Friday, 12 August 2016

YA Fantasy Series - T.O.E. Trilogy by Alecia Stone

THE UNTOLD STORY OF PLANET EARTH





Talisman Of El
Book 1
Publication Date: May 20, 2012
Publisher: Centrinian

Book Description:
WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?

One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.


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EXCERPT

PROLOGUE

Manhattan, New York
January 25, 2013, 11:15 P.M.

DERKEIN ODESSA SAUNTERED INTO a study lined with bookshelves and a high ceiling of gold leaf and bas-relief sculptures. He stopped when he saw his father standing behind the large mahogany desk at the back of the room, rifling through the wall safe. A muscle in his jaw ticked. ‘You’re alive then,’ he said.

‘Not now, Derkein.’ His father closed the safe, concealing it with a portrait of his wife.

Folding his arms across his chest, Derkein advanced on him, his footsteps echoing off the hardwood floor. ‘Not now.’ He chuckled without humour. ‘Well, why don’t you give me your card, and I’ll book an appointment.’

‘I’m sorry I didn’t call, but I can’t talk right now. I have a flight to catch.’

When his father turned around, Derkein stopped, his eyes widening. A blood-soaked plaster covered the right side of his father’s neck, red stains on the collar of his white shirt. Derkein hurried over to him. ‘What happened?’ he asked.

‘I’m fine. It’s just a scratch.’

‘You don’t look fine. Where have you been ...?’ Derkein paused, the strong smell of tobacco assailing his nose. He scrutinized his father – the purple bags under his eyes, scratch marks on his chin. ‘You’re still searching for it, aren’t you?’ He sighed, raking a hand through his shoulder-length black hair as he lifted his head back. ‘You gave me your word.’

‘I know you disagree with my decision, but you have to understand –’

‘Understand what? Dad, this is not normal.’ Derkein grabbed the bag at his father’s feet, lifted it onto the desk, and tipped it onto its side, scattering the surface with a collection of daggers and guns. He picked up a black leather sheath and pulled out a knife, its broad, stainless blade honed until the cutting edge was almost invisible. He dropped the knife and sheath among the other weapons. ‘You have to stop this.’

‘Luther’s dead.’

Derkein’s heart skipped a beat. ‘What ... What happened?’

‘Natural causes. Apparently, his heart gave out.’

‘What do you mean “apparently”?’

With a hesitant glance at Derkein, his father opened the front pocket of the bag and pulled out a burnished copper talisman with an engraved steel band and a circular crevice. ‘Luther and I dug this up in the Roncador Mountains in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The earthquake that hit South America two months ago ... We caused it when we removed this from the earth.’ He looked down at the talisman and then back at Derkein, distress clouding his features. ‘The moment the earthquake struck, we passed out. Two hours later, we woke up on Manhattan Bridge.’

‘I don’t understand what you’re saying.’

‘We didn’t fly to New York.’

‘Then how did you get here?’

His father started packing the weapons back inside the bag. ‘I don’t know. Three weeks ago, Luther called me and told me that someone was following him. I think whoever was after him wanted the talisman, and when they didn’t find it, they killed him. Now they’re after me.’

‘So give it to them. Dad, this isn’t worth your life.’

‘I can’t. This is my only connection to Arcadia.’

‘Where are you going?’

‘England,’ his father replied. ‘Thomas might be able to help me. If what he told me about these beings is true, I can’t be around you. They got to Luther. I won’t lose you too.’ He turned around and stared at the portrait covering the safe.

‘I miss Mum too, but it’s been five years. Give up before you end up killing yourself. Arcadia doesn’t exist.’
His father looked at him. ‘It’s out there. I’m going to find it. I will bring her back.’

‘Mum’s dead,’ Derkein snapped. ‘When are you going to get that?’

‘I have to go,’ his father said in a calm voice. ‘I’ll call you when I get there.’

‘Dad –’

‘I’ll be fine. I always am.’

‘Dad, please –’

An ear-piercing scream ripped through the building. Derkein froze, his eyes the only things that moved. His gaze fixed on his father, who was rummaging through his bag. He took out a black pistol and turned to Derkein, a tortured expression on his face as he placed the weapon in his son’s trembling hand.

