Liora stared deep into the incredible swirling gold depths of Asmodeusâ€™s eyes. She had countless reasons not to trust him, but she couldnâ€™t bring herself to listen to them or her head where he was concerned.
The moment she had set eyes on him, loitering under the Eiffel Tower, looking as though he was contemplating tearing through the crowd with claw and fang, a current had run through her, setting her heart racing. She could sense the darkness in him, the incredible evil that flowed in his veins, but in the background, she could feel a faint glimmer of good. That tiny sliver had given her the courage to speak with him.
She had wanted to know him.
Her picture of him had been as incomplete as his armour before today. She had found out about him when she had overheard her cousin talking with Apollyon and they had realised she had been hiding in the hallway of their apartment, listening in. She had pressed Apollyon to tell her about Asmodeus.
Apollyon had painted a bleak picture of his counterpart, telling her that Asmodeus was pure evil, without a shred of good in him. Had he lied to her and to Serenity?
Liora looked at Asmodeus again, recalling how Apollyon often referred to him as a creature, as if he didnâ€™t deserve angelic, demonic or even human status.
As if he were an animal.
Something below their level.
There was darkness in him, she couldnâ€™t deny that or the fact that the evil he harboured had come to the surface at times and the strength of it had shocked her enough to make her reconsider her desire to know more about him.
He wasnâ€™t an animal though.
She couldnâ€™t view him like that. He was as real as Apollyon and her too.
He was intelligent, powerful, and felt warm beneath her fingers. She had caught the flickers of true emotions in him. He had been shocked, dismayed and even offended by her questions and her observations so far. Her behaviour had intrigued, and possibly confused him.
He felt things.
He wasnâ€™t as Apollyon painted him at all. Did Apollyon really know Asmodeus?
Had he never witnessed this side of his twin?
It was likely that Asmodeus had never had reason to reveal this side of himself to Apollyon. They had probably ended up locked in battle whenever they had come across each other.
He had revealed it to her though. She wasnâ€™t sure why, but she knew that she liked it. She liked being around him and seeing how she affected him. It fascinated her.
â€œRose?â€ The heavily-accented male voice jolted her and her heart skipped a beat, shock running through her blood at the sudden intrusion into her quiet moment with Asmodeus.
A young man offered a bunch of plastic-wrapped single red roses to her and then to Asmodeus and she lifted her hand from Asmodeusâ€™s face, meaning to refuse the street vendor.
â€œRose?â€ The man smiled at Asmodeus and then held his free hand out in her direction.
All Hell broke loose.
Asmodeus growled, his top lip peeling back to reveal short fangs, and her stomach turned. The rise in the flow of power he constantly emitted was swift and startling, a crushing force that pressed down on her. His hand shot out and he grasped the vendor by his throat, yanking him away from her.
Lioraâ€™s eyes flew wide as Asmodeusâ€™s golden irises brightened and then turned red. Not a normal colour and she wasnâ€™t sure he could hide that change with a glamour.
The man choked and dropped his roses. He smashed his hands against Asmodeusâ€™s bare arm and clawed at his fingers. Asmodeus grinned, his eyes narrowing darkly on the man, and began to squeeze. The man gasped, his eyes watered, and the veins in his temples popped to the surface as he turned red.
Liora pushed through shocked and straight into horrified. She leaped between them, shoving Asmodeus back and seizing his arm that held the man at the same time. Asmodeus snarled when she sent fire to her palm, singeing his flesh, and pinned her with a black, vicious glare as he released the man.
The man collapsed onto the grass.
â€œIâ€™m so sorry.â€ Liora dropped to her knees and tried to check him over but he swatted at her, his fear and panic spiking.
He scrambled around, grabbing his roses, and she tried to lay her hand on him so she could heal his throat, but he shoved her in the chest and caught her off balance. Her backside hit the dirt and she could only stare as he broke into a dead run in the opposite direction to her and Asmodeus, heading for the towering trees that lined the edges of the park.
The oppressive wave of Asmodeusâ€™s power only grew worse and wind gusted against her, the longest of his black feathers appearing in the edges of her vision as he beat his wings. Hell, no. She was not about to let him fly after the innocent street vendor and terrorise him. Not on her watch.
Liora shot to her feet, turning at the same time, and threw everything she had into her swing. Her palm connected hard with his left cheek, the slap ringing loudly across the area and drawing more attention to them than Asmodeus had when he had attacked that poor man for no good reason.
His head snapped to his right, his wild black hair falling down over his brow. The dark slashes of his eyebrows met in a scowl and his jaw tensed as he growled.
â€œYou deserved that.â€ Liora drew in a deep breath to steady her racing heart and hoped she hadnâ€™t just pushed this immense, extremely powerful male over the edge. The force of the power he emanated wasnâ€™t growing weaker. If anything, it was getting stronger, and darker.
His red eyes slowly opened and locked on her, and he rose to his full height, towering a good eight inches taller than she was. He spread his black wings and bared his fangs at her, and it took every ounce of her will to stop her from backing off a step. She stood her ground, her knees trembling, and reconsidered her whole opinion of Asmodeus.
He was evil and dangerous, and as violent and cruel as Apollyon had said.
But there was still good in him.
The red in his eyes faded as he stared down at her, his bare chest heaving with each deep breath, and his expression slowly changed at the same time as the pressing force of his power lessened. Gold broke through crimson, his eyebrows relaxed, his jaw slackened and his breathing slowed to a steady tempo.
