After a century of exile, the demon Michael Gilbert had developed a fondness for his adopted home in the Human Realm, and established a delicate peace with the local Temple whose primary duty it is to protect the Human Realm from demons of any sort. He respected them and their duties, and they in turn grudgingly trusted him not to become a threat. So when he turns a corner and steps into the end of a brutal battle fought by the local Priestess and her Guardians against some grossly oversized demon-hounds, he impulsively defends the humans, then reluctantly agrees to a dying Guardian’s last wish: that Michael himself take on a Guardian’s duty.
The breeder of the hounds, however, has another pack, and a grand scheme that involves Michael himself as a linchpin. She wishes to seduce him into joining her and offers him an opportunity to return to his clan and his homeland, not just to stay, but possibly to rule with her at his side. Now, branded by a Guardian’s Mark, sworn to protect a human Priestess, and subjected to intense scrutiny from the Temple Elders, he is offered a chance to resume the life he had been forced to flee a century ago. Now Michael and everyone around him must ask: what exactly is it that he wants?
For Michael Gilbert, the only High Demon ever known to work for the Temple, nothing is ever simple. Not even meeting the new Temple Team sent to be based in his hometown. To work with them, he must reveal his true nature to them: and temple teams, trained to be the shield against all threats to the Human Realm, would be unlikely to accept a peaceful coexistence. One particular member of the team is clearly antagonistic from the beginning. Whether the new Guardian will work with Michael or try to kill him was only one of the questions this meeting would have to answer.
Meanwhile, reports are trickling in from Michael’s sources in Riverton’s government that there has been a series of murders of humans with power that bear all the hallmarks of organized demonic involvement. Now Michael must discover who was behind the murders, keep his Priestess, May, out of their crosshairs, convince his new colleague that he is not the enemy, and determine if the young Guardian has been sent deliberately to provoke Michael into a death match. If it came to that, it would hardly matter whether Michael won or lost…because when it comes to demons, there is no self-defense plea.
Michael Gilbert has been a Guardian of the Temple now for two years. Still savoring the novel experience of being part of a team, having friends, and working for the good of society at large, he has left his Demon Realm origins as a strange past life memory he doesn’t miss. He and his Priestess, May Fletcher, work for the good of the Human Realm, and the safety of those who inhabit it.
But when a lunatic with a poisoned knife disrupts their day, Michael is forced to fight for his own life as well as the lives of his human allies. Not only is there someone working carefully to exterminate all trace of demon life in the Human Realm— including any humans that have come in close contact with any sort of demon— but Michael must also confront his own mortality, his new and unaccustomed thoughts about what family means, and the effect of his possible death on the humans he has come to care deeply for. Throw in a nefil woman who needs to be coddled along and a young man who only recently discovered that he is half demon, and Michael finds his plate very full.
Now he must find the man fostering a cult bent on reforming the Human Realm into his personal version of paradise— and he must do it fast— or more innocents could be murdered and the whole Human Realm could be subjugated by a power-hungry madman. Michael shoulders the burden as he always does, shielding his human allies with his demon-born power, but when he finds himself at the mercy of powerful and ancient weapons, who can save the Demon of Riverton?
How can he save anyone else when he might be the monster?
Brian Sedge has been riding his bike around the country since letters found in his mother’s files after her death revealed a monstrous secret— a terrifying secret about the father he had never known, and about a family heritage he did not want.
He didn’t plan to stay in Riverton, but events conspire to keep him there, and he hesitantly takes on the role of savior and protector for Laura and her young son Owen, around whom danger is gathering like a summer storm. Brian finds a lost sense of normalcy with them, and a reprieve from the constant fear that has been his only companion.
Now Brian is confronted with the exposure of his dark secret and must choose whether to risk everything to stay and fight for Laura and Owen— and for himself— or to run again, and possibly to run forever.
Sarah knew she was getting a house. She didn’t know about the rest of it.
Learning of her grandmother’s death shook Sarah Richards. She hadn’t seen the woman since she was a child, kept far away on the other side of the country by her controlling mother. They had built a long-distance relationship though secret phone calls and unmentioned emails, and even though Sarah was now well into adulthood she still hadn’t gathered the courage to go visit the grandmother she missed, and now it was too late. Now, though, she owned the house Gran had lived in, and Sarah was determined to break free of her mother’s grasp. Moving from New York City to a town just outside of San Jose, California was scary, but she felt drawn there to learn more about her grandmother, and if she was lucky, to find her own path in life.
What she didn’t expect was to be thrown into a supernatural battle between monsters from her worst nightmares and Gran’s strange, not-quite-human friends. It turns out that the house was the least important part of what Rosemary Richards passed down to her granddaughter, and now Sarah has to decide if she is willing to learn more about the world she’s been dumped into or if she would rather go back to her mother where life was dull, but at least it was safe.