CRIMSON SIN

Crimson-Sin-3D-web-whiteBook 1:

An angel girl with a destiny.

Spike.

The feisty Crimson Sin guitarist with commitment issues, a werewolf best friend and a penchant for partying. She’s a nephilim, half human and half angel. Like all undecided nephilim, she has to choose: serve the light or the dark. 

Rowen.

The intriguing bass player who catches Spike’s eye even though he’s her competition in the annual Battle of the Bands contest. He’s also an undecided nephilim and he doesn’t even know it.

Arrow.

An arrogant, drug dealing frontman. A dark nephilim, it’s his job to recruit Rowen for the dark and Spike is getting in his way. But there’s something he doesn’t know about Rowen. Something the dark has been keeping from Arrow.

When Spike and Arrow go head to head in more than just music, blackmail and secrets exposed challenge Spike to accept what she most fears: that she belongs in the battle between light and dark.

 

 

This series is a spin off from the Alexa O’Brien Huntress series, though each series stands on its own. Alexa fans can expect some light crossover action while new readers can jump in without having to read Alexa first.

 

Coming February 13, 2015

 

Available for preorder at:

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Urban Fantasy
Editor: B. Leigh Hogan
Cover artist: Michael Hart

Chapter One

Many ages ago one of the greatest of offences was committed by a faction of God’s angels. They became enchanted by the women of man and took many of them as lovers. The results of these illicit unions were hybrid offspring. Abominations. The nephilim.

Blessed with the gifts of their angelic fathers but cursed with the mortality of their human mothers, the nephilim are offered a choice: live a human life or take your place among your father’s kind by serving either the light or the dark. Sounds simple enough. If only it were.

Those nephilim that chose to live as human were stripped of their gifts. And then they were hunted and killed. The angels of the dark, the demons, wouldn’t stand for rejection by those they considered to be rightfully theirs.

The undecided nephilim were also an unfortunate bunch. The gift of free will meant being able to make one’s own choice. Because of this the undecided were heavily sought after by the dark. Lucky me. I was one of them.

****

“I’m on my way, Jett. Soon. I promise. I just have something to take care of first.”

I did my best to reassure my best friend, Jett Savage, that I wasn’t ditching out on practice. Our band had been selected to participate in the annual Battle of the Bands event held by the local rock radio station, The Fox, at The Spirit Room. Jett had been a real drill sergeant about it since we’d gotten the good news.

“What could be more important than being ready for the first night of the competition? We’re the only chicks playing this thing, Spike. We have to wipe the floor with those guys.” The sound of a lighter being flicked was followed by a deep exhalation of breath as Jett lit a cigarette.

I bit back a curse when a man, rushing down the sidewalk past me, almost knocked me into the street. Clutching my phone tight, I said, “Since when do you worry about being better than the boys? We rock as hard as any of them do.”

A glance at the street sign on the corner revealed that I was just a block away from my destination. I wasn’t really sure what the hell I was doing. Apparently I was following the orders of an angel who enjoyed giving the vaguest descriptions ever.

“Chicks always have to prove themselves in these male-dominated industries. It’s fucking bullshit.” Her tone dripped acid. I knew her dark eyes would be flashing with the fierceness of her wolf.

“Tell me about it. Try being a female nephilim. I’m sick to death of hearing how rare and special I am. Special? What the hell does that even mean?” Having a werewolf for a best friend meant I could say such things.

“I know, right?” The slam of a car door echoed in the background. “I’m heading over to the jam space now. Don’t be late, or it’s your turn to buy booze.”

She hung up before I could toss a quip back at her. Just as well. She was distracting me anyway. I stuffed the phone back into my cute little purse. It was a heart with black bat wings, one of my favorites.

Turning my attention back to the street ahead, I scoured the people milling about, searching for the woman I’d been sent to find. According to Cinder, I would know her when I saw her: red hair, provocative clothing, a working girl. She was in trouble, and I was here to try to encourage her not to make a huge mistake, one that could cost this woman her life.

I was putting a lot of trust in Cinder here. He insisted I could do this.

Sure, that was easy for him to say. He was an angel. What came easily to him did not come so easily to me, especially the confidence needed for such a task. I wanted to help though. Really, I did. Growing up being able to see and feel angels and demons had made it impossible for me to live in ignorance of their ways. Officially I had yet to pick a side to serve. I did my share of bad shit on a daily basis, as we all did, so I always jumped at a chance to help Cinder when I could.

He was a good friend. He’d been there for me when I thought I was losing my mind in the hard teen years. When I hit my twenties, joined a rock band, and started partying way too hard, he was still there. He still believed in me. And I didn’t want to let him down.

I slowed as I drew closer to my destination. Scanning the street, I didn’t see anything amiss. A convenience store on the corner was relatively busy as was the liquor store next door.

This wasn’t the best part of town, and soon a john pulled up beside me. “Looking for a date?” barked the middle-aged guy in the minivan.

I barely repressed a shudder. My gaze went to his hand where there was a very obvious wedding ring indent. The car seat in the backseat made me want to vomit. Cinder always said it wasn’t our place to judge, but how the hell could I not?

“Hell no,” I said with a sneer. “And you shouldn’t be either from the looks of it.”

I nodded toward the empty car seat. The guy looked momentarily embarrassed, then he scowled and flipped me his middle finger before speeding off with a screech of tires.

I glanced down at my attire, wondering if I looked like I was selling myself. A black, knee-length skirt paired with a Halestorm tank and black, knee-high boots summed up my rocker-chick look. It was badass, and I was offended that he’d seen it as an advertisement.

