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Archangel’s Touch

Archangels’ #2

By Karen Swart























Appraisals for Archangel’s Desire – Archangels’ Series #1



“Archangel’s Desire is a fantastic start to the new series from author Karen Swart .Unlike Kasadya also includes some hot, steaming Angel loving.” – Lynn Shaw – 2 Girls and a Book Blog

“Lots of action, and another amazing tale of the life of Angels, demons and hellhounds!” – Cheree Castellanos – 2 Girls and a Book Blog

“This book will have you at the edge of your seat! A good versus evil temptation at its worst and in it all a romance that heats up both the heavens and hell.” The Book Fairy Reviews

“I knew it was going to be good but it's beyond that!” – Taylor

“Archangel's Desire is an amazing read. From the start up to the last, I was hooked on this book.” Ms. Me28 Blog

“You will love Archangel's Desire from the very first page.” Nancy Allen

“Who doesn't love demons, Sassy badass hellhounds and tall, sexy and brooding Archangel's?” Reviewer for Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock





Copyrights



All rights reserved. Published by Karen Swart. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from Karen.

Copyright 2016

Edited by Blue Butterfly Editing

Cover by Jasmyn Designs



Dedication



To everyone who have supported me through all of my writing madness.To my beloved husband and best friend, who have stood by me through all of this. I love you beyond words, and thank you for always standing by my side and encouraging me to keep going.







Acknowledgements



Thank you to my amazing fans for all their support, I couldn’t do this without you guys. To my beta readers, Janine Fourie, Andrea Cross, Heather MacKinnon & Beverley Moczy – I know you guys had some hectic beta reading to do, thank you so much for helping me fix this novel.

A huge thanks to my amazing editor, Jasmin Petricola, as always you turned my sloppy work into perfection.









Prologue



From birth, twins Melanie and Melody had seen horrific visions no others could see, but only as adults would they discover that these visions were a prophecy that would bring forth the end of days…

The key shall bring forth the evil. The deranged mother’s vengeance will start the final war. The lost faith shall join the darkness and bring it strength. The broken heart will ignite the fires needed for victory. The lost daughter shall never be found. The sacrifice will be in vain. And the bride of death shall be revealed for the final hour to begin.

A prophecy that had just begun. With the first Seal broken and the Horn of the End of Days sounded, the final hour was approaching. To thwart the prophecy, those who stand against evil must prevent the Seals from breaking. But evil is clever; it waits patiently for its turn to strike.

Evil has a way to turn the tides and bring destruction on all those whohold the light of good and face darkness with courage and valor. Evil is far more dexterous than meets the eye.

Beware of the evil lurking in the dark, for with it comes the destruction of mankind and the world they hold so dear…

Chapter 1

Alexia



“Alexia, you must seek aid with one of the spirit fae or at least go to a human hospital. The color on your side is concerning.” Draco hissed, dropping my shirt and walking away to prowl around in his boutique.

I laughed.Easy for someone who doesn’t have enemies on both sides. “Not that simple, Draco, and you know it.” I lay back on the chair and breathed deeply. The demons hate me for turninginto a human, and both the Fallen and Angels hate me for everything I did when I was a demon.

The Demon Lord did a nice job of breaking more than one rib; he made sure I knew who had the power now so I would obey his wish. In the few days that have passed, I’ve repented my past sins over and over, begging that some reliefto this constant pain would come. It hasn’t. For the first time in my existence, I feared something- pain. It eats away at your soul, scraping it off one layer at a time. It drives you to the brink of insanity then waits until you tumble back, only to begin all over again. How humans could tolerate it was beyond my comprehension. I was dying, slowly, utterly slowly.

The bell on the door rang as a customer entered the boutique. Golden hair spilled down and around a tall, well defined female body. Muscles rippled and curled as she strode towards the counter. Her tanned skin shone like diamonds emphasizing her golden hair. Brown eyes settled on me, assessing. Satisfied with what they found, they abandoned me and focused on Draco. He smiled, but I could see the stress in his eyes, which jumped between me and the female. Oh, just great!She must be a Fallen - thatwas all I needed.

