Walk Right In [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Daryn Cross
eBook Category: Fantasy/Romance
eBook Description: Can good conquer evil when an angel blindly walks right in? Walk-in angel, Olivia, wakes up incarnated as a pregnant woman with no memory of being assigned to her mission. Guardian angel, Gregory, tells her the "zapping" was an error; however, her assignment is serendipitous--the unborn babies she carries are in jeopardy of possession by two nemeses from the dark side. Gregory volunteers to incarnate to help her fight the demons, but she won't know who he is unless they fall in love. Soon afterwards, Olivia is up to her angel eyeballs in trouble, with two gorgeous men courting her, a slew of demons diabolically plotting to make her fail, and one bossy mother-in-law seemingly under demon attack herself.
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, Published: London, Texas, 2011
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2011
* * * *
"Feel the flames licking at your ass?"
"Cobras don't have an ass, brother."
"If the Dark Prince can kick it, you have one." Heinrich's huge Night Owl body circled over Keara, worry marring his wrinkled face.
"Shut up!" Keara slithered across the path of Hell, reared up in striking-cobra style. "Perhaps the Dark Prince only wants a consultation on the walk-in situation." Her long forked tongue flickered out, shaking nervously in the seething steam rising from the ground. A Raksasha, she slowly shape-shifted into her female form, complete with long red hair and floor-length form-fitting dress slit to the knee. The Prince's preferred image. Chauvinist.
"We're not often called off a job simply for an update, dear sister." Heinrich flapped his wings. She recognized his gesture--trying to give her some relief from the oppressive heat.
"Where the hell is Jared, anyway?" She stared around her.
"He's not coming. He's already dropped into a body, biding his time till the babies are ready."
Keara smirked. "He better not get used to it. They'll be ready in a couple of days if the sleeping pills work." She smiled. "I've been working on Eve's resolve daily. She's at her wit's end." She chuckled. "Thank the devil she hasn't called out for the other side. Those soul-change controllers can pick up the weakest of signals."
Heinrich's laughter boomed across the flame towers lining the walkway. "They'll never find out in time."
Keara frowned. "Don't count your souls before they're catched. Old sayings are old for a reason." She kicked a writhing demon out of the way. Winding around the crooked path they finally had a clear view of the Dark Prince.
As usual, the goat-faced monarch wore his pewter crown with inset stones. The crown complete with two holes for his horns, set tilted on his small head and his gnarled fingers were rigid, the forefinger pointing accusingly at them. "You! The two of you have ruined everything."
Keara, taken aback, began to perspire profusely. Assuming this form did nothing for climate control. "I beg your pardon."
"You heard me. You're getting slow in your old age."
Keara's hair prickled. "I'm only a little more than a thousand years old."
The Dark Prince scowled. "You, your sister and brother have been special agents longer than the rest. The others, as you are well aware, failed." He bit on the end of a nail. "Meanwhile that woman in heaven has dozens older and still successful. Why do you think she keeps me down here under her proverbial thumb? I need souls! Souls, you hear?"
Keara took two steps back, as the heat from his glare singed a spot in the charred floor.
His eyes narrowed. "And while you were dillydallying around, preparing a candidate, a frickin' walk-in angel assumed the damned woman's body!" He stood and shrieked out, causing Keara to freeze in paralyzing terror, as only the Dark Prince could do. The flames flickered throughout Hell, and those hanging over the Lake of Fire moaned in agony.
Keara struggled to keep her knees from knocking, while a glance upward told her Heinrich had shielded his eyes with one wing. "But how, dear Lord?" She bent to one knee. "I never heard the girl cry out."
The Dark Prince scowled as he looked down. "One whimper. One miniscule piss-ant whimper. That soul-change controller must have bionic hearing. She zapped Eve in the spark of a flame." He turned back to them. His eyes darkened once again. "Jared is dutifully waiting for further instructions. He followed orders."
He followed orders, Keara mimed in her head. She was so sick of hearing about the Dark Prince's new coup, a fallen angel. Bad enough she had to work with the guy, much less have him thrown in her face. "What will you have me do now, oh Great One?" She slinked toward him, jutting out her chest.
Drool ran down the monarch's goatee. "Make it right. Take the body back and the souls of the woman and her twins." He raised his eyebrows. "And you will have rewards beyond belief."
Keara started to turn, then looked back. "May I ask Sire, which earth angel walked-in?"
He nodded. "Olivia. Just an hour ago."
