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Book 5: The Ash Collector

Faith Savage, Demon Huntress

Mojocastle Press

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 11,079
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In the beginning, God created man in his image; from dust and ash, hope was cast.

Yet as far as time remembers, in the scrolls of history’s past, it was written that woman brought temptation to the garden. Woman introduced death unto man. But have you forgotten about the trickster? Was mortal destruction not his master plan?

There are those who say death is a celebration. One soul’s defiant, heavy passing; another’s gentle ease into the Light. Commemorations for the departed. Forgiveness of old transgressions. A final rest for pity, the end to immortal strife. But is death just the beginning? And who comes to collect you when you pass?

What happens to the worthy if the Light turns against them? Do they stand their ground, stay and fight? What about those who seek no forgiveness? Do the deceiver’s minions scurry from the darkness? Come and collect their next eternal victim? Is everlasting damnation the deceased’s future plight?

My name is Faith Savage. I know what it is to walk the dark shadows at the edge of destruction. To feel the presence of The Collector in the night. I know what it is to bleed the dust of life’s possibilities, to sift through the ash of mankind’s hopes and dreams. To seek the evil that makes souls rot. It is here in this impossible darkness that I hunt demons, searching for my own answers and retributions, in the battle for the Light.

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“Close your mouth, Faith. I already know you’ve eaten nothing today but the lies and hate of the darkness.”

I blinked. Once. Twice. Snapped my jaw shut and glared at him. I couldn’t help it, I was pissed. Where the hell was he five minutes ago when I was all but being drug into hell’s dark void? Where was he two days ago when the damn demons had claimed Father Daniel? Where were any of them? Couldn’t sully their fine, golden fingers, could they?

So, pissed it was. And so I glared. Glared at the perfection of satin black hair that hung in waves to his shoulders. Snarled at perfect blue eyes with their dark ebony scratch of brow above. I scowled at the hard angles and soft rounded edges of a perfectly beautiful face with its soft, lovely lips above the round of a perfectly formed chin.

Then I frowned at a gleaming set of perfect white teeth as they smiled back at me. I wanted to smack the smirk right off him. Not just for being God’s perfectly glorious creature, but for noticing that I noticed and being all damned smug about it.
Arrogance, thy name is man—even if thou art an angel.

“Angels are not men,” he gruffly stated.

“Whatever,” I roughly replied, making sure to throw in the appropriate eye roll and snort of disdain. Then I pushed my way past him to the cabinet next to the bathroom door, all but opening it in his face so I could get some gauze and a washcloth to clean and wrap my still-bleeding arm. Each move I made was hard and with purpose. Yeah, I was definitely pissed.

Judge me, I thought. Could have shown up a little sooner. Like before the evil had killed my friend. I all but growled my annoyance as I slammed shut the door.

With supplies in hand, I turned to face a stormy-looking angel. As far as I was concerned, he could stand there and pout, or whatever he thought that look was. Peevishness didn’t sit well on such splendor. Either way, I was quite certain his aggravation didn’t compare with my own. Besides, I had much bigger problems than dealing with his wounded ego. First, I was bleeding like a stuck pig. Second, I had to figure out what the hell kind of freak-ass demon had just tried to drag me through to the netherworld. And then, of course, there was why.