OPEN GIVEAWAYS

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Winner of After the Fall by L.G. Castillo

Hi, everyone!


The lucky winner of After the Fall by L.G. Castillo is:
Congratulations to you! I have sent you an email, and you have 48 hours to claim your prize.

If any prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

There is still time to enter these giveaways (just click on the badges below):

Worldwide - ends October 2nd


Worldwide - ends October 3rd


Friday, September 27, 2013

The Guilty Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway with Vincent Zandri

Hi, everyone!


I am pleased to participate in  Vincent Zandri's The Guilty Blog Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book.


About Vincent:



Vincent Zandri is the No. 1 International Bestselling Amazon author of THE INNOCENT, GODCHILD, THE REMAINS, MOONLIGHT FALLS, THE CONCRETE PEARL, MOONLIGHT RISES, SCREAM CATCHER, BLUE MOONLIGHT, MURDER BY MOONLIGHT, MOONLIGHT SONATA, CHASE, and more. He is also the author of the Amazon bestselling digital shorts, PATHOLOGICAL, TRUE STORIES and MOONLIGHT MAFIA. Harlan Coben has described THE INNOCENT (formerly As Catch Can) as "...gritty, fast-paced, lyrical and haunting," while the New York Post called it "Sensational...Masterful...Brilliant!" Zandri's list of publishers include Delacorte, Dell, StoneHouse Ink, StoneGate Ink, and Thomas & Mercer. An MFA in Writing graduate of Vermont College, Zandri's work is translated into many languages including the Dutch, Russian, and Japanese. An adventurer, foreign correspondent, and freelance photo-journalist for Living Ready, RT, Globalspec, as well as several other news agencies and publications, Zandri lives in New York.

His latest book is the thriller, The Guilty.

CONNECT WITH VINCENT ONLINE: 

Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Vincent!

Vincent has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to him.



15 Books and Counting
By Vincent Zandri


I've finally gone and done it.

Come October I will have fifteen books in print with the publication of The Guilty, The Shroud Key and Moonlight Sonata. So why is this number so significant? What's the big deal?

Fourteen years ago, almost to the day, I published my first "big" novel with a Random House imprint. They gave me tons of money, wined and dined me. I even played drums in my editor's band and ummm, dated my publicist...If you want to call it that. I was fresh out of writing school. Young. Pretty good looking (Not Barry Eisler good looking, but passable). Newly divorced and living the life of the rock star.

I remember tossing twenties around to the hotel clerks asking them to bring bottles of booze up to the room so that there would be plenty on hand when the guests came. The guests usually consisted of literary agents, writers, artists, musicians. The room was so full of cigarette and pot smoke you could hardly see. The booze flowed like a river and it just happened to snow during the warm weather, if you catch my drift. I found myself living the dream, and living it hard. It was everything I always wanted. Bright lights, big city, big ego, big books, big future...

All I had to do to maintain the life of the rock star was write one book per year. My hot shot agent would take care of the rest. My lifestyle wouldn't be supported by sales...Sales?...What the hell are sales? It would be supported by big advances. Sales weren't sexy in the eyes of my then agent. It was measured in the amount of advance money he could demand. Six and seven figure advances were what made him happy. Not sales figures typed out on spread sheets. Advances caused headlines in Publishers Weekly. Sales trickled in and never made up for the big advance. Well, almost never, anyway.

Somehow I wrote the second book. But something happened along the way. My imprint got sucked into another. The new imprint editor looked at the advance money owed me and compared it to real sales and nearly puked. The firm honored their contractual commitment and paid me, but as soon as the second book was published, I was shown the door. Goodbye publisher. Goodbye parties. Goodbye rock-star status. Goodbye New York City. Goodbye ego. Goodbye hot shot agent.

I went broke.

I lost my house, my car, my self esteem. I nearly lost my mind, and at one desperate point, I pulled out the twelve gauge double barrel and sat on the end of the bed staring at two black barrels that kept whispering the word "Eternity" into my ear. But then I remembered my little boy needed to be picked up from soccer practice and I packed the shotgun back up and decided death could wait for a while longer.

I went back to work writing a new novel. I found a small press publisher for it, but not after two years or so of trying. I wrote another novel, and again a small press took that one. But again, a couple more years had passed. Now I wasn't so young anymore. And I still wasn't making money from my books. Instead I was living as a freelance journalist who published crime novels on the side.

