Authors: sam cheever
Tags: #Urban Fantasy, #futuristic, #sci fi romance, #science fiction romance, #paranormal romance series, #angels and devils, #Paranormal Romance
Bedeviled & Beguiled
Bedeviled & Beyond, Volume 1
Published by Electric Prose Publications, 2015.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
BEDEVILED & BEGUILED
First edition. August 17, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 Sam Cheever.
Written by Sam Cheever.
Table of Contents
"Rarely has a story captivated me as much as this one has."
"...has to be one of the fastest paced and funny stories I have ever read."
Two Lips Reviews
Astra Q Phelps is a halfling, which means she's part angel and part devil. She vaporizes devils and demons for a living. When Astra gets the call from the big Him to aid the good side in a battle between two rival devil courts, she finds herself battling not only the forces of evil but her own nature as she rubs up against the sexiest, most infuriatingly enticing devil prince and discovers he brings out her devil in the most delicious ways.
But Astra's problems don't end with a worrying jolt to her sexual nervous system. She is also discovering that she doesn't really know herself all that well as she begins to uncover magic powers that she didn't know she possessed. She might be entangled in a prophecy that links her to her delicious devil prince in more ways than one. Add to this spicy mix a few yummy secrets she learns about her longtime partner and friend, Emo, and you have a tantalizing stew of problems to solve, and only one small halfling to unravel them all.
All Hell Breaks Loose
’Tween Heaven and Hell the spirits dwell and ply their various trades.
’Tween Heaven and Hell God’s servants quell, the spawn of fiery Hades.
Sometime around 2060, the world went to war again and opened up a whole new can of worms. Up until then humans thought they had it pretty rough on this Earth, with poverty, crime, disease, your everyday evil forces and the general disintegration of morality.
However when the laser guns and plasma bombs finished smashing a geographic area comprising about 70% of the surface of the Earth into smithereens, something eminently evil used the resulting chaos to slither its way into the world. This evil something hadn’t been seen before by human eyes, but had always been there, in a parallel dimension, watching the show and waiting for its turn to join in the fun. And every once in a while, when Earth’s defenses were particularly low, this something would reach across that barrier and tweak us a little. Which explains things like Hitler, fruitcake and the IRS.
Devils and demons were never meant to walk among us. But once they’d found a way to get through, God had no choice but to send his angels in to keep an eye on them. Several minor skirmishes have already been fought between the forces of good and evil, since that time thirty years ago when the first devil snuck through Earth’s defenses. The angels, with the Big Guy at their backs, are winning the battles so far, but the outcome of the war is still uncertain.
About ten years ago God started using halflings to help the good side out. The only problem with halflings is that, by their very make-up they are some portion devil. That’s why they understand and know how to defeat the forces of evil. But it is also what has made them a little bit unpredictable to the good guys.
What exactly is a halfling you ask? A halfling is a non-human. They have neither wings nor horns, but generally have both angel and devil in their family forests. Which is probably why they enjoy a higher sensitivity to spectral influence than regular human people.
My name is Astra Q. Phelps and I’m a halfling. Don’t ask me what the Q stands for because that little piece of info will go with me to the crematorium. I’ve had all printed documentation of the name destroyed and though a lot of my enemies have tried to dig it out, no one will ever know what it stands for. A girl has to have some secrets. Especially when the truth would cause her some serious embarrassment.
I run a business called the Angel Network, which is the only devil and demon locating and destroying business in the universe. In other words, I kick serious evil butt for a living. I am a halfling. But I digress. You were interested in my story weren’t you? Well here we go.
BeDeviled, Or BeDemoned?
God, in his wisdom, sent us his angels, to whisper our names on the wind.
God, in his anger, released his devils, to pester our souls to the end.
I mentally cursed myself and forced my mind back to the present. My mind always wanders during training. Especially when my training partner is Emo, my longtime partner and fellow perfectionist in thuggery. Like me, Emo takes our little training sessions very seriously. Unlike me however, Emo doesn’t have any trouble concentrating on what he’s doing. I have a lot of trouble concentrating unless my life is in peril. Which certainly happens often enough, since I make my living hunting devils and demons.
Closing off my wayward thoughts, I cocked my head and tried to focus all of my energies into sensing Emo in the pitch-black space. I heard tiny pattering feet to the left, skittering along the wall that stretched across my back. My head swiveled just in time to spot the shimmering red aura of a large, black rat that was returning to his den with a tiny chunk of bread. I watched him closely to make sure he didn’t even think about coming my way.
