Oh yes, it’s that time again. My favorite - Excerpt Monday.
Time to share a little snipit. I decided this month to post something different. Oh, don’t go yet. I promise to bring a new chapter of Redd next month. For July, I thought I might post the opening to an adult paranormal I’m working on, and that I hope to submit to Samhain for their new anthology. This opening section is from Jagged, and it’s still a works in progress. So please bare with me. I hope you enjoy!
To check out the main Excerpt Monday page click HERE.
Tomorrow could come and go, and I would not be fazed. I’ve seen my share, what with living for millennia. Sentenced here to purgatory, not the damned place of lost souls but the human plane, I wander. I am the most loathsome of all ethemereal creatures. I am a Renegade with no loyalties to anyone save myself. My path walks a solitary jagged line between good and evil, love and hate, Heaven and Hell. My name is Ash, and I’m an angel. I roam the streets of New York always on the watch.
“Ash! Ash, get the hell up! It’s almost five in the afternoon.” I heard Madame Rose, banging on my door.
I rolled over and stared at the plaster chipped ceiling. Madame Rose’s brothel once boasted the finest in décor- two decades before. Now, the run-down, four-story brownstone in the Lower East Side, was just that- rundown. But it provided me a cheap place to stay and offered me solidarity and inconspicuousness. No one here dare ask questions when you came home with a broken bone or a knife wound the size of California in your side. I needed it that way because I had a bad habit of picking nasty fights with demons, especially Mercurials.
The incessant knocking came again. “Ash, now!”
I groaned and rolled off the bed onto my feet. I grabbed a pair of jeans off the floor and hopped into them. I walked to the door and peaked out. The best way to shut Rose up was to answer the door half-naked. For some reason, even the whores found me overwhelmingly beautiful. I found their judgment lacking. Beautiful was a word that could only be associated with perfection, utmost compassion and the capacity to love; all of these qualities I have never posessed.
I flung the door half way open and stared down at the petite, bulge of a middle aged woman.
“Yes, Rose?” I crooned, using my most husky voice.
“Hmm, Ash you’ve been in that room for three days now. It’s scaring the girls, and I can’t have them scared. They don’t work.”
“Oh, that’s all?” I started to close the door. She placed a hand on the edge then thrust a manila envelope at me.
“No. This came priority mail yesterday.” She blinked as her chubby fingers brushed across my smooth chest.
She couldn’t feel anything but warm air. Yet I knew she savored the touch just the same. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I attempted to shut the door, but she threw out her foot and prevented it from closing. I turned my back on her, and she followed me into the bedroom. Despite her less than respectable profession, she considered herself a mother hen. She clucked about the room, picking up my discarded clothes and piling them in one arm. She tossed them out into the hallway and called for Giselle to pick up the laundry. I sat down at the one chair and table that fit into the tiny efficiency room. I threw my feet up, knocking off a couple of half-eaten boxes of Thai take-out. A hiss escaped her lips as she bent over to pick them up. I tore open the letter and shook out the contents. I shuffled through them like flashcards while Rose continued to scuffle about my room, cleaning up. Finally, I seized her hand. She had interrupted me long enough.
“Leave it. I’m outta here within the hour. You can clean then.”
She stared, unblinking. I raised my eyebrows and she nodded. Watching her go, the corners of my mouth dropped with sadness. How long had I known the woman? Ages I supposed? I remembered the soft cheeks of youth and the supple curves of blossoming womanhood. I had met her decades ago, living in the mean streets of Hell’s Kitchen. She wasn’t much better off now. Then she had been a feisty spirit of youth, passionate beauty and wild abandon. Now all that was left of her was a broken spirit and a feisty stubbornness. She insisted on caring for me and still harbored some disillusioned flame of hope toward unrequited love. I had never loved her, only felt sorry. I didn’t interfere with humans; I just tried to co-exist. She chose her life style, and I had my own to contend with. She was just one of a handful of humans who knew my true nature. I didn’t like leaving myself exposed as such, but sometimes it was a necessity for them to know.
The bedroom door shut with a resounding slam. She’d return with more determination and probably a mop.
Scattering the photos across the table, I picked up the letter with the assignment. I leaned down and pulled my laptop out from under the bed. I booted it up and logged into my email. Technology continued to impress me. How much easier my life and job would have been centuries ago if communicating globally had been so efficient and fast.
