Friday, December 5, 2014

Lisabelle and One Black Rose 4!

I already put this on my Facebook Page, but here it is for the blog as well :-)

Panting, I felt the air slam into my lungs in cold, painful bursts. The black landscape stretched and rolled endlessly in front of me as black snow flakes drifted down. The particles looked like the remnants of flames or burning dust, but I knew better. I braced my hands on my knees and fought to breathe, but that only made the throbbing in my arm worse. Plus, it gave me a very good view of my hands. The way the black spirals that covered their backs blended in perfectly with the black snow made me cringe.

"I was worried something had happened to you," I said, looking at the boy standing in front of me, undamaged. A memory flashed in my mind, of a blue-eyed man telling me how important it was that nothing happened to that boy.

"You were?" His gray eyes brightened.

"Yeah, and then who would carry my bags?" I pushed myself upright and picked up my bag again. Without another word, I hefted it and started to trudge forward.

Guess the speakers! They will be appearing in a news series from the POV of ___________? YAY! I am SO excited!

One Black Rose, Book Four. Autumn and Samuel must prepare their wedding, but summer is coming and with it the sweet smell of flowers and changes that no fairy could possibly expect. Can Autumn and Samuel weather the winds as they melt from winter to summer? Or will the warring fairy courts destroy their love until it's dry and trampled like so many flower petals?

One Black Rose, Book Four will be the last of the three to be released, mostly because of promotion. It's been a very long time since the publication of Autumn, and I want to make sure fans of the series have a chance to hear about the release ahead of time! Spread the word! If you're a blogger and want to do promotion PM me 

Thanks so much! Like I said, I'm really excited!

To keep up to date be sure to check out the left side of my blog and sign up for my newsletter!

Also, visit my author page on Amazon and star me as a favorite!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

One Black Rose

I have been focusing on the Paranormal Public world for the past year. The omnibuses for the series are coming out and that got me thinking about my other series, One Black Rose. With the holiday season approaching I thought it might be a fun treat to re-visit that series, so, stay tuned for One Black Rose news coming soon :-)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Iron Chasers

Has gone live on Amazon! Yay!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Short Story Part One of Two

As I've said on my Facebook Page, I'm publishing a spin-off to the Paranormal Public series! The first book in the series is titled Iron Chaser and it's due on September 29th!! Yay! In that book I'm going to publish a short story that chronicles Queen Lanca's wedding to her boyfriend Vital! I'm publishing the first half, -ish, of that short story here and now! There are various hints here about what's to come! I'm so excited for you all to read it!


You are cordially invited to the wedding of Vital Aarier and Queen Lanca De Grierrispar, daughter of King Daemon of the Demon Darkness and Mirrith and Lanca De Long Tarrier Quir of LongLane Vampire, unliving, signed.
Graciously, the Royal Wedding will take place in the year of the Demon Block at the ancestral home of the Rapier Vampires, Vampire Locke. Queen Lanca De Grierrispar is Queen of the Rapier Vampire sect. The Wedding will require a change of title for the Queen’s future husband. The new Duke of the Blade will feature in a ceremony of crowning for the Queen. The Duke of Blade will not be given the title of King. Her Majesty retains all rights to rulership of the Rapier Vampire sect and any other sect that falls under her domain. Queen Lanca further retains all titles and property that she has before the marriage takes place.
Heads of paranormal groups, royalty, and heads of states will all be in attendance. The Wedding will take place at midnight under a full moon blaze, so as to truly embrace all the powers of the paranormal. 
Queen Lanca has already experienced the overflowing glory and ascension to the highest sphere of power and respect by virtue of the coronation ceremony that raised her to the Blood Throne rulership, crowning her our beloved Rapier Vampire Queen. The coming ceremony will be more personal. The bride and groom will write their own vows. The bridal party will feature three bridesmaids and three groomsmen. In lieu of gifts, Queen Lanca has asked that guests make a donation in the form of the adoption of a lightmare, an animal dear to the Queen’s heart.
Vital’s training companions at The School will do a battle performance. Vampire Aarier will also present performances, both before his station changes and afterwards.
Vital Aarier is a peasant vampire but yet a living legend. He fought in the last two vampire wars with the Shade. He has been captured eight times. Do not read incompetence into that number. All others captured with him perished, but through his skill and perseverance he was able to survive and bring information back to his commanders. Vampire Aarier started training when he was three years old. He has trained every day since then. Aarier was first awarded the status of captain when he turned seventeen, the youngest vampire ever to attain that rank.
After that attainment, other awards and honors quickly followed. Vampire Aarier remains unbeaten in one-on-one combat.
He also remains unbeaten in two-on-one combat. There is no such thing as formal three-on-one combat. Vampire Aarier was the first to give an indication that such a competition might prove useful. Aairer was assigned to the king of the Ground Vampires in Europe. He protected the king and his family for five years until a protection role became available for him back home. Vampire Aarier did not originally desire to be in protection service. He served the Ground because he was required to work on formal occasions only, despite pleas that he serve full-time. Vampire Aarier has always had a wandering spirit. It wasn’t until his king, King Daemon, asked him to come home and protect his heir that Vampire Aarier saw he how he could be useful. 
He gave up his wandering life and his adventures to come and serve as the body protector of then-Princess Lanca. It was a post any and all would be honored to hold, and Vampire Aarier has been honored in his turn.
Vampire Aarier’s mother was a blood maid, while his father worked mining the black diamonds. His mother died in chidbirth, a fact Aarier has always wished to keep in mind: that his life was made possible only by the death of a woman destined to be most dear to him. His father died shortly afterwards from a mining accident, leaving Aarier to focus all of his energies on training. Otherwise we feel certain his parents would have attained some honorable title by now.

