The Darkness of Sable
by F.L. Bicknell
Published August 2010 from Passion in Print. Print and ebook (release date pending).
Struggling to deal with the disappearance of her daughter and in a creative slump, sculptress Sable Hendricks-Tade travels to Florida for rest and relaxation only to find herself thrust between divided paranormal worlds. One side wants her dead and the other will do anything to keep her in its "wicked" embrace. Determined to get answers, she searches for her missing daughter and spirals into the realm of immortals and goddesses where she quickly realizes her agent is her only anchor to reality. But can she trust him to keep her safe?
Thomas Valimar, a highly trained marshal working with a network of humans to maintain the line between the paranormal and human worlds, is assigned to protect Sable from the magic she doesn't realize she possesses. Operating undercover as her agent, his duty soon turns to passion as he falls for the beautiful artist.
Drawing Sable into their world of sex, magic, and intrigue, the dark forces will do anything keep Sable in t heir clutches so they may feed from her emotions and mysterious ability. Only through sheer determination and Thomas' love can Sable walk through other realms and not only battle the paranormal creatures that wish to destroy her live but save her daughter as well.
Upon hearing Sable’s scream, Thomas’s blood ran cold. His startled gaze met the lovely woman’s next to him, and then he spun on his heel, facing the chaos at the dais.
Flash bulbs bombarded her with their brightness, and camera phones clicked repetitively. She scrambled to her hands and knees and then shielded her face with her hands.
Nearly everyone around him moved closer to the embarrassing scene. He scanned the crowd for anything unusual and found only the Paranorm posing as an officer. For an instant, Thomas thought he saw something else standing in the cop’s place, something tall with big, curling horns sprouting from its head. He blinked. Had he imagined it?
He took a step toward the dais, but the woman next to him grabbed his sleeve.
“I have to protect Sable,” Thomas whispered and shrugged her off.
“Protect her from what?” the beautiful black woman replied, her gaze stern. “There’s nothing there. Discretion is a big part of protecting your ward.”
He returned his attention to Sable, who accepted Isa’s proffered hand to help her up.
“Valimar, have you fallen for the woman?” she asked.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Yasmine,” he snarled. His heart flailed so hard he felt faint. Again, he glanced across the gala, taking in all the faces, looking for movement in shadowy corners. “What good am I as a Paranormal Marshal if I can’t protect her?”
“You forget that The Golden is with her.” She patted his arm. “Only a fool would make an attempt on Sable’s life in The Golden’s presence.”
“See that guy over there?” He inclined his head in Officer Delmont’s direction. “The one with the coal-black hair.”
“What or who do you see?”
“A nice-looking man, why?”
“He’s a Paranorm, but for a moment I thought I...”
She focused jade-green eyes on Thomas.
Feeling silly, he shrugged. “Never mind. I think stress is messing with my mind.”
“Isn’t he the one assigned to help you guard Sable?”
“Yeah, but I don’t trust him.”
Yasmine snorted derisively. “Few Paranorms can be trusted, Valimar, you know that.”
“Come on.” Thomas took Yasmine’s hand and drew her toward the onlookers. “Let’s see what we can find out.”
As they shouldered through the crowd, Thomas waved to Sable, showing her he was on his way. Fear for her stomped in his heart. By the Judges power, how the hell do I protect her from something I can’t see?
He pushed past a man in a hideous green suit jacket, who wore enough cologne for twenty men. Behind him, Yasmine sniffed abruptly and then sneezed. Pausing a few feet away, Thomas witnessed unshed tears glimmering in Sable’s eyes. A lump that felt like the size of a cinder block formed in his throat. Oh, how he wanted to comfort her, to chase away her embarrassment and fear.
Drawing within earshot of the dais, Thomas heard Isa ask, “Are you all right?”
Sable bit her trembling lower lip and then nodded to Isa.
“Bless you, child.” Isa motioned, and security personnel rushed to the scene.
Thomas kept watching for stealthy movements, twinkles in his peripheral vision that denoted magic about to be used by someone, and odd nuances in a person’s eyes or form. However, nothing out of the ordinary hinted at its presence.
Officer Delmont moved closer to the scene.
If he touches Sable, I’ll beat him to death with a champagne bottle.
As if the policeman sensed Thomas’s thoughts, Officer Delmont turned toward him and smiled.
Okay, buddy. Thomas offered the cop a challenging gaze. Make one stupid move and it will be your last.
“Once you’re sure Sable is all right,” Yasmine said, her voice low, “we need to find a place to discuss some things.”
“Damn, Yasmine. This isn’t a good time. I can’t leave her here unprotected.”
“She’s with The Golden, and the Paranorm is nearby too. She’ll be fine.”
He sighed. It’s not The Golden who worries me.
Author links: http://faithbicknellbrown.com/