This excerpt is part of our New Release Excerpt series where authors send us the first chapter of their new release so you- fans of paranormal romance fiction- can sample before you (hopefully) buy!
Release Date: March 20th, 2017
Andrew and Emily face their greatest challenge to date. The fourth demon Andrew must destroy is a country music singer who lives with her father in a well-protected location in California. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, they acquire security jobs for the celebrity. But when they discover the singer's dad is a demon and part of her current security team is well connected to the family, Andrew's task to kill the singer seems impossible.
Part of Emily's job is to select four attractive single women after concerts so the singer can party with them at a private spot. Emily suspects foul play and starts asking too many questions. Hoping to uncover the truth, Emily joins four fans on a ship. She quickly learns the singer has no intention of joining them.
As time passes, Andrew fears for the lives of Emily and the four women. After he seeks help, he realizes the risk involved in destroying demons is growing with each new one. Andrew longs to keep Emily safe, but to do so he must make a heartbreaking decision.
The door swung open suddenly. Troy stepped out with a menacing look. He grabbed Andrew’s arm and pulled it.
“I want you to see what was done to her because of you,” Troy snarled.
Andrew’s eyes widened as he walked into the room. Emily lay half naked on her stomach across the end of the bed with towels underneath her and one covering her ass. Her head faced Bill as he kneeled near the bed, wrapping her fingers to a stint. His bag containing all his medical supplies lay open not far from her head. Her eyes were closed as if she were sleeping.
“Look at the fucking mess.” Troy gestured at her back.
Deep slashes across her skin leaked blood. There were so many of them and they mixed into others. Small pieces of her flesh had been torn away. If he looked close enough he was certain small areas of her spine were exposed.
His knees weakened while nausea rose hot and fast. He reached to touch her, but Troy yanked his arm back.
“This is because of you. She is scarred for life. If she hadn’t been working with you, she wouldn’t have gotten hurt,” Troy yelled before he shoved his hands into Andrew’s chest.
Andrew stumbled back a step. He couldn’t take his eyes off the gruesome sight of Emily’s back.
“What is it going to take for you to see how dangerous it is to work with you? Death? Do you want to see her dead?” Troy’s furious tone brought Bill to his feet.
“Hey, do you two need to step outside?” Bill asked.
Troy poked at Andrew’s chest. “You’re a fucking dangerous man. If you continue to work with her, you will bring her more pain. You will get her killed. If you love her so much, you will be a man and walk away. She’s done enough to help you. Now think of her life for a change.”
His words struck Andrew deep in his heart. Emily had risked her life time and time again to help Andrew destroy demons. No matter how much he pleaded with her not to go alone or not to do anything that was dangerous, she would anyway. He hated to admit the truth, but Troy was right. As long as she was with Andrew, she would take chances. One day, her decision would cost her life.
Emily pulled the Jeep over to the side of the country road. Vast land stretched for miles on the right. A ten-foot concrete barricade painted in a cream color blocked all views to the property on the left. Cameras had been spread out over the length of the wall. Had there been razor-wire fencing at the top, the grounds would’ve looked like a prison facility.
“Well that’s interesting,” Andrew said, staring ahead from the passenger seat. He wore jeans and a light-blue t-shirt under his long- sleeved plaid button down. He’d rolled the sleeve up to his elbow on one arm. The other had been rolled two inches from his wrist to keep the demon’s name inked on his forearm hidden.
A large SUV had been parked near one side of the main gate. Sighing heavily, she debated what to do. There were only two entrances she’d found from driving by over the last couple of days. The one located on a side of the property was miles away and looked as secured as the central gate up the road. Both had cameras, barred gates, and devices sticking up from the ground to communicate with someone inside. Emily had planned to drive by the main entrance again until she’d noticed the vehicle parked near it.
“There’s someone standing outside.” Andrew leaned closer to the front window and narrowed his vision. “I think he’s holding something in one of his hands.”
The man by the entrance had short dark hair and wore a white shirt, army-style khaki pants, and a pair of combat boots. He had a weapon and other objects strapped to his belt while he held a clipboard in his hand. Shades hid his eyes. He had wide shoulders and a large muscular frame, bigger than Andrew’s fit body. If she had to guess, the person at the gate had served in some type of military service.
“What’s the color of his aura?” she asked. It wasn’t often she cared to know about the auras of other people, but his angelic ability might be useful this time.
“At least we know he might be a good guy.”