‘Shoot anything that moves,’ his father instructed. He placed the talisman around Derkein’s neck, tucking it inside his shirt. ‘Don’t let it out of your sight.’ Cupping Derkein’s face in his hands, he made him meet his gaze. ‘I’m so sorry I got you involved in this.’ He grabbed another gun from the bag.

‘What exactly have you got yourself into, Dad?’

His father looked at him with a solemn expression. ‘If anything happens to me, you find Thomas. Tell him ... Tell him he was right.’ He headed towards the door.

‘Dad, wait.’ Derkein went after him. ‘Dad –’

The double doors burst open with a bang.

His father opened fire. ‘Derkein, shoot!’ he yelled.

Derkein glanced around the room in panic and confusion. He saw no one but his father. Then he felt a sharp pain in his arm, heard his shirt tear, and cried out. Something warm dribbled down his arm, and when he placed his hand on it, he saw blood. His father screamed, and he looked up and saw him flying across the room, crashing into a bookshelf that collapsed under him.

‘Dad!’ Derkein sprinted towards him but felt a powerful blow across his chest that sent him flying backwards, and he landed hard on the floor, his gun falling out of his hand. Staggering to his feet, he glanced around for whatever had attacked him but saw nothing. His gaze landed on his father, who was groaning ... and then he was gone. There were no bright lights or loud noise. He had just vanished.

As Derkein stared wide-eyed at the spot where his father had been lying only moments before, something like a blast of electricity stunned him, and he felt an intense burning inside his chest. He let out a cry as his body lifted off the ground and hung in midair. Seconds later, he came crashing down ...


Blackout
Book 2
Publication Date: March 19, 2014
Publisher: Centrinian

Book Description:
What was shall no longer be. What was not shall now become.

Despite having the protection of the talisman and the Legion, a reforming force of warrior angels and elementals, guarding his every move, things are not looking good for Charlie Blake. Tasked with the responsibility of saving mankind, finding the four diamonds to restore the talisman is all he can think of, but when his prophetic visions start to invade his reality and he suddenly can’t distinguish the dream world from the real world, the pending extinction of mankind becomes the least of his problems. Everyone assumes Charlie’s dormant powers are activating, until he starts showing symptoms of a deadly disease.

With his nemesis, Gaddis, threatening the lives of his loved ones, he faces a race against time to locate the Stone of Raphael, the air diamond, before an imminent pandemic destroys civilization. As he ventures into dangerous lands once again, he unearths shocking revelations about his past life that forces him to question his allegiance. With no one to turn to for answers, he can’t help but wonder if his purpose is truly to save mankind.

Buy Links:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13495579-blackout


EXCERPT

Taken from Chapter Fifteen

‘So where did your brother disappear to?’ asked Josh, falling into step beside him.

‘That’s what I’m trying to find out, so why don’t you bugger off.’

‘Did you kill him?’

Charlie flexed his fingers into fists and then relaxed his hands again. ‘Yes, Josh, I killed him. I killed him and then I figured I’d stalk the woods and search for him.’

‘People always seem to disappear when you’re around. Everything you touch dies. Just like your parents.’

Fire burned in the pit of Charlie’s stomach, and he lunged at Josh, knocking him to the ground. With his hands gripping the collar of Josh’s blazer, one leg pressing down into his stomach, Charlie warned, ‘Back off.’

Josh opened his mouth, but then he paused, his expression turning from confusion to fear in the space of seconds. The petrified look on his face reminded Charlie of the boy he had knocked over in the hallway after he’d rushed out of the science lab when the earthquake had struck. He didn’t have time to worry about what Josh was seeing, for he heard something behind him that made him look away. He stood up and glanced off in the direction the noise had come from, but he saw nothing.

‘What happened to your eyes?’ Josh said behind him.

‘Shh,’ Charlie hissed as he scanned the woods.

Josh grabbed his shoulder and turned him around so they were facing each other. He looked directly into Charlie’s eyes, his expression confused. ‘I saw them,’ he mumbled. ‘They were green.’

