Series: Divine Hunter #1
Author: L.J. Sealey
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Michael Warden used to live a normal life. A successful entrepreneur he had everything until his life got taken away from him–Literally. Now he is trapped in a world that shouldn’t exist, fighting things that should only exist in nightmares in a quest to find out the truth about what happened to him.Lacy Holloway is finally content in the little town of Oakland, Garrett Co. Working at the local university, she has finally allowed herself to move on from the one thing that had haunted her past. Aside from an unsettling string of suicides at her place of work, Lacy is happy. Then a new colleague enters her life. Michael is handsome, smart and their friendship is instant... Easy.That is, until another student attempts to take her own life and Lacy is hurled into a world of nightmares which she soon discovers Michael is already a part of. As they are forced to face demons, both the supernatural and the emotional kind, they also have to face the realisation that they are both beginning to feel things for each other that neither of them expected, least of all Michael. As well as trying not to fall too deeply for the woman who has captivated him, he is shocked to discover things about his very existence that could change both their lives and the world as they know it.
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October 4th, 2011.
Michael sat alone at the bar with a double whiskey, though he wasn’t drinking so much as staring into it trying to establish what it was that had brought him on this journey from Columbus.
Yesterday’s newspaper article had read that four teenagers over the space of seven days had thrown themselves from their dorm windows at State Park University. Although the authorities were treating it as some sort of suicide pact, Michael suspected otherwise. People don’t just throw themselves from buildings for the sake of it and, knowing what he did now, he wasn’t about to ignore it.
Michael Warden was an investigator.
Not your usual, ordinary type of investigator−like the ones who track down criminals or follow people suspected of having affairs and such−but an investigator of the paranormal kind. Some might say a Demon Hunter; a Ghost Buster. If only it was as simple as that.
He read the page that he’d printed out from the Daily Tribune’s website again to make sure he hadn’t missed anything. Then he folded it up and placed it back into his worn, black, double breasted coat pocket. He knocked back his whiskey and made his way out of the bar. It was early evening in Baltimore, MD, and a slight mist had started to settle in. Michael still had a little over three hours’ drive ahead of him to get to where his reservation was: a small place called The Sunshine Motel a couple of miles outside of Garrett Co. He’d planned on having an early night so he could make a start on his new investigation early the next morning, but he’d made an unscheduled stop for some food on the way.
He crossed the rush hour traffic and headed towards his car. The dusty, beige, 96 Chevy Cavalier (which had seen much better days) was parked up on the other side of the street. He reached for his keys and was about to unlock the driver’s side door when he heard a female voice cry for help behind him. He looked back to see a young woman struggling to hold on to her purse as one of three hooded youths attempted to prize it from her hands.
“Hey!” Michael shouted over the noise of the traffic, loud enough for the youths to notice him as he immediately ran back to help. Two of the hoods ran off leaving one−who had succeeded in his goal−fumbling with the woman’s purse. He looked up at Michael, dropped it in a panic onto the sidewalk, and ran like hell.
“Are you ok?” Michael asked as he passed the young woman her purse from the floor. She nodded, clearly shaken by her ordeal, but instead of staying with her and waiting while the cops were called, he decided he had something else to do. After he’d visually checked her over, he began to run after her attackers.
The group of youths made a right turn down a dimly lit alleyway between two tall office blocks. Michael followed them. A few faint street lights highlighted a row of dumpsters down one side; the heavy stench of their rotting contents filling the air. They reached the end of the alley, and faced with nothing but a high fence which split the dark space in two, they began to get visibly agitated.
“You might as well give it up boys,” Michael shouted to them after he realised they were trapped. One of them began to climb up the fence and easily managed to pull himself to the top. Then he jumped down the other side. “Come on!” He gestured for his buddies but they were bigger and heavier than he was and were having some trouble executing the climb with the same ease as their friend.
Michael caught up to them and grabbed hold of one of the boys−now half way up the fence−by his waist and pulled him down to the floor. “Get off me!” The boy shouted as Michael grappled with him before managing to pin him to the ground. Too busy batting the youth’s hands away as he tried desperately to lay one on him, Michael hadn’t noticed that the other boy−the largest of the group−had jumped back down from the fence. Suddenly a thick arm wrapped around Michael’s neck, dragging him to his feet and holding him back long enough for the other boy to jump up, grazed and bloodied. As he did, he pulled a blade from his inside pocket and held it out in front of him pointing the dangerous end right at Michael.
Michael managed to break free from the large boy’s surprisingly strong grip after elbowing him right in his diaphragm. He paused for a second and looked at the knife: Nothing special, just your everyday Smith and Wesson pocket knife with a three inch blade, but Michael started to back away. There was no point getting into something he wouldn’t be able to explain to the authorities especially as he still had a long journey ahead of him. The boy obviously saw it as a weakness and lunged straight for him causing Michael to jump back out of his reach until his back hit a wall which stopped him from going any further. “Son of a. . . ” The youth never stopped and at the last minute he lost his footing. Falling forward, his knife plunged straight into Michael’s stomach causing him to gasp. His eyes widened with surprise.
The boy looked down at what he’d done and his face instantly paled. Michael saw a moment of panic as he stared straight into the boy’s deep indigo eyes. He couldn’t have been more than seventeen years old if he was that. After a moment, the boy let go of the knife to leave it sticking out from Michael’s flesh. He stood frozen to the spot, his mouth working like a goldfish with no sound escaping.
“Come on dude let’s go!” the boy’s friend urged as he grabbed him by the arm. “We gotta split before anyone sees us. Leave him, come on!” That was enough to snap the boy into action and they both ran back down the alley to the street leaving Michael standing there looking at the knife as blood soaked through his gray T-shirt spreading outwards from the wound. There was no pain though. In fact, he’d hardly felt a thing which hadn’t surprised him too much.
Now all alone in the alley, with nothing but the sound of dripping water from a leaky gutter nearby and the distant traffic noise, Michael placed his hand around the black handle, held his breath and pulled it out slowly. It felt strange, not like he’d expected at all. It was almost numb with a slight scratchy, pulling sensation as the blade exited his flesh. He dropped it to the floor and lifted his T-shirt to assess the damage. There was now a deep slit right under his ribs on the left-hand side, but he felt ok. There was no panic because he knew he’d be perfectly fine.
Under different circumstances though, he knew that right about now he would be dropping to the ground and waiting to die from such a lethal wound. He’d already lost a lot of blood and was pretty sure that the knife had punctured his kidney.
That wasn’t about to happen to him though. You see. . . Michael Warden was no longer human.
READ THE REST OF CHAPTER ONE HERE
Praise for Awaken:
★★★★★ “This entire story rocked my world. I loved every second of this book and how at every turn of the page something new and exciting was happening…” - Reese’s Reviews
★★★★★ “I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the paranormal romance, with a little steam to add to the suspense and mystery…” - Michelle’s Paranormal Vault of Books
About The Author
She still lives in N.Wales and when she’s not travelling around the country working with her husband – who is a professional singer – or singing backup vocals herself, she likes to read and watch her favourite TV shows which normally includes plenty of CSI, The Vampire Diaries and endless amounts of sitcoms. Being addicted to reading about vampires, demons, shifters and angels, she has always had a thing for all things paranormal and is a big sucker for impossible love stories. So it was inevitable that when she started writing herself she would mix the two together.
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