This volume can be read independently of A Fury in New York: OSEF Christmas! – even if it is advisable to follow the chronology for a better immersion in the universe. For a smoother reading (without spoilers), here is a little reminder.
The story takes place just after the last Council, a meeting of all the Immortals which takes place every four years. This edition was the thousandth and the Greek pantheon, which was the organizer, wanted to make an impression by offering special festivities. Which, obviously, did not go as planned at all. What followed was a whole host of events that resulted in a fragile understanding between different groups, which had not happened for centuries. Thus, the Angels of the Order of the Wings of God agreed to a truce with the Dragons and more or less became allies with the Greek, Egyptian and Punic pantheons.
Year 1098 – Antioch (Byzantine lands).
Hugues de Vermandois, descendant of King Henri IV and younger brother of King Philippe I , experienced boundless joy as he passed through the gates of the finally defeated city. He is the one who allowed the victory of the Crusaders and earned the nickname " great » on the battlefield.
Let the rest of the called continue to Jerusalem because he has found his kingdom ! With fervor, he gets down on one knee in the central market square in the heart of the city, and begins to pray to the Guardian Angel who has followed him for years.
To establish his new stronghold, he needs to consolidate his local political bases. Because even if Pope Urban IV will be delighted to learn of the success of this first crusade, he will certainly not agree to recognize a new union with the daughter of the Byzantine sultan. Not as long as he is still married to Adelaide who remained at the French court in any case. The only solution for him is therefore to become a widower very quickly.
So he prays with all his might !
And the expected miracle occurs, a missive bringing him “ the sad news " some months later. In the meantime, the searches he ordered made it possible to find the Holy Lance  in the bowels of the city. Such a trophy offered to the Pope can only guarantee his unwavering support. ! Immediately organizing his new alliance with great fanfare, he was betrayed a year later by his second wife who then became queen of the city under the orders of her father.
Moribund, he calls his Angel with the strength of despair but is not saved. He barely has time to confess his sins on his deathbed, not without wanting to reestablish a truth: his last born is necessarily a bastard whom he was obliged to recognize to safeguard his honor in the eyes of the world, but he knows perfectly well that he is not the progenitor to the extent that he has not honored his wife for a long time. He therefore implores his Angel to only worry about his eldest son who is his true and only legitimate heir.
Because his family of royal blood is protected by the Pope's blessing and he does not want a usurper to take advantage of it.
Year 1100 – Garden of Eden.
Today, all the Angels are celebrating the appointment of Archangel Gabriel who is finally rewarded for all his efforts to support humans. It must be said that the Judeo-Christian pantheon is experiencing meteoric growth, incredible in terms of followers, to the point of making the other gods tremble and waver, whose bases of power are only declining with the spectacular fall in the number of their faithful. The majority of humanity is converting massively to this new religion.
And it is a fact that the new Archangel will not fail to recall during the next Council of the Immortals during which, every four years, negotiations take place to distribute the adoration of humans between the different pantheons...
Because a new era is coming and there will only be room for one spiritual reference: the Order of the Wings of God.
Nowadays – New York.
Like every morning, I rush to my favorite coffee shop to start my day but, this time, I take my time. Indeed, I only have to be at the airport in three hours and I therefore have plenty of time to enjoy a gourmet croissant which nostalgically reminds me of my years in Paris.
— There you go, Countess, Bertrand, the owner of this French bakery located in the Soho district, greets me as he brings me my order. I added flaked almonds on the side that I roasted myself.
I only returned to New York two years ago, when, as the sole heir to her investment fund, I had to settle my maternal grandmother's estate. Even though she had died four years ago, I couldn't access it until I was twenty-five. I had to start my life a second time in this immense city which is nevertheless not big enough for me to be able to completely escape the weight of my family. Because apart from the fact that my father is the mayor, my maternal branch comes from a prestigious line of French aristocrats who took up the challenge of “the American dream” in the last century.
Hence the nickname Countess that has stuck with me since boarding school. At first, I hated it but, over time, I made it my strength and my trademark. Americans love the culture of this country and it serves my business well. Even if it was to reinforce my image, I am also in love with Paris, and the first thing I did when I arrived here was to look for an establishment that would allow me to have a little piece of it every day. I could have set up my agency in the French Quarter but I preferred Soho for its diversity... and Bertrand's bakery. La French Baguette is adorned with a deliciously art deco decoration: the colored glass mosaic panels representing flower motifs and others reminding me of the restaurant La Coupole  where I worked as a waitress for a while.
