In the Shadow of Death, Chapter Two

In The Shadow

 

Go to Prologue, Ch. 1

TRIGGER WARNING:  Child death. And Scarlett is a mess in these first few chapters.

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“I’m afraid she doesn’t have much time left.”

The doctor spoke in hushed tones to the couple standing in the corridor.  “There just isn’t anything else we can do for her.  I’m sorry.”  He walked away in a flurry of his white coat, not pausing to offer any comfort or field any difficult questions.  The couple stood there a moment, unable to process what the doctor had said.  For a moment they denied it, going through each syllable of the practiced speech they’d been given, but after a few minutes, the harsh reality sank in.  The woman broke down, burying her head in the folds of her husband’s sweater.  He cradled her in his arms as best he could, but he was having his own crisis of grief.  Silent, wrenching sobs rolled over them as they held onto one another.  The angel could tell what they were thinking.  That they had to pull themselves together for the sake of their child.  If they faced her this way, she would be frightened.  Should they tell her the truth or continue to feed her false hope?  She’d been through so much already.  So much pain.  The little girl had been diagnosed with cancer at age five and had fought it long and hard.  Chemotherapy, radiation, surgery—the doctors had tried everything, but to no avail.  Every time they managed to beat down the disease, it had returned someplace else with an aggressive fervor.  It began in her brain and then jumped the superhighway of her bloodstream to infect her bones and organs.  Now the young girl lay in a sterile, hospital bed, waiting to be released from the prison of her inadequate body.

The angel had seen it so many times.

“We have to tell her, John,” the woman sobbed, wiping her eyes against her husband’s shoulder.  “We can’t just let her…” Her voice trailed off in a torrent of sobs.  She couldn’t bring herself to utter the solemn truth.

“She’s just a little girl, Anna,” he sobbed.  “How are you supposed to tell a little girl that she’s going to die?”

The angel looked away from them, silvery tears wetting his cheeks.  They could not see him.  No one could unless he willed it and for a moment he considered going to them and offering some bit of comfort.  But something told him that it would only seem to them like a cruel joke and he did not wish to cause them more pain.

He drifted into the room where the child lay.  She listened to her parents in the hall just outside and turned her face to the pillow.  The little girl looked so frail, her pale skin seeming to cling to her bones like a wet blouse.  Her head was shorn, only a smattering of ginger-colored fuzz gave her any coloring at all.  Her parents were worried for nothing.  This child knew that she was dying and when she saw the angel standing in the corner, she looked almost relieved.

“Are you an angel?” she asked, her voice sounding like the crackling of autumn leaves.

“Yes,” he replied, walking toward her slowly.

“You don’t look like an angel,” she said, staring at him with a skepticism that only a child can accomplish.  “I thought they wore white robes and had halos.  You look more like… a rock star.  Where are your wings?”

The angel smiled.  “Want to see my wings, do you?” He stepped into the dim light afforded by the small fluorescent over her bed.  He closed his eyes and allowed his wings to appear.  Shimmery and skeletal, they appeared at his back looking like silver smoke that stretched down to the floor.  “There.  Now do you believe me?”

“They don’t look right.  I always thought they’d be white and feathery.  Like a bird’s,” she whispered.  “Yours look more like batwings.”

“Are you afraid of me?”

The child looked thoughtful for a moment before shaking her head.  “You’re here because I’m going to die.”

The angel hesitated before whispering his answer.  “I am.”

“I knew it.”  She did not sound afraid.  Her voice was even and he detected no trembling or sadness.   There was a small stuffed dog on the bed beside her.  She picked it up and held it to her chest weakly, worrying the corner of its floppy ear with her fingertips.  After several minutes of silence she looked up at the angel. “Will it hurt?”

He sat down on the edge of her bed and took her hand.  “Not at all.  It’s like going to sleep.”  She sat up a little, reaching out for him. She ran the fingers of her free hand over his arm and shoulder, then touched his face.

“You feel like a regular person.”

“What did you expect?” he chuckled.

“I guess I thought an angel would be like touching fog.  Kind of cold and misty.”  She smiled a little and sat back.  He started to release her hand but she held it firm, lacing her tiny, childish fingers through his.  “What will happen to me… you know… after?  Will I go to Heaven like my mom and dad say?”

“I don’t know,” he replied.  “I just deliver the souls.”

The little girl looked down at her toy again, the corners of her mouth turned up into a slight grin.  “What kind of angel are you?  Aren’t you supposed to know that stuff?”

The angel returned her smile, laughter playing in the corners of his eyes.  “Everyone has a choice.  And everyone has to walk down a different path.  I can only promise you that there is something beyond.”  Taking her hand in both of his, he kissed it gently and gave it a gentle squeeze.  “You have nothing to fear, little one.  This is merely a stop on your journey.”

“Like on the train?”

He grinned.  “Exactly.”  Reaching out, he brushed his fingertips over her brow.  “You have greater destinations ahead of you.”

The door behind him creaked open and a blade of light cut the dark room in two.  The girl’s parents crept in and immediately the angel felt her tense.  “Will you stay with me?” she asked.  “I’m afraid.”

“I promise.”  His heart broke for the child.  For every child whose soul he had collected.  His empathy was both a blessing and a curse.

The girl smiled at her parents as they approached the bed.  “Hello, mommy.”  She cast a glance at the angel, wondering if she should explain his presence.

