The following excerpt is from chapter one of my third (and not-yet-published) book in my Knight's Curse series called A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. This was supposed to have appeared yesterday at one of the blog stops in my branding tour, but for some unknown reason, it never got posted. So I decided to post it here. I want everyone to know that a third book in this series is underway, and here's a small taste of what's to come. I hope you enjoy it. :)
Taking another step forward, I tightened my grip on Aydin's hand and he gave mine a gentle squeeze. My tension eased just enough for me to suck in a breath. Our connection to each other helped fade the darkness from my mind while it clarified my thoughts. I couldn't let fear get in the way of our mission. Four young women were depending on us to rescue them and their unborn babies. We had to get to them before their fallen angel husbands killed them all.
The black fog we trudged through slowly dispersed to reveal a ramshackle village stuck in the past. This wasn't Hell, but close enough. Demons and humans passed each other on the street, and not one of them gave Aydin or me a second glance. That's because we blended right in. I tugged at the filthy burlap dress that ended just above my knees and straightened the tattered shorts I wore underneath. I wanted my jeans back.
Dirt puffed up in clouds from the medieval road beneath my bare feet and the scent of animal droppings singed the hairs in my nose. Even with my super senses turned down low, the stench was almost unbearable. I hated this horrible place. Plenty of unpleasant smells filled the air and the suffocating odor of sulfur wasn't the worst of them.
"Watch where you step," I warned Aydin, as he plodded forward to peek around the corner of a crumbling mud building. His black angel wings dragged through something thick and wet and pungent. I cringed and said, "Too late."
He flicked the wing and I ducked as a clod of smelly dung whizzed past my head.
"I can't get used to these things." He twitched his feathers like a preening bird. "I don't know how real angels manage them."
"Yours are only temporary so you don't need to know." I tugged gently on the changing charm that hung around his neck. Satisfied it was securely fastened, I assumed a submissive pose so I could begin my ruse as Aydin's slave. I handed him the end to the rope tied around my waist. "Don't drop this."
"Chalice, is that really necessary?" Eyes like crescents of frozen jade, his gaze skimmed me from top to bottom. His scowl looked menacing, and anyone who didn't know what a lovable immortal he was would think him the savage beast he pretended to be. He glanced at the stuff on his wing and his lip curled in disgust. I covered my mouth to hide my smile.
"We can't let anyone find out who we really are. If we get caught, they'll never let us go." I nudged him forward and bowed my head, trying my best to look persecuted. "As soon as we find the pregnant squires we'll get the hell out."
"Amen to that." He tugged the rope and I faked a stumble.
I stole sideways glances at the milling crowds that wound through various stalls in the village marketplace. Smells of unwashed fur, sweat, spoiled herbs, fetid meat and baked goods wafted up my nose and crawled into my stomach. It was time to flip off the switch on my senses or I'd soon contribute something to the mess already staining Aydin's wings.
I was about to mentally shut the door on all sensation when I caught a conversation that pricked my interest. "…he's not back. Word has it he's been banished."
"The Fallen search for him," the second voice said.
"They'll not find him. Pharzuph is as good as dead."
I exhaled in relief. With the evil fallen angel Pharzuph still gone from the black veil, it meant one less obstacle in our way.
My coiled nerves finally relaxed now that I was starting to acclimate to the environment. My heart beat at a normal rhythm and I walked a little closer to Aydin, close enough for subtle waves of his body's heat to flow over me. His presence gave me courage. We were stronger together than we could ever be apart.
©2013 Karen Duvall