The telephone interrupts my memories: I can't help but grimace when I see the name of my correspondent displayed. Sighing inwardly, I resolve to respond, promising myself to expedite the conversation as quickly as possible.
— Hello, Father, I only have a little time before leaving for the airport…
“Forget it, Chloé, and get into the car that’s waiting for you,” he replies dryly. You have twenty minutes to get to Central Park and the traffic is heavy. In the future, I will ask you to never put me in a situation like this again. Understood ?
I don't have time to answer anything as he has already hung up. Furious, I can only note that indeed, a master driver is waiting patiently in front of the front.
What exactly is happening? Central Park, he said?
Flute, this Mickael Angelus must have put pressure on my father. And for it to reach this point, it must be an “oil” of the city that I am not aware of. But true power, as I learned through family tradition, does not always reside where it is visible. On the contrary. So, I made an error of judgment by refusing to comply with the untimely demands of this gentleman who pulled this unpleasant rabbit out of his hat. Do I have time to enjoy my deliciously smelling, hot croissant? Of course not.
Admitting defeat in this first round, I am nevertheless determined to win the bet. This customer wants to play? He will be served. And I climbed up like a cuckoo that I rushed into the luxurious sedan... only to come face to face with a man whose physique would make any other member of the male gender green with envy. How can we be so favored by nature? Tall, slender, with an impeccable mid-length haircut framing a face that could be the illustration of the famous golden ratio  ... With, in addition, a look in the colors of the Caribbean Sea which are only best highlighted by the golden hue of his skin and hair. In short, it's always the most undrinkable ones who have dream physique, pfff.
“Hello, Miss Parker,” he greets me in a melodious voice. I'm glad you were able to free yourself.
That's it, I love polite sarcasm...
“Let’s stop the charade,” I retorted in my sweetest voice. We know full well that you abused your power to impose yourself. At the moment, as I already explained to you yesterday and the day before yesterday both by email and by telephone, I am on leave for two weeks. I could possibly look into your request upon my return, without any guarantee as my schedule is already full. However, I can recommend a colleague who will be delighted to take charge of your file…
— I don't want an obscure colleague for this project that is really close to my heart, he retorts in a quiet tone. I want the top, and I was told it was you, so...
— Do you always get what you want?
His smile and his silence are more eloquent than any answer.
But this arrogant character is not at the end of his surprises. Despite my traditional upbringing, and to the great dismay of my parents, I have a character of tempered steel. It was necessary if I wanted to exist on my own in this merciless world of the New York upper bourgeoisie. Under a social veneer of circumstance, I have always decided about my life. That I chose, a long time ago, to live as I wanted. He's not a hunk who's going to be able to change my mind, despite his deviousness.
— Such expression in your eyes, murmurs the man who stares at me intensely. I could be wrong, but I would say that you are not at all in the right state of mind to interact with a customer?
— I must admit that I don't react well to summons, even less when I'm pushed against the wall. So if you'd like to ask your driver to turn around, mine shouldn't be long.
— But why do you act as if you have the devil on your heels? What are you running from? he asks, intrigued.
His sagacity surprises me more than I would have expected.
Because he is the first in all this time to have understood the real motivation hidden behind my annual vacation. Under the guise of “sun cure during winter”, I actually avoid the end of year festivities with determination. Because when we have experienced Christmas Eve in my family, we can only want to escape it! Far from being a warm family gathering, this period is just an excuse to play the political play that governs our entire lives.
Each guest is handpicked, each sentence spoken is dissected and analyzed carefully, each interaction is designed to get closer to an objective. As a child, I could only endure this hypocritical atmosphere where my parents only spoke to me to display the unblemished image of a united family. So that as soon as the curtain of these grotesque representations fell, I no longer existed in their eyes. To the point of preferring to stay at the boarding school where I was sent from a very young age for most of the holidays. Except when I was summoned and expelled from school following a simple call from my father. To attend a charity gala, inaugurate an art gallery or even serve as a rider for campaign support.
In short, my family has exploited me for their ambitions for as long as I can remember. Until I said “stop” to all their shenanigans and ended up fleeing the country. Thanks to my grandmother who finally decided to help me organize my departure for France in the greatest secrecy... the day before the official announcement of my engagement. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. There was no way that at twenty-one I would chain myself to a man who was only interested in me for my pedigree.
