Authors: C. L. Coffey
C. L. Coffey
Copyright © 2016 C. L.
Cover design by Amalia
Edited by Patrick
Proofread by Naomi Jones
and Emily Knight
All rights reserved. No
part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, distributed,
stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval systems, in
any forms or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, without express permission
of the author, unless for the purpose of a review which may quote brief
passages for a review purpose.
This book is a work of
fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locations
are used fictitiously. Other characters, names, places and incidents are the
product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events,
locations, or persons – living or dead – is entirely coincidental.
ALSO BY C. L. COFFEY
Our life is made by the death
- Leonardo da Vinci
Luke Goddard’s much anticipated
Believe in Me
tour kicked off in his home town of New Orleans. Thousands of
hit the street to try to catch a glimpse of him before his show in local bar
and live music venue, Bee’s. Although ticket sales would have been enough to
sell out the Super Dome twice over, Goddard chose the much smaller venue to
give his audience a more intimate performance.
Focus was not on Goddard, but
rather the strange apparitions outside the venue. Evidence has emerged that we
are not alone in this universe. Not long after the show began, a woman was seen
falling from the venue through a second story window. A fall of this height
would be enough for paralysis, if not death. Yet, far from being injured, she
got up, just in time for a second, younger girl to fly from the ground and
catch a grown man who also appeared to have been thrown out of a window. What
makes this even more extraordinary is that the young girl had wings, as shown
in the photos below.
“And there are photographs,” I added in a
huff. I threw the paper across the room, watching as it hit the wall and the
pages separated across the floor. That article had been written three weeks ago
and I had gone from being upset about it to downright angry.
Joshua was sprawled out on his bed, his
arms behind his head, watching me with mild amusement. “You have gone from
reciting that to me, to actually conjuring a paper. Is that another power which
We weren’t really in his bedroom, and I
wasn’t really pacing back and forth at the foot of his bed. This was a dream.
Or at least, the location was a dream. I was actually an angel, and the story
in the paper really had happened.
Nine months ago a fallen angel had killed
me. I had been out partying one night and the next thing I knew, I had woken up
in a convent with the Archangel Michael informing me that although I was dead, I
had been given a second chance. I could exist by earning my wings and becoming
an angel – hopefully an archangel like him one day. Part of this meant I was
given a charge: someone important to protect. That was Joshua Walsh. He was a
trainee detective who I had helped to investigate my death, and a series of
others across New Orleans, all of which led back to an archangel, Lilah. She
was trying to find a key (Joshua) and the angel to use the key (me, by killing
Lilah and the innocent human she was possessing). All of this was to let Lucifer
free from Hell.
For the longest time, thinking about Lilah
caused me a lot of pain – the physical manifestation of the guilt I was feeling
from killing an innocent person. I still feel guilty, and while there are
occasional flashes of that pain, I now mostly feel angry: angry at her; angry
at Lucifer; angry at the cherubim (Veronica in particular); angry at Michael;
and angry at myself.
Veronica was the girl, the angel, who had
revealed herself to save Joshua. That wasn’t what made me angry; for that I
will be eternally grateful. No, my anger with her was directed at the fact that
she and the other cherubim had walked out of Michael’s House and left us.
They’d been convinced for years that Lucifer was going to come back, to the
point that they had been happy to be the ‘help’ in the convent, performing all
the menial chores. They wanted to be on the front line and fight when the time
came. Sure, Michael didn’t believe them – he didn’t even believe me – but the
moment they had the chance, they’d upped and left without leaving a forwarding
address, only minutes after we had discovered that there was a second Prince of
Darkness, Beelzebub, in New Orleans.
pissed me off.
“You know it’s not that bad, right,
Joshua’s voice snapped me from my internal
rant, and I glanced over to see the concern in his dark blue eyes. “And yet I’m
still trapped in that convent,” I responded with a huff.
He patted a spot on the bed next to him,
and I got on the bed using my knees to crawl over and curl up beside him. “Seriously
though,” he said, wrapping an arm around my shoulder to pull me close. “You
created a newspaper.”
