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Keep scrolling to read the prequel to Celestial Beginnings, book 1 in the hit Nephilim Series.
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Prequel to Celestial Beginnings
Copyright 2013 Rebekah Daniels
Published by Rebekah Daniels
All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without the permission of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and review.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locals is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.
His long time instructor clucked his tongue in disapproval. “If ye want any chance of survival, ye gonna have te be quicker than that, Malachi.”
Rolling his eyes at the overly dramatic statement, Malachi fingered the new slice through the arm of his tunic and shrugged. “Nothing a needle and thread can’t fix.” A sly smile spread across his face. “Maybe I can get Amber or Mayville to fix it for me.” He chuckled and winked at the older man. Bringing up the two girls from their camp that were sweet on him would definitely add to his instructor’s annoyance.
Shaking his head in obvious frustration, Gerard held up his sword once again. “En garde!”
Smiling at his instructor’s seriousness, Malachi stuck his arm out to the side and spun his falchion in circles. “Come on, can’t we be done for the day?”
“No! I said, En garde.”
“The sun is descending, Gerard,” he pointed out, as if the older man couldn’t tell.
Lowering his sword a little, Gerard eyed him suspiciously. “Ye got somewhere te be?”
“No.” The answer came out too quickly, his voice a little too high. Clearing his throat, he shrugged, and tried again. “No, why do you ask?”
Gerard was a smart and very observant man. A tall and broad shouldered man, he was in his late forties and had been Malachi’s trainer for almost a decade. Being assigned as his trainer, he taught him hand to hand and various weapon combat, especially on how to properly wield his falchion. After having become so close through the years, he had also turned into the man that Malachi went to for help with his studies, or issues regarding his personal life.
In a way, he was the closest thing to a father that Malachi felt he would ever have. Plus, Gerard also knew him better than anyone else alive. Malachi knew this, and in knowing this, he also knew that he was about to be called out on his lie.
“Sword up, now!” Gerard raised his sword, and waited. The moment Malachi had his raised, Gerard swung.
The sound of the metal clashing against each other brought Malachi back into the now ingrained rhythm. Malachi would swing, only for it to be blocked, then Gerard would counter, leaving Malachi to defend himself against the incoming strike.
After a few continuing sets of going back and forth, Gerard finally spoke up. “I heard something about the village down the mountain… something about having a te-do commencing the New Year.”
Without breaking rhythm, Malachi leveled out his voice. “Really? I hadn’t heard.”
Without warning, Gerard’s sword swiftly moved in the opposite direction of where it had been swinging. Barely having enough time, Malachi pivoted and blocked the potentially critical blow. His hand throbbed from the impact, a testament to how hard the hit actually was.
“What the hell was that?” Malachi lowered his sword, and gaped at the older man.
Pointing his sword at Malachi, Gerard leveled an eye on him and sneered. “Don’t ye lie to me, boy! I was wipin’ snot from your nose as ye cried about your mama, and I still told it te ye straight.” Before he could respond, Gerard continued. “When ye would wake up screaming from your nightmares, it was me that was there. Don’t be lettin’ your ego get in the way te make ye lose the respect I taught ye te show people. Most of all, don’t think te disrespect me by lyin’ again.” Malachi opened his mouth to answer, but before he could, Gerard raised his sword into his readying stance once more, and snapped, “Sword up!”
Before complying, Malachi swallowed the lump in his throat. Once again, when his falchion was raised, Gerard swung.
They quickly got into another rhythm, and Gerard was the one to speak first again. “Ye know we don’t associate with the mortals down there. Those people would never understand what ye are.”
Malachi pinched his lips together and forcefully thrust his sword toward Gerard’s chest. The older man easily slid his sword along the side of his, before circling his wrist and moving Malachi’s falchion off to the side.
The way his instructor could easily defend himself against Malachi’s attacks raised his ire even more. With clenched teeth, he ground out, “In case you have forgotten… you are one of ‘those people’.”
It was true. Gerard was as mortal as they come. Someday he would grow too slow to train, too old to take care of himself, and then eventually die. With the thought, Malachi’s throat caught fire. That was not a day he was looking forward to.
Malachi had confronted him about asking someone from their camp for more time. Gerard just told him that he had lived his life, and was ready to go when his time came. Of course, Malachi had taken that personally, thinking that he didn’t want to stay longer with him.
“I may be human, but it’s not the same, and ye know it,” Gerard spat out.
Malachi once again pinched his lips together and nodded. He knew there was a difference. Gerard knew what he was, who his great-grandfather was, and what the majority of people in the camp were as well. No mortals were allowed here, but there were exceptions to that rule.
Years ago, Gerard was invited to stay by one of the nephilims in charge of the camp. Rumor had it that Gerard’s village was attached by demons that had slipped in under the radar. The village was half destroyed by the time the nephilim warriors got there. Gerard was one of the few people left alive, and that was only because he had not stopped fighting.
By the end of the battle, the majority of the villagers were dead, including Gerard’s entire family. Most of the village was destroyed, but instead of staying to rebuild, he had wanted to avenge his family any way he could. After much determination on his part, and an intense discussion between the leaders of the camp, Gerard was let in. Now, for almost a decade, he had been trying to prepare Malachi to defend against, as he put it, “all the ugliness in the world”.