“Don’t worry,” he whispered.  “They can’t see or hear me.”  She nodded and tried to smile as her parents sat by her.

“How are you, sweetie?” the girl’s mother asked, passing through the image of the angel.  He winked at the child and dissipated in a wisp of smoke before reappearing by her other side.  “Feeling better?”

“A little bit,” she said, trying to sit up a little.  “The nurse gave me some medicine.”

The angel could hear the woman’s thoughts.  The nurse had given the child morphine.  Something to make her comfortable so she wouldn’t be afraid.  “That’s…” she stammered.  She trailed off in a new tempest of sobbing, hiding her face in her hands as her husband put a protective hand on the back of her neck.

Her father forced a nervous smile at the little girl.  “That’s real good, honey.”

After several moments the girl touched her mother’s hand.  “It’s okay, mommy.”  She looked back over her shoulder at the angel as he stood over her.  “It doesn’t hurt anymore.”

She smiled and looked over her shoulder at the angel.  “I’m ready.”

****

“Sir!  Can you help…” Scarlett called to a man wearing an airline uniform as she came off of the concourse.  He either ignored her or didn’t hear because he barreled past as if she were invisible.  “…me?”  So far this trip had been one disaster after another.  Her leisurely evening flight had quickly turned into a red eye when all the flights got grounded due to a terrible storm that had blown up and left Charlotte, North Carolina in a dark haze of rain and thunderheads.  Then the first airline douchebag had given her static about everything in her carry on.  Next, her non-stop first class ticket to London had turned into a coach seat to New York where she then had a five hour layover before hooking up with an early morning flight to London. The final insult was when the screaming kid behind her had kicked the back of her chair for the entire eight hours of the flight. Now here she was, jonesing bad for a Xanax and completely lost.  According to the itinerary that David had handed her on the way out, she was supposed to be meeting Constantine that evening for an early dinner.  Looking down at her watch she realized that she had precious little time to make herself look human before that.  Now if only someone could help her find the baggage claim.

“Excuse me, Miss.”  A deep, accented voice from behind startled her out of her reverie.

“Oh my God… you scared me,” Scarlett replied, clutching her chest.  She turned to see an older gentleman looking at her expectantly.  He did not smile, but his gray eyes were kind.

“Do forgive me, but are you Scarlett Munro?”

“Yes.”

“Oh good. I was afraid I’d have to wander the airport looking for you.  Mr. Constantine sent me to retrieve you.”

Scarlett nodded, her mouth slightly ajar.  “Well that’s very nice of him, but unnecessary.  I could have called a taxi.”  By the looks of the old man, she wasn’t sure he should be driving around all over town.  “I hate to put you to any trouble.”

“It’s no trouble, Miss Munro.”  He offered his hand, “My name is Geoffrey.  I’m Mr. Constantine’s valet.”

She took his hand, shaking it politely.  “I didn’t realize anyone really had those,” she chuckled.  “But how did Mr. Constantine know?  I had some trouble en route.”

“Yes, the airline called.  Mr. Constantine wanted to be sure that you made it into town without incident.  He’s expecting you for dinner promptly at six.”  With a flick of his wrist, the older man hailed an airport officer who would take them to the baggage claim.

Everything seemed to be a blur as Geoffrey led her through the crowded baggage claim.  He moved quickly for a man of his age and before long Scarlett was panting trying to keep up.  Her head ached and she knew that the withdrawals were coming.  She hoped that Geoffrey could get her to the hotel before they started in earnest.  She stood there beside the old man, not speaking but tapping her foot impatiently as she waited for her bags to come sliding down the conveyor belt.  When she saw them, she reached down to pick them up, but Geoffrey beat her to it.  “I’ll get those,” she protested.

“No need,” he replied cheerfully.  “I don’t mind.  Shall we?”  He looked at her with an expectant grin and turned toward the door that would take them to the street out front.  A tall woman dressed in a black uniform met them on the sidewalk and took the baggage from Geoffrey.  She efficiently heaved the cases into the trunk of a slick, black Mercedes before coming around and opening the door for them.  “Thank you, Miss Summers,” Geoffrey nodded to the chauffeur, gesturing for Scarlett to get in first.  “I believe Miss Munro is staying at The Garden.”

Scarlett watched the people on the street whiz by as they passed.  She’d never been to London before and from what she could see so far it was unremarkable.   Gray spires climbed into the gray sky overhead.  The sidewalks were swarming with people and cars zipped this way and that, honking their high-pitched horns in a maddening cadence.  Not much different than other large cities she’d been to.  Of course her perception was clouded by the onset of a migraine moving in behind her eyes and the shaking of her hands.  Until yesterday morning she’d been living in a haze of alcohol and prescription medication.  Having that taken away was starting to take its toll.

“Are you alright, Miss Munro?” Geoffrey asked, patting her hand with a concerned look in his eye.

“I’m fine, Geoffrey. Just a little jet-lagged I suppose.”  She tried to smile, but a wave of nausea rolled over her and she had to lean against the cool window.

After what seemed an eternity, the car pulled up to the curb outside her hotel.  She stepped out of the car, leaning heavily on the old man, and looked up at the hulk of a building before her. It had begun to rain, just a light mist that made everything sticky, so she hurried up the steps and allowed herself to be ushered inside.  Geoffrey followed behind, waving at a porter to grab the bags.  Scarlett approached the counter, gave her name as David had instructed and in minutes was on her way up to the twentieth floor in the elevator.  “Thank you for walking me up, Geoffrey.  I didn’t want to keep you all afternoon.  I’m sure that you’re quite busy.”

