Just a little teaser...
"Well, now, if it isn't my favorite celestial GI Joe. I wonder what brings you to my neck of the woods."
A tall, black-clad figure, standing with his back to her, let out a most un-celestial snort. "Hello, Prima."
"I've been tricked into a binding spell. Somehow, I doubt you're all that surprised to find me here."
Prima emerged from the protective shadows of her hiding place, next to a truck that was parked behind the local Walmart, and walked toward him. Snow crunched beneath her boot heels, sounding unnaturally loud, and she glanced up at the dense blackness of the night sky. Nothing to see; only fat snowflakes swirling in the jaundiced glow of parking lot lights.
"I'm no angel, in any sense of the word." She stopped well outside the spell boundary. "As it so happens, I'm a bit pressed for time and you're not exactly easy to reach."
"But a binding spell, Prima? Really?"
She shrugged. "Really."
The spell wouldn't hold him indefinitely, of course, but she only needed to neutralize him long enough to hear her out, and long enough for any lingering divine wrath to cool down to non-apocalyptic levels.
"Pathetic, such tricks. I expected better of you."
Ahadiel turned, and Prima braced herself against even his fading, brittle brilliance. The Children of Heaven were creatures of light, and their bone-white skin, so unlike humankind's varying tones of earth and clay, was all the more striking when combined with black hair and sky blue eyes flecked with the colors of the sun.
She shared his pale skin and dark hair, but eyes were the mirror of the soul — or so she'd often heard in this place — and her gray eyes served as a reminder that she and Ahadiel, despite outward similarities, were worlds apart.
"You shouldn't have," she said. "We've been of use to each other in the past, but I am what I am. I owe Heaven no loyalty."
As she watched, Ahadiel tested the spell boundary with a playful poke. His nails looked human enough, if a little longer, sharper, and darker in color, but she'd seen them in action. When fully extended, what they could do to flesh and bone was terrifying in its finality.
Her spell held, if barely, with a cantankerous crackling, and Ahadiel snatched his hand back.
He smiled, brow raised. "It's weakening."
"I know." Despite the threat edging his quiet taunt, she couldn't help smiling back. It wasn't every day she had an Angel of Punishment at her mercy, no matter how briefly, and she might as well gloat a bit. "But, as you'll have noticed, you are still trapped."
Note, April 20, 2010:
I've received a copy of the book and, to my dismay, the story included in it is not the revised version I submitted. I have no idea what happened, and now there are parts that make very little sense. There isn't much I can do about it at this point, but if you would like to read the version I intended for publication, please visit Smashwords and download a copy of Angels of Punishment.
The Angels of Punishment includes secondary characters and situations from an urban fantasy project I'm working on.
The Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance
UK Publisher: Constable & Robinson
US Publisher: Running Press (Perseus)
Editor: Trisha Telep
Date: May 2010
Download: Angels of Punishment (free!)
Stirring romance anthology featuring the heroes of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Air Force Pararescue, the Green Berets, the Army Rangers and other special forces: men and women who live and fight in extreme danger to preserve our freedoms, defenders and protectors of all we hold dear.