Marked by L. R. W. Lee (EXCERPT)

Hi, readers! We’re so pleased to be able to give you a sneak peek of the third book in the addictive Morningstar Academy series, about a fallen angel who fights to save a world spiraling out of control, while trying to protect humans and her own heart.

Following the first two books in the series, Marked is set in the intriguing and unseen world of angels and demons created by L R W Lee, taking the reader on a wild ride filled with fantasy, romance, friendship, war and more — all while addressing the many theories and questions of Apocalyptic fiction.

Gladriel, her new fallen friends, and her former squadron mates, have had limited success shifting the world-ending prophecy. They feel increasingly helpless as war, famine, plague and hyperinflation rage, killing millions of the humans they are committed to protecting. Their only hope for rescue is to throw themselves on the Almighty’s mercy and beg him to reverse their sentences, putting Glad and her friends in an impossible situation.

Marked gives us a peek into the unseen world of angels and demons that’s perfect for fans of Good Omens and Penryn & The End Of Days. Read on for an excerpt from the very first chapter of this genre-bending romantasy!


Two flames shoot up a good ten feet into the dark sky mere feet away, making my heart skip a beat as things come back into focus. Loud popping sounds explode a second later, and I jump, then growl when I realize the source.

I’ll never get used to the Garden of Flames, aka this maniacal field of firepits that scars the academy’s courtyard in innumerable places and assaults my nose with the stench of burning brimstone.

“Wait.” The cry comes from a wiry student who hurries toward us. His eyes are trained on Dante, and he waves a paper as he approaches.

Ambrielle and I exchange questioning looks.

The guy’s breathing is labored as he steps around Bethor and me and stops before Dante, holding out the paper. “Headmaster Arioch wants to see”—he glances across all of us—“all of you… um, immediately. Umbrelle said to stress that part.”

Umbrelle is Arioch’s scantily clad—she would say seductively clad—admin who seems to delight in the pathetic power trip she gets sending students on errands.

Dante gives the errand boy a long look before accepting the missive; then he opens it and frowns after reading the contents. “Fine.”

The messenger scowls and swats a hand at us, clearly glad to be done with his chore, before turning.

“You think those demons in Hawaii ratted on us?” Bethor rubs an eyebrow.

Dante tilts his head. “No telling. Let’s find out.”

My stomach tenses. I knew this might happen when we left Mossad and our classmates in the middle of class to answer Kessien’s distress call. I have zero regrets. All the same, I’d hoped to avoid this.

Ambrielle hugs herself. “The Almighty said not to worry about the consequences.”

A shiver runs down my spine remembering the events of mere hours before when the Almighty rolled back those storm clouds and locked his gaze with mine. “I believe his exact words were ‘Worry not about the consequences. Trust me to handle this… in my time.’ I’ll never forget them.”

Ambrielle bites her lip as she nods.

Nisroc runs a hand through his hair that’s down at the moment rather than in its usual man bun. He looks anything but reassured.

Bethor blows out a breath. “Okay, then let’s try not to worry.”

“Shall we?” Dante holds out an open palm, directing us toward the academic building.

No one speaks as we make our way to the hulking, five-story, creepy building just behind the flaming caricature-of-Satan fountain.

My thoughts return to Kessien and the squad. I know they’re in good hands. I know third heaven’s healers can deal with those demons that latched onto them so there’s no permanent harm done. I know that, I do, but I rub the leather of my jacket’s sleeve all the same.

It was a small mercy that the pair of celestial warriors tasked with escorting us back to the boundary between second and third heaven didn’t insist they hand us back at an official transfer point. So no one has seen us in the company of celestials to question or narc on us.

I brush my ash-dirtied shoulder-length hair behind an ear. I still remember the condescending reception I received from those fallen soldiers at the transfer point when I first arrived in second heaven.

And I’ll never forget my escort to Morningstar Academy, Major Adoel. Her parting gift was instigating an “intensive adjustment” that lost me my hair and my name.

I fist a hand. If I ever see her again… I shake my head and sigh. So much has happened since then.

