Congratulations to fellow 5 Prince Publishing author, Melynda Price, on the NEW RELEASE of the second novel in the Redemption Series, Shades of Darkness! Check it out!
Free will comes at a cost…
Three years after losing the love of her life, Olivia Norton refuses to continue living in the shadows of what will never be. But how can she marry another when her guardian angel still holds her heart?
Bound by Universal Law, Liam is forced to choose between his honor and his heart. Returning for Olivia nearly cost him his salvation once, but twice may prove to be his final undoing. Some sacrifices are worth the risk, while others could bring consequences that would last an immortal lifetime.
The game has changed—new players bring new threats and challenges. The evil that nearly took Olivia’s life three years ago has returned with a vengeance. A legion has been sent, and the Dark Court will not rest until the last sighted female has been killed.
An old enemy returns… Evil has a new face, a new name, and Haden will stop at nothing to possess the key Olivia holds, unlocking the power he needs to claim his revenge against Heaven and Hell.
Olivia stood in front of the floor-length mirror. A beautiful woman she no longer recognized stared back at her with haunted, vacant eyes. Dressed in white, her floor-length gown, adorned with sequins and pearl beading, ran down the length of the six-foot train in an intricate design worthy of a queen. The back of her dress was cut in a deep V, stopping just above her waistline. A jeweled tiara sat nestled securely in the upsweep of her jet black hair, just like the one she’d often worn as a little girl. The veil of purity lay draped beside her jewelry box on the desk in the corner of the dressing room.
Piano music wafted through the vents of the old church, carrying a beautiful melody through the stale air of the chapel. Olivia sighed in resignation and reached up, unfastening the clasp of her necklace. The heart-shaped stone fell away from her neck, and she placed it in the palm of her hand. Closing her fist tightly over the stone, she turned away from her reflection and walked over to her jewelry box.
Olivia opened the drawer and placed the necklace inside. She pulled out a string of pearls and fastened them around the base of her throat, being careful to avoid snagging the few curls hanging down from her pearl-pinned French twist.
“You look beautiful,” a husky voice whispered behind her.
Startled, Olivia gasped and spun around, tangling the length of satin and lace around her feet. “Liam!” Her voice shook as a tidal wave of emotions crashed into her—joy, love, anger, pain…sorrow. It took every last bit of her self-control not to run to him and throw herself into his arms. Her heart raced so fast, she became lightheaded and reached out to steady herself against the old, age-roughened desk. Three years… Three long painful years… It felt like an eternity.
Liam stood in the corner of the small room, statue still, arms crossed over his broad chest. He was just as beautiful as she’d remembered—perhaps a little leaner, which only enhanced the muscular sculpting of his magnificent body. The errant waves of his dark burgundy hair hung in layers, nearly touching his shoulders, framing his strong, square jaw. A muscle ticked in his cheek as he stood there watching her. He seemed different somehow… His eyes, the change was in his eyes that now held a depth born of pain, sorrow and regret.
The prelude to the Wedding March carried up through the vents. The soft serenade filled the room, pulling Olivia from her trance. A rush of pain, masked by anger, surged anew, tearing open a wound of heartache that never completely healed. “Why are you here?” she demanded.
Liam didn’t respond. For the longest time, he just stood there—staring at her with an odd emotionless determination. Olivia started to question her sanity. Perhaps he hadn’t come back at all, and her mind was caught up in some sick, twisted quest for self-fulfilling prophecy.
“I had to see you.” His words came out in an aching rasp that stung all the way to her soul. Oh, he was real. No figment of her imagination could hurt this much.
“Why now, Liam? Why today? This is my wedding day!” Her voice escalated with every word until she reached hysteria. “It’s been three years! Do you know how many nights I’ve cried myself to sleep over you? Oh, that’s right, of course you do! And yet, you still didn’t come back to me. All those times I begged and pleaded, just to let me see you again.”
His mask of apathy shattered, revealing a haunted look in his amber-colored eyes that took her breath away—unspoken evidence of his grief, proving the depth of pain and suffering hadn’t just been her cross to bear. “Dammit! Don’t you think I wanted to, Olivia? God knows, I wanted to! But I knew if I came back, even for a moment, you’d never move on. It’s killed me to sit by and watch you mourn over what can never be. Night after night, I begged the Father to give me the strength to stay away from you.”
Liam’s eyes fell on the pearl necklace clinging to her throat that was slowly choking the life out of her. “This is the first time you’ve taken that off in three years.” His voice was so raw, she winced.
Reaching up, she touched her throat, fingering the smooth, cool beads. “I had to,” she whispered. “How can I get married to the man I’m trying to love while wearing a necklace from the angel that holds my heart?” Tears spilled down her cheeks, and she stopped even trying to contain them.
“Do you love him, Olivia?”
Liam’s questioning eyes raked over her. She ached to reach out and touch his beautiful face, just one more time, to feel whole in his embrace once again and let him wash away the years of pain and suffering she’d endured in his absence—to taste that delicious kiss she longed for…
“Look at me!” she cried, grabbing fists full of her wedding dress, holding them out in exasperation. “I’m getting married!” A fresh wave of tears rolled down her cheeks. By now, her make-up would be completely ruined, not that she really cared. It was symbolic of the last three years of her life.
“Trust me, I am well aware, and that’s not what I asked you.”
“I love him as much as I’m capable of loving someone. I’ve been broken for so long. I just want to feel normal again.”
The Wedding March echoed through the tiny room, and she looked nervously over her shoulder. “That’s my cue,” she whispered, unwilling to walk away from him.
“I wish it was me waiting down there for you.”
Oh God, don’t say that to me! Her hand flew up to cover her mouth as a broken sob escaped her throat. “I do, too,” she breathed the barely audible confession.
A soft knock sounded at the door. “Olivia? We’re ready for you, honey.”
She tore her eyes away from him long enough to cast an anxious glance over her shoulder and called, “I’ll be right there, Mom.” But when she turned back, Liam was gone.
Don’t forget to grab a copy of the first book in the series, too! Until Darkness Comes!
- Interview with Melynda Price! (authormjkanebooks.wordpress.com)