Sarwat Chadda: Devil’s Kiss

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Sarwat Chadda Devil’s Kiss
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    Devil’s Kiss
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    Триллер / на английском языке
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Devil’s Kiss: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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There's Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself…And Billi SanGreal. As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy. Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart. But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years – a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London 's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

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Her mother had known how to stop Michael. He hadn’t abandoned Billi that night he’d come to their home. He couldn’t reach her. Jamila had marked the door with the blood of sacrifice.

Back then, her mother had died to save her, and now, Kay had too. She pressed her bloody fingers against her lips. Kay had died to prove his prophecy right, and now it was her turn. But if she was wrong she would die. Strangely she didn’t mind.

Kay would be waiting.

‘It’s better this way,’ said Michael.

‘Just do it.’

The sword bolted up and swept down. Billi held Kay against her heart as the blow struck.

The Silver Sword shattered into thousands of sparkling lights, a silent eruption of diamond stars that blew bright, then gently vanished, gone before they touched the ground.

There was a sting on her neck, and she could feel the warm trickle of blood rolling down her cold skin.

She touched the wound: a small, shallow cut. Shallow, but she knew she’d bear it forever. She turned towards Michael. He stared blankly at his hand, the sword utterly gone.

‘How?’ muttered Michael.

Sacrificial blood. The most powerful magic there is; that was what Elaine had said. Michael stumbled away, shaking his head. Lightning flashed and the building shook with thunder. The huge steel columns groaned and cracks erupted along the concrete. The Jews of ancient Egypt had protected their homes with the blood of sacrifice and the Angel of Death could not cross.

The Watchers’ one immutable law.

‘You should have Passed Over, Michael,’ Billi said as she cradled Kay. Michael had tried to cross a barrier protected by Kay’s sacrificial blood. ‘You broke covenant.’

The look of horror said it all. Michael raised his offending hand and wailed. He tore at his rain-sodden hair and ran his nails deep into his cheeks. Throwing his arms up towards the heavens he pleaded, ‘Forgive me! Forgive me!’

Lightning shattered the sky, ripping apart the dense curtain of clouds. The sky filled with unbearable brightness and the roar was deafening. The wind almost threw Billi over as it swept across the city. Deep within this cyclone Billi heard a million voices crying and caught in the centre she saw Michael, his essence evaporating in the knife-edged strips being carved off him. He stumbled and cringed beneath the onslaught; down on his knees he begged.

‘God Almighty!’ he screamed, and then it consumed him, his scream dying away into the chorus of the damned tempest.

Billi hugged Kay as the storm raged, but its brightness, too fierce and too powerful to linger, sucked into itself, and when she finally opened her eyes it was dawn, true dawn. The storm had passed and through the clouds she saw daylight at last. She looked into the sun, tingling with the warmth of a new day. ‘God Almighty indeed.’

Somewhere, in some small city farm, a cock crowed.

And a million children slept on.


They buried Kay a week later at a small Norman church on the Kent coast. It sat on a cliff overlooking the still and silent sea. White-winged seagulls circled against the sharp blue sky. Percy, Berrant and Balin had been buried in London, but Billi wanted something special for Kay.

He’ll like the view, she thought.

No family, and the stone just had his name, birth and death, and a brief epitaph:

A Poor Soldier.

Elaine stood at the head of the grave. Billi had thought Arthur would give the eulogy, but knew Elaine had been a mentor to Kay in a way her warrior father never had.

‘We’re all poor soldiers,’ said Elaine. ‘What’s life but bitter struggle, and pain? You have to be a soldier to bear it. To bear witness to what life brings: loss, despair, defeat. Our victories are few, and fleeting.’ Billi watched the tears sparkle on the woman’s wrinkled cheeks, sliding down the deep grooves. Elaine continued. ‘We have to have faith. Faith that something good comes out of our sacrifices. I think we can say Kay proved just that.’ Billi took her dad’s hand, and he gave it a brief squeeze.

‘Kay wasn’t a warrior. But when he was called he was not found wanting.’ Elaine’s hands covered her eyes. ‘We can only hope that his reward is a just one.’

The sun shone on the polished oak coffin lid as the other knights lowered it into the grave. They were all there. The Poor Fellow Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon. The Knights Templar.

Four weary men and her.

Bors and Pelleas stood one side of the coffin while Gwaine and Arthur stood on the other, holding the ropes slung under it. Her dad was sweating, grimacing from the pain of his stitches, as centimetre by centimetre they lowered Kay to his final resting place. Billi closed her eyes, and saw the lingering ghosts of Percy, Balin and Berrant.

And Kay.

Billi felt hollow. This morning her heart had leapt when she’d seen a tall, skinny blond boy. For a fraction Kay was alive, but the boy turned, and it wasn’t him.

Kay is gone. The thought shrivelled her inside. How could he be gone so quickly? She’d cried in the morning, shocked she couldn’t remember everything about him. She couldn’t bear to think her memories might fade so she forced herself to recall every single feature. His pale skin, the silvery hair, the soft bristles of his beard, just gathered around his chin. And his eyes. They were the one thing she’d never forget.

Blue, they were very blue.

The coffin scraped the bottom of the pit. The knights reeled in the ropes.

Don’t leave me, Kay.

The others lined up and each paused by the grave, giving a silent prayer, a final farewell. Then it was Billi’s turn.

I can’t do this.

Arthur stopped and looked at her. She blushed with shame. He’d buried his wife, and it hadn’t stopped him.

How could she do less? And what else would Kay expect of her?

‘Say goodbye, sweetheart,’ Arthur said.

But she couldn’t move. She stared at the coffin. A tiny patter of loose earth dropped on to the lid.

Don’t go.


She jolted, glancing around, heart suddenly pounding hard and rapid.

‘Billi.’ Arthur touched her shoulder. ‘Let him rest.’ Then he walked away down the green slope. She looked into the dark hole and undid her crucifix chain. She held it over the edge, then it slipped and clattered on his coffin.

The others queued along the gate as she walked. She looked at each, and one by one they nodded in greeting. This was where she belonged. Arthur stood last. He put his arms round her and pressed her close to his heart. She heard it beating fiercely against hers. Her father kissed her tear-stained cheeks and whispered softly:

‘Welcome to the Knights Templar.’

Sarwat Chadda


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