It's here! I've been working with artists for over a year on gathering the best to go with this badass girl boss series. The first cover art is by Carlos Queueo and it captures the essence of this story so well! Take a look below and then read the first chapter from our first Sanctioned Sinner's POV, Thea.
For fans of Buffy and Supernatural, this strong female lead series is sure to get your pulse racing in multiple ways. From demon hunting adventures, to forbidden romance, this series has it all.
Read the First Chapter
Across the street from a nightclub called Purgatory, I check my cell phone and confirm my location. Yes. Right place, right time, but the wrong outfit.
I glance down at my black dress. The neckline is too high, and the hem is too long. It’s almost midnight, and the club is pumping. I unclip my dagger from my thigh holster and use it to shear off a good two feet of fabric. Then I slice down from the center of the neckline, freeing my breasts from captivity. Well, almost. A lace bra stops me from completely exposing the world.
Once satisfied with my alterations, I sheath my weapon and fluff up my hair. Lastly, I poke the silver crucifix on a necklace deep into my bra.
Walking like I live in stilettos, I strut across the street, tossing my long dark hair and swaying my hips.
As predicted, the bouncers are too busy checking out my goods to bother with ID or, I don’t know, the fact that I just cut the line. The trick is to look like you’re expected and unhappy about being late.
Once inside, I hold that persona and move down a rabbit hole with thumping music vibrating the walls. Cigar smoke keeps what happens inside the seedy club hidden. I crest the foyer and take a moment to gather my bearings.
High-class women in skimpy clothing tend a bar to the right. A sunken dance floor is perfect for lusty voyeurism from wealthy businessmen sprawled in booths around it. I have no doubt the women dancing between lascivious men are hookers or wannabe sugar babies. I continue hunting until I find what I need—the man with the fattest ego, copious women on his arms, and men groveling at his feet. He’s bald, wears a gold chain, and sits on a throne with a vantage point of the entrance.
He’s not my guy. He’s just in my way.
With my eyes on the prize, I stalk toward him, chin high and shoulders straight. As I pass the bar, a handsome man widens his eyes and opens his mouth. He takes a step toward me.
“No.” I hold my right hand near his face and keep walking.
He shuts his mouth and slinks back to the bar. I don’t have time to play tonight. Besides, ignoring every other man making eyes at me right now is part of the plan. Never once removing my gaze from the target, I walk across the dance floor. Perhaps it’s my confident carriage, devilish outfit, or God-given good looks, but dancers part like the red sea. When I hit the opposite end of the floor, I feel my target’s eyes groping me.
I climb the steps and stop at his table.
His gaze deliberately walks across my body, lighting up with every inch he covers. The women on either side of him pout. Their need to scratch my eyes out is like a hot poker in my side. They probably think I want to snort the two lines of cocaine racked up just for them. A few empty shot glasses, a Benjamin, and a credit card are also scattered across the table.
Pipe down, ladies. I’m not here for you.
The bald man licks his lips and states, “There’s a line, honey.”
I don’t know if he’s offering me a line or if he’s talking about the women waiting to be with him. Gross. Either way, I don’t smile, blink, or even glance at the smoldering cigar wobbling on his lip.
“I’m not here for the line,” I reply.
“Oh yeah?” He chuckles.
His big belly squashes against the table with each heaving breath. Two men behind him make a deliberate move to ensure I see the firearms holstered under their arms. Glocks.
I refocus on the kingpin. “You’re in my seat.”
At first, they laugh. The girls are cackling hyenas, and the men are weasels. The kingpin eventually slows his chuckle and glares at me. He’s smarter than I pegged him for because he seems to have recognized the death in my fearless eyes.
Only three types of people would look at him the way I am—fools, psychopaths, or someone more dangerous than both.
He gives a negligent wave of pudgy fingers, and his two henchmen skirt the booth and come at me—one from either side.
Game on. My hands whip out and grab a handful of henchman testicles. Thumping music drowns out their cries of agony as I squeeze, wrench, and damn near castrate.
They double over, conveniently bringing their chests within range. Don’t mind if I do. Removing their weapons is like taking candy from a baby. Once I have their guns, I push the magazine release on each, remove the live rounds, then toss the empty hunks of metal.
I do all this with my eyes glued to the kingpin.
“Psycho bitch.” He jumps up, but his fat belly knocks his table, sending cocaine flying. He’s too big, half-cut, and concerned with cigar ash now smoldering on his shirt.
I climb on the table and push the lit cigar past his gaping lips. Then I hold my hand over his mouth to keep that burning fucker inside until smoke puffs from his nose. Finally, his survival instincts knock out his shock, and he reaches for me. It’s no use. I’ve already drawn his pistol and have it pointed at his head. This one, I leave fully loaded.
“You’re in my seat,” I repeat.
The girls scramble out, allowing me space to sit next to the man and let go of his mouth. He coughs, spits out the smoldering, soggy cigar, and it lands in one of the empty shot glasses. His cheeks tremble with rage as he turns toward me.
A slow sigh releases from my lips. Now it’s going to get messy. The moment his hand leaves that table and heads my way, I smash the butt of his gun into his nose. Blood spurts.
“You had to keep pushing, didn’t you?” I grumble.
He covers his face and whimpers.
“Fucking bitch,” he spits at me. “Whore.”
I grin wildly. “Say it again. I dare you.”
His eyes widen. “You’re insane.”
“Close, but no”—I glance at the brown stub in the shot glass—“cigar.”
