Dark Strike (Shadow & Light Book 7) - Ebook
Dark Strike (Shadow & Light Book 7) - Ebook
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Rowyn and Tyrius are back! And the world will never be same again...
After the Legion of angels killed me—transformed me to an angel and then brought me back—I thought I could rest for a little while. I would put my feet up… have some quality time with my sexy elf. I was wrong.
I’ve barely survived the fight with the archdemon Lucian when another problem arises. A priest has been murdered, and the church is looking to me to help them.
A darkness closes in on the city, and the magic and undercurrents of this new evil pull me onto a dangerous path. I can’t see how we can survive this new darkness, no matter how much I fight it. But when the life of someone close to me is threatened, I can only do one thing. Stupid, yes. But it’s the only way.
One thing is for sure. If I go down, I’ll bring them down with me.
Dark Strike is a sassy, fast-paced urban fantasy filled with demons, angels, vampires, werewolves, witches, fae, leprechauns, and shifters. If you enjoy urban fantasy books with a kick-ass heroine and plenty of action, suspense and humor, you’ll love Dark Strike.
Look Inside Chapter 1
Look Inside Chapter 1
“Look! A gray hair! A friggin’
gray hair!” yowled Tyrius, his right paw in the air with what I suspected was a hair pinched between his toes. He stilled, his blue eyes wide, and then keeled
over on the kitchen counter on his back, his legs splayed and twitching like a dying beetle. “My kids are going to be the death of me. I just know it. I feel
it in my bones.”
I rolled my eyes and tore open the box with the word KITCHEN written on it in blocky letters. I reached in and grabbed the first glass, unwrapped the
newspaper and tossed the paper on the floor before placing the glass on the kitchen cabinet’s first shelf. “That’s not a gray hair. That’s a white one,
silly. In case you’ve forgotten… you’re covered in beige and white hair.”
I grabbed another glass from the box. “You’re overreacting a little. Don’t you
think? They’re just kids. Kids are supposed to drive their parents crazy. Everyone
months had passed since Kora had given birth to four beautiful baby baals, all
white, two with Tyrius’s blue eyes and the other two with their mother’s yellow
eyes. I’d seen my share of kittens before, but these were spectacular, with wide,
intelligent baal eyes and a giant dose of cuteness.
grandmother had been beside herself with glee that she could provide a home for
this new family. She spoiled them rotten, with freshly cooked meals every day and
“Raw meat Fridays.”
rolled back and sat, his tail curled around his feet. “That’s just it. They’re
not kids anymore. I can do kids. I can tolerate all the sticky paws and drool—even
on occasion some furballs. Kids are cute. They’re happy to see you. They’re all
smiles and want cuddles.” The cat narrowed his eyes. “But these ones… they’re
teenagers. They don’t listen. They’re defiant. They talk back. They think they
laughed. “I was just like that once.” I thought about it. “Still am.”
Ha.” Tyrius’s tail twitched behind him. “They’re a bunch of little devils.”
are a bunch of little devils. Demons. Devils. Same difference.”
eyebrows dropped over his eyes and his ears lowered. “You’re not exactly being
a supportive best friend. What happened to ‘I’ll always have your back, Tyrius’
or ‘I’m on your side, Tyrius’?”
out a long sigh. “It’ll be fine. It’s just a phase. All teenagers are supposed
to drive their parents crazy. It’s in their DNA. They’ll grow out of it.”
soon enough.” The cat picked at the nail of his front paw. “Wait till you have
your own kids. You’ll see. The talking back is especially brutal.”
it’s way too early to have that conversation with Gareth.” I wouldn’t
want to scare away the elf with baby talk. “Besides, I’m not sure kids are in
my foreseeable future. Plus, in my line of work, it’s probably a bad idea to
even think of starting a family. I wouldn’t want my kids to be orphaned before
they turn two.” If I ever did decide to have a family of my own, I would
without a doubt quit the Hunting business at least until they were young
of procreation.” Tyrius spat out his nail. “Where’s that elf of yours? Still selling
his drugs over in New Jersey?”
medicine,” I corrected.
pushed the tall glass to the back of the shelf. Twilight Natural Medicine was Gareth’s
shop that sold medicinal herbs in Hoboken, New Jersey, to anyone who needed it—half-breeds
and humans. “He’s still debating whether or not to keep his store open in New
Jersey or close it and open a new one here in Thornville.”
it would make more sense since you live here now.”
smiled and glanced around the small galley kitchen made up of white shaker
cabinets and subway tiles. “It would.”
and I had decided to find a place of our own and move in together. It was the
logical next step in our relationship, and we were practically inseparable. It
made sense to find a place we both liked to start our lives together.
