Black Night (Black Wings Series #2)

Black Night (Black Wings Series #2)

by Christina Henry

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Madeline Black is an Agent of death, meaning she escorts the souls of people who have died to the afterlife. Of course, not everyone is happy to see her...

If obstinate dead people were all that Maddy had to worry about, life would be much easier. But the best-laid plans of Agents and fallen angels often go awry. Deaths are occurring contrary to the natural order, Maddy's being stalked by foes inside and outside of her family, and her two loves-her bodyguard, Gabriel, and her doughnut-loving gargoyle, Beezle-have disappeared. But because Maddy is Lucifer's granddaughter, things are expected of her, things like delicate diplomatic missions to other realms.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937007065
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/26/2011
Series: Black Wings Series , #2
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 340,384
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christina Henry is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.

AudioFile Earphones Award winner Coleen Marlo has earned numerous Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Awards and won an Audie Award for her narration of Snakewoman of Little Egypt by Robert Hellenga.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I stood in the alley between Damen and Wolcott in the recently trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park. There was a parking lot filled with cars directly across the alley from my position. It was bordered on the other three sides by four-story apartment buildings. Behind the wall that I leaned on, the clubs, bars and restaurants of Division Street did a brisk trade in liquor and lust for the upscale singles who had purchased all the new condos in the area. The cold November night was no deterrent to business. After all, if you lived in Chicago, then you understood that there are only two seasons—winter and construction. If you let a little cold slow you down, then you should probably move somewhere else.

I shifted a little, flexing my toes inside my boots in a vain effort to keep them warm. When I had died and been reborn a month ago, my human heart had been replaced by an angel's heartstone. As a result, I was usually a little warmer than ordinary human beings, since angels' hearts are made of the sun. But a half angel's body is still no match for the Windy City.

My gargoyle, Beezle, poked his head out of the lapel of my wool peacoat. He's the color of stone, about the size of an overweight guinea pig and he's got little wings, the better to flap around my head and annoy me with.

Before we had left the house he had trimmed a child-sized scarf for his own use. He had a small strip of rainbow-colored wool wrapped around each horn and a longer piece wound several times around his lower face. The edge of his beak poked through the material. He mumbled something through the cloth and I glared at him.

"I can't understand you when your mouth is buried like that," I said.

Beezle narrowed his cat eyes at me and commenced unwinding his muffler. He huffed melodramatically before speaking. "I said, have you got anything to eat?"

"How can you possibly be hungry? You ate a whole bowl of popcorn before we left the house."

"But I am. And I'm cold. And I want a doughnut," he whined.

"Stop wriggling. We're supposed to be undercover here. In point of fact, you're not supposed to be here at all. You're supposed to be at home, being a home guardian, like all the other gargoyles."

"Do you think I would trust your life to him?" Beezle snapped.

"He can hear you, gargoyle," Gabriel said dryly.

My tenant and bodyguard, Gabriel, had been so quiet I'd almost forgotten he was there. Almost. He's a little difficult to overlook—six foot plus, dark hair, dark eyes, the face of an angel. I mean that literally. Gabriel was half-angel.

Have I mentioned that I am in love with him and he with me, and that our love is doomed, in a really melodramatic we-will-both-be-killed-if-we-ever-act-on-our-feelings sort of way?

I'm a half angel, too. My father is Azazel, a fallen angel and a chief of the Grigori, a right-hand man of Lucifer himself. I'd discovered this tidbit only recently, having spent most of my life believing my father to be an ordinary deadbeat (or possibly dead) human dad.

Beezle had been a little unreasonable about my safety ever since I'd had my human heart torn out by a nephilim—long story—and now refused to let me leave the house without him. You'd think the fact that I'd managed to come back from the dead would count in my favor.

Azazel's orders stated that Gabriel was not supposed to leave my side when I was out of the house. I had spent the last month with a beautiful bodyguard at my elbow and an overweight gargoyle hanging off me like a baby orangutan. It was making my job a little difficult—very difficult, in fact. It's not easy being unobtrusive with those two around.

When I'm not Azazel's daughter and Beezle's doughnut enabler, I'm an Agent of death. It's not as glamorous as it sounds. Every week I get a list of names, places and times. I go to the appointed place at the appointed time, pick up the soul and bring it to the Door. At the Door the soul chooses whether to pass on to whatever is behind the Door (don't ask me, I'm not allowed to know) or to stay and haunt the earth forever.