Malachi brought his arm up, and did a backward swing, arching down toward Gerard. “It’s not fair!” That was as far as he got before Gerard’s sword came up, and the sound of metal colliding rang through the air.
Before Gerard could go on the offensive again, Malachi stepped back and lowered his falchion. “I’m 14 years old! I don’t see why I can’t act like other boys my age.” This was an old argument between the two, and one Malachi didn’t ever think they would see eye to eye on.
“Because ye’re not like the other boys in that village.” Gerard lowered his sword, and swung his other arm out in the direction to go to get down the mountain. “Ye’re so much more important. One day, ye will be a fierce warrior… a leader. Ye will be such a powerful force that any demon will dread going up against ye.”
“I don’t think you get it. What if I don’t want to be the leader you keep saying I will be?”
Gerard didn’t look too concerned. “Nonsense! I didn’t bring ye up te back down from a challenge. There is so much evil out there, Malachi… the fallen ones, demons, possessions, even some humans… the world and the lord will need as many warriors as it can get.”
Rolling his eyes at the same argument that Gerard used every time, Malachi shook his head. “Don’t you think that’s a little extreme? You talk as if there’s evil lurking around every corner.” He let out a humorless chuckle and shook his head at the mere thought.
Gerard wasn’t laughing though. “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” he snapped. Standing there, Gerard examined Malachi’s reaction, and must not have liked what he saw, because he let out a loud sigh and sheathed his sword at his hip. “One day, ye will learn, and that day will be bitter-sweet. Ye will finally learn why ye and this fight against evil are so important. Unfortunately, I hate te think what the consequences of that lesson will be.”
Malachi thought on that for a moment. He didn’t see what the big deal was. Of course he knew there was evil out there, but Malachi saw it as the way of the world. Yes, bad things happened, but if they didn’t, how would you realize how much good there could be? It was a screwed up reality, but a reality none-the-less.
So, he trained, and listened to what was expected of him. This was his lot in life. Why couldn’t he have both, he thought… become the warrior he was trained to be, but still be able to live a semi-normal life?
With that in mind, he had already decided that he was going to the village festivals that night, but that was the last thing he would admit to Gerard. Instead, he looked to his long time instructor and friend before he conceded. “Fine. I’ll try harder. You would know more about this than I would.”
A shadow passed in front of Gerard’s face as memories, best forgotten, resurfaced. “Yeah, I would.”
Malachi mentally kicked himself for unintentionally doing that to Gerard. He looked around the camp for inspiration to quickly change the subject. At that moment, a large figure stepped out of one of their leader’s huts. The setting sun reflected off his pail hair as well as the gleaming axe hanging from his hip.
Using the falchion still gripped in his hand, he gestured at the man. “Who’s that? I’ve never seen him before.”
Gerard looked over to see who he was talking about. “Ack,” he spit out before grimacing. “That must be the infamous, Gemariah.” Obviously, he was not too keen on seeing him, and the assumption was confirmed when he said, “It’s best if ye steer clear of him.”
Still observing, with curiosity, the man he was supposed to avoid, Malachi didn’t look away when he asked, “Why’s that?”
“He’s flighty. He’s a rugged Viking that’s more concerned with fighting for having a good time rather than fighting for defending what is good. If ye’re serious about trying harder and taking your position here more seriously, then stay away from him until he leaves camp.”
Out of everything Gerard said, one thing stood out the most. “A Viking? Isn’t it strange that he would be here? Vikings don’t believe in our God… even detest the idea of him.”
“What better way to spit in the face of Viking beliefs, than for a nephilim te enter one of their dwellings and create a Viking nephilim?”
Gerard’s meaning was not lost on Malachi, and he was shocked at his instructor’s nonchalant attitude about the idea. “That’s not our way though. You’ve always taught me to be respectful of other people’s beliefs.”
“I know I have, but with the blood of a fallen angel in them, a nephilim can easily turn dark. I don’t condone what happened, but it’s the way of the world.”
Malachi didn’t respond, but instead watched the tall blonde walk away. He didn’t know what it was, but there was something about the man that intrigued him. That was something to think about another day though, he thought. Right now, he had more important things to figure out.
Biting the inside of his lip, Malachi contemplated what to do next. He was serious about training harder and sharpening his focus, but he had also been looking forward to tonight. First, he had to get away from Gerard, and then he would be on his way. Tomorrow… tomorrow, he would buckle down, but tonight he was taking for himself.
He looked down and watched the dainty finger slide down his upper arm.
“How come you haven’t been by to see me lately?” Rosetta, a girl from the village, pouted, and looked up at him through her long lashes.
Grinning down at her, Malachi thought once again how glad he was that he had come tonight. His chest felt lighter, and he could breathe easier. It was as if an invisible weight had been lifted from him, a weight that would no doubt return tomorrow, but he planned on enjoying the freedom tonight.
When he arrived, he had kept to the outskirts of the village, avoiding the mad rush of people, but still close enough to let all the contagious joy soak in. Despite his efforts to stay unnoticed, Rosetta had spotted him, and quickly stopped his trek around the courtyard.
Malachi knew he looked older than he actually was, so it always worked in his favor when it came to the girls of the village. They always seemed to take a liking to him, but it was always awkward when he came to see one, and was found by another he used to bestow his attention onto… like now.
“Ahh, Rosy. I told you that I was going to be busy for a while.” It wasn’t a lie. He had been busy, but in his spare time, it hadn’t been her that he was coming to see.
