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Fallen Redemption by RB Austin
The Trihune Series
Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Cade committed himself to saving lives before he learned the full consequences of his life-altering decision. It wasn’t until he was tending his sick wife that he learned the enormity of what he’d done and he was unable to save her from the monster he had become. Consumed with guilt and praying for absolution, he threw himself into killing every Fallen he could find to save the humans he’d sworn to protect. But then Emma, deliciously mortal and completely forbidden, swept into his world, stirring an overpowering desire. Now he’s not only fighting soulless creatures, but also his inner cravings, trying to maintain his distance and continue on his path to forgiveness. He won’t lose control again and lose another love.
Caderyn yanked on the reins. His fevered mind barely registered the horse’s protested whinny. He threw his legs over the side and slid down. Wiping the sweat from his face with his coat sleeve, he staggered to the small wooden house.
“I need the doctor.” His hoarse cry bellowed through the night. He pounded on the door. “Doctor!”
Fist raised and ready to knock again, the door opened two inches. “Are you the doctor?” A wave of dizziness swept through him. Clutching the doorframe, splinters dug into his fingertips. He. Would. Not. Faint.
“Are you the doctor?” Caderyn peered through the opening and spied the shape of a portly, short man.
“Yes.” A thin, high voice replied.
“I need you to come with me. My wife. She’s sick. Smallpox.”
The doctor’s thoughts slammed into his head. Hurry . . . Quick . . . Shut door . . . breathe on you . . . touch you. “I can’t help you. The whole town is infected.”
“Please. She’s with child.”
The doctor hesitated . . . unborn . . . saved . . . taken from the womb . . . No . . . risky . . . blood . . . contamination . . . Not worth my life . . .
Caderyn placed his hands against the door and pushed. Sarah needed help. His unborn babe needed help. The door swung free.
The doctor stumbled back, eyes wide. His expression changed to horror the moment he saw the red spots gracing Caderyn’s left cheekbone.
Ah . . . infected . . . Get the . . . The barrel of a rifle poked into Caderyn’s chest.
“Leave. My. House.” The doctor enunciated each word with a jab of the gun.
“Please,” Caderyn begged, stumbling out the door. “There’s no one else. My wife—”
“I can’t help you.” The doctor jammed the gun into Caderyn’s chest one last time, forcing him further away, then slammed the door.
Caderyn lurched forward and pounded on the door. No. No. No. “You must help me. She’s with child.” A bout of coughing racked his body. He slapped his palm against the door. “I need help!”
Caderyn pushed from the door. His chest burned with every breath. It took three tries to get in the saddle. The doctor had said the whole town was infected. Where else could he go?
Wrapping his coat around his large frame, he hunched his shoulders. The chills were back. Spinning the horse, he kicked him into a gallop. He would care for Sarah himself.
Caderyn struggled to keep his eyes open against the rushing wind. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d slept. Between burying his daughters and taking care of Sarah, he hadn’t been able to rest when the sickness began to mark him. No matter, though. He was thirty-four and lived a long enough life. His unborn babe deserved a chance at living and he’d do everything possible to make sure it happened.
The wind whipped at his eyes making them tear. Raising the collar of his jacket, his fingers brushed over the marks on his face that rose that morning. Sally Mae had bumps all over her face and body before she died. Little Laura died two days after her fever begun. Sarah was just beginning to show the red spots.
Shivering violently, sweat beaded on his forehead. Burning up but unable to get warm. He had no energy to steer. It was too dark to see a horse’s length in front of him anyways. Laying his head down on the mane, he closed his eyes. This would offer a reprieve from the wind until his eyes adjusted. He’d lie here but for a moment.
Caderyn woke to the sensation of falling then the jolt of the hard, cold ground as he slammed into it, bounced once, then lay still. Breath sawed in and out of his lungs. His body and head ached. Rolling over, a groan pushed from his lips. Sitting or standing seemed an impossible task at the moment. Sarah. He gritted his teeth. Get up. Get up, damn, you. Bright light shone in his face and he covered his eyes with his hands. Did the moon break free of the clouds? Had it even been out? He stilled. Slowly dropped his hands, squinting at the sky. The light was so blinding he couldn’t see past it. Was this the sun?
Fear sliced through him. How long had he slept? The horse should have made it to the house by dawn. Had they turned somewhere? He tried to roll back over. Urgent, sloppy attempts to get onto all fours. Where was he? Sarah could be dying as he lay here. She could be—no—he had faith. The Creator would save her life. She carried one of His precious children.
Suddenly the bright light dimmed. Twisting his head to the sky, he searched for the proof it was still night. Please let it still be night.
He froze. Clouds didn’t cover the moon.
There was no moon. No sun.
It was a ghost. A glowing male body with long white hair stood next to him. Its face was indiscernible in the light.
Caderyn trembled with fear. His boot heels dug into the ground, forming grooves in the dirt as he tried to move and went nowhere. The ghost laid his hand upon Caderyn’s upper arm. Mouth open, Caderyn inhaled to scream. Before he could utter a sound, a wave of peace swept through him. Strong and fierce.
There was no fear. No aches. No worries. Just quiet nothingness. He stiffened. Things were never quiet for him. Not with his curse. But he heard none of the ghost’s internal thoughts. Was he cured by its touch?
“You’ve not been cured of what you call your curse, son.” The ghost’s voice was deep, methodic. A warm blanket on a cold, winter night.
You can hear me?
Caderyn’s heart skipped a beat. “Why can’t I hear you?” His voice cracked. Licking his lips he wished—his canteen appeared a hand’s length away. He startled.
