Shadow of the Sun
iUniverse, Incorporated (2010)
Fantasy, Epic, Suspense, General, Fiction Fantasyttt Epicttt Suspensettt Generalttt Fictionttt
Kreitzer tells an amazing love story, one in which Gabriella finds her kindred soul: ‘He willlove you more than any human could ever love another.’ —Cariblogs.blogspot.com
Laura Kreitzer is a master at bringing stories to life and creating stunning imagery. This bookhas it all: romance, mystery, suspense, action, and supernatural lore.
I savored the story and the characters whom I feel like I connected with on many levels. Lauracreates an emotionally riveting mystery full of myth, magic, and romance.
The angels in this story were exceptional. These characters were a breath of fresh air. Thechemistry between Gabriella and Andrew was intense and a romance to remember.—Forum.openbooksociety.com
I couldn’t put it down. I fed my kids pizza Lunchables and my two year old was trying to gnawthe sauce open because I forgot to open his. —Mylifewithatwilightobsession.blogspot.com
Gabriella’s past is a mystery, but that never stopped her from achieving her goals. As asupernatural specialist, and far more intelligent than anyone her age, she has always beenignored by her peers. Because of the isolation she has always felt, she put her life and soulinto her job. Being a supernatural specialist hasn’t given her the divine intervention shealways longed for, until one day a shipment arrives from Italy containing three dead bodieswith an uncanny ability to regenerate. Gabriella is frightened and intrigued, but not as scaredas she becomes when a dark creature attacks her.
As the bodies come back to life, the plot takes an unexpected twist that you won’t see coming.The supernatural world only begins to unfold before her as angels appear, her dreams start tohaunt her, and the very past she has forgotten comes back with startling clarity. Romanceblooms, escape plans are made, an assassin is out to kill her, and death is only around thecorner. But what is more terrifying than all of it is the fact she is the chosen one, theIlluminator, the one who will save them all.
of the Sun
Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Copyright (c) 2010 by Laura Kreitzer
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic,electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any informationstorage retrieval system without the written permission of the publisher except in the case ofbrief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, names, incidents, organizations, and dialoguein this novel are either the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Obsidian Mountain books may be ordered through booksellers or by contacting: Obsidian MountainPublishing
Because of the dynamic nature of the internet, any web addresses or links contained in thisbook may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in thiswork are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher,and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.
Front cover artwork by Igor Scekic
ISBN 10: ISBN 13: Printed in the United States of America
Praise for the Timeless Series
“Laura Kreitzer has created a world rich with history and intrigue.
Just when you think you have figured it out, she throws you for another loop and you are nolonger operating in the same reality you thought existed for the story. This is an intriguingstart to what promises to be a captivating book series.”
- Fictionista Workshop
“The angels in this story were exceptional. These characters were a breath of fresh airbecause they were so different and spectacular to experience. The chemistry between Gabriellaand Andrew was intense and definitely is a romance to remember.”
- Open Book Society
“I was counting the pages to the end, not because it was boring, but because I wanted to knowhow it ended and what plot twist Laura Kreitzer was planning. Her characters are strong andknow what they want and how to get to it. That determination is great. It makes the characterscome alive, it made them feel. This isn’t like the other supernatural books out there. Ithoroughly enjoyed this book from page one.”
- The Guide to Good Books
“As someone who loves character studies and values connecting with characters in a story -sometimes more than the plot itself, the way Laura Kreitzer develops her characters wasstunning. The friendship between Joseph and Gabriella is phenomenal - it’s hu-mourous, it’sloving, loyal and intimate - but they have a very defined line that they don’t cross, and theyboth respect each other.”
- Open Book Society
“Laura Kreitzer has a special gift. She not only creates characters you’ll fall in love with,she weaves a wonderful tale full of sus-pense, romance and beautiful description.”
- Lisa Sanchez, Author of Eve of Samhain
BY LAURA KREITZER
Shadow of the Sun
Abyss (March 31, 2011)
Fallen Legion (Fall 2011)
Halo of the Sun (Spring 2012)
Phantom Universe (February 15, 2011)
Forsaken Harbor (June 30, 2011)
This is for you, Mom and Dad.
