Hey guys, I’ve been so wrapped up in plotting the next Forged Bloodlines book, I sort of forgot to post some of the usual things I do for a new book out, in this case Mercy for the Fallen. It’s out on Smashwords now, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and we’re working on getting the print copy formatted today, so I thought I’d share an excerpt for those of you who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy yet.
This scene takes place in the middle of the night, right after Mercy’s had a very vivid dream about Adam.
The sound of my name had me sitting bolt upright in bed. All at once I knew it’d been that voice pulling me from the intense dream. And it wasn’t Adam’s voice at all, it was Gabriel’s. The voice only I could hear as Clarion.
“What is it?” Parker murmured, his head lifting from the pillow when I swung my legs out of bed.
“I have work to do.”
“Now? It’s the middle of the night.”
“Somehow I don’t think that matters to them.” I pointed skyward.
“Oh, that work.” He sank back against the pillow, his arm falling across his forehead. I knew he didn’t like it when I went off on these things. I’m not sure what he thought went on, but it was mostly like being an errand girl. I had to relay a message to someone. Usually another angel, but sometimes to a human and I got to play angel myself. That was kind of fun, I admit. But mostly it was boring, especially when it was for a gathering of angels and I had to act as translator for Gabriel.
“I’m sorry. Hopefully it won’t take that long.”
“Can’t you go in the morning?”
“I have to think it’s pretty important or he wouldn’t be calling me before the crack of dawn.”
“Merceline.” The call came again.
“I have to go, he’s waiting for me.” I wished I had time for a shower. I still felt tingly after that dream, and it was a little weird going to meet an archangel in my current state. I tugged on a pair of jeans and a long sleeved shirt, looking around for a scrunchie to pull back my tangle of hair.
“It’s just Gabriel though, right?”
“I don’t know. It might be a meeting, or it’s anyone’s guess.”
“But no Adam?”
So that’s what was bothering him. Ordinarily I might be a little annoyed, but the tail end of that dream still had my guilt kicked into high gear. I sat down on his side of the bed, my fingers brushing across the rasp of his cheek. “I highly doubt it. The Fallen are persona non grata at these things.”
Parker grabbed my hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. “Promise me you’ll be careful?”
“Always,” I smiled, cupping his cheek. “I love you.”
“Love you too, darlin’,” he smiled back, eyes closing with exhaustion. I sat there for long moments watching him sleep until I heard Gabriel’s call again and snuck out of there, shoes in hand.
I had no idea where to find Gabriel, but as I stepped out onto my back porch and unfurled my wings, I let instinct take over, trusting it to lead me in the right direction. Right off the bat I could tell he was in the city proper, not the park where I first saw him, or up in Heaven. Could I even hear him if he called me from Heaven?
The call sharpened my sense of direction, leading me to Smith Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the city. At that hour of the night the place was deserted, and it was easy to spot his golden glow on the observation deck on the thirty-fifth floor. The archangel Gabriel looked out over the slumbering city, a melancholy cast to his shoulders. Or maybe that was me reading my own emotions into it.
I came to a soft landing beside him, tucking away my wings so they wouldn’t get in the way. “Hey, Gabe, how’s it going?” I called out.
“It goes well, Merceline. Thank you for coming.” When he looked up at me, there was a smile of genuine pleasure on his lips, and no sadness lingered in his bright blue eyes. As with all angels, Gabriel was a good looking guy, with dark, wavy hair and broad shoulders, but there was always an air of gravity about him. It was nice to see him bust out a smile every now and then, and I worked hard to keep it there.
“And how’s the Big Kahuna?” I raised my eyes skyward, gratified to hear his deep chuckle.
“We would all feel it should He fare poorly.”
That was a scary thought. Was that where earthquakes came from? Did an upset stomach turn into volcanoes? Would an emotional funk send us rain for forty days and forty nights?
