Congrats to Author TJ Michaels for making it to the Second Round of Selections for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest – 2013
The Silk Road. In ancient times it was a well-established trade route that began in China. But to Larien, it is the veiled entrance to the underworld where no human belongs.
Jayla Protegenu is as typical as they come. She owns a chain of gyms in the San Francisco Bay Area, enjoys popcorn-and-movie night with her two best friends and writes for her local paper. But that’s where ‘typical’ ends. As a child she learned to summon her guardian angels to keep at bay the things that prowled the night. An ability she’s kept secret all her life…until a Fallen angel answers her call.
Larien is not seeking redemption. He’s looking for the artifact that only Jayla can call power from. The woman has no idea of the extent of her abilities and he’s not about to teach her. However he is man enough to admit that this human has touched him, soul deep. And now that she is his to protect, his to love, when she’s taken Larien will search to the ends of the Earth to find her, from San Francisco all the way to…the Silk Road.
For a Fallen that has nothing but time, it is suddenly against him. And now he has to be the good guy? Damn.
His apartment building was warded against blood elves, unknown Shadow Priests and a few other beings. Luckily, he had a nice spell in place that would tell him what he was dealing with. Hopefully it would buy him enough time to figure out what to use to fight them. Or banish them. Bind them. Something. Anything!
Not bothering with the elevator, Talan walked calmly across the lobby of his building to the stairwell, quietly closed the door behind him and then tore down the steps at a dead run. Adrenaline spiked and his limbs seemed noodle-like. It felt like he was moving too slowly, drudging through wet cement, so he hopped the rails and jumped down to the next landing. Hallelujah for leasing the entire basement!
“Henjiru,” he whispered as he moved down the dimly lit hall toward his apartment door. Shadow magic filled the air as the spell unfurled deep in his belly and filled him to overflowing with power. The flask in his inside jacket pocket warmed in response to the magic’s call. He popped the cork, tipped his head back and grimaced as the contents splashed against the back of his throat and burned all the way down to his gut.
Bleh. Why do potions always have to taste like ass?
Apartment door securely locked behind him, he laughed, knowing it wouldn’t slow down whatever was behind him. Moments later the snap and hum of the revelation spell rang through him, setting his nerves a-sizzling with the knowledge of what it revealed.
“What the fuck?” Now he knew what tailed him, but he sure as shit wished he didn’t. Terror, thick and strangling, bubbled up in his gut. Fallen. Big-assed, mean demon Fallen? Most Fallen remained daemon and left his kind alone. If these had made the final leap to full demon, then that meant…
“Fukutsu!” he yelled. The Fortitude spell settled into place over his body just as the door flew off the hinges.
He steeled himself. Turned.
“Fuck!” Massive cement-gray skinned beings took him in with terrifying gazes. Their features were beautiful, flawless. Their builds symmetrically sculpted, like the statues he’d seen in the Polycleitus exhibit at the museum just last week. The blond one raised a hand and beckoned. It was like being wooed with sensuality and punched in the gut at the same time. The other, a dark-haired creature, had locks so silky-looking the urge to play in it was almost overwhelming. Until he smiled.
“Come now, human, this doesn’t have to be unpleasant,” said Dark Hair.
That voice. So seductive. Tempting. It almost made the lie believable as the words settled in between Talan’s ears and rang with a tangible hum. He took a single step toward the bearer of that melodic, beguiling sound then shook himself so hard his brains rattled in his head. No way in hell was he going to fall under their spell. If he was going to die, they were going to fucking work for it.
“What do you want?” But under his breath he mumbled, “embrace” and forced his muscles to relax as the healing poised just outside his skin, ready to do its job for the blows he knew were coming. “And what the fuck are you?”
Talan knew the answer, but still couldn’t quite believe it. Here in his house of all places.
“We want information about the Seal,” they said in unison.
And it wasn’t an act. He had no idea what they were talking about.
“We are aware you are acquainted with a Descendent, one who has knowledge of—”
And all hell broke loose.