Friday, June 7, 2013

Lilith's Return - Read the First Chapter Now

The sequel to my horror novel Lilith is now available.  Lilith Returns is out as an e-book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  It is also available in print.  Read on for the back cover blurb and all of Chapter 1. 

Back cover: 

When Alex, Colwyn, and Jacob Lasham exiled the mother of demonkind from Earth 25 years ago, they thought they’d never see her again.  Yet evil refuses to stay dead, and Lilith has a score to settle with the trio.  She is determined to have Earth as her undisputed realm, and the Lashams will be the first to fall in her renewed war. 

Alex and Colwyn’s daughter Lena has no interest in the family business of destroying demons.  She is young and carefree and wants to be normal ... as normal as a clairvoyant quarter-demon can be, anyway.  However, Lilith’s return threatens her family, and Lena is forced to take up the fight alongside her parents and uncle. 

This time, Lilith has the upper hand and the destruction of mankind is imminent.  Lena discovers that to save the Earth she must do the unthinkable:  join forces with the one creature more deadly and profane than even Lilith.  But will Lena’s agreement with the Father of Lies be worth the lives of all mankind, her sanity, and her soul?  Or will she become the gateway for a greater destruction to Earth? 

Chapter 1 

Oblivion.  Nowhere.  The endless void.  Perfect, sublime nothingness.  Here the essence of what had been a dread creature rested, one despised by mankind, angelic beings, and evil entities alike. She drifted, feeling safe and quiet for the eternal moment.  Restoring.  Recovering.
She always came to this place between struggles.  Where pain disappeared and she could huddle with her neverending disappointment and anger, screaming silently against the unfairness of her situation.  Where she could castigate herself for blind stupidity once again. 
But she hadn’t been stupid this last time.  She’d been smart, her plan flawless, her supremacy unmatched.  Still, it hadn’t mattered.  She’d been sent away, defeated once more. 
Here between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth she knew she’d find a semblance of peace eventually.  She floated in the ethereal plane, where nothing else existed and nothing mattered.  While others found only madness in this vast void, she found relief. 
The entity didn’t know how long she’d been here this time.  She’d at last gotten to the point where ceaseless rage no longer held her in its violent grip.  She was able to rest for longer and longer periods of time, to not think of what had been kept just out of her straining reach once more.  Long enough to bask in nothingness.  Still, she knew it hadn’t been a great stretch of time because she didn’t want to go back to Earth yet.  The abyss still comforted her too much, offering a reprieve from the chaos.  It was safe here, away from the burning hatred, the overriding need for revenge, and the pain.
Oh God, there was so much pain in that other place.
Later she would reflect that last thought must have been what had summoned the golden light.  It crept in so gradually that she remained blissfully unaware of it at first.  Who knew how long the Other had waited for those words, patiently biding its time?  But time was meaningless here.  Seconds felt like eons, and eternity waned within seconds.  Time was only a fabrication made by man after all.
The light snuck up on her, so very stealthy that it had chased away most of the black oblivion before she grew cognizant of its arrival.  It had inched in to fill her senses with warmth and alien contentment.  It was like being in a living sunbeam.  Its silent, imperceptible advent lulled her.  She remained blissfully unaware she was no longer alone until a sound like an eternally exhaling breath drifted mistily through her essence.  Even then she didn’t panic until she heard something like tinkling bells in the nonexistent distance.
In her great dread, she didn’t try to reason that the Other was never far away.  The Other was everywhere.  It simply chose to express itself only in certain places and for certain entities.  But right now, all she knew was she needed to get back to the empty ether, to where the Other never spoke.  Where the questions and accusations would not come.  But where had the void disappeared to?  Everywhere she turned, she beheld only the golden light, and those terrifyingly sweet tinkling bells were coming closer.
Then the Other’s voice spoke, still so well-known despite the millennia since she’d last heard it.  It was as much felt as heard, no harsher than a summer’s breeze and yet mightier than the most earthshaking clap of thunder.  She shrank before its quiet, monumental force, becoming a tiny mote of consciousness in its vast presence.