Most of the time my job is as straightforward as it sounds. I'm kind of like a UPS delivery guy. I don't know what's in the boxes and I don't care. It's just my job to deliver them on time and to the correct location. I also have to file paperwork—lots and lots of paperwork, and the forms are annoying and redundant. Being an Agent of Death isn't such a great gig, really, but it's an inherited job (I got mine when my mom died) and one that doesn't go away until you take the trip to the Door yourself.

So there I was, a week before Thanksgiving, shivering in thirty-degree weather and thinking longingly of my crocheted blankets and a cup of hot chocolate, waiting to pick up a soul who was scheduled to die at 1:27 A.M. somewhere in this alley.

Beezle carefully rewrapped his scarf around his chubby neck. It draped over his wings in the back.

"I hope that this isn't one of those disgusting alley murders," he said conversationally. "The last one put me off my feed."

"Is that even possible?" Gabriel murmured for my ears only, and I smiled. Then I straightened a little, pushing away from the wall. Gabriel came to attention beside me. "What is it?"

"I don't think you have to worry about hacked-up body parts this time, Beezle," I said.

"Why not?"

"Because I can see the vampire." I nodded at the innocuous-looking man making his way across the parking lot.

He looked like any moderately successful single guy out on a Saturday night. His hair was blond and stylishly cut, his clothes were good without being flashy, and his face was sort of ordinary-handsome. You wouldn't know he was a vampire, which is good for their kind. The most successful hunters are the ones with the best camouflage.

He crossed out of the lot and into the alley, his footsteps slowing as he approached us. We were tucked unobtrusively in a little four-foot depression in the building, one of those architectural oddities that seem to have no explanation. The building went straight across and then it dipped in, like someone had planned to put a closet there, and then resumed its normal course. It was just enough to keep us from being seen by anyone who passed by.

The vampire stopped dead, a few feet away. I saw his nostrils flare.

"I know you're there, Agent," he said.

I stepped out of the depression and into the light of the one yellow streetlamp that hung over the parking lot. Gabriel followed and stood behind my shoulder. I said nothing. The vampire's eyes widened a little when he saw Gabriel.

He smirked. "You must be the famous Madeline Black, the only Agent with a guard dog."

If the vampire thought he could make a little sport for himself by getting a rise out of Gabriel, he had another think coming. Gabriel is the type that burns slow—so slow, I wonder sometimes if he's got a pulse.

"What is your business, vampire?" I asked.

"If you are here, then you know my business," he said. He raised an eyebrow at me. "You will not interfere?"

"You know I am bound against it," I said, and there was a little shivering of magic as I said it, as if the source of my power was affirming the truth of that statement.

That was one of the suck things about being an Agent. I saw a lot of death, and most of those deaths would break my heart if I let them. Stupid accidents, horrific murders, deaths of children and young mothers and college kids before their time. But it was not for me to judge which lives should be saved. If their name was on my list, then their death was fated and I was bound not to interfere. I'd learned early on to adopt a circle-of-life attitude for my own sanity. It didn't mean that I liked it.

The vampire sidled a little closer to me, and I could almost feel Gabriel's hackles rise. He loves me, he can't have me, but he does not like other men coming near me. If Gabriel had his way, there would be a thirty-six-inch man-free radius around me at all times.

"I have heard stories of your beauty," the vampire purred. His nostrils flared again. "I see that they are not exaggerated."

I crossed my arms. My beauty is so not legendary. "Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck? Get lost. I'm not the helpless victim you're looking for."

I saw a glint of fang as he stepped closer. He seemed hypnotized by some scent. "But the blood of angels… I have always wanted… and you are Lucifer's own…"

I opened my palm in front of me, extended my will, and a little ball of blue flame about the size of a baseball hovered above my hand. "I understand that fire is unpleasant for vampires."

The vampire hissed and backed away several feet. He shook his head, seeming to come out of a trance. For a moment I thought he would try again, but then he appeared to think better of it.

"Perhaps you are right," he said, regaining his composure. "There must be easy prey awaiting me if you are here."

I closed my fist and the ball of nightfire disappeared, leaving behind a lingering trace of sulfur. I flicked my fingers at the vampire. "Move along, then."

He gave me a sarcastic bow and continued past us. Gabriel stared stonily at the vampire's back as he went by. A few feet past us, the vampire stopped. I couldn't see his face but I was sure he was scenting the air. I felt the thrum of magic that told me a soul was approaching that was marked for death. A moment later a too-skinny blonde came tottering into the alley on four-inch heels.

I sighed and slipped back into the shadows. I didn't need to see what happened next. I just had to be there to pick up the pieces, like always.


