Publication date: January 23rd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal Romance
Madeline Noel fled war-torn Heaven to hide within the mortal world, but the blessing that could protect her from evil is the holy realm’s forbidden power.
As a talented soprano for the Eden Theatre Company, Madeline hides among prima donnas and tone-deaf flutists. Her perfect voice may entertain audiences, but a careless laugh may shatter glass, and her greatest scream can kill. To control her unrestrained voice, the angels forbid Madeline from embracing the emotions that strengthen her song. Anger. Fear.
The demon-hunter Damascus vows to defend Madeline from Hell’s relentless evil, but he cannot protect her from her own feelings. Though they deny their dangerous attraction, her guardian becomes her greatest temptation.
Surrendering to desire may awaken the gift suppressed within Madeline’s soul, and neither Heaven nor Hell will allow such absolute power to exist.
No cast or crew lingered in the dressing room, but she checked behind the two rows of lockers to ensure she was alone. The mirrors lining the walls reflected the makeup counters and dummy heads bearing wigs. The mirrors also hid shadows. Too many to count. Damascus always insisted she try.
The locker opened with a repulsive squeal. Madeline listened. Only the low-brass buzzing of the fluorescent lighting answered the squeak. No matter. She never should have stayed so late. She tugged the “Eden Productions” hoodie over her head.
A jarring crash from the stage pierced the stillness—the shrieking clatter of dozens of music stands in the orchestra pit toppling over. The violent echo reverberated through the opera house and shook the dressing room mirrors. The reflections didn’t still after the crashing silenced.
The stands were easy to bump, the domino effect generally laced with an immediate apology from the crew member responsible for the distraction. No words followed the booming rattle. Instead, a low growl rumbled from the stage, answered by a crash of another stand collapsing upon the pile.
The quickening of her heart was as dangerous as the growling creature. Madeline bolted to the door and kicked the wooden stopper. She forced it closed and flattened against the door.
Fear. It was fear twisting her stomach.
And now was not the time to be thrilled by her trembling.
A prayer chased away the cold sweat, but she couldn’t ignore the imagined shape of whatever thrashed in the hall. Fear wouldn’t save her. Surrendering to the emotion would only bring her end sooner.
Madeline took shelter between the rows of lockers. Her bag dropped to her feet, and she ripped open the pockets. An abrupt, violent yowl filled the theater—a blaze of anger, frustration, and dire promise. The howl summoned a series of returned grunts.
The grotesque language polluted the theater. Madeline didn’t need to understand the words to recognize their intent. The contents of her bag spread on the floor, and she tossed away the scripts and pens to find her keychain. She gripped the iron bottle-opener with white knuckles, knelt, and waited.
A minute passed. The air dragged from her lungs.
Her grip loosened on the bottle-opener, and she eased the straining muscles in her arms and legs.
They said she wouldn’t need to be afraid.
They commanded her never to feel afraid.
They also told her she would be safe.
Madeline should have realized the lie when she heard it.
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