Afterlife A Fall of Angels Novelette Page 0,1

it, his follower’s words affected him. They were right. He had lost it, in a way. Cole’s love for Jane had tortured him for centuries but he’d dealt with it. But as soon as Jessica came along… She’d pulled out a whole new creature in him.

Time meant nothing in the afterlife, but being dragged on and on as he waited for Jeremiah to return.

And as simple as he might have felt a single drop of rain land on the back of his hand, he felt Jeremiah’s presence again. Stepping out from the shadows, he watched as Jeremiah descended the stairs toward the heat of the below.

As soon as Jeremiah met Cole’s eyes, a sly smile grew in the corners of his lips. The familiar beast of anger flared inside of Cole.

“Going missing in the afterlife is a dangerous thing,” Cole said, managing to keep his voice even.

“As you would know best,” Jeremiah tested. He stopped two stairs above Cole, meeting his eye, measure for measure. Jeremiah may have been young, but he didn’t lack confidence because of it.

“Where have you been?” Cole asked.

The smile broadened on Jeremiah’s face. He stepped down and passed Cole on the stairway. Stopping below Cole, Jeremiah half turned back. “She’s a stunning creature. I see why you couldn’t get her out of your head.”

The beast inside of Cole snarled. “I don’t know what you’re referring to,” he lied easy as he blinked.

“I wonder what her skin feels like, what those perfect lips taste like,” Jeremiah said thoughtfully.

The crack of Jeremiah’s head against the stone wall behind him echoed for all to hear as Cole’s hand wrapped around his throat, pinning Jeremiah against the stones.

“You will stay away from her,” Cole hissed.

Unharmed, and without the need to breathe, Jeremiah simply chuckled, his black eyes darkening in glee. “There’s something peculiar about her. I can smell it. She’s not fully one of them anymore, but not really one of us. Is she?”

“She’s where she belongs,” Cole growled. The knife that had been lodged in his chest for months now gave a little twist.

“I’m curious to see what she’s capable of,” Jeremiah said easily, despite Cole’s tightening hand around his throat. “I think the others on the council might be curious as well.”

Cole met Jeremiah’s eyes, feeling the beast grow and shutter within him. But what could he say without giving himself, and Jessica away?

“Leave her alone,” Cole said, releasing Jeremiah. Without waiting for a reply, Cole descended down the stairway.

“Thy soul is hurt by cowardice,

which oftentimes encumbereth a man

so that it turns him back from honorable enterprise.”

- Canto II, Inferno, Dante

His eyes kept drifting to her serene looking face. The trials of the exalted were so boring, he couldn’t seem to pay attention. So instead he watched her. Jane.

Cole recalled how infatuated he had been with her the first time he laid eyes on her. She was feisty, had a lust for life he had never seen in a woman in his era before. Their eyes had locked on each other, a terribly hot wave of connection fizzling between the two of them. Cole wanted her like he had wanted nothing else in his life.

Cole got what he wanted in life.

But to find that she had been promised to another man was a crushing blow to Cole’s ego that he could not handle. He was Cole Emerson, women did not turn him down. Father’s came to him, trying to strike bargains for him to take their daughters into marriage and into bed.

But Jane. Jane. She was destined for better. Given to the one man Cole would always be over-looked for.

Money did not equal love. Despite being given to another, one who was wealthier than even Cole was, she fell for Cole. Over the course of only a few short weeks, secret meetings were made, hesitant, forbidden touches began. The fire between them grew into a blazing torrent that threatened to destroy the both of them. And their families.

But despite everything Jane felt for Cole, despite everything that he knew she felt for him, she refused to break off her engagement.

Cole would never be quite good enough for Jane, or her power-hungry father.

Or their son.

Even creating a new life, a child together, was not enough to make Jane be a part of Cole’s life.

As he watched Jane, now long dead and judged, he felt… distant. There was still that ache that was inside of him. There was a void that had slowly ate at everything else inside of