The Right Honorable Actuary Hallibert Arthur Greg to his mother

This marriage is a ridiculous sham. It’s ridiculous to the tenth power. If that’s not a thing it’s ridiculous to a different power, but it’s definitely ridiculous. That vampire has been running wild ever since her foolish father got himself killed. 
The Blood Throne deserves better. He shall be known as King (even if not officially), and it’s a disgrace! Have the vampires ever seen a king of common blood before, they have not! They shall not, if the Raor and Radvarious have anything to say about it. There were countless suitors of proper birth, dare I say the vampires would have preferred even a paranormal of different type, so long as his standing was high.
A fighter!
The lowest of the low and then lower. Her father must be turning over in his grave, literally, he’s a vampire after all.
This ruins the Rapier name.
This ruins the Blood Throne.
She is not long a queen and she has already failed. Truly, she has let her childish notions get in the way of her better judgment, there is nothing else to expect from a little princess. 
Just another proven reason why queens should not rule. It is a shame. A real and true shame. Should serve her right if she were overrun by pixies (none of whom are fit to marry a vampire).

Mrs. Greg to her son

If you ever say anything like that about Queen Lanca again I’ll disinherit you.


Ricky Rollins to his older sister, Charlotte Rollins

What’s the dress code for this thing? Will you and Keller be back in time? I assume you will, since I got a kind of panicked message from Sip about dress fittings. Something about Lisabelle having a tantrum in the black holes and Sip’s spies being able to sense it all the way up in the real world. Can you get me a tux if I need one? I assume since this is a royal affair I’ll need one. All my new friends are jealous that I got an invitation. They think it’s because you’re so famous and not because you and Lanca are friends. It’s awesome how happy she is! Can’t wait to see you!

Ms. Elizabeth to her brother Vital

I’m here with Lanca and we both miss you. She probably misses you more, since I’m still bitter about that time when you dumped me in the mud when we were little, but I miss you too. When will you be back? Can you give news of any of this massively secret mission you’re on? Just don’t hurt yourself! I’m pretty sure that’s poor form before a wedding, especially when the whole paranormal world is coming! You weren’t allowed to go skiing, so you shouldn’t be allowed to fight! Lanca agrees with me. She keeps pacing. Preparations are now in full swing. The Mountain, or Vampire Locke as you call it, has undergone a thorough cleaning and we are in the midst of decorating. Lanca keeps talking about her sister Dirr and how she would have served as her maid of honor, but as it is, her friends from college are going to have that honor. I’m sure you know all this, but I’m just so excited! Lisabelle Verlans is one of the bridesmaids! Lanca knows Lisabelle Verlans! So do you! It’s just so surreal! Mom and Dad would be so proud of you!