Her bottom lip stuck out farther and he suppressed the urge to roll his eyes. Girls never liked it when he did that. “I know, but I thought―”
The rest of what she was saying faded to the background when Malachi heard a burst of female laughter. Swinging his head around, he scanned the courtyard until he found where it came from.
Standing off to the side, and surrounded by a group of young children, a girl stood, smiling wide, and laughing with the children. It looked as if she was holding a small chunk of bread out of the children’s reach, and they were tickling her to get her to drop the tasty morsel.
“Mal! Are you listening to me?”
Through the haze, the irritated voice pushed through, but he wasn’t ready to stop watching the scene in front of him. Holding up his index finger in front of Rosetta, he didn’t take his eyes of the girl. “Hold on.”
As he watched, he saw the small children gain the advantage, and the girl was brought down to her knees. For a moment, he felt a small amount of concern, but if her laughter was any indication, she was having fun. He found himself smiling as the children finally got her down far enough, and snatched the bread before they took off running.
He chuckled when she angled herself up, and yelled a mock threat to feed them to the dragon that hid in the mountains. Her laughter seemed to brighten up her face. Malachi started to push away from the wall to see if she needed any help, when he noticed one of the children, a boy, had not ran off with the rest of them. Instead, he was holding his hand out to help her up.
The boy couldn’t have been more than six, but he knew that look anywhere. The boy utterly adored the girl.
Taking the offered hand, she used the support and the ground to push herself back up. When she let go of his hand, she leaned down and kissed the boy on his forehead before nudging him in the direction the other kids had run.
It was then that Malachi took his eyes from the girl, and moved them to the boy. The young boy did as he was told and ran away, albeit it was with a big smile and slightly redder cheeks. Yep, the boy had it bad, he thought.
With all the children gone, Malachi took another moment to observe the girl. She was younger than the normal girl he usually went for, no more than ten and two. Her tousled blonde hair shone in the sunlight, and it was as if her smile was permanently in place. He wouldn’t precisely call her pretty, but she sure was cute.
The screech was right next to his ear, and he cringed at the sound. “Liza! I said, ‘hold on!’” It was with a sinking sensation that he realized what he had just said.
“Liza?” It was a question whispered by a very offended Rosetta.
Giving her his full attention, he reached up with both hands and tried to grasp her arms. “Rosy….”
“Don’t ‘Rosy’ me!” She stepped back to avoid his touch. “Liza? As in, the baker’s daughter, ‘no, she’s not prettier than you,’ Liza?”
“It’s not what you think?” He could have kicked himself when the statement came out sounding more like a question.
“Busy, my left foot!”
Her so called “left foot” came crashing down on his, and he clenched his teeth at the discomfort her slipper-clad stomp could cause. The action caused a moment’s distraction, and the next thing he knew, his cheek was on fire.
She had struck him―hard, but before he could say anything, she was already stomping across the yard.
Sighing loudly, he took a moment to lean against the building he had been standing next to. Using the opportunity, he quietly started to observe the people around him, which was one of his favorite things to do. Sometimes, it was nice to watch what he knew he could never have…normalcy.
There were children running and laughing, a man was pushing a cart full of bags of flour into the bakery, the blacksmith was pounding on metal while his small son played next to him, and there was a man climbing through the window of the building across the ally from him…. Wait! There was a man climbing out a window?
In shock, Malachi watched as a large figure threw his legs over the side and hopped down to the ground. As he turned, Malachi caught his breath on a gasp when he saw who it was. What was Gemariah doing here in the village, where anybody could see him?
Still staring, Malachi watched as Gemariah approached him, but walked around him at the last moment with nothing more than a nod and a, “Hey, kid.”
Now, Malachi was glaring. How dare he? “The name’s Malachi and I am no kid,” Malachi yelled at his back. When Gemariah turned around, Malachi continued. “I also know who and what you are, so I’m only gonna ask this once. What are you doing climbing out of that window, in my village?”
Gemariah had a contemplative look on his face before obvious realization dawned. “Malachi? You must be the exalted one that everyone up the mountain is raving about.”
Malachi pushed out his chest, and tried to stand taller than he actually was. “And what if I am?”
Gemariah put his hands up, palms out in a placating manner. “Easy. I was just stating a fact, nothing more.”
Malachi’s body had just started to relax, when Gemariah continued.
“I could ask you the same question, you know.” Cocking his head to the side, Gemariah smirked. “But I’m assuming from the mark on your cheek that it was for the same reason… a lady friend. Except, I think, mine ended a lot better.” He finished the sentence by looking back at the window he had just come out of, and nodded.
Malachi looked at the window as well, and saw a buxom woman closing the shutters of the window, with a smile on her face. It was then that realization dawned, and Malachi felt color flood his cheeks. “Alright, but why leave out the window?”
Gemariah slid his arm around Malachi’s shoulders and guided him in the opposite direction. “It’s the best way, when the husband is coming through the front door.”
After a few moments of just talking with Gemariah, Malachi realized that Gerard was both right and wrong about the man. Yes, he never missed an opportunity to have fun, even to the point of risking exposure, but he took his fighting and battles very seriously. In fact, he was headed out the next day to reach Narva, inside the Swedish Empire. If the rumors were true, and the Russians were indeed planning a full scale attack, he, along with a larger group of nephilims were leaving to join in the relief to help Charles XII.
