Shades of Darkness ~ Excerpt
I’m so excited to have finished Shades of Darkness, Book 2 Redemption Series, that I had to post an excerpt! Sending it in to my editor today! 🙂
I’m attaching a pic of my inspiration for Haden, the new antagonist in my series you’ll love to hate!
Shades of Darkness
Three Years Later
“So, is it true?” Haden demanded, grabbing hold of Jace’s arm and pulling him into the tiny supply room tucked away in the back of the bar. He kicked the door closed with the heel of his boot and leaned against the frame to prevent any untimely interruptions. Too long he’d been waiting for this moment, too long he’d been searching for the “sighted” one. “Did you see her? Does she have it?”
Jace looked over his shoulder as if to make sure they were truly alone before answering. Turning back around, he nodded, “Yeah, it’s true.”
“You saw it then? You saw the stone?” Could it possibly be true? Was Immanuel’s Stone actually here, on Earth?
“I saw the stone,” Jace repeated.
“That’s fantastic! Have you told anyone else about it?” Haden stepped closer to his friend, casually sliding his arm around the demon’s heavily tattooed neck.
“No, only you, just like you said. Her warrior nearly killed me, though. I could hardly get close enough to her to see it. You know, for a minute there, I thought you’d sent me on a suicide mission.”
“I did…” Haden growled, grabbing hold of his arm circling the demon’s neck and jerked up with preternatural strength. The crunch echoed through the small room, and Haden released his old friend, watching as his lifeless body sagged to the floor. Shadows poured out beneath the demon, enveloping him in a thick, black mist.
“Sorry about that,” Haden said, stepping over the crumpled heap. “But to rise to the top, soldiers must fall.”
(The Great Flood)
Two by two, the last of the animals stepped onto the great ark as the heavy door slammed closed with a resolute bang echoing all the way up to the Heavens.
Angels watched in amazement as the first drops of rain began to fall upon the earth. Before this moment, the world had received all of its life-giving water from underground springs. Rumors of an impending flood had been passing through Heaven and Earth for months, but until this very moment, no one had ever witnessed this phenomenon called rain.
“It has begun,” Tate said, his voice rich with vindication. “God’s wrath will finally rid the world of its evil abomination. Soon, the daughters of Cain will wail in despair, for the Great Flood is upon them.”
“It’s unfortunate the fallen have forced the Father’s hand in this matter. They must realize a lineage of half-breeds would never be allowed to exist.” Unlike his brethren, Liam took no pleasure in knowing what terrible destruction would soon befall the Earth.
“Undisciplined and evil…” Tate grunted as the giant raindrops quickly gathered in strength.
Mahala stepped from the entrance of his home as a shadow swept across the land, chasing away the last glimpse of the sun. The woman he’d taken for his wife, Anisa, lay resting in the back room with their newborn son nestled snugly in her arms. Looking into the dark, ominous sky, a profound sense of impending doom washed over him as the first few drops of rain splattered lightly against his face. The crisp floral scent of Heaven touched his nostrils, stirring a deep ache of regret in his chest. As the falling moisture gathered in strength, the low rumble of thunder echoed somewhere in the distance, bringing with it a warning of the wrath to come.
His mind raced, rage and betrayal boiling up inside him. “How could He do this to us?” Mahala snarled, spinning around and storming back into his dwelling. As he entered their bedroom, his exhausted wife woke with a start.
“What are you doing?” Anisa asked, her voice groggy.
He charged forward, and her vibrant green eyes suddenly grew wide with fear. It killed him to do this to her, to their son, but there was no other way. “The boy,” Mahala demanded abruptly, steeling his heart against the grief that threatened to swallow him whole. “Give me the boy!”
“What’s wrong?” Panic filled her voice as Mahala pulled the newborn infant from her arms and wrapped a blanket around him.
