The Stained Angel

Published on 19 June 2023 at 01:02

The Created angel Chronicles, book One

Content Warnings and Possible Triggers:

    The Stained Angel is rated M for Mature and contains violence, gore, vulgar language, nudity, crime scenes, serial killings, mind control, some talk or eluding to past traumas such as self-harm, torture, child abuse, and rape.

Please Read with caution.


Leighla hasn’t had the best luck with her life on Earth and being the first International Preternatural Marshal hasn’t made it any easier. When the Arch-Angel Michael assigns her to an active case, the past comes back to haunt her. Old loves, betrayal, and metaphysical wounds that she thought closed reopen. Leighla must decide whether to confront those who hurt her or let it fester and kill any chance that she has of moving on.

Chapter One

“What’s she doing here? We’re out in the middle of buttfuck nowhere, and a girl just happens to show up?” someone muttered as I stepped out of my nineteen sixty-three Volkswagen beetle. It wasn’t anything special, no fancy license plate, racing stripes, or political decals, just a shiny black bug with chrome accents.

“Especially one like her. Maybe she heard about it on a scanner,” One officer commented.

“Maybe she just wanted to see a dead body. She does have that rebel, skater, watches too many crime shows vibe,” another added, thinking I couldn’t hear them. I didn’t know why people, especially cops decided to comment on my height and judge my clothing choice when they first saw me. It was stereotyping bigotry and I hated it. How so many of them ended up in law enforcement, I’ll never know.

I grabbed my preternatural marshal badge from the special shelf my friend installed under my steering wheel when she restored the bug and slipped its chain over my head. I turned toward the police tape and paused to count the number of officers standing around with their mouth’s partially open. Not making a scene was out of the question today. That was also the last time I listened to dispatch about street clothes being appropriate or not.

I was dressed for the skate park in my black cut off jean shorts, a Star Wars cropped top, and ripped mesh undershirt. This was not crime scene attire, but I’d been at breakfast with my niece, Lovette, and planned to go skating and relax after. Dispatch said that I didn’t have time to change and whatever I was wearing would be fine. I could have shifted clothes in the car, but she said it wasn’t necessary. I wanted to wring her pretty, little neck.

“Gentleman, I—”

“This is an active crime scene, get back in your bug and be on your way,” one of the officers, a taller, beefy man with salt and pepper hair called. I stopped five feet from the tape and cocked one of my raven black eyebrows.

“I’m here by request, Officer…” I let it hang while looking at the nameplate on his shirt.

Sergeant Brent Miller, Richmond County Police,” he said, and I nodded as I met his eyes.

“Wish I could say it was nice to meet you, but I’m not in the habit of lying, and I don’t sugarcoat shit,” I said, keeping my words blunt and unfiltered. It was best to give guys like him shock after shock in order to get them off their game so you could get a word in edgewise. “Leighla Tenebrae, International and Preternatural Marshal. You can call me Tenebrae or Marshal. I was the nearest Preter Marshal when you put out the call.”

“You’re a Marshal? You don’t even look old enough to be out of school let alone out of training and served your time in the field,” he started in on me, and I hardened my glare. It was a good thing he couldn’t see behind my mirrored aviators, or he would have keeled over on the spot. For most Angels, myself included, the death glare wasn't just a figure of speech.

“I look far younger than I am much like most preternaturals, Sergeant. Now, did you need a Preter cop or not?” I asked. He looked from me to the car then to my badge in plain view. “Or do I need to call Director Angelic and have him contact the local DA and report your stereotyping bullshit. I’m willing to bet this isn’t your first offence either.”

I took another step, and he spat a wad of tobacco on the ground. I raised my eyebrows and pulled the badge off the chain, knowing he’d want a look at it. I opened it, showing it to him and a few other officers that came to gawk at the smartass female Marshal.

“It looks legit, Brent,” the younger officer to his left said. Brent glared at him then scoffed and crossed his arms over his chest.

“I ain’t convinced. How’s a girl like you supposed to help us? You probably couldn’t even decipher the scribblings,” he scoffed. I tucked my thumbs into the front pockets of the shorts and stayed passive.

“I’ll say it one more time, since you apparently didn’t hear me last time: Do I need to contact Director Angelic or the DA?” I repeated. I hated repeating myself, but I gave dolts like him twice before I assaulted them verbally, physically, or metaphysically. He wasn’t taking the hint. Seemed to be my lucky day.