“Nina, how have you been, darling?” Draco laced the question with so much sugar anyone would have gotten a cavity. I rolled my eyes at him and stifled my laughter.

“Busy as usual.How have you been?” Her voice purred with power. She was no ordinary Fallen female.Of that I was sure. I had met a few, and none, except Kasadya the Archfallen, had held such power when they spoke. Intrigued, my eyes remained on her, and the idea of fleeing evaporated like mist in the sun.

“I heard the grievous news. I only pray that it will be stopped before all is lost.” The anger in Draco’s eyes shone with malice.

A few days ago the Archangels discovered a prophecy speeding up the End of Days.Well, not just speeding it up, but also forcing it to begin. Being noble as always,the Archangels and the Fallenhad embarked on a quest to try and stop the first Seal from being broken. Unfortunately, they had failed. It turned out the Seals of the Apocalypse are located in the hearts of the Archangels. Gabriel was the first Seal and blew the first Horn of the Apocalypse.The Horn could be heard all around the world, rumbling like a tidal wave storming over mountains and oceans, greeting all with much dreaded news.An entire city was destroyed, and many morewere still trying to mend what had beenruined. Since then,some humanshave gone batshit crazy, moving out of cities and into “doomsday” camps and locations.Governments called for order and convinced mankind it was just a natural disaster,that all would be well. If only they knew what was coming.

“We won’t fail, Draco.We can’t.” Nina enforced the power in the words, almost choking the air from me. How could a mere Fallen hold such power in just her voice? I was intrigued; this was not normal unless she had started a path of Divinity like Kasadya.I have heard of no other Fallen stepping into Divinity. Divinity was a stage an angel would go through, morphing from an ordinary angel into anArchangel. Until Kasadya, it was believed that only angels could step into divinity, but she was the first Fallen to morph into an Archfallen. Her powers were far beyond that of any other Fallen, almost matching those of theArchangels.

Draco nodded, but I could see that this whole End of Days thing really got to him. And with great reason. As a former demon like me, Draco once lived to serve evil, doing things that only nightmares could bring. As a nightmare demon, he used to lock into the dreams of others and coax them into sin. He managed to sink his fangs into one of his victims and consume her blood, never guessing that this victim’s blood was going to turn him into a human. Or that the victim was to be mate to the Archangel Chax and had just walked into her divinity.Indeed, the one and only Kasadya. Let’s just say things got comicalafter that. But alas, we were both saved and taken in by the Fallen. Now Draco finally serves none but himself, and losing such a gift after centuries of bidding would be a great loss. I smiled. I was glad for him. He had turned his life around and made something of it, unlike me. He became a fashion designer and opened up this little boutique, and since then he’d honed his talents for fashion and not evil. Even as a demon he’d had a good eye for fashion, but he’d never had the chance to really use it. Of course, I took the same deal and drank Kasadya’s blood. But unlike Draco, I didn’t do it to gain freedom. I had another reason, a reason I fear I might never be able to even see.

“How can I help today?” Draco asked, his anger gone and replaced with that mischievousglint he always had.

“I was wondering if you could help me with something. I found this a few nights ago and have no idea what it is. I tried asking the other Fallen, but no one was able to tell me.” She opened a small leather pouch and produced a ring, turning it around so the ruby on it caught my eyes, then Draco’s. He jumped away as if the artifact was about to eat him alive, with just cause. I rose as well, clutching my side as pain once again grabbed hold of my soul and started scraping away.

Where did you find that?” Draco growled.He was scared enough to back away, hitting a rack of dresses behind him. They tumbled to the floor, and he stopped his retreat.Nina turned the ring towards herself and frowned. “I take it what I hold is not a good thing then?”

“What you hold is far more dangerous than you can ever imagine,” I breathed, my eyes not able to move from the ring.

