Because 7/29, the date Semi-Fallen goes live, feels so, so very far away, I thought I'd give you a sneak peek of Chapter 1. If you're into that kind of thing, here you go...
Note: This is Chapter 1 from Semi-Fallen which goes live on 7/29. You can pre-order right HERE and it'll show up like magic on your reader. It'll be available everywhere books are sold.
Lane Hunter had been tracking and neutralizing demons with her team for, oh, about eight years now, and she’d been sure she’d seen it all.
Demons like her squad leader, Gabriel, who shot hellfire from their fingertips, were a dime a dozen. The ones who could create portals and walk between dimensions weren’t as common, but she’d seen her fair share of those, too.
There were even a few in Section 8’s newly built maximum-security prison that could teleport. (And yes, containing them and binding their powers so that they couldn’t just teleport out of prison was a bitch.)
But the demon they’d cornered today in this old, abandoned warehouse in the riverfront district?
It could fly.
That was new. And not in a fun way.
No. Fun. Whatsoever.
Another team had the perimeter sealed, so it wasn’t going anywhere. But here, inside the warehouse, well, that was another story.
The demon was probably eight feet tall, with leathery-looking, eggplant-colored skin and thick, veiny black wings that spanned at least twice its body length. Wait, no. Not an it. Since the demon was also naked, she could now see that he was a he.
And he was impressive.
If demons had porno movies, this demon would star in them. He was undoubtedly the Dirk Diggler of demon-dom, because that genitalia was frighteningly huge. Seriously, how did these things reproduce? And more importantly, what did the female genitalia look like?
But that wasn’t the point. The point was that there was an eight-foot-tall, naked, extremely well-hung demon flying over their heads, dive bombing them with hellfire every now and then, and pinging off the walls and ceiling, trying to bust his way out into the mortal world.
Every time she or one of her team got close to knocking it out of the air with a blast of energy or fire or a hail of silver bullets, it became even more agitated and aggressive. Lane wasn’t entirely sure this one was going to make it to prison. It might have to be neutralized to keep it from killing someone.
So, she wouldn’t hesitate if she got the kill order from Gabriel. This monster had already done enough damage.
Harper wouldn’t like it, though. There’d be plenty of explaining to do if the demon had to die tonight.
Harper Hall was a formidable woman and a fierce fighter, but she would much rather detain demonic troublemakers than kill them. In her heart, she believed anyone could be rehabilitated.
That’s partly why Harper had been chosen to run Section 8, the government’s super-secret operation that tracked demons who crossed into the human world through rifts in the veil between dimensions.
Her husband, Noah Riddick, was her second in command, and their ragtag team of magical misfits and dhamypres kept humans safe from everything supernatural that went bump in the night. And day. And any other time paranormal baddies wanted to bump.
But Lane’s main purpose on missions was a little more…violent than the rest of her teams’.
Everyone knew all she had to do was scream and either the monster’s head would explode, or he’d be so debilitated by the noise that the rest of her team could execute containment measures.
No one really knew why Lane had that ability. As far as she knew, her adoptive parents hadn’t ever felt the need to look too far into her lineage. After all, what difference did it make? Her adoptive parents were the head of the Vampire Council, and she worked for Section 8, which was full of magical misfits, demons who’d defected to the human(ish) side, and shifters. She was an oddity, sure, but so was everyone else in her life.
Lane dove beneath a rusted-out work bench when the demon shot a ball of hellfire at her. With an exasperated glare at Gabriel, who wasn’t bothering to crouch behind anything as he took shot after shot at the chaotic, flying demon (must be nice to be fireproof), she waved her hands to get his attention.
When he side-eyed her, she asked in ASL, Can I bring it down now?
He glanced at the rest of his team who were taking turns drawing the demon’s fire, then diving under something to avoid retaliation, before signing to her, Do it. But only enough to bring it down if you can. Don’t kill it.
About fucking time. All the cowering and hiding was getting really old. She signed back, Copy that. Give the order for ear protection.
Gabriel nodded and she saw his mouth move as he gave the order. She glanced at the rest of the team and saw that they complied immediately and enthusiastically by pulling out their coms earpieces and replacing them with the sound deadening plugs that would keep their heads from exploding when she screamed.
She didn’t need any such protection. She’d been deaf her whole life, which came in super handy at times like this.
When Gabriel gave her the signal that her team was protected, Lane stood up, turned toward the demon, and let out a little scream.
She’d be lying to herself if she said it didn’t feel good. She was always so cautious to remain completely silent that the intentional release of power was almost relaxing. Like getting out of the car after a long road trip and having a nice, long stretch.
It wasn’t nearly as comfortable for the demon, though.
The scream was maybe half strength. It was still powerful enough to blow out every window in the warehouse and drop the demon out of the air like a stone.
He hit the ground at her feet, stirring up a cloud of dust.
Her team didn’t hesitate to rush forward and fit the demon with a magic-infused silver collar and handcuffs that would bind his abilities and weaken him.
No more flying and dropping hellfire on people’s heads for you, asshole!
As they were pulling the demon to his feet and ushering him to one of their waiting vehicles,
Gabriel grinned at her. Great job, kid, he signed.
She felt her nose wrinkle involuntarily. I’m not a kid, she signed back.
He shrugged. You are to me.
Lane supposed that was probably true. Time passed differently in the hell dimension Gabriel came from, so he’d probably packed more actual living into his years than anyone in this dimension ever had.
I’ll allow it because you’re my boss, she signed with a half-smile.
His grin was 100% devilish, which was totally fitting since he was, you know, a demon and all.
You’d allow it anyway because it’s me, he signed.
She rolled her eyes, but knew he was right. Gabriel was hard not to like. He was the antithesis of just about every other demon they’d encountered over the years. And he’d married her best friend’s sister, Adrianne, so there was also that.
As Lane stepped out of the warehouse, a shiver shot down her spine, raising goosebumps up and down her arms. There was an electricity in the air that she’d never felt before.
It was as if someone—or something—was watching her.
Someone—or something—with energy similar to her own.
Which was impossible because she’d seen all manner of men and creatures over her years as a demon hunter, and she’d had yet to encounter anyone like her.
Gabriel and his dimension-hopping brother, Roan, thought she was a mystery, too. Her father,
Hunter, was a vampire who’d been roaming the planet since the 1490s, and even he claimed to have never found another living being who contained the power and energy she did.
And somehow, if she had to guess (and she was an excellent guesser) she’d say someone like her was watching from the shadows.
Gabriel laid a hand on her shoulder until she turned toward him. Is everything OK, kid? he signed.
Lane glanced across the street. I’m not really sure.
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