The conclusion to Audrey and Michael’s story is almost here — Unholy Ground releases on Wednesday, April 17th — so here’s a peek to whet your appetite! (The book is available for pre-order; scroll to the bottom for buy links if you’d like Unholy Ground automatically delivered to your e-reader or app once it’s live.)
The glint in Audrey’s dark eyes was gone now, and she looked down into her mug of coffee, didn’t meet his gaze. “Always demons.”
“Because they’ve made this world their battleground. The war fought in heaven is now being fought on Earth.”
Still downcast, she bent over and set the mug of coffee on the table next to her. “You really believe that.”
It wasn’t a question. However, he felt as though he needed to clarify things somewhat, or at least try to make her understand the sorts of stakes they were dealing with here. “I have to believe it. I have to remember it every time I visit a home that’s being oppressed, or meet someone who may be possessed. Someone might think these seem like very small battles in a war that’s being fought on a cosmic scale, but every time we lose, their side gains a little in power and strength. They can afford to play the long game, because demons are immortal, and they know we’re not.”
“All out of spite,” she murmured.
She looked so small and forlorn, tucked into a corner of the couch, that Michael got up from his chair and came over to her, then sat down on the edge of the sofa cushion and took one of her hands in his. To his relief, her fingers felt warm, which meant the coffee and brandy and the warm throw that covered her were all doing their jobs. “Yes, from spite,” he said. “What better way to get back at God than to hurt His creatures?”
“I guess I can see that. But….”
“I don’t see why God doesn’t come here and kick some demon ass, tell them to leave us all alone.”
“Because he’s given us the tools to defend ourselves. He hasn’t been a hands-on sort of deity for millennia.”
For a second, Audrey just stared at him. Then the corners of her delicious mouth turned up slightly. Not a full smile, but enough to show him she wasn’t quite sure how to take that remark.
“You’re joking, right?”
“I don’t know if I am.” He raised her hand to his lips and kissed it gently, was glad to see her smile at him for real now, even if her eyes remained troubled. “I just know that we can’t stand around waiting for divine intervention, because it’s not going to happen.”
“I figured, but a girl can hope.” Her fingers tightened on his, telling him that she didn’t want him to let go. And he wouldn’t. He’d stay here and hold her hand for as long as she needed him to.
Would he ever be able to tell her how much this meant to him? To have someone want him not for who he was or what he might be able to do for them — too many of the women who’d come on to him at conferences and symposiums had been just as interested in his publishing-industry contacts as his body — but just because she somehow, against all odds, actually liked having him around?
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