excerpt

Alexander removed his coat and handed it to Boon. He pressed his lips to Gaby’s forehead, and her heart thrashed against her ribs in anticipation. This was it. They would connect in the most intimate manner ever created.

He tossed his tie and shirt to Boon and tugged her flush against him. “I love you, Gabriella Lorre.”

She giggled at the sound of a name that wasn’t technically legal, but was blessed by God himself. They lifted into the air. Their eyes locked in a loving gaze. She could get lost in those eyes and never return to Earth.

Held in Alexander’s strong arms, she immersed herself in his navy aura, aided by an occasional beat of his strong wings, they floated above the beach. His gorgeous denim-blue eyes pierced her soul. They sat on a cloud of inviting mist surrounded by sweet smells of a fresh rain and eternal love.

“We will finally be one.” He spoke the words she’d longed to hear.

Six months they waited to bond. Training and rebuilding their home came first. Alexander insisted everything be perfect.

He stroked her cheek.

His look of desire and acceptance melted her heart. Happiness filled her with the thought of the others below. For the first time in months, they had something to celebrate. Her father, Grace, Sammy, and Boon were here with them to share in their soulbonding in spite of their concerns. Okay, they couldn’t see them. She knew that from watching Sammy and Boon’s soulbonding.

Silky feathers wrapped around her, caressing her shoulders and back. Tiny electrical currents surged through her body. She waited for the bond to take hold and be pulled into the inexplicable bliss Sammy had told her about. Not so much a physical experience, although it would be better than sex. Her words lingered in Gaby’s mind. Of course, she had no idea what sex felt like either. Alexander had insisted they wait. Once they bonded, their union would be blessed, and they could be together.

A deep want to experience intimacy with him hummed through her body. She relaxed into Alexander’s embrace and sighed, rubbing her face against his strong chest—at peace and truly happy for the first time since her mother’s death.

His navy aura turned into night, and a small current jolted for a second then settled. Her rapid pulse pounded in her head. The salty air spun around them with ever-growing intensity. Alexander’s face blurred then disappeared into the swirling blackness. She closed her eyes, opened her heart, and waited for the connection.

The air morphed from a pleasant dance into a ferocious cyclone lashing at her skin. The world turned upside down, leaving her without any concept of direction.

Sweat coated her, making it hard to hold on to Alexander. She clawed to keep him close. The more she fought the further he slipped. “Alex!” she cried.

No response, only air.

Her stomach clenched with an abyss of emptiness.

Sammy hadn’t warned her about this. Was it part of the ceremony? Her body convulsed. A slit of fire ran from her skull behind her eyes, down her back, stopping at her waist. She tried to slap out the sting behind her, but couldn’t reach far enough.

Razors slid down her back. Her skin ripped open. Her insides shuddered and pulsed. Her arms spread across the sky, and she turned like a tilt-a-whirl gone wild.

Something’s wrong. Can’t be part of ceremony.

Faint, cryptic words rang in her ears. Alexander called out to her. His voice muffled by the fierce wind. Yes. Something had gone wrong. All her organs boiled. She flashed back to Forras and the demon poison.

Grace was right after all. Only two angels could bond. Alexander would die.

“Oh, God, no!”

Despite the excruciating heat, she fought to free herself from the cocoon of hell. “No. Take me!”

Two large balls formed below her shoulder blades and pressed at her flesh. The hot line spread as if forceps stretched her muscles open and pulled her ribs from her spine. The two spheres extended down, scrapping against bone and tissue.

Burning.

Dizzy.

Pain.

The wind stopped, yet the world continued to rotate.

Air swooshed by her, she blinked and saw the earth crashing toward her.

Her back peeled open and massive black clouds plumed above her shoulders.

She screamed and retched.

Muscles tightened and the wound sealed.

Smell of salty air and fresh cut grass teased her senses into believing the ground greeted her with soft sand.

She knew better. Trees jetted up from below like spears waiting to impale her.

She caught a glimpse of the white sand beach in the distance, but she’d veered to the forest with no sign of Alexander. The dark pools moved up and down and the muscles along her spine tightened.

They weren’t clouds, but massive, evil extensions of her body.

Blood-red wings.