Title: Hellsbane (Hellsbane, #1)
Author: Paige Cuccaro
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: December 2011
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-64-0
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-65-7
Books 2 and 3 coming May 2012 and January 2013!
A HELLSBANE BOOK - Book One - by Paige Cuccaro
Emma Jane Hellsbane just found out she’s not human—or, at least, not only human. She’s half angel, too, and now Heaven’s got a job for her: round up all the Fallen angels and their red-skinned, horned devil-demon minions and boot their butts back into the abyss. Only problem? The demons and their Fallen masters fight back…and they don’t fight fair.
Luckily for Emma, she can put a stop to the constant threat of having her head hacked off if she figures out which Fallen angel is her father—and then kill him before he kills her. Of course, in the meantime, she’ll have to avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own Fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.
No one said being Heaven’s bounty hunter would be easy. But with a name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was born for the job.
“Perhaps you’ve mistaken my statement for a request,” he said. “It wasn’t.”“Ah. So it’s like that, is it?”He snaked an arm around my waist, jerked me to him so our bodies were flush against each other. I gasped, my hands going to his chest on reflex.“Yes,” he said. “It’s like that.”A soft wind shifted through my hair, and the world around us blurred as if in motion. But our feet hadn’t moved. The overlook, the cars, the townhouses, the sky, everything raced past us.Then it was gone. Darkness engulfed us, with only the distant stars twinkling in the vast emptiness. My hands leached around Eli’s neck, brought us cheek to cheek.“You’re safe in my arms, Emma Jane. Always,” he said, his lips brushing my ear. A shudder traveled straight down to my center with the sweet sound of his words. The man had an orgasmic voice. What a waste.His embrace loosened, and I leaned back enough to see his face. A soft glow lightened the shadows from behind me, just enough to cast a silvery glow over his expression. Time and space suddenly rushed in on me, and my brain spun like I’d been twirling around on my toes for an hour.I let go of him with one hand, pressing it to my forehead to stop the spin and to keep my brain from coming out of my ears. “What was that?”“Your mind is struggling to match speed with your body. May I help?”I’d told him once never to use his power to give me false rapture, but it was like asking a fish not to swim. I nodded and he rested his hand over mine, the warmth of his skin heating through me. The nauseating twirling stopped.“I hoped moving slower would help lessen the shock, but it seems the effect allowed your vision too much time to try and compensate,” he said.“We moved at angelic speed?” I asked, guessing.“No. I am able to travel at the speed of thought. We moved an increment slower.”“Um, thanks.” I tried to see over his shoulder, to get my bearings, but I couldn’t push up on my toes. I moved the muscles, and nothing happened. I looked at my feet—there was nothing beneath us. No floor, no ground, no...anything, just more blackness and millions and millions of distant twinkly lights.An icy bolt of panic shot up my spine and I clutched at Eli. My gut twisted and a scream caught in the back of my throat. Eli hugged me tight.“Where are we?”“Look behind you,” he said.It took a few seconds of internal argument, but eventually my courage rallied, and I glanced over my shoulder. “Is that...”“Earth,” he said.Sheer awe loosened my grip. I shifted my feet to his—I had to stand on something—and turned, holding his hands to my hips to anchor me, my back to his chest.The world looked exactly the way it does in all the pictures...but so much more. More beautiful, more breathtaking than any picture could capture.There was a storm swirling over one of the oceans, and night was quickly approaching for half the world. A thick line of darkness crept over land and water as the planet spun. On the other side, brilliant light ate away the darkness at exactly the same pace.“This can’t be real. How?” I asked, my brain fighting reason and everything I knew about space and time and reality.His hands slipped over my belly, his embrace enveloping me. “In the arms of an angel, Emma Jane, all things are possible.”My eyes closed, and I leaned back into his chest. I tried not to enjoy the feel of him around me, but the heat of his body, the comforting strength of his muscles, and the sweet, summery scent of his skin decimated my willpower.“Behold what your birthright has brought you, Emma Jane,” he said. “No mortal human could claim as much.”I opened my eyes and felt that rush of awe all over again at the view. “It’s amazing, Eli. Thank you.”“This is only the beginning. You have been chosen to battle creatures far more powerful than mere mortals. You are not like other humans; you cannot be. Your task requires much of you, and for it, much has been given. Time and space unravel for you to traverse with the same intrinsic understanding as those you hunt. The world is quite literally at your feet.”Before I could take a breath, I found myself staring out over a large valley and an ocean beyond. Gone was the great global marble spinning in the endless black of space. Suddenly, I was blinking at a waking cityscape miles below with large water inlets and busy harbors. There was blue sky above me and green land below. We were back on Earth.Hard, unrelenting wind whipped my hair, making it hard to see. But I could make out the white sand-lined shores and the short mountain ranges that blocked sections of the city from the ocean.“Where are we?” I yelled, but my voice was lost on the roaring wind.Eli tucked me under his arm, and silence descended over us like he’d closed a door. My hair floated back against my head and I could stand on my own. I shoved at the strands over my face and tried to clue in my brain. “Brazil.” Eli pointed at the city. “Rio de Janeiro.”“It’s beautiful.” My gaze followed the landscape below to the base of the mountain, then to the long winding staircase tracing up the side until they disappeared far below the edge of the outcropping we stood on. It’d been nearly six a.m. in Pittsburgh by the time Eli and I left Earth, which made it nearly seven a.m. in Rio, and the city was already bustling.What are we standing on? I fisted my hand around Eli’s jacket and leaned over for a better look. “No way. Christ the Redeemer? Seriously?” We were on his arm and I looked to the left at the huge, white, carved face of Jesus.“Remarkable, isn’t it?” Eli said. “And yet it pales in comparison to the miracle that is you and those like you.”He smiled wide, so pleased with himself, and I could almost forgive him for not warning me one wrong step could send me tumbling over a hundred feet to the very, very hard landing below.