a Sentinel's novel
(c)2012 Meg Allison
Even the strongest spirits can break.
Weary of his solitary life, Gabriel Bonét sets out one night in search of peace. Instead he finds a reason to live. When he rescues Beth Murphy and heals her wounds, he unlocks the mental gateway she’s erected to stifle her strong empathic abilities. Her gift puts her on the same wavelength with the victims of a brutal killer who stalks their quiet mountain town.
*Warning: This title contains an unlucky heroine; a hero with a failed God-complex; murder; mayhem; and plenty of sultry lovin'.
Flat on his back in the damp, rotting leaves, he stared into the dark eyes of his savior. The man had pulled him from the jaws of death, but Gabriel knew the rescue came too late. He could feel it.
His body grew heavy and cold as life’s blood poured from the gaping wound in his chest where the beast had torn into him. The stench of the monster still permeated the air, heavy and sickly-sweet despite the fact the animal lay dead a few yards away. If possible, it smelled even worse now than it had with its putrid breath flush against his throat.
The chill of death burrowed deep beneath Gabriel’s skin until it filled every inch of his body. He had seen frail mortality end many times and knew it would not be long until he met his own demise. He smelled it. The whiff of congealed blood hung over him like a shroud.
“Do you wish to live?”
The unfamiliar voice sounded thick and foreign in his ears. Gabriel wondered why the man would torment him so during his last moments of life. But he knew in that instant he wanted to live. He didn’t want to die alone and forgotten. He couldn’t bear the thought of animals feasting upon his decaying flesh. Or worse still, to be buried in a shallow grave without a marker, without even one person to mourn his passing.
“Yes,” Gabriel whispered. His throat burned with the effort. “I want to live.”
“Good,” the stranger replied, eyes alight as if Gabriel had given the answer he longed to hear. “Live you shall.”
The man kneeled on the ground and placed a large hand on the gaping wound across Gabriel’s chest. He winced then gasped at the searing pain of contact. A cry of agony sucked deep into his lungs. Heat radiated from the man’s fingertips. Tears sprang to Gabriel’s eyes at the sensation.
A soft yellow light poured from the hand covering his breast. It brightened and grew until a brilliant white light enveloped them both, obscuring the forest around them. Sound ceased but for the ragged hitch of his own breath fighting to enter his body.
The heat increased, pressing deeply into his chest until he knew the bone must soon crack and crush the heart beneath. Would this so-called savior send him to his doom instead? He had no strength left to fight and no breath to cry out. All he knew was the pain—pain he could bear no longer.
Gabriel stared up into the light, his last lucid thoughts for the gray striped cat he’d rescued from a pack of dogs only days ago. The poor thing would likely die alone in his cottage without food or attention. He had failed even the most simple of creatures. He had failed them all since the day of his birth.
“Sleep now, boy,” the man commanded, his voice a long distance off. “When you rouse, your life will begin anew.”
Gabriel felt his broken body relax as his breathing slowed. The cadence of his pulse slackened until it no longer throbbed in his ears. His mind grew sluggish, disconnected, but instead of peace, he knew only a tremor of fear. He didn’t want to die.
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