Luck and love you

Professor Luc Dacer to his mother, Duchess Leonie

1. taffeta, lots of taffeta, in every color, but mostly in blue
2. gray satin
3. floral motifs
4. antique lace
5. patent leather

And then there’s what I’ll need for my wedding outfit! So much shopping, so little time!
This is the wedding of the century! At least until her friends start getting married. It’s not like an Erikson has ever had a small wedding, not to mention the youngest professor ever at Paranormal Public. There’s also Lisabelle Verlans to consider, although I rather think she’d threaten to kill any and all who attended. Sipythia might have to set her straight. Do you have your outfit in order, Mother? I’m sure you do and I would adore to hear about it. There’s been a lot of travel recently, what with all the problems across the pond, so to speak, but I have low hopes that it will sort itself out shortly. In the event that my expectations become reality and it doesn’t, of course, that will be a different matter entirely, but I have every confidence that I won’t have to miss the wedding, no matter what. Even evil would not get in the way of this party!

Duchess Leonie to her eldest son, Luc Dacer

My dear boy, all of that is fine. I am perfectly capable of dressing myself, as I have for years (shocking, I know), and luckily it hasn’t embarrassed you. Yet. I am looking forward to the travel and the pomp and circumstance. I must say, since the battle all has been quiet, sometimes eerily so. I shall also say that I will not be sad that you must come home. Your wanderings always slightly try my nerves. As to the Verlans girl, I imagine there will be a lot of mutterings and a little trouble, which will die down to none at all should any of the complaining paranormals be forced to confront her face to face. I rather feel the same about Queen Lanca. Poor girl, since the marriage announcement she’s simply been flooded with judgment. She loves him, he loves her. They are of the same sect, for paranormal’s sake!
I shall order all from your list. Love, your mother

Duchess Leonie to her old friend Professor Dustin, President of Sanctum of Lock and Iron

What a to-do this is all becoming! Not that I mind, as you remember from our school days I do love a good party and this is promising to be wonderful. I’ve been sending letters back and forth to dear Luc like mad. He had the audacity to be concerned about my wardrobe before I set him straight. Wherever does he think he got that sense of style from?
I would you were coming. Don’t tell me you aren’t important enough. I know for a fact that Her Royal Darkness sent you an invitation. I also realize that you are rather busy, especially considering recent events. Have the Chasers got any leads? 
We’re still in recovery mode here at Public. It’s made easier because we know that we can strengthen the Power of Five more easily. But it’s still been difficult. 
There have been many funerals and many, many tears. Understanding that losing is part of having in life makes it no easier. Many have died before their time. We mourn them all.
I believe Lanca wants to have her wedding so soon at least in part to take our minds off the recent troubles (that’s only a part mind you; young people have their minds on other things that require quick marriages). 
The celebrations have already started. It’s been three generations since a sitting monarch married. The young ones are happy about her choice - marrying for love - and Vital isn’t exactly hard on the eyes either if I do say so myself, although don’t tell Luc I say so, as he thinks “old ladies” do not notice such things-  But the older generations of vampires are concerned with her choice. Given how tenuous her power is, not strengthwise, but politically, she would have done better to make a more advantageous match that would help the Rapiers. I believe some of her subjects feel that way, anyway. Vital, unfortunately, is also acutely aware of such gossip. From what I can tell it wounds him that anyone would criticize his lady.

Lady Arathia Dragondy of Normandy to her cousin Lanca, Queen of the Rapier Vampires and Ruler of the Blood Throne