“A newspaper with the same story on every
page,” I grumbled.
“You should use that phone I gave you to
look at the news pages, darlin’,” he suggested. “You will soon see that the
paper still running with that story is the same rag which published it in the
first place: the one you told me was written by a nephilim’s girlfriend. Most
people think it was a hoax, a few loons think it was aliens.”
“If that’s the case, why can’t I go
outside? I’m stuck in my room day after day” I muttered. It was almost ironic
that, after killing Lilah, the guilt and pain I felt made me feel like I
couldn’t leave my own bed for almost six weeks. Now I was trapped in the same
building because Michael had told me I needed to keep a low profile.
My appearance wasn’t exactly subtle. Just
before I had been killed, I had dyed my hair a bright cherry red and there was nothing
I could do to make it fade – or stop me from standing out. It was only when I
was in Joshua’s dreams that I could revert back to my normal blonde. Honestly,
if it had been on anybody else’s head, I would have thought it was cool, but
the prospect of it being part of my appearance for however long I got to stay
in this vessel killed me a little.
“I’m really not complaining about that,”
Joshua assured me, smirking. As if to prove it, he leaned over and claimed my
lips with his own.
As well as being my charge, Joshua was
also my… Actually, I don’t know what Joshua was. I cared for him. A lot. I
wanted to be with him and he certainly wanted to be with me. Not that that
information was currently public. According to Michael, a relationship between
a human and an angel was forbidden and the consequence was the angel would lose
their wings. Frankly, I cared too much about Joshua to risk sleeping with him –
and I was standing firm on that decision; one which Joshua fully supported me on.
I pulled away from Joshua and frowned. “Why
aren’t you suffering from cabin fever then?” I demanded. “You’re under house
arrest too.” For the first time, he looked uncomfortable. I cocked my head as I
stared at him. The first Prince of Darkness we’d discovered was Asmodeus, also
known as Joshua’s Lieutenant. According to Joshua, he had ‘transferred in’
about fifteen years ago. Although Michael’s House had been based in New Orleans
for the last couple of years, because he wasn’t in his original vessel, he had
gone unnoticed. Joshua was not going into work while I was under house arrest.
“Angel,” he said, patiently, despite his
obvious discomfort. “If I refused to leave New Orleans during Hurricane Tabitha,
you couldn’t possibly think I’m going to stop working when I find out that a
high ranking member of the police department is one of the Fallen; a high
ranking fallen angel at that.”
I couldn’t help but let out a long sigh as
I sat down opposite him, crossing my legs. “No,” I admitted. If I was being
honest, I knew he was back at work. As my charge, I have an inbuilt tracking
system that lets me know where he is at all times. Sadly, it doesn’t come with
Google Maps so I only know a general area, rather than a street address. That
being said, it was quite easy to tell when he was at work or when he was at
home: I was choosing to ignore when he was at work.
“We said we weren’t going to do this,” he
said, watching me.
“I’m not going to lie and say I wouldn’t
find it a hell of a lot easier to protect you if you weren’t working for the
police,” I shrugged. “But I don’t trust Asmodeus.”
“Neither do I,” Joshua agreed as he pulled
himself upright and leaned back against the headboard. “That’s why I’m not
leaving him alone with Leon, who, thankfully still doesn’t remember being
possessed or the exorcism, and is putting his memory loss down to working too
much. Not that he’s taken time off,” he added.
“I need to get out of this convent,” I
told him, my shoulders sagging slightly.
“Like I said darlin’, I don’t think you
being spotted will be a problem. That story has died a death and no one really
believed it anyway,” he said, repeating his earlier observations.
I closed my eyes and focused. Awake, regardless
of the time zone, I knew what time it was. Dream walking, it took a bit of
concentration, but I was still able to tell. Of all the ‘gifts’ I had as an
angel, this was as weird as it was cool. “I will be waking up soon,” I said. It
was about half past five.