Thank you for believing in me.
An Angel can illume the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision, and by
which the Angel himself contemplates bringing within his reach some truth
St Thomas Aquinas
It’s too late , a voice echoed in my head. I gasped and knelt beside the Angel. There was no
body. It was in that moment that I realizedpuddle of golden blood, no marks—just a lifeless
beloved Angel again. I’d never be able to speak to my
I stared straight ahead, feeling hollow. The dark wooden casket taunted me, telling me it wasentirely my fault. I had thought I knew what pain was before, but I was wrong. So incrediblywrong.
The rain scattered across the ground, soaking the flowers that were lying upon the tomb of theforgotten Angel. Someone had told me that when it rained, it was God weeping for the belovedwho were lost. Today I believed this more than on any other day, because this was a moregrievous death than that of any mere mortal.
All around me, those who had been blessed by this glorious being wept and held on to eachother, coming together as one entity for the support they each needed. In the distance, I couldsee Angels beneath the shadows of the encroaching forest. Their golden tears glittered in thesmall glint of the sun beaming down through a slit in the clouds. No one else seemed to be ableto see them, but I could—in all their magnificent glory. They had always possessed a celestialglow, but today it had been taken away. There was a darkness that surrounded them as theymourned the one they had lost. The one I had lost.
I was silent as the tears descended my face, contributing to the heartache around me. Aperfectly smooth, warm hand found its way to mine. The thumb compassionately stroking my palmwas soothing. I never looked to see whose hand was holding mine, and its owner remainedslightly behind me, out of view. That was just fine with me; I needed time to grasp the concept
of this monumental death.
It was then that I looked down at the mound of dirt that would soon be covering this benevolentAngel. In that moment, it felt like something was breaking away from my heart. It flutteredaway, and the hole it left would forever be there. A reminder.
As the service came to a close, the crowd dispersed and the Angels seemed to vanish before myeyes, some just completely fading out of existence. I stayed to watch when they began to lowerthe body into the ground. I stayed to watch as the ground swallowed the coffin whole.
The warm hand never left mine, even when I collapsed to my knees, unsure if I would ever beable to leave this place, and leave this Angel who had never left me. Something inside of mesank down with the coffin, as if I was being suffocated by the dirt that was now being thrownover the Angel. Still, the support of that warm hand never left mine, as if we were meltingtogether.
“Gabriella,” a gentle voice spoke softly in my ear. I hadn’t noticed that he crouched besideme. “It’s time to leave.” His breath was so affectionate, so healing, that some new strength
grew inside me.
“You?” I cried as I recognized his face.
He pulled me to my feet. I just looked into the eyes of the Angel through my own water-filledones. They were deep pools, so blue you’d think that someone had painted them that way.Perhaps someone had.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. It wasn’t out of exasperation that I had cried out; itwas pure intoxicating relief.
His hand tightened in mine before he released me. He wrapped his graceful arm around my waistto move me toward a black limo. “No time for questions. It’s not safe here anymore,” hewhispered.
I mouthed the words back questioningly as he pushed me towards the car door. Wasn’t this deaththe end of it all? The door flung open on its own accord, and suddenly we were inside andspeeding away.
His hand still had not left mine, and he continually gave me the strength I so desperatelyneeded. My head rested upon his shoulder as tears continued to trickle down my face to land onhis jacket, staining it with salt water.
“I’m sorry,” I said softly as I tried to wipe away the tears on the fabric.
He caught my hand to stop me, as if this action displeased him.
“Don’t ever be sorry about weeping over an Angel. This truly is a heartbreaking day for mykind.” He cupped my chin to get a better look at my face. Again, just the warmth of his handwas enough to feel that he was healing me. And perhaps he was.
He kissed the tears on my face and then wrapped his arms around me protectively. “It’s justyou and me now,” he breathed. “I’m your Guardian now.”
The road curved some as we headed out of the cemetery. “And where will we go?” I asked, mylips against his collar bone.
