Snippet Saturday – Sweethearts

This week’s Snippet Saturday features some of the most awesome authors I know. Be sure to visit them via the links at the bottom of this post. Now, back to business – this week’s theme is Sweethearts. Valentine’s Day just passed and while I don’t have any books with that particular holiday, Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same without some romance leading up to it, right?

So, here’s a Snippet from Silk Road where Larien allows himself to be as vulnerable as any Fallen can be — by showing his true self to Jayla.

Enjoy!

Excerpt from
Silk Road
Seals of Destiny Book One
by TJ Michaels

Out of the blue, she asked, “So you can change your form, right? Like the asshat that jumped me? He looked human one minute and a freaking giant the next.”

“Of course. All Fallen can take human form or revert to their working form.”

“Working form? What’s a working form?”

“I am a warring angel, so my working form is for battle. It is the form I take most often, or would take often if I still had my old job. We can also transform to celestial bodies, unless we go demon.”

“What happens if you choose Fallen demonhood rather than Fallen angelhood?”

“We lose the ability to take our celestial forms ever again.”

“Can I see? Your celestial form, I mean.” Her honey brown eyes sparkled, full of mischief. What was she up to? He tilted his head and tried to read between whatever lines he was sure were there. “Well, can I?”

I can refuse her nothing.

Without another word, Larien rose and padded to the living room with Jayla on his heels.

“Why the living room instead of the office?”

“You’ll see.”

The moment she settled on the couch he let the change explode from his very cells. His body stretched and expanded. The familiar burn of the emergence of his wings was followed by an awed gasp from Jayla.

“Wow. You have wings?! And you’re so big, uh, bigger.”

But even at eight feet ten inches this body was still restricted by flesh.

“This is my battle form.” His voice, deepened by the transformation, caused her eyes to widen even more, yet the stink of fear was absent. Humans usually pissed themselves if they managed to glimpse an angel’s battle form, Fallen or not. “But I want you to see my true form though it is dimmer than when I was eudaemon.”

Nodding enthusiastically, Jayla simply sat with her eyes aglow with wonder. The eager acceptance in her gaze never ceased to make him feel special. Proud, even, of what he was. Or rather, what was left of him.

* * * * *

Jayla was fully along for the ride. Energy crackled in the air, rode along the ridges of her spine and then sank into her blood. It pumped through her heart, infused her cells and then burst forth like an explosion of moonlight and starlight behind her eyes. It was peaceful yet so beautifully vibrant she could almost hear the hum of electricity in the room. The tips of Larien’s beautiful wings trailed the floor and then snapped out to fill the room. A variation of black she’d never seen before, the color seemed alive and swirled with luminescence. Lethal-looking talons on the end of perfectly sculpted feathers were a-glow with shimmering gold.

Wow, how did he ever walk away from such power, she wondered. Larien outshone anything her mind could even possibly conceive. When Improbael had morphed from his human form he’d grown at least a good two feet, just like Larien, but where Larien’s skin was an almost-glowing dove gray, Improbael’s Fallen demon skin had become as dank as cement—lifeless and cold like the dirty ash that remained in the bottom of a grill long after the charcoal had burned itself out.
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Snippet Saturday – ‘Cause I said so!

I am feeling four kinds of fiesty this week because the #ZART event is kicking off *yeeehaaaa!*. And this week’s Snippet Saturday theme fits right into my “kill ’em dead while looking sexy” mood. It’s author’s choice!

So how about a sneak peek at my new upcoming release, Silk Road? It’s book one in a brand new series, Seals of Destiny. Meet Jayla, a Descendant with the ability to control angels and demons alike. And Larien, the Fallen assigned to…protect her?

Enjoy the excerpt (unedited) then visit all the other awesome Snippet Saturday authors via the links at the bottom of the page.

Prologue – Silk Road
Seals of Destiny, Book 1

Catalog Date: July 2, 1887
Logged by: Dr. C. Wilhelm Humann
Find: Torn page of document found during excavation of the ancient ruins of Hierapolis, near Denizli Province, now modern day Turkey
Age: Estimate – 200 BC
Origin: Unclear
Material: Ink of unknown substance written on parchment
Language: Ancient Greek
Status: Unverifiable

Theory: Believed to be a hoax or part of a written play, perhaps to be performed by an artist or storyteller in the amphitheater located in the middle of the city. Given the Hellenistic origins of this site and the belief by the ancients that the city was founded by the god, Apollo, it is unlikely, given the belief in the Greek pantheon of that time, that anyone other than a storyteller would write of angelic beings.

