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Monday, October 21, 2019

Excerpt: Wicked Fire (The Angel Fire Book 2) by Marie Johnston

Get your hands on a new paranormal romance from Marie Johnston today - WICKED FIRE is available now!

Wicked Fire (The Angel Fire Book 2)by Marie Johnston
October 21, 2019
271 pages
His thoughts are less than angelic around her....

Jagger Hancock is a fearsome warrior for the angelic realm, slaying demons left and right on Earth and protecting the human race. But when a powerful senator is murdered, he’s reduced to acting as a bodyguard for the grieving daughter. Too bad she’s the same female who ruined his one and only chance at happiness.

Felicia Montclaire looks as angelic as the rest of her kind, but she hides her scars well. Yet the male who gave them to her is not just after her again, but seeking conquest over the entire realm too. While her life goes up in flames once more, the last thing she needs is a cranky bodyguard…even if he’s the only one who can keep her alive.

Jagger and Felicia might not survive each other, much less the constant attacks from their enemies. But when danger drives them back to the angelic realm, they’ll discover their past is waiting for them—and it’s far more dangerous than anything on Earth.

Wicked Fire is book 2 in the Angel Fire series, an exciting new paranormal romance series by an award-winning author.

Chapter One
“The team needs me.” Julian Hancock, or Jagger to everyone but his mother, managed not to sound pleading as he addressed his former team leader. Bryant Vale was the warrior director now and less interested in hearing his arguments. “With you off the team and no replacement yet, my place is here.”

Jagger should be in his typical uniform of black tactical pants and a long-sleeved black shirt specially designed to fit around his wings. It seemed sacrilegious to sit in his boss’s office wearing a blue T-shirt and a pair of black athletic shorts. But it was necessary for his latest assignment.

He couldn’t take another day shadowing Felicia fucking Montclaire. She was in some danger he only knew vague details about and she’d demanded him as her bodyguard. Demanded. Like the spoiled priss she was.

Spoiled and superficial and haughty…and strong and gorgeous and willowy. Her legs went for miles and haunted his dreams.

He clenched his jaw and steadied his gaze on his new director. Felicia Montclaire was only an obstacle to what he really wanted. Someday, he’d have his own team to lead and he couldn’t do that stuck among humans, babysitting the aimless daughter of a senator.

A flash of guilt flared. Felicia was still technically a senator’s daughter, but her father had been murdered a couple of months ago. She’d weathered the news well, but then he hadn’t expected her to get weepy or be derailed by her grief. He hadn’t expected her to show any feeling at all. And he’d been right.

His director, Bryant Vale, was as expressionless as a wall. A dark, glaring wall. “I understand your complications with Ms. Montclaire—”

“Forget our history,” Jagger gritted out.

He hated that anyone knew the story between him and the vexing angel he was protecting. Or rather, the lack of a story, the result of Ms. Montclaire not setting the record straight and letting everyone think he was a cheating asshole.

“The team needs me.” He said it as much for himself as to make a point. “If Felicia truly requires protection, then she should stay in the realm, in a designated home, with a designated guard.”

Director Vale’s demeanor had hardened as soon as Jagger had cut him off. Damn. Jagger had meant to use a lighter touch, not charge in like a bull at his first sight of red. “Sit down.”

Jagger took his time selecting the backless seat across from the obnoxiously large mahogany desk. He draped his wings over the edge but couldn’t force them to relax. “Director Vale—”

“Shut it.” You could take the warrior off the team, but you couldn’t soften his personality. Director Vale leaned across the desk, his eyes blazing. “I can’t believe you’re dense enough to think that Felicia is safer here. She can help identify her attacker and lead us to the people behind the conspiracy against this realm. The ones who could tell us just what this conspiracy entails. Have a think on it.”

Jagger refused to drop his gaze, and that was a harder challenge than most when Director Vale was pissed. The scars encompassing half the male’s face didn’t make him easy to look at on most days.

The director wasn’t finished. “Her family’s mansion was burned to the ground by angel fire while over half our team was inside. While my mate was inside. Director Richter—” His gaze cut away. Leo Richter was no longer the director. He’d lost both legs at the knee thanks to the fire and was still recovering. “Felicia can hide among the humans better than in our realm. Numen isn’t safe for her. And do I need to go into the main reason why you shouldn’t be tied to the investigation, why you’re too close to the case?”

Jagger’s teeth should’ve cracked under the pressure of his jaw. His father, James Hancock.

His good-for-nothing, cheating father, who’d risked their entire race by spilling the news of their existence to his human side piece. His father, who’d had several human side pieces, and probably a few angelic ones, while he’d had a committed mate.

His father, who’d had his wings taken, been declared a fallen, and tossed out of the realm forever.

His father, who was working with the creatures of Daemon to take over Numen, the realm where his own son resided. If he were a weaker male, he’d feel like his father had chosen the demons of Daemon not only over the angels of Numen, but over him too. Now the man would work with anyone or anything if it served his agenda. Archmasters, symasters, sylphs—the new “Jameson Haddock” didn’t seem to discriminate.

But then if Jagger had ever meant a damn thing to his father, then perhaps Jameson would still be an esteemed senator of Numen.

Not that his father’s multilayered betrayal affected him.

He kept his voice even. “Our team is two short. Dionna took over as leader, but we no longer have you, and with me tied up…” Literally, if Felicia had her way.

His team was everything to him. Having lost his father so young, and his mother… Well, Chanel Hancock wasn’t known for her nurturing nature. She’d turned twice as cold and ten times harder than marble after what she referred to as “your father’s unfortunate choices.”

“I understand.” Director Vale sat back. “But they aren’t functioning as a traditional warrior team, not until this is over. They—you—are under my personal direction. You’re the only ones I completely trust now.”

The director’s unwavering trust mollified him. For now. He’d grown up getting side-eyed by his peers, as if they wondered when he’d follow in his father’s footsteps. And then he’d weathered the Felicia storm, which had broken the trust of the one most dear to him. Without those experiences, Director Vale’s words wouldn’t have meant as much.

To still have Bryant Vale in his corner after they’d learned his own exiled father was the one behind the trouble in the realm was humbling.

And he needed to make sure he continued to earn it.
Even if he had to deal with the fallout of the maelstrom that Felicia Montclaire brought to his life.

About the Author
Marie Johnston writes award-winning paranormal and contemporary romance and is a RITA® Finalist. Before she was a writer, she was a microbiologist. Depending on the situation, she can be oddly unconcerned about germs or weirdly phobic. She’s also a licensed medical technician and has worked as a public health microbiologist and as a lab tech in hospital and clinic labs. Marie’s been a volunteer EMT, a college instructor, a security guard, a phlebotomist, a hotel clerk, and a coffee pourer in a bingo hall. All fodder for a writer! She has four kids and just as many cats.

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