He shuddered slightly.
I ignored the meaning of that. “And what about Aiden?” My question was muffled against thelapel of his jacket as I tried to avoid his skin.
“The dark one.” He nodded, as if to some thought he had just had, still ignoring my firstquestion. “He is not far.” He pressed a button, and the window between the driver and usslithered away.
“Driver,” he called out. “How much longer till—” Sudden and violent metal twisting againstmetal echoed in my ears as the limo seemed to bend sideways. It was as if my reality had justwarped into something new. Then I was exposed to the elements. Rain splattered across my faceand wind rushed through my hair as I felt my body being pressed tightly against the Angel’s
hard chest. My head felt faint, but with all my might I clung to him, absolutely confused atwhat was going on.
Something hot and wet seeped from my head and down my neck. My hand automatically went up to asore spot on my temple, and when my fingers came away they were covered in blood. When I lookedinto my protector’s eyes, I saw they were full of regret and torture. All I could think about
. was soothing him, even though he was here to protect me
There was no time for that now, though. We were in danger. He hastily deposited me onto theground next to a tree and sprang forward, shielding me.”It’s him,” I whimpered. “Aiden.Just like he promised.” This was my fault. If the Angel was killed, I would die too. Surelythere were no other Guardians left for me. This would be the end.
The ground shook beneath us as a dark shadow loomed overhead. My protector tensed for action asthe ground shook again. We were in complete darkness now, only the headlights of the limoilluminated the vicinity. Fire sprang up and ringed around us, and the rain seemed only tointensify the raging flames that licked at the air.
“Only one Guardian?” a vicious voice said mirthfully. Happily. “It’s so easy to pick youoff one by one.”
The encompassing fire crackled and flickered into an ominous red as a shape appeared before us.Fire shot from the palm of the dark creature.
My Guardian ducked, and the fire-ball hit a branch above us. The branch came clattering down,and then, as a new darkness began consuming me, I knew I was finished.
E. lla? Hello?” A hand waved furiously in front of my face. “Ella!
Are you in there?” The annoying wasp lowered her voice to barely a whisper. “I always thoughtyou got here by sleeping.”
That was just another one of Sally’s nasty innuendos that she’d mutter under her breath justloud enough that I could hear it. I stared at my aggravating redhead assistant through narrowedeyes. Her hand continued to flap in front of me.
I took a deep breath. “Sally, would you stop that?” My voice was like ice. “I haven’t evenhad my coffee yet. And don’t call me Ella. It’s Gabriella. And really, you should be calling
me Doctor Moretti.”
She glared at me as she pointed to the coffee mug on my wood desk, completely ignoring my nametirade.
“Oh,” I answered, feeling completely idiotic.
My eyes immediately shot to the missing coaster and reached over my desk to place oneunderneath the mug which was misshapen and had a picture of a rainbow painted on it. It wasmade by my niece, Jules, who loved to draw me pictures and make me pottery. She was only fiveand very sweet. My sister, Jenna, had brought her over to visit just the other day. I missedthem both. We just don’t see enough of each other.
I grabbed the mug, blew gently over the surface of the liquid to cool it off, watched as itrippled under my breath, and took a sip. It was room temperature. I gulped it down loudly as myassistant still stared at me in anticipation, a smug look eclipsing her features.
“It’s cold,” I said irritably. This just wasn’t the day for her to pull her usual crap. Itwouldn’t surprise me if she didn’t put it in the fridge before bringing it to me.
“Well,” she said, straightening her back importantly, “you’ve been daydreaming at your deskfor over an hour.”
I could tell by the look on her face that she still couldn’t believe I had my position and wasunquestionably envious, but some days I would gladly give my position to someone else. Myoccupation could be stressful, and the long nights were overwhelmingly exhaustive. Not manypeople understood my profession, and I didn’t expect anything less. Even my assistant was
oblivious to the secrets below me—the secrets that were now
weighing heavily on my shoulders.