She darted a glance at her brother and they mouthed the name together. Olivia. Again.
* * * *
* * * *
A finger pried open my left eyelid. A bright light bored into my brain. I tried to blink, but the finger held my lid firmly open. Could I be having a near-life experience? Other angels had reported having one when helping humans, but I...
"Normal dilation, blink reflex fine," said the deep-voiced male. "I thought you said her eyes were brown."
"No, they aren't. They're gray."
This wasn't near-life. This was life! I swatted at the beam and connected with something metal. A split second later the object hit the ground. "What the hell am I doing here?" I started to sit up. Still blind in one eye and with no clear vision in the other, I never saw the hand grab my shoulder and shove me down onto a mattress.
"Shit! Let me up right now!"
"Oh, my, Carson. Something's very wrong. Eve never curses, never. She doesn't even say an innocent off-color word," a whiny, light soprano voice tittered.
When did I enter a human body? How did I without my briefing? Shading my eyes with both hands, I forced them open. The blurry image of a gray-haired older woman with watery blue eyes just short of popping out of their sockets was inches from my face. "Who are you and who in blue blazes is Eve?"
If it were possible, the woman's eyes bulged even further. Her hand slipped over her mouth. "Oh dear, she doesn't know who I am. Eve doesn't know who she is. Oh, my goodness gracious! Does she have amnesia?"
This woman's voice gave me a headache. I prayed to all that was holy I didn't know her. However, with my luck she was probably my mother.
"I don't know, Rae. But you might want to step back. It seems we're bothering her. But--"
"Stepping back as far as the waiting room would be nice," I mumbled. "At least until I can figure out how I got here."
"--she was out for two hours and has a nasty bump on her head. And that doesn't make sense. You said she hadn't fallen. You found her on the floor of the parlor unconscious, right?"
I wanted to wave my arms and yell, hey, I'm down here. Talk to me. Ask me what happened. But I didn't. Why? Because the bug-eyed woman was correct. I didn't know who I was, and sometimes silence really is golden.
"Well, I can tell you that Eve's a good girl. She doesn't smoke, swear, drink or do drugs. In fact, since she became pregnant, she doesn't even take Tylenol."
Pregnant! No way would I have agreed to change places with a pregnant woman! I rubbed my hand over my stomach. Mount Everest. I wanted to scream. All that emerged was a muffled hysterical laugh.
"She had sleeping pills beside her bed, Rae."
"But none had been used. They were all there."
"Pregnant? Not again! Haven't been in almost two hundred years. This can't have happened again!"
"Two hundred years? You've..."
I didn't hear the last of whatever it was she said. Has a demon done this to me? That's the only way this could have happened, because otherwise I'd have had a test drive of this body before agreeing to accept it.
The woman called Rae patted my shoulder and beamed down at me. "Now, now dear. You're just confused right now. Just this morning you told me that yours and my late son, Brad's, beautiful child is going to be named Bradley Storm Singer, Jr. Storm for my maiden name."
My mother-in-law and a baby named Storm? When I find out who did this to me... At that moment the little parasite within punched me, and quickly followed with a couple of kicks, registering his distaste of the name also. At least the little demon agreed with me.
The doctor she called Carson glanced at me, shook his head and turned back to the woman. "Her brain scan was clear. If the other tests show nothing, we'll just have to wait and see if her confusion resolves itself."
With one hand on my still-reeling forehead, and the other on the mattress, I pushed myself upright, struggling against dead belly weight. "I'm right here. You know, the woman you're talking about. It's just plain rude to pretend I'm not here, whether I know who I am or not."
I knew somehow I'd normally not point out such a thing. Yet I couldn't seem to stop myself. Something was badly wrong.
"Darling, just leave everything to Mother Rae. You've had a terrible shock and aren't acting like yourself."
"That's because I'm not the Eve you know." I whimpered, "I'm Olivia."
"Don't be silly. You're Eve. You've always been Eve. Stop this business about an Olivia." Rae crossed her arms and gave me a stern glare.
"Olivia is who I am. I want to be called Olivia."
"Is she delusional, Carson?"
Me? Delusional? Not likely. I'm as sane as an angel named Gregory. Aren't I?
Frowning, I focused on the name Gregory. The name meant something. Just thinking it made me feel safe, unlike the name Bradley Storm Singer.
Sighing, I glanced toward the short, dark-haired man in a white coat standing off to my right.
