Love conquers all… but can it stop the Apocalypse?
Mira Herald is having the worst life ever. Not only is she plagued by horrific nightmares starring the Devil himself, she’s now the target of a power-hungry, rogue minion, freshly sprung from Hell and bent on her destruction. To complicate matters further, she’s acquired a stalker. One who insists he’s a divine warrior sent for her protection because she houses an ancient relic with the power to unleash Armageddon. Last time Mira checked, she wasn’t insane. Still, all this celestial mayhem is enough to drive a girl crazy.
Kagan is a member of the Scion, an elite team of immortal warriors selected by Divinity to aid mankind and save the world. After a century alone, Kagan is summoned for a new mission. He’s eager to begin. Eager until he’s informed his mission consists of protecting a woman with no clue to the power she wields. Plus, his briefing fails to prepare him for his new target’s cosmic-sized attitude problem. As Divinity’s sworn servant, he’s required to fulfill his duty. His oath, however, does not require him to be enthusiastic about his new assignment or warm-and-fuzzy toward his new compatriot. He plans a wham-bam rescue and a quick return to solitude.
The minion attacks—with the backing of a mysterious organization—and all Hades erupts, putting a fast end to any whirlwind escapes. Accustomed to staunch independence, Mira’s survival now requires full cooperation and an unwavering belief in Kagan. The battle-hardened warrior is also forced to chose: between duty and desire. Amidst the turmoil, Kagan and Mira’s undeniable passion draws them closer to each other and down a path neither expected but both yearn for, more than they ever knew.
Will love save the day? The world’s fate depends on the answer.
It always started with the stench.
Mira Herald strapped on her extra-small, hot pink sparring gloves and prepared to assault the heavy bag, replaying the horrors of her nocturnal freak show. Fight training had become her refuge, her armor against the vulnerability of a petite frame and the accumulated scourges of abuse. Now she’d use her skills to battle this new siege. With a sniff to chase away the lingering odor of sewer, Mira began her attack.
Pop, pop, pop. Each strike brought forth a new detail of the long-recurring dream. Mud caked clothing. Iron cuffs locking her in place. The warbling off-key tune of some obscure lullaby.
She switched to a series of six-jab combos, the bag morphing into the image of her after-dark tormentor. Thin lips. Yellow, jagged teeth dripping with spittle. The diseased, greenish tone of his flesh, veins dark and bulging beneath it’s mottled surface. His forked tongue flicked out against her cheek like a serpent scenting its prey.
Muscles burning, Mira ignored the pain and continued to pummel her phantom assailant. His emaciated frame dwarfed by a dingy white leisure suit and the wrinkled stained dress shirt beneath. Sulfuric ooze dripping from beneath his pant legs to stain the ground before he descended. The taunting smarm of his cockney drawl.
Bob. Weave. Cross. A guttural moan, the desperate keen of an addict jonesing for his fix. Mira’s mind blurred the sleepscape with visions from her own trailerpark-trashed childhood. Her dearly departed innocence. A twisted Dickens tale courtesy of the State’s family-for-hire foster care system.
Despite her adrenaline-fueled barrage, the final moments of the nightmare persisted. Ghoulish digits trailed her thigh. His parting words—vulgar, rough, yet oddly reverent—delivered with the staccato rat-tat of machine gun fire. “Yolcam Emetgis.” Slip. Slip. Uppercut.
Mira executed a perfect roundhouse kick and the bag teetered wildly, ceiling creaking to support its heft. She grabbed it in a bear hug, slowing its swing. Lounge demon defeated—for now. Her years of self-defense served her well as the nightmares became increasingly vile. The episodes replayed every night, and had even begun to invade her waking hours. Worse, the return to reality grew more difficult with each sojourn. Mira couldn’t remember the last time she’d gotten a solid eight-hours of uninterrupted sleep. She was so damn tired.
For the umpteenth time, she wondered if insanity ran in her family. Then, grunting, she shoved the punching bag away and stomped toward the bathroom. You don’t have a family, dumbass.
Stepping into the scorching hot shower, she tried to scrub away the revulsion from her captor’s touch. It didn’t help. Why would someone—her birth mother, say—leave a newborn at the ER entrance with no note, no way to cope, no link to the world beyond. Mira jammed the shower off. Didn’t matter anyway. She didn’t need a family. She didn’t need anybody.
Mira strode into the bedroom and surveyed the clothes in her closet before tossing out a clean pair of jeans and a hot pink t-shirt. The cute tanks and faded denims tucked away in the corner stirred a pang of sadness. She crammed it deep, out of reach. She didn’t wear those clothes anymore. They revealed too much. At sixteen, she’d reveled in her blossoming figure. Twelve years and one brutal violation later, she knew better. Now she dressed for defense. Mira pulled on her self-imposed uniform then moved to the edge of her bed to lace on her steel-toed combat boots. Barriers in place, she was ready to tackle the outside world.
She suppressed a yawn and bustled to the kitchen to fix a cup of coffee in her chipped happy face mug and check her phone. Only one person ever texted. The only person who’d never betrayed her. She smiled when the message flashed across the screen. ‘Meet you at the platform. Need caffeine. Z.’
Mira plucked her oversized coat off its hook on the wall and bundled up, her chest squeezed by a familiar sense of foreboding. Yet another pleasant side effect of the nightmares. After a firm mental shake, Mira locked the door and sprinted to catch the train at the nearby station.
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