“Nonsense, Mr. Constantine wanted to be sure you were settled to your satisfaction.  Please feel free to call on me for any of your needs during your stay in London, Miss Munro.”

“Thank you, Geoffrey, but you should call me Scarlett.”  Her words were cut off as a pain stabbed behind her eye, so sharp that she gasped aloud just as the doors opened.  The older man took the keycard from her hand and led her down the corridor to a heavy oak door at the end of the hall.  He unlocked it easily and had she not been doubled over in pain, Scarlett would have laughed.  She always had to try keycards several times before they would allow entry.  As soon as they entered, Scarlett sank to the end of the bed, holding her forehead, as Geoffrey tipped the porter.  She could hear him moving around the room and for a moment she thought that perhaps Constantine had sent him to babysit her.  “You don’t have to…” she started, opening her eyes to see him standing over her and holding out a glass of water and two pills.

“Some aspirin for your head.”  He waited until she had swallowed the medicine and then started out the door.  “Mr. Constantine will meet you in the lounge downstairs promptly at 6.”

As soon as he was gone, Scarlett stared around the room.  This was truly the most luxurious place she’d ever been.  Though she’d been able to support herself with her art for some time now, she wasn’t what you’d call posh.  The room wasn’t a penthouse but enormous would be an understatement.  An entire wall was nothing but glass looking out over a panoramic view of the city.  It was cloudy and wet, but she imagined that one could see all the way to the Thames on a clear day.  The dark, hardwood floors were covered with lush rugs and the leather couch seemed to invite you into its depths.  Then there was the bed.  She sat on the end of it and giggled when she realized that her feet dangled off the end.  Everything here was too big, too magnificent… just too much.  If this was the type of place her would-be patron preferred, Scarlett wasn’t sure she’d fit in.

“Who is this guy, anyway?” she thought, kicking off her shoes and scooting back against the headboard.  Her purse had been tossed carelessly onto the bed beside her and she could see a manila envelope peeking out.  She pulled it out and opened it up, dumping the contents onto her lap.  “Hmmm… a dossier.  How very official, David,” she murmured to herself, flipping through the stapled booklet of printouts.  On top was a photograph of Raze Constantine, somewhat smudged because of the copier, but the divine symmetry of his features was apparent.  His hair was dark, trimmed neatly but styled with purposeful disorder.  His eyes weren’t really blue, but more of a transparent amber with flecks of gold like autumn leaves in the light.  Though they sparkled with youth, tiny lines at the corners revealed that he was no boy, but rather a grown, thoughtful, man.  Most men of his stature would always appear in a business suit with a crisp white shirt and stiffly knotted tie, but this particular picture showed him wearing a black dress shirt open at the neck.  Scarlett’s fingers traced over his image.  Something about him wasn’t quite right.  Something nudged at the back of her mind but she couldn’t put her finger on it.  He was familiar, yet they had never met.  The only reason she knew of him at all was the occasional media coverage of some event sponsored by RazCon Technologies.   Constantine was known to be somewhat of a high society hermit, only venturing out into the populace when absolutely necessary.

“Who are you, Mr. Constantine?” Scarlett flipped through the biography and found it to be shockingly incomplete.  Nothing about his background, but mostly press releases about RazCon.  “RazCon Technologies burst onto the entrepreneurial scene with the birth of the Internet.  At first a small microchip company, they have expanded their business to include software innovations that benefit nearly every growing industry in the western world.  From CGI effects to medical equipment, RazCon is the leader in cutting edge technology for the modern world.”  The dossier went on to enumerate Constantine’s many achievements, including being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his work building state-of-the-art schools in Africa.  In one village, he actually had a power plant built so that the school would have a power grid that could handle the servers needed to go with the computers, tablets, learning software and phone lines that would be installed in the school.  Unlike most of the other rich people you hear about, Constantine had actually gone into the villages to hammer nails and lay bricks.  There was even a photograph of him standing in the middle of an empty classroom, one small child on his hip and another holding his hand.  “No one can be this perfect,” she said with a cynical sigh.  She shoved the information back into the envelope and tossed it aside, stealing a glance at the clock by the bed.  Its angry red numbers glowed “4:00.”

“Two hours.  That should give me enough time to take a short nap,” she murmured, asleep before she rolled over.

****

The staircase was narrow, so narrow she could barely breathe from the closeness of the air.  Deep breaths filled her aching chest with his scent.  Mmmm… she could taste him on her tongue already and they hadn’t even reached the top.  With a firm hand he led her, never speaking, never stopping, toward the precipice.  Looking down over the rail she could see how far they’d come and her heart pounded with exhilarating terror.  For a moment she almost pulled away and insisted they go back down, but the words died in her throat.  He must have sensed her apprehension, because he pulled her closer to him, holding her tightly around the waist as they ascended the stairs that spiraled ever higher.

Finally, they reached a small landing.  She felt as if she was teetering on the edge of something, but she could feel his arm, strong and sure at her back.  Darkness surrounded them on all sides and a heavy mist curled around their feet.  Looking down, there was only nothingness now below them, yet something held them in place.  Suddenly he dropped her hand and began to move away into the mist.  A light shone down on him from above, highlighting the careless waves of raven curls that fell over his brow and casting his body in lines of light and shadow.  His body was nude, save for the strange markings that snaked down each arm and across his back and shoulders.  She could not pull her gaze away, taking in the pale skin and complicated structure of bone and sinew that moved beneath.