“Then let’s put this time to better use,”
Joshua suggested. I opened my eyes to find him smirking at me. Then, with no
warning, he lunged at me, pushing me backwards. I let out a girly squeal before
his lips silenced me. This was definitely better use of our time.
* * *
The sun didn’t make an appearance until
after my shower. I pulled back the thick claret curtains in my bedroom and
stared out of the window. Despite it being November, it looked like it was
going to be another hot and humid day. I couldn’t remember the last time it had
rained. It had to be weeks ago now, judging from how brown the grass was
I made my way downstairs into the
convent’s large kitchen, flicking on the lights. I scanned the room, my eyes
coming to rest on the lack of plates on the shelves. Before I could even think
about cooking, I needed to clean up. I walked back into the dining area and
stared at the messy tables, grinding my teeth.
Angels don’t need to eat. Prayer, faith
and belief – that’s what gives angels the energy to power their vessels. With
the exceptions of me and Michael, the other angels eat out of habit, more than
anything else. Yet, even though the cherubim were no longer in the convent,
none of the angels were prepared to give up food. They also weren’t prepared to
pick up the slack.
Being in the convent I had little to do to
occupy my time outside of training. Bored, and unable to cope with the mess
that had quickly built up in the place, I had taken it upon myself to look
after the communal areas – and if this is what they looked like, there was no
chance in hell I was going anywhere near their bedrooms.
I gathered up the dirty plates, grumbling
to myself at how it wouldn’t have killed any one of the thirty angels to have
at least carried their plates to the kitchen, much less do the dishes for once.
I ran a bowl full of hot soapy water and
scraped the plates while I waited for the bowl to fill. The kitchen had an
industrial dishwasher, but as the plates had been left out all night, they were
going to need a soak before a cycle would have any impact. While the dishes
were soaking, I hurried around the dining area, wiping the tables down. I was
thankful I had the supernatural speed but it also just made me angrier that the
angels couldn’t have managed this simple task themselves.
Once the dishwasher was running, I turned
my attention to breakfast. Not a single angel knew how to cook. Unfortunately,
my skills in the kitchen weren’t great either: I could manage for myself and my
aunt on occasion, but it was a limited number of dishes for a limited number of
people. Breakfast was easy. Once I’d worked out how we got the groceries (a
local store delivered twice a week), I’d ordered a vast selection of cereals
and ignored the complaints at the lack of pancakes. I poured the various cereal
brands into the bowls at the service hatch – something that had quickly become
self-service – and got the jugs of milk ready.
Finally, I focused on the drinks. Two big
urns of hot water so that tea or coffee could be made (I had been amazed when
I’d had to teach the angels how to make a cup of tea!) and some juice.
By the time I was ready to consider preparing
the evening meal, I was staring at the nearly empty fridge to a soundtrack of
complaints at having the same breakfast for the last three weeks. I was trying
to be as patient as I could be: Cupid and Veronica had constantly called the
angels vain and shallow, and they were right. They all looked like they had
just walked off a catwalk, but they were the laziest bunch of people I’d ever
met. They’d also spent a couple of centuries being waited on by the cherubim,
so they had naturally fallen into some pretty idle routines.
The lack of contents in the fridge didn’t
inspire me. I was still trying to judge how much food was needed for the meals I
was capable of making. There was plenty of rice and ground meat, but I had
already made Dirty Rice three times this week alone. Chili Con Carne was
supposed to be a simple meal, right? I rummaged through the pantry, frowning. I
had enough of everything except for onions.
I backed out of the pantry, closing the
door behind me, before turning around and letting out a scream. Cupid had
managed to sneak up to me without me noticing. He winced slightly and pulled a
face. “We need to work on your observational skills,” he declared.
I wanted to tell him what he could do with
that suggestion, but he was right. If I couldn’t sense a friend sneaking up on
me, how was I going to sense someone with ill intent? Instead, I sagged against
the door. “Please tell me you’re not here to complain about breakfast?”