Oh Lanca! I cannot wait. It’s a wonderful occasion! A thousand congratulations to you! I cannot tell you what a welcome relief this wedding will be! All the doom and gloom recently, and all I’ve wanted is a happy day and your wedding will be the happiest! I do hope this Vital knows how lucky he is! Have no fear, I’ve every intention of reminding him when I arrive! There’s so much excitement here we’ve already started packing. Of course, when we leave in a week it will be like a party! I just can’t wait to see you and meet these friends I’ve heard so much about! 
Lisabelle Verlans and Charlotte Rollins are famous even here! Sipythia Quest, since she started moving up the ranks in the paranormal government, is even getting mentions.
Now Lanca, I do not want to mar your wonderful day. I so wish to keep the strictest of focus just on that, but there are things I must, should, need to tell you that simply cannot wait. I figure that if I divulge them it’ll be less likely to draw suspicion.
I know you asked in a previous letter about the troubles here and the truth is I’ve been avoiding the subject. First, I’m afraid, but I also didn’t want to distract you from your big day. It’s supposed to be the happiest time in your life.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’ll tell you a bit about it. I know you well and I know that when I arrive I’ll be in for an interrogation anyway. It’s just that it’s all been so dark and I really do think the worst is behind us. The long and the short of it is that massive stockpiles of iron are going missing. Since it’s used for so much magic here it’s been a big deal, especially considering that the Iron Chasers claim not to know where it is. I say claim, because there are many who do not believe the Chasers to be entirely ignorant. I’ll keep my own opinion out of it, just to say I’m sure it’ll sort itself out. The Shadow Court isn’t completely useless, despite popular opinion.
All the love in the paranormal world.

Professor Dustin, President of Sanctum of Lock and Iron, To Duchess Leonie, Visiting Professor at Paranormal Public University

I am regretful that I cannot attend. There is simply too much to be done here. The Chaser training isn’t going as well as we would have liked, and with the Devious Shire growing daily and the rumors growing by the hour there’s a lot to manage. I did want to give you a quick response, simply to say that you should give my love to Luc and tell him that I cannot wait until his next visit. As I’m sure is said of him often, he brightens up the place.

Charlotte Rollins, from somewhere in Asia, to her brother Ricky Rollins, somewhere in America

Ricky! Everything’s all set! Keller and I are coming back tomorrow and I can’t be more excited! I’ve been in touch with Lanca and I feel bad that I’m not there to help her, but then again she has an army, so to speak, or at least all the Rapiers, to assist with the wedding prep. I haven’t been in touch with Sip and Lisabelle as much as I’d like either, but they’re very  busy these days. I guess we all are. 
Anyway, Keller and I have had the most amazing time. I can’t wait to get back to Public and start teaching! I’m excited and nervous all at the same time! It’s going to be wondrous! How are you? Thanks so much for your note! I really can’t wait to see you. Yes, we’ve been staying out of trouble, but just barely. It’s a darn good thing Keller can fly as fast as he can, that’s all I have to say! Ha. 

Queen Lanca of the Rapier Vampires, Ruler of the Blood Throne, to her cousin Lady Arathia Dragondy of Normandy

Thank you so much for your response! It’s been epically busy here, but I truly am so excited. It’s all coming together nicely. In truth, I would never get married just to brighten up the news cycle, but I am so relieved that my happiness is something to celebrate. I know deep down in my bones that Vital and I will make good and loving partners. He has shown himself to have a steady hand and a steady heart. I know that you say the iron isn’t a big deal, and I promise not to dwell on it (I’m sorry to have scared you with my interrogation techniques), but I still worry. The reports coming from that side of the pond are grim and they aren’t just about iron. We are weak here, the power structures unformed. At least I know that darkness and light will now co-exist for many years to come. I’m excited for you to meet my friends. They are truly the best and each of them is one of a kind. 

Sorry to cut this short, but I really must go. My bridesmaids have started to arrive.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Released today!!!

Elemental Light was released today and I'm delighted!! It's already a #1 best seller, which has never happened to me before, and I couldn't be happier! Elemental Light also introduces spin-off characters that I hope you all will enjoy! Here's the link! I'll try and post here a couple more times this week with news, and please let me know what you think! :-)


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Elemental Light release date

I'm aiming for June 30th! Sign up for e-mail notifications of blog posts to be kept informed! Yay! In the coming weeks I'll be doing several giveaways and of course the cover reveal so be sure to check in!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Book Review and Author Interview - Elizabetth Corrigan

        Raising Chaos Book Two in the Earthbound Angels Series!

For fans of Oracle of Philadelphia the second installment in the Earthbound Angels Series, Raising Chaos, is a wonderful follow-up. Elizabeth Corrigan has mastered juggling the multiple points of view that she writes from, something that isn't easy, but she makes look effortless. The best part about the three points of view in Raising Chaos is that one of them is Bedlam, a hilarious demon. His heart is in the right place, but his actions tend to complicate already complicated situations. As the Demon of Chaos all he can do is his chaotic best!