“Scarlett,” he whispered, turning back and imploring her to follow.  He held out his hand, but she was afraid to move.  Somehow she knew that if she took one more step forward that she would plunge into the abyss, falling forever into a sea of black and stars.  “Do not be afraid,” he said, his hand still offered.  She could feel his pull like an invisible string, tugging her closer and bending her will.  Breathing in deep, she took a step forward.  To her surprise there was no stumble, no fall from the ledge, only her hand in his.  As she stepped into his light she noticed that she was also naked, but she was not chilled and did not tremble with embarrassment as he stared, pacing around her slowly.  Sidling up behind, he wound his arm around her waist, pulling her against him forcefully.  Her inky black hair fell over one shoulder and he pushed it aside, exposing the pearlescent flesh hiding beneath.  Gently he kissed it, his lips so warm that his feathery kisses burned like the sudden sting of hot wax dripped slowly over the skin.  His hands were in her hair, tangling it in his fingertips and tugging it away from the back of her neck, mouth and tongue brushing gently over it.  She shivered, the tiny hairs standing up.  He pulled away and touched the base of her head with the tip of his finger.  A quicksilver shock ran down her spine, first hot then cold as ice.  Scarlett’s eyes widened as she saw the blue markings begin to appear at her shoulders and grow like a network of vines down her torso, circling her breasts.  His fingers followed them, tracing their progress as they spiraled downward, marking her body with a peculiar tattoo.

“You’re mine, Scarlett,” he rasped, breathing moist against her ear. “Body and soul.”

His voice was a powerful tonic, intoxicating her instantly and she swooned into his embrace.  With an effortless movement, he swept her into his arms.  She gave a sigh when his mouth covered hers, stealing her breath.  For a moment she could feel an odd sort of suction, drawing the air from her lungs like one might inhale cigarette smoke.  As it left her body she felt relieved.  A sense of calm came with an insatiable lust.  He tried to pull away, but she held him close, keeping her mouth pressed to his.  Their kiss deepened and she could feel his tongue forcing its way between her lips, claiming her mouth for his.  Closing her eyes she felt weightless as he lay her down.  His hands caressed every inch of her body, sliding slowly over the hills and valleys of her torso.  Pausing at her breast, his fingertips circled each nipple lightly until she was mewling with desire.  As the centers puckered, they swelled, almost reaching out for his warmth.  He was quick to oblige, taking each one into his mouth and suckling the sensitive skin against his teeth.  Scarlett cradled his head to her chest, stroking his hair and praying silently that he would continue.

She whimpered when he pulled back, his warmth leaving her body.  When he stared down at her, she was nervous.  The intensity of his gray eyes at once made her feel as if he could see straight into her soul.  Every imperfection and twist of her dark imagination was exposed.  He must have sensed her apprehension because he smiled warmly and bent over to kiss her lips.  “You must not fear me, Scarlett,” he said.  And she believed him.

She lay beneath him, not sure she should move.  He knelt between her thighs and pulled her closer so that she could feel his body flush against hers.  His cock was hard, poised at her entrance and she was impatient to feel him moving inside of her.  With a small whimper, she arched against him, pleading with him to give in.  “I need you,” she said, her voice nearly inaudible.  “Bind my soul to yours.”  With a firm hand under her thigh, he pulled one leg over his hip, laying her open before him.  The petals of her sex flushed with heat and she could feel the slick drops of her wetness sliding down between her thighs.  For a moment he was still, the only sound their heavy breathing.  And then he was inside, his cock driving into her fully.  She gasped with exquisite pain, a gentle throbbing that began deep inside her sex and radiated outward.  He pulled back slowly, almost letting his member slip from her womb, but stopping at the last moment before thrusting forward with a savage growl.  Scarlett cried out, the muscles deep within her sex clenching in a desperate attempt to hold him inside.  For a moment he allowed it, teasing her with tiny, shallow strokes.  Raising up a little, she tried to wrap her arms around his neck, but he stopped her, grabbing her wrists.  With a violent thrust forward, he pinned her wrists down and began pounding into her.  Scarlett wanted to moan but she couldn’t catch her breath. All she could do was hang in his grasp, letting him use her for as long as he liked.  In the darkness above him she could see the spectral wings take shape, enveloping them in the cool embrace of death.

“Please…” she sighed, her words getting lost in his throat as he pulled her up against him.  “Take my soul.”

****

Scarlett woke with a start, still gasping from the fevered dream.  There was a heaviness that had settled in her center and her heart pounded in her chest.  Her sex was warm and sensitive, her clothes feeling like sandpaper.  Never in recent memory had she been so turned on, so ready for release. Her fingers tingled and she wanted to touch herself but as she turned her head, the clock delivered a sharp slap of reality.  5:45. “Fuck.”

 

In the Shadow of Death: Prologue

In The Shadow

In the process of trying to be better about my blog, I’ve decided to start a serial novel that is exclusive to the blog. Just for you, my faithful readers. I hope it’s as entertaining for you guys to read as it is for me writing it. Now, fair warning— this is NOT, I repeat, NOT a final draft. At some point in the future, I’ll be doing a full edit and collecting it into a single volume for publication. But I hope it will be fun for you anyway!