Enter E-Books.

My new agent convinced me to publish with an indie publisher who did something incredible. They published E-Book editions prior to the trade paper. I didn't believe it could work. But I gave them my newest novel. A book called The Remains. It went on to sell one-hundred thousand copies in Kindle alone. At the same time, my new agent somehow managed to get the rights released from my first two novels and those went on to sell like snow cones in hell (Bet Random House could kick themselves now...). I kept writing more and more words until my pace allowed me to produce a couple of novels per year. By the time Thomas & Mercer took me on for seven of these books, including my newest, Blue Moonlight, I had twelve books in print.

So far this year I've written three books. I'll probably write one more before the New Year tolls.

I'm older now, in my late-forties. My hair is thinning a bit. I don't party like I used to. I don't smoke or pop it or snort it anymore either. Like the great drummer once sang, "I'm tired of waking up on the floor."

But I have caught up with myself.

It's been fourteen years since I first entered into this crazy business and I now will have fifteen books to show for it. Come spring 2014, I will see sixteen with the publication of Moonlight Weeps. Come the Summer, Seventeen with Moonlight Runs. I could blow the bank and call for a celebratory party. But I'm just happy to be alive to see it all happen

Thanks so much for joining us today, Vincent! 




One lucky winner will win a digital copy of Vincent's latest thriller, The Guilty.

Title: The Guilty
Author: Vincent Zandri
Publisher: StoneGate Ink
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 465
Format: Ebook
Language: English



Jack Marconi is back. In The Guilty, Jack finds himself investigating a local restaurateur who’s not only obsessed with the sexy, dark romance novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, he’s accused of attempting to murder his school teacher girlfriend. As the now brain-damaged young woman begins recalling events of that fateful winter night when she was allegedly pushed down the front exterior stairs of a West Albany mansion, she becomes the target of the angry foodie/sex-obsessed boyfriend once again. Only this time, he’s cooking up a plot to keep her silenced forever.

Buy Link:
AMAZON



To enter the giveaway, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide and will close at 12:00 AM 
on October 4, 2013.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


 

Tour Participants

Monday, September 2 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, September 2 – Book Feature at Examiner
Tuesday, September 3 – Book Feature at Moonlight Lace & Mayhem
Tuesday, September 3 – Interview at Between the Covers
Wednesday, September 4 – Character Interview at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Thursday, September 5 – Guest Post at Lori’s Reading Corner
Friday, September 6 – First Chapter Reveal at B&M Review Gazette
Friday, September 6 – Book Featured at Must Read Faster
——————-
Monday, September 9 – Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader
Monday, September 9 – First Chapter Reveal at Review From Here
Tuesday, September 10 – Book Review at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Wednesday, September 11 – Character Guest Post at My Book Addiction and More
Wednesday, September 11 – Book Review at My Book Addiction Reviews
Thursday, September 12 – Book Featured at Deal Sharing Aunt
Friday, September 13 – First Chapter Reveal at As the Pages Turn
——————-
Monday, September 16 – Interview at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
Monday, September 16 – First Chapter Reveal at Literarily Speaking
Tuesday, September 17 – First Chapter Reveal at Read My First Chapter
Wednesday, September 18 – Interview at Blogcritics
Thursday, September 19 – Character Guest Post at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Friday, September 20 – Book Review at Kaisy Daisy’s Book Corner
——————-
Monday, September 23 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Tuesday, September 24 – Book Review & Interview at Authors & Readers Book Corner
Wednesday, September 25 – Book Review at The Self-Taught Cook
Wednesday, September 25 – Guest Blogging at Butterfly-O-Meter Books
Thursday, September 26 – 20 Questions with Vincent Zandri at The Writer’s Life
Thursday, September 26 – Book Review at My Book Addiction Reviews
Friday, September 27 – Guest Blogging & Book Giveaway at Darlene’s Book Nook
Friday, September 27 – Book Review at B&M Review Gazette
Friday, September 27 – Interview at I‘m Shelf-ish

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Reckless Longing Book Blitz: Guest Post and Giveaway with Gina Robinson

Hi, everyone!



I am pleased to participate in the Book Blitz hosted by Xpresso Book Tours for Gina Robinson's Reckless Longing.


About Gina:


Gina Robinson loves a good love story and always has. She writes romance of all kinds--new adult, contemporary romance, historical romance, and romantic suspense.