An early morning breeze flowed inside, brushing strands of Emily’s bangs. The tickling sensation prompted her to rub her forehead. She removed her shades and set them in the slot within the dashboard.
“I can’t believe the demon we’re after is a celebrity,” she said for the tenth time since they’d found out over two weeks ago. After they’d destroyed the last demon in Missouri, they’d stayed there to ensure there weren’t any lingering issues. The mini vacation from hunting demons had been more than enjoyable and way too short.
“I don’t like it any more than you do. It’s going to make my job a thousand times more difficult.”
“Compared to the other three demons you destroyed, I’d rank this one as the most challenging to get close to.”
He smiled at her and tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear. She’d apparently missed it when she’d tied her locks behind her head. “We’ll figure it out. We’re a great team. I have faith we’ll get the job done.”
“I don’t doubt we will, I just wish the people calling the shots in heaven would send you names of people that weren’t so damn difficult to get to.”
“She has to be pretty evil for the powers that be to put her name on my arm.”
Emily had found nothing on the web to indicate Annabelle Butler, rising country music singer, had ever committed any crimes or hurt anyone. Through Emily’s research, she’d learned Christopher Butler owned acres and acres of the land behind the tall wall. He was the father to Annabelle. He also was a widow and manager of her music career. Annabelle’s mother had died of a drug overdose when Annabelle was eight. Annabelle had an older brother named Conner who liked to follow in his mother’s footsteps. Numerous articles on the Internet indicated he used drugs and enjoyed the party life. Emily wondered if Annabelle took drugs too, or maybe she dealt them.
“I hate this. We’re out here in the open.” She checked her rearview mirror and saw a dark vehicle approaching.
“We better do something soon,” Andrew said. “The guard is bound to get suspicious.”
“We could always drive up and ask for directions to the nearest town. We can say we took a wrong turn and got lost.”
“That sounds so made up considering how far we drove to get here.”
“Can you think of anything better?”
She pressed her lips together and gazed at the mirror outside her door. The black sedan heading toward them had an SUV behind it in the distance behind. “Now this is strange.”
“What?” He twisted to look out the back. “Well, at least we’re not the only one on this road.”
“Yeah, and there’s another vehicle behind that one coming this way.”
The sedan passed by them and continued toward the entrance of the property. The car’s brake lights illuminated as it slowed. The dark vehicle turned and then stopped in front of the open gate. The man standing outside approached the car as the driver’s window lowered.
“Interesting,” she said.
The driver and the passenger handed something small to the guard. As he studied the small item, he lifted the clipboard and started writing on it. After he finished, he returned the object to the driver. The dark-haired man stepped back while he pointed toward the property. As the sedan drove forward, the guard removed a walkie- talkie from his belt.
“I bet he checked the driver’s ID,” Andrew said.
“Let’s see if this SUV stops too.” She tapped her fingers on the lower part of the steering wheel as they waited. The engagement ring and wedding band Andrew had bought for her at a pawnshop in Missouri clanked softly. She’d enjoyed playing the role of his wife so much she’d yet to remove the rings.
The SUV passed by so fast the Jeep swayed a tiny bit. The driver turned toward the entrance of the property. Similar to the previous car, the occupants handed the guard something. The dark- haired man made a note before handing the items back.
“Okay, something is going on behind that concrete wall,” Emily said.
“I think we should drive up and find out. Maybe we can get inside.”
“What if he asks why we showed up?”
“We say we’re for the event. It’s a vague answer that could mean anything. Does it really matter? The worst thing the guard can do is tell us to drive away.”
Andrew had a point. Unless they gunned the Jeep toward the entrance, she doubted the guard would pull his weapon on them. He seemed to be standing around to check in people. If Emily or Andrew weren’t on any list, then the guard would send them away.
Another black vehicle approached from the opposite direction. Unlike the other sedan, this one had tinted windows.
Emily pointed at the front window. “What do you want to bet that car pulls up to the entrance too?”
“I’d bet you’re right.”
Together, they watched the car stop at the entrance. The driver spoke to the guard.
Emily checked her mirrors again. “There’s a shiny SUV heading this way.”
“We should drive up and see what’s going on.”
“All right, but I’m waiting until this SUV passes.”
“Maybe there’s some big party later and everyone showing up are the servers to get things ready. I can pretend to be a waiter for a while. What about you?”
In New York, she’d pretended to be a hooker to help Andrew get close to the demon to destroy it. In Springfield, they portrayed a married couple and he worked as a nurse since the demon was also a nurse. If she had to act as a waitress this time she’d do it, but the role might push her patience.
