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Fallen Angel

By:Elianne Adams

Chapter 1

Megan woke with a scream rushing past her lips. Her heart pounded as she fumbled with the lamp, desperate to brighten the room and send the shadows away. She blinked against the brilliance hurting her eyes, but she had to see—had to know—that the goblins hadn’t somehow entered her room. She’d had nightmares since she was ten, but they’d become more frightening—more real—over the past few weeks, reminding her that the illusion of safety was just that, an illusion. They were coming for her.

Megan’s whole body shook as she put her feet down onto the cool wood floor and hoisted herself from the mattress she slept on. She padded toward the window, afraid of what she might find yet unable to keep from looking. It scared the shit out of her, but she couldn’t just sit there and wonder. Standing to the side of the window, she pulled the curtain only enough to peek through with one eye. Nothing but inky darkness.

“Damn it.” The city should have fixed the lamppost across the street weeks ago. She’d certainly put in enough complaints about it.

Careful not to jostle the fabric, she snuck her hand behind the drape and made sure the window was locked. Of course, it was. She had checked it twenty times before going to bed, just like she did every single night. She grabbed the long cleaver she kept on her bedside table and took a deep breath before padding to the closet. Removing the chair from under the handle, she turned the knob. Her breath caught in her throat as the door squeaked on its hinges, and she jumped, ready to bolt at any sign of movement inside. Her short work skirts and all-too-revealing blouses hung on hangers, just as she’d left them, along with a few pairs of jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters.

Her heart had almost settled into her chest again when she heard a creak from beyond her bedroom. Megan lunged for the door. Her hands shook so hard, she hardly felt the bolt as she made sure it was in place. Holding her breath, she pressed her ear to the cool wood, listening for any hint of activity. Five full minutes she stood there, unmoving, until she pried herself from the door and went back to her bed.

She rubbed at her burning eyes and looked at the clock. Two and a half hours. That was all she had managed to sleep, but it was better than the thirty minutes she had gotten the night before. She groaned at the ache in her lower belly. She shouldn’t have had that full bottle of water before bed. Her bladder was about to explode, but there was no way she was going down the hallway to use the bathroom. She would rather suffer until morning than risk being out there—exposed. Sitting with her back against the wall, Megan rocked as despair hit her hard.

A small sob slipped past her lips and into the silent room. Megan swiped at the dampness on her cheeks. Crying accomplished nothing, and it certainly didn’t keep her any safer, but the stubborn tears kept falling. Every other year, she’d been just as scared, but this year was different. The evil in the air was thicker, more wicked. And, she was facing it alone.

“Why did you leave me? What have I done?” she asked, waiting for an answer she knew wouldn’t come. Nate was gone.

* * *

Nate ground his teeth, fighting the urge to go to Megan. She deserved better. Charged with her safety for sixteen years, he’d watched her grow into a beautiful woman with so much to give to the world around her. But the damned goblins had gotten a taste of her spirit and had not relented since.

Her broken sobs made him want to rage against the world. He shouldn’t have been able to feel anything for this human—or any other, for that matter. He had a job to do, one that if he did well would bring him back into the fold of the Heavenly Realms. He couldn’t afford to mess it up, which he suspected was why Jordan had sent him on this mission, to watch him fail—again. What he couldn’t understand was why his once best friend hated him so much.

The stench of wet dog permeated the air. Nate should have known. Goblins weren’t the only things that came out on the night of the full moon. Between the werewolves, goblins, and ghosts, he would have his hands full keeping Megan safe when she went to work the following night, and it would only get worse as they got closer to Halloween.

All he wanted to do was wrap his arms around her and stroke her hair, whisper reassurances into her ear that he was still there, but he couldn’t.

The stories humans told about the nasty, greedy creatures weren’t so far off. They were right—goblins wanted riches above all else—but it was the way they got their jewels and gold that differed. Stealing and pillaging didn’t pay nearly as much as selling souls to the creatures who employed them.

Megan hadn’t slept for more than a few hours over the past several days. Dark crescents hung beneath her eyes, and her skin was more pale than usual. If it weren’t for his body’s treachery, he’d hold her, comfort her, and even provide for her, but he couldn’t. Not with the way he’d reacted to her nearness over the past few months.