Currently she's best known for her Agent Ex series-- contemporary romance featuring sexy spies and plenty of adventure and humor. License to Love, the latest book in the series is available now.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children.

CONNECT ONLINE WITH GINA: 


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Gina!

Gina has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.




The Inspiration for Reckless Longing
by Gina Robinson

Reckless Longing is my first new adult romance. I had a blast writing it. I love romance, mystery, and suspense and write historical and contemporary romance as well. But I'm best known for my funny romantic suspense novels about spies. Readers always want to know where I come up with my zany ideas. My husband, who's always my first reader, knows where I get my ideas and recognizes things from our lives when he reads my books. I'll often hear him laughing at something when he's reading one of my manuscripts for the first time. And, of course, he's supposed to be laughing at my funny spy romances, but many times I'll catch him laughing during the serious parts. When I accuse him of this egregious sin, he shrugs it off saying he sees the inspiration behind the scene. To him, it's an inside joke. So the short answer to where I get my ideas is—from everyday life and everywhere. But for Reckless Longing, I have a specific answer.

This spring I did a book signing on campus at the student bookstore at my alma mater during Mom's Weekend. Moms and daughters and moms and sons crowded the campus. Lots of moms and daughters, and a few brave sons humoring their moms, wore matching Mom's Weekend sweatshirts or T-shirts. Most moms looked, for lack of a better word, momly. But as I took a walking tour of campus, I encountered a different kind of mom—the mom who thought she was still a hot college coed herself and was clearly in competition with her own daughter for the guys' attention. An interesting aside—I've heard that more condoms and beer are sold during Mom's Weekend than any other weekend.

I remember clearly standing at the edge of Greek Row. Even though it was April, the temperature was only thirty-nine degrees with a stiff icy wind and blowing snow. I was bundled in a coat, gloves, and sweatshirt. But walking down Greek Row on three-inch stilettos in the middle of the afternoon were a matching mother and daughter pair. They were each wearing skintight black leather skirts, tight white blouses and cropped leather jackets. They had identical hairstyles of flowing brown hair that fell past their shoulders and their makeup was meticulously applied and geared toward clubbing. Both were clearly on the make. And the idea for Ellie and her man-crazy mother was born. A mother who will compete with her daughter for everything and try to hold onto her youth after it has long since slipped away.

So that was the seed, the story germ for the Reckless trilogy which kicks off with Reckless Longing. But there's much, much more to Ellie's story and romance with the hot, mysterious Logan Walker. Her relationship with her mom is only the catalyst that gets the story going. I hope you'll read the series to see where the story goes from there.

I love hearing from readers. You can connect with me on Facebook or  Twitter.

If you'd like to know when the second book of the series, Reckless Secrets, will be available, you can sign up for my new release newsletter either on Facebook or on the homepage of my website.

Happy Reading!

Gina

Thanks so much for joining us today, Gina!


 

One lucky winner will win a digital copy of Gina's New Adult Contemporary, Reckless Longing!
TITLE: Reckless Longing 
SERIES: Reckless, Book #1
AUTHOR: Gina Robinson
PUBLICATION DATE: September 20, 2013
FORMAT: E-book, 327 pages
GENRE: NA Contemporary
ASIN: B00FCI9S3K

Ellie Martin hates her beautiful, man-crazy mother. Her mother’s wild and wanton behavior has left Ellie with a deep longing. To escape. To belong. To know who her real dad is. To really be loved. Her mother finally crosses a line thatsends Ellie running, escaping to college with one, focused goal–to find and confront her bio dad, who doesn’t even know she exists. Then she meets Logan. Hot, charming, and troubled. He turns her world upside down and puts all her plans in jeopardy.

Logan Walker is hiding a shameful and painful secret. One that nearly cost him everything. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Ellie at a Week of Welcome event, something inside him awakens and he finds himself drawn to her.

But the attraction they both feel for each other is as delicate as the web of secrets they each hide behind. And as the truths are revealed, their reckless longing may not survive the fallout.


To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below. 

This giveaway is open worldwide until 12:00 AM CST 

on October 3, 2013. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Immortals Blog Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway with Ednah Walters

Hi, everyone!


I am pleased to participate in the Blog Tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours for Ednah Walters' Immortals.


About Ednah:

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she’s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN.

Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS.

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She's presently working on book six.