“I’m impatient, asshole. That’s what I am. Now get out.”
He scrambles his sweaty, awkward, and blood-stained body out of the booth. I set his gun on the table and sweep the club with my gaze. As expected, eyes dart away. Whether security is afraid, ignorant, or biding their time, I don’t care. My real target will be here any minute.
The kingpin blabbers something about me paying for what I’ve done.
“Blah, blah. I’m going to hell.” I shoo him away. Just in time, too, because the man I’m after walks into the club.
Tall, dark, and possibly demon-possessed. Outwardly, he looks like your everyday Wall Street wanker. Inwardly, he’s swarming with evil and sin. I glance at a picture on my cell phone and confirm he matches my mark. He has the same appearance, give or take the dark circles under his eyes.
Last week the Hildegard Sisterhood received a complaint from a wife concerned about her husband’s change in behavior. Her local church ignored her, the local diocese ignored her, so she found us.
Only because we wanted to be found. Our supernatural ghost-hunting team ad in the paper is a front for our secret, centuries-old organization. We get a few nut jobs calling in, but occasionally, we get something worthwhile. They don’t need to know we’ve only just discovered demons are real.
With the pistol on the table and my bag next to it, I nab the hundred-dollar bill and stuff it into my bra. Then I stretch my arms lengthwise along the back of the booth and study my mark. I need to work out if he’s genuinely possessed or if this is a false alarm so I can return to my regular assassin’s schedule.
He goes to the bar and orders a drink he doesn’t touch. It’s not long before he notices everyone in the club is looking at me. Dark eyes take me in, see me in my skimpy and lonesome glory, and then he makes tracks my way.
Some poor fool tries to warn him about me, but he ignores them and snakes through the dance floor. The dancers don’t part. For a moment, he’s lost in the teeming, writhing bodies. It’s exactly what I imagine hell would look like—when I eventually end up there. If I squint, it’s easy to pretend they’re not smiling but screaming. That’s not desire in their eyes but agony. They climb over each other to escape but go nowhere, doomed to suffer an eternity in this cesspit.
I shake off the notion just as my mark resurfaces on my side of the sunken dance floor. Something is wrong. He moves jerkily as though unfamiliar with his body. His shirt buttons are mismatched, his tie is stained, and sweat darkens his collar.
If he’s what I think he is, the pistol will be useless, so I leave it behind, pick up my clutch and meet him before my stolen throne.
“Let’s take this outside.” I force a come-hither smile and drag my fingers down his chest. A sour and sickly scent wafts into the air.
I walk toward the bathrooms, where an emergency exit leads to an alley. The unique stench of his perfume stays with me, so I assume he follows.
I’m not a nervous person. I haven’t been since the Sisterhood whipped it out of me almost two decades ago. I don’t startle, and I don’t balk. But the instant I find myself alone with him in the dark alley, my pulse quickens.
What am I doing here?
I’ve been trained to deal with dangerous, wicked men, but this… this is not a man. I feel it in my bones. But I have to be sure.
Keeping that grin on my lips, I back up until I hit a wall next to the exit door. To my right, an overflowing dumpster blocks the way to the street. To my left, a cat urinates on a crate stacked against a dead-end brick wall. The cat hisses and arches its back, then quickly darts away.
“I’ve been waiting for you.” I crook my finger.
The lack of surprise in his eyes is unnerving. Surely this is just another bored, seedy stockbroker with too much cash in his pocket. He’s not possessed. Demons aren’t real. Because if they are, then hell is too. That’s the last thing I want.
The thought makes me stand straighter.
This will end up as just another job. I can imagine the conversation with my superior now. “Sorry, Reverend Mother. No dice. Just another cheating husband accused of possession.”
Suddenly he lurches and reaches for my neck. Because I know I must test this, I steel myself and let him pull my dress down to expose my breasts… and the blessed silver crucifix.
He hisses. Blinks. And his eyes turn completely black—no white shows. No color. Nothing but pure evil looks out at me. There is a moment of us weighing each other, a split second of him wondering about his opponent, and then he realizes I know what he is. Words spill from his mouth and sound like they’re scripted in hell. His voice is deep, guttural, and full of vile insults that would make any sinner blush.
It’s in every atom, every particle, every breath I take.
It’s real. Hell is real.
If Hell is real, then so is Heaven. Prayers sling from my lips. Every word is like a hit to him. He flinches and snarls. But he doesn’t stop pawing at me. The heel of my palm flies up and hits his nose. His head snaps back. He stares at the starless sky for so long that I think I’ve broken his neck. But then he slowly returns his gaze to me, oblivious to blood gushing from his nose. His hand circles my throat, and he tries to steal a kiss from me. I whimper.
The smell. It’s so bad.
Panic grows in my chest like vines squeezing my heart. I don’t know what to do. This is wrong. So wrong. But I know I’m not ready to die.
Not if hell is real. Not if I’m going to end up there.
And that’s precisely what will happen if that man gets his mouth on me. I have no idea how I know that or if it’s true, but the fear is real. I pull the blessed dagger from my thigh sheath and shove the blade into his chest.
He vomits on me, but that’s not the worst of it. A dark, invisible presence flows from the wound. I feel it brush over me like an arctic breeze. Goosebumps break out across my skin, and my soul quakes.
Then it’s gone, and the man collapses. His hands fall by his head, and I glimpse a strange tattoo beneath his sleeve. I tug it up for a better look. Ooh. That’s not good.