In book two Carrie/Khet moves to another town and starts working at a bar and unsurprisingly runs into those she has to help. Meanwhile, Bedlam discovers a plot against Khet, his only friend in the world, and goes on a quest to save her. The third point of view is Siren, not the most pleasant angel and not Bedlam, but still an interesting part of the story.

Raising Chaos is well written, with excellent world-building that allowed me to disappear into the story and not surface until I was finished (I refused to surface and stayed in my reading chair until I was finished). I'm very much looking forward to the third installment! If it's anything like the first two it'll be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, evening, morning, whenever you readers all have chairs you refuse to leave until the story is done!

Author Interview:

1. Congratulations on your recent skyrocket into the top 200 on Amazon Sold in the Kindle Store For Oracle of Philadelphia! How exciting was it?
Thanks! It was super exciting! My publisher put an ad on Book Bub, a company that emails daily book recommendations. On the day of my ad, I set my alarm every 2 hours through the night so I could check on my progress and see when I peaked. I hit #143 at around 5 a.m.
2. What’s your favorite way to connect with fans of the Earthbound Angels Series? Is there anything they’ve said to you that you found particularly special?
I love to talk to fans via email, Facebook, or twitter. (You can get all my contact information at There is an R in the middle of that.) I had a particularly gratifying experience recently when a reviewer pulled out her favorite quotes from the novel, and some of them were the same as my favorite quotes. And they weren’t just the funny ones either. They were the thoughtful ones that made thematic points. I also enjoy it when people ship my characters. So far I’ve had people match Carrie with Gabriel, Bedlam, Michael, and Lucifer. For a while there was also a very serious discussion about how hot Bedlam was, but I hope the Raising Chaos cove has settled that.
3. Whose your favorite character in the series to write?
I like writing Bedlam because he’s so easy. He says whatever comes into his head, so it all just rolls from my head to my fingers. Though I do then need to go back and edit it into a more acceptable form. I also like writing Siren because she’s so deliciously snarky. Plus, she thinks like I do, so there’s not too much transition necessary.
4. Do you pay any attention to other young adult series where main/favorite characters die-off? What would you say to someone, say me, who’s worried about that in your series?
In general, I like to read happy endings. Failing that, I like people’s deaths to be meaningful. I am one of those people who doesn’t watch Joss Whedon’s stuff anymore because I got tired of characters dying off unnecessarily, and I never finished the Harry Potter series for the same reason. But sometimes I’m okay with it. I love Tammy Blackwell’s Timber Wolves series even though a major character gets killed in the first book, and I often think L.J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries books (not the T.V. show!) should have ended when Elena died instead of going through all the rigmarole to bring her back.
As for my books… Well, I have to confess I don’t always write what I like to read. And I do have some readers who insist that the only appropriate ending for Earthbound Angels is for Carrie to die. I myself have not decided 100% what I am going to do (and if I had, I wouldn’t give you spoilers), but I hope whatever I do will be appropriate and true to the characters.
5. Where do you look for writing inspiration? Is it spring where you are yet and does that help inspire you?
I’m mostly an “inspiration from inside” kind of person. Which means that I think a lot about my stories, and it’s my desire to communicate them that makes me most want to write them. Though sometimes it helps to hear from people about how much they need the next book. It is turning to spring in Baltimore now, and I don’t know if I find it inspiring, but the sunlight and not-cold-and-snow definitely help motivate me to get out of bed. 
6. It’ll come as little surprise to you that everyone loves Bedlam. How do you make him so fun?
Bedlam is by far my most popular character, though I certainly didn’t plan for that when I wrote him. I think the key to Bedlam is that, while he is super fun and random on the surface, he also clearly has a lot going on underneath that. He has darkness and pain and genuine caring and emotions, and it makes his resoluteness to continue to be open and positive in spite of that inspiring.
7. How many books are in the series and when’s the next going to be released?
I originally intended for Oracle to be a stand-alone novel, but I’m no good at keeping my series short and to the point. In my head, it expanded to 3 books, then 6, then 7, and then even more ideas occurred to me. If I write all the stories I have so far come up with, there will be 12 books in the series. But I may decide to end the series at another, more appropriate point, or I may come up with even more plots. 
As for release… Well, I need to finish writing it. Then I have to see if my publisher wants to publish it, and if they do, I have an extensive editing process. So no promises on a date yet, but it is coming.
8. What’s next for you? Are you working on anything else exciting?
I’ve been working on a book in a new series, a fantasy detective story. I’m not sure if or when that will see the light of day, but it’s a lot of fun to work on. And, of course, there’s Earthbound Angels book 3. Gabriel needs his book! But don’t worry. There will be stuff in it for all you Bedlam fans too!

