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Authors: Traci Douglass

Tags: #romance, #paranormal

Seal of Surrender

BOOK: Seal of Surrender
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Seal of Surrender
Book 2 of the Seven Seals Series
Traci Douglass, author of
Seal of Destiny

Avon, Massachusetts

This edition published by

Crimson Romance

an imprint of F+W Media, Inc.

10151 Carver Road, Suite 200

Blue Ash, Ohio 45242

www.crimsonromance.com

Copyright © 2013 by Traci Douglass

ISBN 10: 1-4405-6610-0

ISBN 13: 978-1-4405-6610-3

eISBN 10: 1-4405-6611-9

eISBN 13: 978-1-4405-6611-0

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, corporations, institutions, organizations, events, or locales in this novel are either the product of the author's imagination or, if real, used fictitiously. The resemblance of any character to actual persons (living or dead) is entirely coincidental.

Cover art © 123rf.com; istockphoto.com/Warwick Lister-Kaye

To my family and friends.

Without you, none of this would have been possible.

Thank You!

Contents

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Epigraph

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Epilogue

About the Author

More From this Author

Also Available

Acknowledgments

So many people have helped to make this book and my writing dreams a reality. I'll do my best to include them all here.

My family, whose support means more than I can say.

My awesome friends, who give me such wonderful encouragement and the occasional shoulder to bitch and cry on.

Jennifer Lawler, Crimson Romance Imprint Manager, who took a chance on a newbie writer from the slush pile and gave her a shot at publication.

The great editors at Crimson Romance who help polish my words into something people might actually want to read.

My fantastic critique partners who have helped me take my writing to the next level and push me everyday to go farther.

The wonderful members of my local RWA group. You all are an inspiration.

My publicist, Roxanne Rhodes at Bewitching Books Tours, who helps keep the machine going and allows me to focus on writing.

And last, but certainly not least, to all the readers who took a chance on a debut author and helped make her dreams come true.

Thank You!

“The second seal opened and a fiery red horse rode forth. Granted the power to take peace from the earth, that people should kill one another. A great sword was given unto them.” Revelation 6:3-4

Chapter 1

“The second seal opened and a fiery red horse rode forth. Granted the power to take peace from the earth, that people should kill one another. A great sword was given unto them.” Revelation 6:3-4

Chago walked across the open Montana field toward the broken fence in the distance. He lugged the heavy toolbox one-handed and glanced sideways to see his herd while they grazed on the nearby plain. A small calf trotted in his direction and nuzzled his hand, searching for its daily treat.

“Hola, Ernie.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out an apple. The calf chomped his prize and cantered away. Chago shook his head at the tiny cow's retreating waddle and pushed the rim of his Stetson a tad higher before he continued on his way. After a short trek, he reached the broken section of fence and knelt to examine the damage. Hammer in hand, he squinted into the bright light of the rising sun, placed the first spike, and pounded away.

Domesticated wasn't a word most people would use to describe him. Most said he possessed more brawn than sophistication, more muscle than grace. Chago had learned long ago to use his bodybuilder physique and unsettling manner to his advantage. Few knew the true extent of his intelligence or the depths of his emotions and he intended to keep his brawn-over-brains persona intact.

The ranch's open expanses and fresh air suited him in a way no other place had in eons and reminded him of his human childhood in the Pyrenees. He planned to retire here as soon as he could figure out a way to convince Divinity. A millennia as the Scion combat expert had taken their toll.

Finished with his repairs, he climbed through the slats to view the other side of the fence and stopped short. A familiar burn ignited around the sigil on his lower abdomen. Duty called. He glanced toward the sky with exasperation. “Really?”

One second he was standing in the field, flies buzzing around his head. The next he was the star attraction in a white marble room. The only other occupant of the grand hall stood dead center. Her sharp gaze assessed him from top to toe.

“Chago.” The older woman's expression held a hint of humor before she hid it behind a mask of calm.

“Divinity.” He bowed in deference and caught a whiff of fresh cow patty.

Fantastic. He spied a telltale clump on the side of his well-worn boots and an image of the small calf flashed into his mind. Chago chuckled and raised his gaze to hers, his wry smile accompanied by a small shrug.

“Doing some farming?” She surveyed his overalls, her eyes bright with suppressed laughter.

“Ranching,” he corrected her.

“Hmmm. I'm afraid your recreational activities will have to wait.” She stood in front of him and craned her neck to meet his stare. “I have work for you.”

Dammit.
What now? They'd secured the first Seal only months before and stopped the Apocalypse. Where was his much-deserved vacation? He looked away and sighed. No point in arguing. “Yes, ma'am.”

“Walk with me.” Divinity stepped past him and out the door. Chago nodded and followed her into a cozy den with a lit fireplace.

“Archon escaped Sheol prison last night. One of the border angels spotted him in Gehenna this morning, but he eluded capture.” Her statement hung in the air between them like stealth drones, blasting a hole straight through his composure. If Archon had discovered a way out of Hades, they were all in trouble.

