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Authors: Tiffany Aaron

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BOOK: Fallen: Celeste
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He brushed her hair from her face. "I'm sorry, angel. I
shouldn't have been so rough with you."

Celeste smiled up at him. "It's all right. You have to
believe me when I tell you that I don't plan on leaving you. I'll be beside you
for as long as you're alive."

"What if I'm like my father? What if I make you leave?"
Adam's heart filled with anguish.

Celeste laughed softly. "Darling, I've already had the worst
thing happen to me that could possibly happen. I'm not trying to belittle you,
but your anger and violence couldn't compare to His. You would never be violent
with me anyway. It isn't in you to hurt someone you love."

"I have hurt people. Don't make me out to be some kind of
Robin Hood. I don't rob the rich and give to the poor. Sometimes I rob both the
rich and the poor." For the first time Adam felt a twinge of guilt when he
thought about his past.

"You would never look good in green tights." Celeste
shrugged. "You did what you had to do to survive. I don't blame you for
it. The streets are a jungle and it's kill or be killed sometimes. People who
live in nice houses, drive nice cars and have nice lives can't relate and so
they judge you. I've been down about as low as an angel can go, but I've
managed to make it and so have you. Now that we have each other, we'll learn
how to change together."

"Even if I change, the money we live on will have come from
hurting others."

"I've lived for centuries, Adam. I have money. We could give
all of yours away and still be well off. Don't over think things. We have to
capture Tomas first and then we can worry about how we're going to live."
Her hands slid down Adam's back and cupped his ass. "Right now, I think we
can figure out how to find a small piece of heaven."

Adam laughed as he moved his hips. His cock had gotten hard again
while they talked. It seemed Celeste's body just naturally turned him on. He
didn't think he would need Viagra twenty years from now to make him want her.

* * * *

Celeste
, Tomas' voice echoed in her mind.

Her body was wrapped in Adam's arms, but she traveled to a quiet
place in her dreams.
What do you want, Tomas?

The fallen was standing in front of her. His long blonde hair was
dirty and his black eyes were crazed. The centuries had been hard on him. The
madness shone in him, but hidden deep within was a small amount of weariness.
Celeste had the feeling that Tomas wanted out of his life and punishment.

He laughed.
The list is truly endless, but at the top would be
peace. I'm tired, Celeste. Too many years living on this hellhole without any
hope of change. There have been too many nights with dreams of a place I'll
never go back to.

Celeste felt a touch of sympathy for Tomas. The fallen that turned
evil tended to be the ones who suffered the loss of Heaven the most. They were
the ones who wanted mortals to suffer along with them.
Then why don't you
end it?

I'm a coward, my friend. I can't kill myself.

So you're going to let William and I do it for you.
Celeste's contempt
dripped in her voice.

Tomas shrugged.
Of course. You both have always been the
strongest of the Enforcers. You have lasted longer than any of the others. That
is why I started killing. I was going to settle in Detroit and just mind my own
business. Then the dreams got worse. There was nothing I could do that would
stop them. Finally I decided it was time. You were already here, so I knew it
wouldn't be hard to get you to come after me.

I'll find you, Tomas, and when I do, there will be no hope of
salvation. There have been too many dead women, too many lives snuffed out
because you're a coward.

True, but I knew that when I joined Lucifer's army instead of
fighting for the other side. It was easier to get swept up in the emotions than
to think for myself.
Tomas shifted restlessly.
It will be morning soon and your
hunt will continue. I look forward to our final meeting.
He bowed his head
and disappeared.

Celeste shuddered. Adam pulled her closer to him. Neither of them
was awakened by the shining figure that soothed them. Standing in the shadows
of the bedroom, Mika'il's silvery gray eyes were filled with compassion and a
thinly disguised look of longing.

* * * *

"He's using us," Celeste informed William as they met in
Adam's breakfast nook

William nodded. "It makes sense. Tomas never was the most
courageous of angels. He would never have the strength to kill himself. This
way, he dies—or so he thinks—and we're left with the guilt of having dealt with
him."

"The ultimate act of selfishness, I guess." Adam sat
down next to Celeste. "How do you know what he wants?"

"We connected while I was sleeping." At Adam's eager
look, she shook her head. "It was a place out of time. I couldn't get a
hint of where he might be. I think our best bet is to go back to Joe Louis
today and scout out the entrances. He probably uses the same one every time. It
should make it a little easier for us to get a track on him."

William nodded. "You two go and do that. I'll do some more
searching around the house we found. I know that someone saw Tomas. I just have
to find that person and get them to talk to me."

"What did Father Michael have to say?" Adam asked.

William studied Adam for a minute. "He said that the time has
finally arrived. Tomas must be stopped tonight or there will be
consequences."

Adam saw Celeste shudder. Jakar had just walked in and his face
went white. "Consequences?"

"You don't want to know, Adam. Trust me. When a situation
gets out of hand, there are results that are harmful to all of us." Celeste
caught Jakar's eyes. There was fear brimming in the demon's face.

"So Father Michael is more than just a priest, huh? Does he
have a direct line to God or something?" Adam joked.

Three sets of eyes impaled him. William was the one who answered.
"You could say that he is the mouthpiece of God here on earth. Here in
Detroit anyway."

"Like an oracle?"

"Father Michael would be extremely annoyed if he knew you
were comparing him to an oracle. He is closer to Him than anyone else because
his soul is pure. God gives the priest information that is helpful to us."

"So we can trust what he's telling us to be true." Adam
saw the others nod. "So, in fact, we've just been issued a deadline of
tonight. After that, all bets are off and it's every angel and demon for
themselves, right?"

