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Sneak Peek of the First Angel Fyre Book!


Hope you like this tantalizing taste of my latest work, the first in a paranormal romance series!

Chapter One

Darcy Fyre wandered amongst the racks at the Goodwill, resentment growing as she shoved aside clothing she knew damn good and well had been worn by someone else. For a moment, she pictured someone having so many clothes that she could give stuff away. Must be nice.

She’d never had so much of anything that she could give it away. With her father unable to hold down a job for more than a few months and a mother that waited tables part-time, to say that money was tight growing up would be a colossal understatement. Darcy had thought that after nineteen years of having nothing that she’d be used to it by now but each year seemed to make the fact more painful.

She picked through the messy racks, tossing items into her cart, not really paying much attention to what she grabbed. If it was the right size, she would dutifully try it on and buy the item if it fit. Most of her clothing was so threadbare it was likely to fall off her skinny frame. Not that she could afford to be picky.

As she wandered over to the shoe section, Darcy wished for the millionth time that her family had had money to help with college, that she could find a better job than working part time at the second hand bookstore, Tattered Tomes. Guilt made her wince. Old Mrs. Danforth needed Darcy at the store. Ever since the old woman’s husband has passed away, she couldn’t handle the day-to-day needs of running the small bookstore. Business had been dismal the last few years, but Darcy just couldn’t leave, even if she was only making minimum wage. She loved that store and didn’t think she would enjoy working anywhere else, even if she was making more money. Besides, Mrs. Danforth allowed her to live in her home rent-free. That alone was worth getting paid next to nothing.

The fitting rooms were full. Darcy leaned on her cart and pulled her phone out of her back pocket. It was the only luxury she allowed herself, though it wasn’t as fancy as what most had. The screen was scratched and the cover faded but it worked and that was all that mattered. Her mom had sent a host of texts, begging Darcy to come by the house to watch her younger siblings. She rolled her eyes as she sent her response, knowing her answer of “no” would be met with a slew of more texts trying to guilt her into doing it. I’ve spent enough time babysitting Madison and Charlie.

It wasn’t that she didn’t adore her younger siblings; she just hated being in that tiny house with the stench of booze and cigarettes, the guilt that gnawed at  her belly knowing she had abandoned her siblings to that environment. I went to college. I didn’t exactly abandon them.

The words didn’t bring much comfort. Madison was sixteen and would hopefully be on her way to college after high school graduation. She had done the smart thing and done well enough in school to possibly get scholarships. Darcy often wished she had taken high school as seriously. She had barely graduated and had only started taking classes as the local state college to try to do something with her life. That was what people my age are supposed to do, right?

It would take longer for Charlie to escape that house. Darcy only hoped he would do so relatively unscathed.

One of the fitting rooms opened up so Darcy grabbed her purse and the stack of clothing and trudged insie. She refrained from looking in the mirror as much as she could. She hated the sight of her pasty white body, the freckles that dotted her shoulders and nose, her knobby knees, her non-existent breasts. She pulled the jeans and shirts on and if they fit, even if they were loose, she tossed them in the cart. Beggars can’t be choosers.

Darcy exited the fitting room and made her way through the throngs of people. Most had smiles on their faces, chatting with those they were with: friends, spouses, sisters, or children. There were a few like Darcy that kept their heads down as though embarrassed to be there, like someone they knew might see them.

Buying clothes you can afford isn’t something to be ashamed of.

The voice in her head was reasonable, but she felt ashamed anyway. Darcy wondered if she’d ever be able to shop in a places where they sold brand new clothing. She tried to picture herself in designer clothes and laughed, flushing when the woman in front of her in line gave her a strange look.

She rummaged in her purse for her small wallet and grabbed out a twenty-dollar bill. If she had calculated correctly, she should have enough to pay for the clothes and have a little left over.

The cashier greeted her with a bored half-smile and rang up her purchases without a word, which suited Darcy just fine. The girl at the counter shoved her clothing into the bag, not taking any care to fold them neatly. Darcy knew she should complain but honestly didn’t care. It wasn’t like the clothes she bought were fancy enough to require folding.

Darcy grabbed her bag and headed for the front door. The day was cloudy and windy, which suited her mood. She had to admit she was grumpy most days, regardless of whether the sun was shining. She fumbled with her bag as she reached into her front pocket of her jeans to grab her car keys. She spotted the beat up Chevy Chevette and felt a burst of pride. It was the first thing of value she had purchased all on her own and she loved the blue car with one black fender. It barely ran, had no air conditioning or stereo, but she didn’t care. The car meant freedom and being grown-up enough to get from place to place without having to walk, take the bus, or bum a ride from friends. You’d need friends first.

Just as she was about to put the key in the lock, she spotted the old man shuffling his way toward the entrance of the store. He was dressed in a threadbare tweed suit and even from this distance, she could see that the soles were barely attached to his shoe. There was something so sad in spotting old men alone. It didn’t matter where she was or how often she saw them, her eyes would tear up. Little old men belonged with little old ladies.

