His Angel (Rain Shadow Book 1)
His Angel (Rain Shadow Book 1)
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He never expected to find and angel in hell.
All his memories are gone and death is beckoning.
Trapped in his own slice of hell, his will to live is slipping away.
Then her voice drifts over him.
His angel draws him away from the darkness.
The Bedlam MC does not welcome strangers.
He is an outsider.
She's risking everything.
But he needs her.
And soon she needs him too.
As his past returns to memory, the truth is revealed.
A truth that could destroy Angel's entire world.
Book 1 of the sexy, fast-paced Rain Shadow series.
Approximately 40,000 words
What readers are saying:
"5 Rockin’ ★★★★★- It is an incredible story of destiny, love against unbelievable odds and the human spirit that will never give up!" -Amazon Reviewer
- Hidden identity
- MC romance
- Romantic suspense
- Dark secret
More books in the series:
Book 1 - His Angel
Book 2 - His Truth
Book 3 - Finding Her
Book 4 - Saving Her
Book 5 - Our Destiny
A sharp object poked my cheek. Sunlight scorched my eyes as I squinted at the squat figure in front of me. It waddled closer and its long beak struck my hand. I flinched and the crow took off in a black flurry of disappointment. Its breakfast was still alive. But not for long.
I’d walked only a few hundred yards. Skin puncturing thorns and flaming hot sand had made the trek in bare feet impossible. I’d dropped to a crawl for several hundred more feet, navigating through the maze of pungent sagebrush until convincing myself that it was useless. There was nothing around for miles.
Now bone splitting pain followed every move, every tremor. And the uncontrollable shaking grew worse with each passing minute. With the slow, tortured movements of a dying animal, I wrapped my arms around my legs and pulled my body into a tight ball, hoping to slow the trembling. My strength was fading fast. My life was draining away, and I had no will to stop it. It seemed I’d discovered hell long before death had come to take me.
My eyes drifted shut, and, again, the relentless voice inside my clouded head told me to open them. As badly as I wanted to take my last shuddering breath, I couldn’t. But it wasn’t some subconscious will to live that kept my eyes open. The darkness in my head told me not to sleep. Sleep had a terrible ending. The torture in my mind was far worse than the cuts and bruises on my body and face. It was like I had a ticking time bomb buried deep inside my skull just waiting to go off and blow my brain to bits.
My body ached as if it had been pounded by a mallet. I glanced up toward the sky. The sun had moved halfway across the field of blue, shifting the tree shadows. It had been half a day since the stranger had dragged me out of the bed of his truck and dumped me like a discarded mattress between the tumbleweeds and spindly shrubs. The man, hunched over from age and years of hard labor, had smelled as if he’d bathed in fertilizer. But as feeble as he’d appeared, I’d been unable to struggle against him. It had all been surreal as if I had just been watching the whole scene from outside of my body, a body I no longer had control over.
Tiny pricks of stinging heat climbed up my bare shoulder. A groan of pain rolled from my throat as I turned my head. A trail of red ants had started a path across my sun scorched skin. Moving my hand to wipe them off was even more painful than their stings.
I pulled in a long breath and the dusty ground came with it. The agonizing coughing fit that followed made every minute before feel pleasurable in comparison. Each sputtering breath caused my ribs to explode with pain, and pressing my arms against my chest did nothing to relieve the misery. After endless minutes of pure hell, I collapsed against the hot, sandy ground. Broken twigs and rocks stabbed at my flesh, and I briefly wondered if the army of ants crawling toward me could carry me off to their hole, breaking off little bits of flesh and hauling my carcass proudly down to their queen, one piece at a time.
Warm blood trickled down my neck again. Somewhere along my journey to the edge of mortality, someone, or something, had ripped my earlobe. It now dangled in two separate pieces, giving the crows and vultures a head start. The coughing spasms had restarted the flow of blood.
I swallowed again and again to relieve the dryness in my parched throat, but there was no moisture left in my mouth. I stared out at the barren landscape thinking it was a serene enough place to die. The heat, low humidity and desert carnivores would devour my flesh quickly. Then someday a pair of adventurous hikers would stumble across my bones.
