Sometimes sin looks an awful lot like heaven...
One demon prince may be festering in the bowels of the soul eater Cocytus, but Genevieve’s troubles are far from over. Prince Bamal, demon lord of New York City, still wants her. But this time, he wants her alive, to control her inherent power as a Vessel of Light.
With Jude Delacroix off searching for the prophecy, Thomas—a guardian angel with sea-green eyes and an aura of winter woods—steps into the gap, offering her the power to protect herself.
Yet she hesitates, for the transfer of that power comes through a kiss. While Gen’s love for Jude is true, Thomas stirs a desire where there should be none. Thomas also knows Jude’s darkest secret and plans to use it, if necessary, to win Gen for his own.
While her Vessel power grows and more demon spawn creep from every dark corner of the world, one thing is certain—the Great War between the angels and demons is quickly approaching. And Gen is in a race against time to awaken her full power before the storm breaks.
No. Not a wall. A man. Flamma. My VS zinged to new heights as a signature of downy snow and windswept hills washed over me. His hands wrapped my forearms in a firm grip.
I pushed my palms against his rock-hard chest, ready to blast him with VS power.
“Wait! I’ll take you to safety, Genevieve. Hold still.”
His voice, a sonorous melody, rolled in a deep, languid baritone. I froze. Trapped in sea-green eyes and powerful arms, I was taken into the Void.
My breath sucked right out of me as we fell through the darkness. The second time in a matter of minutes I’d been sifted away by a stranger.
The moment my world righted, I pushed out of his hold several paces away. He’d brought us to a park. A pond shaded by orange-gold trees with skyscrapers towering in the distance. Central Park.
I glared at the stranger and tried to catch my breath, drawing the dagger from the sheath sewn into my boot. He stood nearly as tall as Jude, similar in build but leaner. Black hair hung in staggered waves halfway to his shoulders. He regarded me with startling eyes—deep cobalt blue, the color of a glacier buried and untouched for centuries. Like white marble, his jaw, face and neck were sculpted in perfect, harmonious lines. His captivating signature circled me like a wintry halo.
My dad had splurged the Christmas after I’d turned sixteen, taking us skiing in White Fish, Montana. At the tip-top of the slope, the evergreens were completely covered in new-fallen snow, sculpting white ghosts out of the landscape. The wind blew snow crystals in whirls—a pristine world of enchanting beauty. The air sparkled with iridescent ice-dust, like a fairy land. This image pushed to the forefront as I backed another foot away, gazing at my frost-and-snow rescuer.
“Who are you?”
His eyes flicked to the weapon in my hand, but he made no move toward me. Though we were quite far from park-goers and anyone who could help me if I cried out, I felt safer in this public place.
“I’m here to help you.”
That voice again, deep and mesmerizing.
“That’s not an answer.” Definitely Flamma, but which kind. Naughty or nice? I couldn’t tell. “How do you know me?”
His smile widened, making my pulse pound faster.
“I’ve known you a long time. I’ve watched over you your entire life.”
I examined him more closely. His power lapped against my VS like ocean waves, a gentle suction with each ripple before washing over me in a gentle caress. Though his power didn’t scream its presence or beat against mine, he was potent all the same. The perfect stoic expression, the controlled, straight-backed stance, the undeniable, breathtaking beauty. He exuded the essence of--
“Holy crap.” I gulped. “You’re an angel.”
His smile widened, his beauty brightening into something painful. I lowered my trembling hand, sheathing my dagger. An angel who’d watched over me my whole life.
“Not just any angel…my, my guardian angel. Aren’t you?”
A dip of his strong chin.
While he didn’t emanate the same pulse-pounding aura of Uriel, the Archangel who created the Dominus Daemonum, he carried a similar cast of heavenly essence. He tucked his hands in his pants pockets, appearing completely harmless. But I wasn’t fooled. Even angels could be dangerous.
“Have you never sensed my presence?” he asked, eyes steady on mine.
“No. Not really.” I remembered all the near misses in my life, when I somehow avoided danger or trouble by an internal niggling. Was that him? “Why have you never shown yourself before?”
“Guardians tend to stay in the shadows.” My self-proclaimed guardian, Jude, might not like him staking a claim on that position. “And would you have believed me if I’d ever told you of my existence? Before your twentieth birthday, that is.”