"I'm not sure about being delusional, Rae," he said. "Traumatic events can make a person want to change his name, even walk away from all that is familiar. There are numerous cases cited in medical research. Remember, it's only been a week since Brad's death."
Before I could ask or think of a question, the door swung open. A woman in bright pink scrubs entered with a shift of papers. "Here're Mrs. Singer's labs and sonogram, Dr. Bell."
"Thanks." He pulled a pair of reading glasses off his head and slid them onto his nose. After scanning the papers, he raised his head and grinned at me. "You're fine, dear." He patted my hand. "I think the bump on your head along with news of Brad's death has sent you into a tailspin. Think of it as post traumatic stress." He grinned and winked at me. "You're not just pregnant. You're having twins."
At Rae's excited jumping up and down, the room and I did a somersault.
* * * *
"You'll be home soon. It's not what it once was, mind you, but Singer House is still one fine representation of its era."
I bit back a groan at Rae's nasal droning whine. The woman hadn't done anything to me really. Except make it clear she'd always been in charge of my life with her son, scare me to death with her driving and talk incessantly. As a result, knowing I had to concentrate on Rae instead of remembering how I ended up here in this body set me more than a little on edge.
"Keep your eyes on the road, not me." I reined in my escalating fear as she almost clipped a milk truck. It's one thing to be lost and another to endure self-mutilation. I looked down at the nail marks in my already tender thighs.
"Scott's grandmother...Scott was Brad's father, dear. I'm assuming you don't remember him either?"
"No." I'd already learned it was critical to answer Rae. If I didn't, she'd stare at me to watch my reaction to her words. It was her way of controlling people, and I'd discovered I was her favorite pawn. In the two days I'd been in the hospital I'd enjoyed peace and solitude, at least between her morning and evening visits.
And now that I was released, was I alone? Noooo. She was driving me home, seeing as I didn't remember how to get there.
"Well, anyway, Scott's grandmother had the whole house restored to its former nineteenth century pristine beauty. Unfortunately, the last few years have taken their toll on the grand lady."
"Oh? How so?"
"Well, Brad was a mite rambunctious as a child," Rae said with a small chuckle.
"Rambunctious?" Creator help me. The demons inside were already wild ones, ones I hadn't expected to inherit from my walk-out. Thanks a lot Eve Singer. Why did you have to leave? What would the kids be like once they arrived...holy terrors?
"Well, there was the time he ran his bike into his bedroom wall. The poor dear was so upset at knocking down part of the plaster. To show him it wasn't a big deal, we never repaired it." She frowned. "Now that I think about it, my decision might have been a mistake. The hole just keeps getting bigger."
"Loose plaster tends to fall all right." Yep, don't fix something and it'll always get worse.
She nodded. "Then of course, there was that time my baby," she patted the front console of her 1970's Cadillac, "the tank got away from me and took out some of the brick on the right front wall. Did a fair amount of damage to the boxwoods, too. But it's really the lack of cleaning that has left it a little, well, grimy."
My eyes widened and I swallowed hard. One thing I knew for sure. Dirt and I did not get along. "Grimy?"
"Dirty, mucky, soiled...you know, filthy."
I sighed. "Yes, I know what grimy is. It's the why it hasn't been cleaned I don't get."
"Well, I made it quite clear you weren't touching the first dust rag. Not that any Singer ever would, mind you, but especially considering your delicate condition. Besides, it's not like it's never been cleaned. I remember that time back in, when was it--2007? Maybe few times since then, too. I do so lose track of time. Hired help just can't be trusted. Can't be found either." She sighed. "Too bad I'm so allergic to dust."
"Tragic," I murmured. Looked like pregnant or not, I had my work cut out for me.
She made a right turn off the road onto a private lane. "We're almost there."
I sighed at the sight of the tree-lined driveway as we made our way down a long winding paved road. A half-mile or so later, we rounded a curve and I spotted a beautiful old Georgian with a damaged right wall. Against the broken bricks leaned the uprooted and withered old boxwood.
"Home sweet home," I muttered. At least I could get rid of Rae now. "Thanks for bringing me here. You don't mind if I just investigate the house on my own. I think I'll just rest right now."
"No problem dear. I'll be quiet."
"Mom. You've always called me Mom," she said, her voice rising in pitch.
I dug my nails in my thigh again. "Mom, you don't need to come in. I can manage. I'm sure you want to go home and relax."
"I do dear, and I will." She flashed a smile. "I live here...with you."