

He slides out of the taxi, and I follow closely behind despite my hesitation, standing off to one side of the road as he pays the driver, who takes off in a burst of speed a moment later without a second glance back at us. When Alaric appears beside me, I narrow my eyes at him, trying to figure out what he’s up to and whether or not I should be afraid. He laughs again at the disgruntled look on my face.

“Now…” He leans in until his mouth is right next to my ear. “Look closely. See beyond the ruins before you. Only then will you understand why we’re here.”

I cock an eyebrow, unsure what he means. “See beyond?”

See beyond it how?

“Just trust me,” he murmurs, his tone pleading.

With a sigh, I relax my shoulders, relenting. Focusing, I skim my gaze across every rock and every broken stretch of wall. As I take it all in, the air in front of me ripples, warping like a mirage in the heat until the ruins before me vanish behind the distortion. In their place stands a magnificent cream and gold-colored building towering at least one hundred feet above me—a conglomerate of pillars, decorative arches, and domes, which cripple the surrounding landscape with their beauty.

I stumble back in awe and trip over a rock, the ground rushing upward to meet me. Alaric catches me with a hand on my arm before I land flat on my ass. “How did you do that?” I gasp.

Smirking, he sets me back on my feet before proceeding up the staircase where only moments ago there was nothing but sand. He pauses halfway up the steps to glance back at me. “I didn’t unmask it. You did, Luna. You just had to want to see it.”

“See what? What is this place?”

The amber eyes watching me flick upward toward the ornate doors at the top of the staircase. “A school. For special people like you.”

There’s that word again.

“Special how?” What are you talking about? I want to scream. A school for what? My hands ball into fists at my sides, my palms hot and slick with sweat. The one question I couldn’t bring myself to ask before tumbles from my quivering lips in a whisper. “What am I?”

Alaric gives me a careful smile then turns, continuing his slow ascent up the stairs. As the doors at the top swing open at his arrival, his voice echoes down the slope of steps and burrows in my ears, touching the deepest depths of my soul, like a hand carefully shaking me awake from a dream. 

Disbelief ignites in my gut like a flame as a single word sets my world on fire. 

“Nephilim.”

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