Authors: Kristina Douglas
Tags: #Romance, #Fantasy, #General, #Paranormal, #Fiction
“Your bedroom is at the end of the hall,” he reminded her.
He needed her gone. The scent of her was maddening, elusive, bewitching.
She moved into the formal parlor, taking a seat and looking at him out of those warm brown eyes. “I want to know what Beloch meant. What kind of test is he expecting you to perform?”
He knew what Beloch wanted. He was supposed to fuck her and then prove he could walk away from her, turn her over to the shattering destructiveness of the Truth Breakers and then celebrate the destruction of one more demon.
He looked at her and his body stirred, and he despised her—and himself. He could tell himself it was simply her wiles, her powers, that were doing this to him. But he wasn’t asleep, he wasn’t drugged.
And he wasn’t going to do it. Not tonight, when need vibrated through his body and he wanted to shove her up against a wall and take her. By tomorrow he’d be back in control.
“Go to bed,” he said gruffly. “Or you’ll wish you had.”
She simply raised an eyebrow, the foolish creature. It was unwise to underestimate him. He could squeeze the life out of her in a moment, end her as he’d come so close to doing, more times than he could remember.
“I’m not afraid of you.”
“You should be,” he said. And before she knew what was happening, he shoved her up against the door and slammed his mouth down on hers.
Available from Pocket Books
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 by Anne Kristine Stuart Ohlrogge
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever. For information, address Pocket Books Subsidiary Rights Department, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020.
First Pocket Books paperback edition June 2011
POCKET and colophon are registered trademarks of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
The Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau can bring authors to your live event. For more information or to book an event, contact the Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau at 1-866-248-3049 or visit our website at
Designed by Jacquelynne Hudson
Cover design by Lisa Litwack
Cover illustration by Craig White
Manufactured in the United States of America
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ISBN 978-1-4391-9195-8 (ebook)
because she likes world-building
HE WORLD OF THE
is my own creation, based on Apocryphal works like the Book of Enoch and other obscure texts that didn’t make it into the current Old Testament. Being a new age liberal Christian, I’ve always been fascinated by the inexplicable behavior of the Old Testament God and his tendency to use the smite key on his celestial computer at random. It’s easy enough to do a little Internet research to find references to all the less than charitable things that God supposedly did, and I wanted to come up with a world that explained the difference between a just and loving God and the big old meanie from the past. Hence the world of the Fallen and the Archangel Uriel.
I took bits and pieces of mythology and changed them to suit my story—the Nephilim are generally considered to be the offspring of the fallen angels, but I decided to make them the next wave. There are countless references in the Bible that argue against the “eating of blood,” so it seemed an obvious curse. And fallen angels are so much more
interesting than the ones who are still supposedly perfect.
So you need to take it all in the spirit in which it’s intended. Most of the Old Testament is open for debate, anyway. I just shifted things the way it worked best for my fallen angels.
E WAS FOLLOWING ME AGAIN.
I knew it instinctively, even though I hadn’t actually seen him. He was just beyond my vision, on the outer edges of my sight, hiding in shadows. Skulking.
Not stalking. There might be huge gaps in my memory, but I had a mirror and absolutely no delusions about my totally resistible charms. I was determinedly average—average height, average weight, give or take ten pounds. I had short hair, the muddy brown you get when you dye it too often, and my eyes were a plain brown. My skin was olive-tinged, my bone structure unremarkable, and there was no clue to who or what I was.
Here’s what I knew: My name was Rachel. My current last name was Fitzpatrick, but before that it was Brown, and the next time it might be
Montgomery. Average names with Anglo-Saxon antecedents. I didn’t know why, I just went with it.
I’d been Rachel Fitzpatrick for almost two years now, and it felt as if it had been longer than usual, this comfortable life I’d built up. I was living in a big industrial city in the Midwest, working for a newspaper that, like most of its kind, was on its last legs. I had a great apartment on the top floor of an old Victorian house; I had an unexciting car I could rely on; I had good friends I could turn to in an emergency and have fun with when times were good. I was even godmother to my coworker Julie’s newborn baby girl. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop.
It was November, and I thought that probably I had never liked November. The trees were bare, the wind was biting, and darkness closed around the city like a shroud. And someone was watching me.
I didn’t know how long he’d been there—it had taken me a while to realize he was back again. I’d never gotten much of a look at him; he kept to the shadows, a tall, narrow figure of undeniable menace. I had no wish to see him any better.
I was very careful. I didn’t go out alone after dark, I kept away from secluded places, and I was always on my guard. I had never mentioned him to my friends, even Julie. I told myself I didn’t
want them to worry. But I didn’t go to the police either, and it was their job to worry.
I spun any number of possibilities out of the big gray blank that was my memory. Maybe he was my abusive husband, watching me, and I’d run away from him, the trauma of his brutality wiping my mind clean.
Maybe I had been in the witness protection program and I’d gone through some kind of horror, and the mob was after me.
But it didn’t explain why he hadn’t come any closer. No matter how careful I was, if someone wanted to hurt me, to kill me, there was probably no way to stop him short of … well, there probably
no way to stop him. So my watcher presumably didn’t want me dead.
I was working late on a cold, rainy Thursday, trying to get a bunch of obituaries formatted. Yup, doing obituaries late at night was not my favorite thing; but with the
on its last legs, we all put in overtime whenever asked and worked on anything that was needed, though I drew the line at sports. I was ostensibly home and health editor,
being a glorified term for the only reporter on the beat, but I generally enjoyed my work. With obituaries, not so much. It was the babies that got to me. Stillbirths, crib deaths, miscarriages. They made me feel like crying, though oddly enough
I never cried. If I could, I would weep for those babies, weep for days and weeks and years.
I didn’t wonder whether I’d lost a child myself. Instinct told me I hadn’t, and besides, grieving for lost babies was a logical, human reaction. Who wouldn’t feel sorrow at the loss of a brand-new life?
The wind had picked up, howling through the city and shaking the sealed windows of the new building the
had unwisely built less than three years ago, and I logged off my computer, finished for the night. I glanced at the clock; it was after ten, and the office was deserted. My car was in the parking garage—there had to be someone there. I would have my keys out, make a dash for my reliable old Subaru, and lock myself in if anything loomed out of the darkness.
I could always call Julie and see if her husband could come and escort me home. While I hadn’t told them about my watcher, I had explained that I was extremely skittish about personal safety, and Bob had come to the rescue on a number of occasions. But they had a brand-new baby, and I didn’t want to bother them. I’d be fine.
I grabbed my coat and was heading for the elevator when the phone at my desk rang. I hesitated, then ignored it. Whoever it was, whatever they wanted, I was too tired to provide it. All I
wanted was to get home through this blasted wind and curl up in my nice warm bed.