Three writing buddies, three romance genres, three to-die-for heroes. Throw in an ancient artifact and the possibility of the end of the world…and you’ve got one exciting short story put together just for you! Come and meet the sexy security team from Leah Braemel’s Hauberk Protection Series, the smart and sassy duo of Kimber Chin’s Invisible, and J.K. Coi’s devastating immortals and chilling demons–all in one FREE read! Enjoy!
“Let him go.” Rosie positioned herself so her shot wouldn’t hit Sam and aimed for the man’s head.
Cold, hard eyes turned on her. Silver eyes. Not human. “Go ahead. Shoot. But when the next demon shows up, and the next? What then?”
Demons? She must be dreaming; there couldn’t be any other explanation. Sam had shot that … thing with a clean head shot but it hadn’t died until it had been decapitated. Ay ay ay, what if he was one of those … demons? No mortal man could lift Sam off the ground with one hand the way this man had. If she shot him, would he turn into a demon too? Then where would they be?
“Who are you? What’s your name?” What are you, she wanted to ask.
Those strange silver eyes turned to her briefly, sending a shiver deep into her bones. “I am Gideon.”
¡Dios mío! He looked nothing like the pictures or statues of the archangels at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament. Unless he was a fallen angel. A disciple of Lucifer. No. Then he would have helped the demon, not killed it. Not a demon. But he wasn’t an angel either.
She took a deep breath, mentally shaking her head. “Let Sam go.”
With a snarl of disgust, the man released Sam but held up the now-crumpled sketch of the symbol Sam had copied in his face. “What are you doing with this? Where did you see it?”
From the way Sam had his gun up and aimed it at Gideon the moment he was released, he didn’t believe the man an angel either. “One of our clients disappeared. We found that symbol on a scroll in his desk. I’m takin’ it you know what it means.”
Gideon snorted. “The symbols are a free pass to hell for anyone stupid enough to fool around with forces they don’t understand.” He shoved his sword back into his scabbard and held out his hand, palm up. “Give me the scroll. It must be destroyed.”
“Then we’ve got ourselves a problem.” Sam cursed himself under his breath. “There are three scrolls. My client copied the notes from the other two onto this one. I figured they were safer if I didn’t bring all three. The others are back in my office safe.”
Gideon snorted. “The symbols were written on three different scrolls to keep this realm safe from the Hoth demons. Reading the full text is what drew the demons here today.”
“So our client? Those…demons probably killed him because he read the full text?” The word caught in Rosie’s throat as tears filled her eyes. She hated the idea of going back to tell his wife there was no hope.
“If he’s lucky, he’s dead.” Gideon’s silver eyes turned on her for a moment, the expression on his face softening for a moment before he returned his attention to Sam. “Give me the scroll you have so I can destroy it. I’ll have to trust you to destroy the others when you return to your office.”
Sam nodded his agreement and gestured to Hagen. “Give it to him, Hagen.”
“Not if he’s going to destroy it,” Hagen rumbled. “It’s ancient. Irreplaceable. Museum quality. This scroll should only be handled by professionals. Wearing gloves. It-“
“Will get you,” Gideon interrupted, “and your woman,” a nod in Maeve’s direction, “killed.
Maeve’s fingers spread over her stomach.
She’s pregnant. Rosie, fearing Hagen might ignore his wife’s plea, jumped into the fray. “Give it to him, Hagen. No object is worth your life or Maeve’s. Or your child’s.”
Hagen stared down at his little wife, his homely face creased with concern. With a sigh, he shrugged and shoved the scroll at Gideon. “Here.”
Gideon unrolled the scroll and glanced at it before pulling out a lighter. Hagen’s face darkened. Maeve stepped between them as Gideon held the flame to the edge of the parchment. When the fire licked his fingers, he let it drop to the ground, watching the paper writhe into a mass of black cinder. He did the same with the copy, grinding the remains under his boot heel.
He faced Sam. “Destroy the other scrolls.” Once Sam nodded, he glanced at Hagen, his voice lowering into a growl. “Don’t try to replicate them, and definitely don’t read the curse out loud. Not unless you want to face more of those things.”
With that, Gideon strode away.
Sam released a breath in a long, slow blow then faced Maeve and Hagen. “I’d say thanks, but it’s not enough. I also owe you an apology for bringing this sh–trouble to you. Until I saw that thing, I never believed demons really existed outside of fairy tales.”
“I did,” both Rosie and Maeve exclaimed.
Hagen took Sam’s outstretched hand and shook it. “There was no way any of us could have known about it.”
After making arrangements with them to take care of their dead employee’s family, Sam and Rosie headed for their car.
“Sam,” Rosie broke the silence as he drove them home. “I know you’re going to destroy the two scrolls. But do you think that stone tablet you found might be dangerous too?”