“I wasn’t daydreaming,” I insisted, looking at her shirt, which was an eye-watering color ofgreen. Absently, I continued speaking, “I was thinking about my new discovery—” I cut myselfoff, realizing that I had almost told a very top-secret piece of information to someone withmuch lower security clearance than myself. I desperately needed sleep; my brain just wasn’tfunctioning under all this stress.
“New discovery?” Sally placed her round bottom on my very expensive desk and leaned ineagerly.
Good job, Gabriella. Now she’ll never let it go, I thought bitterly.
“It’s just something I was working on in the lab.” I fluttered my hand in a gesture to lether know it was nothing really. But it was. Boy was it something—something amazing andfrightening.
She continued to look at me expectantly. The soft white light behind her head made every singletiny red hair stick out and cast the rest of her features into shadow.
“You know? Top secret experiments?” I whispered with a quizzical half smile, just to goad hera bit. I knew it was wrong, but it was so easy to get her riled up.
She grimaced. As always, Sally hated it when I brought up the fact that she wasn’t allowed inthe lab. Sometimes I saw her staring longingly at the “Restricted Access” sign on the door tothe underground labs. But she wasn’t hired to do scientific work; she was hired to assist mein other ways. Some days she just couldn’t grasp that concept and I had to remind her—liketoday, for example.
“Will you take this to the post office?” I pushed a blue and white custody-sealed cooler herdirection. The nearest post office was a fifteen minute drive and wouldn’t be open for awhile. I knew this errand would keep her occupied for a bit while I took time to absorb thenight’s events.
“This needs to be in New York City by tomorrow morning.” There it was—the reminder of whather job was.
Sally dropped down from her perch on my desk with narrowed eyes and seized the coolerfuriously. Without another word, she turned on her black high heels, and spun so fast I almostthought she would turn all the way around.
I decided to press her a little. It was only fair; she did it to me every day with dirtycomments whispered under her breath. “And could you pick up my dry cleaning? Same place.”
She froze mid-stride and turned around more slowly this time.
“Again?” she grumbled through gritted teeth. “Can’t you pick up your own dry cleaning?”
Here comes the explosion… .
I plastered a huge grin on my face, ready to put her in her place. I’m not a mean person,honestly. I had just lost all of my patience because I had been up all night dealing withthings that I couldn’t fathom telling someone as small-minded as Sally.
Keeping the mocking smirk in place I said, “Sally, you were hired as my assistant. If I needyou to flush my toilet, you will flush it. But since I am not a horrible monster, I am notgoing to give you the crap jobs.” I laughed at my own wordage. Oh, the hilarity. I really
required sleep; I was slowly turning into a giddy school girl who laughs at potty words like
“crap.” “If you can’t handle running one simple errand, then I will need to hire someone
else,” I added. “Is that clear?”
She nodded, her eyes reduced to slits now. “That won’t be necessary, Doctor Moretti.” Her
voice sardonic. “I’ll pick up your dry cleaning.”
Some people never learn, but you take what you can get, right? “Thank you,” I said sweetlyand then waved her away. She shut the door firmly behind her.
I sighed, folded my arms on top of the desk, and lay my head down to relax.
I knew that at the young age of twenty-four, I was lucky to have such a lavish office. This wasalso the same reason that Sally seemed to take offense to me. The walls were a pleasantly richcrimson and decorated with black-and-white framed photos of some of my favorite destinations.
My eyes caught sight of a beautiful snow-capped mountain that I captured on my last ski trip. Iwas an excellent skier and would have loved to be on the slopes right now.
The light-blue tint of a new day came through the window behind my desk. The light was brightenough that the reflection off the glass from a framed photo of my sister and me hit my eyesand burned. I closed my eyes and put my head down against the desk while yawning loudly—justanother reminder that I desperately needed sleep. I was getting thoroughly sick of these all-nighters at the lab. Last night was different, though, because I discovered something soincredibly ground breaking that I was sure the government would try to cover it up.
I am a Supernatural Specialist. Whenever I discover something, it is never ordinary, and the
government is always interested. I perform experiments and conduct research on things no onebelieves are real, like aliens and ghosts. And mostly, they’re not. But, last night was mybiggest revelation to date, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at any moment men in militaryuniforms converged upon me.
