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For those of you who aren't familiar with this series, let me give you a little taste.
Josselyn has just spent the last three months in intense Line of Defense training so she could join Malcolm’s search party. Little did she know the archangels had no intention of letting her bring back into Heaven an angel who had opened a portal between Heaven and Hell, at least not before saving God's creations from the tight grasp of Lucifer first.
Three months have passed since the angel Rhyan released nine repented demons from Hell, and now innocent people are dying, but their souls are not going to Heaven. Josselyn's mission is to find the demon responsible for stealing the souls and bring it to justice before Lucifer gains enough power to rise and claim Heaven and earth as his own.
Her whole world is shaken when she discovers what tool Lucifer is using to track down the one key to the release of his eternal damnation. Thoros is one half-souled immortal she prayed she would never see again. The ex-Prince of Lust had stolen her heart and crushed it with a cheeky smile. Now, not only is she being forced to put her damaged ego aside and face the only man that has ever hurt her, but she has to work with him in order to complete her assignment.
Is she strong enough to keep from falling in love with him again? Or is their love the only thing that can keep Lucifer from getting the one thing he wants most? Heaven.
It ended up being more like twenty-five minutes before Thoros left his room and started down the grand staircase of the mansion. His thoughts had drifted to Josselyn, as they always did when he was alone--or when he wasn't alone--and allowed his mind to wander. The hot spray of water coming from the showerhead and the steam in the room, along with the fact that he was naked, made him completely vulnerable and open for sweet torture from the memory of her.
He had caught himself fantasizing that she was there with him again, and he'd had to immediately turn the water to cold. Regardless of how much he wanted the female, that always seemed to chase away any thoughts of her, at least until he could dry off and throw on some clothes. Then he always rushed to find someone or something to distract him. He agreed with himself that it was better than locking himself in his bedchamber, curling into a ball on his bed and crying like a baby. He refused to let the reality that he would never have her eat him alive.
His shaking hand touched the end of the banister and even he had to admit that the trembling had only gotten worse over the past few months. He knew he was suffering from withdrawal, and Josselyn wasn't the only thing he was doing without; it obviously wasn't healthy for a person with a sex addiction to go without sex for three days, let alone three months.
The angel had ruined him, and he hated her for it.
As Thoros walked into the study, he locked eyes with Baddon, giving the giant a curt nod before finding a seat. His good friend had been trying to get to the bottom of this for the better part of the week, but every time he'd suggested doing anything about it, Thoros had refused to participate, convinced it was just a side effect of something Abigail's angel had done when getting them released from Lucifer, or maybe it had something to do with being on Earth, something the humans were doing that was rubbing him wrong. They were destroying the ozone with their motored vehicles and the consumption of the tobacco they smoked, willingly. Then again, it could be something he had done, and that's why he was in this room now, tight-lipped and itching to turn and run the other way.
Thoros cleared his throat and sat in an empty chair closest to the door, a good twenty feet from the rest of the group that were willing and waiting to help, and then gave Baddon a do-not-push-me look when the guy raised an eyebrow at him. They couldn't help unless they shackled him in silver chains. He wasn't opposed and wouldn't object to the idea if that's what they suggested needed to happen.
The thought of killing another innocent human made him want to throw up his last meal. Thinking about that, he realized he hadn't eaten in days, hadn't even had an urge to.
"...do you think, Thoros?"
His head shot up and he focused on the group, all of them staring at him, expecting him to answer a question he hadn't heard spoken. "I'm sorry. What was that?"
Coen stood and gave Thoros a comforting smile as he walked across the room to him. Thoros eyed the fallen angel with suspicion, and then immediately felt relief and relaxation when the guy's hands touched his temples.
Thoros stared up at him with a silly smile on his face, feeling as if he had just taken a handful of happy pills. "What did you do to me? I feel great," he muttered.
Coen smiled. "In Hell, the royalty are the only ones that have power besides Lucifer. In Heaven we all had gifts." He shrugged. "I lost them when I fell, but once I got part of my soul back, I've discovered some of my gift has returned. I suppose I'm being tested by God. I cannot say that I blame him. I'm thankful for whatever he allows me to have."
"Just don't get greedy, angel," Lameria said with a smirk.
Phoebe huffed and everyone looked at her. "I'm the only one in this house that can't defend myself with magic."
