First of all, I want to thank all the readers who sent me messages and emails, asking about my health and wishing me the best. You all remind me that there are a lot of good people in this world, something that’s too easy to forget. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
This past week was KATO’s book birthday, and we couldn’t let that go unnoticed. So, for a VERY short time, his e-book is on sale for $1.99 on all the usual e-platforms. This price won’t last, so if you need to catch up before GABRIEL, this is your chance.
I’m happy to report that the renovations are going along nicely without me there. I have to drop in regularly, of course, making all sort of decisions, like what kind of drain to buy (how the hell do I know?) dropping off stuff like door knobs, and picking paint colors. The first few visits were, let’s say, stressful. But thanks to my doctors and my nice, quiet Airbnb refuge, my health is very much improved. Besides, they’ve made a lot of progress, and I can actually begin to see how beautiful it’s all going to be when they finish. Of course, next week, they’re going to start on the second bathroom, which means more house-shaking destruction and dust. Good thing I won’t be there.
I’m still looking for my GABRIEL, so I’m using Hana’s picture. And since just about the only thing I’ve been working on this week is GABRIEL, I’m going to give you a tiny, unedited and unapproved snippet …. Enjoy.
With a shout in Japanese, the man reached beneath his jacket, but Hana was faster. She fired twice and immediately stashed her gun, as red bloomed on the man’s chest, and the two of them ran for cover with everyone else, wanting to get out of sight and put some distance between them and the man she’d killed.
“You think he was alone?” she asked tersely.
“No. Better question: did he get a signal off to anyone before he went down?”
They got their answer a moment later when four men in the plain black uniform of whatever private army was pursuing them stepped out from between two buildings. Gabriel registered their presence in the same moment that all four turned their guns on him and fired. As he went down, his only thought was that at least Hana wasn’t hurt. They wanted her alive. They’d only shot him because he was in the way of that goal. He hit the hard pavement, felt something give way in his chest, and heard himself grunt in pain. Someone kicked him as they rushed past, leaving him for dead, or near enough, as they rushed to grab Hana.
She screamed his name. His eyelids were almost too heavy to lift, as he looked up and saw her fighting them off. Her knife was drawn, blood dripping from one enraged attacker as he backhanded her and dragged her toward a car that pulled up with a screech of tires.
A churning started in his gut, a fire that he hadn’t felt in millennia, a rage he’d fought against for most of his life. But he didn’t fight it now. Not with Hana’s life at stake. He came to his feet with a furious roar, pulling his knife as he surged upward, stabbing one of the men in the kidney, then reaching up and snapping his neck before he could fall. Two of the others turned, their expressions registering shock when they saw the blood soaking his clothes, turning to horror when they saw his face. They fired their weapons, but terror slowed their reactions for a critical few seconds as Gabriel grabbed another and gutted him, letting him slide to the ground while holding the slithering coils of his own intestines in disbelief. The third man got a single shot off, and some part of Gabriel felt his shoulder weaken, but he was beyond pain. He stepped into the man’s guard and grabbed the gun, wrenching it around and firing two bullets point blank in the assailant’s chest, adding a third against his forehead to be certain of death. Dropping the gun, he surged toward the last attacker, the one who’d grabbed Hana and was trying to force her into the car while she kicked and fought, her knife having been knocked aside and the man’s grip leaving her unable to reach her own gun in its shoulder holster beneath her jacket. The man punched her face, splitting her lip. He pulled his fist back for a second punch, but it never connected. He screamed when Gabriel grabbed his fist and crushed it, pulling him away from Hana and digging his fingers into the man’s throat.
He would have killed him then, would have ripped out his esophagus and left him to choke on his own blood, but Hana called his name in that moment. He looked up to see her running around to the driver’s side of the vehicle, but that wasn’t what stole his breath. Blood poured from her swollen mouth, from a vicious tear in her cheek, and a slice across her forehead. Hana was bleeding.
And he lost it.
Whelp. I’m going back to work now. 🙂 Have a great week, and I’ll see you back here next Monday!