“Says more about you than it does about me, buddy,” I muttered beneath my breath.

Then I saw her, a ginger-haired woman that looked to be a few years older than my twenty-four years. She wore a tiny, tube-like dress that barely covered her ass. Leaning against a bus shelter, she stared into a small makeup mirror and reapplied bright red lipstick.

Nerves stopped me in my tracks. What the hell was I supposed to say to her? Cinder had only told me that I needed to encourage her not to get into a black sports car without infringing upon her free will.

I took a few deep breaths, but my heart pounded hard inside my chest. This sure hadn’t been how I’d expected to start my evening when I rolled out of bed this afternoon. Being self-employed made it way too easy to stay out late with Jett and the girls. Sleeping the day away was such a waste, but it felt so good.

Fear of failure made my mouth dry. Too many what-ifs danced through my head. The worst kind of fear starts with “what if…” So I took another deep breath and started toward her.

My plan was to engage her in conversation. What to do from there, I had no clue.

Before I reached her a black car pulled up to the curb beside her, ignoring the fact that it was bus parking only. She eyed the driver who leaned over to speak to her through the passenger window. When he passed whatever silent test she was putting him through, she sauntered over to talk to him.

I quickened my pace, ready to break into a full-out run if I had to. I reached her as she grabbed for the door handle.

“Wait, please,” I gasped, skidding to a stop beside her. “I need to talk to you.”

She looked up in surprise, which quickly turned to hostility. “Who the hell are you?”

I wasn’t sure what to say. The man inside the car looked pensive, trying to decide if my appearance was a good or bad thing. However, it was the demon, standing a few feet away and watching, that made the blood rush from my face.

Nobody else could see him, but he knew damn well that I could. The fact that I could see him meant that he was a lower-level demon. I couldn’t see the higher ups unless they wanted me to. However, that didn’t make him any less dangerous than the others. He stood there waiting to see what I would do. With arms crossed and black wings tucked in against his back, he wore a mask of malice.

“I’m Spike,” I said. “I was sent here to talk to you. Can I buy you a coffee? Or a drink?”

Her gaze narrowed in suspicion. “Who sent you?”

“A friend. You don’t know him, but he knows you, and if you will just trust me—”

“I don’t know who the fuck you are, but you better get the hell off my corner before I gut you. Tell your friend to fuck off.” She elbowed me aside and opened the car door.

I grabbed hold of her arm and jerked her back. It was desperate. Maybe I was crossing a line, but I panicked. She whirled around to give me a shove, but I stood my ground, refusing to let go.

“Get the hell off me, bitch.”

We scuffled there on the sidewalk in front of a john and a demon. She tried to shake me off, but I wouldn’t let go. Pleading with her to listen only made her angrier. The demon was laughing, enjoying my impending failure.

When the scuffle began to attract the attention of passersby, the guy in the fast car sped off. I was elated to see him go, so much so that I wasn’t ready for the fist that pounded my face.

“Bitch, do you know how much money you just cost me? That was a well paying trick you just chased away.” The woman didn’t look tough, but she knew how to throw a punch.

I backed away before she could hit me again. I tasted blood and discovered it came from a gash on the inside of my lip.

“Look, I just wanted to help. I’m sorry but if you would just let me explain—”

She hissed, “If I ever see your face down here again I’ll curb stomp it until you’re unrecognizable.” With a glance at those watching our exchange, she spun on a stiletto heel to storm away.

“Come on, Gina, please. Just listen to me.” The name popped out of my mouth unbidden. It stopped her in her tracks.

She turned back to me, her eyes wide. “How do you know that name?”

I had no friggin’ clue. I was as shocked as she was. “I told you, I was sent by a friend.”

My words had the opposite effect of what I intended. Rather than calm her, they only seemed to rile her up even more. The demon drew closer. His black eyes were like two sunken pits as he studied us closely.

“I don’t know who sent you, but you can tell them to stay the fuck away from me. I want to be left alone.” Gina’s shout was shrill. Clutching her tiny handbag tight, she made an awkward retreat, walking backwards until she was far enough away to turn and run without me at her back.

She wouldn’t get much speed out of those high heels, though I had no intention of giving chase. I’d been told to try to keep her from choosing to get in the car, and I’d done what I could. Cinder had said that sometimes our lives were steered in certain directions by higher powers because it was best for us, even though we often couldn’t see that until after the fact.

I watched her go, and the demon watched me. When there was nobody within earshot, I acknowledged him. “You don’t intimidate me.”

“I don’t need to,” he replied with a voice as smooth and creamy as soft butter. “That wasn’t my job.”

Intimidation certainly seemed to be their job most times I encountered them. “Your job was to make sure she got into the car?”

“No. Merely to make sure she had the choice.”

The lack of emotion on his face was unnerving. He exuded this eerie calm that made my palms tingle, which they only did when I felt defensive and was about to use my occasionally useful angelic gifts. The last thing I wanted to do was throw down with a demon though his threatening proximity made me wary.

His admittance made it all sound so simple. Perhaps it was. He’d come to exploit a broken woman’s free will, knowing it could end in death.

“I had a job to do too,” I said, though I wasn’t feeling particularly thrilled about my victory. It felt like a blundered outcome. The look on Gina’s face when I’d said her name came from a place of secrets and horrors. I felt sad for her.

The demon stared down his angular nose at me and smiled. “Yes, well, sometimes when you win, you lose.”

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