What Malachi wouldn’t give to go with him, but even Gemariah had said it was too soon, but promised that there would be many more battles after he had gained his immortality.
After close to half of an hour talking about random things, Gemariah stood from where he had been sitting on the edge of a well. “Listen, I’ve got to be going, but take care of yourself, Malachi.”
“Yeah, you too.” Malachi stuck his hand out, and Gemariah didn’t hesitate to grasp it.
“See ya around, kid.”
“I already told you… I’m not a kid.” Malachi couldn’t keep the laughter from his voice, or the smile off his face.
With a matching expression, Gemariah held up his hands in surrender while backing away. “My mistake.”
Malachi watched as Gemariah walked away, and thought that he didn’t know if they would actually see each other again, but he was glad that he had at least got to meet someone like him.
Looking around, he realized that the festivities were starting, and people were becoming more energized. A dance had started in the courtyard, vendors had gathered around to sell their wares, and the young children had started up a game of hide and seek. Overall, everyone was having a good time.
Standing next to the dance floor were three young girls. Their focus was on the groups of people swinging each other around, and he could hear their laughter from where he was standing. His attention was pulled to the one in the middle when the fire from the lit touches gleamed off her hair and made it glow. She was the same girl that he had seen before, the one with the children.
Seeing her standing there brought an idea to his head, and he swiftly moved to a vendor selling baked products. After tossing the elderly lady a coin, he grabbed a fresh biscuit from her collection.
Bread in hand, he made his way in her direction, and didn’t stop till he was standing directly next to the group of girls. When he cleared his throat, the noise brought all three of their gazes to him. Mid giggle, all three stopped and he watched as their eyes grew slightly wider. Focusing his gaze on the girl in the middle, he was blown away by what he saw.
Large, expressive eyes stared back at him before they were quickly lowered to the ground. Even the small glimpse was like a punch to his gut. Her eyes reminded him of a plant found around the mountain at certain times of the year. It was one of his favorites, and Gerard had once called the color violet. Her eyes had to be close to the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. She was still looking at the ground, with small glimpses in his direction, and he suddenly realized that he wanted her full attention back.
Holding out the biscuit until it was directly in front of her, he cleared his throat before speaking. “Here. This is for you.”
Before she could say anything, her friend spoke up. “That’s an odd gift. Could you not find any flowers?”
Malachi felt heat start to rise up from his collar, and for the first time he started to second guess his offering. Clearing his throat once again, he kept his eyes on the blonde and chuckled, before he said, “Well, after witnessing her lose something similar in such a vicious manner to those rug rats, I thought she might like another.”
Just then, her gaze popped back up to meet his, and she squeaked, “You saw that?”
Smiling down at her, he moved the hand holding the biscuit closer to her. “Yeah. So how ‘bout it? Would you like another?”
Tentatively, she reached up and took the offering. “Thank you.”
There was a loud sigh let out from the friend that had spoken earlier, and she took hold of the blonde’s arm and pulled slightly. “Come on, we should probably go check in.”
The girl’s gaze broke from Malachi’s finally, and looked toward her friend. “Um… yeah. Just give me a minute. I’ll be right there.”
Her friend didn’t look as if she liked that plan, and opened her mouth to protest. Before she could get one word out though, the other girl, the one that had been silent until now, spoke up. “Oh come on. It’s no big deal. She’ll only be a minute.”
Right then, he wished he had brought flowers, because he would have given a couple to that girl as a thank you.
After a few seconds of thought, the girl that was about to argue shut her mouth and walked away, along with the girl he now owed flowers to.
“So…” He hadn’t thought it through of what to say next.
“Are you up to no good again today?”
Her question took him so off guard that he took a step back. “What?”
“It’s a small village, and word spreads.” She gestured across the dance floor with her head. “Plus, with the death looks Rosetta and Liza are sending this way, I’m assuming they’re towards you. I’m also pretty sure, if rumors are true and she was out here, Anna Beth would be glaring at you just the same.”
He laughed out loud at her blunt observation. “What can I say? Is it my fault that they all want my attention? I’m just nice to them, is all.”
Something he said must have been funny, because she let out a burst of laughter. “What’s that saying? Oh yeah!” She snapped her fingers and pulled herself up to her toes in excitement. “You’re the wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“That’s not very nice, you know?” He tried to look stern, but failed miserably. There was something about this girl. It was as if her soothing spirit was catching.
Placing a hand over her mouth, she tried to stop her laughter, but only succeeded in muffling it. “I’m sorry.” She smothered another smile and tried to continue. “Really, I am. You say that you’re just nice to them, but you know… it’s not nice to show your attentions to a girl if you don’t plan on becoming more serious”
“You’re one to talk.”
That immediately brought her to attention, and her eyes widened slightly. “I beg your pardon. What do you mean by that?”
“I saw you earlier, and the way you kissed that boy’s head before sending him on his way. He is utterly head over heels for you, and that small act won’t encourage him to go elsewhere.” Malachi grinned, and crossed his arms in front of his chest. Let’s see her explain that one, he thought smugly.
Apparently, he was being extra hilarious today, because she started to laugh once again. Taking a deep breath, she calmed herself enough to talk, but her smile never went away. “Yes, I know that boy loves me, as I do him.”
