Iris Johnson is a brilliant astrophysicist who has always believed in keeping her emotions under wraps. Adopted as a baby, she has never felt truly loved. After a terrible accident and a failed relationship, she swore off men, content with working long hours and stargazing.
Born nearly 200 years ago, Gideon is an Orlosian Warrior, a descendant of angels, and in his world the ratio of men to women is 500 to 1. Willful, insubordinate, and impetuous, he is one of the most feared seekers – elite law enforcers – because of his exceptional ability to kill.
When Gideon is severely injured in battle, his contact with Iris puts her life in danger and awakens desires he has never known. To save her, he will have to make impossible choices, commit a cardinal sin, and break the law he has sworn to uphold and defend.
***Note to Reader***
For the best reading experience, it is suggested that you read "Calm Assurance: Orlosian Warriors Bk. 1," "Destiny's Favor: Orlosian Warriors Bk. 2," and "Outreach: An Orlosian Warriors Novella," first. Primary characters from these 3 books play a prominent role in book three. This book includes updates from previous books and a bonus excerpt/update from "Outreach," Jaci's and Andreus' story. Must be 18+. Contains explicit love scenes, violence, and profanity.
Gideon swooped down on the minions, their featherless bat-like wings flitting awkwardly in every direction when they realized who they were facing, his name a legend even among them.
With no time to escape, the minions tried to spread out, creating a semi-circle around him.
Gideon sheathed his swords, used his huge emerald and gold wings to change position, then shot back and up like a capsule, his wings acting as a cocoon as he began zapping them, palms outstretched before the minions could complete formation. Gideon used the lightning to maintain an endless stream of electrical power, smiting two at a time, their bodies instantly turning to ash.
Just as he zapped the sixth minion, he sensed three more behind him, joining the fray. Too late. A sword sliced into his side, another into his back, just shy of his spine.
Pain seared through his body, the swords tinged with something he had never experienced before, piercing vital organs. Unable to stop the blood loss, he fought to breathe, each breath more painful than the last.
Reflexively, he reached back and removed the sword from his back in one swift motion, barely wincing from the added pain. Then, he turned so quickly, the minions didn’t have time to move out of his path. Their bodies were ashes in an instant.
Gideon felt his body growing weaker as he flew above the clouds. He glanced down at his side to see blood running down his hip in rivulets, and only the One God knew the condition of his back. Zion and Bastien had returned to Orlos by now. He was on his own. What the hell was I thinking? Going after nine Minions by himself was madness, particularly with scant minutes before the inter-dimensional window closed, leaving him susceptible to every human disease. The urgent need to act on some unidentified drive goaded him to near insanity. He was barely thinking at all.
Despite the pain, Gideon smiled, replaying the death of each of the nine minions at his hands. His swords were merely a distraction.
His smile waned as soon as he breached the human realm, painfully reminded his ability to regenerate would be of no use. His body would not be able to repair itself while flying at this altitude, and without human sustenance, antibodies, he had no protection against disease. If the injuries and blood loss did not kill him, a common human virus would finish him off.
Gideon tried to sense a secluded place to land, but felt and heard too many heartbeats everywhere as he began to lose altitude. According to Orlosian Law, the second cardinal sin was revealing their presence to humans. Already below the clouds, he was falling fast, fear of being seen the least of his worries.He forced his blood to evaporate as long as he had power, but his strength waned too quickly, leaving blood flowing from his body like water. His wings cut through the air behind him, useless. Then despite pressing his palm against his side to cauterize the pouring wound and stop the bleeding, he began to lose consciousness.
When Iris reached the top floor, she took the winding stairs leading to the observatory. Before she could reach her favorite spot, a tiny alcove where she could sit for hours and gaze at the stars, she heard rustling like a flag blowing in heavy winds, and a loud boom coming from above her, then eerie silence as if sound had been snuffed out following an explosion.
In true Iris fashion, no fear, she ran a few steps to see what she’d heard before reminding herself she could be running toward danger. She stopped for a moment, reining-in her curiosity, but when she didn’t hear anything more, she continued to climb the stairs cautiously. Repositioning her glasses in case she needed to see something more than a foot in front of her, she trudged on. Although burglary attempts had been made at the museum, the amount of noise told her this was something different. No professional burglar would dare make this kind of noise.
When she finally reached the landing, she couldn’t believe what she saw. Sprawled across the observation floor was what appeared to be a behemothic bird with the largest, most striking, bright green and gold feathers she’d ever seen – and she had seen her share of feathers.
The wings, covering the face and body, must have spanned twenty feet, and loose feathers floated on the air as far as she could see.
“Back away, Iris. Just back away and call for…” She stopped talking to herself for a moment and frowned, searching for an answer. Well, that’s just crazy. Who would I call? Those idiots with guns? “No way.”
She ran toward the wings a few steps and hesitated, watching the creature to make sure it was still breathing, but she couldn’t be sure if the movement she saw was breathing or the wind ruffling the obviously injured bird’s feathers.
Iris inched closer, her heart drumming in her ears like a timpani, and that’s when she saw it.
She dropped her snacks and water then ran the remaining few steps to stoop down beside the creature.
Blood ran beneath the feathers. Lots of blood, and the puddle was growing larger.
Just as Iris reached to touch one of the wings, the creature shifted.
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