â€œNever strike me again, Female.â€ Those words were a vicious growl that told her he was serious and that there would be a dire consequence if she ignored his warning.
â€œNoted.â€ She brushed imaginary lint off her black jeans, unable to bring herself to look at him while he was staring at her as if he was still considering punishing her for raising a hand against him. â€œYou were being an arse though. He only wanted to make a couple of euro selling you a rose for me.â€
He huffed. â€œNotedâ€¦ I am not accustomed to people selling me anything.â€
Liora tried not to smile inside at that. â€œWhere have you been all your life that no one has ever tried to sell you anything?â€
â€œIn Hell.â€ His deadpan tone made her lift her gaze from her jeans to his to see if he was serious.
He had never looked more serious.
â€œYouâ€™re telling me youâ€™ve never left Hell?â€ Liora knew she sounded a little backward having to ask that but she wanted to be sure she wasnâ€™t mistaken.
He nodded and preened his huge black wings. â€œI have never left Hell before now.â€
Her eyebrows rose high on her forehead. â€œAm I the first mortal youâ€™ve met?â€
He shook his head and kept his eyes downcast, his long black lashes shuttering them so she couldnâ€™t read them at all. She didnâ€™t need to see them in order to know why he was only offering her a shake of his head as a reply, rather than an explanation.
He had lived in Hell for his whole life. Any mortals he had met must have been taken there for some terrible reason and Asmodeus had been the one to deal with them, or had at least watched someone else do the work.
Liora looked him over, trying to see him for all that he was and telling herself all the terrible things he had probably done in the years he had been alive, in Hell, working for his master.
Apollyon had told her that Asmodeus shared his blood, and that he himself had been created for destruction and violence. If Apollyon had been brought into this world in order to rain destruction down upon mortals, and everyone could view him as good and kind, then she had to at least try to give Asmodeus the chance his twin had been offered.
She had to discover whether there was good in him or whether she had been imagining it.
â€œWould you have killed the street vendor if I hadnâ€™t stopped you?â€ She managed to keep the tremble out of her voice as she asked, afraid of what his response would be because part of her already knew the answer to that question.
Asmodeus drew in a deep breath, his broad bare chest expanding with it, tipped his chin up and stared down at her, no trace of guilt in his eyes. â€œYes.â€
â€œWhy?â€ She swallowed to wet her dry throat and shift the lump from it.
He had to have a reason. He wasnâ€™t a mindless killing machine for the Devil, not like Apollyon said he was. She had seen his keen intelligence and his feelings playing out in his eyes. There was good in him. There was reasoning and calculation behind his every action. He had a reason for attacking the man. He had to have one.
Asmodeus lifted his hand between them, flexed his fingers and then lowered it back to his side. He stared off to his right, into the distance beyond her, and was quiet for so long that she feared he would never answer and she would never know the truth of him.
She wanted to see beyond the name and the stories, and the things she had been told, to the real Asmodeus. The one she had glimpsed earlier before he had locked it down and brought his guard back up.
He closed his eyes and lowered his head a fraction. â€œI thought he meant to harm you.â€
Her hazel eyes widened.
Asmodeus frowned and clenched his fists at his sides. â€œI felt you tense and heard your heart jump, and your power flared. You were scared. I only meant to remove the source of your fear.â€
He had been protecting her.
Liora glanced skywards to give herself a moment to absorb the revelation. This powerful male that everyone told her was cruel and evil, and had no good in him, had wanted to protect her. It was all the proof she needed that there was a sliver of good in him and it reinforced her desire to know more about him.
The sun was setting though and that meant more rose sellers and people around the Eiffel Tower to see it as it lit up. If she wanted to continue her time with Asmodeus, she would need to take him somewhere it would get quieter, not busier.
She dropped her gaze to his. â€œWill you fly me somewhere?â€
Did you enjoy today’s snippet?
Her Wicked Angel
The King of Demons and the Devilâ€™s right hand man, Asmodeus is a dark angel born of evil and created for destruction. When his master orders him to venture into the mortal world and retrieve a female for him, he seizes the chance to leave Hell for the first time, uncaring of what the Devil has planned for herâ€¦ until he sets eyes on the most beautiful woman he has ever seenâ€”a female who awakens new feelings within his black heart, unleashing passion so intense that it controls him and desire he cannot resist.
He will not let his wretched master have her. She will belong to him.
Liora is a witch with a bad reputation and an obsession with fighting demons. A mission gone wrong sees her sent to Paris to cool off, but when a dark and deadly warrior with a gaze of golden fire lands in her life, she ends up burning hotter than Hell for the wicked angel. Nothing will stand between her and the immense, forbidding male. Not her cousin. Not Asmodeusâ€™s sworn enemy and twin, Apollyon. And certainly not the Devil.
Caught up in a tempest of danger and soul-searing passion, can they survive against the odds and seize their forever after?
You can get your hands on the first book in this series, HER DARK ANGEL, for FREE right now on selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks Stores. Find out more at my Paranormal Romance Ebook Offers page.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Her Angel romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website:
Her Dark Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #1)
Her Fallen Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #2)
Her Warrior Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #3)
Her Guardian Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #4)
Her Demonic Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #5)
Her Wicked Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #6)