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Destiny Series, Book 3
Copyright 2012 Nancy Straight
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Printed in paperback February 2012. Available electronically from all major bookstores.
Destiny’s Wrath would not have been possible without the support of several incredible people. Rebecca Ufkes’ enthusiasm and insight were invaluable; she provided the encouragement I needed to write the entire series. Linda Brant, my aunt, has painstakingly edited all three books in this Destiny Series; she has polished each one until it shined!
My Beta readers: Charles Young and Melissa Balentine. Your feedback was fabulous and I hope everyone else agrees!
The amazing cover was designed by Danielle Stroube at Dreamscapecovers.com.
I wish there were a way to single out each of the independent authors out there who have helped me along the way, but a thank you to each one would be a book in itself. There is one author that warrants a place on this page: Shelly Crane. Thanks Shelly – your books rock and I cannot thank you enough for all the advice along the way!
Finally, my husband, Toby, has been supportive of my every adventure. Thanks for all the nights you made dinner and did homework so that I could follow my dream!
Thanks to you all!
I jerked awake, quickly shaking the shivers off and wiping the sweat from my forehead: another “Samael nightmare.” He had been out of my body for six months; why couldn’t I get him out of my head? I looked over at Lauren - sound asleep. I couldn’t help watching her, brushing a stray strand of hair off of her cheek. It feels like my heart has swollen three times its size the last few months. Looking back, it’s been a rocky three years; one of the few images that I’m pleased hasn’t lost any of its luster: memories of our first night together. Not the first night we spent together when I got back from Afghanistan, but that very first night in her hospital room. At the time, I was clueless as to why I felt so strongly for a near stranger. I couldn’t describe it to another if my life depended on it, but I knew that night, the first time she grabbed my hand and squeezed, that my heart was hers for the taking.
I almost lost her three times: the night she was shot by a robber, the night she was attacked at our camp site, and the night I sent her away. She knows that I did it for her safety, and she has long since forgiven me, but the emptiness of losing her the last time nearly shredded me. Never again. No more demons, no more clairvoyants, Councils, Cabinets, or anything else the universe wants to throw our way. I’ll never let her be exposed to that kind of danger again. I’d lay my life down in her place without giving it a second thought. As much as it maddens me, I know she’d do the same for me. These last few months have been incredible, full of more joy than any two people probably deserve.
I’ve savored every moment, but I keep getting this nagging feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Samael. I’ve never wanted to be more wrong about anything in my life. Nothing has been easy since we first found each other. I catch myself getting paranoid, looking around corners and in dark alleys, waiting for Samael to step out and say something like: “Hello, Sport. How’s our Lauren?”
I still have the “Samael nightmares” a couple times a week. When he took up residence inside me, it was a constant barrage of what he wanted to do to Lauren. In one word, he was obsessed. He wanted her, wanted her in a way that terrified me. Lauren and I don’t talk about Samael much; every now and then she’ll ask me a question about him. I learned the hard way never to try to shelter Lauren from anything. If she thinks I’m hiding something from her, regardless of my intentions, she’s like a pit bull - relentless.
Most of her questions have been benign; luckily she hasn’t asked me the one that I really don’t want to answer: Do I think we’ll see Samael again? I think it’s only a matter of time. I don’t know if it’ll be a year, a decade, or a quarter century; the only thing I do know: we’ll see him again. Next time, we’ll be ready. We’ll be together; we’ll be one.
I eased myself off the bed, stole one more glance her way to make sure she was still sound asleep, and crept into my closet. Digging around in an old file cabinet tucked in the corner, I silently slid the files all the way to the front, so I could find the little velvet box tucked in the back. I put it there five years ago, thinking I’d probably never open the little case again.
When two people love each other the way my parents did, I imagine it’s a blessing for both of them to die together. I cannot imagine one surviving the car crash and spending every remaining day mourning the loss of the other. They were a matched set. As I pried the little case open, the hinge