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

For the author:
                   Book/Tour Page on RAP:
                   Author page on RAP:

And just in case this wasn't all enough to convince you to read Raising Chaos, here's an excerpt from the book!

Chapter 1
Monday, 12 a.m. GMT

I bopped my head in time with Billy Idol dancing with himself as the song pealed from the juke box. I’d picked the track in hopes that Khet would take the hint and dance with me, but it didn’t work. Before the song was half over, I got tired of waiting and bopped over to the counter, where she was poring over a triplicate form.
“Khet, put the money stuff away and come dance! You’ll still have trillions of dollars even after you subtract whatever you lost on this money pit this week.”
I didn’t mean to insult the diner. Well, I kind of did. The diner was a money pit, but still, I loved it. My attachment had no rational explanation. I mean, what I generously referred to as a restaurant was a lackluster eatery in a crappy part of a city—Philadelphia—that might once have been a pearl of American society, but now was more a flawed cubic zirconium of people obsessed with sports teams that had seen better days. Yellow foam stuck out from between the cracks in the teal vinyl benches, looking like some kind of bulbous mold, and the silver tables always had some kind of film on them. The air smelled of slightly rancid grease and too-strong coffee that had been sitting in the pot since Khet brewed it yesterday morning. And as for the food... Well, Khet had a habit of hiring cooks who’d never even seen a griddle before they started employment.
But the thing was, the diner was Khet’s. She had never owned anything like it, not in the three thousand years I’d known her, until a few decades ago. And if it belonged to her, it belonged to me too, because she had figured out a long time ago that life was easier if she let me do what I wanted. So this was more than a diner of hers and mine. It was our home.
I expected her to give me one of her usual responses about how she was “being the responsible one” and paying the bills so the gas didn’t get shut off, but she remained silent.
“Khet?” I waved my hand in front of her face. “Are you listening to me?”
Her brown eyes met mine, and I wondered if she could read anything in their demon- black depths. Not that she had to. She was the all-powerful Oracle who could read my mind. And also the inspiration for the Biblical myth of Cain, though in a bizarre way that led to her accidentally destroying a town rather than murdering a brother.
“I’m sorry, Bedlam,” she said. “Did you say something?”
I swiped the piece of paper out from under her pen and beheld what appeared to be a shopping list written in cuneiform. “What in Mephistopheles’s tomb is this?”
She tilted her head to the side. “Mephistopheles has a tomb?”
I waved my hand.
“Tombs, archives, sepulchers. Same difference.”
“I don’t think—”
“Not the point.” I sat down on the stool facing her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong.” She smiled as she spoke. Someone who didn’t know her that well
might have bought it, but not me.
“Wait, so something’s wrong, and you won’t tell me what?”
That could be one of two things.
No, one of one thing. I’m the one that never wants to talk about a certain brown-haired