Dante opens the tall black door of the academic building, bringing me back.

Ambrielle raises a finger as we file inside. “I suggest we clean up first.”

“Agree. No point in drawing attention.” Dante closes his eyes; we all do.

A second later, I open mine again. I’m sporting combed blonde-again hair and clean clothes, and it makes me feel maybe a tiny bit better about our lot.

“Come on.” Bethor bumps my shoulder.

Nisroc opens the door with frosted glass on its upper half bearing a dragon emblem and motions Ambrielle and me forward. The guys follow us in.

The eyes of Umbrelle, Arioch’s admin, immediately meet mine as she looks up from her keyboard and frowns. She has again nailed that seductress look she so loves. Her tight shirt, periwinkle tonight, leaves little to the imagination with her abundant bosom.

Dante moves forward, and Umbrelle’s expression softens but remains stern. It’s nothing like the bubbly display he earned when brownnosing her to get a choice assignment for us when investigating the Disappearance.

He holds up the note. “Arioch wanted to see us? Something urgent?”

She brushes her long blonde locks over a shoulder and forces a smile. “He does.” She nods toward the hard oak bench against the wall behind us that I sat on for an eternity before my first meeting with Arioch. “Sit.”

Dante rolls his eyes, and I know Ms. Admin will keep us waiting a very long time even though it’s supposedly “urgent.”

Umbrelle goes back to typing, the dismissal clear.

Ambrielle gives a small shake to her head and Bethor shrugs as we comply. Yep, might as well give her the satisfaction of playing her little power trip game.

The bench is none too long, so Nisroc and Dante stand while the rest of us slump to sitting on the torture device.

Umbrelle clears her throat a minute later. “I said, ‘sit.’ That means all of you.”

Nisroc furrows his brow, glances at the three of us, then at Dante.

“Very well.” Dante’s voice is saccharine, and I just may barf.

I scoot down as far as I can so the guys can squeeze onto the bench. Ambrielle bows her shoulders between Bethor and Nisroc, but the guys are just broad—not as broad as Kessien but still wide. Dante squeezes in beside me, but even though he leans forward, one of my cheeks still hangs over the edge of the bench, and it’s all I can do not to fall off, but I refuse—that would only fuel Umbrelle’s power trip.

It feels like forever before Ms. Admin picks up the phone. “Dante and the others are here, Headmaster.” She bobs her head. “Very good, sir.” Returning the phone to its cradle, she looks up. “He will see you.”

About time.

“Nothing like a little togetherness to bring us closer,” Dante whispers in my ear and chuckles as we rise.

I only barely keep my eyebrows from hitting my hairline. Dante recently confessed that he has feelings for me, so I’ve no idea how to take that. My heart speeds as I whisper back the most innocuous response I can muster, “Go figure….”

Nisroc turns the handle on Arioch’s door, and we file in, taking slow steps until we stop and spread out before his hulking ebony desk. The warm flames in his mammoth, gray stone fireplace to the right dance; they’re blissfully unaware of the tension eating away at my gut. Must be nice.

The headmaster steeples his fingers under his chin, elbows on the arms of his overstuffed, black, high-back leather chair. His steel-gray eyes take us in, and I only barely kill the urge to rub the back of my neck the longer he remains silent.

Bethor fists and unfists a hand on my right.

I hear the door close, and Nisroc joins us on the end, on Dante’s other side.

Arioch inhales deeply and lets it out slowly before clearing his throat. “It seems you made it back unscathed.” He pauses, again scanning the five of us. I clench my jaw. I abhor dangling sentences, but more, dangling thoughts.

Come on, spit it out.

“Where might Mossad and your classmates be?” He forces a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.

My muscles tense. What?

Out of the corner of my eye, I spot Dante touch his throat, covering his surprise. “I don’t understand, sir.”

“Your classmates have yet to return, and Master Mossad is uncontactable.” He raises a brow as if we’re to blame.


From Marked by L R W Lee. Copyright © 2024 by the author and reprinted by permission.

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