The look of confusion and, God help him, betrayal that flooded his wife’s fear-filled eyes, tore his heart out. Each rapid beat crashed against his chest, a stabbing pain that took his breath away. “The end is near,” he managed to rasp past the lump in his throat. Turning away from his beloved and all he held dear in this world, he took their infant and ran into the downpour of cold, drenching rain.
“Mahala…!” his wife screamed. Her terror cut through him like razor blades. “Mahala! Come back!” her broken sobs resonated through the low, growling thunder. It was in that moment Mahala truly died—his flesh would soon follow.
Mahala looked down at the small bundle in his arms one last time before walking through the chamber doors of the Dark Court. Stiffening his resolve, he placed one determined foot in front of the other until he stood before the three lords of the underworld. My God, how things have changed… Once powerful, noble warriors, he would have proudly fought beside, and died for, any one of these three.
Now, seated before him in a throne room that stunk of sulfur and rotting flesh, he barely recognized his long-ago comrades, fallen and exiled for crimes of treason against their creator.
“Mahala,” Lorca greeted, his scratchy voice no doubt burned raw from the sulfurous gas hissing through the cracked rocks jutting up behind them. “It’s been a long time.”
In a moment of weakness, he nearly changed his mind. Every muscle in his body screamed for him to turn back and flee this hell. Surely the floods would be preferable to this. But Mahala was not ignorant to prophecy, and to return his son to Earth would be to condemn the infant to certain death.
“Come…tell us, what brings you before the Dark Court, and not empty-handed I see.”
“The Great Flood is upon us.” He looked from Lorca, who seated on the left, to Gahn, who sat on the right, and tried to avoid the piercing gaze of the disfigured abomination positioned in between them. The one whose beauty had once been beyond compare—the one was responsible for orchestrating this cluster fuck that ultimately led to one-third of the angels falling from grace.
“And what do you think we can possibly do about this?” Gahn asked.
“Nothing…nothing can be done! His will is in motion and we are all helpless to stop it!” desperation edging into his voice.
“So why are you here?” Lorca snapped.
“It’s my son.” Mahala held the small, delicate bundle up before the court. “I seek asylum for my son. The Nephilim race will be wiped from existence unless you save him.”
“And we should care why?” Gahn asked.
“Because…Nephilim are gifted. If given the chance, I am confident my son will serve the Dark Court well. Please, take the boy. If I return to Earth with him, he will surely die.”
The three sat there, motionless, contemplating his request. The seconds dragged by until finally, Gahn stood, stepping down from the throne. “Leave the boy,” he commanded with a dismissive wave of his hand. “The Nephilim shall be granted asylum as you requested.”
Mahala’s relief was short-lived. Dread quickly engulfed him as the ramifications of his actions slammed into him with wrecking force. He’d just made a deal with the devil in exchange for his son’s life—a life he’d just indentured to the lords of the underworld. Yet, unable to bear the thought of watching his flesh and blood die, he placed a kiss on the newborn’s forehead and laid the blanketed bundle on the ground before forcing himself to step away.
A shrill infant cry filled the chamber and Mahala froze. Every instinct inside him raged in protest to the injustice being wrought upon his innocent son. He looked back to see Gahn standing over the child, and thought, if for only a moment, he might have seen a softening in the demon’s coal black eyes as the infant’s pale green gaze stared back at him.
Gahn reached down to pick up the tiny bundle, his long, gnarled fingers circling the infant’s chest. Mahala forced himself to walk out the door, each step carrying him farther and farther from his infant son. He had no choice. This was the only way to ensure survival of the Nephilim race.
Mahala walked through the chamber doors and back to his mortal wife. She’d never forgive him—not for this, and not for God’s wrath which, even now, was pouring down upon them. But even if she did grant him that small mercy before her death, he knew he was to blame, they all were, and no amount of begging or pleading would absolve him of his sins. The fallen had been strictly forbidden to take mortal wives, and the children born of these unions were a cursed race. They had infected God’s beloved, and their day of judgment was finally at hand.