Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 9/5/2013
Jake thought being demon meant a shredded humanity, stripped of all human emotion. Chaos and self-preservation dominates a demon’s instincts. But Jake feels every ounce of pain and despair around him.
And it’s driving him deeper into Hell.
Gabby’s choice to save him last summer left a fissure in Hell’s gate that released a malevolent evil. When Jake’s given a mission by the demons to shadow a human girl who may know the whereabouts of an ethereal weapon, he doesn’t expect to see Gabby. But Fate has her own agenda.
When Jake and Gabby are thrown together on a camping trip with a group of delinquent teens, Jake begins to grapple with the haunting choices he made in the past. When the evil finds them, the group begins to battle for their lives, alliances are made, and truths revealed.
As the evil begins to influence Jake, he questions his link to the demons, his purpose, and his love for Gabby.
But the answers to those questions are only found in Hell. And it may cost him his soul.
Old, dead things
Gabriela Vega was going to pay. It was all Tasha could think about after the little freak soaked her in mop water—as if. No one in the cafeteria had lifted a finger as Tasha pounded on the new girl. They wouldn’t dare. Suspended after she tackled the little swine, Tasha knew she’d be in deep shit when she got home. Grams was going to have a fit.
Wiping her dripping nose as she stepped onto the bus, she took a seat near the window in the rear. Tasha hated riding on the bus, but Robin refused to take her wet ass home. He didn’t want to ruin the polyester upholstery in his car. Asshole.
But Tasha hadn’t left the fight empty-handed.
She lifted the chain in front of her eyes and scrutinized the small silver angel pendant. The pendant made the fight worthwhile, even the suspension. Wait until Gabby saw Tasha wearing it. Let the little shit try to take it back. Rubbing the warm pendant with her thumb, she felt tiny vibrations under her skin. It felt good.
A strong odor caught in her throat from the guy sitting next to her. The smell of old, dead things. Scooting away from him without jumping out the window didn’t help. His shoulder nudged hers, forcing her to turn and face the dark, hollow pit that replaced his face. She tried to move, to pull back, to scream, but her body and her voice wouldn’t comply. The fabric of his dark trench coat fluttered, as if caught by an unfelt wind.
And then he began to lean toward her. The air grew thick, pressing against her as if she’d fallen into a deep ocean trench and the pressure threatened to crush her. Implode.
She couldn’t breathe.
No one noticed her dying on the bus. No one noticed the thing beside her, with its hollow face inches from hers, and stench of death. It whispered words in her ear and a cold wetness draped her in fear. Tears leaked from her eyes and pain exploded inside her skull. Then she did move. She pulled away from him, closed her eyes to keep them in her head, and rubbed her forehead with her palm.
“Are you okay?”
Tasha looked at the woman sitting beside her.
“Huh?” Tasha rubbed her head again. A splitting headache tightened its nasty clamp around her head. “No, I feel like crap.” Tasha stood up as the bus reached her stop, and she got off.
She arrived home with no memory of the bus ride or the walk. She needed to crash. Cold sweat forced shivers throughout her body. The buzzing in her head wouldn’t stop. Sick. She was getting sick. The flu maybe. She rubbed her ear and felt a wet sticky substance. Black goop on her fingertips made her stomach roll. She stepped inside the apartment she shared with her grandma and sister and a foul smell forced her eyes to water. Her stomach lurched, and she ran to the bathroom.
“Are you sick?” Grandma’s voice tore into her brain as she stumbled back to the couch. Moaning, Tasha threw herself on it, her limbs heavy, her breathing hard. She needed sleep. Rest. Peace.
“I asked you a question!” Grandma hollered.
There is no peace for the wicked.
Tasha sat up, eyes closed. Grandma’s in one of her moods again. “Please, Grams, can I sleep for a little bit?” Pain exploded on her left cheek, then, in quick succession, her right. She’d been slapped. Twice. Opening her eyes to her grandmother, Tasha restrained the urge to crawl away and die.
“You demon spawn, what did you do?” Spittle fell from Grams thin lips, the only feature on her face that looked…human. “The school called! What did you do this time?”
Tasha stood up on shaky legs. Grandma’s face, a writhing mass of bugs, stood a foot away from her own. Her heart did a double-take, and she felt the blood drain from her body. Tasha felt the scream at her throat and opened her mouth to release it into the space between her and the monster. But nothing came out. As if she’d been dropped into cold water, her limbs felt heavy, slow, uncoordinated. Sidestepping the sofa in an attempt to get as far away from the bugs on her grandma’s face, Tasha’s feet got tangled on the rug, and she crashed to the floor. Pain brought her flittering to the surface of reality and the instinct to survive grew into panic. Crawling on all fours, she reached her bedroom door, but strong arms lifted her by the hair, pulling, tearing her scalp. A scream escaped her, cut short by more pain.
Grandma had never beaten her. Grandma wasn’t strong enough to do much but holler at her and her sister. But it dawned on Tasha that the thing in front of her wasn’t her grandma anymore. “Grandma, please.”
“You did this to her. And now you will pay,” an inhuman voice said between the colonies of bugs slithering along Grandma’s flesh.
Tasha stumbled into the kitchen. Fear drove her to reach for the block of knives, pulling one out. The buzzing in her head grew louder. She turned to her grandma with the knife in her hand. “Please, don’t do this.”
But Tasha couldn’t see anymore. Her vision darkened.
The Pain. The buzzing in her head. It wouldn’t stop.
Her muscles liquid fire, her body not her own.
Someone let out a painful scream. And Tasha felt warm liquid seep between her fingers curled around the knife. Then silence.
And she was floating. Sleep. She needed sleep.
Not sure how long she’d been in darkness, she found herself sitting on the sofa, staring at the front door. She reached for the angel medallion around her neck. She didn’t remember putting it on. But it wasn’t hers. She had to give it back.
A shadow moved in front of her, its hand extended. She pulled off the chain and dropped it inside its palm.
Make the buzzing stop. Please.
Tasha had one more job to do.
She sauntered back to the kitchen, stepped over the body on the floor, and pulled out the stove as if it weighed nothing. The connector snapped and gas hissed into the room. Good.
Slowly, she went back to the living room, pulled out her lighter, and waited.
Her sister would be home soon.
About the Author
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Elizabeth spent most of her younger years as an avid reader with a wild imagination which led her to write her first manuscript at the age of fourteen.
But, life got in the way. Elizabeth completed a Bachelors degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at Northeastern Illinois University and works in the community strengthening families.
But her love of stories held, and in 2008 she found herself back into her storytelling roots and began writing again. In 2012, Elizabeth signed with Sapphire Star Publishing to release her debut novel, THE SECOND SIGN.
Elizabeth still resides in Chicago’s south west side with her family, a household of kids, and the bliss of chaos. The good kind. She continues to work in the community.