The Deadly Seven
Black Parade Series Book 2
By Kyoko M
Number of pages: 120
Word Count: 58,546
Cover Artist: Christine Savoie and Katie Litchfield
Michael O’Brien. 24. New Yorker. Musician. Commander of Heaven’s army.
It’s been centuries since Michael stayed on Earth for an extended period of time. Now he’s here because of Jordan Amador—a Seer who helped him restore his life and memories and thwart the archdemon Belial from taking over the city. With Jordan on Belial’s hit list, Michael decides to stick around and live out life alongside her as her friend and temporary bodyguard. But as the days pass, he finds it harder to resist the seven deadly sins that tempt all men. Especially as he and Jordan grow closer fighting the demons who want her almost as much as he does…
Being Jordan Amador’s angelic bodyguard against a horde of bloodthirsty demons was a lot of things, but certainly not boring.
I checked my watch for the fortieth time in the last twenty minutes.
Jordan usually got off at eight o’clock. Things had been quiet for over two weeks now, which was rare for a Seer’s lifestyle. She encountered ghosts with unfinished business a few times a month and that kept the both of us busy. Earlier, she had convinced me to meet her at the bus stop a couple streets over instead of in front of the Sweet Spot.
“So would you mind waiting for me at the bus stop instead of out here?” she had asked, sweeping her shoulder-length black hair up into its usual high ponytail.
I frowned. “Why? Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of the whole ‘temporary bodyguard’ thing?”
“It’s been quiet for a while now, Michael. Come on. Helping avert the end of the world and ganking an archdemon aren’t enough to prove I can take care of myself?”
I glanced between her and the store front. A couple of her waitress friends who were watching us through the window scattered as soon as I looked over. Then it clicked.
“They think I’m your boyfriend, huh?”
Jordan got really interested in her shoes all of the sudden. “Yeah. They do.”
I shook my head. She was an anointed soul charged with helping the dead find peace and yet she still cared what her coworkers thought of our relationship. I couldn’t decide if it was cute, frustrating, or hilarious. Possibly all three.
Then again, I could see how her coworkers would get confused that a six-foot-tall, dark-haired, green-eyed “underwear model” (which I overheard one of them dub me last week) dropped Jordan off at work on a frequent basis. I decided to be lenient for once.
“Fine. We’ll give it a test run today. If you survive, I’ll take it into consideration.”
She shot me a scowl. “Gee, thanks, almighty Michael. I am humbled that you considered the request of a lowly human.”
I grinned. “You’re welcome, my humble servant.”
She rolled her eyes and swatted my arm before turning to head into the restaurant. “Later, pretty boy.”
“Stay out of trouble.” I called, and then headed back towards the bus stop.
That had been eight hours ago. Getting off a shift late wasn’t unusual for a waitress, but most times it was by only five or ten minutes. My instincts needled at me that something was off.
Sighing, I fished out my cell phone and called her, tapping my foot.
“Come on, Amador, pick up.”
Several rings. A click. Voicemail message. Ugh. I hung up and stuffed my hands in my pockets. It was a short walk through the heavily trafficked area on this side of Albany, New York, but it was during one of the busier times of the day. Nighttime in the city meant chatty couples walking through holding hands, teenagers hollering and chasing each other down the street, and music pouring out from the clubs already packed to the rafters with the twenty-somethings.
Two stop lights, one near-death experience courtesy of a speeding cab, and one step in some gum later, and I reached the glowing red sign to the Sweet Spot. The Southern cuisine eatery was busy. As much as Northerners made fun of the South in sitcoms and stand up shows, they sure did like the food.
I pushed the door open and smiled at Beth, the head hostess. “Hey, you.”
“Michael.” The short blonde grinned. “Good to see you as always.”
“Is Jordan still in the back?”
A slight frown marred her brow. “No, honey. She left about ten minutes ago.”
I froze. “Left how? She was supposed to meet me at the bus stop.”
“She went out back to take out the trash and I just assumed she went home after. Why? Something wrong?”
A cold lump settled in my stomach. Something wasn’t adding up. Jordan wasn’t the type to disappear without texting me. I didn’t want to concern her friends so I kept my expression pleasant. “Nah, she probably just wandered off to window shop. I’ll catch up with her. Thanks, Beth.”
“No problem, sweets.”
I made a point to leave the restaurant in a casual manner, but once I was out of sight, I hurried around the block to the back of the building. The Sweet Spot was part of an entertainment district in this section of Albany. There were narrow alleys between the establishments and the streets ran parallel to the store fronts.
The Sweet Spot’s back alley looked like any other restaurant in Albany—lined by dumpsters and garbage cans. The concrete was littered with fallen bits of food. A couple of mangy cats fought over fish bones. The entire area stank to high heaven. I called Jordan’s phone again and prayed that my instincts were wrong.
The raucous chorus to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” echoed behind me.
I turned towards one of the dumpsters and lifted the entire thing with one hand. Her phone lay cracked and forlorn underneath it.
Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon's 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.
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