Hey all! I know I’ve been absent for a bit, but I’ve got a super good excuse. I was putting the final touches on Damned. Are you excited about it? I’m so freaking excited I might burst. This will be my last full length novel to be released this year. Not only that, but I love Avery Tywella! I like her spunk, her out of nowhere comments, heck, I even like her denial of her love for Jared. Denial isn’t just a river in Asia you know. (*snicker*)
Anyway, I’m going to post about the book several times over the next nine days because there are some changes going on in this story and I want to make sure everyone is one the same page. (Get it, page.) Mostly, it has to do with emotions and time. I’ll be more specific later. For now, I wanted to share with you the first chapter of the book. For those that recently read Deceived you probably already read this because I updated the book at the beginning of this month to include the first chapter as a sneak peek. For those that haven’t seen it, here you go. Enjoy and everyone have a great humpday!
“Return me this instant.”
He smiled. “I’m sorry, Goddess. I cannot do that.”
“You can, and you will or I will make you.”
He shook his head. “I won’t, and I don’t think you will be making me.”
“Let’s see if you change your mind after you’re missing a few pieces.”
I flew across the ten feet that separated us, pulled my katana that had been strapped to my hip but kept in the realm in-between, and brought it down where he had been standing a second before. I swung my blade to the left hoping to catch him, but he was just too fast. That wouldn’t stop me though. He will soon find out I don’t like being forced into anything. Dragging me through a portal to Hell most definitely qualifies.
My katana passed through his shadow as he twisted out of my way. He kept about ten feet between us, but was relaxed as he faced me with a smirk.
“Is that all you bring to the table? One would think a Goddess would be able to take on a humble Angel without blinking. Perhaps you are simply lacking.”
My eyes narrowed at his criticism. I called on my wings and jumped into the air, flew up twenty feet or so before doing a nose dive straight for Daniel. He flew up to meet me, and our blades clashed for the first time. The forced threw me back, and I was hard pressed to catch myself before I fell to the ground. I had no more steadied myself before he attacked. I block, and tried to kick him in his manhood for pissing me off. Unfortunately, he moved in time, and I kicked his thigh instead.
He pushed me backward before backing up a few feet himself, hovering about twenty feet off the ground.
“Did those Fallen teach you to fight dirty? It figures they would show you cheap tricks instead of how to properly defend yourself.”
I smiled. “I didn’t need Fallen to teach me where a man’s most sensitive parts are. Cheap tricks have saved my ass plenty of times. Perhaps if you knew a few, you wouldn’t have been trapped in a head for the Gods only know how long.”
It was his turn to narrow his eyes. I smiled sweetly just before I rushed forward and attempted to skewer him. He dodged to the left and grabbed my sword arm twisting it behind me while he pushed me down. The action had me spiraling face first to the ground, and there was nothing I could do to stop it.
I turned my head to the side to keep from eating dirt, but that did nothing to lessen the impact. My teeth jarred as my head hit. I was lucky my sword was pointed away from me or I might have stabbed myself with my own weapon. This guy is really getting on my nerves.
I pushed myself up to a sitting position and stared daggers at Daniel while wiping red dirt off my face. If I really could shoot daggers at someone with just a thought, that bastard would be so dead. He was leaning against a tree with his arms crossed looking as casual as ever.
“I’m assuming this fight, if you call it that, is over. You can’t best me woman so you might as well give up.”
“You said I was a Goddess. Shouldn’t I be super strong or something like that? Why is it you can beat me so easily?”
He smiled. “I’ve trained with your father. Plus, I’m easily a thousand years older than you. I would be ashamed if I didn’t beat you.”
I just sat there for a minute trying to evaluate what was happening and what I could possibly do about it. He obviously wasn’t going to take me home, and I obviously can’t make him. That severely limits my options. It’s not as though I’m too tired to continue fighting him. No, I could go for at least another hour or more, and it was fun enough. Well, other than the face-plant into the dirt. But, what would it accomplish other than relieving a bit of stress?
I sighed. It looks like I’m going to have to use my skills at coercion to get him to return me home. The only problem is my coercion skills usually involve me beating the person until they see things my way. I’ve never been able to actually talk someone into doing what I want. Come on, Avery. You can do this. Just try to be nice to the crazy Angel guy and get him to take you back home before Demon get you. That thought had me looking around the orchard. There was no one I could see other than me and Daniel. Shouldn’t there be oodles of Demon running about? Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I am definitely not complaining. Now, back to the coercion.
I looked up at Daniel and smiled as sweetly as I could stomach.
“Look, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have attacked you. It’s just that I was understandably freaked out after going through that portal. Maybe it scrambled my brain or something. I don’t want to fight anymore. If you’ll just take me back home, all will be forgiven.”
I even went so far as to flutter my lashes for effect.
Daniel looked at me for several seconds before he burst out with laughter. I rolled my eyes. He was laughing so hard he had to bend over to try to get air in his lungs between uncontrollable convulsions. When he finally got his laugh out, I looked at him seriously.
“I’m certain it wasn’t that funny.”
