Xariel grasped the handle of his concealed dagger, recalling Metatron’s warning. Why did Karla Black interest his superior? Orders to kill then revive her ran counter to Xariel’s normal duties. Karla’s dossier indicated nothing remarkable except heterochromia iridium. A recent headshot sent to Xariel’s email revealed a pale oval face framed by a cinnamon bob cut so it angled along her jaw. Most noteworthy, though, were Karla’s eyes. One was cobalt, the other, emerald.
He inhaled a drag from his cigarette, flipped the butt over the rail and watched it disappear beneath the choppy waters of the Ohio River. Back to work. Concentrating, he locked his internal radar on her position. Third and Market. He’d finish this assignment, return home to his Courier-Journal and Crown Royal.
Thank Seraphim cold, damp temperatures kept people away from Riverfront Plaza tonight. No one to witness him teleport.
Xariel closed his eyes. Seconds later, he appeared behind Karla, shoes making no sound on the concrete. She shifted from one foot to another, her calf-high PVC boots drawing his attention to the short denim skirt she tugged down over black tights. Eyes focused on the don’t walk sign, she muttered an impatient expletive.
Was she a street walker? He didn't recall reading so in her file, only that she worked as a barista at a local coffee shop. At least she had sense enough to wear a short wool jacket against the damp chill permeating downtown Louisville.
Before Karla registered his appearance, he grabbed her from behind, slapping a hand over her mouth. She struggled to jerk free. One stiletto-booted heel kicked back, aimed for his instep. Xariel dodged and dragged her into a nearby alley, ignoring the muffled cries vibrating against his hand. There, he focused on setting up a temporary barrier. He couldn't risk her escaping, not after Metatron’s warning.
The force field wouldn't last long. Xariel shoved Karla back against the brick facade of an office building. He pulled out his dagger, plunging it into her stomach. Her eyes, narrowed in anger, widened in shock as blood drained from her face.
Xariel withdrew the knife, blood dripping down the blade. Karla slumped to the tarmac. He
watched her soul, a wispy tendril indiscernible to the human eye, slip through her slack mouth.
He unscrewed the dagger handle and directed her soul into the hollow recess. Although he’d only a short time, he needed to be methodical, cautious. Move too fast and a fragment of psyche might escape. She’d be damaged, worthless.
Satisfied no essence remained, Xariel sealed the dagger and invoked the prayer Metatron had taught him.
He pierced Karla again in the same place, willing her soul to reenter her body and the wound to heal. She remained unresponsive.
Xariel drew a sharp breath. Failure? Shit. Metatron would have his head.
Published by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing Corp.
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