Malachi’s shoulders tensed. He didn’t want to dwell too much on the sinking feeling that started to press onto his chest. Having just met her, his reaction confused him.
“Just as most brothers and sisters should,” she finished, and he slowly let out a breath before relaxing once again.
Feeling like a pile of dung, he reached up and rubbed the back of his neck. Wanting to change the topic, and quick, he looked down at the biscuit still being held in her hand. “Are you gonna eat that, or save it to be taken away… again?”
The color that bloomed on her cheeks made her face start to glow again. Reaching over with her other hand, she pulled off a small chunk and put it in her mouth. Her expression was almost comical. She moved her gaze away from his, and it looked as if she was working hard at chewing.
“Nuffin.” She still had food in her mouth, and her answer came out muffled.
“Yeah right, what is it?”
Once again, she vigorously shook her head, and said, “Nuffin!”
“Uh-ha.” With quickened speed, he reached over and snagged a chuck of the biscuit, and before she could stop him, shoved it in his mouth. The taste hit him within seconds. One time, Gerard took him into the wilderness, and taught him the different things that were edible. This reminded him of that trip, when Gerard had him bite into tree bark. It was gritty, with a taste that made his gut clench in protest at having to swallow the foal food. Without a second thought, he leaned to the side, and started to spit out as much of the bite as he could. “Wow! That was awful.”
When he saw that she still had the bite she took in her mouth, he turned her, so she would be covered and could spit out the piece. Apparently, it wasn’t ladylike to spit out one’s food.
When she stood back up and faced him, she wrinkled her nose, and asked after wiping her mouth, “Where did you get that?”
“A woman was selling them.” He craned his neck until he found the vendor and pointed her out.
“Mavel? She giggled once again, and shook her head. “Mavel is a nice lady, and we all buy things from her once in a while, but no one can eat what she makes, so it usually is given to the animals.”
“Good to know.” Chuckling with her, Malachi looked into her expressive eyes. “I’ll bring you a different one tomorrow.”
Her smile this time didn’t quite reach her eyes. “I don’t think that’s such a good idea.”
This time, she looked at him as if he were missing some crucial point. She gestured once again to the girls standing on the other side of the dance floor. “I’m not like them.”
“I think that goes without saying.”
“Nothing is going to happen between us.”
“That’s good. Then I don’t have to worry about you trying to flirt with me.”
She rolled her eyes and placed a small hand on her hip. “So, friends… but how can that be when we’re still strangers?”
Not missing a beat, Malachi clasped the hand at her hip, pulled it up, and bent over it before standing back up. “It’s good to meet you. My name’s Malachi.” Freezing for a second, he realized he had just given her his real name. Never had he done that before. Always, he would use the shortened version of his name, Mal, to help keep his true self a secret. Deciding not to dwell on the fact, he looked down at her expectantly.
“Nope. I don’t tell my name to strangers.”
Placing a hand over his chest as if he were wounded, he stumbled backwards. “That’s harsh.” Tilting his head to the side, he grinned. “Then tell me. How does one not become a stranger to you?
“I’ll tell you what. If you truly bring that biscuit to me tomorrow, I will tell you my name.”
Smiling fully, he nodded in agreement. “Deal. How will I find you?
Lifting a shoulder, she gifted him with a sly smile. “I’m sure you can think of something.”
“Hmm, a challenge. Alright. Plus, to show that I’m gonna be a good friend, I’ll even let you keep the biscuit from today.
Her smile grew even more. “How generous of you.”
Opening his arms outward, he started walking backwards to leave. “That’s just the type of fellow I am. Until tomorrow….”
She lifted her hand to cover her smile, and then just as quickly, lowered it again. “Yes, until tomorrow….
Malachi laid on the grass and looked up toward the blue sky. This was his favorite place, a secluded clearing with one large tree near the center along with tall grass and wild flowers that came to his knees. It was the perfect place to get away from everything and everyone. Of course, right now it was covered in a layer of snow, but it was still peaceful, none the less. He would come here to train, to think, or to do absolutely nothing. As far as he knew, no one ever came there except for him and, on occasion, Gerard.
Today was the perfect day. The sun was shining, melting the snow that was still on the ground from the week before. The slight breeze always brought different scents from nature, and at that moment, was a slightly metallic smell. It was somewhat odd, but not enough to deteriorate his good mood.
All he had to do was finish his training, and then he could sneak past Gerard and get to the village before sun down. He felt his mouth start to curve up at the thought of spending time with the little blonde haired, violet eyed village girl.
He was mentally replaying their conversation the day before, when he felt something nudge his leg. With a start, he grabbed his falchion that had been lying beside him, and swung it out as he sat up. Its progress forward was quickly deflected to the side by another sword.
“Ye call this training?”
Malachi had to shield his eyes against the sun to see who was in front of him, but he would know that gruff voice anywhere. Gerard was standing over him, glaring down to show his obvious disapproval.
“I was just taking a break… no big deal.”
Letting out a loud sigh, Gerard shook his head as Malachi stood up. “I thought ye said that ye were going te try harder at taking this seriously.”
“I am! I just took―”
Just then, the wind blew over them and Gerard held up a hand to silence Malachi. “Do ye smell that?”
Malachi breathed in through his nose, and didn’t smell anything unusual. The metallic smell was still there, but that could be anything in nature.
“Blood! A lot of it.”
