Brenna thought being a vampire was difficult, but becoming an angel is even harder. Her desires run hot and cold. Everything she knows is falling down around her while she yearns for her soul mate.
Azrael forces himself to dismiss Brenna's forlorn cries. To go to her would ignite an angelic war. To make matters worse, a dark force is rising from the bowels hell and the devil has his eye on one thing. Ruling over everything and creating a paradise for his demons.
In order to learn her new powers and save the world, Brenna must travel to the outer reaches of the galaxy and confront her inner demons. Will the world be saved? Will Brenna face the darkest evil of all? Or will the whole of humanity be damned for all time?
I emerged from the shadows and found Zhen feeding on a mortal she’d tied next to her bed. She sucked greedily on his neck, but he was lost in the haze of her mind. The sight held me transfixed for a second. Then I turned away, waiting for her to finish before the sight roused my buried desires.
“You took your time getting here.” She wiped her mouth. “I didn’t think you’d come. You never did when I needed you.”
The contempt in her voice was harsh. She still resented me for abandoning her ages ago.
“Why did you summon me?”
She stepped close and stared into my eyes. I tried to find some of the human girl I’d helped still inside her, but none remained. Centuries had transformed her into the hardened thing she was. Zhen motioned me over to a torn-up couch, where an old quilt was thrown haphazardly over the seat. Anger burned in me. The wound in my hand began to sleep. Even Michael’s wound on my cheek throbbed from my body repairing the damage.
“An old quilt? Sharika?”
“No, Azrael.” Sharika moved a portion of the blanket back and revealed a wizened and yellowed corpse. Its teeth stood out against thin, drawn lips. The skin was dry and sunk to the bone. The muscle and tissue had slowly begun to decompose. Wisps of hair clung to the head. It reminded me of a thousand-year-old mummy.
“It’s a corpse. Is its soul trapped? I don’t feel one. What’s the fuss?”
Sharika traced her finger over the corpse’s face. Her expression betrayed a deep sense of loss. Tears laced her eyes when she met my gaze. “Master.” She hadn’t called me that in eons. Whoever this corpse was, it meant something important to her.
I wiped a tear from her cheek and wrapped my wing around her for comfort. It helped a little. I checked back on the corpse and caught the faint movement of its eyelids. The mummy was still alive. The more I stared, the more its features came to life in my mind. I ran my hand over the body, settling above its—her—heart. Her aura, the energy field that kept her body going, had dwindled down to nothing. I could barely feel Brenna’s soul. It was as if she’d taken herself out of existence.
Zhen shook her head. “She’s been calling for you. She thought you abandoned her. When you didn’t answer, her grief ate away at her soul. Last week, she came to me and asked me about going to ground. She practically shut down here. I found her two days ago in a field. I’ve never known the effects of hibernation to be this bad. Not even after my thousand-year sleep. My blood didn’t rouse her. She needs you, Azrael.
“I know why you keep her away,” Zhen continued, “but she’s so fragile, still so human. After all she’s been through and what she’s becoming, you discarded her. After you turned me, at least I had an idea of what I could do. You have to help her.”
“Tell your nest to leave. All of them. I can’t have them pressing on my consciousness.”
She didn’t say anything, but I felt her mental command echo through the walls. Zhen would do as I ordered in this case. I was still her Master, even though that part of me had been pushed behind walls long ago.
I peeled the quilt back slowly and examined Brenna more carefully.I damned myself for not answering Brenna, for turning her away. I placed my hand on her chest and closed my eyes, trying to find the void where she’d sent herself. I sensed a faint trace of her, far away in a dark emptiness. Nothing existed there. I wound my power around her and began to pull her back. But each time I grew close to her, she’d pull away again, drifting back to oblivion.
I tried several times and finally gave up.
I knelt next to Brenna and watched her body slowly disintegrating. Never before had I seen a hibernating vampire in this condition. My love was dying and avoiding my reach. I was Death, but somehow she’d accessed her powers and drifted away from me. Zhen was correct. Brenna was more human than I’d ever imagined. On the verge of losing her, I realized what the Source had meant when she’d said my emotions could justify a war. I loved Brenna. It was that simple. I needed her for balance to help remember what I had been.
All vampires were hungry when they woke from hibernation. I bit into my wrist and had to force Brenna’s mouth open, since it was locked shut. I held the wound over her lips so blood slid down her throat. For a long time, nothing changed. My incision kept healing over. I reopened the wound six times, always going deeper to get more blood. The loss of fluid didn’t bother me. At last, I saw an inkling of her throat swallowing. I heard the creak and crack of bone moving. Mummified hands wrapped around my wrist with a strength I hadn’t expected. Razor nails enclosed my flesh and sliced the veins. A paper-thin tongue lapped at the wound. It kept going, and there was no sign of Brenna.
The sucking stopped. Brenna’s hand released mine. She had drained me dry. My hunger burned in me, fiercer then I remembered. My teeth slipped out of my gums, and I smelled the human next to Zhen’s bed. I wanted to break Brenna’s hold and go feed from him, but if I did so, I would snap her flesh. She was almost restored; yet her soul still lingered outside of my grasp. I stared at the human. He would ease my pain, but I bit down and forced the vampire in me back. I was an angel. I didn’t need blood, didn’t need to kill. I kept repeating that truth, and it seemed to help. My hunger receded to a dull ache. My teeth retracted, and I was all right again. Then Brenna moved.
Hope you liked this look into Falling. The Apocalypse is coming and Azrael and Brenna must come together once and for all to beat back the Devil and hopefully accept the love they have for one another.