Title: Unholy Alliance
Series: Immortal Loves #1
Author: Reily Garrett
Genre: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 22, 2016
Can fated love poised between the illusion of immortality and the certainty of death find new life between hope and adversity?
In securing a relic destined to destroy humanity, Lukas is mortally bitten by a unique breed of demon. Before he succumbs to his fate, a stranger offers her blood, allowing him time to complete his mission.
Sariel has spent most of her life destroying demons and vampires alike. With a witch as mentor and a ghost for companionship, she’s always had everything she’s needed, or so she thought until three demons cross her path, noting her angelic origins and changing her entire worldview.
As the prophecy unfolds, the vampire, angel, and witch must join forces to face demonic powers never experienced while navigating the murky waters of desire and betrayal, paranormal talents and malevolent cunning.
Despite Lukas’ studies and commitment to humanity’s protection, a void had rooted in the darkest corners of his mind. Each rising, it surfaced to extort any novelty or anticipation in his automated reality. Duty had always come first, after which he studied whatever snared his attention at the time. Still, he hungered for more--something to chase away the shadows and blisters cauterizing his soul.
Centuries of experience honed him into an expert assassin and tracker for evil’s myriad and divergent forms. Yet each kill left a new stain on his spirit that darkened his aura and took him further from the light of man. Since defeat had never left its toxic breath in his extended history, this mission would prove one more in a long series of significant encounters.
Minutes later, the scent of demon filled his nostrils. Descending to skim the void above the treetops rewarded him with a stronger stench. Whether this demon held the precious artifact or proved another dead end didn’t matter. Its removal fell among his duties as an ancient vampire and benefactor to humans, a win-win situation in the grand scheme of things.
Dark hues of maroon and purple bruised the evening sky. The sunset’s colorful merging with the distant horizon lent him barbarous satisfaction. Those same colors would soon spill from this prick’s skull. Its gray matter, if demons possessed such a thing, would pour to the ground, obliterating all vegetation in its path. At least the creature couldn’t wreak havoc on society until his master resurrected and sent it back. Fortunately, that took time.
“Demon, face me. What do you have to lose? You know I can’t kill you...Perhaps facing your boss, defeated, frightens you?” Rare was the demon that could resist a taunt. The thunder in Lukas’ voice scattered a small herd of deer grazing beside the fast-moving river nearby. A meticulous search below yielded no visual of anything in demonic form.
The hunter in him was determined and ready to finish this task and knew the evil nearby would sense his presence. Why can’t I get a lock on its position?
Shadows lengthened and crawled over the earth below, denoting rise and shine for the creatures of the night while daylight critters scurried to find comfort and cover in the obscure niches of darkness. In counterpoint, the soothing sounds of the nocturnal forest punctuated by the lonely call of a wolf reminded him of his goal.
With a slight shift of the wind, he sensed movement in the forest below. Off to his right and just ahead, the demon’s obvious attempt at a stealthy passage failed to camouflage the swish and slap of branches flung back in its wake.
“Ugh. I don’t fear you, vampire. However, I do fear my master if I fail to deliver this objet d’art.” Like most of its kind, the harsh guttural voice grated Lukas’ nerves.
Altering his course delivered a stronger hellish stench, searing a path to his nostrils as the repetitive crunch of dead leaves and snapping twigs guided him. Maybe the assignment would end this night, allowing him to revisit and re-evaluate his current path in life.
Now, with no apparent concern over the noise made or the swath it cut, the fleeing pestilence would’ve attracted the youngest of vampires with the snapping and shuddering of branches even without its odor and aura.
“You’re kidding me, a demon with intelligence? Your boss educates you clowns now?” Dropping through the web of interlocking limbs, Lukas used his telekinesis to clear a path, providing a fleeting visual of his prey. The clicking and swishing of branches and leaves muted the demon’s heavy grunts.
Damn shame my psychic talents don’t work on these deviants. He hit the ground running, his adversary near.
“You’d be surprised, bloodsucker. You’d be surprised. Once upon a time, I attended an ivy-league school. Why do you think master chose me to find and return this treasure?”
Broken and bowed branches whipped back along the path to provide a stroboscopic view. A second passed, then another, followed by the sounds of accelerated movement and the demon’s occasional growl punctuating its hoarse breathing.
“Huh, and now you’re just a flunky. Is that where you became a demon?” A burst of speed increased the terminal case of sulfuric fetor blazing a trail through Lukas’ senses but yielded more frequent flashes of his objective. Footprint-sized patches of wilting vegetation betrayed the demon’s exact steps. Few living things could survive evil’s deadly contact.
Large exposed roots and mid-size saplings necessitated agile footwork at breakneck speed to avoid losing ground. Skirting these obstacles with flight would drain even an ancient vampire’s energy reserves. He’d need them all to fight a demon possessing such unusual speed.
A steep incline presented more slags and escarpments to negotiate, some snagging his leather vest in passing. Vaulting over the next two outcroppings demanded even more of his strength.
He didn’t break stride.
“If you have no fear, why run away like a schoolgirl?”
Budding underbrush foiled a good visual, though this thing’s odor and noise rivaled that of a trumpeting elephant. He’d never tracked such a swift and agile creature. With practiced ease, he gripped the pommel of his Falchion. The slide from its fur-lined scabbard muffled the blade’s draw even as the material kept the steel oiled.
“Ah ... just want you to have a clear view of approaching death.” The demon’s chuckle boded ill.
A moment of uncertainty flashed in his mind when the crashing noise ahead stopped. Thinning trees gave way to tall grasses on the rock-strewn promontory, reminiscent of a shelf tucked in the side of the mountain.
Silvery moonlight gilded a small open plain as he left the forest behind, the sudden rush of air focusing his thoughts. Why would a demon give me the advantage of open ground?
Reily’s work as an ICU nurse, private investigator, and work in the military police has given her countless experiences in a host of different environments to add a real world feel to her fiction.
Though her kids are her life, writing is Reily’s life after. The one enjoyed…after the kids are in bed or after they’re in school and the house is quiet. This is the time to kick back with laptop and lapdog to give your imagination free reign.
In life, hobbies can come and go according to our physical abilities, but you can always enjoy a good book. Life isn’t perfect, but our imaginations can be. Relax, whether it’s in front of a fire or in your own personal dungeon. Take pleasure in a mental pause as you root for your favorite hero/heroine and bask in their accomplishments, then share your opinions of them over a coffee with your best friend (even if he’s four legged). Life is short, cherish your time.