Was she heaven-sent…or more heartbreak waiting to happen?
Haunted by a military mission that ended in personal tragedy, Declan Byrne still bears a soldier’s scars. As a park ranger on the secluded Mendocino coast, he guards his heart while standing ready for anything. Anything except a beautiful, ethereal woman with a mysterious past, falling from the cliffs to the rocks below.
Angel, as Declan decides to call her, has no memory of what happened. But as her body heals, disturbing dreams emerge. In Declan’s protective care, Angel feels safe to act on the undeniable passion between them, without the threats from old, unnameable demons. And, in time, she senses Declan needs her as desperately as she needs him. But when her past returns with a vengeance, Declan must decide just how much he’s willing to risk in order to keep the woman he loves safe.
This book Fallen Angel is so special to me. The premise for this story was in my head for ten years before I finally talked an editor into letting me write it—yes, ten years! Of course, the story took on a life of its own once I actually began to write it, and it didn’t turn out quite the way I expected it to. I’m always a slave to my characters. They like to tell me what to do, and these were no different. Declan turned out to be a darker hero than I thought he might be. And Angel…well, she truly is an angel on earth, the most innocent character I’ve ever written, in a most unusual way. But I can’t say more without revealing too much.
But I must say this: As lovely as this book cover is, it doesn’t even hint at some of the wicked and disturbing events in the story. There’s no mention of the demon Asmodeus…or of the strange and terrifying upbringing Angel had. This is a sort of…odd book, not your classic romance tale, by any means. And again, I can’t say more without spoiling the story! Just…be prepared—lol!
I hope you enjoy Fallen Angel.
Mist swirled around his feet, obscuring the hard-packed sand as Declan Byrne took his morning walk down the rugged beach. The sun was just beginning to rise, a faint amber glow casting the first golden rays of the day, barely touching the cresting waves of the Pacific Ocean. He loved it there, loved to come when it was still nearly dark, picking his way over the craggy rocks, the piles of driftwood and seaweed, the empty sound of the thundering ocean soothing him.
Liam, his enormous black mastiff, trotted beside him, his only company. Declan preferred it that way. He reveled in the loneliness, the isolation of this place. It was a big part of why he’d come back here six years earlier. He’d needed the quiet. He’d needed to heal. Maybe he still did.
No, don’t think about her now.
Don’t think about her, period.
He turned instead to the sea, watched as Liam chased the edge of the incoming waves, sniffing, backing away as the water surged onto the sand. This was their daily ritual. How Declan got his head on straight before beginning work, before he had to interact with other people, something he’d been lousy at the last few years. He much preferred his dog, the ocean, the rough and lonely Mendocino coastline, to people.
His work as a forest ranger didn’t require much human contact. This particular job included making sure trails were cleared, keeping order in the campgrounds, the occasional lost hiker, and sometimes training new rangers. But mostly, it was just him and the forest, the lone stretches of beach and rugged cliffs that made up the National Park’s coastline. Probably the biggest reason why he’d taken the job. That, and something about his father having worked in this area as a ranger most of his life, up until he’d retired a couple of years ago.
Following in the old man’s footsteps, no matter how he felt about him. But this place was home to him. His gruff father was home to him, even though they’d barely spoken since his mother died.
Don’t think about that, either.
The sun was coming up fast, warming the damp air as he and Liam climbed over the rocks to the next crescent of sand. Declan stopped and looked out to sea, tracking the rising sun, the surge of the gray and green water, and felt that brief moment of peace he sought each day. He breathed in the sharp salt air, filling his lungs. Watched as a lone gull flew in low over the water on silent wings, skimming the surface beyond the waves. Peace here, yes. He didn’t want to stop to consider why he needed it so desperately.
A hard thump behind him; shocking, how loud it was,how it made the ground shake. Declan spun around, his heart hammering while Liam went off, barking like crazy.
A woman lying on the sand before him. He nearly tripped over her in the half-dark, had to dig his heels into the rocky beach to steady himself. The crashing of the cold surf faded into the background as he tried to grasp what he was seeing. Liam had stopped barking and was sniffing her limp body, his huge black head dwarfing her.
He grabbed for the mastiff’s collar. “Liam, off!”
What the hell?
She was naked, bleeding, one leg caught on the rocks, twisted at an impossible angle. His brain shifted into high gear as he bent over her, adrenalin swamping his veins in a hot, speedy current.
Where the hell had she come from? Must have fallen from the cliffs. He looked up, peering through the pale light, his gaze wandering up the ragged cliff side, but he saw nothing, no one.
“Jesus,” he muttered as he pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.
As the phone rang his gaze roamed her body, trying to assess the damage in the diffused light of the rising sun. Pale, waving blonde hair down to her knees. There were strange symbols painted all over her: her stomach, her thighs, across her bare breasts. They were lush and round, he couldn’t help but notice, then cursed himself. The woman was half dead, for God’s sake. He leaned in closer, trying to find out if she was breathing. He didn’t want to touch her. No, he wanted to touch her. He didn’t dare.
What the fuck is wrong with you?
There. A small, gasping breath rattling in her chest.
An operator finally answered the phone, and he quickly told the man who he was, gave him details, his location.
He hung up to wait for the rescue team, finally dared to reach out and lay his fingertips on her wrist to check her pulse. Bones like a bird, isn’t that what the saying was? She was so delicate...
She was alive, her breath shallow, but she was taking one after another. There was blood everywhere; he could smell it even over the tangy ocean scent in the air, but beneath the mess he could see a lovely, angelic face. Hard to tell how old she was. Late teens? Early twenties? Closer inspection showed him bits of twigs—herbs, maybe?—and small bones woven into her hair. On her upturned palms were pentagrams painted in red.
Who the fuck would have done something like this?
Liam was standing next to him, over the girl, peering into her face as though he were trying to figure it out, too.
He’d never seen anything like it. He never wanted to again.
He fought back the sense of horror that made bile rise, made his throat want to close up.
So much blood...
As I said, this is a strange book, and Angel is a strange heroine. Along with the strangeness this is still a naughty book-naughty and intense and absolutely romantic. And did I mention the demon..? But whether or not he really exists is up to you to decide. This book will probably have some surprises in store for you—I hope you like surprises.
CONTEST! It’s not a celebration without some prizes! Today I’m offering up a PDF copy of my BDSM novel Pleasure’s Edge, written under my alternate pen name, Eve Berlin, to get everyone ready for the August release of my third ‘Edge’ series book Temptation’s Edge. Just comment here telling me whether you prefer to read about angels or demons to be entered to win. I’ll be back tomorrow night to choose and announce the winner.
You can buy Fallen Angel now in print and ebook formats! Amazon , B&N, Chapters.ca and Books-a-Million !
For more info about my books, visit my websites: EdenBradley.com, EveBerlin.com or my group blog Smutketeers.com
A big thank you and sloppy smooches to the fabulous Nine Naughty Novelists to having me here today!
Eden/Eve : )