“How would that prove you’re capable of telling us what the hell happened here?” he asked. I put my badge back and pulled off the shades, letting him see my bright blue eyes that glowed in the setting sun.

“Look, Sergeant, if you want my preter type or my history with the department, you’ll have to file the paperwork and probably have your mind wiped or better yet a warrant. So, I suggest you drop it,” I said, hanging the glasses on the chain near my badge. A deep shade of red slid from his hairline down over his face and I kept mine stoic and cold. “Getting angry at me will not help the situation. If a show of power is what you want, I’ll gladly give it to you—”

“Do it, girl.” He snapped, like a small dog at the heels of a wolverine. I flipped my raven braids over my shoulders with a flick of my head then rolled my shoulders.

“I warn you. I have no control over how your mortal body might react to my power,” I said, dropping my arms to my side as he ducked under the tape to stand in front of me.

“Is that a threat?” he asked, standing nearly toe to toe with me. It must have been some sight. The five eleven if not six-foot, beefy Sergeant standing over me, a five three gangly girl who looked more like a goth teenage skater than a Marshal. I could have simply shifted to be my full six foot two, curvaceous goddess, but I wasn’t about to give the officers any ideas.

“No, Sergeant. I would never threaten a fellow officer. I’m merely warning you that my powers might have an unpleasant side effect,” I said, keeping my voice even, expression blank, and aura calm. Some called it “cop” face, and it might have set him off, but to me it was normal. I was hard to shock, harder to anger, and twice as hard to make laugh or smile. I had seen too much to be innocent and bubbly. I was judged too harshly to let anyone I didn’t trust see my emotions, thoughts, and fears.

What I really wanted was to sucker punch him in the face and show him that even small preters can take on bullies like him without help. I took a deep breath, centered myself, and ran through the mental list of things I could do that wouldn’t completely incapacitate him.

Just as I raised my hand to do it, a car pulled up behind me. I didn’t have to turn to see who it was. I recognized the hum of the engine. I squared my shoulders, and Sergeant Brent looked at the car as my brother, and Director of the Preternatural and Mythical Creatures Agency’s Eastern US branch, cleared his throat.

Chapter Two

“That won’t be necessary, Marshal Tenebrae,” the stern, cool voice of my created brother, Michael called from behind me. I turned forty-five degrees, so that I could see the six-foot, toned, tanned Archangel, and his swath of dark hair so black that without gel or whatever oil he put in it, light wouldn’t reflect off it. His eyes were deeper set than mine, but almost the same shade of winter sky blue.

His suit looked impeccable and again, I questioned why the dispatcher said it was okay to come in street clothes. Michael gave me a once over and addressed Sergeant Miller as he stepped up behind me.

“Sergeant Miller, I didn’t want to come down here, but it seems that you’re impeding in the duties of a Preternatural Officer. Is that correct, Marshal Tenebrae?” he asked me. Sergeant Brent opened his mouth to answer, and Michael held up a finger. I’d have chosen a different finger, but that’s why he was a director, and I was a marshal. I never played well with others.

“Yes, they claimed that I wasn’t who I said and that I was too young to be an officer or even out of school. They also claimed that I wasn’t preter,” I said. Michael looked from my face to Sergeant Miller’s as it paled. He’d noticed the familial resemblance.

Good for him. Not all Angels look alike in their human vessels. It just so happened that Michael and I did look a lot alike. Those who spend the most time together, tend to. Michael and I had been two Angels nearest the Maker himself and were messengers sent to Earth. The fact that our human vessels were both blue eyed and had black hair with similar facial structures was more than mere coincidence.

“Are you her father?” Miller asked looking between us. I balled my hands into fists but kept my face blank. I looked from him to Michael and scowled.

“Can I please punch him?” I projected my thoughts, and he shook his head answering both of us.

“No. If you want to assign a familial role to us, it would be brother and sister,” he said, and I unclenched my fists. I did not need to hit either of them. It was hard to let it go because I really wanted to.

“Why didn’t you just come down here in the first place, Mike?” Miller asked, being a bit informal for my tastes. Why did Michael know this bully? It made no sense.

Sergeant, I can’t come down every time you have a case like this. I have to delegate, and I decided that Marshal Tenebrae was the right fit for the job,” Michael explained. I crossed my arms over my ample breasts. I despised that even in the shorter form I couldn’t get them any smaller. I cleared my throat as Miller opened his mouth to speak.

