sins of the warrior
the grigoRi lecCY
Heaven and Hell are at war
The clock is ticking…
Homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis’s niece is missing and pregnant with Lucifer’s child, her sister has descended into madness, and the human race has begun a relentless spiral toward self-destruction that Alex is desperate to stop. Now Michael, the Archangel she holds responsible for Earth's plight, has returned—and he's demanding her help to track a missing god.
Heaven is losing…
Fighting for the very survival of his own realm—and that of humanity—Michael’s only chance to defeat Hell lies in returning Heaven’s long-lost daughter to her throne before it’s too late. But first he’ll have to convince Alex to help him—and to keep her out of Seth’s clutches long enough for her to do so.
There can be no right choices.
In a desperate bid to save both their worlds, Alex and Michael must put aside their animosity and find a way to work together in the face of increasingly impossible decisions…and unimaginable sacrifices.
READ AN EXCERPT
Emmanuelle stared at the Archangel steps away from her. Massive black wings rose above his head, half-extended against the riotous pink backdrop of the rose garden, their rigidity the only sign her words had had any impact on him. She sure as Hell couldn't tell from the granite of his face.
"That's your decision, then," Mika'el said, his voice as flat as the emerald eyes watching her. "You're running away."
Her chin shot up. "I'm choosing not to be a part of my parents' game anymore," she corrected. "We've been at war with my father for almost a thousand years now, and a piece of parchment isn't going to stop that. Neither will making my brother into a pawn. As long as the One and Lucifer remain unchanged, their very nature makes peace impossible. My father won't back down, and the One won't do what's necessary to stop him. Theirs is a struggle without end."
"And so we should all stop trying?" His voice went cold. "Give up? Pretend we're not part of it?"
She laughed at that. Harshly. "You really don't get it, do you? I'm not part of it, Mika'el. From the day I was born and it turned out I wasn't enough of a gift for my father after all, I haven't been part of it. A handful of obscure Virtues raised me, and my mother pays more attention to this damned rose garden than she ever did to me. I'm not part of anything here, and I don't want be."
"You think she doesn't love you, but she does. All of Heaven does."
Hands in his pockets, Mika'el paced the perimeter of the little rose garden with long strides, his wings brushing the blooms. Pink petals drifted to the ground in his wake. His jaw grew harder with every step. When he stopped to face her, the width of the garden stood between them.
"You are my soulmate, Emmanuelle," he said heavily. "What you and I share has always been a gift. But it's not a calling."
Ice speared a corner of her heart and slowly spread to fill it. She swallowed against the universe of hurt waiting for her. A universe she would endure alone.
"That's your decision, then?" She echoed his words, but as a question she wanted-needed-him to refute. "You're staying?"
"You couldn't seriously have imagined otherwise."
"I had hoped you would choose..." She trailed off, unable to finish.
His lips tightened. "You hoped I would choose you?"
She flinched from the accusation in his voice. From the idea that he thought her selfish. "No, Mika'el. Us. I hoped you'd choose us."
For a moment, he hesitated.
For a moment, she hoped.
And then the great black wings sagged, trailing against the gravel path.
"I am her warrior, Emmanuelle. She needs me."
Anger surged in her. Helpless. Impotent. Agonizing. She wrapped her arms over her belly, anchoring them there, holding herself together. Oh, how she ached to go to him. To bury her head against his chest and feel his arms go around her. To be one with him again.
Mika'el sighed. "She needs you, too. More than you know. More than she knows. If you leave-"
"Whether I leave or stay makes no difference. Unless my mother grows a spine, my parents will continue gouging out bits of one another until they destroy themselves. And they'll take all of Heaven with them, Mika'el. They'll take you with them. I won't stay to watch that happen."
Fierce emerald eyes fastened on hers, their pain reaching inside her to wrap around her lungs, her heart.
"Choices have consequences, Emmanuelle," Mika'el said. "Are you sure this one is how you wish to define yourself?"
"I've made my decision."
For a long, silent moment, he stared over her head, the flint of his face edging its way into his eyes. Then his gaze returned to hers.
"So be it," he said, and turning from her, he lifted from the rose garden on his great black wings.
Alexandra Jarvis jammed her hands into the pockets of her coat and leaned against the rough brick wall, hunching her shoulders against the bite of wind-driven snow. Steps away, a jumble of train tracks crisscrossed, stretching east and west under the thin glow of lights lining the narrow rail yard that ran through Toronto's heart. A mesh of metal designed to carry things into and out of the city.
Things, maybe, like her niece, who had only six days to live.
"You holding up okay?"
Alex started at the voice. Damn, she was getting sloppy. She hadn't heard a sound as Raymond Joly approached. She shrugged.
"As well as I can," she replied. "Anything yet?"
The other homicide detective shook his head.
He turned his gaze toward the railway tracks. Together they watched the massive black German shepherd casting about for a scent halfway across the steel network. Its chances of finding one diminished with every passing minute, every snowflake that fell, every bitter gust of wind.
Alex burrowed more deeply into her scarf.
Joly squeezed her shoulder. "Hey. We'll find her."