Zelko Corporation, where I currently work, has many different laboratories for diverse kinds ofscientific work. The lab I work in—also nicknamed “Fishbowl”—has been involved withresearch on supernatural beings for several years now. There are many private investors thatkeep the lab running, but the largest investor of them all was the U.S. government.
They always want to be the first to know about anything new we uncover, mainly so they cancover any evidence right back up, especially if they think it would scare the American public.
This definitely would. It almost scared the pee right out of me, and I am not one to frighteneasily.
I’ve made several small discoveries before, but nothing of great interest really. So far, theonly major finding we have established is a few corpses—or skeletons—with large fangs. Ofcourse, the FBI came in, snagged up all the scientific documents on that case, and had themshipped to who knows where. Whether vampires exist or not was still a mystery to me, but Ithink not. Some people just have extra-long teeth that appear to look like fangs.
Plus, aren’t vampires supposed to be immortal and vaporize in the sun?
But I was the skeptic here—never the one to truly believe until there was undeniable evidenceto back up the claims.
I always thought that the kinds of experiments our investors wanted us to perform wereludicrous. I’ve investigated everything from a man covered in mostly scales to a “werewolf,”who was actually just a really—and I mean really—hairy man. Everything seemed silly, honestly
… until last night.
Three corpses found in the mountains of Italy were shipped to us at Zelko Corp, and thereseemed to be absolutely nothing unusual about the delivery until I opened the boxes andrealized that the bodies hadn’t decomposed— at all! Their skin was still flushed with blood,
though none had a pulse and there were obvious signs of aging on their disintegrating clothes.I checked the paper work and realized there was a colossal problem, and then called mycolleague in Italy, hoping for answers.
“Hello?” Adriana answered in her thick Italian accent.
“Hello, Adriana! It’s Doctor Gabriella Moretti.”
“Gabriella, it’s so good to hear from you. What can I do for you?”
“Um, yes … you shipped three bodies with paper work?”
“Yes. Did everything arrive there okay?”
“Well, I’m not sure,” I said hesitantly, trying to think of how to word our predicament.
predicament now. “According to your paper work, your laboratory dated the bodies backWell, my
to 100 B.C., but these bodies are so fresh you would think that they died only minutes ago.”
My eyes glanced over to the first opened box. The skin on the body seemed to be glowing.
There was a long calculating silence on the other end. I waited, very impatiently.
“Stefan?” Adriana finally yelled to someone on the other end. The rest of their conversationwas muffled Italian. “Gabriella? Are you still there?”
she asked after a minute.
“I am. Is something wrong?” I started to panic. Three fresh corpses, yet no sign of death,and most definitely no sign that they had been dead for over two thousand years. Was I losingmy mind?
“Are you near a computer?” Her voice quavered a little and that only made my nervousnessrocket.
“Yes,” I answered wearily.
Again, a long silence. “I am sending you pictures of the bodies we sent you. These were takenonly four days ago.”
A few clicks with the mouse later, I opened up the attached file to see the pictures of threebodies that were decayed, leathery, and absolutely, undoubtedly dead. Since I was only ten feet
from the bodies, I gasped in complete shock. I could feel the blood draining from my face. Thephone dropped from my hand as I stepped back, tripped, grabbed the nearby table, and knockedsome instruments over that met me on the floor with a resounding crash.
The light on the phone was still on. I seized it quickly, and then scooted across the floor asfast as I could. I couldn’t get away from the bodies quick enough.
I could hear Adriana shouting on the other end. “Gabriella? Are you all right? Gabriella?Hello? What is going on?”
“Adriana.” The shaky whisper left my lips in fear that the bodies might hear me. I knew itwas stupid, they were dead after all. “I’m going to have to call you back.” I hung up thephone, not waiting for a response.
After I gained some of my composure back, I grabbed the edge of the table beside me to liftmyself to my feet. I moved so quietly and slowly that I probably could have popped over theedge of one of the boxes and scared the corpse back to life. I peered over the top of the firstbox to see that the body hadn’t changed at all since I had made my phone call.
