The boarding school known as Archangel Academy possesses a legacy of secrets known only to a privileged few. For in this peaceful, charming part of England lives a population of vampires at war with one another—and Michael Howard is caught in the middle of it all…
When Michael left his small Nebraska hometown to enroll at Archangel Academy, he couldn’t have imagined how much the experience would change him. Once mortal, Michael is now a vampire with a destiny that was foretold long ago, and a group of friends with their own mysterious abilities.
But there are enemies too, some of them hiding in plain sight. Being strong enough to defend himself isn’t enough. Michael must find a way to protect his entire race of vampires. Dark forces within the school will drive everyone to take sides in the escalating violence. And for all his new powers, Michael will discover that love, jealousy, and vengeance have a danger all their own…
Outside, the earth was asleep.
All of Archangel Academy was under a spell. No creature,
human or otherwise, stirred, and the only sounds that penetrated
the darkness were gentle, calm, and soothing. The
sighs of the midsummer breeze, the whispers of the leaves
and the tall blades of grass as they swayed in the faint wind,
and the collective breath of the students who were sleeping in
their beds, the few who resided here before the official start
of the school semester, were all that could be heard. It was a
melody that became even more beautiful when it started to
As the first drops fell from the sky, Michael stirred in his
sleep. He didn’t wake up, not completely, but he was roused
by the arrival of the familiar sound and the fresh, invigorating
scent. Drop after drop after drop of water fell against the
windowpane, creating a lazy rhythm, a lullaby that seeped
into Michael’s dream, making him feel comforted, protected,
Underneath the cotton sheets his hand instinctively reached
out for Ronan’s, not stopping until it touched warm flesh and
their fingers intertwined. Even while sleeping the boys knew
their destiny, knew that their bodies, like their souls, were
meant to be joined together, interwoven, one. They had no idea
that it was a belief that would soon be put to a test.
A roar of thunder erupted from the sky, disrupting the
peace that had cradled the campus. The rumbling continued,
growing louder, louder, louder as it spread out, invading
building after building until it reached St. Florian’s. When
another wave of thunder exploded, Michael woke, startled,
unsure of where he was, unsure of what had created the
noise, unsure as to why he had been ripped from the serenity
of his dream. He looked over and was surprised to see that
Ronan was still sleeping, completely unaffected by the harsh
intrusion. Michael wished he could be so lucky.
He waited a few moments until his breathing returned to
normal and then quietly got out of bed, flinching when his
feet touched the floor. Even though it was the end of June the
floor was cold, and as he stood before the window he shivered.
He crossed his arms against his bare chest and felt
chilled air pierce through the thin material of his pajama
pants and swirl up and around his legs. He didn’t have to
look out the window to know something wasn’t right, but
when he did he saw that his fears were confirmed. As far as
his eyes could see, the only thing they saw was water.
Racing to the other window in the room, Michael looked
out, and the view was the same, water, water, water, nothing
more. “Ronan,” Michael cried out, trying to make his voice
sound less frightened than he was feeling. “Ronan, wake
His boyfriend didn’t stir, his eyes didn’t flutter, his breathing
didn’t quicken, he remained exactly the same. Ronan
slept as if the world was simply resting in preparation for a
new day. To Michael, the world looked as if it had come to
Bolts of lightning lit up the night sky like electric eels in a
black sea, thunderclaps continued to howl like banshees, and
the rain, the rain that Michael loved so much pummeled the
windows with such fury it was as if the sole purpose of each
drop was to shatter the glass. Hoping to prevent such a result,
Michael threw open the window and was instantly battered
by the freezing rain that felt more like shards of ice than
water. He stepped to the side to hide behind the wall and protect
his body and was surprised to find that he wasn’t bleeding
from the attack. Shielding his eyes with his forearm, he
glanced out the window and saw that nothing had changed.
He couldn’t tell if his room was still connected to the building;
all he knew was that it was somehow floating in the middle
of the ocean. And the sea was no longer calm.
