Her Warriors’ Three Wishes
Book 2 in the Dante’s Circle Series
Jamie Bennett knew that warrior angel Ambrose Griffin was hers from the moment she learned that the things that go bump in the night are real. She, along with her friends, was forever changed the night the lightning struck and altered her fate. But what she doesn’t know is that while Ambrose might be hers, she’s missing someone else.
Ambrose always holds himself back because he can’t afford to lose anyone else. He’s lived and lost lifetimes over as he’s fought for his people, and though he knows that Jamie could be his if he takes that risk, there’s something missing. Or, more accurately, someone.
When Jamie is kidnapped and sent to hell, Ambrose will not only risk a war between the realms to find her, he’ll find his heart in the process—in Jamie and Bailin. When Bailin, a demon from hell, meets the two people who could fill his heart and his soul, he’ll need to fight for something he hasn’t felt in over a century—hope.
Her Warriors’ Three Wishes is Book 2 in the Dante’s Circle series
- Book 1: Dust of My Wings
- Book 2: Her Warriors’ Three Wishes
- Book 3: An Unlucky Moon
- Book 3.5: His Choice
- Book 4: Tangled Innocence
- Book 5: Fierce Enchantment
- Book 6: An Immortal’s Song
- Book 7: Prowled Darkness
- Book 8: Dante’s Circle Reborn
- Boxed Set: Dante’s Circle Box Set
The full series reading order is as follows:
Her Warriors’ Three Wishes
It’s odd how a strike of lightning can change a person’s destiny, but it takes the decisions and strength of others to make it happen. The wind brushed against his wings and he brought them closer to his body, needing that ounce of control.
Ambrose Griffin looked out along the angelic enclave as he stood high on the cliff’s edge and inhaled the fresh, open scent. This was his home, or at least it should have been. It was more of a resting place for him now. He didn’t even know when the loss of home had come to him. Changes were coming, he felt them in every fiber of his being, yet he couldn’t see their outcomes. To be honest, he really didn’t want to. He might have been older than dirt, but he wasn’t a seer. He didn’t envy those who held that so-called gift.
Ambrose didn’t want the world like it was. He’d seen countless civilizations rise and fall, people live and die faster than the sand that drifted away with their ashes along the wind.
Frankly, he was tired, the aches in his bones not from old age, but from time itself—he was an angel, he didn’t age—but from the weight of his past.
He was a warrior angel. One designed, trained, and delegated to hand out the justice of the angelic council. His blade was the final cut of judgment. His sword was that of law and order. He lived and breathed the duties set forth by the council, the same council that beckoned him to join their ranks each time he saw them—at their request, not his.
Each time they summoned him and begged him to take a place within them, he’d declined. He’d seen the depravity of power and wanted nothing of it. The council had changed in the past year, a short time for an angel, but the change had been needed.
After the Angelic Wars—the centuries’ long battles between two factions of angels—had ended, their council had been poisoned from within by Striker. The treasonous, brown-winged angel had started the Wars himself and had not stopped when the final blade had been lowered. No, he’d continued on in secret, almost killing Shade, Ambrose’s brother-in-arms, and Shade’s true-half, Lily.
They had persevered, and now Striker was no more—killed at the hands of Shade himself. Yet, with Striker’s death, the empty seat on the council beckoned him, or rather the other council members had. He wanted nothing to do with it. He had all the power he wanted and desired nothing more. He didn’t want to sit idly by and make declarations and decisions for others. No, he’d rather feel a blade warm in his hand as he fought for all that was right.
It was all he had done for his five-thousand-year existence and all he could see in his future. He needed nothing else.
Not even her.
No, it wasn’t the time to think of her. It was never the time to think of her.
He’d seen the worst in man and angel alike far more often than not. Angels weren’t the godly and holy beings people thought. Though those might exist—he wasn’t so sure—they did not enter this realm or any of the other supernatural realms.
Humans weren’t exactly as human as others would like to think. No, they were diluted versions of all things inhuman. Centuries of breeding with other supernaturals had created a supernatural without magic. Though, at first, the humans had known of magic and all it entailed, over time their true beginnings had been lost to them. Science and religion had warred with each other, erasing the true keystone to their humanity.
Now it was just as well. Humans weren’t ready for the existences of angels, shifters, brownies, demons, and so many others to become common knowledge. They feared what they did not understand, and a war to end all wars would be an inevitable outcome. Seerers had foretold it, and Ambrose knew it to be truth deep down in his bones.
The gods, or whatever others called them, had other things in store however. A year before they’d struck seven women, seven close-knit friends, with a lightning strike that had unleashed the supernatural DNA within their genetic makeup. Each woman might or might not unleash the most prominent supernatural strain of DNA in their own code, though for their sakes, Ambrose hoped the latter. A change such as that would be a shock—no pun intended.
Lily, the first to change, had made it through and was now a brownie because of the lightning and the fact that she was stronger than she thought and had Shade by her side. Of course, it was also Shade’s fault that her powers had been unearthed to begin with. Even with the lightning, it had taken their bonding and making love for her powers to be fully unleashed. A simple meeting with Shade had brought her powers to the surface, even though they had not been fully realized. It took that mating of a true half for the change to be complete.
It would be like that for the other six of them—if they met their true halves.
Any one of the other girls could be going through that pain that unsettled feeling that came with finding their true half but not completing the mating.