WARNING:  There is drug use in this prologue.

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I was first visited by the angel shortly after my twenty-first birthday. At first I’d thought he was just a wisp of my cigarette smoke, swirling through the room like the rest of the phantoms that haunted me in the alcohol haze. Once a princess, then spoiled and fallen, I had given up on living so young. Drowning my guilt and sorrow in a bottle of wine before the first twinges of puberty. He came closer and his ethereal body lacked substance. I reached out to touch him, but he faded. Only the cool breath of wind left in his wake, but the silhouette of his iron colored eyes remained. Every time I closed my eyes they were there until I began to believe in his reality. I rose from the couch, frantic as I looked around, wanting to see him again.

“Did you see him?” I asked, my voice breathless and wanting.

“Who?” some homely girl answered, sounding nearly asleep. I think her name was June.

“The man,” was all I could muster, pointing into the darkness. There was nothing there of course. Only a dingy little room littered with trash and human wreckage. We were all young and soulless, taking in reefer, opium, cocaine—anything that made us feel alive. Poor little rich kids, desperately afraid of not being misunderstood, we took comfort in our emptiness.

My secrets were much deeper.

My heart sank as I realized that he was only a hallucination, conjured by the mix of morphine and wine. “Come to the bedroom, Scarlett,” a voice whispered and my grief was so all-consuming that I just took his hand and followed him.

“Jace, that’s your name, right?” I slurred, watching him with detached indifference when he stood over me disrobing. His skin was pale, his frame so thin and frail. “You’re pretty,” I chuckled.

“Yeah,” he grunted, pushing his jeans down, his erect penis popping out and pointing at me like an icepick. When I saw it I laughed. I couldn’t help it. I had never seen one up close before and it seemed to be this strange being with a consciousness of its own. When I saw his face melt with humiliation, it only made me laugh harder. “See something funny?” he said, his voice crackling with feigned severity.

“No,” I replied, biting the inside of my lip to stifle more laughter.

His expression softened and he climbed into the messy bed on which I lay. It was little more than a mattress on the floor, stained and tattered with a few blankets and pillows tossed on top. His curly hair was dark and messy, falling over his beady eyes. He thought it made him look mysterious, but it was really just to hide the beaky nose in the middle of his face. “Just relax, baby,” he said. “Let’s get you out of these clothes.” I started to hesitate, shaking my head, dazzled by the way the lights seemed to shiver with every movement. And then he showed me the syringe. My eyes locked on it, wanting the anesthetic relaxation. “But don’t you want to try some of this?”

Jace held it up in front of me, just out of reach so that I had to sit up, crawling towards him as he beckoned me forward. Just as I reached him, he put his arm around my waist, pulling me into him. I could feel his cock, hard between my legs when he kissed me. But all I wanted was the blissful retreat he held poised between his fingertips. His tongue sneaked between my lips, probing clumsily. He tasted of beer and weed. I wrinkled my nose, pulling back a bit. “How about we try some of that,” I whispered. He smiled and obliged me, pulling my arm straight and tapping the vein with his fingertips. My heart beat fast in my chest. I had never done anything so hardcore and I was almost afraid, but at the same time fascinated. I turned my eyes away as he slipped the needle under my skin.

At first it was cold, then hot. So hot it burned as the drug rushed through my veins, leaving a numb sort of bliss in its wake. I sighed, relaxing against Jace. My body was limp as he undressed me, his grin fading in and out. The cold air rushed in as my body was exposed, the nipples that capped each breast bristling and swelling uncomfortably. As I watched him, he moved in slow motion, his hands running over the sharp angles of my ribcage. I closed my eyes, feeling disconnected from my body and hovering just above. I just lay there, completely unaware, until I saw him again. The iron eyes of the angel seemed to materialize before me, just out of Jace’s line of vision. I picked my head up, willing my eyes to focus.

“Where you goin’, baby?” Jace hissed, pawing at my breast.

“Do you see him?” I whispered, pointing over his shoulder and shifting out of his grasp. The angel materialized, perched on an empty shelf behind Jace, his body formed in a shimmer of smoke from the cigarette poised between his fingertips. I squinted, not believing what I was seeing. He didn’t look like any angel I’d ever seen before. Not that I’d seen all that many, but I was pretty sure none of them wore black denim and leather. He stared at me with a bit of indifference and then looked away, taking another draw on his cigarette and blowing the smoke in a smoke ring that circled around his skeletal wings.

“What are you talking about?” Jace said, heaving an exasperated sigh and looking over his shoulder. “I don’t see anything.”

The angel offered a smug grin and flicked the dying ember to the floor where both the flame and his form disappeared. “He was there…” I whispered, the drugs working themselves through my system and pulling me farther into their blurry embrace.

“Just relax, girl… nobody’s around to see,” Jace said. I could feel his hands everywhere, sliding over my thighs and dipping between them to grope sloppily at my sex. Poor thing. He was trying to arouse me, but I barely even felt him. My body could only respond to the random flashes of light and sensation that managed to break through the fog. “Goddamn, girl. You feel good.” His voice sounded so far away. I was drifting further into darkness, feeling my body slipping away faster and faster. Oddly enough I didn’t care. I was floating high above, looking down. Maybe if I flew high enough I could touch the dark angel.

