Authors: Allyson Lindt
Gabe’s coffee shop didn’t have the same haunting darkness Ronnie remembered. She gave Claire a weak smile as she walked out the front door. For the first time in months, Ronnie’s destination was unknown on purpose, and not because she was confused. The power singing inside her was fantastic. Different from Gabriel, or Michael, or the inky ribbons. She and Metatron were one and the same now. Something told Ronnie she was wicked powerful, but she wasn’t in the mood to try it out.
The silence in her head was incredible. Cars slogged by, pockets of people shouted and laughed on their way to late dinners or movies, and cicadas blended with the city’s music. And it all happened outside her skull. She walked without direction and delved into the memories. So many vivid colors, thoughts, and emotions from both of them.
She wasn’t sure how long she wandered, but the sidewalks gave way to parking lots and rows of lights, dotting the landscape like upside-down stars.
The hospital where Izzy was staying.
Ronnie’s gut clenched, and a phantom pain echoed inside. Images of his unconscious form flashed through her head. She didn’t want to see him like that again.
But she did want to see him. She grabbed an elevator up to his floor. She paused in front of his room then forced herself to knock.
“‘S open.” His cheerful voice chased away her hesitation.
He sat on the bed, color returned to his skin, and circles fading from under his eyes. Lucifer was in the chair next to him. Ronnie all but flew across the room, and wrapped her arms around Izzy. “I’m so glad you’re okay. You are okay, right?”
“I’ve been better, but I’ve definitely been worse.” Izzy nudged her back with his good arm. “What about you? Done moping?”
“What happened?” Lucifer’s voice didn’t hold the same levity.
Izzy scooted over, and she sat on the edge of the bed next to him, so she could see both of them. “You first. What happened to
he might not make it?
“He’s a drama queen,” Izzy said. “Apparently, princess charming came and woke me up with a kiss.”
Heat and realization flooded her. The tiny bursts of power she sent through him actually did something. “Lucky bastard.”
He shook his head. “Not really. No offense, Ronnie. You’re cute as a button. But send a prince next time?”
“Prince of darkness, right there.” Ronnie nodded at Lucifer, whose eyes grew wide.
Izzy laughed. “Not my type. Why is he studying you like a bug under a microscope?”
She met Lucifer’s gaze again. “I chose.”
“I see it in your aura. You figured out how to keep both of you.” Lucifer asked.
Lucifer reached out to squeeze her fingers. “I missed you, sis.”
A tiny smirk played on Izzy’s face, but he didn’t say anything. She wanted to call him on it, but wasn’t done with Lucifer. “You’re an asshole, by the way. Saddling me with that when you didn’t know what you were doing.”
“It worked out. I knew it would.”
Ronnie snorted. “Whatever. You had your doubts.”
Lucifer’s expression softened. “I’m glad I was wrong. What now?”
“If I had a choice? Ubiquity would be on the bottom of the list.” With all the events of past few days, Ronnie couldn’t get behind what they were doing there.
“Technically, you do have a choice.”
“Because I’m half Uriel and half Metatron, making me both demon and angel, so I don’t work for either side?”
“Sounds like an overdone TV plot. Because you’re Metatron. Originals only answer to Him.”
She liked the sound of not answering to her peers. “So I can spend the rest of eternity on a beach.”
She raised her hands. “Joking. That sounds so dull. Or, you know, it might after a couple of years of nothing but relaxing sun and laziness.”
“Things are changing at Ubiquity. It’s why I’m there. It’s your choice, but if you’re interested in helping to define the company’s direction…”
“I’ll think about it.” Not just because it sounded like a bad mission statement,
defining angelic direction
, but because it would take more than little tweaks to fix the system, and she’d have to speak up if she thought something bigger needed to happen.
“I wanted to give you this when you were here earlier. I’m glad I waited.” Lucifer pried her hand open and dropped a key ring into it. “This is for you.”
The sinking feeling returned to her gut, but she wasn’t sure why. “What are they?”
“Smart ass.” She would have smacked him, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the real answer.
“Michael’s. His condo. His car. He asked me to give them to you. Said it was all yours, until you got established. He’s not using any of it right now.”
She was right. She didn’t want to hear anymore. She accepted his leaving and understood his reasons, thanks to Metatron’s perspective. She didn’t agree. She was happy with her immortality and didn’t understand why he felt he had to surrender his in order to live. It wasn’t her decision to make, though. Hearing he was really gone made something crumble inside. She bit the inside of her cheek, but the emotion and longing surged regardless, made stronger by the memories of two pasts, both falling for him.
A heavy silence sank into the room.
“Can I ask another favor, princess charming?” Izzy’s cheer was forced, but it was a nice way to crack the emptiness.
“Sure. Anything at all.”
He nudged her to her feet. “I don’t need anything that extravagant. But I’m dying for some ice cream.”
She laughed at the simplicity of the request. It didn’t take away the ambivalence over the keys she dropped into her purse, but it helped her feel better. “Absolutely. I’ll be right back.”
She phased out of the room and returned minutes later with three pints of ice cream and spoons. They made themselves comfortable and dug in. She could get used to this. As long as she learned to ignore the hollow ache in her chest that shouldn’t be there. It was best this way.
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When Ian left for college. Mercy begged to go with him, so she could escape her life of probably-fatal-small-town-boredom. He refused.
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The moment Ian sees Mercy—confident, stunning, and definitely all grown up—he wants a taste before she vanishes back to the big city. Then Liz discovers her fiancé is already married to someone else. Ian won’t add more heartbreak to his sister’s life by hitting on her best friend. Besides, Mercy’s advertising firm is competing with Ian’s for the same make-or-break-me contract.
Mercy and Ian are determined to go their separate ways, but fate has other plans. As they’re thrown together again and again, the temptation of forbidden fruit proves impossible to resist… but giving in could send their worlds, and the lives of those they care about most, spiraling out of control.
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Years ago, heartbreak corrupted Jared Tippins’s outlook on love. He spun the betrayal into a rapid climb up the corporate ladder, and swore off any relationship with a morning after. Luckily, the playful siren who rescues him from singing a duet alone in a karaoke bar doesn’t want anything long term.
If only he could stop fantasizing about ways to make her moan. Sure, she could’ve mentioned he works for the competition. At least she’s not behind the security concerns that have plagued his company for almost six months.
If she were, he’d be screwed on a whole new level.
Zach Johnston had it all. A billion dollar software empire, a different girl in his bed every night, and a business partner who shared his vision of market domination, one gaming console at a time.
No one can stay on top forever, and calling what their biggest competitor did to them a hostile takeover doesn't do it justice. No-lube violation is more accurate.
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Allyson Lindt is a full-time geek and a fuller-time contemporary romance author. She prefers that her geeky heroes come with the alpha expansion pack and adores a heroine who can hold her own in a boardroom. She loves a sexy happily-ever-after and helping deserving cubicle dwellers find their futures together.