“You didn’t see yourself.” He fluttered his own long lashes and spoke in a falsetto. “I’m so sorry for trying to kill you. Could you ever find it in your heart to forgive me?”
“I didn’t say that.”
He rolled his eyes. “You might as well have. Does that actually ever work?”
“Listen asshole. I want you to take me back and you will do it or I will be sure to make your life miserable for as long as I’m around.”
He huffed. “I don’t doubt that.”
“Then return me, and you never have to see my face again.”
“I will admit I’m tempted, but I am following a direct order by my liege.”
He nodded. “Lucifer. I swore allegiance to him many years ago.”
“He told you to drag me to Hell against my will?”
“Well, not in so many words, but I sensed you would not be amenable to this little trip so I did what I had to.”
“So, he didn’t order you to kidnap me. The thing is, I have the time off work. If you would have invited me to visit my parents, I probably would have agreed.”
“Something tells me this will be more than a visit, but that is neither here nor there. If you wish to see your parents, why are you wasting time fighting with me? We could have made it to the castle by now.”
I looked at the castle in the distance. I was really here. My mother and father were waiting for me in that castle. What would I say to them? For so long, I didn’t even know the truth of my parentage. When I finally learn it, I never really expected to be reunited. I’ll admit there is a part of me that resents them for leaving me, but they weren’t the ones who lied to me. My grandmother was the one to tell me I was a product of rape. What scares me is that she thought that lie was better than the truth. Was my father so horrible that being a rapist Demon’s offspring would be a better option? Also, how could a parent give up their child so easily? I will admit I’m glad I wasn’t raised in Hell, but couldn’t my mother have stayed with me? Grandmother said there were people after them. Was that why she didn’t stay? I took a deep breath and squared my shoulders before nodding to Daniel. Well, I think it’s time to find out.
Daniel shot into the air and hovered there waiting for me. I’ve never actually flown before. Sure, I’ve glided to the ground, and I guess I did fly when I killed the Windigo and earlier when I was fighting Daniel, but that was instinct taking over. I tried to force my wings out, but I don’t really know what I should do. Is it a mental command just like moving your arm or leg? Or, do I have to actually envision them opening? Because nothing I was doing was working. I kept looking up at Daniel, but he just stayed in the air above me watching. His expression did change from impatience to disbelief, and finally, to nothing. I couldn’t read it at all. He seemed detached. As though he were watching a show on TV, and didn’t really care what happened next.
I did my best to shut him out. It was obvious he wasn’t going to help me so I would have to figure this out on my own. Fine. I can do that. I’ve been doing pretty much that since my change. I stopped and thought about what I could be doing wrong. I’m an Angel. Flying should come naturally to me. I looked over my shoulder and saw my wings. They weren’t in-between planes like they are when I’m in the Human realm. They were simply folded up behind me waiting to open and fly. I closed my eyes. My wings are an extension of my body. Like all other reflexive actions, my wings should come without actually thinking of them. Maybe it’s a situation where overthinking it deters me. Kind of like how if you think about your breathes and actually pay attention to when each one comes in and out, soon you find you’re short of breath and have to take an extra deep one to make up for it.
I tried not to think about my wings and instead think about flying. I want to be in the air with Daniel and I know my wings will get me there. I took a calming breath and could feel my wings spreading out behind me. I looked up at Daniel once more to find a slight smile on his face. Pushing up from the ground, I flew up until I was beside him. It took me a second to level out once I was beside him, but once I did, it was easy to hover there next him.
“It certainly took you long enough.”
What an ass.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t realize you were on a tight schedule.”
He shrugged. “I guess it’s not too bad for your first time.”
“The problem is, it wasn’t my first time. I’ve flown before. I just flew while we were fighting if you recall.”
“Yes, in the heat of the moment. But, this time you planned to fly. You reached inside yourself and knew you could fly, therefore you did.”
“Wow. That sounds almost philosophical. Have you been practicing that long?”
He smiled. “I had some extra time while I was imprisoned.”
“Come. Let’s be on our way.”
I reached out and touched his arm before he could fly off. When he looked back at me, I pointed toward the dome that surrounded several miles around us. It reached high into the sky and formed a perfect circle with the castle at the center.
“What’s the deal with the dome?”
He barely glanced at it. “It’s for protection. The spell is designed to keep everyone out and everything inside hidden. If someone were to happen upon it, the spell would make them forget finding it and have them taking an alternate route.”
“And, they would just walk around five miles without realizing?”
“Yes. As I said, the spell would make them forget why, but they would detour around the dome.”
“That’s why no one knows where Lucifer is.”
Daniel didn’t say anything, but I knew he wanted to comment on my ingenious skills of deduction. I rolled my eyes. Excuse me if I didn’t learn this information in elementary school.
Instead of making a snarky comment, I shot forward and began flying toward the castle. It only took a few seconds for Daniel to be at my side.
“I would offer to race you, but I try not to enter contests I know I’ll win.”
“I’m starting to miss the shrunken head.”
“Do not joke of such things.”
“Do not be a douche about everything.”
The look of confusion on his face was enough to make dealing with him temporarily worth it. He opened his mouth, but then closed it and continued to fly without talking.