THE LIGHT: CITY OF SIN
Aminata “Amie” Fisher can’t sleep, not until she discovers if the nightmares she’s been having are actually something more. Yet when she finds herself in a bind, angel Jaie saves her in the nick of time. She has no idea when she’ll return that favor, she just knows she will.
Excerpt Chapter 1
One moment, Aminata “Amie” Fisher was minding her business while walking down the street, and the next she was airborne before slamming into a brick wall. It was all more than a touch disconcerting considering she couldn’t see a damn thing and her cane and cell phone were now most likely abandoned on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road.
“Dammit,” Amie moaned, her head throbbing and the metallic scent of blood hitting her nostrils. Her blood. Her stomach roiled and she frowned, both in annoyance over her injury and the fact this particular alley where she found herself was rank as hell. Which made sense because she suspected the being before her was also from there.
Taloned claws bit into her shoulders, making her grit her teeth in pain and hiss softly. The responding deep, foreboding chuckle made her skin crawl.
“Now yours is a soul I know the Donas will enjoy,” came a voice on a breath that smelled of rotting death. Amie gagged but gained control of herself. She wouldn’t give this being the satisfaction of seeing her retch. “You’ll fetch me a fine prize.”
“Likely story,” Amie muttered, her sightless eyes glowering in the direction of the breath. The one day she’d decided to forgo her glasses and wear contacts would be the day she was abducted by supernatural forces. With her contacts on—the contacts that gave her the appearance of having white sclera and distinct irises, of being normal—she was well and truly blind.
Only in her life. Only in Vegas.
Her comment clearly brought the being up short for it froze. “You are not afraid?”
“Wrong word,” Amie said. “The word you want is ‘surprised.’ And, no, I’m not.”
She smirked then, her head rolling against the bricks, making the tight coils of her hair catch in the grain of the wall. “Let’s just call this…déjà vu.”
The being before her remained still, its talons digging deeper into her shoulders with the effort of keeping her on the wall. The longer those talons remained embedded, the harder she grit her teeth. She wouldn’t cry out at the fire emanating from the being’s grip. She was vulnerable enough without letting on he was causing her agony. Being suspended in midair like she was, Amie could only use the wall and the being itself for any sense of locational reference. It was certainly not the most ideal of circumstances, haring off to fight otherworldly creatures she hadn’t been certain existed until this very moment, and her bright idea to investigate this theory was actually among the dimmest of her soon-to-be thirty-three years on earth.
If she got out of this altercation alive, that was.
The being’s face came closer and what she assumed was a pointy nose grazed the column of her short neck. Amie shuddered, the smell even worse now that it was closer, and she squeezed sightless eyes shut.
“You smell like dog.” It then huffed out a chuckle. “Look like one too.”
Amie rolled her eyes but kept her mouth shut. She’d heard people say she looked like a short, squat, brown pug, which apparently was supposed to be an insult. But she had it on good authority that pugs were the cutest and most adorable dogs—at least according to her best friend, Melody.
“You’re stalling,” Amie said, a slight pant carrying her words because it was incredibly exhausting to keep herself upright with only talons and a wall for braces. She was a woman of some substance, both in personality and in size, so Amie really hoped the rest of what she’d seen in her dream would happen quick, fast, and in a hurry. Passing out was not an option right now. She needed all the faculties she possessed, and perhaps a few she didn’t, to make it back home.
“You’re not afraid enough yet,” the being said, frustration tinging its voice. “It’s easier when you’re afraid.”
Amie arched an eyebrow. “Oh, is this like Monsters Inc.? The screams power Hell City or whatever? Then maybe you should make me laugh. Would that make it easier to snatch my s-soul?”
The being didn’t like being teased because it gripped her even harder, its nose dragging along her jaw. Her eyes were starting to roll in the back of her head and her brain was turning into cotton. The fear that she’d been keeping at back was threatening to break the dam of her resolve. Nothing about this was funny, but everything about this was ridiculous. She should’ve left well enough alone, but the dreams had been dogging her every night and sometimes during the day. Apparently, the universe thought a blind radio show host could do something about the missing people in the city, a number that had been growing daily. That had to be the only reason she was out in a random alley on a chilly December night instead of in her toasty bed with her dog’s soft snores lulling her to sleep.
The being chuckled again. “Ah, we’re getting close.”
“Close to what?” Amie asked, but she suspected she knew the answer.
“Enough fear for me to grab onto,” it said, now almost giddy with the rising terror that was filling in her belly and close to rising up her throat in a scream. “I’ll get your soul yet.”
“It’s not for you,” Amie said with an authority she had to believe even though it was quickly getting buried underneath her fear. She began to tremble, unable to quell this small manifestation of her growing panic. The being cackled its glee, its mouth now hovering over hers. Amie’s stomach roiled, its breath so foul she thought her lips would shrivel up and fall from her face at any moment.
“You’re mine!” the being crowed. “Donas will be so—!”
A burst of light so bright forced Amie to turn her face in automatic response and squeeze unseeing eyes shut. Then she was falling.
She’d been higher up than she’d realized because several seconds passed before her falling ceased, then she was rising again. Unlike before, however, Amie could sense the displaced air and the cool breeze hitting her face. There were also a pair of arms around her now, too, arms that were solid and muscular, but not bulging. This new being felt like her grandmother’s warm hug and smelled like her grandmother’s kitchen during Thanksgiving, spicy with a hint of sweetness. There was also a hint of something citrus, almost lemon but not quite. Yet this being was not her grandmother. This one was too broad and tall to be.
“Shh,” the voice crooned in her ear, this one also deep but far more pleasant than the last. “We are almost there.”
Amie shuddered for the second time that night, but disgust wasn’t the reason for it this go around. The English was accented, as if it weren’t the being’s first language, but she could understand him clearly all the same.
They didn’t fly for very long; but instead of landing on earth, they landed in water. Amie inhaled deeply, her head falling back as she was gently submerged in the water. She gasped as her clothes and shoes were singed away from her body, leaving her in nothing but her underwear. As completely bewildering as that trick was, she wasn’t nervous about being so exposed. In fact, she’d never felt safer.
The water didn’t feel freezing against her skin; instead, it enveloped her like a warm blanket, familiar and comforting. Those strong arms pulled her out of the water to settle her against a firm chest once more. Then something soft closed about them both as a tender palm cradled the back of her head. Amie exhaled a slow, relieving breath at the contact, her earlier fear morphing into calm and a little anticipation. They were in an ocean, the sound of the waves hitting the shore a pleasing rumble in her ears, but she had no idea who held her so protectively or why.
And she hoped she wouldn’t be let go anytime soon.
Author Savannah J. Frierson
Story Length Novella
Universe City of Sin