Excerpt from The Guardian
In keeping with updates on my work, I've decided to share snippets from my completed (and out for query) novel. The Guardian took me years to complete and I am very proud of it.
So, this weekend, have another piece of this novel I love so much.
Have a great Sunday!
Jon seemed to have noticed the change in her demeanor, stepping back as she approached as though he wasn’t sure to mark her in the friend or foe column. A quick sniff of the air around them brought her the pungent, unmistakable scent of sulfur so powerful it drowned out the Tao’s on her own breath and the musk of Jon’s cologne. The yellowish light reflecting on the glass pane of the kitchen door’s shaded window flickered before it faded, overtaken by darkness too thick for light to penetrate.
“Demon Dark.” Dover swore under her breath, palming her Sig Sauer from the holster at her right. “Shit.”
For a demon to follow a Guardian wasn’t all that uncommon, but having them cloak a structure holding a single angelic being in mystical darkness meant to dampen her power…that never happened. Conjuring such mist took concentration amongst the Legion.
Dover reached out grasping Jon by the open shirt front to tug him closer. Darkness butted up against the door, repelled by the layer of Dust she applied on arrival. She turned slowly, keeping Jon behind her as she surveyed the immediate area. As she did so, another deep inhalation brought her a secondary scent that sent a trickle of fear grasping at her heart.
Before she could properly react to that, a high, keening howl broke the stillness around them. Dover’s grip on Jon’s shirt tightened, balling the material in her fist.
While attempting to keep her breathing calm, Dover took a beat to identify the scents. Brimstone and sulfur were common in dealings with demons, but something more menacing lingered under the typical demonic flavors. Dover sampled decay and excrement on the air, as though someone had left a shit-covered corpse rotting in the sun for about a week. The aromatic air could only mean one thing: higher demons.
“Double shit.” Dover whispered. “We’re in trouble.”
“What? Why?” Jon asked, his voice rising with fear. “What the hell is going on?”
“Apparently me killing your date tonight didn’t send a strong enough message.” Dover pulled Jon to her, covering his mouth with her hand. Pure malice leaked into her Perception, forcing her to draw it back as the darkness marred her angelic grace.
Wind began to whistle around them, forcing the red shutters outside to bang against the house. Dover turned her attention to the line of Dust she’d laid at the door, inhaling a shaky breath when she noted grains were sliding out of place slowly.
“Dover?” Jon’s voice was muffled by her fingers, the fear still audible.
“We’re surrounded.” Dover replied.
They could not make it outside to the car. Dover might be able to fight a couple of hounds on her own, the mangy things could be difficult, but she’d taken on worse. Higher demons, though, Dover knew could call on an entire Legion. Even if she could get a call out to the Host for backup, they wouldn’t arrive in time, not through the darkness spreading all over the house. Jon would be chewed up and dragged to hell before she managed to get him to the car.
That left her only one option and the very idea of it scared her to the core.
Standing toe to toe with Jon, Dover dropped the hand covering his mouth as she re-holstered the Sig to her hip. She pulled him as close as she could, peering up into his eyes as he stared down at her with fear reflecting back at her.
“Jon, this is very important. I need you to trust me. Can you do that? Can you trust that I am here to protect you?”
Though there still shone confusion and no small amount of fear in those blue eyes, but Dover found herself astonished to note the faint glimmer of trust there as well.
Jon nodded once, reaching out to take Dover by the waist even as his Adam’s apple bobbed so hard as he swallowed that Dover wondered if he’d hurt himself.
“Yeah. OK.” Jon answered. “What do we do?”
Dover pressed herself closer, ammo belts and all, until she and Jon were touching. A glance to the side told her that the Dust had shifted almost enough to allow entry.
“Pull me close,” she replied. “As close as you can. Move only when I move and whatever you do, don’t let go. You’re going to want to let go, Jon, but don’t.”
Dover gave the instructions as she braced herself for what she had to do. Sliding alone required intense concentration and took a great toll on the body. Even after years of training, she avoided the entire thing if she could. Tonight, however, she’d been left with no choice but to Slide and take her Charge along with her.
Nothing could ever be easy.
Jon’s hands found a surer purchase on her hips, fingers looping through her utility belt to give him a better grip. Dover grasped Jon’s belt loops tightly, looking up at him as she tried to fix him in her mind. She wanted to keep him in the forefront of her thoughts, especially given what she was dragging her frightened, exhausted Charge into now.
Still, she had to get him out alive.
“Just hold on to me, Jon.” Dover repeated. “Don’t let go.”
“I won’t.” Jon said. “I promise.”
The wind surrounding the house howled, catching with it the baying of Hounds as they prowled beneath the windows. Dust took to the air as well, tickling Dover’s nose and forcing Jon to the beginnings of drowsiness.
Thrashing sounded at the door, making Jon jump. Dover closed her eyes, drawing on the light that powered angelic beings. She had run out of time, even as the kitchen door crashed open. Dover grasped on a sliver of the kitchen light as it blinked ominously, holding her breath as demonic wind lashed at her viciously. Demonic presence filled her senses. Dover strove to block it out.
With one last breath, Dover threw herself and Jon into the light.