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Saturday, July 18, 2009
Coming July 24 - Bad Angels: Burn!
Coming July 24 to Changeling Press!
Title: Bad Angels: Burn
Number in Series: 2
Author: Belinda McBride
ISBN (13) 978-1-60521-259-3
Word Count: 30K
Page Count: 99
Release Date: 7/24/09
Editor: Vicki S. Burklund
Cover Artist: Bryan Keller
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Bisexual and more, Dark Desires, Dragons, Elves and Magical Creatures, Ménage
Following an auto accident, Rex Clark lays near death in the rocky wilderness of the Trinity Alps. Just when it appears that things can’t get worse, she shows up. Anahita… the succubus. She’s been his frequent companion, and the bane of Rion’s existence, for well over a century. But it seems that this time she’s come to help.
From the frozen villages of the Inuit to the cities of America, Dr. Noemi Gastineau has seen it all. When a fallen angel show up at the reservation clinic with an injured Sidhe, Noemi takes everything in stride. Yet within hours, she’s swept into an enchanted world she never imagined existed. So why are the men so temptingly familiar? And why is she suddenly so afraid?
A fallen angel, a Sidhe, a human and a succubus. Never mind the demons, these four are about to catch fire! The question is… who will survive the burn?
Who knew that ice could burn like fire?
Miles beneath the surface of the Earth, she lay slowly waking. Panic came hard and fast; her eyes were glazed and frozen. Ice had invaded every orifice of her body… nostrils and ears and mouth, preventing her from seeing, hearing… screaming. Hell wasn’t fire. No. Hell was ice.
She burned; demon fire licked her skin even as the ice held her captive in its grip.
Her frozen body convulsed, and long stored energy exploded from her innermost being. Above her, the slowly thawing permafrost buckled and groaned, the very landscape altered and shifted. Trees fell, lakes drained, and animals fled for safety.
An old woman stood; she was heavily cloaked in skins and furs. Her bright brown eyes gleamed like polished obsidian in her deeply creased face. As though she was much younger, the woman rode out the Earth’s pains, waiting patiently as water began to bubble from a sheet of ice. As soon as it touched the frigid air, the water froze into formations that were the expression of nature’s finest art.
The agonized shift of ice sounded like a scream in the old woman’s ears. Pain and fear resonated through the air. Before the imprisoned creature came forth from the grip of the glacier, her energy burst through the air, swirling in a red, turbulent cloud. She was desperate… starving.
Before the woman’s eyes, the creature’s spirit vanished, seeking a path to the energy it needed to live and to survive this torturous rebirth. Ahnah looked across the great chasm in the ice and faced the demon that stood leering at her. He also waited for the rebirth of the ice-bound creature. He’d been the one to send demon fire down to awaken the creature.
She supposed he looked pleasant to most people. Even handsome. But Ahnah gazed at him with knowing eyes, and saw only twisted malevolence. He was a parasite who delighted in the taking of others. And he waited for the powerful female who was locked in the ice beneath their feet.
“She’s not for a cannibal such as you, Kelet.”
The demon grinned and waited. His human façade melted until he crouched on his haunches, clawed fingers scratching impatiently at the surface of the ice.
For long hours they faced one another there in the frigid, whirling winds. It was a long walk home, and would be longer since the cold was creeping steadily into her bones. But Ahnah knew her responsibility to the Fallen. She’d long heard stories of the star-colored woman who’d crashed into the ice, fleeing from the great monster that pursued her. It hadn’t been Kelet, but another. One who’d tortured and twisted the angel into an unwilling mockery of herself.
She’d fled to save others. That’s what Ahnah had heard. She’d fled to escape the dark ones who wished to use her, to consume her soul. The wise woman reached into the folds of her clothing and drew out an amulet on a leather cord. It was her most powerful medicine, whalebone carved by the skilled hands of her grandmother’s grandmother. It carried the power and magic of every woman who’d owned it. She smiled inwardly when the demon’s power wavered slightly in the presence of the sacred object.