“If it’s alright with you two, I’m going to have one of the other officers take me up to the house so that I can offer my expertise and get back to town,” you’re cutting in on my time with Vette. I projected the last bit to Michael, and he straightened his suit coat that didn’t need it.

“I’ll take you myself. Not like I can’t smell it from here,” he said, stepping around Miller and lifting the tape for me. “Brent and I can talk later.”

“Director,” the Sergeant and I said in unison. I gave a small shudder at the thought of being on the same wavelength as this bully and ducked under the tape. Michael set a hand to my back and pushed me forward.

“You and your men can go. We’ll wait for the coroner,” he called. I gulped, knowing what that meant. This wasn’t just a scene he wanted me to look at. It was fresh.

Director,” I said, drawing out the word, and he pushed me toward the two-story house. It was done in rustic wood and resembled a log cabin.

Marshal, let’s get inside and I’ll tell you more,” he said. I wasn’t going to like this. Not one bit.

When he dismissed everyone and we were alone inside, he led me to the basement where the stench of death was strongest. Some would tell you that death smells like a port-a-potty that’s been in the baking sun all day. I disagreed. It smells like the back-alleys of Paris near the Canals, mixed with the stench of rotting flesh, but this didn’t smell like that. This scene was too fresh to stink yet.

Michael opened the basement door and gestured for me to follow him. I did, though I wasn’t sure about it.

“Michael, why clear them out? Why even bring me—” My words stopped as I saw the body. It was hung upside down, held to the wall by ropes, branches and nails, throat slashed, and blood drained into the trench beneath that ran to the sump.

It took me back to a time, eons ago, hundreds of thousands of miles away in a stone hall. I’d walked in expecting to be married and found my betrothed pinned upside down with iron spikes, his throat slashed and his blood dripping down the wall and running in rivers over the steps of the altar to the floor. I took a step back and bumped into Michael.

“Leighla, Leighla can you hear me?” he asked, but I couldn’t get my head to bend. I whirled around and buried my head in his shirt, grabbing two fistfuls of the cotton blend fabric.

I worked so long to get that image out of my head. I hadn’t even loved the man, but I was willing to marry him for a treaty. War had started the next sunrise and I’d fought, but the image that haunted my dreams was the man pinned to the wall with the list of his wrongs all around him. 

Why would I see this now? Why would someone do this again? Who alive would still know about this, but the original killer and my kin?

“Marmie,” Michael said my angelic nickname, pulling me from the memory.

Chapter Three

I lifted my head to find that my shorter guise had slipped, and I was holding him off the floor by his shirt. His hands were flat to the ceiling, and his head was bent toward me.

“Sorry,” I said, then slowly set him down, by returning to the shorter form. I started to let go, and he wrapped his arms around me in a hug so tight that his powers touched mine even though they were capped and sealed.

“It’s alright. You didn’t hurt me. I realized what was going on when you shifted,” he said, setting one hand to the back of my head, “Now you see why I didn’t want them here?” I nodded, but still couldn’t find words. “I wanted to know if this looked similar. Now that I know, I’ll be needing someone to go to Ireland or I need you to look into this. You have the most information and I wouldn’t ask, but this isn’t the first body—”

“It’s not?” I croaked, pulling back. The air touched the cooling tears on my cheeks, and I quickly brushed them back with my black leather fingerless gloves.

“This is the second in this millennium,” he said, starting to say more, but I continued.

“Where was the other one?” I asked. Short. Simple. Pointed.

“Los Angeles. Thirty miles from your monthly haunt,” he said, and I paled. That meant Lucifer probably knew about it.

“Why didn’t anyone tell me?” I asked, half knowing the reason already. Luce didn’t want me around his kids. He didn’t want them knowing about me, the last third of the Angelic Triumvirate of Light. They already knew about our sister, whom Luce named one of his daughters after.

“I told Lou, but he thought it would be a one-time thing. He said that they had it handled, and no one needed to get involved,” he explained. I gestured to the wall with one arm fully extended.

“This, says otherwise,” I said, and he nodded. “You haven’t told them yet, have you?”

“No.” My eyebrows rose at the monosyllabic reply. I waited a moment, but he didn’t continue.

“Mike,” I started, and his eyes moved from the wall to me. “Why haven’t you told them?”

“If the Devil wants this buried, then he’s not going to let anyone else touch it,” he said, stepping toward the Demoki list. Demoki was the Angelic language, the language all preters learned at some point. It looked almost like runes with extra markings, tittles, and diphthongs.

