Genre: Paranormal Thriller with Romantic elements
Word Count: 40,000
Cover Artist: Deb Sanders
What would you do if the future of mankind depended on whether you lived or died?
Reyna Blair has learned two things from life – she can tolerate a lot of pain and wounds aren’t always visible. After a stint in the army, she’s ready to drop off the grid and heal. A job as Peace Officer in the small community of Purgatory, Texas sounds like the perfect solution – until the town is rocked by a gruesome murder.
When sexy Texas Ranger, Ty Carter, steps in to help with the investigation, Reyna is both thrilled and annoyed. He’s nice to look at and a definite boost to her sagging ego, but his aggressive ambition might push her right out of a job. To make matters worse, she’s being stalked by a mysterious stranger with a sword that can burst into flames on command.
Reyna’s problems are only beginning. The stranger is an angel of God . . . an Enforcer . . . sent to eliminate a Nephilim woman prophesized as giving birth to the Antichrist. Realizing she’s the target, Reyna must flee or be killed. Along the way, she discovers dark secrets which alter her world forever, challenge her faith, and force a choice between life and death.
*** This story uses a biblical theme but includes scenes with graphic violence and strong language.
“Reyna . . .”
She turned away to hide the sting of tears building behind her eyes. “Get out of here, okay? I'm tired. It's been a long day. I think we've talked enough - unless you want to tell me about John Doe.”
Max took a deep breath and held it, as if weighing his options. “He was Nephilim, part of a larger group congregating in the area. He led me to you.”
Reyna returned the bottle of alcohol to the freezer before spinning around. A chill fell over her and it had nothing to do with the icy beverage she’d just consumed. “Was his name Darius?”
“Yes. How did you know?”
“Someone told me in a dream. Someone who died in the war yet managed to come back with a message.” It sounded crazy but no more crazy than the things this man was saying. “Are you Nephilim, too?”
“But I am?”
Reyna steadied her voice. “Did you kill Darius?”
“Yes. It was necessary.”
The blood drained from her face. Reyna remained rooted to the floor, unable to move. Max had confessed to murder. She stared at him, a firestorm brewing inside her. His demeanor appeared calm, as if they were discussing the weather. She glanced at her pistol, wondering how to reach it before he realized her motive.
“What do you want with me?”
“I'm not sure. Things have changed.” Lines formed across his wide brow. “I'm an Enforcer, sent to control a situation that no longer exists.”
“And this situation involves me?”
“Who sent you?”
“I'd rather not say,” he murmured, glancing away.
Had she somehow been given confidential data during her stint in the army, and now this Special Ops agent wanted it back? It was the only scenario that made sense. Perhaps the Nephilim were a covert organization trying to overthrow the government. But why would Max think she was part of it?
Reyna stalled, trying to come up with a plan that didn't include battling a man with a flaming sword. When in doubt, bluff. She drew herself up to full height. “You’ve confessed to murder. I have to arrest you.” She pulled handcuffs from her belt, hoping he would step away from the counter long enough for her to reach her gun.
He cocked his head to one side. “Arrest me?”
“Put your hands behind your back. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say . . .”
The back door burst open, startling Reyna so much, she dropped the handcuffs on the floor. A man stood in the entrance. He dressed like Max . . . and the other man she’d killed . . . but his expression was more ferocious. The long coats, military style boots, and swords must be a uniform of some kind.
“I'm here for the girl,” he growled as Max stepped forward. “She belongs to us.”
“You cannot have her. She is of no use to you.”
The man uttered a harsh laugh. “Your God apparently doesn't know everything. He sends a single angel to fight a war that's been building for a millennium. This is our time, Enforcer. Run back to your Lord and take shelter behind His throne. We'll be coming for you. We'll be coming for all of you.”
Reyna froze, unable to comprehend what she was hearing. Max slowly extracted his sword from the sheath, swirling it above his head in a wide arc. Flames burst from the blade's edge as he steadied his stance. She wanted to run but fear, and an overwhelming curiosity, kept her motionless.
Max took a step forward, positioning himself in front of her. “There's no reason to wait, Nephilim. I'm here. God's will be done.”
The man threw back his coat, withdrawing his own sword. He leapt toward Max but his lunge met empty air. Max sidestepped and swiveled, sending the edge of his white hot blade slicing through the man's side. Blood sprayed across the room as the Nephilim fell to the floor.
Max straddled the injured man, staring into his eyes. “May God have mercy on your soul.” With a quick plunge, he drove the tip of his sword into the man's chest, slicing it open. Seconds later, his hand reached inside the cavity and pulled out his heart.
“Oh . . . damn . . .” Certain she was going to vomit, Reyna stumbled for the door and threw herself down the steps, half crawling into the yard before collapsing on the ground. The brutal scene played over in her mind.
She couldn’t believe it. Max ripped out a man's heart . . . the same manner in which he’d killed John Doe. Bits and pieces of conversation spun around her like dust from a prairie twister. God . . . angels . . . flaming swords . . . She closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
I'm hallucinating. The new meds are making me see things. None of this is real. It can't be.
“But it is, Reyna.”
She jumped as her eyes flew open, scooting backwards from the tall man looming over her. “Stay away from me.”
“I can't. I'm indebted. You killed a Nephilim to save me.”
“It was self-defense.”
“As was this man's death.”
Her eyes widened. “You cut the heart from his chest. What kind of sadistic pervert does that?”
“It was necessary. The Nephilim have developed a drug that regenerates cells in damaged bodies, making them stronger than the original form. A super being, you might call it. Removing his heart was the only way to stop him.”
Reyna tucked her knees into her chest and started rocking. Wrapping her arms around her legs, she buried her face against her jeans. It was too much. Too much. She fell backwards into a merciful black abyss.
I’m an adventurer – more by destiny than design. I’ve explored the back roads and highways of 35 states, resided in eight, and traveled through parts of Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas. My journeys have provided interesting tidbits which I’ve managed to weave into scenes for some of my books.
When I’m not in front of my computer, you might find me perched atop a rock at the back of a box canyon, crouched low in the middle of a dry creek bed with camera aimed at a majestic Elk, or perhaps hanging onto a skiff after a whale has breached next to me. At other times, I’ll be Geocaching with grandsons or attempting a new project inspired by something I’ve discovered on Pinterest.
Not all wanderers are lost. Some of us prefer to throw away the map and meander through life on the road less traveled.
I physically reside in North Carolina with my husband, Golden Retriever and two rescue cats. My soul resides in Arizona.