Charlie shoved him back. ‘You were right, Josh. People get hurt around me. I suggest you stay away –’

A movement behind Josh caught his eye. It had been quick, but not quick enough. ‘Move,’ Charlie urged, grabbing Josh’s arm as he took off.

Josh shrugged him off and stopped.

‘Josh, trust me. We need to go, now.’

‘I’m not going anywhere with you.’

Charlie frowned. ‘Fine, stay. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.’ He saw the alarm in Josh’s eyes, and as he turned around, he felt a slight breeze on the back of his neck that sent goosebumps down his arms. Charlie caught his breath when he felt his body lift off the ground, and he went flying through the air, landing about ten feet from where he had been standing.

Groaning in pain, he lifted his head and searched the area. He saw no one but Josh, who was staring at him with wide, petrified eyes. ‘Josh, run.’

Josh didn’t move.

Charlie got up and ran towards him, but Josh backed away.

‘Stay away from me,’ Josh said, his voice trembling.

Charlie’s phone rang, and he pulled it out of his pocket –

Something slammed into the back of his head, and he crumpled to the ground, crying out in pain. For a moment, he experienced double vision.

‘What’s happening?’ he heard Josh cry out.

Charlie pushed himself up onto his hands and knees and spotted a tree branch beside him. Hearing the ringtone of his phone, he searched the ground for it, rummaging through the dead leaves, but he couldn’t find it. Staggering to his feet, he looked towards the school, knowing he should just run, but he didn’t. He couldn’t leave Josh to fend for himself knowing a demon was lurking in the woods.

‘Josh, move.’ Charlie grabbed him and tried to pull him along, but Josh fought him off, punching him in the face. He stumbled backwards onto one knee, and as Josh tried to make a run for it, Charlie grabbed hold of his leg and took him down. ‘I’m trying to help you, you idiot.’ Using all his strength, he pulled Josh off the ground, but the boy was persistent.

Josh grabbed Charlie around the waist and pushed against him. Charlie lost his footing and fell backwards over an edge. He and Josh tumbled and rolled down a small mound, landing hard at the bottom.

They both lay still, groaning in pain.

Charlie rose up off his back and glanced at Josh, who was staring wide-eyed up the hill. Charlie looked up and saw a tall figure dressed in black with two sword hilts sticking out from behind his back. The man brushed his long, dark hair back from his face, revealing hard eyes, which fixed on Charlie.

Hearing the sound of his phone ringing – louder this time – Charlie averted his eyes. He spotted the phone a few feet away from him. Wasting no time, he lunged towards it. As he neared it, a section of the earth protruded upwards and collided into his chest, lifting him off the ground and sending him flying through the air. Charlie landed on his stomach. He heard a noise like an explosion, followed by Josh yelling, ‘Look out.’

Raising his head, Charlie’s eyes widened at the sight of the ground exploding around him, each blast getting closer and closer to him. He jumped out of the way. Clearly, this was no ordinary Archon. His attacker was an Aeon from the earth kingdom. With his sights set on his ringing phone, he got up and ran towards it. As he neared it, something collided into his side, and his body did a twisting flip as he tumbled to the ground. Charlie stifled a groan. It was almost as if the demon was toying with him, seeing just how close he could get to the phone before he knocked him off course.

The Archon grabbed Charlie by his leg and dragged him across the ground. He pressed down hard into Charlie’s back. Charlie cried out.

‘Hey,’ Josh yelled.

Charlie looked around and saw Josh, whose expression was a mix of fury and fear. Charlie’s gaze shifted and landed on the phone, which was about ten feet from where Josh was standing. ‘Josh –’ he began, but his attacker grabbed his left leg and the back of his blazer and lifted him off the ground, slamming him back down onto the earth.

Charlie’s chest burned. It felt as if his lungs had collapsed, for he struggled to draw a breath. His attacker picked him up again, spun with him, and then released him. This time, when Charlie landed, he didn’t get back up. Every inch of his body ached. He lay on his stomach, panting for air. A thudding noise drummed in his ears, and he saw Josh running towards him.

‘Josh, no,’ he choked out.

The earth exploded at Josh’s feet, and he went flying.