I really hate rats.
When the rat was safely tucked into his little rat shack in the wall, I made a conscious effort to refocus my attention to the task at hand. I took a deep breath, tilted my head back and expanded my nostrils to scent Emo, but he was apparently using his masking power and I couldn’t get a fix on him.
Unfortunately, I did get a pretty good whiff of the Chinese takeout place on the corner up the street and I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t eaten any lunch and it was well past dinnertime. I closed my eyes and took a deep cleansing breath, shaking my head in an effort to regain my concentration. I focused on sensitizing my power to overcome the block Emo was apparently using. My power slid around the room, searching, but not finding my skulking partner. I clutched the object I held in my hand a little more tightly as my nose began to tingle and the skin on my back started to crawl.
I suddenly realized there was something standing just behind me. I jerked my head around but it was too late. A big, leathery paw with long, sharp claws clamped itself around my upper arm and tore me off my feet.
Angry with myself that I’d allowed him to sneak up on me, I used the momentum of his attack to turn my body so that I faced the wall. Then I pushed my feet into the wall and launched myself backward, flipping over his head and landing on the balls of my feet a short distance behind him. He turned with a snarl and dove toward my legs, tackling me to the ground and covering me with his thick, solid body. The wind left me in a rush but I managed to jam my knee deeply into the spot between his legs where he would least like me to wedge my bony limb. He growled as I connected with something squishy and heavy and one of his club-like arms jerked toward the ceiling and started to come down toward my head. It stopped in mid-air as I pushed the object I held in my hand into the middle of his chest. The object gave off burning sparks as it hit his leathery skin. He yelped and sprang off me.
Gasping to refill my lungs, I tucked my feet beneath my butt and launched myself off the floor. As soon as my toes hit the floor again, I pushed off and sprang toward the retreating devil. I hit him hard, knocking him back against the wall and holding him there with the cross. It began to vibrate in my hand and give off tiny, stinging, electric shocks that I forced myself to ignore.
Emo went completely still, as only his kind can do, and stopped breathing. The only sound in the lightless space came from my panting breath in his ear.
Emo gave a slight nod and slowly dropped his arms in surrender. I reluctantly lowered the cross, knowing all too well that devils weren’t to be trusted. Even if they were part angel.
I moved across the room on the balls of my feet, stepping sideways so I could keep an eye on his aura. When I’d managed to put about twenty feet between us, his icy, blue aura suddenly flickered and disappeared and I felt a whoosh of hot air as he moved, with a speed I hadn’t known he possessed, to a spot somewhere behind me. I turned to meet him head on, but he was faster. He hit me with a full body block that dropped us to the floor with me on the bottom, knocking all of the wind out of my lungs and sending us both skittering across the floor. I ended up with my head just inches from the rat hole and, like a reluctant gawker at a particularly grizzly air bus accident, I tipped my head back to see if the rat was anywhere near. To my vast chagrin, I came eyeball to eyeball with the disgusting thing. It opened its pointed, disease ridden mouth and hissed at me, lunging toward my face as if it would attack.
I screamed and leaped to my feet, dislodging a hilarious devil and jumping around like a moron as I convulsed in hysterical disgust. I did the revulsion dance across the room until there was a lot of space between me and that twitchy nosed, red-eyed attack rodent.
Emo lay in a giggling puddle on the floor as I commanded lights on full and returned the cross I’d used against him to my pocket. He finally wound down and, taking a deep breath, reached up to rub the spot on his scaled chest where the cross had rested. My sparring partner climbed heavily to his feet. “Damn, Astra. You promised me you wouldn’t use the platinum cross anymore. That sonofabitch hurts like hell!”
Forgetting my near death experience with the rat for a moment, I narrowed my eyes at him and grinned. “You would know.”
Emo showed his fangs and stepped menacingly toward me. Unconsciously, my hand moved toward the cross and he stopped dead in his tracks, throwing his thick, red arms into the air in surrender.
I dropped my hand again but kept a watchful eye on him just in case. Emo is generally a very sweet, very dependable devil, but when you get his blood up in battle he can forget his manners and get pretty ugly. I’d seen firsthand what ugly from a devil looked like and I wasn’t interested in being on the receiving end of it if I could avoid it.