On my twentieth birthday, I’d been attacked and nearly strangled to death until Jude came along, did his voodoo mojo and ripped a bony demon from inside my would-be killer. That night changed everything, including my belief in angels and demons walking the earth.
“No.” I smiled. “I guess not.”
My cell phone vibrated in my back pocket. I answered.
“Where the hell are you!” screamed Kat.
“Um, Central Park.” The angel gave me a slight nod. “There’s a pond and a picnic area. I’m looking directly at the Empire State Building in the distance.”
“Stay put. Dorian and I will be there in two.”
I tucked the phone in my jacket.
Wind blew over the water, rippling the surface. My hair had come loose in the melee, dark wisps crossing my face. Pool-green eyes followed the strands, then my hand when I tucked them behind my ear. His keen observation transformed a simple moment into something that made me breathless. He’d moved closer, within a yard, and I hadn’t noticed. I stepped back.
“Stay where you are.”
“What are you afraid of?” His voice dropped, not lower but deeper, like it was pulling on something hidden within me. My blood pumped faster. “That I’ll sift you away somewhere you don’t want to go? I could’ve done that already. And I told you. I’ve watched over you all of your life, kept you safe from harm so that you could reach maturity.”
“You almost bungled that. I’ve been nearly killed like a hundred times.”
“Nearly.” He shrugged. “The demon hunter was there. Most of the time.”
My heart plummeted into my stomach. With those last three words, I realized this angel knew about Danté. Why hadn’t he saved me then? Before Danté had invaded my soul.
“It would be much easier for you to escape your enemies if you had the power to sift.”
“Don’t I know it,” I snapped back.
He smiled, then angled his head as if listening for something.
“I must go.” He reached out a hand for me to shake. I eyed him with suspicion. “It’s a friendly gesture, Genevieve. One does this in greeting and parting. Sometimes a person even says thank you when one saves another from harm.”
My VS tingled, recognizing his power, finding no danger. I stepped forward, holding his gaze as I took his hand. I gasped. The second our hands made contact, a whisper of winter wind caressed my body from head to toe, but I felt no cold, only a sensual embrace tingling along my skin. My knees nearly buckled.
“Th-thank you,” I stammered.
Edging close, still holding my hand, he trailed his gaze from my eyes to my hair, down my cheek to my parted lips, agape from the strange sensation of his touch, before he met my eyes once more.
“You’re more than welcome.” He smiled, probably at my dumbfounded expression. “Until we meet again, dear Genevieve.”
He sifted out, leaving me with the scent of snow and mountain air.
The Vessel Trilogy
Interview with Juliette Cross...
Juliette: I've always been fascinated with angel/demon mythology. I absolutely loved the movie "Constantine" and the idea of the hosts of good and evil living alongside us without us knowing it. So I set out to create my own mythology tied into what's been handed down to us, weaving them together.
Q: When you write the beginning, do you know the end?
Juliette: Absolutely. I'm definitely a plotter. I know all the major events, players, and secrets. It's the only way for me to add foreshadowing and hints for the readers throughout. The reader will learn a few more secrets in this one, but more to come in the final book, BOUND IN BLACK.
Q: Okay, the name Genevieve is an all time favorite of mine. Did she have any quirks that surprised you?
Juliette: Thank you! Not so much quirks, but I can tell you that in the beginning of book one, Genevieve is a self-assured college student. Her world is rocked sideways with the discovery of angels and demons walking amongst them, specifically the fact that she's become a target for the demon world. Gen goes through a learning curve about life and relationships through the entirety of the trilogy. I hope readers will enjoy seeing her grow and mature to the end.
Q: Have you ever based your book or characters on actual events or people from your own life?
Juliette: Yes. Of course. But I rarely create a character with the traits of entirely one person. Typically, they're a hodge-podge of people I know to fit the character I need. I will admit that I created a villain in one of my novels based on the characteristics of an ex-boyfriend. Lol. We writers have to have some perks, right?
Q: Fly that geek flag high! What is it you're currently obsessing over in the book, tv show, or movie world?
Juliette: GAME OF THRONES, baby! My husband and I binge rewatched all four seasons the month prior to season five premiering. I've even decided to recap every episode the week after with my own commentary. I just can't get enough of GoT. ;)
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today, Jen! Loved being here. :)
Meet the author... Juliette Cross
Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.
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