Whether because of the storm or because the sea was not
thrilled to have a huge, foreign substance floating on its surface,
the waves were cresting higher and higher with each
passing second. Even with his preternatural agility, Michael
had to hold onto the window frame to keep his balance. He
was gripping the floor so tightly with his feet that he thought
his toes were going to break through the wooden slats. And
all the while Michael was trying to stay upright, Ronan was
sleeping deeply in their bed.
Something flew past the moon and caught Michael’s eye.
He thought at first it might just be another streak of lightning,
but it was too small and not as bright. Crouching under
the window, Michael rose slowly, his hands positioned in
front of his face in a continued attempt to protect it from the
onslaught of rain. He squinted and realized with a surge of
delight that it was the lark flying in the glow of the moon.
His heart swelled at the sight of his old friend, and he
watched him dip and curve and weave between and above
the glut of raindrops, his wings outstretched to their maximum
potential. Michael thought he had never looked so
magnificent. He wished that the lark would fly closer so he
could hear his song, hear again his signature tune, da-daDAH-
da, da-da-da, but the lark stayed away from the eye of
the storm. Michael couldn’t blame him, but he wished he
were closer so he could tell him how wonderful his life had
become, how worthwhile the journey had been, how incredible
and amazing every day had been since he came to Double
A from Nebraska. But suddenly the lark flew even farther
Michael watched, fascinated, awestruck as a giant wave,
directly in front of the window, slowly split in two and
parted. Looking down into the abyss created by the parting
of the wave, Michael couldn’t see ground, he couldn’t see a
bottom of any kind, just infinite space. The room hung in the
air, suspended, as if the millions of raindrops that continued
to shower onto the roof were actually strings being controlled
by an unseen puppeteer, a mastermind hiding within
the clouds whose only purpose was to keep the room airborne.
Until the room fell.
The abrupt descent thrust Michael upward, and he slammed
into the ceiling. The accelerated speed kept him glued there
until the room shifted and Michael was sent smashing to the
floor. Dazed, he tried to get his bearings during the free fall,
and if it weren’t for his enhanced vision he would not have
seen the bed speed toward him. He jumped up without a moment
to spare and heard, but didn’t see, the bed hurtle into
the wall behind him; he was too busy looking around the
room to make sure another inanimate object didn’t suddenly
come alive and hurtle in his direction.
“What the hell is going on?” Michael mumbled to himself.
Before he could find an answer the room tilted again to the
other side and Michael flew headfirst into the wall at the far
end of the room, barely missing the window. Kneeling on the
floor, he reached up and held onto the windowsill. He looked
over to his bed and was terrified to see that it was now
empty. Ronan was no longer sleeping quietly under the covers,
he was floating two feet above the bed, and yet still
“Ronan!” Michael shouted. He knew that it was probably
dangerous to startle Ronan and force him to wake up, but he
was unable to control his voice. He was no longer interested
in and curious about what was happening all around him, he
was scared. “Ronan! Wake up!”
Ronan’s only response was physical, and it had nothing to
do with the urgent tone of Michael’s voice, and everything to
do with the shifting of the room. As it plummeted deeper,
deeper, deeper into the hole in the ocean, the room sloped
sideways, causing Ronan’s body to bounce into the wall. His
right hand that had been resting on his chest fell and dangled
at his side, swaying slightly. It was the only visible movement
On his hands and knees Michael started to crawl toward
Ronan, desperate to reach him before whatever magic that
allowed him to float in midair died out or before they
crashed into the bottom of the ocean floor. The latter thought
filled him with dread as he realized the room couldn’t fall forever;
at some point it had to hit land, and at the speed they
were falling he knew that such a landing could be deadly
even for them.
“Ronan! Can you hear me?” Michael cried out, but again
his words fell against sleeping ears.
