Author’s Note: While 9/11 was a difficult subject to deal with, it was an important turning point for these characters, and somewhere I needed to go with them. I would have preferred to avoid it, but the timeline wouldn’t allow for it, and without the inclusion, later events necessary to the book, and the series as a whole, couldn’t happen…
Their mission is to search out and bring down those who trade in terrorism, fear, and human suffering by whatever means necessary. To do this, they must be willing to give up their freedom, and even their lives. They are a mercenary unit with a mission, and a motivation that has nothing to do with what they get paid, and everything to do with the innocent lives they save. Meet the men and women of…
Peter Talladay swore he’d never return to Ireland alive, until a battle with a demon in Iraq left him certain he would die a broken man. But when his boss’ wife calls in an expert on demons, and a withering disdain for mercenaries, Peter’s found a new reason to live. Now, if he can only convince determined-to-hate him Hope MacKenzie to trust him, Peter may still find the peace he’s long believed lost to him.
Excerpt from HOPE OF HEAVEN (Project Prometheus, Atlantis Silver, Book #2) —
“My god.” The words slipped from her numb lips while she stared at the image on the screen, seeing a commercial airliner plow straight into the side of New York City’s World Trade Center. Searing agony sucked the breath from Hope’s lungs. She was vaguely aware of the sound of plates crashing to the floor and Peter’s low oath as he shifted to view the monitor. Another jolt of pain and terror flashed through her, just as a second plane followed the first down, and Hell descended on Hope’s head.
Tears flowed freely down her face, and she doubled over against the agony threatening to rip her in two. Empathy was a dangerous gift, especially with this kind of carnage. She could hear the screams, feel the panic of an entire city, and the pain… the pain was nearly overwhelming.
“Hope.” The murmur, full of fear and concern, filtered through the roar of blood in her ears, and she tore her gaze from the terrible violence, to find Peter halfway out of his chair, his gray eyes dark with fear. For her.
She shuddered, and tried to explain, but her mouth worked soundlessly. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t sit here and absorb this kind of emotion. She wanted to hide, to go back to the ignorant bliss of not knowing the terror and horror that tore the world apart. Now.
Driven by panic and the splintering of her soul, Hope jerked to her feet and ran from the pub. She had to run. She had to get away from it all. Her legs pounded down the streets of Dublin, her sneakered feet skidding on cobblestone and finding purchase on asphalt and concrete, as sobs sawed in and out of her throat. She didn’t see the curious and concerned looks of the people she passed. Not as more than peripheral acknowledgments, at any rate. Her gaze was focused inward, where her soul bled and the screaming continued. She ran harder and harder, but she couldn’t outrun the searing agony.
Hope finally collapsed, exhausted, on the steps of the pub she left an hour ago, and buried her head against her knees as she sobbed in anger and pain. Someone opened the World Gate. With a single act of horrific violence, they tore apart the balance of the world and sacrificed so much innocent blood no one could hope to heal from the damage done.
“You can’t run from everything, Hope.”
Her head snapped up at that softly-spoken admonition, and she found Peter leaning heavily on the entryway of the pub. She swiped angrily at her tear-stained cheeks and glared at him. “You shouldn’t be standing.”
He sighed. “And picking a fight with me won’t ease the pain, either, lass.”
She winced, aware that was exactly what she was doing. Damn it, she wanted this pain out, gone. She didn’t know what else to do.
“I know,” she whispered miserably, hugging her arms around her knees to stave off the chill as she rocked back and forth.
“Let’s go home,” he suggested softly.
She nodded bleakly and rose to her feet. Slipping beneath his arm, she was aware of the comforting warmth of him, and something inside of her cracked wide. She wanted to press into his offered solace, sob out her fear and anger in his arms, banish the ghosts now plaguing her with the one thing Hope had never been comfortable with in her entire life — sex. The idea startled her, to even think she wanted Peter that way. Hope MacKenzie didn’t want any man that way. She hadn’t in years. But right now she wanted Peter, badly. She wanted him to chase away her ghosts.
Instead, she absorbed the warmth of him and bit her lip against voicing her need for more as she helped him to the jeep, and then climbed into the driver’s seat. Their trip home was silent. Oppressive heaviness hung over them as they each wrestled with demons—hers figurative, his real. There was no easy solution, but Hope knew whatever happened next, everything between them changed today. For the first time in thirteen years, she let a man see her cry.