Charlie watched as the attacker ambled towards Josh. With every bit of strength he had left in him, he rose onto his knees. ‘Hey,’ he called to the Archon. ‘Is that all you got?’

The demon stopped and turned to him, a ruthless grin on his round, hairless face. And then he disappeared. Before Charlie even had a chance to move, he felt a tight grip around his throat. The attacker’s face came into view from behind him. Charlie grabbed the demon’s hand, trying to pull it away from his throat. Soon, the world started to fade in and out, and Charlie’s grip slackened.

‘Charlie!’

The voice belonged to Derkein. A constricting pressure in Charlie’s right arm distracted him, and he glanced sideways. Shock gripped him when he caught sight of Josh tugging on his arm, trying to free him from the demon. ‘Let go,’ Charlie cried. ‘Josh ...’

The last thing he saw was the terrified look in Josh’s eyes, and then he heard a distant echoing cry in the darkness of his dwindling consciousness.


Ground Zero
Book 3
Publicationd Date: February 17, 2016
Publisher: Centrinian

Book Description:
It happens every 26,000 years.

Only a few ever survive.

This time ...

No one will.

That is unless Charlie Blake can locate all four diamonds to restore the Talisman of El and receive his calling from the remaining three elements before the Annus Magnus strikes. With both Arcadia and the mortal world in a state of unrest, his life quickly spirals out of control as it seems everyone has put a bounty on his head. Maybe even his closest allies.

Not knowing who to trust, Charlie starts to dig up the past. When new revelations arise, he begins to question whether the Legion of Light really is what it claims to be and whether he's been fighting for the wrong side all along. The line between good and evil is no longer as clear-cut as it used to be, especially when it appears Charlie's destiny could very well be to destroy everything he loves.

Hero or villain? Charlie isn't so sure anymore.

Buy Links:
Amazon US ¦ UK ¦ Kobo ¦ Google Play ¦ B&N ¦ iBooks ¦ Publisher

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13495593-ground-zero


EXCERPT

Taken from Chapter Sixteen

‘We’ll cover more ground if we split up,’ suggested Demetrius.

‘Good thinking,’ said Candra. ‘Charlie –’

‘I’ll stick with Avaran,’ Charlie cut in, and he took off with the Guardian. He didn’t look back at the others. ‘What would Jacob be doing in France?’ he asked once they were out of earshot of the group.

‘You have a theory brewing, I suspect,’ said Avaran.

Charlie kept his head low as they manoeuvred through the crowd, though, with all the excitement happening around him, he doubted anyone would notice him even if he were to join in. ‘His face is plastered across the globe. How is he getting around and why hasn’t there been more sightings of him?’ He paused when he noticed Avaran was no longer walking beside him. He turned around and spotted the Guardian standing in one spot, a pained look on his face. Charlie hurried over to him.

Avaran opened his mouth and sucked in a large gulp of air and then out again. He did this repeatedly. Laboured breathing was never a good sign for anyone, but for an angel, it wasn’t supposed to be a possibility.

‘Avaran, what’s wrong?’ Charlie asked.

‘I am not certain,’ Avaran said in a breathless whisper, his hand against his chest. His eyes shifted left and right – his expression uncertain – before settling on Charlie’s face. ‘I hear ... voices.’

Charlie scrutinized him, uncertain whether he should respond with sarcasm or concern. ‘Right, okay. Well, that’s – there are a lot of people here.’

Avaran shook his head, his eyes widening in what appeared to be complete horror. ‘No,’ he hissed.

‘What –?’ Charlie jumped at the sound of an explosion. In the distance, thrusting sharply in a vision of bronze glory was the statue of Marianne where the commotion was coming from. He saw white smoke issuing into the air. The only thing stopping him from panicking was the roar of the crowd’s approval. When he turned back around, he froze.

Avaran had vanished.

His heart rate rising, Charlie spun in a circle, searching for the Guardian. He took off through the crowd, hoping to find someone he recognised, but everywhere he looked, he saw mortals. A startling realisation dawned on him then, and he stopped walking. He glanced around him uneasily. He was surrounded by mortals ... mortals who could touch the talisman without any harm coming to them. ‘Oh, this is not good,’ he mumbled. Don’t freak out, don’t freak out, he chanted. You’re probably just over-thinking this. He nodded to himself, but he couldn’t push intruding thoughts out of his head.