I checked and found I had three new messages. I clicked open the first message, a communiqué from Angelique that I immediately deleted. I refused to talk to her at the moment, especially after her botch on the last job that almost got my head chopped off. The second was from Caleb, and I didn’t even bother to open it. The stupid, little romantic fool had been babbling incessantly about finding a way out. I didn’t know how to do it. Those possibilities were legends; myths of our own making. I opened the the third one, and my heart rate increased. I licked my lips when I noticed, as usual, the absence of a return address, no name on the sender line and just an attached doc. This one contained my instructions, and the price for my involvement. Despite having very few needs, I still required a large cash flow. The kind of weapons I needed were not easily come by, even on the black market.
I grabbed the first picture from the packet and found a pair of most alluring brown eyes staring back at me. Two delicate, slanted brush strokes amidst the most beautiful face of a young woman. She could not be more than twenty-six or twenty-seven. An unmistakable large red X marked the back of the photo. She was the target, and my heart sank a little. I shrugged and tossed the photo to the side. What a waste. She must have some connection to the ethereal plane for my targets were rarely simple humans. In the second photo, the same young woman waited outside some office in downtown Manhattan. I thought I recognized the statue in the plaza, but I would have to research it. She froze in mid-sentence with a man twice as old as her. What the normal photo lens could not pick up my eyes could, making out the faintest trace of Mercurial traits. The man’s eyes were slightly tinged red, and the skull slightly elongated just above the ears. She dealt with a very dangerous demon whether she knew it or not. I wondered why the demon was not the mark. But then I wasn’t paid to ask those questions. I studied the Mercurial more closely. He dressed in an expensive Armani suit, and there was something about the way he stood in the plaza like he owned the place. Mercurials tended to gravitate toward assimilation just as many Renegades had done. But they enjoyed the darker side of humanity, the power struggles, the grift, the mob, and the drug lords. This was where most Mercurials and their minions resided. And this Mercurial displayed an air of extreme power not just in the human world, but mine as well.
I clicked on Google and started a search for abstract art work in New York City, narrowing it down to commercial plazas. A thousand hits popped back, and I started my slow search to match the statue from the photo. After about fifty sites, I finally found what I was looking for. The Plaza comprised part of the Draco Tower complex, and the building, plaza and statue belonged to Alexandre Sephrael Draco, the older man in the photo. The young woman was his only daughter, Alexis Raphael Draco. I shut down the internet explorer and snapped close the lid on the laptop. I heard Rose on the steps about to make a second attempt at disturbing me. I shrugged a black t-shirt over my head. My leather duster lay draped over the bedpost, and I grabbed it. Slinging it over my shoulder, I decided to go to Angelique’s. We needed to have a little chit-chat because this job was going take some careful planning, and unfortunately, I required her abilities.
I brushed past Rose without a second glance as I tucked the envelope in the interior pocket of my duster. I hauled myself over the banister and dropped two floors to land on my feet in the main foyer. Rose hated it when I did that; I found it fun. I went out the back door to the gravel pit of a parking lot. Here an old garage sat dilapidated, but on the inside it held my renovated workshop. I kept my Triumph primed in here as well. The only toy I had allowed along with my Astin Martin. I straddled the Triumph and kicked the engine to roaring life. Peeling out, the garage door banged closed in my wake. A second later, the damp streets of the Lower East side rolled under the motorcycle as I headed uptown.
Here’s the rundown on everyone participating. Enjoy some other great excerpts and Happy Excerpt Monday!
Joining us this week:
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Nika Dixon, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Kaige, Historic Romance (PG-13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
RF Long, Paranormal (PG13)
Rebecca Savage, romantic suspense (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Michelle Arroyo, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Jax Cassidy, Contemporary Romance (R)
Maya Doyle, Paranormal Romance (R)
Cate Hart, Paranormal (R)
Ali Katz, Historical Erotic Romance (R)
Inez Kelley, Romantic Comedy (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Paranormal Romance (R)
Elise Logan, Fantasy Romance (R)
Cherrie Lynn, Paranormal Romance (R)
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy (R)
Vivienne Westlake, Erotic Historical (R)