my grandmother not getting any younger, I wanted to find a place near her. Turned
out, the house across the street from hers was up for rent and I jumped on it
as soon as I saw the owner hammering in a FOR RENT sign on the front lawn. In
fact, I had run out of my gran’s house, yelling, “Don’t do it!” and “I’m here!”
all the while swinging my arms at the old man, frightening him half to death.
would have been frightened of me too.
poor old man, Mr. Wallace, now my landlord, had slipped on the grass and fallen
back on his behind, dragging the sign down with him. Oops. I’d helped
him up, of course. We’d signed the papers that afternoon. That was a week ago.
fact that it was a rental was even better. Not having to deal with taxes or a
hefty down payment, which I didn’t have, was a blessing. Renting, for now, was
just what I needed.
house was a small, light blue two-story American Foursquare with white trim and
a large front porch. Red, orange, and pink petunias draped from the flower
boxes below the front windows, and mature lilac trees flanked the house on both
sides. Even though they weren’t in bloom anymore, their vibrant green leaves
were a lovely contrast with the blue of the house. I would have signed on the
dotted line just for the lilacs.
house had three bedrooms, two of which became our separate offices, and just
one bathroom upstairs. It had been renovated over the years, always keeping to
its true architecture, and it was a lovely home.
bless that sexy elf, didn’t mind being so far from his shop and told me he’d be
happy with whatever I chose. Good thing he didn’t know I’d signed the papers before
I called him to tell him about the place. Oopsy.
the bonus? The elf cooked and cleaned. I’m not lying. Men like that were
practically extinct. He was a keeper. I was a very lucky gal.
father’s face, with his perpetual frown, flashed in my mind’s eye. Gareth’s
father was the warden of Imadell, the elven city. I wondered what he’d think of
his son, a High-born elf, living with the likes of me, an angel-born with
archdemon essence in her veins who was still working out where she belonged. He’d
hate it—that was a fact—and the thought brought a smile to my face.
no longer Unmarked, an angel-born without the mark of archangels. The proof was
that glorious P-shaped birthmark on my neck, which I couldn’t stop staring at
without grinning like an idiot. I was officially marked and blessed by the
archangel’s sigil, just like all angel-borns and just like my parents. Though
the archangel Raphael had done it, she’d given me the archangel Michael’s
sigil, same as Layla’s.
with the added protection of the sigil, Layla and I would no longer be subject
to demons, greater demons, or even archdemons, like the king of all
douches—Lucian. He nor any other archdemon bastard could infuse us with his
power anymore. The only reason Layla and I had his essence, why we were
Unmarked in the first place, was to help him steal the Holy Grail. Yeah, it
didn’t turn out as he’d planned. Suck it, Lucian.
we still had his archdemon essence in us, but it didn’t make us bad, not really.
Not unless we wanted to be bad. However, it did make us stronger, more
resilient to demonic energies. And maybe a little badass too.
and I were both part of the angel-born army. We’d been signed up as Operatives,
kind of like a special police unit for the angel-born, with a regular salary.
It wasn’t a nine-to-five job. It was more of a twenty-four-hour job with a case-by-case
approach. The assignments were given to us by our boss, the Head of House
first few weeks on the job had been especially busy. Following Lucian’s douche
move, thousands of demons had escaped through his Hellmouth, and we’d worked
around the clock to track down and vanquish them all. My Hunter skills had
really come in handy. The other angel-born Operatives had been a little
standoffish at first, and I was grateful to have Layla with me so I didn’t feel
earned my place there. I’d literally died for it. And if the other
angel-borns had a problem with me or Layla, they could go screw themselves.
Because I wasn’t leaving.
improved after the third week. Most probably because I’d tracked and killed two
hundred and fifty-six demons on my own. Color me impressed. The respect started
coming in after that, which was just fine by me.
folded the now-empty box, placed it on top of the pile of empty cardboard
boxes, and moved on to the next one filled with plates.
that more of Gareth’s stuff?” the baal lowered himself on the counter,
stretching his long, elegant limbs as he lay down. He looked like one of those
cat statues in ancient Egypt.
I answered. “I never had much of anything.”
most of what I had was destroyed by those werewolves.”
with Father Thomas’s kitchen.”
with Father Thomas’s kitchen.”
said the cat. “Now with your new job, you can afford to buy new stuff if you
want. But it looks like you won’t need to. The elf has enough kitchen supplies
to open a restaurant.”
turned to look at the mountain of unopened boxes with the word PULLOMANCY
written in bold. “That’s what he cooks his elf magic with. He asked me not to
touch them until he gets home.”
cat tipped his head. “So… are you going to open them?”
grinned. “What do I look like? Of course I am.” It wouldn’t hurt to take a
little peek. The elf’s magic intrigued me. Now that we lived together, I’d get
a real sense of how he cooked his magic. He was going to teach
me. There was no getting out of that one.
stopped cleaning his side in mid-lick. “What’s that sloppy smile about? If you’re
thinking about ways to boink the elf on the kitchen counter, I’m going to hurl.”
shook my head. “Don’t be gross. I’m just happy. Okay? Can’t I be happy for once?