CONNECT ONLINE WITH EDNAH: 


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Ednah!

Ednah has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her.



Norse Mythology and My Research
By Ednah Walters

Norse mythology is so interesting and so part of us we don’t even realize it. It gave us:

1. Days of the week named after the Norse gods:

Friday - Goddess Freya’s day

Thursday - Thor’s day

Wednesday - Woden’s day (Old Norse, Odin is sometimes called Woden)


2. Mistletoe:

Baldur was the most beloved son of Odin and his wife Frigga. When she had a dream about his death, she had all the elements in the all the realms promise not to hurt him. From the living and the non-living. But she forgot to ask mistletoe and Loki fashioned a spear out of mistletoe and tricked one of the gods into killing him. Devastated, Frigga decreed that mistletoe would never again be used as a weapon and that she would kiss anyone who passed under it. So now people kiss under the mistletoe.


I fell in love with Norse mythology way before the movie Thor was released. It started with Charmed, when my three favorite witches, Phoebe, Paige and Pippa, became Valkyries. I started reading on Valkyries and Goddess Freya, the head of the Valkyries. This powerful goddess who could have any being she wanted was the goddess of love, sexuality, beauty, fertility, gold, war, and death. She is the goddess of sorcery, which she taught Odin and the Aesir gods of Asgard. Even though Odin was the leader of the gods, he shared fallen soldiers with Freya. The more I read, the more I wanted to write a story about a girl as powerful as Freya, but where to begin.

Like Greek mythology, the Norse pantheon had their wars. The main one was between Vanir gods/goddesses from Vanaheimr and Aesir gods/goddess of Asgard. To make peace, the Vanirs sent several of their gods/goddesses to Asgard and Asgardians sent some of theirs to Vanaheimr. Freya is one of the goddesses sent to Asgard and she brought magic in the form of sorcery to the Asgardians. Odin, on the other hand, was always thirsty for knowledge and had brought runic magic to the gods. I had to decide between which magic to use in my story: runic or sorcery.

Since I was writing about a mythology most often ignored, I chose runes. Sorcery has been done to death in the stories about witches, warlocks, and wizards. Runes wasn’t common except in the Mortal Instrument series

So you see, magic has always been part of the Asgardian pantheon. When I decided on this series, I chose a girl as my protagonist and created a story that will make Norse mythology come alive to readers as she grows. In Runes, Raine learns about runic magic and that she’s different. She meets the Norns, deities in charge of destiny, and a valkyries. In Immortals, we find out what makes her so special. In Grimnirs, we learn even more about Norse mythology. By the time I finish the series, readers will come to love Norse mythology as much as I do. 
Thanks so much for joining us today, Ednah!


About the Series:


TITLE: Runes
SERIES: Runes, Book #1  
AUTHOR: Ednah Walters 
PUBLISHER: FireTrail Publishing  
PUBLICATION DATE: May 20, 2013
FORMAT: E-book, 245 pages
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B00CP4YKTG

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only is she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.
Buy Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble





TITLE: Immortals
SERIES: Runes, Book #2
AUTHOR: Ednah Walters
PUBLISHER: FireTrail Publishing
FORMAT: E-book, 342 pages
GENRE: YA Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B00EBTGGCW

Nothing can stop Raine Cooper when she wants something…
Raine finally knows that her gorgeous neighbor, Torin St. James, is a legend straight out of Norse mythology, and that her feelings for him are strong. Torin is crazy about Raine too, breaking the one rule he lives by: Never fall for a mortal. The problem is he no longer remembers her, his memories erased by Norns—Norse destiny deities—to punish her for defying them.

So Raine comes up with a plan…
She will make Torin forget his one rule a second time and fall in love with her all over again.
But she quickly learns that well-laid plans do not work when dealing with deities and supernatural beings. Desperate, Raine makes choices that could not only tear her and Torin further apart, but lead to the destruction of everything and everyone she loves.
Buy Links:
Amazon / Barnes & Noble




One lucky winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Immortals.


To enter the giveaway, please fill out the Rafflecopter entry form below. 

This giveaway is open to worldwide until September 22, 2013.