“Then why look into it? Why not ask his Director what’s going on?” I asked. He slowly turned to meet my eyes, and I tilted my head, eyebrows raised. He sighed and tucked his hands in the pockets of the pinstriped pants.

“I hadn’t thought of asking her. We’re not on the best of terms since her last pregnancy,” he said, and I scrunched my eyebrows.

“What asshole-ish thing did you say to our niece?” I asked. Sure, she might not remember me from when I helped save her twenty some years ago, but I knew her reputation. She wouldn’t let her father get in the way of that.

“I sort of said that she was a baby making machine,” he said, and my jaw dropped. That was the last thing anyone of the male gender should call a female, especially Luce’s Heir.

“And you’re still standing?” I asked, and he glared. “I would’ve thought she’d have struck you dead or at least given you a permanent limp.”

“Ha-ha,” he said then grumbled under his breath as he looked at the symbols again. “What can you gather from the markings?”

“If they were the same as the murder of my betrothed, then it’s a list of the victim’s sins,” I said, moving to stand beside him putting him between me and the body. “Trafficking, lying, fraud, rape, and cheating for business, pleasure, and would you look at that every other way too. Lord on High, no wonder he’s been killed.”

“This isn’t a joke,” Michael snapped at my sarcastic tone, and I slowly turned my head. I met and held his eyes, letting him see that I wasn’t joking. “You’re serious. You think the Maker dispatched someone to do this?”

“Not this exactly, but to kill him, yes. Whoever did it is leaving the list for us to find. As sort of a justification for their actions,” I explained, then my eyes caught an unfamiliar word at the bottom. “What’s this?”

“Underworld, or something similar. It’s Earth and under mixed,” he said, and my mind slid to a halt. “Penny for your thoughts.”

“They’re much more expensive,” I said, stepping around him. I side stepped over the blood-filled trench and lifted the remains of the man’s shirt from his face. I let out a yelp and jumped back. I slammed into the far wall with wide eyes. The man was a demon I’d talked to not twenty-four hours ago. Michael followed, putting himself between me and the victim.

“Leighla, talk to me. What’s wrong? What’s on his face?” he asked, and I shook my head.

“I-I-I,” nothing else would come out. My mind was spinning too fast. “When did the last murder happen?”

He blinked at me and looked to the wall then back.

“Around the nineteenth of June,” he said, and my stomach did a backflip.

“Do you know who it was?” I asked, mouth going dry. Most days, my mind was a logical, rational place. Right now, that logic was pointing fingers at me.

“It was one of L.J.’s gang. The bouncer, the tall one that had a thing for Tamisra,” he named my alias, the one I used when I danced at Korah’s club. The same club that was thirty minutes from where the last body was found.

“Paul or Dustin?” I asked. Both had a thing for my dancing. Neither knew who I really was, and I’d coerced the latter into handing me information.


That did it. That was the last bit I needed. The finger was now squarely pointed at me and that’s why Lou hadn’t wanted his daughter to know about it. That’s why he’d quickly swept it under the rug. He didn’t want her to meet me.

Chapter four

“I need air,” I said and dashed up the stairs. When I hit the living room, I teleported outside to my car. The breakfast I’d had with Vette climbed up my throat, and I rushed to the tree line making it just in time to hurl in the bushes. Mike appeared shortly after and pulled my braids back. I braced with one hand against a tree and heaved until my abs were sore and my stomach was empty.

“Leighla, what’s this all about? I’ve never heard of you hurling at a scene,” he said, trying to make a joke. I narrowed a glare at him and held my stomach. How could I explain it to him? Would he even understand? As the saying goes, there was only one way to find out.

“All the murders have one person in common,” I breathed out as he helped me to the car. I sat on the tailgate, near the boot and engine. He watched me for a moment as I leaned back.

“Who?” he asked. I closed my eyes and took as deep a breath as I could through my screaming abs.

“Me,” I said, and he was quiet for a space too long, so I nervously continued, “Íth was to marry me, Dustin was supposed to give me information about the Underworld, and—” I gestured toward the house. “I talked with him yesterday at Nathaniel’s Bar-what’s the name?”

“The Pirate’s Knight?” he asked, and I nodded.

“Yeah, that one. We talked about some rumors going around the Underworld, and he sold me some information,” I said, opening my eyes. I picked my head up and met Michael’s eyes that were so much like mine. “I’ve been following a suspicion on my own time, ever since Corona’s been on the run. I tried to find her and found something else. Something worse but I was trying to confirm it before I told anyone.”