I had this epic love tragedy going with Keziel, the angel of balance. To make a long story not quite as long, Kezi created the world with some help from me and Jophiel, the angel of service, and when we were done, she granted us each any boon within her power. Since I had
fallen in love with her, the only thing I wanted was to stay with her forever, but Jophiel beat me to the punch. He made her promise to marry him and serve with him forever. And since angels can’t fall out of love, I was doomed to be unhappy without her forever. And she still owes me that boon.
But Kezi hadn’t been around. I could tell. I could always tell. Which meant Khet’s problem had to concern the angel of joy, Gabriel.
I liked Gabriel. Everyone did. He had some kind of magic angel power that made everyone adore him. Even Lilith never had a bad word to say about him, and she hated all men on principle. But for someone who got along with everyone, Gabriel could be extremely clueless about other people’s emotions. More oblivious than me, and I had once given Khet a dead puppy. Long story short, no inside joke can survive the giving of a long-deceased canine, and I probably should have known that beforehand.
Khet was in love with Gabriel and had been since she’d met him two thousand years ago. It made sense. She could peer inside people’s heads and uncover their deepest secrets and desires. And Gabriel saw the world as a place full of joy and life and people trying to do good things. He had sought out Khet because he had faced concrete evidence that the world did not adhere to his sunshiny ideals. So he spent two thousand years helping people in the worst situations he could find as if his own ideals could somehow diffuse through the population, like a celestial air freshener.
Then Keziel lured him back under Michael’s thumb by telling Gabriel that Heaven needed his help to restore the balance of the universe. And Khet surprised me by seeming okay about it, but humans are bizarre about love. Angels had romance easy. We met someone, fell in love, and got stuck that way. The connection didn’t change or get replaced by loving someone
else. Other emotions could be added to it, like deep and abiding resentment and a constant desire to rip the beating heart out of her chest. But the love remained too.
But humans fell in and out of love all the time. They could love more than one person at the same time. So Khet seemed to get over Gabriel quickly, but if she had taken a year or ten years or a hundred years to get over it, it would have seemed fast. This whole time she might have pretended to be over it, and she had entered some new phase in the human getting-over- love process. Maybe it went tears, denial, weird silence, and then... Well, I don’t know what would come next.
Regardless, taciturnity and distractedness and cuneiform were not signs of a good phase for a number of reasons, not the least of which was having to explain to the people who supplied the diner with truckloads of food why the orders could only be processed by someone with fluency in a long dead script.
I placed the paper down. “Khet, I know there’s something wrong. You have that little up- and-down line between your eyebrows. And it’s been at least three days since you made me go on a historic tour of some brick building whose architectural style was unimpressive when it was built and remains so.”
“Bedlam, you know you don’t have to go with me if you don’t want to.” Anyone else would have snapped those words at me, but not Khet. She saw my decision to accompany her on lackluster adventures as something she needed to atone for.
I gave an exaggerated sigh. “That’s not what I meant. As you may or may not recall, I am perfectly capable of acting on my feelings when necessary. I was wondering what caused the change in activity.” I looked more closely at the paper I had set down. “Also, I don’t think that your suppliers are going to bring you three whole goats and a hundred barley cakes.”
Because someone’s going to have to eat the barley cakes, and you know it’s going to be you.
Please, dear God, anything but that.
I sometimes wondered if everyone else had conversations in their head. I thought about asking Khet, but I didn’t want to add her answer to the mounting evidence against my sanity.
Khet frowned and squinted at the symbols on the form. “You’re probably right.” She slid the paper over to herself and crossed out the last three lines. “Do you think barley paste would go over better with the clientele?”
Ha! The mere existence of barley paste is a nuclear attack on the human taste bud. Even I think so, and I’ll eat anything.
Oh, no. She’s trying to distract you with humor. You promised you weren’t going to let her do that anymore.
The scars on her face—and probably the rest of her—from her encounter with the Beast a couple of months ago had finally faded, thanks to some rapid healing, but for most of the last several weeks they had served as a reminder to both of us that for all her immortality, Khet could still be harmed and could not always be counted on to take care of herself. Case in point: Last time I left her to herself, she ran off to Hell to sell her soul to the archdemon Azrael, demon of love and lust. Lucifer had forbidden Azrael from collecting on that deal, but Khet still bore the demon mark on her hand.
I shaped my features into what I hoped was a stern look. “Attempts to distract me will not work. I am going to stand here and play irritating music until you tell me what’s wrong.”
Ooh! What was that song you played all the time when you were supporting Ohio State? Ha! She still grinds her teeth every time she hears “Hang On Sloopy.”