Tour Participants:

September 9th
-Jessabella Reads >> Guest Post
-DanaSquare >> Review

September 10th
-Novels On The Run >> Review
-The Book Hookup >>  Review

September 11th
-Bookluvrs Haven >> Review
-Mom With A Kindle >> Interview

September 12th
-A Diary Of A Book Addict >> Review + Top 5 List

September 13th

September 16th
-Readers Live A Thousand Lives >>  Review + Top 5 List

September 17th
-Forbidden Passions Reviews >> Review
-ReadingToTheStarsAndBack >>  Review
-Book Liaison  >> Excerpt

September 18th
-The Cover Contessa >> Review

September 19th
-Book Broads >> Review
-Page Flipperz Ya >> Review

September 20th 
-The Next Chapter >> Review
-Darlene’s Book Nook >>  Guest Post

Thursday, September 19, 2013

After the Fall Book Blitz: Book Excerpt and Giveaway with L.G. Castillo

Hi, everyone!



I am pleased to participate in the Book Blitz hosted by Xpresso Book Tours for L.G. Castillo's After the Fall.


About L.G. (Linda):


L.G. (Linda) Castillo wrote her first story when she was ten and has been writing ever since. She took a break from writing fiction and poetry to focus on obtaining her Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is now a licensed psychologist and currently works as a professor at a Texas university. Although she has published her psychological research in several professional journals and books, her dream has always been to publish a novel. Lash is her debut novel and was written during the 2012 National Novel Writing Month event.

CONNECT ONLINE WITH LINDA: 



One lucky winner will win a digital copy of Linda's New Adult Paranormal Romance novel, After the Fall!


TITLE: After the Fall 
SERIES: Broken Angel, Book #2
AUTHOR: L.G. Castillo
PUBLICATION DATE: September 15, 2013
FORMAT: E-book, 251 pages
GENRE: New Adult Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B00F74SU38

There’s a Spanish proverb that says, “From the thorn and the pain, a flower is born.” Naomi Duran never really understood what that meant until she became an archangel.

Finally reunited with the love of her life, Naomi thought she had everlasting love and happiness in Heaven. Even with the rebellious Lash by her side, she learns that life as an archangel isn’t easy.

When secrets of the past are finally revealed, tempers flare, brother is pitted against brother, and Naomi and Lash face the greatest threat to their relationship: choosing among love, family, or duty.

In the end, can this family of broken angels forgive past mistakes, or will they carry the thorn in their hearts forever, ripping their family apart?
Buy Links:


Other Book in the Series:
 
TITLE: Lash 
SERIES: Broken Angel, Book #1
AUTHOR: L.G. Castillo
PUBLICATION DATE: May 6, 2013
FORMAT: E-book, 286 pages
GENRE: New Adult Paranormal Romance
ASIN: B00CM18MAK

Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn’t have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash’s powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.

Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe.

Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can’t bear to lose.
Buy Links:



Book Excerpt:


Rachel’s cloak fluttered as she sped through the dark tunnel. He was there. She could feel him.

Shivering, her fingers fumbled with the heavy material as she drew it closer to her body. Puffs of white drifted from her mouth as she panted, trying to catch her breath. With each step she took, it was as if her angelic powers were being drained away. She stopped and slumped against the damp wall of the cave, unable to take another step. Could she do this? Even if she managed to reach him, would she have any power left to save him?

Gabrielle had warned her it would be like this, but Rachel had dismissed her, especially when she first stepped into Hell. It looked just like home! Lush grass and fragrant flowers lined the landscape as far as she could see. Snowcapped mountains stood as a backdrop against the clear blue skies—even the stream was located in the same exact spot as in Heaven. If it wasn’t for the unnerving feeling in the pit of her stomach and the hairs that stood on the back of her neck, she would have sworn she was home.

Considering Lucifer held his captives at the Lake of Fire, she had assumed Hell was a vast empty land of sweltering heat. It wasn’t until she found the cave hidden behind a waterfall that she finally understood what Gabrielle meant about not letting her guard down. The cave was frigid. The icy air seemed to seep into her pores and deep into her bones, causing her teeth to chatter uncontrollably.

She wished Gabrielle had given her more information about what to expect. She would’ve dressed warmer. Gabrielle had only gone once, and she had waited on the outer boundaries of the cave. According to her, one time had been enough. It had taken her days to recover from the experience.

Only Raphael knew what Hell was really like. He had made Gabrielle wait for him while he bravely went through the deepest depths of the cave to reach the lake. He was the only person she knew of who had gone down and returned—alive.

