Nemesis (War Angel Academy #2) by S.J. West

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS





I would like to express my gratitude to the many people who were with me throughout this creative process; to all those who provided support, talked things over, read, wrote, offered comments, allowed me to quote their remarks and assisted in the editing, proofreading and design.





I would like to thank Lisa Fejeran, Erica Croyle, and Barb Todaro, my beta readers, for helping me in the process with invaluable feedback.





Thanks to Janelle Leonard, my editor for helping me find typos, correct commas and tweak the little details that have help this book become my perfect vision.





Thank you to Stephany Wallace for creating the beautiful Interior Design for my books and formatting them.

Last but not least, I want to thank my family, who supported and encouraged me in this journey.





I apologize to those who have been with me over the course of the years and whose names I have failed to mention.





(KAI/CALEB’S POINT OF VIEW)





The passage of time has never bothered me before now. In fact, knowing my life would eventually come to an end has always brought me a strange sort of comfort. I’ve had little to live for in the past few years, but after returning from the living world, all I want to do is find a way to go back to it. Time has become my nemesis, and every second my sister and I remain in the Void drives us farther and farther away from the people we’ve come to care about. Our mission at the academy was a success, but the cost of our achievements there were far greater than either of us ever imagined we would have to pay.

As I stare out the window at the silver and gold skyscrapers dotting the skyline of Zion, I have to wonder how many of the people who live here understand that their home is simply a flashy façade meant to conceal the evil deeds taking place within its walls. From the shiny monuments Levi has built of himself to the architectural marvels built along the streets, everything about the city reeks of false prosperity and peace. Zion is built within a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains that are perpetually snowcapped no matter what the season. The positioning of Levi’s capital city always seemed odd to me since it’s basically a fishbowl. Strategically, we’re vulnerable because there’s nowhere to escape if we’re ever attacked, but I guess when you’re a false god in a doomed world, you don’t worry about such things.

For the most part, the people who live in the Void are clueless of the evil lurking behind Levi’s show of kindness. From what I was told by my mother, the more content the people living inside the Void are, the more powerful Levi becomes. She said it was the opposite way power worked inside Hell when it existed. The more pain and misery damned souls suffered through there, the more powerful Hell became.

Never in my wildest nightmares did I imagine I would end up coming face to face with the embodiment of Hell itself, but when Helena showed up at the academy pretending to be Lora’s mother, I was thrown for a loop. She wasn’t what I expected at all. Helena actually seemed to care about Lora in a way that can only be described as motherly. My own mother has never shown me or my sister such kindness, but then again, having children was the last thing she wanted to do. Levi trapped my mother’s soul inside her body, forcing her to give birth to Nephilim until he amassed an army of them. None of her children were born from love, only servitude. Lora was lucky to escape this place when she did. I only wish I could have found a way to save her from my mother’s cruelty.

Lora . . .

She was an unexpected but welcomed complication in my life. I’ve spent the last three years in sporadic periods of deep depression since the death of the girl who stole my heart when I was only five-years-old. Penelope’s passing shredded my soul. I never imagined I would find happiness again, but meeting Lora was like having a warm ray of hope light my days, showing me I could have a different future.

When Penelope died, we were days away from risking everything to find a place where we could live out the remainder of our lives in the Void together. But that day never came. Her death was as unexpected as it was cruel, and I never thought I would find someone who could make me feel alive again. Lora was able to work that miracle, but I’m not sure she would welcome me back into her life after learning who I really am.

“I may not be a mind reader,” my sister says in a hoarse, weak voice, “but I would bet everything I have that you’re thinking about Lora right about now.”