“What could be worse than a bitch who takes the form of others and ruins their lives?” he asked, being sarcastic. My face remained neutral as I stood and walked to the driver’s door. I opened it, sat, leaned across the car, and opened the hidden compartment under the passenger seat. I grabbed the envelope of pictures and pulled one out. There was a dead body, one much like others we’d seen back in the nineties.

“One that takes on the form of a serial killer and a psychopath who wanted to rape me for decades,” I said, handing him the picture. He stared at it for a moment, eyes wide, and teasing aura gone. I pulled out a couple more pictures and handed them over, one by one, until he teleported to the passenger seat.

“Where did you get…?” his words fell away as he saw the others in my lap. “You know where he is.”

“No. I’ve been trying to find out. I’ve come close twice, but only with Dustin and the current stiff’s help,” I said, slowly handing him more pictures. “Dustin was supposed to give me more information as was—”

“Jonah,” he finished for me as he noted the picture with our victim in the frame. “You said you got information from him—”

“Don’t ask me how. I don’t need to hear the riot act,” I said, dropping the envelope in the space between us.

“You found them, seduced them—”

“I do not seduce. I beguile,” I said. He rolled his eyes from the pictures to my face, but I kept my eyes on the killer in the pictures.

“Whatever you did, it wasn’t right,” he said, coming at me with the ‘holier than thou’ way of thinking that most unfallen Angels had. I didn’t think that way. I didn’t fornicate, kill outside of war, and I didn’t lie, but there were other things that Angels like him didn’t approve of.

“It was spur of the moment,” I said, reaching under the seat and pulling out the keys. “Now, if you’ll excuse me. I have to figure out what to do now.”

“You’re not going to track the killer?” he asked, and I stared at him.

“What kind of hairbrained scheme is that?” I asked, slipping the keys into the ignition. “I told you. Ask the Head Director. She’ll figure out which of the Guardian’s is best suited for this case. Don’t you dare sway her, because I’m not going to do it.”

“Why not? You said yourself that the victims all have you in common. If that holds true, the next person you go to for information will wind up dead or worse,” he said, dropping the pictures onto the stack.

“It doesn’t get much worse than dead, Mikhail,” I used the Demoki inflection of his angelic name, and his eyes glowed with holy orange fire. “Don’t go all goody-two-shoes on me now, Kitran[1]. I’m not a Demokæ[2]. I hear from Him as you do. If you were so righteous and holy, you’d have returned to Heaven after your last errand.”

He stayed quiet for a moment too long. I’d hit a nerve. There was something holding him here. Something he didn’t want to admit. Someone he didn’t want to admit that he’d fallen in love with. He found that illusive soulmate and that’s why he was still here.

“Lisa wouldn’t make you give that up,” I said, and his head shot up. His eyes snapped to mine and glared so hard that it nearly hurt. Not because he was using his powers, but because I could see past the fury. In those eyes, I saw his torment. He didn’t want to fall, didn’t want to be tempted into sin. “Being with your soulmate isn’t a sin, Michael. We both know soulmates that didn’t fall. Ones who didn’t put the Maker’s will under theirs. Ones who obey His commands still.”

“Stop. You don’t even know who yours is,” he said, and my chest ached. That was what all Angels strove to find. Their soulmate. The one person on earth that they could be intimate with, mated to, and not fall. A soulmate to have and to hold for all eternity.

“I thought I did once, eons ago,” I said, and his fire died. “But that time is gone, and I don’t even know if he survived the wars. Now get out of my car so I can go back to the park before Vette leaves.”

“But-” he started, and I glared.

“Get out of my car!”


[1] Demoki: Brother

[2] Demoki: Fallen Angel

Chapter Five

“Leighla, I think you’re being a bit…” he started, and I tuned him out. I grabbed the steering wheel and counted to ten, trying my best to remain calm. I couldn’t hurt him, not without giving away my secret.

Why did my sister have to go and kill one of us and spoil it for the rest of us? When he didn’t stop, I pried my fingers from the steering wheel and growled. The passenger door opened, and he stopped talking.

“Out!” I shouted, slamming my hands on the wheel. He slid out but ducked down to look at me.

“Don’t do anything stupid,” he said. I turned the key and the bug started. I wrapped my hands back around the wheel and stared out the windscreen.