Gaddis had announced Jacob as a walking virus, which made him more of a threat to these mortals than Charlie himself was. Surely, if he was here, someone in the crowd would have spotted him by now. But where was the upheaval, the panic?

Charlie took a deep breath to calm his nerves. Okay, think, Charlie. The answers are all there. What aren’t you seeing? He closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind, but at the sound of screaming, his eyes flashed opened. Alarmed, he dropped his head, certain he’d been detected. When he heard rushing footsteps and people started knocking into him, however, he chanced a look around him and saw the crowd frantically shifting in different directions. In that moment, Charlie felt a change in the atmosphere, and he didn’t like it one bit, though it did bring him some relief knowing it had nothing to do with him.

More screams catapulted into the air as mayhem reigned across the square. People trampled over one another in a bid to escape. Conjuring an invisible force field to protect himself from the impact, Charlie switched to Double Zz mode. It took him a few seconds to locate the cause of the chaos. Two of the four figures he had his sights set on were from the fire kingdom, the other two from the earth kingdom. None of them were part of the Legion.

Charlie’s blood ran cold as his protective senses kicked in. Slowly, he retreated backwards. The moment he spun around, he halted, staring at a yellow light being directly ahead of him.

Terra! Charlie took off towards her. As he drew nearer to her, he dropped the veil from his eyes and stopped abruptly, staring at the spot where Terra had been standing a second ago. But he wasn’t looking at Terra. He was looking at a tall, slim man, who had his back turned to him. Charlie switched visions once again and saw the same yellow light being with black blotches in its aura he had seen seconds ago –

A powerful force knocked Charlie sideways, and he staggered, almost losing his balance but managed to remain on his feet when a second force collided into him. It took him a moment to realise he wasn’t under attack. Dropping his Double Zz lens, he whirled around, stepping over lifeless bodies as he made haste to put distance between him and the demon.

His mind was racing. The presence of demons was a clear indication that it was time to leave. Not only was he convinced Jacob wasn’t in France and he was lured here under false pretences, he was now more than certain there was a traitor among the Legion.

Feeling certain no one was following him, he stopped next to a tree and was about to switch to S-A-S mode when he felt someone grab his shoulder. His reflex kicking in, he twisted his arm and thrust the person up against the tree. When he saw Avaran’s anxious eyes staring back at him, he released his grip. ‘Are you crazy? I could have killed you. Do I need to write a manual on how not to approach a reaper?’

‘It is not safe.’

Seeing the fright in Avaran’s eyes, Charlie stepped back. He’d never seen Avaran look so terrified. He took a deep breath, trying to steady himself, though his thoughts would not settle. Was everyone afraid of him now that they knew what he was? ‘You know, for a second there, I thought you had actually left me. Where did you disappear to?’

‘Charlie, you need to get as far away from me as you possibly can,’ Avaran said.

‘Avaran, chill, you’re safe,’ Charlie assured him. ‘You being near me isn’t going to set me off. That’s not how we reapers work.’

Avaran gave him a perplexed look, and then the panic returned to his features. ‘We need to get you out of here,’ he choked out as he wiped what looked like sweat from his forehead. He started coughing and bent forward.

Charlie grabbed his arm and held him up, keeping an arm’s length distance between them. ‘I’m more worried about you right now. Please don’t take this the wrong way but you look like hell.’ He surveyed the surroundings and noticed people looking their way. He wasn’t sure whether to construe their wary glances as threatening behaviour, but he dropped his head nonetheless, returning his gaze to Avaran, who was staring at him with a searching look, as if he was studying his face.

‘Yeah, you’re definitely not all right,’ Charlie said. ‘We do need to get out of here, like, right now.’

‘I cannot leave –’

‘Because we need the diamond, I know,’ Charlie cut him off, ‘but you want to know what I think ... I don’t think Jacob’s here. I don’t think he was ever here. In fact, I don’t think he’s missing.’

Avaran was now looking at him expectantly.

