Meet Ester Anderson , Angelic Relic hunter from The Shadowed Series book I am co-writing with USA Bestselling Fantasy author Adrienne Woods.
Ester (Essie) was raised in a Nunnery from the age of two. They taught her all about angelic relics that hold Godly power. But the Nunnery was a brutal place for a girl who does not follow blindly and so was bought by a Billionaire – Hunter Cambdone as his head relic hunter.
Essie soaked in her training and has become the best relic hunter out there. But some relic holds angelic power and seems to affect her, but we only touch on that in book one.
Teaser of book one
Finding the entrance to the underground cave would have brought any human to the brink of insanity. But apparently I was born insane. My destiny was to mock death. The desert was blistering dry, blinding, and unforgiving.
“Oh, great.” I dropped my empty canister. Not even a lick of moisture on the rim would relieve me of the thirst. I looked back at my dune-buggy gleaming in the distance behind me, catching the direction its shadow fell on the glittering sand. We timed our mission perfectly. The entrance should be revealed by two hulking dunes shadows forming a perfect triangle and I was spot on. I huffed out loud. Of course I was. When am I ever wrong? I giggled to myself. From my backpack, I pulled out an unfolding shovel and dug at the pinnacle of the triangle. It was not long before I hit solid rock. But what I didn’t expect was a sudden gust of wind, so strong it blew me from my feet and as I looked up, a sandstorm appeared without warning. As if out of thin air.
I fell down, flat on my belly, dug my spade in to anchor me down, but it snapped on the rock and the sand was like shards of glass slicing at the exposed skin on my neck.
I cried out, but remembered I switched my coms off to reserve the battery and all I could do was hunker into a tiny ball and wait it out.
I lay my gloved hands on the rock I hit earlier and prayed for mercy and by the heavens, my call was answered and the desert that was my enemy moments ago revealed something to me the moment I lifted my head. The sandstorm had blasted the entire cave entrance open. I was eager to jump in. But once the opening was discovered, I realized the drop into the cave was a sheer rock face wall – a pit into an abyss of darkness. I swallowed my fear of the darkness. I would give no one the satisfaction of showing them my one weakness. Retrieving three glow sticks, I snapped them and dropped the luminous sticks down the gaping hole. I watched the glow all the way down until they disappeared. “Great,” I whispered to myself, “A bottomless pit.”
I lay flat on my stomach, pulled out my rope and all my climbing gear. I lifted my headgear and wiped the sweat dripping down the side of my face. I placed the headpiece back and switched on my headlamp and leaned my top half down, found the crevice I needed as top anchor, and slid three cams into the crevice. Fastening my harness, I held my bolts and chalk pouch close by. I went feet down first after securing my rope. My heart raced as the darkness enveloped me. The icy dankness was a huge reprieve from the hot Israeli desert terrain. I secured my rope to the three cammies and used my feet to climb down into the unknown. My fingers felt around for the next crack in the rock face wall. Once I found one, I wedged my first bolt into it and weaved my rope through the tiny aluminum circle. The hunt was officially on, so I switched on my coms and pushed off the rock, using my hands to slow the freefall down. Goosebumps waved over my skin from the sudden drop of temperature. I abseiled my way down meters into the encroaching darkness. I continued this until I would hear from my crew. Finally, static came through. The click of the radio in my ear.
“Es,” Mason’s voice came out raspy over the com in my ear.
“You are about twenty feet from the relic. Look behind you for the entrance.“
I turned my head. The beam of light caught nothing but more rock face. “That is impossible. There is nothing there.” I squinted and adjusted my night-vision goggles.
Amalia huffed before she raised her voice. “What do you mean, there is nothing?” I cringe at her high-pitched voice, tempted to remove my earbud. I heard her typing on her computer. She was our location surveyor and history researcher.
“Dank, air, darkness. As in nothing but more rock and moss, Amalia,” I snapped back.
“Oh, and a trickling fountain misting up the place. That type of nothing. There isn’t even a ledge or anything that I can hang on to.”
“Damn it to hell, it’s one of those lairs,” Mason croaked out.
Drew, our security expert, groaned, and I could hear him bang something on the other side. “Es,” he hesitates on his end.
“Talk to me, Drew. What is this place?”
“This place is a replica of the one in Rome, the catacombs of San Lorenzo, where we found the Stone of Cain. It’s guarded with angelic magic and modern decoys.”
“I concur.” That meant someone of importance knew it was here and was hiding it here until they came to retrieve it safely.
I cleared my thoughts, dug my nails into the rope as my feet dangled toward the devouring darkness below me.
It’s totally dark, a feeling of absolute despair and something else. I swallowed down the feeling. “Someone else has been here and has fortified it with traps.”
“How can you possibly tell that?” Amalia’s voice screeched in my ear again – this meant she failed at her job – her intel was wrong. She was also new on the job, because the one who had botched up the location of where we had retrieved the stone of Caine cost our team a life. And obviously got fired for that.
The stone of Caine was a near impossible relic to find. The stone was the very weapon Caine used to bludgeon his brother to death. A class two relic that had the power to turn the holder of the stone insane and bent on killing. The evil it held nearly took our team down. If not for my faith in the Lord, we would surely all have died that day.
Pulling my hands over my face, I groaned silently. “Are you shitting me?” Mason snapped, and I heard the three of them mumble in harsh tones.
“Hey!” I hushed them. “Stop acting like schoolgirls and let’s get the hell on with this frigging mission.”
Our project manager Mason was first to answer, “The magnetic field that is showing up on our magnetometer is dangerously high.”
Drew clicked his tongue. “Thank you, captain obvious.”
Books co-authored by Carlyle Labuschagne and Adrienne Woods
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