By: L. D. Nash
Paranormal fantasy/Action-Adventure/Magic Realism/Urban fantasy
Sometimes amnesia is a demon hunter’s best friend.
Luna Ashwind is the Grigori’s top assassin and her marks are the big, bad uglies that slither out of Hell. She’s worked for the secret society of demon hunters since they found her broken, bleeding and unconscious just four short years ago. They nursed her body back to health but her mind is a different story.
Lucifer’s made good use of his time in Hell. He’s learned of a Heaven-forged talisman with the power to either start or stop the biblical apocalypse without God’s approval. For centuries, he’s sent his best demons topside in search of the three artifacts needed to create this celestial weapon.
Hellhound wrangler Kurbane is topside to capture the angel who stole Cerberus’ key to the Gates of Hell, but when the trail leads him to Luna, he realizes he’d bitten off more than he can chew. Luna is no mere angel – she’s the life or death of all creation.
North Roxbury neighborhood, Boston, Massachusetts
While easing through the damp, sour smelling alleyway, Luna halted mid-stride as a black, swirling vortex, roughly the size of a Volvo, shredded the foggy air around her. A rough gust of wind whipped past her, sending trash and other debris scattering around her feet.
When a huge silhouette stepped out of the whirlwind, Luna instantly abandoned her ninja-like tactics and stood in open-mouth shock.
In her four years of training, she’d never heard of demons using teleportation; their life-force was usually directly within the vicinity of where the Watchers sent their soldiers.
Smoky tendrils of smoke inked outward from the center, sending clouds of wispy darkness to pollute the air. After a few moments, the strands slowly receded and their absence revealed the hulking beast. Momentum from the vortex shoved the demon forward, making sure it cleared the swirling chasm. Then it shrank back in on itself as quickly as it appeared.
The demon, which she now recognized from her textbooks as an Arsena – a lesser demon that crawled through Hell on its underbelly, begging for scraps – snarled and gnashed its razor sharp teeth before rushing toward her. A fashionably late entrance coupled with its particular method of travel succeeded in totally throwing Luna off her game. All her training went right out the window.
She was only briefly discombobulated, but long enough for the demon. It rushed past her and its large scaly arm caught her beneath the chin; its momentum and element of surprise clothes-lined her painfully, yet beautifully.
She hit the asphalt back-first, air whooshing from her lungs on an elongated hiss. She gasped and gulped, her mouth opening and closing like a fish out of water as she tried to force sweet air back into her lungs.
I’m sorry, Luna, Barr’s soft voice flitted through their telepathic connection. I failed to see it till it was too late. Her falcon-companion’s intense, guilt-ridden emotions blasted through her mind like a frigid tidal wave, the unexpected intrusion seized her mind and almost fried her brain.
Can you believe a freaking Arsena rode a vortex in and attacked me?!? Luna projected her thoughts and then shut down their mental connection. She focused on keeping well away from the sharp claws and gnashing teeth.
Once she was capable, she drew a complete breath and then quickly rolled back to her feet. She lowered herself into an offensive crouch with hands fisted before her and waited for the demon’s next move.
It swung its huge, slimy, talon-tipped left hand at her. She saw it coming and managed to duck in the nick of time, saving herself from sporting a severed head.
An angry roar shook the ground and the Arsena swung its right arm around from behind its huge body. Luna’s eyes widened in shock when she realized he had a gun and it was aimed it directly at her. Demons never used human weapons.
“Shit,” she hissed and feigned to her right milliseconds before a shot rent the night. Pain exploded in her left shoulder and she crashed to the pavement for the second time in less than five minutes. Her breath, again, whooshed from her body.
She’d never felt so helpless before and was lost as what to do next.
Pain blazed through her system, her blood sizzling in her veins like fresh lava. Inhaling deeply, she pushed herself to her feet, determined to get her ass moving. She’d suffered plenty of wounds during training, but never something this severe. Zeke had stressed the danger of hunting, now she understood his blatant reluctance to send her on her first mission alone.
Luna, get out of there! Barr roared forcefully, shattering the concrete wall Luna had shielding her mind. Depth-less black spots converged in Luna’s mind as a result of Barr re-establishing their mental connection without Luna’s consent.
Luna winced as agonizing heat tore through her head, finding every nerve ending possible. She blinked rapidly in hopes of shaking the side-effects of the falcon’s mind-meld. Her stomach rolled in response, threatening to send her dinner back up.
Barr’s forceful invasion, combined with the gunshot wound, left Luna not only temporarily blind, but also in intense agony. Her body weakened and grew sluggish.
Summoning every ounce of strength she had left, she pushed herself back to her feet and slowly approached the demon. When she was within reach, she shoved him roughly and lurched past him, heading for the alley on the right
The Arsena’s roar only partially registered through the shock flooding her mind. Her main concern wasn’t that she’d been shot by a demon with a human weapon. It was the fact that she ran from a demon to being with; something she’d never believed she’d do.