“If you get out of my way, I won’t,” I grumbled. He shut the door and backed away with his hands raised. I glared at him in the circular rearview mirror until he was at his car. I peeled out onto the back road, narrowly missing the coroner’s van. I flipped Mike off as I drove away.

My mind reeled with thoughts of things I couldn’t control. Thoughts of death, marriage, and treaties long forgotten. The Fall of the Tuatha, the fall of Ireland to the invading humans that enslaved the humans who lived there already, and then of Dustin and Jonah. I prayed to the Maker that they were dead before they were hung, but I had no way of knowing until I looked at the coroner’s reports.

Stripping the victims bare was an act of shame. Covering their face was a mercy. Hanging them upside down to drain the blood was excessive. Writing their sins on the wall was justification.

I still didn’t know who’d killed Íth. It was the only mystery that I hadn’t solved. Every other one, I’d solved within months. Íth had been kind to me, a bit cold, but still kind and even compassionate about my situation, and someone killed him.

Tears slid down my face before I registered them, and I teleported the car from the road in Georgia to Wyoming near my cabin. I couldn’t let Lovette see me like this. She didn’t know about Íth. No one knew my true feelings about him. I hadn’t until the morning of my wedding, which had turned into a war.

His people blamed me for his death, and I narrowly escaped. I made it back to the Tuatha and Íth’s nephew pursued. Míl and his family had slaughtered anyone associated with the Tuatha and only stopped after a treaty that banished us underground. In theory we’d stayed above but hid ourselves from the Morts that couldn’t handle our existence. I’d fought with them, but without some of our line, we lost more than we saved, and I left Ireland, my first Earthly home.

 I turned into my driveway and pulled into the four-car garage, noting that neither of my roomies were here. Vette was in Georgia with her husband for the rest of the week and Missy, another of my nieces, would be the MD preforming Jonah’s autopsy in an hour. She’d no doubt tell me what happened when she got home, knowingly or unknowingly, and I needed to deal with it better.

Right now, I needed a nap or a nice long, hot bath with some essential oils to calm my nerves and raging emotions while I pondered who to contact about Corona taking on the disguise. It wasn’t a good disguise really. There was no need for her to pretend to be her long dead father.

“Why can’t anything be simple?” I asked the air as I levitated the photos up and into the envelope. I slipped them under the seat before I tucked the keys into the hidden compartment and got out. I was feet from the door when my phone rang Broken Angel by Boyce Avenue, which was Lovette’s ringtone.

I cursed, groaned, and pulled it out. I forgot that she had my phone geo-tagged so that when I showed up here, she’d know. I tapped the green phone and opened the door into the living room.

“Yes, Vette. Sorry, I couldn’t stay,” I apologized not letting her get a word in.

“Yeah, and Michael called me,” she said. I wiped the tears from my face and sighed. “He said you blew chunks—”

“Don’t remind me,” I groaned, shutting the door behind me. I slunk to the couch in the middle of the large, rustic living room complete with a stone fireplace and stag over the mantle. Granted it was a Fomor Stag with four antlers, three eyes, and fangs protruding from the top and bottom jaw. It looked like a Halloween decoration, but it was a real stag. I sat on the arm of the couch and dropped back onto it. The nap seemed the quickest option.

“What happened? You don’t normally lose your cool while on the job,” she said, sounding like the mother hen she’d become over the years. I groaned, and she stayed quiet for a moment. “You aren’t going to tell me, are you?”

“Nope,” I said with a pop of my lips. She sighed, and I heard the swoosh of someone skating passed her.

“If you’re going to be that way, I can just call Michael back and—”

“Manipulation is not going to work this time,” I sniffed at the end.

“Are you crying?” she asked. I brushed my tears and sighed again.

“No, my eyes are just sweating,” I said, teleporting from the couch onto the surround of the eight-person jacuzzi tub. I slid off as she chuckled, but it was hollow and empty of its usual mirth. She was worried about me.

“Do you need me back at the house?” she asked. I pulled the phone from my ear and set it on the surround, so I could undress without juggling it.

“No. You won’t get anything out of me anyway,” I said and undressed sending my clothes to the hamper in my room. “Plus, I need to be alone for a few hours before everyone gets here. Are you gaming from Georgia or going to teleport home for the night?”

“Damn, I forgot. I’ll be busy,” she said. I rolled my eyes. Of course, she would be. She was working a case for her team, digging up information for the Head Director. A question slapped me in the face and this time I decided to ask it, even if I didn’t want to know.

“Hey, Vette, why haven’t you told your sister-in-law about me?”

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