A lizard crept along the trail of ants and swept up a tongue full. I’d become an accepted part of their world, and, now, the desert creatures, obviously concluding that I was no threat, continued on with their daily struggles to survive. The lizard’s lightning fast tongue shot out again and then it lifted its head and skittered away. Something had scared it.
The hard ground vibrated slightly, and I heard something move in the shrubs behind me. I couldn’t match a desert animal to the size of whatever was coming up on me. And then a shadow fell over my body, providing temporary relief from the burning sunlight. The old man had returned to make sure that I was dead. I closed my eyes waiting for the final, long awaited blow. Soft fingers brushed my forehead.
I looked up into eyes that were pools of teal blue water. The wide brim of her floppy hat shaded most of her face, but her plump lips flattened with worry as she stared down at me. I had finally succumbed to the desert heat, and I was looking at a mirage. Most people who were half dead from thirst dreamt of relief giving springs of water, but I’d conjured up a beautiful girl. If I was to die anyhow, I preferred my hallucination to the imaginary water supply.
A loud snort followed by a shower of fine mist pried me from my fantasy. The girl did not vanish. Her realness only intensified. A horse lowered his large head, and the animal stared down at me over the girl’s shoulder. She waved the horse back and knelt down. The faint fragrance of citrus drifted over me, and the comforting scent of it pulled me farther from my semi-conscious state.
She leaned over my body. I couldn’t look away from her face. She was not real, I told myself. Girls like her existed only in a dying man’s imagination. She lifted her hand, and I held my breath as her fingers pressed lightly along the skin covering my rib cage. My mind debate had ended. Her touch was all too real. She was not just an illusion. She bit her lip in concern as she looked me over. I hadn’t really taken stock of my wardrobe, but the sunburn on my shoulders assured me that my shirt had gone the way of my shoes.
Sympathy only made her look that much more beautiful. “You’ve really been through something,” she said in a silky, lyrical voice that was such a contrast to the muddied, ice-cold voices that had occupied my head the past few hours that I once again questioned if she was real. “Where did you come from?”
Dredging up any seconds from even my immediate past took more concentration than I had at the moment. But I remembered the truck. A dry, dusty throat and a pounding head made speaking a chore. “An old man dumped me out of the back of his pick-up. That’s the only part of this day that’s clear— the old man who smelled like cow shit and his squeaky truck. And the chickens.”
Her eyes rounded.
“I was shoved between two rows of cages filled with chickens.”
She nodded as if she knew the man I was talking about. She touched my side again with a tenderness that caused my eyes to drift shut. For a second I worried that when I opened them she would be gone but then a feminine voice cascaded over me again. “I think you’ve got some broken ribs.” She reached for the strap that crossed her chest. My eyes watered at the sight of a water bottle sitting in the pouch. “Your first instinct will be to suck this bottle dry but go slow.” She slipped her slim hand beneath my head. My skull pounded and dizziness nearly overwhelmed me as I lifted my mouth to drink. She’d been right. The second the cool water touched my tongue, I guzzled the liquid into my parched throat. I choked on it before I could swallow it down. It felt as if my insides were bleeding as I sat up abruptly in an attempt to clear my air passage.
“Breathe through your nose,” she said calmly.
Once I’d gained some control, I sucked a long breath in through my nose. The coughing fit was subdued, but the pain was unbearable. I twisted to the side and puked up the tiny amount of water that had gotten past. I held my arm against my stomach to squelch the pain and closed my eyes to keep from falling face forward.
Her touch pulled me back from the brink of passing out. Her fingertips pressed along the skin on my shoulders. “You’ll need something for this sunburn too”. She held up the bottle. “Ready to try again?”
I nodded. She kept the bottle nearly level so that the water merely trickled into my mouth like a miniature, flowing river. I groaned at the sheer relief of having moisture coat my tongue and throat.
I drained the bottle. “Sorry,” I said hoarsely.
“No worry. I don’t live far.”
She pushed up to her feet. The worn, black lace-up boots looked ironic and perfect on her. They stopped mid-calf and there was a long, sensual stretch of smooth, tanned skin between the black leather and the frayed edges of her faded denim shorts. The faint silhouette of a pink bra showed through the lacy thin fabric of her loose fitting shirt.