It was exactly the kind of reaction Charlie didn’t want. ‘Of course, I could be wrong.’

Avaran looked so profoundly disappointed that Charlie found himself wondering if he knew something about Jacob that he wasn’t telling him.

‘Charlie, I cannot leave –’ Avaran began.

‘Don’t worry about the others, we’ll contact them –’

Avaran interrupted him, ‘I cannot teleport.’

Instinctively, Charlie knew what he was saying. ‘You can’t teleport because you’re unwell?’

Avaran answered with a disheartened look.

Darkness fell over Charlie’s eyes as his vision changed. As he expected, he saw the tree before him but not the Guardian who was leaning against it. ‘But I still have my abilities,’ he said as the world came back into view.

‘I suspect that will not be for much longer.’

Now Charlie was freaking out. He glanced around him again, this time searching for the Legion. What he found instead were three Archons heading his way.

He let go of Avaran and turned to face them. Mortals shifted out of the way as the demons gunned for Charlie. Before long, there was nothing standing between him and them. ‘We’ve got company.’

‘Send a signal,’ Avaran instructed. ‘I will hold them off.’

A whooshing sound grabbed Charlie’s attention, and he thrust his arm out, catching the blade of a dagger that was three inches from Avaran’s forehead. Without hesitation, he flipped the dagger and thrust it back towards its sender. The weapon lodged in the demon’s shoulder, and he wailed in agony.

‘Remember Krane, Charlie,’ Avaran warned.

‘I’m not going to kill them,’ Charlie promised, ‘well, not anyone from a kingdom I have yet to conquer anyway.’ Fortunately for him, he didn’t have to worry about the threat of harbouring Darkworkers as the Legion came to his defence.

The crowd scattered as more Archons joined the fight. Soon, the Legion was outnumbered.

When two demons came at him, Charlie tried to drive them back with his psychokinetic ability, but nothing happened. He tried switching to Double Zz vision. Again, nothing happened, so he resorted to hand-to-hand combat, disabling his attackers without any fatalities.

Seeing Avaran kneeling on the ground, Charlie went over to him and helped him up. He glanced over his shoulder. ‘Guys, we need to go,’ he yelled to the Legion, ‘now.’

‘Charlie, listen carefully.’ Avaran’s voice was almost inaudible.

Charlie wasn’t paying attention, his focus on the mortals, who were no longer on the run but were instead watching as the battle ensued. ‘They’re not attacking,’ he acknowledged. ‘Why aren’t they attacking?’

No Jacob. No Gaddis. Something wasn’t adding up.

‘Charlie,’ Avaran said in a firm, demanding voice.

Charlie looked back at him and gasped in shock, stepping away from the Guardian.

Avaran was ... glowing?

Even stranger than that was the way Avaran was looking at him – totally mesmerised and in awe, as if he was seeing him for the first time. ‘I need you to do something for me,’ the Guardian said as he staggered slowly towards Charlie, who found himself suddenly overwhelmed by a deep, existential sadness, a sadness that carried a weighty force that seemed to be pulling him towards Avaran.

‘Avaran, what’s happening?’

‘There is no other way,’ Avaran responded.

Charlie didn’t see the dagger until the blade made contact, slicing through his hoodie. He bounded backwards, tumbling to the ground as he lost his balance. Warmth spread across his chest as he gazed up at Avaran, who was standing over him, blood dripping from the dagger in his hand.

Charlie opened his mouth to speak but instead of words, blood spewed out.

‘It has been a pleasure knowing you, Your Majesty,’ Avaran said. His words were sincere, and his eyes burned with an intensity that made it hard for Charlie to pull his gaze away, or move for that matter. He advanced on Charlie. ‘Long live the king.’ With a triumphant smile, he drove the dagger through Charlie’s chest.


About the Author
Alecia Stone has been in love with anything and everything paranormal for many years. She grad­u­ated with a BA in Film & TV and had worked in tele­vi­sion for a short period of time before branch­ing out into storytelling. When she isn't writ­ing, she enjoys going to the movies, lis­ten­ing to music and travelling. Talisman Of El is her first novel. She currently lives in England, UK.

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