“I can do it, but I don’t think I’d make a good waitress. I can’t handle dealing with complaints about food,” she said.
“I bet you’d look cute in a little waitress uniform.” He raked a hungry gaze down her body.
Smiling, she rolled her eyes. She didn’t need to guess where his naughty thoughts were straying. The angel loved to kiss and touch her, along with other things. And she was more than willing to let him.
Emily shifted the gear as the vehicle drew nearer. “Great, we haven’t even gotten jobs as servers and you’re already finding a way to get up my dress and into my panties.”
“You read my mind.”
“No, I just know you too well.”
“Admit it, you want me in your panties.”
She warmed at the thought. “I admit it, I want you deep inside me. But first we have to make it past the guard. Can you hold off for a while?”
He fidgeted in his seat while he slipped his hand underneath his shirt. “Damn it woman, you got me all hard again. Stop teasing me.”
She chuckled as the shiny SUV flew by. “Better settle down because we’re going now.”
She waited until the vehicle turned toward the entrance before she steered back onto the road. Whatever was going on, she hoped they could get involved.
After the SUV drove past the entrance, the guard turned his attention to Emily’s Jeep as she steered toward him. He watched and waited as she brought the car to a halt. She lowered the window as the bulky man approached.
“Hello,” she said.
“Are you here for the tryouts?” the guard asked, looking from her to Andrew.
“Yes,” Andrew answered in an instant.
“Both of you?”
“Yes,” Emily said.
“Can I see your IDs please?”
Andrew pulled his wallet out of his pocket while she reached behind his seat and into her purse in the back. She fished out her billfold and set it on her lap. Andrew handed her his card. After she removed her identification, she took his and handed both to the guard.
“Reynolds. Are you two married?” he asked as he studied the IDs.
“Yes,” Andrew said before she could answer.
While the guard wrote on his clipboard, she looked at the angel sitting beside her. He hadn’t shaved in a couple of days, so he had a dark overgrowth on his face to match his short dark locks. He looked ever so sexy with his new look. Legs slightly parted, he had his hands on his muscular thighs. Apparently he’d enjoyed the role of a married couple too since he had the band still on his finger.
“Here you go,” the guard said, jerking her attention back to him. He handed the cards back to her. “My name is Matt. I work here and will be conducting the tryouts.” He pointed past the open gate. “You’ll want to follow the road and stay to the left. Stop at the large white building with several other vehicles parked near it. Go inside and wait. Don will answer any questions you have.”
“Thanks Matt,” Emily said as she handed Andrew’s card back to him. She quickly slipped her identification back into her billfold before she dropped it into her purse behind Andrew’s seat.
“Good luck.” Matt stepped back from the Jeep.
Emily accelerated past the gate and continued down the dirt road.
“That was easy,” Andrew said as he pushed his wallet back into his pocket.
“Tryouts for what?”
“Like I said, maybe they need servers so we have to show them our skills.”
She followed the path and stayed to the left when another branched off from it. The white building was easy to spot, especially with all the dark cars. It seemed strange servers would drive such nice vehicles.
“Don’t you think it’s odd the owners of these SUVs and other nice cars would be here for server training?” she asked.
“Not all of them are nice. The car with the Nevada plate has a dent in the trunk.”
“You get my point.” She slowed to park next to one of the SUVs.
“It’s unusual, but we made it this far. Don’t worry, we’ll get through this.” He gave her a confident grin. “You’re good at planning and I’m good at winging things. I can handle this.”
She had to admit they made a great team. They balanced each other out well. “Okay, husband, let’s see what we’re trying out for.”
They left the cool confines of the Jeep. The bright rays from the California sun warmed her arms within seconds. According to the weather application on her cell, the forecast had called for hot and sunny in Borrego Springs. The short-sleeve blue shirt and jean shorts she’d dressed in would keep her comfortable in the heat. Emily caught up to Andrew at the front of the car.
“Not bringing your purse?” he asked as they headed for the door.
“Nah.” She pressed the button on the keychain, securing the Jeep’s alarm and locks. “We seem to be on safe property. I think it will be fine in the car.” She slid the key into her pocket.
“I wouldn’t consider the home of a demon safe,” he said in a softer voice.
“Well no, but I don’t think she’ll steal from us. She has plenty of money.”
He stopped at the door and opened it for her. She stepped into a small entryway before meeting another set of doors. Andrew tugged the handle on one for her. When she stepped inside, the eyes of nine large men turned to her. What the hell had she walked into?