"You're immortal; why do you worry about defending yourself?" Fallis asked, and then Lameria cut in before Phoebe had a chance to answer.
"I thought this meeting was about Thoros, and why he's all of a sudden killing people and looking like shit."
Thoros shot her a puzzled look. "I look like shit?" he asked.
"Have you looked in the mirror this week?" She rolled her eyes as she looked back to Baddon, mumbling quietly under her breath. "That's putting it nicely."
Baddon cleared his throat and motioned with two fingers for Thoros to move closer. "Thoros, why don't you come up here and join us, so you don't--you know--miss anything vital?" It had been a request, but Thoros knew Baddon wasn't going to take 'no' for an answer. And the big son of a bitch could get him down quicker than anyone he'd ever met.
Thoros glared at Baddon from under his lashes for only a moment before huffing, then standing and dragging the chair noisily behind him so he could place it closer to the group.
Baddon continued after Thoros got situated. "As I said before, I think Lucifer is behind it somehow. He still has half your soul--"
"He has half of all our souls! Why am I the only one killing people?"
Baddon took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I've thought about that, and I think it's because you were the first to turn against him after Abigail. I keep waiting for this to affect the rest of us to confirm my theory, but," he sighed, "it just hasn't happened yet."
"Yeah, that's obvious."
"What's the last thing you remember about last night?" Damien asked.
Thoros thought about it for a minute, his eyebrows drawing together in thought and frustration as he ran the previous day's events through his head out loud. "I slept until a little after one. I watched an episode of Maury, and then Jerry Springer, and then that show with the doctor that's not really a doctor…" He snapped his fingers. "He's always trying to help people better themselves with stuff that doesn't work--"
Thoros clapped his hands and pointed at Phoebe. "That's it! Dr. Oz!"
"I think he's really a doctor," Phoebe replied.
"Back to your day, Thoros," Baddon interrupted the debate about daytime TV with the loud bass of his voice.
Thoros leaned forward, letting his elbows rest on his knees. "Well, that's about all that happened."
"Such a sad excuse for a man," Lameria retorted in a low voice, but Thoros ignored her jab at his ego.
"So, what happened after you finished watching TV?" Coen asked. "Think hard. What made you want to leave the house?"
Thoros shrugged again. "I don't really remember. None of you were here and I got bored, I guess." He sat there for a minute, and then looked up at the group with wide eyes. "I remember a guy on a bicycle. He looked to be in his late-twenties or so, short, dark-brown hair, red t-shirt, blue jeans, and he had a navy blue pack on his back. I remember he flew by me on the bike with a black Mercedes hot on his trail. I fleeted to keep up with him. The guy lost his pursuer at a red light, but I followed him all the way to Caesar's Palace and... that's the last thing I remember. Then I woke up naked in my bed about an hour ago with a guard outside my door."
"The guard was necessary--"
"I know. I'm not bitching. A blanket would have been nice, though."
"I put one over you, but you were dressed in the clothes you had on yesterday when I left the room." Baddon turned his head to the side, and then looked over and glared at Tooka. She wouldn't meet his gaze. "Uh-huh, well, maybe we need a pet dog instead of a pet dragon with a crush on Thoros."
Tooka's anger flared and she bared her pointy teeth at Baddon, and then flew over to land beside Thoros' chair.
Thoros chuckled as he stroked her head lovingly. "We're not replacing you with a dog, Tooka. And she's not a dragon, Baddon."
"I know what the hell she is! She was in my damn syde before Murry stole my position!"
Smile still in place, and comforting a growling Tooka, Thoros responded, "Then you know she isn't a dragon. Dragons aren't nearly as pretty as kurets are."
Baddon threw his hands up in defeat. "It doesn't help when you encourage it," he said to Thoros, and then pointed at Tooka, who only snapped at his finger with her tiny, sharp teeth. "You pull one more incident like that and I'll put you on a leash outside--"
"She's not a dog, Baddon," Thoros snapped as he coddled her. "She's one of us, so cut her some slack, will ya'? She's not hurting anyone, unlike me. Just leave her alone and let's get back to the subject of why I'm killing humans."
"Yes, let's do that," a female voice said from the door, and everyone in the room jumped to their feet in alarm. Baddon steadied Thoros as he began to sway. "Sorry I'm late to the party. I had more important things to tend to first," Josselyn said, and gave them a smirk.
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