A warrior at heart, Luna abhorred weakness as much as cowardice. Yet Barr was right. There was no way she’d survive a battle now that she’d been bodily wounded and mentally incapacitated.
Already, the gushing wound leeched her strength too quickly for her liking.
“Zeke’s going to kill me,” Luna declared, her thoughts flashing to her mentor. She’d all but bullied her way into this mission by swearing she’d be safe and now here she was severely wounded. She inhaled deeply and pumped her legs harder, putting as much distance between her and the demon as possible.
“Have we received word from her?” Sem stormed into the Control room. When Luna failed to check in after a couple hours, he’d grown worried. Allowing for the possibility she ran into unexpected problems, he’d gave her some extra time. Now, it was way passed time for her to have returned.
“No.” Penn shook his head, no hint of emotion in his voice. He wasn’t one to get ruffled over anything unless there was reason to. Penn was all about patience and it was one virtue Sem could do without. When it came to Luna, few of the Watchers had much patience. She was the daughter of a dead friend and it was their responsibility to protect her no matter what. Even if she wasn’t the salvation of them all, Sem would still lay down his immortal soul to protect her.
“When was her last update?” Sem asked and ran long fingers through his narrow strip of purple spikes.
“Twelve a.m. Dispatch received an update.” Penn narrowed his eyes as fingers flew over computer keys. “She’d landed and began her search for the demon.” He turned to spear Sem with ice-blue eyes; worry glazing their surface. “That was over ten hours ago Sem. She should have called by now. It wouldn’t have taken her ten minutes to shred the bastard. Something’s wrong.”
Sem’s blood turned to fire in his veins. The thought of Luna hurt didn’t sit so well with him. “Maybe she lost her phone, have you activated her internal tracker?”
Penn turned back to the computer and more keys clacked noisily. The air suddenly grew very heavy and a malevolent aura cloaked the room. Sem sighed heavily. The last thing he needed right now was the angry man now standing behind him. He felt the fiery blast of anger emanating from the soldier and sighed heavily. They’d barely avoided a blood bath earlier and it was only Luna’s presence that had calmed him.
“We’re looking for her now, Zeke,” Sem warned before the other man could even utter a word. He knew his brother too well. If Zeke had the slightest inkling Luna was in danger, he would be gone in the blink of an eye. No matter that none of them could pinpoint her location; Zeke would blast through the Nether until he found her.
As one of the Watchers with the ability to transport, Zeke was an ever present threat to the group’s anonymity. His emotions, which he denied having on a regular basis, seemed to rule him when it came to Luna.
“You’d better find her or I will,” Zeke threatened and slammed the stainless steel door shut behind him before propping himself against it. With arms and feet crossed, he presented an unmovable roadblock. His silent challenge blasted into the air, engulfing the room in an almost malevolent fog.
“There’s no signal,” Penn murmured. “I can’t find her anywhere.”
A loud crash preceded the slamming of the Control room door. When Sem turned, Zeke was gone and a hole marred his formerly pristine door.
“Dammit, I just had that door replaced,” Sem cursed. “Keep looking Penn, I’ll go with Zeke to make sure he doesn’t kill anyone he shouldn’t. Send the area coordinates to me; maybe we can search until something pops up.”
Penn nodded, his floppy blonde hair bouncing.
“Sure thing boss,” he called.
As Sem raced down the hall toward the weapon’s room, he recalled the night Luna literally came crashing into their lives and hoped with every fiber of his being that she was alright. Injured, he could handle, but if she were dead, they were all fucked.
He slid to a halt when Zeke emerged, armed to the teeth, sporting a murderous glint in his eyes. It was moments like this, that made Sem grateful that Zeke was on his side. The warrior made a formidable enemy and Heaven help anything that dared harm Luna.
S.D. Nash was born, raised and still lives in the northern piney woods of Louisiana. She doesn’t have alligators in her front yard and she isn’t surrounded by swamps. She loves trekking the lush woods surrounding her home in search of buried treasures of times long past. Old, abandoned homesteads and barns are her favorite places to explore. She has a very rich imagination and loves all things unexplainable and supernatural.
She’s obsessed with the television series Supernatural and has recently developed a deep interest in AMC’S Preacher, SYFY’S Wynonna Earp and Doctor Who. Her favorite quote is by an unknown author: It’s only impossible until it’s done.
Her writing career began later than she’d wanted, but as with all things, it has begun. You can find all her titles on Amazon and select ones on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Apple and Smashwords. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and her blog by clicking the links below:
Amazon Buy link: http://amzn.to/2rAFFnM
Two E-copies of Sentinel are up for grabs. To enter all you need to do is share this post on Twitter, tag in the author (@authorldnash) and two randomly selected winners will receive either a mobi or pdf copy. The author will contact the winners directly.
Other titles by L. D. Nash:
The Lost Outlaws
Six Guns & Garter Belts (Book 1)
Sentinel (Book 1)
The Last Keeper (Book 2) – Coming Soon
Stand Alone Novels