The hairs on the back of Malachi’s neck stood at attention, as he and Gerard turned simultaneously to put their backs together. Both crouched into a defensive position and held out their weapons.
“Is this a test?” He didn’t think so, but he thought there was no harm in asking.
“No, boy! Now stay on alert.”
They started to turn, so each could scan the clearing, but Malachi didn’t see anything. It wasn’t until he was facing the large tree, and the breeze picked up, that he saw something unusual flutter on the opposite side of the tree. “I think I see something… by the tree!”
Gerard glanced over his shoulder to look, but quickly returned his gaze to the other side of the clearing. “I didn’t see anything.”
“I did! Something’s there.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Gerard finally conceded. “Fine. We’ll go check it out, but we do it using a wide berth. Whatever ye do… don’t take your attention away from your surroundings. Got it?”
“Yeah.” Malachi answered distractedly before he started to move.
They walked side by side, but kept turning to make sure they were alone. They did as Gerard said and came around wide, but the closer they got, the more Malachi knew that there was indeed something there.
Once they got to the other side of the clearing, and what was by the tree was in plain view, they both stopped in their tracks. There was a body impaled on the tree, a female one to be exact. She was pinned on the tree a couple feet off the ground and covered in blood. A stake had been driven through her chest, head, and arms, as if to put her on display. The contrast between the red blood and the white snow drew his attention. Who could do something like this?
His gaze was brought back up to the body, and he started to pay closer attention to the smaller details. The petiteness of her showed that this was not a woman, but instead, a young girl. He could see a few spots of blonde hair that had not been touched by blood, and her blue striped dress moved around her ankles whenever the wind blew. That must have been what he had seen earlier, he thought.
Taking a closer look at the dress, he had a nagging suspicion that he had seen it before. All of a sudden, a flash of the day before replayed in his head. He saw a small girl, in a blue striped dress, laughing as children brought her down to her knees.
Before he realized what he was doing, his feet took off running towards the tree. The curse, and the crunching of the snow behind him, signaled that Gerard was following.
He had just reached her, and placed a hand on a tiny foot of hers that was missing a slipper, when he was grabbed around the middle and pulled back. Malachi fought the hold on him, but Gerard wasn’t letting up. He just wanted to reach her to see if he could do anything to help.
“Malachi, stop!” With one last heave, the older man was able to get him back a few feet. The movement made him stumble to his knees. When he made a move to rise, Gerard knelt in front of him, and placed both of his hands on Malachi’s shoulders to hold him in place. “What has gotten into ye?”
Malachi couldn’t speak beyond the lump that had formed in his throat. Looking back up at the young girl, he could now see her more clearly. Her skin had lost its color, and he could still feel the coldness on his fingers where he had touched her foot. Her eyes were still open, and the intriguing violet eyes that had held his attention just yesterday were now lifeless and unseeing.
Gerard kept his hands on Malachi’s shoulders, but angled his body to look over his shoulder. He didn’t speak for the couple minutes he took to examine the body. Letting out a loud sigh, he shook his head before focusing his attention back on the body. “What’s in her mouth?”
Malachi felt the bile rise up in his throat once again, because he knew what it was. It was the first thing he had seen when he got a look at her face close up. It was large chunk of bread…probably the biscuit he had given her the night before. Squeezing his eyes shut, he shook his head back and forth to try and rid the image away.
“Malachi, open your eyes and look at me… only me.” Gerard’s voice was gruff, but still just as steady as he had remembered from his past.
Without hesitation, he did as he was told. Trying to ignore what was behind him, he tried to focus solely on his instructor and friend.
“Malachi, I understand that this is not a normal sight for ye, but do ye get it now? Do ye understand why the world needs people like ye? Think of the amount of evil someone had to possess te do this.” Malachi’s gaze started to return to the body, and Gerard’s grip tightened. “Look at me!”
When his gaze returned, Gerard continued. “This is why I push ye so hard. This is the type of thing ye will be able te help prevent. Unfortunately, there are evil people as well as evil beings out there, but your job is te help as many people as ye can. Do ye understand?”
He bowed his head and nodded.
“I need te hear it,” Gerard snapped.
Whipping his head up, Malachi looked into Gerard’s eyes. “I understand.”
Letting his gaze move back over to the girl, Malachi slowly shook his head in disbelief. “She was so full of life and happiness. She had people that cared about her. It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to harm her.”
“Why does it sound as if ye knew her?” Gerard’s voice had turned harsh, and he swiftly stood up and towered over Malachi.
Malachi knew he was in trouble. Taking a deep breath, the truth spilled out without hesitation. “I met her yesterday evening when I went into the village. We talked for a short amount of time. That’s it.”
Before he could blink, Gerard grabbed his upper arm and hauled him to his feet. Immediately, Gerard started to pull him from the clearing, but Malachi fought to pull away.
“What are you doing? Let me go!” Malachi shrieked, as he eyed the tree, wanting to get back to her.
“No! We need te get ye out of here.” Gerard grunted from the struggle, but didn’t stop pulling.
“What are you talking about?”
Finally, Gerard stopped and brought Malachi’s face up to his own. Pointing to the girl, he snapped, “Ye met her last night. Someone probably saw that ye felt something for her. Now…today, her body was displayed at a place where only ye come. Obviously, this was meant for ye te find. That means ye need te get as far away from here as possible, as quickly as possible.”