“Don’t be afraid. I mean you no harm, Caderyn O’Cearnaigh of Llangwyllog.”
“Who are you?”
The ghost held out his hand. It no longer appeared ghost-like or glowing. The hand was attached to a solid arm and a solid body. Maybe the thing next to him wasn’t a ghost.
Caderyn glanced at the offering then into the man’s piercing blue eyes. He laid his hand into the outstretched palm. Their skin connected. The glow returned. Panic rose. Frantic now, Caderyn tried to pull free. The man tightened his hold.
He braced himself for fiery heat, but the glow only warmed. When it encased his body completely, he began to hear. And see. Not only thoughts and images of the present but ones from the past and in the future. His mind raced to understand what he saw. Beings. Not of this world. Glowing. Like the man next to him. Holy. His breath caught. It was the Creator. Three beings stood next to Him. No, not next. In front. Protecting Him. From Apollyon. The betrayer. These three were the Fathyr, Sonh, and Holyspiryt. Then came war. Banishment. Uprising. Creation. On both sides. The Trihune were born. More protectors. Like the man next to him. Elias. One of seven Sonhs. A Behnshma, one of three species of the Trihune.
Elias stood, and the glow faded from Caderyn’s body.
“Will you, Caderyn O’Cearnaigh of Llangwyllog, lead my kindred against the fight with Apollyon and lend protection to the Creator’s Followers?”
Followers. He meant humans. Like . . . What of my Sarah and unborn child?
“They are beyond my help.”
On some level, he’d known his wife wouldn’t make it, but he believed, hoped. Pain consumed him. He squeezed his eyes shut. His anguished cry pierced through the night. Memories of the last weeks, months, swept through him.
The horrible wretchedness at having to bury Sally Mae and Laura. The guilt for allowing that stranger into their home. The worry over his wife and unborn child. The pain and ache in his own body. The tautness of his upper cheek where the sickness begun its destruction.
He opened his eyes. Could this man fix it? Elias could turn him into a Behnshma. Perhaps he could bring Sally Mae and Laura back. Caderyn’s eyes widened at the possibility. Elias could cure Sarah and the unborn babe. Caderyn would exchange his life for theirs. Gladly, he’d suffer in their place.
“And that is why I chose you, son. But I’m terribly sorry. I cannot revive the dead.”
“My Sarah, then?”
“She’s on her path. I can only change what could be, not what’s already occurred.”
What would be the point of following this man, then? A hurricane of anger ripped through his body. It stirred his blood, giving him strength. Ignoring Elias’s outstretched hand, he rose into a sitting position. Enough of this. He needed to be with Sarah for however long she had left. To feel his child move in her womb one more time.
“I’m sorry I can’t save them.” Elias moved too fast for Caderyn to block. “But you, you can save many.” He grasped Caderyn’s palm, trapping it in between his hands.
Again, image after image flashed through Caderyn’s mind. This time quick, but vivid. Each burned into his brain.
Horrible. Bloody. Body after body. Nothing mattered to these beasts.
A man. His throat ripped into pieces. Eyes open and staring unseeing. Horror captured forever in his expression.
A woman. Dead. Unclothed. Bruised neck. Legs spread wide. Blood dried on her inner thighs. Long deep cuts on her neck, wrists, and belly.
A child. Thrown to the ground like an abandoned toy. Limbs twisted out of place. Blood pooled underneath its tiny body.
Every emotion the victims possessed before death was Caderyn’s. Pain. Terror. Hopelessness. He was the one being pursued, tortured, beaten, violated. Falling to the ground on all fours, he panted for air. Elias was no longer touching him but the images didn’t stop. These people had not been saved. Apollyon and his creation, the Fallen, had slaughtered these victims. Their demise had been drawn-out. So much violence. They were monsters. Murderers.
The pictures changed. Caderyn saw himself. Different, yet the same. Stronger. He knew how to kill. Protect. Fighting the Fallen he wielded a large curved sword as if it was an extension of his arm. Moving with grace and speed he didn’t now possess, he saved an old man. A young boy. A family. A couple.
Five against one. Kill after kill. Fallen after Fallen. He rescued. Defended. Guarded.
A woman with child. He swung his sword high and in one swoop cut off a Fallen’s head. It disappeared in a gray cloud. The woman gazed at him. Tears ran down her face. Her hand curved protectively over her extended belly. Fear faded, replaced by relief, thankfulness, and gratitude.
The last emotion hit Caderyn deep in his stomach. The woman was grateful he’d been there. She was alive because he’d been there.
The image flickered out and the mind storm stopped. Caderyn’s head hung low in between his arms. His chest ached from panting. He wanted to weep.
How could he choose any other path? How could he let that woman and all the others down? He wanted to go back and save those who were already lost.
What emerged what a whisper, but he knew Elias would hear him even if he chose not to speak. “Yes.”
Caderyn was whirled onto his back in the dirt. He watched two of Elias’s teeth grow in size, sharpening at the ends. Terror stuttered his heart. Striking fast, Elias’s teeth punched through the skin at his neck.
About the Author:
RB Austin is a writer of paranormal romances and YA novels. She puts her slightly neurotic organizational skills to good use managing her time as a wife, mother, full time worker, author, and blogger. Her dream is to become a full time writer and move down south where she can sit on the sunniest beach with her laptop and a bag of chocolates, writing what the voices in her head tell her to. In her spare time she enjoys knitting. Her current project is a dog sweater because even if it turns out ugly and full of holes her cairn terrier can’t complain. RB is a member of Romance Writers of America and is currently working on the second novel in her Trihune series and a YA supernatural novel. Fallen Redemption is her debut novel.
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