by Alistair Cross
Genre: Horror, Fantasy, Thriller, Romance
Angel or Demon?
Naive and heart-stoppingly handsome, he calls himself Alejandro, and Madison O’Riley has no clue what to do with him. As they set out to recover his lost identity, Madison realizes the mysterious man who saved her life harbors deep, otherworldly secrets that will put her in grave danger.
The Devil is in the Details
Gremory Jones has something for everyone, and for a price, he’s willing to make a deal. Walking the streets in top hat and trench coat, he tempts the citizens with mysterious wares from his shiny black briefcase. But buyer beware: All sales are final – and fatal.
A Scorching New Terror Has Come to Town
The townspeople are changing in appalling ways and it’s up to Madison – with the help of a psychic, a local priest, and the new chief of police – to help Alejandro unlock his forgotten powers before an unspeakable evil tears apart the fabric of existence … and costs them their very souls …
From bestselling author Alistair Cross comes a forbidden tale of love and redemption, of good and evil, and those who dare to stand up to Hell itself.
The thunder sounded like an angry god cracking his whip, and although Madison O’Riley had done nothing to provoke the wrath of any higher beings, it felt personal.
Despite the blast of the storm, she hastened up the ladder onto the roof, intent on fixing the leak, refusing to surrender to a little rain. Okay, a lot of rain, she thought as the sprinkling turned to torrents.
The old clapboard house perched on a hill at the outskirts of town, and from this height, she could see the entire valley pulsing as silver lightning blossomed in the spiteful, pewter sky. Gritting her teeth, she pulled herself onto the roof one-handed, the fingers of her free hand like a sprung trap around the caulking gun.
Her feet slipped on the slick shingles but she maintained her footing, walk-crawling up the pitched roof, proud of her stick-to-itiveness. Half-blinded by the rain and nearly deafened by the overhead holocaust, she scrambled and scurried, searching for the fissure. Between two shingles a few feet from the brick chimney was a small crack. It didn’t seem big enough to account for the amount of rain that now pooled in her living room. “Seriously?”
The sky, as if letting her know that, yes, it was quite serious, flashed and pealed out another crash. It was closer than she’d thought. This probably wasn’t a very good idea. But she’d just had her oak floor re-finished and couldn’t afford the thousands of dollars of damage the rain would do. It needed to be fixed now.
She eyed the tube of roofing tar, recalling the instructions the clerk had given her. She placed the nozzle near the fissure and squeezed the caulking gun’s trigger. A blob of black goop oozed out and she covered the crack. “Perfect.” Her dignity intact, she stood.
Madison hadn’t prepared to be a homeowner. It had been thrust upon her when her mother signed over the house and business to Madison and left for Las Vegas to spread the word of God. Homeowner duties had been learn-as-you-go and she was pleased that patching the roof wasn’t beyond her abilities. Much easier than installing the koi pond. She’d gotten in over her head with that one – but she’d triumphed. She glanced down, saw the pond was nearly flooded and was glad she’d taken the time to lay a stone edge around it as Bart Aberdeen from the pet shop had suggested. All she needed now was koi.
A tine of lightning ripped across the sky. Thunder boomed, crashed loud enough that she felt its echo in her teeth – then trailed off, growling like a starved dog protecting its bone.
The seal looked to be holding and, under the advisement of the skies, Madison headed for the ladder. Stepping down the sloped roof, her shoes lost traction and her feet shot out from under her. The caulking gun flew as she windmilled for balance. The gravelly asphalt raked her elbows as she came down hard on her tailbone. A sickening thunk! resounded and a flash of white blinded her as the back of her head smacked the brick chimney. Pain bit her, crippled her, and she rolled down the slope, a tattered rag doll. Though barely conscious, she felt the roof disappear beneath her. Then she was freefalling.
Help me! she thought, unable to scream, to speak.
In the dream-like instant of her descent, the sky flashed – not lightning, but a shooting star streaking toward earth.
She plummeted into the koi pond below.
Icicle-cold, the water stole her breath. She panicked, tried fighting, but body and mind had parted company. She sank, paralyzed as blurred ribbons of blood rose and eddied around her. Like a failing bulb, her vision flickered and went out.
She was not aware of any time having passed. As if waking suddenly from a nightmare, she shot from the water, gurgling and choking, her lungs starved of oxygen. Splashing, writhing, her nails bit into bare shoulders and with the sound of rusty brakes, she sucked in a deep lungful of air. The black world resolved, and she glimpsed the face of a man, a stranger – no, not a stranger, not exactly. I know you, don’t I?
She gagged, clawed for purchase. Water gushed from her nose and mouth in explosive bursts as her lungs purged themselves. She locked onto the stranger, her fingers like anchors in his bare arms. Seconds later, she was on the sodden earth, on her back. She coughed, vomiting water. Hands clutched her head, turned it to the side, and water spilled from her mouth and nose like unspooling ribbons. More gurgling, more body-wracking gasps. Her vision came, dissolved, settled midway between blindness and sight.
A mouth covered hers, blew, and Madison’s lungs expanded with borrowed breath. As if the man were blowing on dying coals, warmth glowed inside her, spreading and swelling through her solar plexus, expanding, reaching her limbs, bringing heat to her skin and clarity to her mind. She could breathe, she could see, and what she saw was the stranger’s face.
Handsome. Full lips, strong cheekbones, eyes she couldn’t yet fathom. Close-cropped, golden hair backlit by a near-blinding halo of light. Yes, she knew him from somewhere – but where?
The warm buzz swam through her. Her fingers and toes tingled. She was losing consciousness again, but she didn’t care; the panic was gone. As the world pulsed in and out, the man leaned over and blinked black-lashed silver eyes at her. Not gray, but silver. Bright and shining, like disks of polished steel. The light behind him swelled and brightened just before the world relapsed into black and nothingness wrapped itself warm around her.
$20 Amazon gift card – 1 winner, ebook of Dream Reaper – 2 winners
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About the Author
Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series will be out later this year. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com