I finally have a great guy in my life and a real job. I’m renting this
fantastic house. What more can a gal want?” A bigger closet? To eat cheesecake
every day without adding any extra pounds? A girl could still dream.
not used to that expression of ‘smiling’ on your face is all.” Tyrius continued
to clean himself. “And you’re doing it a lot lately.”
used to the killer frown or the crazy eyes. You know the ones. This here… it’s
like a new Rowyn.”
what?” I pressed my hands on my hips. “You don’t like this new Rowyn?”
was his turn to roll his eyes at me. “I’m just saying… if you’ll let me.
I’m just getting to know the new Rowyn. It’s going to take me some time is all.”
mean… you did die and returned as a sparkling extraterrestrial. It was a
Twilight moment without the vampires. That has to mess with one’s mind a
dipped my head. “There is that.”
scratched behind his ear and shook his head. “You were a freaking meat suit,
Rowyn. We spent years making fun of them. I even kept a ‘Best Of’ list.”
know. I was there.” And it was an experience I would never forget. Especially the
getting stabbed part, then the dying, and finally the ending up in Horizon,
chatting with an oracle. It had been a mind-blowing experience, yes. But it had
also been awesome.
Siamese cat cocked his head. “You think they’ll come calling on you again for
angel legion?” I laughed again, reaching down and grabbing a plate from the box.
“I think I’ve died enough times this year. Once was enough. Thank you very
came from the front door.
jumped to his feet, his ears swiveling around the top of his head. “Demon balls,”
he cursed. “The celestial cavalry is back!”
plate slipped from my fingers, but I caught it before it smashed to pieces on
the floor. “No. It can’t be.” Could it?
your day off. Right?” asked the cat. “So, it’s not the angel-born needing you
to polish their egos. This smells like the big kahunas. Halos anonymous.”
licked my lips, frowning. “They never used the front door before. They’ve
always just showed up.” And never once invited. Okay, I’ll admit angels
weren’t my favorite celestial beings before. But now that I’d lived in their
skin—literally—I’d never feel the same way again. I might even feel a bit of
respect, on a good day.
why would they show up now?
baal sniffed the air. “I’m not smelling any celestial farts. But it doesn’t
mean it’s not them. Imodium does exist in Horizon.”
the plate down on the counter. My heart thumped in my chest as I made my way through
the small hallway that opened up to the living room on my left, passed the
staircase on the right that led to the second floor, and moved to the front
door. I could make out a shadow on the front porch of someone wearing dark
clothing, but the privacy glass kept me from seeing who it was.
brushed against my leg and rushed past me. “Tyrius. Don’t do anything stupid.”
I glared down at the cat. “Even if it is angels. Got it?”
cat sat next to the door sill and looked up at me. “But stupid is so much more
Great. “I mean it,
Tyrius. Anything stupid, anything at all, and I’m sending you home. To be with
cat’s mouth fell open. “You wouldn’t.”
test me, kitty. I’m getting my crazy eyes again.” I took a deep breath and
pulled open the front door.
Thomas?” I stared at the priest. He wore his usual dark ensemble of black
slacks and a black shirt, the white square of his clerical collar stark against
the deep tones. He stood a few inches taller than me with a drool-worthy,
athletic physique, and though I’d never actually known his age, I pegged him to
be somewhere in his early thirties.
it hanging, Padre?” said Tyrius, and for a moment I thought I heard him purr.
eyes never left the priest. Something was wrong. His usual handsome features
were twisted in fear, showing lines of pain around his eyes and mouth. He
looked like he’d seen a ghost. Or something worse. The priest wasn’t the type to
Thomas was a modern-day Templar Knight, a band of priests who waged a secret
war against the church’s enemies—demons, half-breeds, and other supernatural
baddies that posed a threat to the church—which the church hid from the public.
They called themselves the Knights of Heaven, and they were a team specially
appointed by the church to investigate all the “unusual crimes” that happened
in the city and the surrounding areas, specifically New York City.
happened?” I questioned with dread settling in the pit of my gut.
brown eyes flashed with a broken spirit that made my heart clench. “A priest,”
he said, his voice haggard like I’d never heard before. He sighed and added, “A
member of the Knights of Heaven has been murdered.”