Welcome to Writer's Wednesday!
Today's guest is Brenda Huber. She's celebrating the release of her new book Demon of Vengeance.
Chronicles of the Fallen, Book 4
A legendary sword isn't the only thing this merciless demon desires...
Possessed of immeasurable patience and an unrelenting drive for justice, Sebastian, the Demon of Vengeance, has finally met his match. His mission is to keep the new Guardian safe until the Sword of Kathnesh is retrieved, but the aggravating woman insists on throwing herself into harm’s way at every opportunity.
Finding the sacred relic is Phoebe Mackenzie’s task, and protecting it is her family’s legacy. But when Sebastian resorts to magic to save her life, he unwittingly exposes a secret sealed deep within her—and paints a target on her back no demon can resist. As Phoebe fights to hold on to her identity, Sebastian’s oldest nemesis vows to use any and all means to force Sebastian into a fight to the death—including targeting his mate. Sebastian will do whatever it takes to preserve the barriers between Earth and Hell. But in unleashing the raging storm inside him, he risks losing the woman he loves.
“Well, they probably have Dad’s last journal now.” She mustered the strength to roll over on her side to face him. She tugged the blankets up, tucking them firmly in place. “It shouldn’t be a major issue, not unless they’re familiar with the region. My father encrypted all his journals. It was a code he only ever taught to me. It started out as a game when I was young, but then, after the fire, it became serious. Eventually it was the only way we communicated about anything, at least in writing. They won’t be able to read the journal themselves, I’m sure of that much at least.”
“Then we still have a slight advantage.”
“Not with me in this bed,” Phoebe pointed out, filled with determination. Once more, ignoring the trembling of her limbs and the shaking in her hands, she made to sit up.
But Sebastian was on his feet before she could blink. His large hand pressed against her good shoulder, careful but insistent, urging her back against the pillows. “Oh, no, you don’t. Not yet. You’re not strong enough. Tell me where to go, what to look for.”
“That’s just it. I don’t know.” She gave up struggling and sagged into the mattress, exhausted. No way was she going to let him hunt for the sword while she languished in bed. He’d find the damned thing and she’d never see him or it again. Not that it mattered if she saw him again. She bit her lip, unhappy with the taste of the lie souring her mouth.
What should it matter?
Answer? It shouldn’t.
But it did.
And she didn’t know quite what to think about that.
“Every journal I found was filled with clues. Clues and more clues. A hodgepodge network of riddles I had to work through. Riddles only I could work through. The clues form a map of sorts leading to yet another journal. It’s a complicated process, one I’d hoped I was reaching the end of.” She studied his face, bit her lip. And decided to test the waters. Would he keep to his word, or was he no better than the other demons she’d encountered?
No better, just sneakier? “Dad said he would leave a trail of breadcrumbs, should the sword ever disappear.”
“So there is a way to recover it, even though it’s in Stolas’s hands?” He leaned forward, his expression avid.
His excitement set off faint warning bells. Was it just ingrained caution? Or something more sinister? She hesitated. She needed him to trust her, regardless of whether or not she trusted him. If he trusted her, he might relax his guard. If his guard was down, she might be able to escape if need be.
Besides, he already knew most of the crucial information. She wasn’t confirming anything new. Not yet, at least.
“Yes, for sure. Or yes, you hope?”
Stirring herself, she replied, “Yes. Definitely, yes. He would have ensured there was some way to find it, no matter what. I firmly believe that. But we can’t wait. Too much is riding on that sword.”
Sebastian sat there, his hip pressed to hers as he leaned across her, his expression inscrutable. His palm was braced on the mattress beside her hip, pinning her in place. He regarded her with such intensity she fought the urge to squirm.
“What are you?” His question came out of left field.
She sucked in a sharp breath. How could he know? How had he figured out that she wasn’t—
“I know you don’t trust me, not yet. But in order for me to do my job, in order for me to protect you to the best of my ability, you have to tell me what you are.”
He waited. She swallowed. He cocked an eyebrow. She blinked. He was clearly growing impatient by her continued silence. Still, she couldn’t do it, couldn’t tell him what had happened to her, what she’d seen in the mirror the day she’d learned of her father’s death.
Eventually, Sebastian heaved a sigh. “Mark my words. I will find out, Phoebe. I don’t know what you’re so afraid of, why you fear telling me. But I’ll find out.” He stood and bent over her. And then he flattened his hands on either side of her shoulders, pinning her as he got in her space. “I will find out. And I’ll still stand beside you. I’ll protect you anyway. Even if I have to protect you from yourself.”
He dropped a soft kiss on her forehead, shocking her speechless, before he straightened and moved toward the door. “If you can get up, can get dressed on your own, and meet me downstairs in twenty minutes, I’ll take you back to Mexico tonight. Otherwise, the trip will have to wait until you’re stronger.”
“I don’t have any clothes,” she pointed out, cursing when her arms shook violently, threatening to give way as she pushed up on the bed once more. Phoebe squawked in surprise when a stack of neatly folded clothing appeared beside her without any warning.
Why did she get the feeling she was in over her head? Way, way over her head.
“Thank you,” she said, gritting her teeth in determination. Perspiration beaded her upper lip as she managed to get into an upright position. She clutched the sheet to her chest with one hand and reached for the pile of clothing with the other. “I appreciate all you’ve done for me, Sebastian. You’ve been…beyond kind.”
He stopped halfway across the room and slowly turned. The smile he sent her nearly stopped her heart.
“Sweetheart, there are three very important things you need to know about me…know and remember above and beyond anything else. First, I don’t have an altruistic bone in my body.”
“Second, when I want something, I won’t ever stop until I get it. Not. Ever.” He paused, stared at her for a long moment, stared hard, as if to make certain she not only heard but completely understood every last word. A heavy sense of foreboding settled in the pit of her stomach and she frowned.
“And third… I. Want. You.”
The smile he gave her left her with no doubt in her mind over what he’d meant by that last remark. And then he vanished. A long moment later, she sucked in a shuddering lungful of air. That old adage about frying pans and fires came back to her once more.
“What did I just get myself into?”
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