She turned and regarded me. Unlike Draco, I wasn’t about to run like the Devil was behind me. What she didn’t know was that I couldn’t run away; the pain too much for me to bear. I stood only because I had no choice.

“And you are?” she inquired.

My eyes were still intently focused on the ring. “Alexia, former demon princess Luxuria,” I replied without even blinking. It was hard in the beginning,dreading the response of other Fallen, but now I knew that they won’t harm me. They may resent me for everything I did as a demon, but they’re not able to harm me because they are forbidden to harm humans.

“Well, I can see that you also know what this is.Mind telling me?” My eyes left the ring and locked onto hers. Soul piercing eyes met mine, and I suddenly placed the root of her power. She was indeed stepping into divinity.

“You hold the ring of Abbadon in your hands.” I pulled in a deep breath and regarded her.

She looked at the ring, dumbfounded. She had no idea what I spoke of. “Abbadon was the first angel to attempt locking Lucifer away. He almost succeeded, but Lucifer escaped and they warred for three centuries. In the end, Lucifer killed the angel, and it is said that the final tears and blood of Abaddonwerecast into amber and set to a ring, which wasthen cast into an abyss.”

“Okay… but why are the two of you looking at it like it’s a bomb waiting to go off?” Her eyes moved between us, then settled on me.

“It is believed that in his last moments Abaddon cursed his blood and tears to complete what he could not. This ring would supposedly be able to lock Lucifer into the eternal resting place Abaddon created for him.” And is also hunted by the Devil himself. My mind raced, trying to find the reason behind this.Then I made a connection. She was the female the Demon Lord wanted me to find, the one who stole from him.

“You were the female in Ireland a few nights ago, weren’t you?” Please say no.

She looked surprised, but then turned to face only me. “I was. How do you know about that?”

Shit. I should have made a run for it.Now that I had foundher,I wassupposed to hand her over to the Demon Lord. If I don’t, then I die.

“A Demon Lord told me.” Curiositydisappeared in an instant at the mention of a Demon Lord, replaced with anger and … a vow of death.

“You have but seconds to explain what you just uttered.” The venom in her voice brought me back to the present, and fear of the ring was replaced with fear of her. I tried to take a step back, but she shook her head a clear warning that she meant what she said. Even though we are human now, we can still return to a path of evil, so I understood why she would be so angered.

“I was accosted by a Demon Lord a few days ago, and he was very adamant that I bring him the female werewolf who destroyed an operation of theirs in Ireland.” I could see my words settle and knew she had decided then and there to kill me. The moment her hand twitched I continued, “I wasn’t going to do it; I know what would happen.”I paused, hoping she could hear the sincerity in my voice. “My days of evil are gone,” I said with force.

Her hand stilled and she glared at me. “How can I be sure of that?” Her eyes held me prisoner, keeping my movements in check.

“If I went to the angels and told them about this, they would have killed me on the spot. You can’t blame me for not speaking out. I was trying to find a way to disappear so he couldn’t find me again.” Well, sort of. I was actually still in pain and hadn’tfound enough courage to try to disappear yet.

Of course, I could have asked to see a spirit fae and be healed instantly, but the fear of my former enemy still lingered. Just like the fae, there were many different species of Fallen. The one standing in front of me was part human, part werewolf. The Archfallen Kasadya was part human, part hellhound. Griffons, vampires, fae, impons; the list goes on. In the great battle in the Heavens, some of the angels that stood against God were given a chance to repent and declare their loyalty to Him. God took pity on them but still believed their deceit must not go unpunished. He placed them in an Earthly realm and called it Exsilium. In this realm, they would carry their guilt and earn their place with him. He took their angelic beauty and replaced it with elements of Earth. Half would be of animal and element, which would resemble punishment. The other, in a humanoid form, would resemble mercy. He called them his Fallen. After years of loyal duty, the fallen also received the gift of procreation as a reward. And the angels that did not repent? They ended up in Hell as demons, of which I was one, or had been at one time.

“Still, how can the Fallen trust you?How can I trust you?” It was a valid question.

