As a Seer, Isla's ability has made her an eternal captive of a crimelord of the paranormal. Ransom, a Fae assassin, offers her a chance to escape, but when she touches his hand she can see only horror, blood and the end of days. Why does Ransom want to rescue her? Is it possible she can put her trust in a man whose pupose is to deal in death?
The complete novel, Revelation, will be available soon. In the meantime, please take a look my other novellas: 'Devil's Eye' and 'Forsaken By Shadow'.
The city was burning. Ash drifted down like snow, blanketing the cracked pavement, mixing with the blood that leaked from broken bodies strewn in the street, on the sidewalks. In the distance the thunder of mortar shells competed with choruses of screams cut short before their crescendo.
Across the street a pack of vampires dragged a pair of women--mother and daughter by the look of them--down the steps of a smoldering brownstone, fighting and arguing with every step over who had rights to the kill. No one stopped to help. They were too busy running for the overturned cars that barricaded either end of the block, clamoring, climbing to escape this nightmare.
All around her creatures that should have lived in the dark, in the night, or on the fringes of the human world were running amok. In the broad light of day. The dregs of Mirus society had erupted, and the ignorant, foolish humans were paying the price.
A shadow blotted out the sun, and she looked up to see a dragon, glittering black wings extended in a magnificent show of strength as it hovered a dozen feet above the street. It inhaled, armored chest expanding before it opened its enormous mouth and rained fire over every living thing, Mirus and human.
Isla did not feel the burn, but that didn't stop the bite of fear as she watched more people swarm in. Fae soldiers with flashing blades took formation against a small army of goblins and trolls. A pride of Felis and a pack of Wylk
flanked the other side, tearing through the disorganized ranks of underworld creatures with vicious claws and fangs.
Blood, so much blood.
The sound of mortar shells drew nearer until she could see the tanks of the human military beyond the barricade of vehicles, surrounded by soldiers kitted out for urban warfare. They were being picked off along either side by creatures Isla didn't even recognize. As she watched, a broad-shouldered, white-faced soldier went down under a mass of razor-studded tentacles, the spray of blood soaking his nearby companions.
A voice rose upon the air, overpowering the sounds of violence with a language of the ancients. Isla looked up to the rooftops and spotted a robed figure, arms raised to the heavens. In a sharp, divisive motion, he brought his hands down and apart. The ground trembled and split. Trolls and goblins screeched as they fell into the pit, and other fighters scrambled back to the relative safety of the edge to continue fighting. Backs turned, they didn't see the beasts that emerged behind them, clawing, crawling, decimating everything in their path.
The staccato pop of automatic weapons announced the arrival of the military on the scene. Some of the citizens they were allegedly protecting went down in the spray of bullets. A young boy fell, motionless, across the body of a wraith. The dragon bellowed, rising up above the chaos to lay waste to the barricade and unleashing the paranormal hell on the last hope of the human race.
Isla stared up at the Hunter with after-images of blood and death still flickering in her eyes as she clasped his big, rough palm between both of hers. He returned the gaze, eyes cool and dispassionate. They were the color of his blade, she thought foolishly. The glinting gold of tempered bronze. Being Fae, he wouldn't use steel.
She fought down the nausea and struggled not to fling his hand away like a rat. Squeamish little girl was not her role here. He was an assassin. Not the first she'd encountered, nor would he be the last. Her father's was a bloody business, and he depended upon her skills as a Seer to make careful estimation of the success of his campaigns before they were even launched. That meant regular contact with some of the deadliest, most feared denizens of the Mirus world.
Isla blinked at the barked demand, brain scrambling to concoct a lie--a suitable vision that would mislead, yet carry enough truth to be believed so that she was not blamed for the failure. She came up with nothing, still too rattled by the true vision to think, to play the deadly game of deception.
"I. . ." She tore her gaze from the Hunter's, searching blindly for inspiration somewhere in the echoing marble space of the throne room. It wasn't really a throne room, but the man she called father ruled from here like the despot he was, so the name seemed fitting.
Bael stood by the empty fireplace, a vast Gothic monstrosity that had no purpose in south Florida. Though his bearded face betrayed nothing, a quiver of anticipation trembled down the length of his stocky body. It centered her, that unholy excitement. Renewed her purpose.
"A single man team will not get the job done," she pronounced, releasing the assassin's hand. Isla sensed, rather than saw, his curiosity at her statement. Curiosity instead of insult. The lack of overt response was disturbing. But then everything about Ransom was disturbing. She couldn't bring herself to look at him again.
Instead she focused on bolstering the lie. How many can I get away with? she wondered. "I see three. Members of your personal guard will have more success here. Cronan and Levi," she improvised. Might as well see if I can get rid of some of the worst of the lot. "The mission requires the strength of a Felis and the cunning of a skinwalker."
"And the third?"
"It is uncertain. Perhaps Ransom--" "I work alone," interrupted the Fae.
"--or perhaps another." It wasn't like Isla cared. She just wanted the Hunter away from her. As soon as possible.
Bael looked displeased, his mouth a narrow slash amid the dark of his beard. For a moment, Isla thought she'd gone too far, that she'd failed. Then he turned to Ransom, "It appears we no longer require your services."
The Hunter inclined his head in acquiescence and turned to leave. "For the record, I have never failed."
"Then you can thank my daughter for keeping your record intact."
Ransom's gaze flicked toward her, and Isla felt her blood run cold. Okay, pissing off an assassin by denying him the job. . .probably not the smartest thing you've ever done. She watched as a pair of her father's guards peeled away from their posts on either side of the entryway to escort the Fae off the estate.