The logic made sense, and even caused an ire feeling to slither down his spine, but he still couldn’t go. “No.” He tried to turn back to the tree, but Gerard’s grip didn’t falter. Malachi then pleaded, “I can’t just leave her like that. It’s not right.”
“Fine.” Through clenched teeth, Gerard spoke. “Once we get back, I will send people back down here te take her down and place her somewhere near her village… someplace where she’ll be found.”
Malachi didn’t like the idea. He felt as if it should be him that made sure she was properly taken care of. The reserved look must have shown because Gerard’s grip tightened on his arm.
“It’s the best deal ye’re going te get.”
Malachi angrily bit the inside of his cheek, so as not to say something he would later regret. Instead, he stayed silent and stiffly nodded.
“Listen up, boy! This should be a wake up call.”
Malachi took a step back when Gerard took a menacing step toward him.
“I need your word here, Malachi,” Gerard practically growled at him. “Ye will never again put your wants in front of your duty. Ye will protect the people that can’t protect themselves, and most importantly, ye will never forget this day and what ye learned.” Throwing his beefy arm out to gesture at the small body, Gerard snapped, “This is what happens when ye’re not careful.”
Malachi nodded quickly. This was one promise he had no problem making. If he could prevent something like this from happening to even one person, it would be worth it. From now on, there would be no more village trips, no more taking his training for granted. He would become the warrior he was born to be, and nothing or no one would deter his determination to do so. “I give you my word.”
Struggling not to drop the books she held, Trinity had almost made it outside the store before someone tapped her arm to get her attention. When she glanced over her shoulder, an elderly woman pointed in the direction of the register. Craning her neck further, she looked back and noticed the cashier had been waving her over.
Grudgingly, she turned around and pushed through the crowd of people to return to the register. When she was close enough, the cashier spoke up. “Ms. Bradshaw,” she said in an irritated tone, “you forgot your receipt, along with another book.”
Gritting her teeth so as not to snap back, she smiled tightly, and said, “Thank you.”
Placing the book on her already full stack, she once again thought about how she could kick herself for not remembering to bring her bags from home. She was all for eco-friendly stores that only used reusable sacks, but she refused to purchase anymore since she already had a stack of them at home. When she got home, she would try to remember to put one in her car, she thought. That way, she wouldn’t have this problem again on her next impromptu trip to the bookstore.
As she balanced the books in her arms, she mentally crossed her fingers that she would be able to make it the block to her car without spilling them all over the sidewalk.
Originally, she came into the city to do a little shopping. A new school year was starting tomorrow, and she thought to treat herself. Of course, the shop she decided to visit was right around the corner from the cute little bookstore she liked to go to. The endless rainfall hadn’t let up, but not wanting to try to find a new parking space, she decided to quickly walk over and take a look inside.
The moment she stepped in, she knew she was in trouble. The smell of the crisp pages just waiting for her touch was like a drug, one she had become addicted to ages ago.
Now, here she was. She weaved back through the crowd, towards the doors, and contemplated how she was going to keep all her new books dry.
When she finally got to the glass doors, she looked out and glared at the rain as if the inconvenience was purposefully meant for her alone. She would just have to run, she thought. On the count of three…
She adjusted the books in her arms so that none would come loose on the hasty jaunt to her car.
Taking a deep breath in, she placed a hand on the door and bowed her head.
Quickly, she pushed the door open and stepped out. Without another thought, she took off running in the direction of her car. She didn’t even make it two steps before she ran into a very solid wall. It felt like a wall anyways, when in fact, it was a very tall and very muscular body.
The impact made her gasp and lurch backwards. In the process, she ended up dropping all her books onto the drenched sidewalk, and if it wasn’t for the quick reflexes of the man she had ran into, she would have fallen backwards and joined them on the ground.
He had somehow made it behind her, and prevented her backwards descent by grabbing onto her shoulders. “I am so sorry. Are you okay?”
His voice was heavenly. The deep sound, combined with his strong hold on her arms, caused a shiver to run over her spine. It finally penetrated what he had said. He was apologizing to her?
“No, I ran into you. I wasn’t watching where I was going, just trying to get to my car before my books got ruined by the rain.” She had started to ramble on, but what she said had somehow sunk in. Books? Oh no! She had forgotten all about them.
Immediately, she crouched down and quickly started to swipe them off the ground. “Damaged… damaged… this one too. Ugh!”
Suddenly, there was another set of hands down there, helping her, but her concentration didn’t waver. She was too focused on her purchases getting ruined by the second.
The man handed her what he had picked up, and quickly stood. “Listen. Once again, I’m sorry for running into you, but I really have to go.”
She saw that he was almost dancing from foot to foot; a telltale sign that he was indeed in a hurry. “That’s okay. I und―” That was as far as she got in her planned apology before he took off.
Finally getting the last book in her arms, she stood and looked in the direction the man had taken off in. The sidewalk was semi crowded, but there was only one man, a very tall one at that, that was running away. She knew immediately that that was the man she had collided with.
She was in no way ready for a man in her life, but there was no rule against looking, and he was one to look at―even if it was briefly―and only from the back. She got a partial smile on her face and remembered his smooth voice, firm touch, and an overall essence of authority. Definitely a man that dreams could form around.
Shaking her head, she brought her attention back to the present, and started jogging to her car once again. This time, her head was up and she was facing the world head on.