“You can’t. But even if I don’t give the information to them, they will find you. Lucifer has been hunting for that ring all this time. And seeing that you stole it from him, he is now hunting you. Ask yourself this: If the rumors are true, and this ring can send him to a prison from which he cannot escape, what would he do to get it?” I was playing with fire, but my demon mind was working overtime. It was exactly what I would do if I were in his shoes. I would hunt her down and kill her,and then try to destroy the ring.

“He can try, but seeing as I’m handing it over to the Archangels, I doubt he would be successful.” Nina was sure that getting rid of the ring would save her life. She was mistaken.

“He would still hunt you, regardless of who holds the ring. You stole from him and endangered his plans. He would probably kill everything standing between you and him.” Lucifer would start a war for that ring.

Her brows drew together as she looked at the ring and then me. “How does it work?” Her words filled my blood with ice.

“Sorry, I don’t do ‘life and death’ anymore. I want nothing to do with this.” I turned, but she shifted in front of me, blocking the exit.

“You already are involved, remember?” Shit, there was that.

“Do you know what he would do to me as a human if he found me gallivanting around the world with the one who stole it?” Anger rose at the mention of my mortality. I was so weak even another human could end my life.

“I will protect you,” she vowed.

I broke out in laughter, grabbing my side and wincing as the pain sliced through me. She stepped forward and pulled my hand away, lifting the shirt to see my side. Her eyes met mine. “I can protect you,” she repeated again.

I smiled at her. “But who would protect you?” Her eyes told me she couldn’t answer that question. Technically, we were both screwed.


Chapter 2

Gabriel


“How are you, brother?”

One would think that with me being the angel to start the End of Days, others would leave me alone. I must be mistaken, because all of the other angels seems to have missed that memo.

I turned to look at our leader, Chax the Archangel of Wrath, standing at my door. My private earthly home has at least brought me somesilence for the past few days, silence I could not find in the heavens.

I nodded, not wishing to lash a thousand voices at him. As the Messenger of God, my voice was replaced with all the living souls in the realms, thousandsof voices speaking at once. I refrain from using my voice, but sometimes I must.The unease of it was always visible in the eyes of the one who had to listen to it.

“Gabriel, we are worried.You need to banish thisheartache and return to the war. We are in direneed of your council and aid,” Chax urged, as if it were that easy.

As I was the first Seal of the End of Days, it wasn’t that easy. The Seal is in our hearts,and when it’s broken, our heart breaks with it. It was as if an unseen force clawed its way out of my chest. The pain and fury that comes with the break was… unsettling and foreign. As angels we do experience pain but not usually this intense. I fought the urge to rip out my heart to stop the blinding pain. When the Horn appeared in my hands,power came over me, bending and forcing my body to comply and blow the Horn.When I blew the Horn, it was as if a piece of my soul was ripped away with it. It left a huge gap which seems to constantly seek the part that was lost.

I am broken.

Gabriel,” Chax begged once more. His eyes were pleading.

How do I tell him this? How do I explain to him what happened and how I feel now? Empty. Like an hourglass still able to turn, but with no sand to give it cause. There was nothing that could replace the loss. I tried finding a source or something,anything, but nothing worked. I am still …. broken.

Chax joined me on the balcony. I have been standing here for hours looking out over the mountains. My home built in the highlands of Scotland has brought me many comforts on many occasions, but not anymore. It’s just an empty space, like me, like the hole my soul once inhabited.

Chax leaned against the frame, his back to the mountains. “Have you visited her?” The forbidden words came from him. He dared speak them aloud?

Anger rose and, luckily for him, metaphorical daggers shot at him through my eyes. How can he ask me something like that? After everything she did, I will never speak to her again. She was evil, no matter that she is a human now. Her soul is still tainted by all her evil deeds she did as a demon.

Then why didn’t you kill her?

I turned away from him and went into the living room, stalking around it like a tiger waiting for its prey to arrive.

“Give her another chance. She has changed,” Chax continued, choosing not to heed my warning.