Translation:
A single, jagged tear in the fabric that makes a family can destroy it forever. We felt immeasurable loss as those who have been a part of us since their very creation were ripped away. Left behind is a hole in the landscape of our community, a chasm of emptiness that will never be filled.

Like having an arm twisted from the socket without the luxury of a blade, their severing was agonizing and unspeakably ugly, leaving the exposed tatters of our emotions every bit as raw.

We felt the longing of those who wished to stay just as we’d felt their joys, triumphs and sadness through the ages. It assaulted our senses, even as we were driven to obey, driven to force them out of the only realm they’d ever known.

Beaten bloody, battered thoroughly, bruised in mind, body and spirit; we felt the sting of our own betrayal. We’d turned on them. Abandoned them. The pain they felt as they were separated from us reverberated from their minds to ours like the ripples of sound and space after striking a large gong. It was soul-deep as they looked us in the eye while we landed blow after blow.

“Don’t do this to us,” they cried. “Don’t make us leave you. We’ll die. Worse, we’I’ll die alone.”

Yet we had no choice. The smallest seed of rebellion could not be allowed to root or sprout, let alone grow. Could not be allowed to corrupt order.

Even as they fought back, tried to keep what had always been theirs, it wasn’t enough. They knew it. We knew it. We pushed them beyond the boundary of the heavens, beat them back until they were beyond the stars. Even my fellow Watchers, those who inhabit the skies and those who serve on the earth, observed with awe the utter destruction that we, the Host, delivered without quarter.

Their wings were nothing more than bloodied stumps as we tore away the last symbol of their former status. Bodies, once as bright as the stars, dimmed as they fell.

None would ever be punished as these, thrown down so that the impact shook the earth itself.

Some landed on jagged mountain peaks. Some crashed in the seas with such force it was as if they met solid stone rather than water. Some sprawled unmoving in snow to experience an utterly foreign sensation – bitter cold. Some met burning hot deserts where the rough sands scraped away the last of their flesh.

What small bits of their bodies that had not been damaged in the fighting were shattered, rended apart as they made contact with hard earth. And to Earth are they bound until their final judgment.

As if the judgment received weren’t enough.

They would never take to the air or rise again. Ever.

What were they to do? What were they to become now that what they had been created to serve was no long accessible? Would they mend? Of course. They were created as beings of the stars, celestial through and through, yet that which sustained them could no longer be called upon to replenish them. We are all warring angels, injury is nothing new. But for our brethren, what would normally take moments to heal would now take… Then I realize that I have no answer, having never been cut off from the Source.

We watched their expressions of disbelief harden even as their bleeding tattered bodies began to mend oh so slowly. With the mending of each wound came a new emotion.

Rage.

It affects us, their anger, but we must remain true to our purpose. We must remain connected. The need, the determination, to hold on to what is left of our family after we wrought such devastation helps keep us strong.

So we turn our backs knowing that we, that I, committed such fierce and lasting judgment, such violence against my own…the agony of it will forever reverberate through my soul.

There is no need to wonder if any who were to be cast out remained. We have been thorough. It is done. Something that none have witnessed before is finished.

The Fall.

As I sit and write this, it occurs to me that it is no wonder my brethren continue to despise man. A creature created of the dust of the ground had been given dominion over all the earth, a creature they had been expected to bow before. In punishment were they cast down to live among those very beings they saw as beneath their notice.

I never thought anything could cause me to question my purpose, my existence. My masters. Yet doubt lingers as to whether what we have done is…right. But it is a doubt I will never share with another lest I suffer the same fate.

[illegible writing – smudged ink here]…

We miss them as they were and we will always love them deeply for the rest of our days. Yet we cannot undo their rebellion, nor condone what they have become.

~Larien, Principality and Angel of the Art of War, Watcher and member of the Host

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