If only she could have asked Raphael about what to expect and how to prepare. She sighed. If she had, there was no way she could’ve slipped away unnoticed. She would’ve been reported to Michael and more than likely, would’ve been put on watch until it was too late.

A sob escaped her at the thought of his death. She slapped a hand over her mouth, horrified as the sound echoed in the darkness, bouncing off the walls. Her body shook as she wrestled with the thought of losing him. She had to pull herself together. If she were caught, it would be the end for both of them.

She took a resolving breath and pushed herself off the wall. I can do this. I won’t lose him.

Her feet scraped across the floor of the cave as she trudged forward in the darkness. As she rounded a corner, she came up to a pair of tunnels.

Which way should I go? Her eyes watered, and she bit down on her lip, frustrated. She was tired. So tired. If she chose the wrong one, she didn’t know if she would be able to make it down the second. Time was running out. She had to make a choice, now!

She was about to go down the tunnel to her left when she heard a moan from the right.

It’s him!

She raced toward the sound with renewed energy, and within minutes, she came into a large cavern. Heat slammed against her body, making her cringe in pain from the abrupt change in temperature. She stopped suddenly, her arms flailing out as she tried to regain her balance and not fall into the molten lava that appeared right before her eyes threatening to singe the tips of her toes.

The lake!


Immense heat blurred her vision, and she rubbed her eyes. All she could see was a sea of red heat. Where is he?

Searching through the haze, she finally saw a faint figure, motionless. She blinked again and gasped when her eyes finally focused.

No! It can’t be him.

Across the lake, chained to the wall, naked, was the one person in her life who she couldn’t be without. The one person for whom she would defy the orders of the most high of archangels just so she could save him.

Uriel.

Tears spilled down her heated cheeks as she took in his once magnificent body, scorched by the lava that splashed onto his skin. His beautiful downy-white wings were now a grotesque black. With each movement he made, feathers turned to ash and fluttered lifelessly to the ground.

“Uriel,” she croaked.

Uriel lifted his head, and pained eyes looked back at her, a startling blue against the black of his charred face. “No,” he groaned. “Leave. Leave now. He’ll be here—”

The cave rumbled, and lava sprouted into the air. A splattering of the searing liquid fell onto his chest. He arched his back and screeched.

“I’m coming, Uriel!” She tore off her cloak and flicked her wings open.

“It’s too late for me,” he rasped. “Don’t do this.”

“No, it’s not. I don’t care what the others say. You’ve redeemed yourself. You deserve another chance.”

He looked deep into her eyes. “Forgive me. I’m unworthy of you.”

“There is nothing to forgive. I love you.”

Desperate to find a way to get to him, Rachel looked around the cavern. She swallowed hard as she flit her wings and with all the strength she could muster, propelled herself into the air. She was only able to get herself a couple of feet off the ground. It was as if an invisible barrier was holding her down. Frantically, she looked around for another way to get to him and saw a narrow stone path with lava washing across it. There was no other way to him.

With all her might, she pushed herself upward, trying to get distance from the fiery liquid. The cave shook again, and a wave of lava slammed against the walls, sending droplets of lava flying into the air and onto her wings.

She wailed in pain and began to fall.

“No, Rachel. Go back,” Uriel moaned.

Before Rachel could tell him there was no way she was leaving him, she felt a rush of air on her back. An arm wrapped tightly around her waist and yanked her away from the lake, away from Uriel.

“Take her…Gabrielle,” Uriel gasped. “Keep her…safe.”

“You have my word,” Gabrielle said as she tightened her hold on Rachel.

“No!” Rachel screamed, struggling against Gabrielle’s steel-like arms. “Let me go. Let. Me. Go!”

Rachel stretched out her arms as if just by doing so, she could hold on to him. “Uriel! Uriel!”

Just as Gabrielle flew out of the cavern, a loud thunderclap rocked the cave, and the sound of his screams ripped through her, mixing with her own.

Then, silence.

He’s gone.

She fell limply into Gabrielle’s arms as they flew back through the frigid tunnel. The cold spread to her face, her hands, and then crept into her heart and the deepest part of her soul until there was nothing left except a dark numbness. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

When they flew out of the waterfall and into the sunlight, she stared lifelessly at the clouds drifting overhead. And though the sun shone down on her face, she couldn’t feel its warmth. She doubted if she would ever feel it again. The cold emptiness in her heart would be there forever because Uriel was dead.


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