“Really, so fast?” Thousands of voices leaped from me and slammed into him. I didn’t care; he deserved it. She was and is evil. She always would be evil. It was her nature.

“How long would you have her suffer? How long before her mortality runs out and she is forever lost?” Chax was on a roll tonight.

“Until she pays for all her crimes!” I answered unforgivingly. Chax eyes saddened.

Silence followed. I moved inside the room, searching for something to drive me yet finding nothing. Again.

“We can’t do this without you. I have no indicationof which part of the prophecy is about to transpire. For the first time in my life, I am at a loss. I need you,Gabriel.We need you, and she needs you too.” Chax shifted out, denying me the anger I wanted to directin his direction.

How easy it was for him to forgive her. With every action, Alexia the demon had killed and destroyed, even relished in her work. There was no remorse when I found her centuries ago, draped over a human male and sucking his soul right out of him. How easy it is for her to forget her sins and just begin anew. But if I have anything to say about it, she will pay for what she did to this world. The angel Alexia I loved died the day she stood against all we were, and in her place Luxuria the demon was born. She chose to stand with Lucifer and fallfrom grace with him. My Alexia would never have done that.

Furious with haunted memories of the past, I decided to go and see why I wasn’t called today.Shifting, I landed near the Wall.The Wall keeps hell locked down and the demons within it secure. But as evil was born and spread across the earth, The Wall weakened and cracks formed, giving demons the chance to escape and wreak havoc upon earth.

Marching alongside the Wall, my eyes remained on the wastelandinside it, waiting for a glimpse of Camael, the Archangel of Death. Tonight, no one called for me to take souls to Heaven. It helps if my mind is occupied and my body is forced to fulfill my duty. With no souls to transport I was left with too much time to dwell on my demise. After an hour there and still no sign of Camael, fear started taking hold of me. If he wasn’t bringing souls into hell nor heaven, where on earth was he?

Abandoning the Wall, I shifted again to Zadkiel’s home in Rome and stopped when I noticed his mate draped on the couch, a book in her hand. She was the reason for my demise.If she hadn’tspurred the Devil on, my Seal would never have been broken. Remaining in place, I tried to control my anger and not unleash it on her. Her eyes lifted and regarded me.

“Gabriel, good to see you up. Have you come to see me?” Raven smiled and placed the book on a small table next to her.

Shaking my head,I peeled my eyes from her in search of Zadkiel, who was nowhere to be found.

“He is not here, Gabriel. He left with Jophiel to see to the healing session of Camael.” Raven stood and walked towards me. I prepared to shift, but her hand suddenly on my arm prevented me.

“You can’t avoid me forever. We need to get this out and behind us.” Her green eyes gazed into mine, no sign of fear.

She had been born a hellhound, one of God’s most formidable creations. Her duty, to hunt and destroy demons. Huge bat-like creatures with menacing claws and teeth and almost no control when they unleashed their fury. Hellhounds were God intervention in the war against evil. A creature that has features encompassing the best of both Hell and Heaven. One half was as strong and loyal as the Fallen, while the other was as hard and enduring as a demon. This was His ultimate weapon. To ensure that these creatures could not be swayed, He placed Heaven’s soul into them.

But when Ravenvisited hell to rescue Kasadya, the Devil’s touch left behind a connection, and in that connection Lucifer manipulated her into believing she was to be his bride. They shared dreams, and the connection grew stronger. Giving up on her lack of discipline, Chax placed her into care of Zadkiel. Zadkiel discovered the connection and tried to save her from becoming Lucifer’s bride. It was within this hidden war that Raven realized that the Devil was not her mate.It was Zadkiel. Too late she became the first part of the prophecy and the key for the Devil to marchunto earth. And so the first part of the prophecy came to be, my Seal broken.

She died that day, and our Father graced her soul and reformed it into that of an angel. Now she was my sister. I looked into those eyes and wished I could just let it go, could just put it behind me. I stepped back and pulled her hand from my arm.

