- Author: Adrienne Wilder
- Length:Long Novel
- Series: The God Code
- Genre:LGBTTQ, Fantasy & Paranormal
- Cover Artist: Fiona Jayde
Indigo Black is Palet: a human cursed with the ability to see the Demonic, trained to hunt and kill them. Since the peace Covenant was implemented by the Church, Palet have not been allowed to seek out the Demonic. And the one time Indigo challenged the Covenant nearly cost him the life of his lover and guardian angel, Ariel. Indigo was forced to watch Ariel suffer. They broke his wings and cast him out of Heaven, and the burden of that guilt has cost Indigo everything.
But now the rules are changing. The Demonic have broken the Covenant by creating a creature that should not exist: a Nephilim with a human soul who can withstand being possessed by the most dangerous members of the Demonic Parliament.
With the rise in power of the Demonic, Indigo must face the darkest battles of his life: one which will decide the fate of mankind, and another which will decide the fate of his heart.
- Note:This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, violence (including non-consensual sex ).
Dante—the oldest of the Palet, maybe even the best. He’d been Indigo’s longtime friend and mentor. A father figure to many of the young warriors belonging to the Church. Dante had made it his job to ease the transition of the chosen from the real world to the realm of darkness and death where they fought Chaos.
Indigo felt the cops staring at him. He smelled the fear clogging their throats. Ordinary men did not look on a scene like this and be unafraid. Fear was something Indigo had conquered as a child, because fear was the sword of the Demonic.
Detective Brian Norton stood at the bottom of the steps. He’d been a member of the Atlanta Police since before the Covenant and was one of the Church’s most trusted pair of eyes watching over the citizens of the city. From the inside he knew more than any man should about the darkness lurking in the shadows. The horrors of those truths about the world still showed in his eyes. The man looked older than Indigo remembered, his hair was more white than blond now, and the worry lines around his mouth cut deep. He chewed a piece of gum instead of sucking on a cigarette. He nodded when Indigo reached the first step.
Indigo grazed a look over the front of the church. Under the flash of lights from the patrol cars, the gray stone was black and the moss edging the grout blacker.
Beside him Norton shuffled his feet, loafers making wet sounds against the rain-slicked asphalt. “Sorry to wake you up.”
Indigo sighed. “I was awake.” Sleep was a luxury he’d long ago forgotten. It just wasn’t worth the nightmares. Sometimes they were about the monsters infecting society.
More often than not they were about an Angel with broken wings.
Even after all these years his heart ached for his Guardian. It was a pain that would never stop. Like the guilt plaguing his conscience, Indigo knew it would be with him until the day he died. Love was like that. It could either make a man or destroy him. As much as Indigo wanted to forget, some small part of him died with every passing day they were apart. If only things had been different. If only Ariel hadn’t broken the first law of free will.
Brian jerked his chin at the group of cops. “If any of the boys ask, you’re a transplant from the violent crimes department in North Carolina.”
Indigo snorted. “Really?”
“It’s the best I could come up with on such short notice.”
“I don’t exactly look the part, though.” Not dressed in a duster, brimmed hat, and armed with enough weapons to overthrow a small country—or kill a few Demons.
Detective Norton shook his head. “Don’t worry about it. Captain has your back like always. They know not to question him.”
Indigo quirked his lips.
“Okay, fine, they’re afraid to question him.”
“You could just tell them the truth.” That the world was overrun with the Demonic. That they drove taxis, ran businesses, owned banks, and even taught children in public schools.
“You know as well as I do, that’s not possible.”
Because people who talked about monsters wound up in psychiatric hospitals. For those who’d had their eyes opened, antipsychotics helped to lower the veil back over reality, but they were never the same again. Even those born with the Sight were never the same once they could truly see.
“I appreciate you calling me first. Did you get much backlash?”
Brian gave an uneasy laugh. “The Church wasn’t happy about it, no. They sent Father Fredrick to watch your back.”
Indigo didn’t agree. They’d sent Cornelius so the bastard could run back and tattle on him like the nosy ass kisser he was. “I hope this won’t get you into any trouble.”
“I’m about to retire. I don’t care what the Church thinks. He was your friend, and they know that. If I have to, I’ll tell them I told you in self-defense.”
Indigo lifted an eyebrow. “Self-defense?”
“Yeah, to keep you from kicking the shit out of me.”
If the circumstances had been different, Indigo might have laughed at the sincerity in the man’s tone, but the knowledge that Dante was dead made it hard to even breathe. He nodded at the doors. “This way?”
Norton put a hand on his arm. “Wait. I warn you now, it’s bad.”
“It’s always bad.” Indigo had never seen a Demon attack that wasn’t. Just because Dante had been Palet didn’t mean he couldn’t make just as big of a mess.
“No, I mean it’s really bad.” Norton gave Indigo a look that told him everything he didn’t want to know. Dante hadn’t just been killed; he’d been destroyed.
What had Indigo expected? No one following the order of Serenity racked up brownie points with the order of Chaos. Dante probably got exactly the kind of retribution Indigo had delivered himself a thousand times over.
It was still an ugly way to go, and looking at it never got any easier.
Indigo said, “Where’s Cornelius?”
Norton nodded and waved a hand toward the building. “Inside looking around.”
“No one touched anything, did they?”
“Of course not. First man on the scene called it in. I came and saw what we were dealing with and called you, then the Church. Cornelius is the only one who’s examined anything.”
