I’ve been having so much fun finding excerpts to share with you guys, I decided to keep going. Hope you’ll enjoy this scene between the Archangel Azrael and his first Emissary, Jake Daughtry. (It was such fun writing about these two!) Happy Reading!
The Jeff Healey Band
Cowering in Terror,
At That Still-Dark, Still-Deserted Truck Stop,
Halfway Between Here and There.
AZRAEL STOPPED ADVANCING. Jake squinted against the brilliant white glare that surrounded the angel towering over him.
“Do you have to be all bright like that in order to kill me?”
Cocking his head to the side, Azrael bellowed, “What?”
“It’s like staring into the sun. Go ahead and cleave, if you want to, but can’t you do it without first making me blind as well as deaf?”
Azrael grimaced. “Better?” He’d turned the volume down a hundred decibels or so, and the fiery aura surrounding him faded.
Jake nodded. “Okay. Cleave away.”
“You are not making an ounce of sense. Why do you keep going on about cleaving?”
“Off the top of my head, I’d say it’s because that big sword you’re swinging around looks like it was designed for cleaving all over the place.”
Azrael stared at the sword in his hand as though he’d never seen it before, and couldn’t imagine why he was holding it. In a nanosecond, it whooshed out of sight, faster than Luke Skywalker’s light saber.
To Jake’s amazement, Azrael flushed flamingo pink. His golden curls fell back into place around his face, and his size returned to something less monolithic in nature. For a moment, the angel looked as though he might even apologize, but he appeared to think better of it. Instead, he drew himself up straight, squared his shoulders, and cleared his throat.
“I am not going to cleave you in twain, Jake, but do not try my patience again. Perhaps you and I need to have a serious discussion. We do not seem to be . . . on the same page, I believe you would say.”
“A discussion? Is that angelspeak for telling me I can’t quit?” Jake tried to stand, but gasped as his back refused to follow through on that idea.
Azrael scowled. “Emissary in training or not, you are still too fragile. This will have to be corrected.” He waved a hand in Jake’s general direction, and the pain disappeared at once.
Jake scrambled to his feet. He preferred to face Azrael eye to eye, even though it didn’t increase his chances of being able to defend himself from the angel at all. The few bits of power he’d been given would be all but useless against that kind of strength, but standing still felt better than cowering on the ground at the feet of an infuriated behemoth.
“Is the pain gone?” For a fleeting moment, Azrael looked genuinely concerned.
“Mostly. What now?”
“Now we talk. I have put a Pass By compulsion on the entrance to this place, but it would still be more comfortable and quiet in your truck.”
Jake turned to follow Azrael back to the semi, then froze in his tracks. “What the—? You found time between all the thundering, and glowing, and . . . and . . . sword-waving to put the door back on?”
“Nonsense. I was focused on you. The door took care of itself.”
“Huh? What’s that mean?”
“It means your truck heals almost as fast as you do.”
“I heal fast? Since when?”
Azrael’s expression flip-flopped between anger and frustration, finally compromising on irritated resignation. He stalked across the parking lot, and Jake trailed behind, painfully aware he’d just had a narrow escape. Maybe more than one.
A hardheaded temperament and big mouth had gotten Jake in trouble throughout much of his life, and it looked like it would still be a problem in the afterlife, as well. He’d have to work on that—assuming Azrael did not accept his angry resignation.
“What exactly does a ‘Pass By compulsion’ do, if that’s not forbidden knowledge?”
“Knowing what one does is not forbidden. Performing one at your current status level is. Therefore, all I will tell you is that as long as you and I are here, drivers will not notice the exit road and will pass by.”
“Hence, the name.”
“Never mind.” Jake shook his head. For a liaison angel, Azrael didn’t seem to understand humans all that well, especially their senses of humor, but antagonizing him wasn’t smart. It might be time to shut up, and let the big guy speak his piece. And he would. As soon as he sorted out one or two more things.
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Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Emissary. Thanks so much for reading, and for helping me get the word out! You guys ROCK!