sins of the lost

the grigori legacy

“…a wild ride that lifts you up, makes you believe in the impossible, and then kicks you in the (in my case) metaphorical nuts.” –Rabid Reads

Heaven and Hell are on the brink of war as Lucifer builds his Nephilim army and waits for his new agenda to become a reality — that of having a Nephilim child of his own bloodline to lead his forces to cataclysmic victory.

With rumors of the pending war rampant on Earth, Alex fights to save humanity from its own panic –­ leaving little time for her fledgling
relationship with Seth, the man with heavenly origins who has captured her heart. But when Nephilim children begin to disappear, along with Alex’s own vulnerable niece, the inevitable war between Heaven and Hell becomes as personal as sin.

Heaven has its own plans to fight the coming apocalypse, but first it needs Seth back. Asked to betray the man she loves, Alex must turn for help to the soulmate she thought she’d given up — the Archangel Aramael, who may be her last chance to save her family and humanity from the ashes of Lucifer’s Armageddon.

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Prologue

“You want me to what?”

The Archangel Mika’el stared at his Creator. For more than a week he had awaited her summons. He’d been prepared to endure her wrath, her bitterness, her disappointment . . . but this?

Nothing could have prepared him for this.

The One gazed back at him with equanimity. “I want you to convince Seth to take back his powers.”

Her words made no more sense the second time around.

“You can’t be serious,” he said, because it wouldn’t do to tell his Creator, “You’re insane.”

Steel formed in the silver depths of her eyes. He held himself rigid against the desire to look away. He’d earned his place as Heaven’s greatest warrior through strength and counsel, not by folding at the first sign of the One’s displeasure. Straightening his shoulders, he met her glare with his own.

“Two weeks ago, your son’s instability damn near cost us the mortal realm,” he said. “We have no reason to think he has changed. So why would you give him his powers back?”

The One sighed. “I’m not giving them back.”

“You just said—”

“I said I want you to convince him to take them back.”

Mika’el’s irritation stilled. As her words sank in, he let his mind sift through to their underlying meaning. To what she wasn’t saying. Understanding glimmered.

“The earthquake,” he said. “In Vancouver.”

The One stared out the window, her gaze unfocused. “When Seth chose the mortal woman over his destiny, the energy he discarded put the entire physical world in flux. I’ve been dealing with the consequences ever since. Earthquakes, storms, tsunamis. They’ve been manageable so far, but if we don’t contain what he released soon, it will destroy the planet. Perhaps the entire universe.”

Mika’el’s blood turned cold. He’d seen the consequences of Seth giving up his power in the first place: buildings reduced to rubble, an already earthquake-prone city made more unstable. If the One was right, they’d removed one threat posed by her son only to have it replaced by this, an entirely new problem. And if her proposed solution was to have Seth take back his powers, it could only be because—

He whirled to face her. “The energy. You can’t control it.”

“I can’t so much as touch it.” Bitterness laced the Creator’s voice. “Every time I reach for it, I make it more unstable. Its very nature makes it reject my presence.”

As much as he’d expected the confirmation, it still stunned him. Still made his universe drop from under his feet. “You’re certain?”

You’re certain that you—the All-powerful, the Creator, Mother of everything—cannot control this? Cannot contain an energy that is—should be—so much less than your own?

Raw honesty gazed back at him, piercing deeper than any steel might have done. “The energy is not mine to hold, Mika’el. It was created by my union with Lucifer. It belongs only to the product of that union. I wish it could be otherwise, but—yes, I’m certain.”

“If he does this, if he takes back his powers, how strong will he be?”

If something goes wrong, if he chooses not to return to Heaven, can you stop him?

“I don’t know.”

Her answer, he knew, encompassed both questions, spoken and unspoken.

He pivoted on his heel and stalked the width of the room in one direction, then the other. “There must be another way.”

“We tried your way.”

The words were not a recrimination, only a statement of fact, but they stopped him in his tracks. She was right. He’d created this mess. He’d let himself be ruled again by the arrogance that had separated him from her side all those years before, and in that arrogance, had loosed an unknown, unquantifiable force upon the world when they could least afford it.

When war between Heaven and Hell already threatened humanity with Armageddon.

He cleared his throat. “One—”

The tiny, silver-robed figure by the window held up a hand. “What’s done is done. There is no point in belaboring the issue. I just need you to convince Seth. I’ll hold things together as best I can, but I don’t know how much time I can give you.”

“He will never listen to me.”

“No. But he might listen to the woman.”

The Naphil. Of course. After choosing her over his own destiny, Seth would almost certainly listen to her. Still Mika’el hesitated. He wanted to ask what would happen afterward, if Seth did take back his power. Wanted to know . . . and already did. The measures he’d taken—the risks—none of it had changed her mind.

“You know we’re not ready to lose you,” he said gruffly.

Infinite sadness gazed back at him from silver eyes. “Loss isn’t something you’re ever ready for, my Archangel. It’s something you survive.” 

Chapter 1

Alexandra Jarvis jolted awake, heart racing, lungs sucking for air. Bathed in sweat, she lay rigid, waiting for reality to replace the nightmare. Again.