"Yes, and you don't want to be here if that happens."
Celeste was finishing her breakfast. "I have to stop by the office to
check on my other cases. Adam, I'll meet you at the arena this afternoon.
William, we'll catch up with you right around game time. If I can pinpoint the
entrance Tomas uses, we'll lie in wait there for him."

"What should I
do?" Jakar asked.

Celeste looked at William then back to Jakar. "We have a box
of evidence that needs to be planted. When we're done with Tomas, he isn't
really going to be able to confess to the killings. So we have to give the
police everything they need to make a solid case against Tomas. William will
show you the house Tomas murdered one of his victims in. Plant the evidence
there. If William comes up with a witness, get him to the police. Then if you
think anyone might be listening, pray. We have to end it or all hell will break
loose."

Jakar nodded. "It'll be done."

* * * *

"This is it. I feel the tag his last victim put on him. He's
been here recently." Celeste and Adam were standing outside the east
entrance of the arena.

"So if we come here tonight, we should be able to catch
him."

Celeste nodded.

"Shouldn't we notify the police? They'll want to be
here."

"No, we can't. Things need to be done before the police can
have him. William will take care of Tomas."

"But..."

"Don't worry. Tomas will be punished and the police will be
able to prove that he was the one doing the killings. If the police try and
grab him first, he would never be caught. The police don't have the power
needed to capture Tomas. Trust me, Adam. His punishment will be worse than
anything mere mortals could think up."

"Will William
kill him? Isn't that what he wants?"

"Tomas wants to die, but that won't be his punishment. He
would be getting off too easily. I can't talk about what William will do. He is
the only one who knows. I have never asked him what he does to the fallen he
takes." Celeste smiled at him. "We have a couple hours before the
game starts. I need to recharge."

A grin crept across Adam's face. "I think we'll be busy
enjoying ourselves." He grabbed her hand and dragged her to the car.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

"He's
here," Celeste said into her microphone.

"Can you feel him?" William's voice came over the
earpiece.

"Yes, he isn't trying to shield from me. He knows I'm here.
It doesn't seem like he knows that you're around though." Celeste made her
way slowly through the crowd, trying not to alert Tomas that she could see him.

"Don't do anything. Wait until we get there," Adam commanded
her.

"Damn, he saw me. He's taking off. I'm going after him.
Follow me when you can." Celeste pulled the earpiece out and took off
after Tomas.

"Shit!" Adam and William chorused. They knew Celeste was
going to try and take down Tomas by herself. William caught hold of a trace of
Celeste's power and led Adam after her.

Celeste was surprised to see that Tomas didn't jump into a car.
Maybe he really did want this to be over with. He was leading her down towards
the river, away from the busy streets of Detroit. He had a place in mind. When
she got too far behind, he would slow down. When she got too close, he would
speed up. She wasn't worried. Celeste knew that Adam and William were coming
along behind her. They would get there in time to help.

Finally Tomas stopped in the yard of a dilapidated church. He
turned to face her as she came through the gate. She studied the fallen. He had
lost the glamour that most angels, even the fallen ones, had. She wondered how
he had ever convinced any of the women to go with him. He must have used his
power to disguise his insanity and general filthiness. She felt a wave of
sadness pull at her. She always hated having to end the life of a fellow
fallen.

Tomas looked up at the church façade. He laughed softly. "It
is only fitting that it ends here on ground that is sacred to Him."

"You led me on a
good chase, Tomas," Celeste complimented him.

"Yes, I did." He was smug. Then a frown crossed his
face. "Of course, you cheated."

"How exactly did I cheat?"

"You brought Bradford to help you. You knew you couldn't do
it alone."

"I didn't ask him to come. He was ordered here."

"Who orders Enforcers around? You're just as leaderless as we
are."

"We take our orders from the same person we did when we were
angels." Celeste took a step forward. She knew Tomas was armed. She hoped
she could distract him long enough for William and Adam to show up. Both would
have a gun. What a day to leave hers at the office.

"Why would you take orders from Mika'il? He did nothing when
we were banished. He does nothing now. We both know if he wished, he could kill
me with a wave of his hand." Tomas gestured with the gun.

"He doesn't need to. That's what Enforcers are expected to
do."

"Oh, so this is some type of salvation by good works project.
How many of your fellow fallen do you have to kill before you can get back into
Heaven, Celeste? What happened to salvation by faith alone?"

Celeste took another step forward. She felt a light brush in her
mind. William was close. "I have faith in Him, Tomas. But He no longer has
faith in me. I turned my back on Him. I was determined to show that angels
should hold a dearer spot in His heart than mere mortals. I refused His love.
It is only right that He punishes me."

Tomas' eyes gleamed with madness and rage. "We weren't given
free will. He expected us to worship Him. He expected us to take those feeble
fragile mortals into our hearts. How could I love something inferior to
me?"

"So you kill them." She was close enough to him now. She
hoped the guys would make an appearance soon.

"Yes, I kill them. In the end, they begged God to save them.
He never did. He allowed me to take their lives. If He loved them so much,
wouldn't He have stopped me?"

"Maybe He should have, Tomas. But I can guarantee you those
women were greeted with open arms when they got to Heaven. They'll be happy
there. You and I will never see it again. We deserve our punishment. Those
women didn't deserve to die because of your arrogance."

"Arrogance?"

"Yes. The one trait all of the fallen have in common is our
belief in our own superiority. That was our one sin. In His eyes, we are all
the same."

BOOK: Fallen: Celeste
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