Indigo climbed the short steps to the large oak doors. The right one was off its hinges, and there were multiple bullet holes near the center. It was unusual for a Demon to enter holy ground or any sacred dwelling, including the average home. It was even more unusual for them to get into a place like Dante’s. The wards carved into the wall and door should have burned them to a crisp, but somehow they’d gotten past them. There were only a few ways that could happen; destroying the circle created by the wards, being invited in, or summoned.
He scanned the ground. Demons didn’t bleed much, but they usually left something behind when they were injured. He found nothing and figured the rains from earlier had washed away any evidence. The alternative was Dante had missed, and that man could shoot the wings off a fly.
“For what it’s worth, I’m sorry. He was a good man.”
He nodded. “Yeah, he was a good man.”
Norton walked down to where the other cops were, and Indigo went inside.
Pale yellow light from several bald bulbs lit the foyer leading into the nave. The broken shadows painted the stone Angels keeping watch. The silver spears they held looked like streaks of moonlight, and their fierce expressions gave the impression of a pending attack. Everything was old here, screaming of the ancient ways. When the lines between Chaos and Serenity were not blurred.
Inside these walls, Indigo could all but taste the war now forbidden by the Covenant.
Years ago Indigo had asked the old man why he chose to live here, where the walls were always damp and cold and the air smelled like the inside of a crypt. Dante had said he needed the room, a place to train others how to fight, how to destroy the Demonic. Dante had made it his mission to teach them all how to survive in battle. How to kill and not be killed.
The Church operated an official training facility north of the city. As advanced as the place was—with its computers, its state-of-the-art housing and security—it had never been home to Indigo. Dante’s old church, dark and moldy, had always been far more welcoming. Especially now, since the birth of the Covenant between Chaos and Serenity, the Darkness and the Light.
In the past twenty years the Church had been transformed into a shell of the superpower that it used to be. It had bent to the ways of Darkness, all in the name of peace. Nowadays the training facility was almost devoid of students. The ones who were there received only a sterile education. Just enough to teach them how to control the Sight. No weapons, no incantations. Nothing that was useful in the war against the Demonic. In the eyes of the Church, the war had ended.
Only the cost for ending that war had left the human race vulnerable. Even Dante had cursed the Church for what they’d done. No amount of peace was worth making a deal with the devil. While they didn’t agree on everything when it came to what was most holy, that was one thing Dante and Indigo saw eye to eye on.
He stopped halfway through the nave, taking in the wide-open space. Overhead, pigeons rustled in the rafters, making soft, mournful sounds. The old pews had long ago been cleared out so there was room for a training area. Pale white lines drew out sparring boundaries, and targets were mounted on the farthest wall. A divider with a door had been erected, separating the transept and chancel. Beyond the partition, in the back of the old cathedral Dante had made his home.
Cornelius stood by the door. He was nothing more than a dark shape backlit by rows of candles mounted on small stone shelves until Indigo stepped up beside him.
“You’re late.” Cornelius stuffed his hands into his Windbreaker. His ruddy cheeks glowed, and his red hair lay plastered to his shiny head. Even at three in the morning, the man was dressed in his clerical clothes. Knowing him, the asshole probably slept in the things.
“Sorry, I was busy.”
“Doing what? Hanging out in bars, clubs, picking up prostitutes?”
Indigo didn’t even try to hide his smile.
The red in Cornelius’s cheeks darkened. “Dante called me, right before…you know.”
Right before he died: painfully, violently, and probably screaming his lungs out. Indigo’s smile fell, and he cast a look at the door to Dante’s living area. It was slightly open; he could just make out the shapes of furniture. An overturned lamp distorted the shadows into nightmarish shapes. Dante had put up a fight. Indigo hoped he’d at least taken a few with him.
“What did he say?”
“Not much that made sense. He wanted access to the archives. He sounded…” Cornelius looked away. “He was angry, as usual.”
“So what did you tell him?”
Indigo huffed a laugh. “No, huh?”
“You know the rules, Indigo. The Covenant forbids such use of the Church’s knowledge.”
“You know what he would have used it for.”
“What? To do his job, to do our jobs?”
“The war is over, and we’re all better for it.”
“Better?” The word tasted bitter in his mouth. “No, the problem is the Church doesn’t want to admit the Covenant was a mistake. Look around you, Cornelius. They killed Dante. Twenty years ago the Church would have unleashed everything it had in retribution.”
“It’s not twenty years ago.”
“Yeah, I noticed.”
Thanks to the Covenant, Serenity didn’t stand a chance at winning this war. Not with the leashes and muzzles put on the priests and the Palet. With Dante gone, Indigo was the last of the old-school Palet. Those trained to be true warriors. Those trained to die fighting for what they believed in. Unlike everyone else, Indigo understood what Dante wanted. He appreciated the man’s drive to prove the Church was wrong and to rekindle the war, to spill blood, to bring the battle into the light.
Indigo said, “You know, of all of us, he had the most faith. He believed in the greater good.”
“And you don’t?”
“After all you’ve seen, all you’ve been through?” Was that awe or anger in the priest’s voice?
“As far as I know, God is dead, and if he isn’t dead, he obviously doesn’t give a shit.” He took a step toward the door, giving his back to Cornelius’s cold glare. “You coming?”
“I’ll wait out front.”
“Of course you will.” Indigo listened to him go.
Copyright © Adrienne Wilder
- A Spectacular Read Review by Jade
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