Seems like I’ve spent my whole life running, scampering away at the first sign of trouble. My shrink liked to think it was because of my absentee father, the sperm donor, or my overbooked mother. Their rearing of me, or lack thereof, had no bearing on what I was trying to avoid. I was the only one to blame.
Opening my apartment door to hundreds of roses, all black, let me know that I’d been an idiot. I didn’t have to guess who they were from. HE had found me.
Our affair started innocently. I met Azra in a dive on the edge of town. Mind you, I wasn’t trawling but working. I hated Jake’s Place as much as any sober person, but when you barely graduated from high school you do what you have to do.
The man—muscles and clean-cut with hooded dark eyes—didn’t belong at Jake’s. He was better suited for a gym or maybe the board room. Even his choice of punishment—Grey Goose vodka over ice—was out of place among the beer and whiskey crowd.
Azra lifted the glass to his full lips and eyed me over the rim.
“Can I get you anything else?”
“Your number,” he growled.
I had a weakness for take charge guys, but I couldn’t let him think I was that easy. “And why should I give it to you?”
He pushed the empty glass toward me. “You asked. I answered… and I’m waiting.”
I scribbled my digits on a napkin, balled it up, and tossed it to him. He caught it and jerked his head at the door. “When are you out of here?”
“Not for another couple of hours,” I told him.
He tossed the napkin back at me and said, “Wrong answer.”
Azra strolled around the bar and pulled my boss, Jake, to the side. Next thing I knew Jake slunk over to me. He tucked his shoulder-length blond hair behind an ear. “Jen, you’re done for the night.”
Although I took offense with Azra’s method, I appreciated leaving the stuffy, smoke-filled bar. I grabbed my jeans jacket, pack of smokes, and my purse expecting a one-night stand with the handsome stranger.
That was four months ago.
Azra treated me like a queen. Whatever I desired he gave it to me—clothing, jewelry, sex.
The man was hung like a bull and could fuck for hours. He satisfied me in ways I didn’t even know I needed.
In a very short time, however, I learned that Azra was nobody’s savior. Quite the opposite, in fact. If a man looked in my direction, Azra struck him down. He left a trail of dead bodies wherever he went. The first time I witnessed a death it mesmerized me. He didn’t need to touch a victim. He merely looked in their direction. I envied that type of power.
Azra kept me so guarded I couldn’t leave.
“If you ever try to leave me, I will find you. It may take a moment, but I’ll find you and make you pay. You are mine.”
His voice chilled my soul. I had no doubt that Azra meant every word that he said, but I had to take my chances and try.
I kept looking for my way out. Azra locked me in a room where I stayed day and night.
I heard the arguments outside my room. The hideous smell spiraled beneath my bedroom door as the body count grew.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that Azra’s ability was nothing a mere human should have. People spontaneously combusted. Some choked to death. Others collapsed on the spot.
One night I witnessed something no one should ever see. Azra left me locked in the room and hurried outside. I ran to the window and saw a tall figure who glowed in the night. Behind him were white wings like those on a bird but larger. I blinked. I had to be wrong. The two argued. Flames shot from Azra’s hands and the other figure crumpled at his feet before exploding into white light.
Azra left his leather jacket behind, something he never did. On the back of it was a pair of black wings. Beneath them was the name Azrael. An inscription circled the picture which read ‘Death Comes to All Those Who Speak My Name’.
I dropped the jacket as if just holding it would kill me. It was then that I realized the error of my ways—I’d become Death’s mistress—and I planned my exit.