"You don't believe that and neither do I." She looked sideways at her colleague, who had miniature icicles clinging to his handlebar mustache. "I'm running out of time, Ray. We've been chasing sightings all over the city for almost two weeks. This is the only place the dogs have caught a scent. If she managed to get onto one of the trains—"
The dog's handler gave a shout and Alex's head snapped around. Nose a few inches above the ground, the dog headed diagonally across the tracks toward the west, moving with new purpose. Alex straightened up from the wall. Everything in her screamed with the need to follow, but she made herself stay. Terrain like this didn't hold a scent well to begin with, especially in this weather. Another person walking around out there would only confuse things.
She blinked snow from her lashes. The police dog stopped, lifted its head, tested the air with its nose, and swung left. In the concrete wall lining the yard, almost straight across from Alex and barely visible through the snow, stood the door to a utility access. It was mostly closed. But not entirely. The dog's ruff stood up along its neck and shoulders, and a warning, deep, low, and guttural, rumbled from its throat. Alex's heart smashed into her ribs.
The dog gave a sudden yip and bolted—not toward the door it had indicated, but away, further down the snow-covered tracks, until it hit the end of the lead still held firm by its handler. Then it cowered, tail between its legs and the whites of its eyes visible in the beam of the flashlight Joly shone toward it.
"What the hell?" Joly muttered.
The dog handler barked a command, but the dog only sank lower. The hairs on the back of Alex's neck prickled. No police-trained dog ever backed down from a threat. Ever. She'd seen them go up against people with knives, guns, baseball bats...
"It's one of them," she said harshly. "Call everyone off. Get them out of here."
Joly looked blank. "What? One of who?"
"Them, Ray." She had to make herself meet his gaze. To force the words past lips that were frozen but not from the cold. "The Fallen."
Joly's hand went to the gun at his side. Alex tugged her own hand from her pocket and grabbed his.
On the other side of the tracks, the utility door crashed open, slamming into the concrete wall beside it. The snow fell faster and thicker now, muffling the thud. A hulking figure emerged. It ducked under the door header and stepped into a pool of light.
Huge. Male. Winged.
And carrying a very pregnant Nina in his arms.
Alex inhaled sharply. Beneath her hand, Joly's fingers closed over the handgrip of his weapon.
"Don't," she croaked. "You can't."
"Listen to her, mortal." The Fallen One's rumble rivaled the earlier one of the dog. His gaze swept their small assembly: the dog handler on his right, backing slowly away to join his cowering animal; the handful of uniformed officers down the track to his left, standing in an uncertain half circle, guns drawn but still at their sides; Joly and Alex across from him. His focus settled on Alex. Narrowed. His head tipped to the side.
Alex stood rigid beneath his scrutiny. Did he know? Could he tell what Seth had done to her, what he'd made her?
Would it matter?
"I have no bone to pick with any of your companions," he said. "But you...you are persistent. Three times I've had to move the Naphil because of your efforts."
They'd come close that many times? Alex shook off the agony in the thought. Tried not to stare at the fragile, unconscious bundle in the Fallen One's arms or to see the pallor of Nina's face.
Tried, desperately, to be a cop and not an aunt.
"She's my niece," she replied. Sheer determination kept her voice from reflecting the quiver in her gut. "I want her back."
"She is the bearer of Lucifer's unborn child," he corrected, "and no longer your concern. Moving weakens her. You will stop seeking her."
Joly's fingers went rigid under hers. Her own gun hand itched to close over her weapon. Maybe if they shot enough lead into him...
She shook her head. "I can't do that."
"Then you invite death."
Her chin lifted. She didn't know how far Seth's little gift would go in a confrontation with a Fallen One, but she wouldn't back down from finding out. And she wouldn't let Lucifer's henchman take Nina again. She stepped away from Joly. "I'm not like the others. I'm—"
"Not you. Them."
Without warning, the Fallen One swiveled to his left. His wings unfurled, spread wide, and swept forward in a mighty surge. Snow, gravel, and rail ties all lifted from the ground, driven by a gust of wind more powerful than a hurricane, and hurtled toward the cluster of uniforms. Men and projectiles alike slammed into the wall. Gravel and ties remained, embedded in the concrete. The cops dropped to the ground, silent, still. Four bright crimson splashes marked their places of impact, garish, hideous, undeniably fatal.
It was over in less than a second.
Beside Alex, Joly's mouth opened and closed, but no sound emerged. The Fallen One's implacable gaze met Alex's across the interlace of tracks.
"You will stop seeking her," he repeated. And then he lifted into the air and disappeared into the night above the lights, taking Nina with him.
From a long way off, Alex heard Joly's frantic voice barking orders to the dispatcher he'd reached on his cell phone. The dog handler's shouts for help as he ran to the fallen uniforms. The distant whistle of an approaching train that would now be delayed for hours. Joly shoved past her, bellowing her name and wrenching back the part of her that hovered on the brink of disappearing forever.
Breath returned, its shattered edges shredding her lungs. She responded to a second bellow from Joly with a nod, and then, stripping off her gloves, followed him toward the downed officers. But where he ran, she walked, knowing there was no rush. Knowing none of them survived.
She tucked the gloves into her pocket, listening for the wail of sirens. Others would be here within minutes, and then there would be much to do and many questions to answer—all except the one that had already been answered.
The Fallen One had known about her, all right.
And others had paid the price.