I hovered there, for how long I couldn’t fathom, until I heard Jace’s voice again. He was screaming. I looked down and he was crouched over me. He pulled my body to a sitting position, shaking me and slapping at my face. “Wake up, Scarlett!” he shouted, still sounding so small. His voice tickled lightly at my ear, but I paid it no mind. I was becoming intoxicated with the freedom that had suddenly been thrust upon me.

“Turn back.” A low voice caressed my senses and I knew it was him. The dark angel from my hallucination. Only he wasn’t a hallucination. He couldn’t be. Now as I lay there on the edge of consciousness I could feel the warm humidity of his breath on my neck. I reached out for him, but my arms were so heavy. I blinked my eyes slowly and saw Jace run from the room. He screamed for help, but he would be too late. My life was slipping from my veins. In another moment it would be gone. I closed my eyes, floundering between consciousness and oblivion. I could hear my heart beating, the slow cadence beginning to fade along with the shallow breath that pushed out of my lungs. I couldn’t breathe, but I chose not to fight. I wanted to die. Death would be a sweet release from all the pain of living.

“Open your eyes,” the angel commanded, his voice sharp, almost angry. I struggled to open them, staring sightlessly into amber pools of fire. “I will not take you,” he whispered, then covered my mouth with his own. I could feel his lips, powerful but gentle, moving against mine, teasing them open with gentle sweeps of his tongue. I resisted, but he was relentless and finally I felt his fingers grip my jaw, holding my mouth open as he breathed into me. My soul began to descend, floating back to my body with a dizzying rush. I gasped, my lungs swelling with the precious life force, given back to me by the angel. My heart began to pound, beating so hard in my chest that I wanted to cry with the dull ache. “Stay with me,” he beckoned, holding me close for another moment. And then he was gone.

I nearly died that night, just after my twenty-first birthday. No doctor could explain how an overdose of morphine and heroin had just disappeared from my blood. They wrote it off as a seizure, watched me overnight and sent me back to the atrocity that was my reality.

Every night I prayed for the return of my savior, but my prayers fell on the deaf ears of my drunken mother, or became lost in the groans and growls of my stepfather as he raped me again and again. Yes, my secrets were much deeper.

After a time his memory faded until I began to believe that my angel was no more than a hallucination. It was easier than the truth.

I was forsaken. The angel was gone and I never saw him again.

NEW RELEASE!! Strange Bedfellows: Dead Sexy

BehindTheRedDoor_72dpi

Click me to buy!

Good afternoon, friends!  I’m so happy to be here pimping my own book for a change.  I know, it doesn’t happen often.  I’ll try not to let it go to my head.  Anyway, you know how I’ve been writing that series for Mocha Memoirs Press, Strange Bedfellows?  Well, I finally managed to finish the third installment!  Cali and sexy vampires Andre and Leo are up to more shenanigans in this one.  There’s a walk through Hell, a zombie speed dating party and evil attack spiders with baby faces.  A new character is also introduced, Seth, a fallen angel that is in desperate need of Cali’s help to save his soul.  It was a total surprise to me when he showed up, but my muse seems to want to be in everything these days (ahem… paging #BenedictCumberbatch).  Anyway, here’s a little excerpt since y’all are my friends…

****

“Hello,” she said softly.  Her voice wavered a little but strangely she found that she wasn’t afraid.  Not like before.  Perhaps she was bewitched, but her mind was quiet.  “Who’s there?”  No one spoke, but she could feel the warmth of a body close by.  She knew he was male, she could smell him.  A light scent of leather, cool mint and a light musk permeated the air and Cali couldn’t help but shiver.  She wanted him to come closer, but she was afraid to ask.  She should be frightened.  Panicking that some stranger was watching her, taking in every naked inch of her flesh, but she wasn’t.  She wanted him to look and in fact, could feel herself arching slightly and thrusting her breasts into view.  “Is it you, Necromancer?” she hissed.  “Standing there in the dark, wanting me but afraid to touch?  I can smell you, you know.  The scent of your desire is pungent, Sir.”  Cali inhaled deeply, a seductive smile crossing her ruby lips as she took in the masculine aroma.  She shuddered, her body responding almost involuntarily.  He hadn’t even touched her and already she could feel the dewy pearls of wetness forming at her center.  “Has it been so long? So long since you felt the touch of a warm, living body that hasn’t been poisoned by your obsession?”

Her visitor still did not speak, but she could feel him coming closer.  The bed bounced lightly as he sat down beside her, still just staring.  She could hear him breathe, slow and even, trying to hide any note of his own arousal, but it was too practiced.  Cali grinned, knowing that she was having some effect.  The stranger reached down, his arm lightly touching hers as he leaned forward.  This time Cali did gasp, as the sound she heard at first was unrecognizable.  Then it dawned on her that there was water being poured from some vessel into a bowl.  A heavy, liquid sound that was just beside her ear.  She would have expected it to be cold, but she could feel some kind of warmth emanating from whatever basin the liquid was being poured into.  The pouring ended in a slow dripping and the basin was brought across and laid by her side on the bed.  She could hear it sloshing around and she tried not to move.  If she spilled the contents, her strange host might be angry and in her current predicament, that could be exceptionally bad.

