Angels, demons, sex. Heaven, hell, war. Blood and royalty, history and magic, fire and ice. And a story you cannot put down. This is fantasy at its best.—Stephen Graham Jones, author of It Came From Del Rio
The quote above is for the first book in my Arkhangel'sk trilogy, The Fallen Queen, but it's even more appropriate for the final book, The Armies of Heaven, which I'm excited to say is now available. To celebrate the release, I’m giving away prizes to three different winners on my blog tour: a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, a complete set of print books of The House of Arkhangelsk trilogy, and a collector’s edition of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen illustrated by Vladyslav Yerko. Just enter via the Rafflecopter at the bottom of the post. This giveaway is international.
In Heaven, all hell has broken loose…
Full-scale war has broken out in Heaven, and Anazakia must embrace her destiny, leading an army of Virtues into battle against a Host of enemies to restore the House of Arkhangel’sk.
Furious with her for putting her trust in the angel who has done them all irreparable harm, Vasily tries to ignore his growing resentment, while Belphagor returns to the world of Man with a cadre of beautiful androgynous Virtues to restore the sundered alliance between the Fallen and the gypsy underground. Without their help in enlisting the terrestrial forces of Grigori and Nephilim, Anazakia’s Virtues are hopelessly outnumbered.
But there are more things in Heaven and Earth than any of them have dreamt of, and those they cannot see will mean the difference between victory and losing everything.
EXCERPT:After Anazakia had fallen asleep snuggled against him, Vasily extricated himself and made a quiet exit, heading into the woody area beyond the lakeshore for a walk to blow off some steam before he ended up melting the tent.
The pain of believing he’d lost her had been supplanted by mounting anger at Belphagor. It had been building since the first night at the lake when Belphagor had admitted—only after Vasily had demanded to know what was going on, since it was obvious he was up to something—that he intended to take his little “fall.” He refused to say anything more, as if Vasily had no right to know. In all the years they’d been together, this secretiveness, this refusal to fully let Vasily in, remained his most irritating trait. And Belphagor knew it fueled Vasily’s worst trait—his jealousy and insecurity—yet he persisted in it.
Training that pretty Virtue of his as a submissive was bad enough. Belphagor said Loquel had asked him to. It wasn’t sexual, he claimed, and that much Vasily could believe; as often as Belphagor had wandered in the years before their breakup, he had a type, and Loquel was far too feminine for him. Though it still drove Vasily mad with jealousy to think of someone else kneeling before Belphagor, at least he’d told Vasily about it and given him the option to veto the relationship. If Vasily found it too upsetting, Belphagor had promised, he’d tell Loquel no.
Try as he might, however, Vasily couldn’t stop thinking about the sleek and sinewy Misha touching Belphagor when he’d found him in the Unseen World. They had a history together that, unsurprisingly, Belphagor had told Vasily nothing about until the leshi sought him out in St. Petersburg. Misha had been Vasily’s replacement while they were apart.
Vasily had stopped to relieve himself, watering the ground harshly as if it were the object of his resentment, when he heard a crack in the brush behind him. He jerked his head around to find Belphagor watching him from a few feet away.
“What the hell are you doing skulking around behind me?”
Belphagor gave him a devilish smile. “Just admiring your aim.”
He thought he was so damned cute. Vasily turned, still pissing, and let it splatter Belphagor’s boots.
“Ne baluysya!” Belphagor swore as he jumped back. “What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Guess my aim isn’t that great after all,” Vasily growled. “I meant that to be higher.”
Belphagor’s dark eyes were bright with anger in the moonlight. “All right, malchik, let’s have it out.”
Vasily buttoned up, glaring fire at him. “It’s not enough you lie to me. You have to tell her to lie to me, too?”
“I haven’t lied to you about anything. And I didn’t tell Nazkia to lie to you. I just suggested she leave out the bit about Misha because I knew you’d overreact.”
“Oh, so now you’re the judge of what an appropriate reaction is.”
“You just pissed on my shoes. You don’t think that’s a little over the top?”
Vasily breathed out a thin sigh. “You almost left me for him, Bel. After everything. After Ola—” His voice caught on the name and he took a step back, horrified to realize he was on the verge of tears.
Belphagor’s demeanor changed instantly. “Lyubvi moyey.” He stepped toward Vasily with his hand held out. “We’ll find her.”
Vasily wanted to slap the hand away, to stay angry, because anger didn’t hurt, but Belphagor’s fingers brushed his and Vasily was in his arms in a heartbeat.
Belphagor held him tightly. “She’ll be home soon. Everything’s going to be all right. I promise.”
He hated when Belphagor made promises about things he couldn’t control, but this once, he let it go. This time, a lie was what he needed.
“And I didn’t almost leave you.” Belphagor kissed his throat, as high as he could reach without pulling Vasily’s head down or pushing him to his knees, and whispered against his skin. “I will never leave you. I thought you were leaving me, and I was being a fool once more and letting you go. But I have no intention of doing that ever again, either.”
With Vasily’s defenses down, it took him completely by surprise when Belphagor grabbed his locks at the crown and twisted, spinning him onto one knee.
Stepping in and pinning the leg with his boot, Belphagor forced Vasily to look up at him, his face the hard stone that made Vasily’s spine tingle—among other things. “You are to trust me, malchik. Ponimayesh?” He loosened his grip just enough to let Vasily nod. “I will never do anything to hurt you. That we haven’t agreed on.” The addition of the last phrase made Vasily weak with need. A slight smile crept into the dark glint of Belphagor’s eyes. “And if you ever pee on me again, Vasya…so help me, I’m going to make you sorry in a way you won’t like.”