Barry Sotto, a young wolf from Wall Street, was a rising star in the Republican Party to whom my father had “sold” me in exchange for support for his candidacy. He was convinced that we would form the future presidential couple within two decades if we played our respective roles well. Suffice to say that my revolt had undermined his dreams of the White House and that he took revenge by cutting off my supplies as much as he could. But that was without counting my grandmother who finally took pity on me and helped me settle in Paris where I was finally able to follow my personal aspirations. Working as a waitress did not put me off as I was happy to be able to take courses at the Sorbonne  and at the Boulle school  . Because my dream was architecture and interior design.
Which I managed to achieve when the owner of a real estate agency in Marais was kind enough to give me a chance. I was his assistant for three years while creating my agency at the same time. And I had achieved some success by renovating old apartments for wealthy Americans, which had built my reputation. It must be said that the French really do not master foreign languages very well: Mr. Martin was therefore more than delighted to have a multilingual assistant. Eventually, we became friends and it was he who pushed me to highlight my heredity as a marketing asset. He was right because it gave me the confidence and credibility that my young age often took away from me in the eyes of his clients. Suddenly, being the descendant of the Count of Valois anointed me as the high priestess of Parisian architecture.
When I had to return to the United States, Mr. Martin retired and I bought his agency from him in order to keep my Parisian base by putting it under rental management. It was a profitable choice since I now work – like a madman – on both sides of the Atlantic.
Except for two weeks a year.
It's not that complicated to understand, right?
“Your price will be mine,” declares the well-dressed man in front of me.
And there you have it, I can't stand this arrogance who thinks he can buy everything. This mentality has a way of making my hackles stand on end.
“My annual vacation is not for sale,” I retorted contemptuously. All the money in the world can't give you what you think is your due. Sorry to tell you this, but some things are not within your reach. Now let's stop this charade, tell my father you had your date, and leave me alone. Because I have decided that I will not work for you, no offense…
“That's a shame to hear,” he replies in a low voice. Because I cannot be satisfied with this answer. We will therefore have to negotiate until we find an acceptable agreement. If you are indeed in a hurry, it would be better to get started right away, don't you think?
There's really no shortage of air, this one! He quietly tells me that he's going to harass me until I give in? But who exactly does he think he is?
- Since we have arrived at our destination, he continues as the car stops, we might as well go see the project, right? I have inquired about you, and with your reputation, I am sure that you will not be able to resist the challenge that I propose to you…
Where are we ? Totally focused on this miscreant, I didn't pay attention during the journey. Looking through the window, I see… an enormous stone building that I have always dreamed of renovating! It's a mammoth project that I thought about thousands of times when I was alone in my bed before falling asleep at night.
I have tons of ideas, each crazier than the last, and I liked to think that one day, I would be able to buy these buildings to rehabilitate them. Because, for the moment, they are absolutely not exploited correctly or highlighted. Given their prime location in the center of the city and close to a privatizable part of Central Park, this project could bring in millions!
Despite myself, enthusiasm prevails and I find myself at the foot of the main entrance without even thinking twice. If I had known that it was this plot that was targeted, I certainly would not have postponed my vacation, but I would undoubtedly have responded a little more favorably to the request of this self-important man.
Instead, his peremptory tone as a man accustomed to being obeyed at the drop of a hat made me hang up on him when he started to insist heavily.
- What do you think ? he asks with the smug air of someone who thinks he has won the game. You can't possibly pass up this opportunity, can you?
He's also right, and it pains me to admit it: you'd have to be crazy to refuse such an exceptional project.
But impossible to surrender so openly! If he thinks he can win easily, he will be hell to deal with throughout the mission. And that's out of the question.
Even if my father is high up, he will still have a hard time covering up a murder... Which is the only thing stopping me from punching that beautiful face with the victorious smile. Taking a deep breath, I take it upon myself to calm myself from both the nervousness and the excitement.
“Let’s start from the beginning,” I forced myself to say calmly. We probably got off on the wrong foot. What exactly do you want? Why such haste? And who recommended me to you for you to be so insistent?
Because if this is another sneaky move by my family with I don't know what purpose, I will let the matter go, whether it is of the century or not. But his answer reassures me: Molly. One of the few people I consider a friend. And I don't doubt her intentions: there is no one more honest than her.
However, my relief only lasts a moment because this unbearable man wants me to make him an offer for complete rehabilitation for... in three days! Which I have to present at a Christmas celebration with his friends! Offering me my dream and then making a completely absurd request so that I realize that I will never be able to have it...
But he has completely lost his mind, my word!
 The one that would have been used during the crucifixion of Christ
 Famous brewery as one of the oldest in Paris.
 Renowned for exemplifying perfection.
 Faculty of Paris.
 Prestigious school in the restoration of antique furniture.