Excerpted from "Black Night"
by .
Copyright © 2011 Christina Henry.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Black Night 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
NookFever More than 1 year ago
I noticed that there are a lot of mixed reviews for both Black Wings and Black Night. I rated the first installment four stars, and I think this installment was equally as good, if not better, and I finished reading it in a couple of days. I think readers are torn due to the quirky personality of the heroine, and some of the off-beat comments she makes. So, either you like her or you don't. I, on one hand, find her interactions with other characters amusing, and I did find myself laughing every once in a while at her internal monologue and thoughts. On the other hand, I did not like the main character of Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. I found her "quirky" personality annoying, and therefore did not like the book. I think it depends on your sense of humor. In this second installment, Madeline Black visits the Faerie Court, encounters a few werewolves and other demonic creatures. The main focus, however, still revolves around fallen angels and their hierarchy. One thing that annoyed me were the many fight scenes she encounters. It seemed rather repetitive, and between this installment and the first, she gets saved a lot by Gabriel's and Nathaniel's healing powers. There is some character development though, and the heroine becomes more independent. Black Wings is light on the Madeline/Gabriel interaction this time around, but you are introduced to a handful of other characters. Highly recommend!
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
I strongly suggest you read the previous book in the series (Black Wings) prior to reading this installment. What a fabulous read! If I thought I adored the first book, I fell completely head-over-heels with this sequel. The heroine is strong, smart and powerful in her own right. I love that she is Lucifer's granddaughter. The author really put a new and fresh spin on a genre going stale. There were sensitive issues to deal with in this installment and they were done admirably and delicately. The story was one wild ride after another that I never wanted this book to end. I highly recommend his book to fellow dark urban fantasy readers and can't wait for the next book Black Howl due out 2/28/2012.
Karkina14 More than 1 year ago
Well developed characters, great dialogue, and a breathtaking pace. This book did not disappoint. Main character continues to kick butt despite herself and uses that fantastic brain of hers to get herself out of some touchy situations. Can't wait till book 3!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was fun
michellemerine More than 1 year ago
I finished this book last night and I absolutely love this series!! I am onto number 3 now and can't wait for more to come!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading about Maddy and her self discovery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not expect to like this book as much as i did. If you like the stormwalker or mercedes series these books are gor you.
Pinkyy More than 1 year ago
If you liked the "Black Wings" you will love "Black Night". This story advances the over all arch of the series and helps to expand the noteable characters stories. This one throws lots of intrigue at you. Pleanty of plot twists to keep guessing.
mystresstigrr More than 1 year ago
Great book! Love the series!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Agent of Death, Madeline Black guides souls as the deceased pass from one existence to the next. Maddy is notified where and when to provide her service, but recently Chicago has been hit with unscheduled gruesome homicides of werewolves that are outside of the normal celestial pact. Maddy, her friend Beezle the donut eating gargoyle and her daddy assigned bodyguard Gabriel investigate. They learn that the son of a dead nephilim seeks revenge against the Agent of death who killed his parent. As Maddy hunts this Samiel, her two companions vanish. Complicating life for Maddy in her search for her friends is her paternal grandfather who demands she negotiate a new deal for his clan with the fae. The last Fallen Angel sent by Lucifer to the Fairy Court literally lost his head. The second Agent of Death urban fantasy (see Black Wings) is a fabulous investigative thriller; as the heroine finds out that sometimes you get what you wish for now that she knows her dad is neither dead nor a deadbeat. The fulfillment has second and third order effects with the rise of new enemies as Lucifer's foes use original sin against her. Filled with action fans will enjoy touring Chicago as Christina Henry provides a dark joyride with the donut munching Beezle providing jocularity before he vanishes. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first book and it was wonderful. of course I love vampire novels so that was what caught my attention but after the first couple pages I could not put the book down. I read the whole first book in a matter of hours. Can not wait until this one is released... waiting impatiently :)