Being a descendant of a fallen angel, nephilim Malachi Starkman, is all about his duty in protecting mankind and preventing Satan’s army from growing any further. He leads a squad of talented warriors on this quest to preserve humanity, but as leader, he feels every aspect is his responsibility. After centuries of fighting, he is starting to feel burned out, and wondering if this is his sole purpose on Earth.
Local teacher, Trinity Bradshaw, has been trying to move on from her turbulent past but it doesn’t seem to want to let her go. Therefore, when a deliciously handsome man with alluring eyes says he wants to help her, she cannot say no. So many obstacles stand between the two, but neither of them seem to be able to walk away from the other. Will they find common ground or will she just be a liability in his quest to destroy the one that has plagued him for years?
His kisses were so soft, especially when he kissed her leg… right there. She couldn’t help the small noise that slipped from between her lips, “Ahh.”
Trinity Bradshaw couldn’t remember the last time she felt so thoroughly cherished. She moved her hands around his body, loving the feel of the solid muscle underneath his warm skin, the way everything shifted as he moved his hands down the backs of her legs.
“You like?” He asked, before he ran his tongue down her inner thigh. His husky voice sending chills through her body.
It took a moment before she could formulate a clear thought. She knew what she wanted to say, but the only thing that came out was, “Mmm.”
His laughter sent vibrations all the way from her nether regions to her toes, and she almost came on the spot. He was taking his sweet time, tormenting her with his tongue and teeth.
Soon she could feel his hot breath right in front of where she wanted him the most. He leaned forward and she heard him inhale deeply before letting out an audible groan.
“Then you are really going to love this,” he stated, right before her world turned upside down. Leaning forward, he used his tongue in one long stroke from the bottom of her opening all the way up to her over sensitized nub.
She tried to control her reaction, she really did, but she was lost. Her hips flew up off the bed, so far that his mouth was momentarily disengaged. In a split second his hands were on her stomach pushing her back down to the bed. Moving them to her hips, he securely pinned her down.
His mouth was back on her before her hips hit the bed. He was doing figure eights with his tongue that felt so good but were just as frustrating, because he was missing the places she wanted―no needed―his tongue to be.
She felt herself splintering and needed to grab onto something to stay grounded. Reaching out, her hand came into contact with his head and she ran her fingers through his hair, tugging a little harder to show her frustration.
He must have gotten the hint because in the next instance his tongue was on her clitoris lightly sweeping across and over. She needed even more but didn’t know how to tell him. “Please,” she begged.
He paused in what he was doing to look up at her. “I know, Baby, I know. You’re just the best thing I’ve tasted in a long time.” Looking back down at him, she admitted to herself how utterly handsome he was. The tussled look of his hair and slight smirk gave him a boyish charm, but it was the hunger in his piercing green eyes that made her insides clench. “Sugar and Spice…” As he spoke, he inserted two fingers into her opening, “…but you’re not very nice, are you?”
Wow that felt good. She reached down and grabbed the comforter on either side of her, and threw her head back when she arched into his touch. He was moving his fingers slowly in and out of her. His hand, his magical hand, was driving her insane. When she looked back down at him, she noticed that he was still staring at her. Finally, she realized he was still waiting for an answer to his question. It took a couple tries to get anything coherent out, but she sucked in a breath and finally spoke. “Not tonight, I’m not.”
He obviously liked this answer because he bent his head back down to her and continued where he had left off. He was more vigorous this time, using his teeth, tongue… even the scruff of his slight facial hair was doing wonders to her. All the while, his hand never stopped what it was doing. She watched him while trying to control herself, thinking that if this was an Olympic sport, he could win the gold.
She couldn’t take it any longer, it was too good, and she was too close. Trinity reached down to grab both of his upper arms and gave a gentle tug. “Please… now… I need you now!” Her words were broken as she tried to catch her breath.
When he looked up at her, he must have seen something in her face that convinced him because he relented and began to kiss his way up her body. After finally making it all the way up, he settled himself fully on top of her and kissed her deeply, passionately.
Eventually, she felt her body relaxing and she wrapped her arms around him. It felt so good to have this man, so strong and gloriously naked, lying on top of her. At this moment, she felt so safe. She started to run her hands over his body, where she could reach. When she stopped at his shoulders, she dragged her nails down his back as far as she could reach. It was not hard enough to break the skin, but there was enough pressure to make his whole body shudder and a deep groan be pushed from his throat.
There was now a new sense of urgency in him, because the next thing Trinity new, he pushed up from the bed by his elbows. While staring down at her, he ran his large, strong hand quickly down her leg, stopped at her knee, and pulled up to place it at his hip.
When she felt the tip of his manhood at her opening, she knew that this was it. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back.
“Open your eyes.”
The commanding tone to his voice made it so she couldn’t deny him. When she opened them, his face was directly above hers.
“I want you to keep your eyes open so you can see exactly what you do to me.” His voice was strangled and it was the last thing he said before he thrus―
Trinity gasped as she sat bolt upright in bed and looked around disoriented. It took her a minute to figure out where she was… in her own bed and no man in sight. Ugh, her body was still humming, but at the same time, a sense of loss fell over her. Frustrated, she groaned and collapsed back down onto her bed, throwing her hands over her inflamed face. “It was just a dream! I can’t believe it―a freaking dream!”
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