Preacher - Madison Faye Page 0,2

a gold ribbon in His Kingdom.” My smile widens and I tighten my grasp of his hands. “Just like you, brother Anthony. Forgive me my fumble. It’s simply that I’m so moved by your clear path to Saint Peter’s pearly, open gates.”

Anthony beams at me and shakes my hand fervently with a tear in his eye.

“Bless you, Preacher Gabriel,” he blubbers. “Bless you!”

An Oscar. I deserve a fucking Oscar for this shit. This is method acting like Daniel Day-Lewis could never pull off.

I help a middle-aged woman next, and her sister right after. An older man and his grown son are next, followed by a grandmother who insists on bringing her little yappy dog in, too. The motley thing almost takes my fucking hand off before I can pull it away in time. But she makes up for it by paying triple. So, you know, welcome to heaven, or, whatever.

The line keeps moving, the money keeps landing in the box, and poor suckers—I mean customers—keep getting unceremoniously dunked in the tank until I’m pretty much done with them all. It’s a blur, and I’m starting to wonder if this is a dry town or not because I’m fresh out of liquor in the Winnebago and I feel like getting blasted tonight, when suddenly, I look up.

I look up, the world stills, my heart does too.

I’ve spent seven years pretending to listen to folks tell me about seeing God, or hearing angels, or feeling a “presence” or a “touch,” or whatever the hell it is they want to tell me. I’ve remembered practically none of it and believe less than even that. But right there in that field on the edge of Canaan, Georgia, standing up to my waist in sloshing water, I look up, and I see a fucking angel.

It’s like the dripping wet, recently dunked crowd parts for her. The sun glows down on her golden blonde hair, and shimmers in these big, wide, innocent blue eyes. The gentle summer breeze rustles her modest white sundress and blows a lock of blonde out of her face. I look at her, and for the first fucking time in my life, I’m not actually sure what to say.

She comes to a stop in front of the baptism tank, and my eyes sweep over her. She looks so fucking innocent, and so pure, and so good in this wholesome way. And I take one look at her, and I want to sully her.

I want to claim that fucking innocence for my very own. I want to put my hands on every fucking inch of that pure, innocent little body and make her truly see God for the first time.

There I am, waist deep in a baptismal tank, a waterproof fucking bible in one hand, organ hymns playing over a shitty speaker, and a crowd of the newly spiritually cleansed surrounding me. And I am rock fucking hard.

“You,” I purr, raising a hand before I can stop myself. If this were a sermon of mine, I’d say that it’s God moving my hand to do His will. But I’m not enough of a phony to try that shit on myself. It’s not God and a heavenly power moving within me right now. I take one look at this angel, and I want to claim her. I want to shred the pretty little sundress from her pretty little body and spread those pretty little legs for my pretty fucking big cock.

Believe me, it’s a power a might south of Heaven moving my hand, if you chose to believe that sort of shit.

I curl two fingers, and I grin as I watch her face turn a crimson red.

“Come here,” I growl.

Take one more step, I want to scream. Take one more step and I swear to whatever you hold holy that I will possess your very fucking soul.

And then, she does.

God help her.

Chapter Two

Delilah

“Oh, no-no, the white one, honey!” mama sighs at me with a smile and shakes her head as she pulls the crimson sundress from my hands. “Not that one, Delilah.”

I frown. “Mama, I’m not going to wear white—”

“Well of course you are!” she chuckles like I’m making an obvious joke. “It’s a baptism, honey. It’s reaffirming your love for Jesus! You can’t wear—” she blushes a little and lowers her voice. “You can’t wear red to a baptism, Delilah,” she whispers hoarsely, like even mentioning the red dress in the same sentence as “baptism” is a cardinal sin. But, knowing the way