“So, what’s up? Who are we going to visit tonight? Is it a solo gig or another angel jamboree?” It’d been at least six months since the last one.
“I won’t be accompanying you tonight, and this is a… solo gig. You have only to pass along a message.” Once again I was struck by the sound of his voice, deep and even as though he spoke all the time. It was weird to think I was the only one who could hear him, even among angels.
“Okay, lay it on me. What’s the message?”
“You are to search out the Fallen and instruct him that his petition has been heard on high.”
That sounded interesting. “Which Fallen?”
“Sam sent a petition to Heaven? What for?”
“That is not for you to know. Simply instruct him thus – he is to begin his quest and speak of it to no man. Only God may judge when it has been completed, and only God will judge if he is worthy.”
“That’s it? That’s all you want me to say?”
“That is all. Do you accept the charge?”
“Sure, of course. No problem. I’m the man for the job.” I hadn’t once considered saying no to playing messenger of God. It might get old after a century or two, but for the moment, I still found it interesting. “I don’t suppose you know where he is though? He’s been sort of remote lately.”
“He lies within the Garden of Eden.”
“Ah… that explains it.” I supposed it was as good a place as any to get over a broken heart. Hadn’t Adam said he liked to go there and think sometimes? I couldn’t imagine a more peaceful place. “Alrighty then, I’ll pop over there and deliver the message. Anything else? Any other advice from on high?”
“That is all.” He smiled softly, his eyes turning skyward and I placed a hand on his arm before he could take off.
“Hey, before you go. I had this weird guy hanging outside my house. He said he’d been visited by an angel of the Lord. Is there any way to find out who talked to him, or if he’s a nutbar?”
“There have been no visitations from our side, I would have authorized it.”
“That’s what I thought. At this point I’m kind of thinking it came from the other place.” I pointed downward.
“It’s possible. He has appeared to many over the years to forward his own agenda.”
“This agenda involves recruiting an army to keep Eve safe.”
“That is most curious,” he frowned. “I shall take this under advisement.”
“What should I do in the meantime?”
“Try not to worry,” he smiled, giving me a kindly pat on the shoulder. There is nothing in prophecy to indicate she will come to any harm while she remains a child.”
“Whoa, back up a sec – but not when she grows up?”
A pained look flit across his face. “I must go.”
“Wait… I’d like to hear these prophecies that have to do with my daughter.”
“Fear not, Merceline. The future remains uncertain.” With that he launched himself into the air, moving so fast he disappeared from sight within the space of a few seconds.
The future remains uncertain. Swell. Why didn’t that inspire confidence? I did feel better about the chance to see Sam again, only now I had to figure out how to get to Eden. I had a way to get there, of course, but it’d been three years since my one and only trip there, and I wasn’t sure I knew exactly how to get back there again.
Of course there was one person who knew the way. One person who probably wouldn’t mind if I called him at zero dark hundred either.
I wasn’t using this as an excuse to call Adam.
I had a legitimate need. At least that’s what I told myself as I pulled the scrunchie out of my hair and finger combed my dark tresses. Instead of calling for Adam into the air, I tried the old fashioned way, with my cell. I didn’t want to give him the impression it was an emergency and that way if he was busy, I wouldn’t be disturbing him.
He answered after the first ring though. “Late night taco run? I’m in.”
“Do you always answer the phone that way?”
“At this time of night? Yes, tacos are always the right answer.”
“I do have a job for you, but it’s a touch farther than Taco Bell.”
“Keep talking.” I could hear the interest in his voice.
“How do you feel about playing tour guide?”
“Where are we headed?”
“I’m on my way.”
“Wait, I’m not at home.”
“Even better. Where are you?”
“At the top of Smith Tower.”
If he was surprised by my location, he gave no sign of it. “That’s a good a place as any to watch the sun come up. I’ll be right there.”
“I’ll be waiting. Oh, hey, Adam?”
“Bring some tacos with you, okay?”
“That’s my girl.”