Surprisingly, I was somewhat relieved; I had thought by now they would certainly be alive. Thatgave me pause. What if they did come back to life?
My heart jumped wildly in my chest at the image.
After a few more seconds to take deep, steadying breaths, I pulled my latex gloves on and thenturned to take a sample from the first body. I cut a small piece of his skin and placed it in atiny vial. Carefully, I put it in a rack for later testing. I turned around to take anothersample and screamed in bewilderment.
Instantly, the door to my left flew open and three lab technicians from another lab burst in,trying their best to look knightly. It was difficult not to laugh at this show of chivalry. Butconsidering the reason I had screamed, it was probably best that I didn’t start chuckling orpeople would think I had lost my mind. After what I thought I had just seen, maybe I had.
“Are you okay?” all three men asked in unison.
“I don’t know,” I whispered, stepping towards the box that held the corpse.
I approached the body with the three men shadowing me. Then I looked over to the vial on thecounter. It was still there.
“He—” I paused to look back and forth between the body and the vial again. “He grew hisskin back,” I breathed.
The three men looked at me like I had just grown a second head.
“Oh, just hand me a vial,” I barked irritably.
Three vials all appeared in front of my eyes. “Thanks,” I replied and grabbed one withoutlooking to see who I took it from.
As I bent over the body to take another sample, the three men followed my movements, all ofthem watching what I was doing with nothing but questions in their eyes.
“Watch carefully,” I whispered. I was afraid I’d wake the dead man, especially after what Ihad seen.
Using my scalpel precisely, I cut a small piece of flesh from the body and placed it in thevial. Then we waited. After only a few seconds, one of the men beside me yelped and the othertwo visibly gulped.
The skin on the man’s arm had begun to heal. It grew until we couldn’t tell I’d ever cut theflesh away. Any second now I expected the fingers to twitch or for the corpse to becomeanimated and sit up. All four of us took an involuntary step backwards. The only noise in theroom was the heater turning on. The three men’s expressions were lined with horror. I bet theyregretted the knight role now.
“Seal the Fishbowl until the Director comes in,” I ordered, keen to vacate the scene.“Now!”
The three men stumbled over each other as they tried to reach the exit.
Backing away, I left through another door, and within seconds the room was sealed from theoutside world. There was only glass between me and the bodies now, but it made me feel safeinstantly.
Yes, last night had been very … remarkable.
My eyes opened, the memory still fresh. Dawn had broke over the sky, the colors mixing togetherpleasantly—pearly pink and misty gold through my window. Sighing at the memory, a dreadfulblast of realization hit: I’d have to go back into that lab. The thought actually sent a waveof terrified excitement through me.
E. ven though my coffee was cold, I continued to drink that same cup of coffee Sally had leftfor me while staring into oblivion. The events of last night were still swimming in my head andI was nervous about going back down to the lab. Would those dead bodies still be dead? Or wouldthere be three humans—supernatural beings?—standing in there waiting for me?
The door to my office flew open and slammed against the wall, which caused one of my photos torotate sideways as Sally backed in with my dry cleaning and a large box in her hands. As shestruggled to bring it all to my desk, I sprang forward to relieve her of her burden. I wasn’talways a complete jerk. She hung my clothes in the closet as I set the box on my desk.
“Thank you,” I said in a way that she would know she was being dismissed.
“Yeah, no problem,” Sally answered bitterly, smacking her lips in an irritating fashion.
“Doctor Moretti,” I corrected for her benefit. What could I say? I was in a vindictive moodand she was begging me to play this game with her.
Unfortunately for her, I always win.
“No problem, Doctor Moretti,” she growled and then slammed the door behind her. She must havefumed the whole way to the post office. I smiled at the thought.
Forgetting the box, I locked my office door and went straight for the clean clothes. I grabbedthe first business suit I saw and headed toward my bathroom. Because of the many nights that Iended up staying here to perform research, the Director was kind enough to have a shower unitinstalled at the office. It was either that, or they moved the lab to my house, which was not