But that didn’t mean she was going to tell me. “There isn’t anything wrong.”
I raised my hand, making a show of considering which of her least favorite songs I would select to assail our ears. (FYI, I would have picked “The Safety Dance.” For some reason beyond me, she hated it.)
She shook her head. “Fine. It’s nothing big. I’m thinking it might be time for a change of scenery.”
I brightened. Only Khet could make something as exciting as a vacation seem dreary as barley. “Ooh, where do you want to go? I support anywhere with beaches. Or ski slopes. Or earthquakes.” I clapped my hands. “Or it’s college football season soon! We could go on tour!”
Her black brows creased over her brown eyes. “Bedlam, if you think I am going to set foot again anywhere near Columbus, OH, with you in any year that begins with a two, you are sadly mistaken.”
I expected her to discuss her location preferences, but instead the silence lasted so long that I felt lost.
My mind leapt to my biggest insecurity. “Do you... do you not want me to come with you?”
“Bedlam, have I ever not wanted you to come with me anywhere? Other than to the bathroom, and we’ve discussed that.” The slight irritation in her voice assured me more than anything else that she wasn’t trying to get rid of me.
And she was right, of course. She’d never sought my absence, not once in thirty-two hundred years, but I figured she would in time.
“Then what is it?” I hoped I sounded less whiny to her ears than it did in my head. “I can’t see why you would be upset about a trip. Unless you were, like, going on a trip to some
theme park that made you pretend you were in a Puritanical society where they, like, whip you for wearing color or showing your ankles or thinking about anything that’s not the Bible. Because I probably wouldn’t be okay with that. You know how places like that always accuse you of being a witch, and you get put in the stocks for looking at Goody Threadwell’s cow and curdling its milk. But I’m pretty sure that a place like that doesn’t exist, because if it did, no one would make any money off it because no one wants to be punished on their vacation. Well, some people, but we won’t discuss that. Plus, there probably would have been an article in the paper, though I guess I could have missed it since it’s not as if I read the Inquirer every day—”
“Bedlam!” Khet interrupted my train of thought—which, now that I thought about it, might have been kind of ranty. “I have no intention of taking a trip to Puritan Land, if and should such a place ever exist. And if I did win tickets for two, I certainly would not expect you to come with me.”
I bounced on my toes as the juke box changed songs, and Madonna began singing “Into the Groove.” “Then what are you upset about? Come dance, and we can talk about where you want to go.”
She put down her pencil, and I took that as surrender. “I told you, I’m not upset.” She twirled around the counter and grabbed my tanned hand in her dusky one. “But I will dance if that is the only way to convince you.”
Khet and I were the most awesome of dancers. We’d been practicing for about forty times the average human lifespan, and we’d had the same partner since the concept of dance partners. I kept telling Khet she had to find some way to become famous so that we could go on that celebrity dancing show. She said that it would be a bit extreme to go through all the hassle of
being famous to win a competition. And she would know; she’d been famous. The best I’d ever been was infamous—had a mental institution named after me, that sort of thing.
After an hour of spinning her around the diner, I’d convinced myself that I had overreacted to the cuneiform. She was smiling as she collapsed breathlessly into one of the cracked foam benches and declared that she needed to stop and fill out the order form if we expected to eat anything next week. As a demon I didn’t need to eat, but now that humans could make a variety of non-barley foodstuffs, cooking was fun. You could come up with infinite combinations of flavors that could complement each other in all different ways. Plus, if I stayed in human form for more than a few hours, I got hungry.
While Khet pulled out a new order form and began to fill it out, I went up the stairs to engage in another unnecessary-to-me human habit. Sleeping was even more fun than eating. An unconscious brain could “dream up” with the most random situations, and even I, who was no slouch when it came to the absurd, could only sit back and admire.
In the middle of a particularly fascinating dream that involved the optimal way to cook a kiwi bird (frying had my vote, though I couldn’t deny the advantage of barbecuing), Khet woke me up to tell me that I was hogging the bed and muttering about “kiwi on the barbie.”
I shifted to make space for her, and mumbled something about her needing to get a California King, but I didn’t mean it. Khet and I didn’t have a romantic or sexual relationship. She wasn’t Keziel, and I was incapable of thinking of anyone else in those terms. But despite my involuntary faithfulness, and my penchant for annoying everyone I met, I hated to be alone. And in those few uncertain moments when I first woke up, I liked to have someone close to me. I wasn’t sure why Khet indulged me in this, but even when we had lived in larger quarters, she never made me stay in my own room.
She climbed into the bed next to me. “Love you,” she whispered to me as she did every night, never seeming to mind that I couldn’t respond in kind.

  1. I wrapped my arm around her head and drifted back to sleep.