Lilith.  Lost, angry child of Mine. 
She made a soundless scream to hear her name spoken by that yearned for and despised voice.  She made herself smaller, as if she could ever deny the all-seeing eyes. 
Why are you hiding from me?  Stay in the light and let yourself see for once. 
Instead, she flew away, feeling the atmosphere around her growing denser as if it would hold her in place, a helpless insect caught in a Venus flytrap.  No, no, she had to escape.  She could not face the Other, could not bear the disappointment, the millennia of wrongs she had committed, the judgment that must follow.  The air thickened, bearing heavily against her as she sought the empty void.  She came up against a barrier, something solid. 
Lilith.  Stay with Me.
It almost sounded sad, as if entreating a long lost lover.  It was a trick, of course.  It had to be.  She could never feel its adoration again.  She wandered permanently astray, with no way home ever.  She clawed at the unseen wall trapping her, dashed herself against it until she broke through. 
She fell like a stone, plummeting faster and faster.  The golden light changed; it became orange and then hectic red, and she imagined she fell into a fiery pit.  She closed her eyes against the angry glare, the light behind her closed eyelids scarlet like blood. 
When she came up hard against another barrier, too solid to be the flames she’d been certain she’d find, she clawed at it too.  Pain dug into her fingertips, the obstruction gritty against her skin, the scent of brine filling her nose…
Fingertips?  Skin?  Nose?
She opened her startled eyes.  She had returned to the material without trying, back before she was ready, she was solid, she was…
…on Earth again.  Shuddering all over, Lilith dragged herself to her bare feet in the middle of a thin, one-lane gravel road. 
She was corporeal and naked.  Usually, she carefully prepared before chancing the Earth realm again, looking for just the right time and place to launch another offensive against the children of Adam.  To cleanse the world, her world, of mankind’s infestation.  Panicked by the presence of the Other, she had blundered back senseless and blind.
Lilith looked around at her surroundings.  Dark enveloped the world, signaling nighttime, with no one around to see her naked.  Long wavy red hair flowed over her shoulders, covering her bountiful breasts.  The air wafted soothingly warm, the breeze refreshing rather than leaving her shivering with cold.  No, the fine tremors that ran down her frame were from reaction to the near encounter with the Other on the ethereal plane, not to mention the shock of suddenly finding herself physical once more. 
A slight breeze sighed.  In its wake, the few pine trees that dotted the area whispered secrets overhead.  The soft splashing of waves of the nearby creek lapped against a wooden bulkhead.  The sound seemed very familiar to Lilith, as did the sea salt teasing her nostrils. 
A simple, rustic cabin occupied the lot on one side of the gravel lane where she stood.  Its porch light glowed like a tiny golden sun, orbited by dozens of fluttering moths.  On the other side, facing the cabin, was a pretty white cottage with a wraparound porch.  She’d never seen either place, but the general landscape seemed eerily familiar.
After a moment, Lilith gasped, recognizing her surroundings.  She only had to imagine a tidy doublewide trailer instead of the cabin and a derelict two-story house in place of the storybook cottage.  This was where she had last left the Earth, falling in all-too familiar defeat while battling a member of her age-old enemy, the Segreto.
Her lips wrinkled back in an unconscious snarl.  The Segreto.  Had there ever been such a hated entity?  For untold centuries, the organization had kept her from claiming what by all rights should belong to her.  First it had been the Hebrews who had defied her, loose confederations located in the larger towns.  Those ancient people performed rites to send her away when she dared to walk the Earth.  They defeated her at every turn as she tried to take back what Adam and his simpering second wife Eve had stolen.  Then with the rise of Christendom and the Catholic Church, the secretive Segreto had taken up the fight, thwarting her time after time in her pursuit of murderous justice.
The last time Lilith had tried to wrest control of Earth from mankind, she’d wiped out all but one of the holy sect.  With no way to know how many years had passed since that last fight, she wondered if the bitch Alex Williams still lived.  If the Segreto had reformed and awaited the demoness’ return.