The light scent of lavender and cherry bark wafted through the room on a still breeze.  Slow dripping, warm water over hot flesh.  Cali gasped as the drops hit one by one across her chest.  Almost deliberately they beaded just over the curve of each breast and then slid down lazily to heavenly valleys below her sternum.  A single bead alighted on the rose point of each nipple.  They hardened immediately, as if reaching out for the source of the wet heat.  Cali wanted to moan, but she bit down on her lip hard enough to bring blood, afraid that if she made a sound that this delicious sensation would end.  Whoever was with her had perfect control and knew just how high to place the drops so that the warm, scented liquid kissed each erogenous zone as he continued this gradual, sweet Chinese water torture.  A dotted path led the way down the curve of her belly to the subtle dip of her navel.  Her captor dribbled more of the warm water into the tiny cup until it spilled over and began to gently flow down the slope and into the nest of fine, downy curls that hid her femininity.  This time she gasped. She couldn’t help it.  She pulled at her bonds, lost in the delayed pleasure and frantic desire.  “Touch me,” she rasped, but still he did not speak.  Only the sound of the basin being moved aside would answer her command.

****

Wasn’t that just hotter than summer in Calcutta?  Yeah, I thought so too.  So now, here’s the good news— if you haven’t read the first two stories, you can get them separately for #99cents on Kindle until July 20th.  BUT, to get all three stories, including the newest installment, “Dead Sexy,” you can get all three collected for just $4.99!  The collection is also available in #paperback for those of you that want something to take on the beach.  Don’t forget to read, review, tweet and share with your friends!  That’s right… pimp it!!

Here’s that link again…  http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Bedfellows-Behind-Red-Door/dp/1500407895/ref=la_B009QU3UD4_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405618183&sr=1-2

SEXCERPT Time– Hellsong by Alexandra Christian

Yes, I did spell that correctly.  Time for a little sexy excerpt (see what I did there?) from my #newrelease from #EllorasCave!  Uggh… I hate hashtags, but some genius computer person thinks they’re necessary.  Whatever.  Here’s a sexy little excerpt from Hellsong.  I do believe in taking a test drive before you buy the car…

**********

Hellsong_EC

She shuddered, feeling dizzy at the warmth of his breath. She could feel his eyelashes against her cheek and she turned her head slightly. He took this as an invitation and brushed his parted lips against her temple, kissing her eyes, then the crest of her cheek and down the narrow path of bone to her lips. She couldn’t help herself from opening her mouth to him, letting his tongue delve inside to play against her teeth.

She sank deeper into his embrace, arching her body upward to offer more of her mouth to his fevered kiss. His arms wrapped around her tighter, his hands resting on the corners of her hips, then drifting lower to the rounded flesh of her bottom. She groaned softly when he squeezed, using the leverage to press her body tighter against his. “What are you?” she whispered against his lips.

“You know what I am,” he growled, forcing her against the window frame, pinning her between the rough wood and his body.

“This can’t be real,” she gasped as his mouth found the hollow of her throat.

“Say it,” he ordered, his voice gravelly with arousal. He twisted his fingertips into her hair, pulling her head back to bite at the overheated flesh. “I need to hear you say it.”

“Angel,” she whimpered, getting lost in the feel of his mouth traveling over the contours of her collarbone and shoulders. “Angel,” she repeated in a breathless whisper. “You must be…” She groaned, cradling his head against her chest. His hair slipped through her fingertips like late summer corn silk and she twisted the strands around her fingers.

Saraqael smiled in a way that conveyed utter relief as he fell to his knees before her. He rested his hands on either side of her waist, his thumbs digging in to the fleshy hips, keeping her still above him. The sloppy, button-down shirt she wore was open, showing a hint of the concave of her belly just over the waistband of her jeans. He used the tip of his nose to open the folds and press his lips to her skin. Her breath caught in her throat as she tried to stifle the moan when his tongue delved into the hollow of her navel suggestively. “Fallen?” she asked through clenched teeth.

“Not yet, but I’m sure you’ll work harder, Daemon. I used to be the Archangel Uriel,” he whispered, brushing his generous lips over the curves of her hips. “And when I was sent to Earth, I became the Grigori.” He watched her reactions, taking in each nuance as his fingertips trilled over her skin—higher and higher the crept. Her breath came in short gasps, her skin prickling at his touch. When his fingers reached the smooth satin of her bra, she felt a jolt of fire between her legs. And when his palm found the center, she feared that the flames would devour her.

“Perhaps it is you who is the demon,” she groaned.

He smiled and ran his hand over her sternum. “Perhaps I’m seducing you for my own sport.”

“Not very angelic, Grigori.”

He did not respond but straightened to his full kneeling height. With a careless gesture, he pulled the shirt open, letting the buttons fly carelessly. The cool night air from the window made goose bumps pop out all over, pulling her skin taut. Before she had time to complain about it, the warmth oozed over her body as his hands found their way under the satin barrier covering her breasts. His rough, calloused palm scratched against her nipple, making it harden immediately. She whimpered with the sudden heaviness and arched her body toward his.

*************

Damn.  I love that Saraqael.  He’s just… rawwrrr… He’s one of three “men” in that book that are just… rawwrr.  Have I mentioned I like men?  A lot?

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NEW RELEASE DAY!! Hellsong is LIVE!

Hello kittens!  It’s my release day and I’ve had way too much coffee already.  So I thought I’d start by posting a little blurb about Hellsong, just to give you a taste of my madness.  There’s also a link to the Ellora’s Cave store AND the Hellsong_ECAmazon page so that you can go forth and purchase, share or just LIKE if you’re short of funds and time.  Maybe later I’ll even post a picture of myself in a dog collar suckin’ a riding crop…

*****

Theo is a child of the storm, found wandering after the hurricane that devastated New Orleans, with no memory of her past. She’s made a quiet, contented existence for herself. But all that changes when two very different but equally compelling men come into her life.