He frowned and looked down in bewilderment, shaking his clawed hands, which slowly became the same color as the gray and white landscape. For the first time, fear showed in his eyes.
Ahnah had no mercy for the demon, and watched without pity as the ice grew up to trap his feet into place. “You should not have come to this place, Kelet.” The demon wasn’t a stranger to her; normally she’d accept him as part of Nature’s balance and allow him to live. But now, today, the stakes were too high. She showed no mercy as the ice slowly grew to claim his body.
Time stretched out meaninglessly, and Ahnah waited without becoming weary or afraid. In time, the Fallen’s spirit would return to her body, well-fed and healthy. And so the old woman waited, her back hunched to the wind, her careful gaze on the broken, crumbled crater in the ice.
* * *
Anahita shrieked in pain. She screamed in long forgotten fear, and her starved, frightened essence escaped her corporeal body. Her spirit broke from the glacier even as her panicked body remained entombed.
In desperation she fled, searching instinctively for what she needed. Without physical eyes to guide her, she perceived bright dots of energy on the Earth below. Any would serve as food, but none would be enough.
Lights flashed and then died out quickly… too quickly for her to capture the energy that was being released. She cast her senses further, over the continent, over the ocean.
On the horizon, three lights glowed brighter than most. They very nearly lit the sky with pure, unadulterated energy. That energy would be hers if she could only capture it.
Swiftly, she arrived and hovered over those three beacons, bathing in their glow, and allowing the energy to fill her, shape her, to give her form. She could very nearly see now, though her sight was not through her eyes. Three forms were lying on the ground.
Three male forms with energy that was raw and very nearly limitless.
Not really knowing what she did, the creature cast herself over all three, instinctively drawing her power to the cradle of their manhood, drawing them to arousal. One cried out in fear… and pleasure. His dreams had been erotic; his body was primed for release. The energy that escaped at his rapid climax soaked into her, filled her, and tamed the insane hunger just a bit.
Again she drew him to release, spreading her essence to include the other men. Mindlessly, blissfully she fed, deaf to their cries of fear and pain. Deaf and uncaring.
She fed, and as she fed, one male found the strength to break her hold. He was a gleaming light in her mind’s eye. He was beauty and light and goodness.
He was knowledge. And Anahita knew him.
Horror lanced through her. She loosened her grip, and a second male slipped free. His light was as bright as the first, and she retreated in her fear.
She was nearly sated; her mind coming slowly to grips with what she was… what she had become. She remembered what she had once been.
It tore through her, thrusting her away from her prey like a stray dog under the boot of a farmer. She withdrew, casting a single, lingering glance on the third of the men. His taste was different than the others. Perhaps it was a bit sweeter because it was freely given. This one knew that sacrifice lead to great rewards.
His flavor was that of life and growing things. It settled warm inside her, spreading like a comforting blanket. She let go and rose, allowing her body to call her back to its icy grave and all consuming blackness. As she settled back into that frozen shell, she carried a seed… a memory. And that memory would grow to overtake the darkness that had threatened her soul all those many years ago.
In some way, Anahita knew that the circle had been closed, and she had been saved.
* * *
The Fallen shivered in the frigid wind, her ice-seared eyes opened to see an elderly female hovering above her body, looking at her in concern. Beyond her were a hard gray sky and an ice-locked landscape. The woman helped her rise, quickly wrapping her feet and her body in warm furs. She looped something around Anahita’s neck. Automatically, her hand settled over it, and the object gave her great comfort.
The woman spoke, but it was no language that she’d had ever before heard. Yet the meaning was clear.
“Don’t be afraid, little one. Let your old mother take care of you.” Every instinct that Anahita possessed told her the woman spoke true, and that she was finally safe.
Together they walked away, two stooped figures bending against the ice-laden wind. They quickly vanished into the coming night, leaving behind a frozen figure that slowly vanished into the ice where Anahita had lain for so many years.
Buy Link: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1197