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though it is Book 2 of a series, BLACK NIGHT works well as a standalone ¿ and I did not too overwhelmed by the backstory that I could not enjoy the present dangers for Maddy and company. Too often I find urban fantasies with badass heroines who delivers cute yet overly girlish one-liners, and I was pleasantly surprised to find Maddy more of a wham-bam-thank-you-ma¿am type of girl who would rather engage in a pissing contest with the faerie queen and not obsess over her missing bodyguard to the point where she is utterly useless. There was a forbidden romance story arc, but it did not dominate Maddy¿s entire attention.I mentioned earlier that BLACK NIGHT can be enjoyed as a standalone. What happens in BLACK NIGHT, stays mostly in BLACK NIGHT. However, I do get the impression that there is an underlying current of trouble that is slowly building to a crescendo for the entire series. Which means that reading from the beginning BLACK WINGS and continuing with the rest of the series will only bring Maddy and company closer to whatever devious plans Lucifer has in store for them. I had been hoping to learn what it means for Maddy to be an ¿agent of death,¿ but it does not seem to come into play in BLACK NIGHT. Which only means that I will have to check out Book 1 to learn more about it :)I think Christina Henry has created a smart and action-packed series that will appeal to a more bloodthirsty reader. Fans of Lilith Saintcrow¿s Dante Valentine series will be thrilled for a new series to devour and a favorite new heroine to kick some demon butt. I am hoping that BLACK HOWL will bring the Maddy-Gabriel relationship into the spotlight, especially since these two were left with an awfully sticky situation that definitely changes the playing field.
ivydtruitt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
BLACK NIGHT picks up not long after BLACK WINGS ends. Someone still has it in for Maddy, she's trying to learn to navigate this convoluted world she's become a part of, albeit unwillingly, and she's still in love with Gabriel while forced into an engagement with Nathaniel. Her grandfather, Lucifer, is assigning Maddy tricky diplomatic duties, with Nathaniel no less, to other courts in different realms. Maddy also makes the acquaintance of some werewolves when she keeps coming across mutilated were corpses. Did I mention that the weres are no friends of Lucifer? Any way you look at it, Maddy is one busy agent of death.BLACK NIGHT is one amped up ride. Non-stop action kept me pretty much glued. Maddy is really starting to come into her own. She may not know all the rules, the protocol, or the extent of her powers but she's gaining in confidence. Despite her parentage she always tries to do what's right, not always the easy option but the right one. I like the way characters, relationships, and events are progressing so far with some unexpected surprises. Maddy learns about the treachery of the fairies, the steadfastness of the wolves, gets a glimpse of what her grandfather has in mind, or what he lets her think he has in mind, and learns that things aren't as cut and dried as she thought regarding Gabriel and Nathaniel. There's action galore, secrets revealed, crises averted, and a lot of growth for Maddy. Not to mention my favorite gargoyle, Beezle...I adore Beezle. BLACK NIGHT is an awesome read and I'm really looking forward to Maddy and Beezle's next adventure
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the second book in the Madeline Black series by Christina Henry. The third book in this series, Black Howl, is due out in 2012. Right now there are three books contracted for this series, although Henry has stated she'd like to write an additional two after that. This book was a great addition to the series, we learn more about the Fairy realm and about the past of some of the angels Maddy has to deal with.Maddy is recovered from being killed in the first book. With Gabriel assigned as her body guard and Beezle, her gargoyle, at her side to help she is hoping to just chill for a while and continue her job as an agent of death. Then werewolf deaths start occurring outside of the natural order of things and Maddy is determined to figure out why. Things get even crazier when members of her fallen angel family start trying to kill Maddy and on top of all that Lucifer wants Maddy to act as the diplomatic head for a mission in the fairy realm.This book has a lot going on and I was initially worried that the story would be too scattered. I shouldn't have worried, Henry does an excellent job of tying the multiple story lines together and forming a surprising and cohesive plot.Maddy has gained more power, but is still getting the stuffing knocked out of her quite often. The saying, takes a licking and keeps on ticking, definitely applies to Maddy in this book. Maddy is learning how to use her power and her personality in better and more forceful ways, so this was great to read about.I was a little disappointed that any relationship between Gabriel and Maddy is stalled in this book; their love is still starcrossed but Gabriel is missing for a large portion of the book. Stepping in to fill his role is Nathaniel, Maddy's fiance. Nathaniel accompanies Maddy throughout the book and causes all sorts of trouble. Nathaniel is an interesting and complex, if not very likable, character and it was fun to learn more of his background. JB is also a big part of this story and you learn a lot about his background as well.I enjoyed that time was spent in the fairy realms. This is a part of this world we hadn't interacted with before. There are definitely a lot of politics and intrigue throughout the story. That is not to say there isn't any action, there are a number of well done action scenes as well. The book was well-paced and well-written.The story was well wrapped up, with some dangling threads to be addressed in future books.Overall I am enjoying this series. The angel mythology is interesting and it was great to see the world expanded into the fairy realm. Maddy is a great character who is finally learning how to use her power. There is a lot going on in this story, at points almost too much. We go into new worlds, meet a number of new races and characters, and have a number of storylines. In the end though I enjoyed the complexity and thought everything game together nicely. This is definitively an urban fantasy, not much romance here, so just FYI. If you like this book I would recommend you also check out Seanan McGuire's October Daye series.