Darcy’s breath caught in her throat. A demon, ringed in fire, stood just to the left of the man, its enormous sword raised as though fending off an attacker, but as usual, Darcy couldn’t see anything other than the demon. The thing swung its sword, missing the old man by mere inches. Darcy wanted to shout out a warning, but her throat locked up tight and all she could do was watch helplessly, her bag of clothing falling to the ground.

The demon opened its mouth in a silent bellow and swiped at the old man with its claws. They passed right through him.

Tears fell from her eyes as she watched the old man stumble and fall to one knee, unaware of what was happening. The demon grinned, black goo oozing from between its teeth. It disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Once the demon disappeared, she was able to draw a shuddering breath. She ran toward the old man, but several customers had already reached him and two women had cell phones pressed to their ears. Rather than get in the way, Darcy walked back to her car and opened the door with shaking hands. She retrieved her bag from the ground, tossing it and her purse on the passenger seat. Darcy sat for a moment to gather her thoughts and to stop her body from shaking before she tried to drive.

It was like all the other times: the demon came, fought with something she couldn’t see, and someone always died. She had never breathed a word of this to anyone. No one would believe her. They’d send her away and do all sorts of tests on her. Seeing demons wasn’t normal. Darcy pictured herself in a white room with no windows, drugged to the point of catatonia. Besides, there was another, more important reason not to breathe a word of this…

How could she tell anyone that she was the reason innocent people were dying?

***

Cameron Angel ate his breakfast in silence. No TV or radio to distract him. It was his time to be alone with the Lord, to listen for that soft, still voice that had been his guide as long as he could remember. As was the case most mornings, He was silent. Maybe He has nothing to say at this moment. He glanced at the clock, gulped the last of his juice, and headed for the bathroom to finish getting ready.

After he brushed his teeth, he ran a comb through his almost dry white-blonde hair, trying to tame it. He grinned ruefully. Mom always said my hair had a mind of its own.

He grabbed his car keys and headed out the door. He sighed when he spotted his rusty 1969 Cadillac parked in front of the apartment building. He bought it with grand plans to restore it but, as always, life had other plans. Cameron slid his hand along the hood, picturing what she would look like when she was all finished. He pulled open the creaky door and slid into the car, loving how big she was, all steel and upholstery with an engine that sounded like it belonged in a military tank.

Cameron pulled up in front of his father’s antique store, Genesis Antiques. It was opening day and he had agreed to help. With all the advertising and word-of-mouth, his father was expecting a big first day.  He spotted his father moving in the dim interior and knocked on the front door.

“You made it!”

“You think I’d leave you hanging on your big day, Pop?” He clapped his dad on the shoulder, ignoring the look of disdain that passed over his father’s face at being called Pop.

Cameron swallowed guiltily and moved further into the store. He hadn’t seen it for several months. His father had really done a lot of work. All the shelves were packed to the brim with a variety of items. Many of the little nooks and crannies clearly had his mother’s touch, as they were neat and organized. Most of the areas were simply stuffed with whatever would fit. Many of the things in the store had religious background, as was fitting for a store owned by the deacon of a church. His father would spend hours dusting the old Bibles, candles, medals, and other trinkets.

“Does everything look okay from outside?”

Cameron turned to his father and shrugged ruefully.”I honestly didn’t really pay much attention.”

“We need the store to look inviting and intriguing. You know how hard it is for businesses to stay afloat in this town.”

“Sorry, Dad. I was too excited to see the inside of the place.”

“That’s right, you haven’t been here in a few months. So, what do you think?” He looked at his son expectantly.

“I really like it. There’s so much stuff in here, people could spend hours looking and never see it all.”

“You mom said it’s too much stuff all at once, but this just feels right to me for some reason. Antique stores are supposed to have a certain amount of clutter, don’t you think?”

“Sure. Why don’t we take a step outside and see if things look okay for the big day?”

His father beamed and headed toward the front door. The bell hanging over the door tinkled merrily as his father opened it. Cameron followed him outside. They walked to the edge of the sidewalk, turned and surveyed the store. The sign above the door was shiny and new, standing out against the more worn signs of neighboring stores, the large windows displayed some of the most unique wares—another of Mom’s touches — and the concrete planters flanking the front door were free of weeds and debris.

“It looks great, Dad,” Cameron said, putting his arm around his father’s shoulders.

“Thanks, Son. This has been a long time coming.”

Just as he turned to walk back into the store, Cameron spotted a young couple on the other side of the street waiting to cross. They held hands as they waited. Suddenly, a figure bathed in blue-white heavenly light appeared next to the couple. Cameron stiffened, knowing what was going to happen next. The angel’s wings flared behind it, enveloping the young couple. It held a sword in one hand a shield in the other. It raised the shield as though protecting itself against a blow from above. It swung its sword at something Cameron couldn’t see.

As he watched the invisible battle, the young couple moved off the sidewalk and into the street. Neither one noticed the vehicle bearing down on them, the driver holding up a cell phone in her hand. Cameron shouted, knowing it wasn’t going to do any good. The angel’s sword passed through the girl just as the car barreled down the road, striking her on and hitting the boy in the hip, sending him careening backwards.

Cameron and his father rushed to the pair, his father closing his eyes and praying over the lifeless body of the girl. Cameron’s heart grieved, wondering why he was seeing the angels if he couldn’t do anything to stop the deaths.

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