TITLE – Aquila; From The Darkness #1 SERIES – Aquila AUTHOR – T. L. Searle GENRE – Urban Fantasy PUBLICATION DATE – 2013 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) - #110,500 PUBLISHER – T. L. Searle
COVER ARTIST – S. A. Hunt
Seventeen year old Aqua Vickers lives a secluded life in the English countryside. She keeps herself that way, hiding in plain sight, out of fear. She has no idea where she came from or what she is, she just knows she isn't human. Her mother is convinced she's an angel, but does having wings make you an angel? Sharp, angular and intimidating black wings?
The only other person Aqua has let into her life is Aaron, her best friend. They've grown up together, shared every milestone and Aqua's feelings for him have developed into something more. In a moment of impulse, Aqua reveals her true nature. Aaron freaks, hurting Aqua so badly that she flees into the night.
Lucas has been watching and waiting. As an Angeli Tail it is his job to be a spy; and he's been ordered to watch Aqua. Lost and vulnerable above the clouds, Aqua is reaching exhaustion. When Lucas offers her the answers she seeks, she follows him impulsively.
In a city, carved into the rock of a mountain, Aqua discovers she's not as alone as she thought; and her life has been rooted on a bed of lies and deception. In her absence, her home is attacked and her mother taken. With this new enemy intent on her capture and new family who aren't all welcoming, Aqua must integrate and train with the Angeli Guard if she has any hope of rescuing her mother from the hands of the Dragone.
The Angeli Guard Master is unforgiving and ruthless, allowing Aqua little rest from his relentless and painful training exercises. Aqua can barely stand to look at him, but can't seem to exterminate the butterflies she feels when he's around.
War is coming but Aqua's battles may need to be fought closer to home.
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I run for the car. The mass of people is dense and I keep bumping into dancers, drunkards and idiots – slowing my escape. A pair of hands grab my waist, and I think it’s Aaron. “Where’d you think you’re going?” a slimy voice slurs. It’s not Aaron. It’s the perverted creep from earlier with the taking what I’m offering comment. I spin to face him. “Let go of me,” I seethe. He sneers. “Oh come on gorgeous. I just want to see what you’re hiding under there.” Without warning his grubby hands land slap bang on my cleavage. Jerk! I react instinctively, without thinking I pull my arm back and let my fist fly. It lands with a crunch on the moron’s jaw. There’s a sickening crack but that’s not the worst part. He takes off. His feet literally leave the floor as he shoots backwards and lands on his butt ten feet away. The kids around us fall silent and stare. The guy’s sprawled out, he’s not moving but I know he’s not dead because he’s making a kind of gurgling noise. Someone rolls him onto his side but no one else tries to help him. They’re all too busy gawking at me; standing with my feet apart and my hands in fists by my side, my shoulders rising with my heavy breathing. Aaron comes rushing out of the mass then and takes in the scene. I hate to do it to him twice in one night but I turn and run again. This time he follows. “Aqua! Wait. Stop, please!” I hear his voice but keep running. Tears are falling now. I’m actually crying. How humiliating. I have to control my pace. I can run inhumanly fast, it would draw even more attention. I misjudge it, maybe deliberately, and Aaron catches me by the wrist before I get to my car. I glance behind. We’ve run a long way. There’s no one else here; the party’s in the distance, illuminated by the glowing bonfire. I stop, still facing away from him. He keeps hold of my wrist. “What happened?” he asks, concern evident in his voice. I swipe at the tears marring my cheek. “He groped me. I punched him.” I’m still sobbing but trying my hardest to hide it. “Maybe I hit him a bit hard.” “A bit hard? He looked comatose!” He almost sounds proud. “Are you alright? Did he hurt you?” “I’m fine, not hurt.” I turn then. He takes me in, in all my tear-streaked glory. I bet I look hideous. “Aqua... why did you run?” He asks it softly, watching me with veiled eyes. I know we’re not talking about the punch now. I don’t want this conversation though. “Did you see the guy? I could get eight to ten.” I mean it to sound light-hearted but it comes out sombre. He flashes his dimple. “No. Before, after I kissed you. Why did you run?”