TheLibraryhag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maddy is investigating the mysterious death of a werewolf when she is ordered to go to the fairy court to negotiate for the court of the Fallen (as in angels). Well her grandfather is Lucifer afterall. But when her guardian and her faithful gargoyle Beezle both go missing, Maddy is determined to find them even if it means defying the fallen, the fairies or whoever gets in the way.This second book in the series rocks as much as the first. There is more world building and you really get a feel for the complications Maddy has to live with. I have to admit that I groaned when I realized she was going to the fairy court because that is not usually my favorite thing, but I have to say that this fairy world was not too bad and lent itself to the story very well. I just love the way Maddy stands her ground, even though sometimes I wish she would listen to the advice her friend try to give her. She always manages to pull herself out though and the more she fights the more powerful she becomes. Looking forward to the next book.
DarkFaerieTales on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Review Courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales Quick & Dirty: A woman forced to face her fears alone while being pursued romantically by lots of men save the one she wants. Witty and full of action; sprinkled with political machinations beyond the abilities of our heroine. Opening Sentence: I stood in the alley between Damen and Wolcott in the recently trendy neighborhood of Wicker Park. The Review: When we left Madeline in the last book, she found out she is related to Lucifer and that he knows about her true feelings for Gabriel. For the offense of killing one of Lucifer¿s sons, Ramuell, Madeline agreed to do him one favor in the future. Lucifer has called upon that favor. Not only does she have to go on a goodwill treaty negotiation to the faerie court (which she knows nothing about) with her fiancé (that she can¿t stand), but she must also navigate her way around without the help of Gabriel (who has gone missing). She also (by accident, really) agreed to help the werewolves (who have a long standing hate of Lucifer) find out who is killing off their packmates. All the while she dodges getting killed by her half-brother, Antares, and other assorted assassins. I believe Madeline said it best when she said, ¿¿I¿m just a thirty-something thrown in the deep end of the pool without a floatie.¿ Several factions of supernaturals meet together in this book. Let¿s start with the faerie court where Amarantha rules. She is queen of the local faerie court. She also happens to be J.B.¿s mother, Madeline¿s old boss and sometimes friend. This is where Lucifer is sending in Madeline as an emissary. There are so many protocols and ways to break them that Madeline is not sure whether she should feel honored or terrified by Lucifer¿s request. She has no idea if she is sent in as a show of faith, or as a sacrifice. Maybe a little of both. No worries though, J.B. will be there to help her out. Not sure if that will help Madeline in the long run or not. So why is J.B. all of a sudden being so helpful? It certainly can¿t be because he has feelings beyond friendship for Madeline, right? Next are my personal favorites, the werewolves of the Red Pack of Wisconsin. Not only had Madeline inadvertently declared herself a friend of a pack that happens to be her (many greats) grandfather¿s, Lucifer¿s, sworn enemies but there is someone out there killing off members of their pack and trying to blame it on Madeline. Like she doesn¿t have enough enemies as it is. A neat little fact about the Wisconsin Pack: their leader was chosen because he is the reigning Star Craft Champion. The alpha, Wade, always says, ¿En Taro Adun.¿ Don¿t know what that means? Well, me neither. But then again, I haven¿t ever played Star Craft. I just really enjoy the idea of werewolves sitting around a basement, playing computer games. Makes me giggle every time. They add a little extra to the long list of characters in this book. They are strong in their own right, enough to be taken seriously by the other supernatural factions, yet they are surprisingly upfront with Madeline. They take her side without really knowing about her personally. And that takes some serious cojones. Finally, there are the fallen. Madeline is representing these guys even though her knowledge of them is scarce. Nathaniel, Lord Azazel¿s right-hand man and Madeline¿s fiancé, is there to help her out in the negotiations. Not that she wants his help but let¿s face it, diplomacy is not Madeline¿s area of expertise. Can she accept his help even if she doesn¿t like or trust him? How far will Nathaniel push this engagement and his ¿rights¿ over his fiancé? Will Madeline stand for that? Surpise! There is another faction of the fallen involved, Lord Focalor¿s court. Can Lucifer deal with these guys? If there is to be a rebellion among the fallen, can¿t he just come and take care of it himself? Why is Madeline getting involved anyway? Doesn¿t she have enough people that want her dead? The rebels are also ¿courting¿ the faeri
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Upstart_Crow More than 1 year ago
Fantastic Read!  This series definitely gets better with each new addition. It is an easy read but completely enjoyable. I particularly enjoy the unexpected plot twists.
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SmalltownSR More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story, non stop action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kill shade at shade flame