The last time he'd faced Lucifer's bastard offspring, the price had been his mate's life. He schooled his expression into practiced flatness, never betraying his rising dread. Shit. This could not be happening
.
He'd come here ready to tender his resignation, not to get involved in World War III. Too bad freewill wasn't part of his employment contract. He forced himself to ask the necessary question, but feared he already knew the answer. “What do you require of me?”

She poured two glasses of red wine from a heavy crystal decanter and passed one to him. “With Archon's escape, security for the second Seal has been compromised. I need you to guard it — her — for me. She's the keeper of War, you know.”

“Yes, I'm aware.” He took the glass and sank into a nearby leather chair. “And you assumed this mission would be my specialty?”

She was right, of course. Warfare was his expertise, but the last thing he needed were entanglements of any kind. One more reason his remote Montana ranch made the perfect choice for his planned retirement. What woman in her right mind would follow him there? His tension eased a bit. “Who is she?”

“Your target's name is Irena Soldan. She works for the Omega Consortium.” Divinity's gaze narrowed as she relayed the information.

“The Omega Consortium? Aren't they the amnesty group?”

She nodded and her small grin spread.

He chuckled. “Damned near perfect cover, I'd say.”

“Exactly. She just completed a mission in Syria and will be returning to their headquarters in Dallas this afternoon.” Divinity finished her wine and set the glass on the desktop before moving to occupy the leather chair across from his. “Ms. Soldan works in close proximity with the consortium's leader, Drake Benedict. It may be hard for you to keep guard with him around. He's something of a loose cannon.”

Chago snorted. What else was new? Seemed every mission these days involved a loose cannon. He took another gulp of wine and didn't spare Drake Benedict a second thought. His real concern was Archon. Defeating him the first time had cost him dearly. Centuries later, he doubted the odds had improved.

Torn between his personal objectives and professional obligations, he tossed back the rest of his Madeira and prepared to venture into uncharted territory. Quitting his job wasn't allowed, so he resorted to bargaining instead. “What's in this for me?”

Divinity's lips tightened. “Besides immortality and having all your needs met?”

“You know what I want.” Chago slammed his empty glass down on the table and pushed from his chair to stand before the fireplace. The flames crackled loud, popping and hissing into a shower of sparks while the carved mantel creaked beneath the force of his grip. “If I complete this mission, I want full retirement from service.”

“Scion do not retire.”

Images flashed in his head — a rainy battlefield strewn with the carnage of his work; a smoldering village in ruins; Archon's sinister laugh as his mate's lifeblood washed away with the muck. Defiance blurred his vision. “Retirement is mandatory. I finish this for you and I'm done.”

Divinity sat back in her chair and studied him. After an eternity of seconds, she stood and clasped her hands. “Fine. But Archon must be eliminated.”

The answer both surprised him and set his nerves on edge. Her agreement had been quick and easy. Too easy. Still, she'd never lied to him. The knotted muscles in his shoulders relaxed. One last stand — he could do this. Chago straightened and crossed his arms, confident in his decision. “When do I start?”

“Today. Now.”

“I'll need to get ahold of Hank to babysit the herd while I'm away.”

“Babysit?”

He ignored her questioning look and moved to a private corner of the den to make the call. His discreet ranch foreman was more than accommodating and Chago issued silent thanks for the man who never questioned his strange disappearances and lengthy sabbaticals from farming. A few moments later, he clicked off the phone and strode back to his seat. “Done.”

“Good. Luther's been in Dallas since yesterday. You'll be rooming with him for now.” She tossed him a set of keys, a wallet full of ID and credit cards, and a passport.

“Wonderful.” His tone was less than enthusiastic. Chago stood to shove his new belongings into his pockets and closed his eyes, resigned to his current fate and prepared for transport. He hated flashing almost as much as he detested crowds. The Scions' preferred travel method only served to remind him of his lost humanity. “I'm ready.”

“Um, Chago.” Divinity's sarcasm sliced into his concentration. He cracked open one eye and spied her wrinkled nose and mocking perusal. “You might want to change before you go.”

He glanced at his mud-encrusted cuffs and shrugged. “Fine. Where?”

One of Divinity's handmaidens appeared and directed him to a well-appointed room. Chago made quick work of a shower and pulled on the new clothes Divinity had left for him. He dressed fast and tucked the tails of the knit shirt into the waistband of his pants before checking out his duds in the full-length mirror set up against one wall — crisp khakis and a designer polo. His taste ran more toward faded jeans and a t-shirt or sweater. He turned side to side and made sure his attire covered the important parts before he left.

The den was empty upon his return, so he strode across the foyer and into the large marble hall again. Entering, he found Divinity standing before the enormous screen that served as her headquarter's beating heart. This time, his commander was also present. “Hola, Xander,”

BOOK: Seal of Surrender
3.12Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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