“I am sorry, Gabriel. I tried killing myself and even tried getting killed by demons. I was so sure Zadkiel would be the one to end it all… I am so sorry.” Tears shone in her eyes, but she was too strong to shed them.

“I know.” The multitude of voices caused her to step back a step, and then the unease became evident in her eyes. If only she had told someone we could have helped her, but instead she tried to get herself killed. No hellhound can be killed so easily; she should have known better.

Nodding my farewell, I shifted to the Golden Temple in heavens where I found my brothers and sister guarding a sleeping form. Uriel, the Archangel of Light, looked up and smiled at my approach.

“Gabriel.” She hugged me when I reached them.

Returning the hug, I pulled away my gazefrom Uriel to see a sleeping Camael. Frowning, I looked up at Zadkiel, his arms across his chest regarding Camael as well.

“Things are getting worse for him,” Jophiel, our Archangel of Wisdom, uttered from behind me.

Looking down at Camael, unease crept into my heart. He looked like death itself. Dark circles ran around his eyes, his skin taut and a pale grayish. He was not doing well at all.

“The fae?” I asked and waited for an answer.

Maia was a powerful spirit fae and could bring back someone near death; she should be able to heal him. And when infused with all the Archangel’s power, she could deliver a healing bolt that regenerated a being in a split second.

“No, we tried. We even infused like when Raven was dying, but nothing even lifts the taint,” Michael replied.

Then Cadmael was doomed.Our Fallen brother,Raphael the Archangel of Healing, was the only one able to withdraw the evil taint left by the doomed souls. The taint was like a poison that infected any healthy soul nearby,a poison that needed to be healed every day in order to salvage the healthy soul and the body of its host. After Raphael’s death, there was no onepowerful enough to heal Camael or Zadkiel. Not even our healing clouds were able to bring relief to them.

“Chax suggested we place him in a sleep status until we can find another healing source,” Uriel relayed.

“It is the only way,” I agreed.

With Camael in an induced sleep, he will notbe able to retrieve the doomed souls and take them to hell for their punishment. It was this action that lead to the evil taint to find its way into their souls.

“I will take them,” Zadkiel offered to take over for Camael. I looked up at the Archangel of Mercy and found no trace of the evil taint. As the Archangel of Mercy, he too is exposed to evil souls and should bear the same symptoms.How is it that he was able to overcome the taint and Camael was not?

Zadkiel smiled at me, guessing my question without me having to voice it. “Raven. Since our mating, the evil taint can’t latch onto me.”

For the first time in many centuries I was surprised. How is that possible? A simple mating and all is well with Zadkiel? Remarkable!Before Chax we didn’t even know we could mate like the Fallen. As angels there would be no reason to mate, since we can’t procreate. Clearly we were mistaken. My eyes traveled to Camael again.Would a mate cure him too?

“We are all thinking it.He needs his mate. Unfortunately, that isn’t something that jumps up around every corner. That is why the sleep will help. It buys us time. Until she, whoever she is, can step forward and heal him like Raven is healing Zadkiel,” Michael, the Archangel of War,explained.

I nodded.This would be for the best. Movingforward I touched the clouds. They moved and covered his face, sending him into a deep sleep. Only one of us would be able to break the cloud from him and wake him. Until then, I pray our brother finds some small peace. I stepped away and out towards the heavens. Once outside I took a deep breath and calmed myself.

“I see within you, brother. I see hope,” Uriel whispered behind me.

Turning, I regarded her. “There is nothing.”

She shook her head. “Oh, but you forget, brother, I of all can look into the soul and find what others feel they have lost. I see yours;it’s begging to be found and released.”

I didn’t answer and turned from her, walking towards the edge of the cloud that housed The Golden Temple of the Archangels,a temple solely for us, where we can heal and stay.

“Healing is more than just an action; it needs a source of power!” she called behind me.

I whirled around, but she was already gone.

There was no such thing for me, not anymore. Why does she taunt me so? She knows nothing! Nothing!


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