Dantalion and Saraqael both want her body, and her soul. But there’s a much greater prize at stake. If she chooses right, she’ll find Heaven in the arms of an angel. If she chooses wrong, all Hell will be let loose on Earth.

A Romantica® horror erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave 

Buy Links:

Ellora’s Cave:  http://www.ellorascave.com/hellsong.html

Amazon Kindle:  http://www.amazon.com/Hellsong-Alexandra-Christian-ebook/dp/B00J2XAC2C/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395160055&sr=1-3&keywords=Hellsong

#newrelease #novel #erotic #romance #paranormal #angels #demons

Sunday Smut…

Available NOW at Amazon!

I realized today that I hadn’t posted in my blog in quite some time.  Those of you who know me, know that I am not the best blogger.  But I do try to make it up to you.  I’ve been in Starbucks today with Siobhan Kinkade and actually managed almost 2K.  However, I’ve come to the end of one scene and I have NO idea what to do next.  So I figured I’d better use my time wisely and come over here for some shameless PR.

This season looks to be interesting, as I will have a book coming out on Dec. 17th with Rebel Ink Press and I have lots of places I’ll be blogging.  So you’ll have just about enough of me, come December 18th.  Also, coming up in the winter, my novel, Beast of Burden, will be coming out.  It’s a very adult redux of Beauty and the Beast, starring a sexy werewolf named Marek and Sascha, a sassy little slave beauty.  I’m really excited about that novel, as it is the material representation of a year’s worth of work.  Anyway, I figure I’ll give out a little smutty love today, since it’s been so long, dear reader.  The excerpt I’ve chosen is from my first novel, Hellsong.  I thought it fitting, as for the Holiday Blog Hop (see the sidebar), I’ll be giving away a copy of that and a short story, “Second Skin” to fill your dirty little holiday stockings.  So look out for that, those of you who like all things free and freaky.

Lonely bookstore manager Theo Chandler lost herself in Hurricane Katrina. Found wandering alone in a swamp with no memory of her life before the storm, she has spent the last few years building a half-life where no one touches her so no one can guess her secret. Only Father Jerome, a voodoo priest who witnessed her birth, and the minions of Lucifer know her true identity and the monster she could become.

As the last of the Grigori, Heaven’s guardians of humankind on Earth, the angel Saraquel should destroy beautiful Theo before the forces of Hell use her to destroy him, humanity, or even Heaven itself. But like Jerome, he sees the humanity in her that far outshines the hidden demon. He forms a connection to her that he has never known with anyone else through all his immortal life. Choosing to protect her, he joins Theo and Jerome in a fight to bring down hell’s design and save her human soul.

Anyway… here you go…

**********************

“Angel,” she whimpered, getting lost in the feel of his mouth traveling over the contours of her collarbone and shoulders. “Angel,” she repeated in a breathless whisper. “You must be…” She groaned, cradling his head against her chest. His hair slipped through her fingertips like late summer corn silk and she twisted the strands around her fingers.

Saraqael smiled in a way that conveyed utter relief as he fell to his knees before her. He rested his hands on either side of her waist, his thumbs digging into the fleshy hips, keeping her still above him. The sloppy, button down shirt she wore was open, showing a hint of the concave of her belly just over the waistband of her jeans. He used the tip of his nose to open the folds and press his lips to her skin. Her breath caught in her throat as she tried to stifle the moan when his tongue delved into the hollow of her navel suggestively. “Fallen?” she asked through clenched teeth.

“Not yet…but I‟m sure you‟ll work harder, Daemon. I used to be the Archangel Uriel,” he whispered, brushing his generous lips over the curves of her hips. “And when I was sent to Earth, I became the Grigori.” He watched her reactions, taking in each nuance as his fingertips trilled over her skin—higher and higher the crept. Her breath came in short gasps, her skin prickling at his touch. When his fingers reached the smooth satin of her bra, she felt a jolt of fire between her legs. And when his palm found the center, she feared that the flames would devour her.

“Perhaps it is you who is the demon,” she groaned.

He smiled and ran his hand over her sternum. “Perhaps I‟m seducing you for my own sport.”

“Not very angelic, Grigori.”

He did not respond, but straightened to his full kneeling height. With a careless gesture, he pulled the shirt open, letting the buttons fly carelessly. The cool night air from the window made goose bumps pop out all over, pulling her skin taut. Before she had time to complain about it, the warmth oozed over her body as his hands found their way under the satin barrier covering her breasts. His rough, calloused palm scratched against her nipple, making it harden immediately. She whimpered with the sudden heaviness and arched her body toward his.

Taking the hint, he pulled the fabric aside and closed his mouth over first one breast and then the other. The humidity of his lips made her throb in all the right places. Surely, he was not a being of Heaven. The pleasure he inflicted was more sinful than any act of violence. His fingers flicked over the tiny caps of nipple that answered each breast, worrying it to a small, prickled bud that he could bite and tease until she growled and pressed his mouth to her more forcefully. He obliged her, but quickly pulled his mouth away, taking the nipple between his teeth and pulling until she cried out.

****************

BTW… you can buy Hellsong here.