“I’m not ready to do this again,” Lilith hissed to herself.  She felt a scream uncoiling in the pit of her belly, but she refused to voice it.  Prepared or not, she was back on Earth.  She would not be able to return to the calm darkness of the ether until the body she’d spun out of nothingness was destroyed. 
At least the cover of night concealed the mother of demonkind for now.  Had she descended into the middle of a busy marketplace in daylight, she would have had many problems to contend with.  Her enemies might have been made aware of her quickly.  She had time to do a little thinking before she had to make a move.
Before any real decisions could be made, she needed to find clothing and a place to live.  A safe base of operations, if she was to take up the fight for her realm once more.  But for the moment, curiosity won out over self-preservation. 
Lilith looked at the crude but homey cabin, now on the site where her enemy had lived.  Where Alex Williams had destroyed her hopes yet again.  Was she still in residence?  Did she live on this spot yet, thinking herself safe from the immortal succubus who’d nearly killed her and her unborn child?
Lilith crept to the home’s front window.  The sheers were closed but the curtains pulled back, giving her a gauzy glimpse into the cabin’s den.  Blue light from the television flickered.  In its illumination, she caught sight of a man seated in a recliner before it.  He was intent on the images flashing across the large flat screen, so she looked over the situation as best as she could.
The furniture was big and bulky, the television the only thing hanging on the wall.  What looked like a pile of clothing heaped on the floor on one side.  Fishing rods leaned in the far corner.  Wooden TV trays on crossbar legs served as tables.  She saw nothing to suggest femininity about the room. 
Lilith decided to take the chance that the man stayed alone in the cabin.  Perhaps he was a bachelor or just getting away from his family, but the single vehicle in the driveway, a huge mud splattered pickup truck, also gave her reason to believe the man had no company in the cabin.
Reassured, she went to the front door.  A small diamond-shaped window reflected her image back at her, and she blinked to see herself with the same features as the last time she’d been on Earth.  Big green eyes rimmed with long, dark lashes.  Straight, upturned nose.  High cheekbones.  Full, pouty lips.  A gorgeous creature that turned men’s heads.  She looked down at her body, paying attention for the first time.  She had formed exactly as before; huge tits, tiny waist, round hips.  If Alex Williams was still alive, was still living in this spot, she’d know Lilith on sight.
The demoness dismissed the concern and knocked.  She waited patiently, listening to heavy footsteps approach from within.  Seconds later the door swung open, and a ruggedly handsome man peered out at her.
“Yeah – whoa, what the hell?”  His eyes were perfectly round as he took in the improbable sight of a statuesque naked redhead standing on his porch.
Lilith didn’t give him time to realize he was in trouble.  She grabbed him by the back of the neck and captured his gaze with hers.  Almost immediately his face went slack.
“Is anyone else here?” she demanded.
“No.  They’re at home.”  His voice sounded low, as if he dredged it from somewhere deep inside himself.
“Only you?  And you don’t expect anyone to come here tonight?” she pressed.  She had to be sure.
“Yes.  I am all alone for the weekend.”
“Do you know Alex Williams?”
“Never heard of – wait, she owned this property before the guy I bought it from.  I saw her name on the papers.”
No Segreto bitch to fight right away then.  Tension bled from Lilith’s shoulders.  “Do you have any women’s clothes here?”
“My wife has some things she keeps in the closet.”
Lilith could hope there would be something that would fit.  She smiled.  “You want me.”
Her victim said nothing, but a line of drool escaped from one corner of his slack mouth.  When Lilith’s hand went to his crotch, she found him hard.  And big.  Her smile grew.  “Good.  You will do very well.  Show me to the bedroom and take your clothes off.”
The man immediately turned and marched inside.  She followed him down a hall, admiring his wide shoulders and the taut buttocks wrapped in tight jeans.  Very delectable for a descendant of Adam, though she reviled the race.
Clothing, shelter for the night, and a delicious-looking man to feed on.  It was a good start. 

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  Also available in print.

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