As she had every night since Lucifer had raped her.

Then, through the horror she’d begun to think she might never come to terms with, came the touch of a man’s gentle hand. She flinched, fighting back a shudder, and made herself relax.

“Again?” Seth’s deep voice asked quietly.

She nodded. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t see her in the dark; after two weeks, he was as familiar with the nightmare as she was.

He tugged her close. She let him slide an arm beneath her and curled into him, head resting on his chest. She focused on the steady tha-dump of his heartbeat, the rise and fall of his breath. Slowly her fingers uncurled. She matched her own breathing to his. Inhale, exhale, inhale.

His voice rumbled beneath her ear. “It’s not getting any better, Alex.”

She tensed anew, but his arm held firm. “I’m doing my best,” she muttered.

“I know. But I’ve been doing some reading”—his hold tightened against her second attempt to free herself—“and I think maybe you need help with this. I think it might be post-traumatic stress—”

She succeeded in pulling away, scowling down at him in the dark. “I know what it is, Seth, and you’re right. I probably should talk to someone, but who the hell do you suggest? Being raped by Lucifer himself isn’t something I can discuss with just anyone, for chrissakes. We mortals tend to medicate people who spout off about things like that. Especially people with my history.”

And you refuse to talk to me about any of it.

Seth stroked her hair. The faint tension in his hand told her he knew full well the words she’d swallowed back, but once again he avoided the subject. “I know. And I know you’re trying. But you can’t go on like this. We can’t go on like this.”

Like this. Words too small to contain all that lay within them: the disappointment; the recriminations never stated but always underlying; the hurt she knew she inflicted whenever he reached for her and Lucifer loomed between them yet again. Lucifer in Seth’s form. Lucifer turning her into nothing more than another pawn in the cosmic mockery of a game he played with the One.

Reassurances gathered in her throat but refused to move farther. She couldn’t make herself say what she didn’t believe to be true, couldn’t promise that everything would be all right. Not anymore. Not knowing what she did of Heaven and Hell and the Nephilim and—

On the bedside table, her cell phone shrilled. She extricated herself from Seth’s hold and rolled over to grab it.

“Jarvis.”

“I need you at a scene.”

Surprise made her fumble the phone. “Staff?”

“Does anyone else call you at three a.m. to attend a murder scene?” Staff Inspector Roberts growled.

Well, yes. Usually dispatch. She kept the observation to herself and reminded him instead, “I’m not cleared for active duty.”

Beside her, Seth switched on the lamp. She squinted against the glare.

“You are now. I’ll text you the address. You have twenty minutes to get your ass down here. Pick up coffee on your way.”

“Wait—”

The phone went dead. Alex stared at it, trying to gather her muddled thoughts and sort through her myriad unanswered questions. How many victims? Why call her? Was everyone else tied up on other cases? She thought back to the mass murder wrought by Caim and shuddered. Please don’t let it be another like that . . .

Setting the phone down, she turned to find Seth propped up on one arm, his black eyes watchful.

“My supervisor wants me at a scene.”

“Did he say what it is?” Seth’s voice took on the hint of a growl, the way it did whenever they spoke of her job.

“Beyond a homicide? No.” Slipping out of bed, Alex stripped off her pajama bottoms and reached for the panties and slacks she’d hung on the back of the door in anticipation of her meeting with Roberts later that day. A meeting that was supposed to determine whether or not she could return to investigative duties.

She assumed it was canceled now.

“But you think it has to do with them,” Seth persisted.

Them. Angels, Fallen Ones, Heaven, Hell . . .

His parents.

A whole other world paralleling her own, controlling it, threatening its very existence. Her fingers clamped onto the duvet. No. Michael had told her she was done with all that. He’d assured her the worst she would face would come from her own world, from humanity’s knee-jerk reaction to its own fear. Which, given what she’d come to expect of her fellow mortals, would be bad enough.

Still . . .

She shook off the creeping tentacles of doubt and continued dressing. “I’m sure it’s just an ordinary homicide,” she said. “Not that any homicide is ordinary, but—” She broke off. Sighed. “You know what I mean.”

“But what if it’s not? What if it is them? I want to come with you.”

“We’ve been over this.” She slipped into her blouse and then dropped onto the edge of the bed, reaching to stroke the hair, dark as his eyes, back from Seth’s forehead. “This is my job. It’s what I’m trained to do. Even if it is them, there’s nothing—”

She stopped, but not before Seth’s eyes hardened into obsidian.

“Nothing I can do?” he finished.

She bit back her denial. They both knew that’s what she’d been about to say. Just as they both knew it was the truth.

Silence stretched between them, thick with arguments already had and words scrupulously avoided. They’d been over this same territory at least once a day since their return from Vancouver a week ago, their ongoing disagreement adding to the tensions between them.

Seth was right. They couldn’t continue like this. She couldn’t continue like this.

She curled her fingers around his. “I know this is hard,” she said. “I’ll try to find someone I can talk to, all right? Just . . . give me time. I’ll get past this.”

Seth turned his hand palm up and linked his fingers with hers. For a long moment she let his love, his strength, seep into her. Then she rose, dropped a kiss on his lips, and left.