From halfway across the room, Michael felt cold water
spray over him, making his skin grow even colder and soaking
his pants until they were dripping wet. He thought it was
the rain whipping against his body, but he was wrong; the
ocean water was gushing in through the open window at
breakneck speed. They hadn’t landed; Michael could still feel
the room descending. It looked, however, as if the waves had
reconnected and the room was now submerged under the
hostile ocean. One of the bedside tables slid across the room,
stopping only when it got wedged between the bed and a
bookshelf, stopping right next to Michael. Using the solid
piece of furniture as leverage, Michael pulled himself into an
upright position as the water kept rushing into the room.
Pouring, pouring, pouring into the room so quickly that in
seconds Michael was knee-deep in ice-cold water.
Standing in the middle of his plummeting room, Ronan
floating in the air just out of his grasp, Michael couldn’t understand
why he was filled with a crippling fear. This was only
water, there was nothing to be afraid of. I’m a child of Atlantis,
Michael reminded himself. The ocean is home to me,
sanctuary, there’s no reason to be frightened. And yet he was,
he was absolutely terrified.
The room started to shake even more violently and his terror
grew, because even though the room was rocking back
and forth, pitching up, then falling at an even faster speed, he
no longer moved. The water had turned to ice and had
locked him into place. He tried to move his legs, break free
from the icy grip, but not even his vampire strength could
shatter the ice. Despite the freezing temperature, Michael felt
beads of sweat race down the sides of his face, down the insides
of his arms. For some reason the ocean, the water,
maybe even The Well itself were all rebelling against him.
“Don’t you know that I’m one of you?!” Michael screamed.
The ice started to rise and lock itself around Michael’s
legs, then his waist. He looked out the window, desperate to
find a way out, anything, anyone who could come to their
rescue. In the distance he saw the meadowlark, watching,
staring, not coming closer, not offering any help. A cloud of
smoke erupted behind the lark and raced toward the room.
Michael almost cried out in joy when he realized the cloud
was fog and he knew that Phaedra must have returned to
save him, to fulfill the pledge that she had made to his mother
when she died. But he was wrong, the fog was nothing more
than fog. It didn’t evaporate and reveal a supernatural being;
it didn’t offer his salvation; it was simply the result of the
cold air rising from the ocean. There was nothing left for
Michael to do except to try and reach his boyfriend. Ronan
had the same idea.
“Michael,” Ronan said calmly; his right arm that had been
dangling was now outstretched, his hand, his fingers aching
to be held. “You must protect me.”
Reaching his hand out toward Ronan, Michael stretched
his body as much as possible, but there were still several
inches of empty air between them. “I don’t know what to
do,” Michael said. “I don’t know how!”
“You will,” Ronan said. His smile was warm, his expression
in stark contrast to Michael’s mask of fear. “When the
time comes, love, you’ll know what to do.”
But Michael had no idea what to do. He had no idea how
to save Ronan or himself or stop the ice from rising up past
his neck where it now rested or make Ronan stop floating in
the air, so he did the only thing he could think of, he prayed.
He begged The Well to make the nightmare end. He begged
for their room to return to campus and for the water to recede
and for the ocean to disappear. When he opened his eyes
he wasn’t sure if The Well had consented to his plea or if he
had just been dreaming.
He was back in bed lying next to Ronan who was still asleep,
but now safely under the covers. The rain had stopped, the
room wasn’t covered in ice, and Michael could see out the windows
that they were back on Archangel ground, back where
they belonged. Stunned but grateful, Michael turned to face
Ronan. He placed his arm over his chest and shivered not because
of the cold this time, but because of the beautiful
warmth that emanated from Ronan’s body. For a few seconds
all he could do was stare at Ronan’s face, christened by
the shadows of the night, until he knew exactly what he needed
to say. “Don’t be afraid,” Michael whispered. “I’ll always be
here to protect you.”
Ronan clutched Michael’s hand and smiled in his sleep.
Michael felt the breath escape his lips; he knew that Ronan
heard him, he knew that he believed him. And Michael finally
understood his purpose.