Gabriel's Hope (Chapter Nine, page 1 of 10)

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When she awoke, it was to find the face of the boy, Toby, hovering over hers. Deidre blinked. He leaned back, and a recessed, marble ceiling came into view. Its edges were gilded with gold marking a lazy geometric design across the marble. Two brightly lit, massive bronze chandeliers dangled at even distances across the ceiling. She was on a huge, plush sleigh bed with dark wood and pastel coverings. Pushing herself up, Deidre was amazed at the size and furnishings of the room. It was like something out of a television show about castles.

"Where am I?" she asked.

"Didn't you come here through the portals?" Toby asked.

"Yes, but I don't understand how to use them yet."

"French Alps. This is where the Immortals live," Toby replied. "Gabe's not dead-dead, is he?"

Deidre looked at him, surprised he knew Gabriel.

"Not that I know of," she said with a shiver. "I have a headache."

"It's my fault. You hit the ground before I could catch you," he said.

"No, I'd have one anyway," she said, not wanting to admit she didn't think the skinny youth could've caught her anyway.


"Long story."

He reached out to her and placed a hand on her forehead. She was surprised to feel a strange zap of energy, different than Gabriel's warmth but not unpleasant.

"You have a tumor," Toby said, dismayed. "A big one. Does it hurt?"

"Um, I don't know if it hurts, but I get headaches," she replied.

"I can't believe you don't remember anything," Katie said from the doorway. She pushed the door closed with her hip, a silver tray of cookies and snacks in her hands. "Hannah said you came here looking for Rhyn?"

"Yes. He's the only one who seems like he'd tell me what's going on. No one else will," Deidre said with some frustration. Her eye went to the snacks. Katie set the tray on the bed then sat at the foot, leaning against the bed frame.

"So you're not Death anymore?"

Deidre stared at her.

"You don't remember that either. Wow."

"We'll tell you!" Toby offered. He climbed over the tray onto the bed with them and sat cross-legged.

"I don't know the whole story, but I can give you the basics," Katie said. "Do you really want to know?"

"I think so," Deidre said uncertainly. "Does the tattoo mean you're Rhyn's mate?"

"Exactly." Katie grunted. "Could've been a little more discreet, but it fits Rhyn's personality."

"Is it something you can undo?" Deidre hedged.

"God no. And I tried."

"Immortal Code," Toby said. "Even the angels can't unmate someone."

"Angels," Deidre murmured.

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