She looked over her shoulder at her horse and then turned back to me. She was an incredible inconsistency in the otherwise harsh and barren landscape. “Do you think you have the strength to climb up on his back?”
“Yeah.” My throat was dry again.
She lowered her hand to me.
I stared at it for a second still trying to decide if the image in front of me was real.
“Try not to pull me down.” She smiled. If she wasn’t real then I’d died and somehow managed to slip into heaven unnoticed.
Her hand felt warm, slim and slightly calloused as she wrapped her long fingers around mine. I sucked in a deep breath and used my free arm to staunch the pain in my chest. My head spun, and the weedy landscape swirled around me.
I swayed on my feet, and she grabbed hold of my wrist. She gazed up at me and smoothed her palm over my forehead. The comforting touch felt so foreign, my throat ached from it. “I didn’t realize you were this tall.”
I looked down at the shallow imprint of my body in the sand. “Yeah, lying in a crumpled ball of battered flesh makes anyone seem small.”
Her long, coffee brown hair hung in wild waves around her thin shoulders, with only the occasional thin braid to interrupt the untamed strands. It was the type of hair that was not suited for brushing, and she didn’t seem like the kind of girl who would waste one minute of life being primped and styled in front of a mirror.
She moved to touch me again and I leaned toward her hand, wanting the feel of it on my bruised skin. With no hesitation or look of repulsion, she fingered my ripped earlobe. “Was it an earring?” she asked.
My gaze dropped, and I contemplated the question. “I don’t think so.” My mind tried to connect the visions of the past few days, but there was only blackness, horrible agonizing blackness, and the rip in my ear had played a part in it all. I pushed down any visions before they had a chance to surface. My head and gut felt as if they’d been filled with lead.
She seemed to sense my confused despair. “No matter, we can fix that ear right up.” She took hold of my hand and led me toward the horse. It had found an edible patch of weeds several hundred yards away. “I’m Evangeline, but everyone calls me Angel.”
“Appropriate,” I said quietly.
She glanced over at me and smiled. “Yeah, but this Angel comes with a catch.”
“There’s always a catch. What is it?”
“You’ll see soon enough.” We stopped next to a rock. Angel whistled. “Come here, Chance.”
The black horse was massively built as if it had been bred to haul a wagon and not a girl. It lifted its giant, broad head and stared at me from beneath a long curtain of black hair. Then it plodded toward us, kicking up a respectable cloud of dust in its wake.
“Chance?” I asked.
She nodded. “The man who I bought him from told me I’d be taking a chance with my life by climbing onto his back. But he’s a great horse. I haven’t seen him throw a rider for weeks, and the last was someone who deserved it. So technically, it doesn’t count. Unfortunately, I only brought Chance out for a walk, so I’m afraid there is no saddle or reins. You’ll have to balance on his back.” She lifted up a tuft of hair from the horse’s neck. “I’ll lead him from the ground, and you can hold onto his mane.”
The word balance seemed pretty inconsistent with the way my head was feeling. A bead of liquid ran down the side of my face and I wiped at it. For once it had been sweat and not blood. It was late afternoon, but the sun was still beating down. The dry desert air seemed to absorb every ounce of the heat energy.
Angel pulled off her wide brimmed hat. I knew damn well that I was staring at her, but I couldn’t help myself. There was nothing about her that didn’t command complete attention. “God, you are beautiful,” the words came out on the breath I’d been holding.
She looked away shyly and pushed back an errant braid that had fallen across her face. Then she handed me her hat. “This will help keep the sun off of you. I think you’ve had your share of the elements today.”
I stared down at the utterly feminine hat and then looked at her. “After spitting water all over myself and puking my guts into the sand, I think I’d rather risk death from exposure than lose the one shred of dignity I have left.”
She laughed and pressed the hat back down on her head. “What’s your name?” she asked.
I gazed back at her. The simple question spun through my muddled thoughts. My brain couldn’t come up with an answer. All of the connections in my neurons had been frozen, rendered useless by something deep inside my soul, something that wouldn’t let me bring my past to the surface. It was as if out of self-preservation, my memory had shut itself down. I looked up at the all too real beauty in front of me. The sensation of her touch still lingered on my skin. Her lips parted in anticipation of my answer.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I can’t remember my name.”
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