Ambrose gave a long sigh, one filled with an eternal memory that seemed to bear down on him with each passing day. With a swift intake of breath, he leapt off the edge of the cliff, his wings spreading wide, catching a wind current. He flew down to the ravine, following the river’s path, the wind lashing through his hair. He never felt as alive as he did when he flew amongst the clouds and then again with nature. This was why he loved being an angel, even though the weight of the years felt heavier as time moved on.
He landed on the edge of a cliff that gave way to a marketplace. He’d told Shade and Lily he’d meet them on the other side of it, and he didn’t want to be late. We walked past a grouping of younger female angels, and they each gave tentative smiles in his direction.
Well, they were younger to him. By the taste of their powers as they seeped off them, he knew them to be at least a few hundred years old. Babies to an ancient like him.
And if they were considered babies, then she—
No, he couldn’t think about her. Not if he wanted to remain sane. He’d spent the past year in the angelic realm dealing with the aftermath of Striker’s betrayal—away from her.
The girls—no, women—flexed their wings, each a painting of beauty and fragile elegance. Cool in their portrayal, iced in their immortally.
Not for him. No one was. Not even her.
Ambrose knew what the others saw. White wings, not as plain as those in the drawings by humans, but almost crystalline in nature, gleaming in the sunlight. He had the body of a warrior, one strengthened over eons of war and dispensing justice. His white hair ran straight down to the middle of his back, slightly mussed from his flight. He usually wore it tied back with a leather band but had opted to let it go free to feel like a younger man, a freer one.
What had he been thinking?
From the women’s stares, he may have made a mistake. He didn’t want their attention. He’d had his angel a lifetime ago and didn’t want another. He knew what could be his fate, and the angels fluttering their eyelashes and wings were not it. He gave a regal nod and a cool stare. Their smiles vanished, but their gazes didn’t waver.
Apparently, they liked the challenge?
No thanks. He didn’t desire their attention, didn’t deserve it. He was just a warrior angel, not a man to be admired.
He left them where they stood, their discontent clear, but he let it wash over him. The market was filled with the hustle and bustle of activity. Mothers held their babies close because a child was a prized gift in their culture. Children played in the street as there were no cars needed in their lands. Merchants sold goods as though it were a long-ago time in the human realm. The angels moved at a slower pace, though they held the technology to do anything. They were a mismatch of cultures and times. Some wore robes, while others, like him, wore jeans and other items of the modern movement.
He’d hated the robes anyway. The wind would always leave him feeling a bit breezy and exposed. He bit his lip to hold back a smile at the thought of what others would wear under those robes, didn’t want to scare anyone today.
Ambrose walked past a group of young males play-fighting with wooden swords. Although a bullet could pierce a body, angelic or not, most angels preferred the more elegant weapon to fight, and for a warrior, it was a must. These young boys had their sights on the warrior class, one that would take much effort, but he’d help them when it came time for their mentoring—if they made it that far. Wordlessly, he walked up to one boy and adjusted the grip of his sword before moving on. He stopped abruptly when he noticed they were all frozen in place, their mouths open in shock.
“You need to be sure you handle your weapons with care,” he advised, his voice deep and rough with lack of use. He only spoke if needed; there was no use in wasting words when actions would prove just as useful, if not more so. “Your opponent will be stronger than you in some cases, and you need to rely on your skill, as well as what’s ingrained in you. Be aware.”
With a nod, he left them in silence. Behind him, he heard murmurs of his name, whispers in reverence. He’d done that boy a favor, something the boy’s father should have done. Though Ambrose was a warrior, he was also a mentor and a weapons enthusiast. Weapons were his passion.
His only passion these days.
His collection rivaled those of the best museums, if not surpassed them. Scholars would envy it had they known it existed, but his life was shrouded in secret from the humans, as it should be.
“Scaring young children, are you?” Shade Griffin said as he walked toward him with his arm around his true half and wife, Lily. Shade was his brother-in-arms, his partner in justice, brother by choice and not blood.
He was also the brother of his late wife, though that had been long ago.
Lily laughed, a sweet trill that made Ambrose think of family. She was now his sister, someone he’d die to protect, and her beauty surpassed most: ivory skin, large green eyes, and chestnut hair. He could easily see why Shade had fallen in love the moment he’d seen her.
“Shade, stop making fun of Ambrose,” Lily scolded and elbowed him in the ribs.
“You still laughed, my dear,” Shade said and kissed her temple.
She blushed and ducked her head. Ambrose lifted a corner of his lip and rubbed her cheek with his knuckle. Shade raised a brow, and Ambrose moved back, not caring in the slightest that Shade was territorial. He didn’t fault the other angel for his attitude, but Shade should know Ambrose had another on his mind and didn’t want Lily that way. It was still fun to needle him, even though the world thought he wasn’t the most humorous of men.
“You’re fine, Lily,” he soothed. “I know you only laugh with him to humor him. He needs the help with his fragile ego.”
Shade threw his head back and laughed. “Ambrose just told a joke and almost smiled.” He clutched his chest and staggered back, bringing Lily with him. “I think I need to sit down.”
“You’re a riot, oh-wise-one,” Ambrose said dryly. “Was there a reason you wanted to meet here?”
Lily looked around, her face radiant, glowing even. Was she…? Perhaps, but he’d let her tell him the news. Women seemed to like that.
“I’ve never been here before, so I thought it would be a nice change,” Lily said, practically bouncing on her feet.
In the past year since their meeting, she’d been to the angelic realm a few times, but only to Shade’s home or his own. She and Shade spent most of their time in the human realm, protecting her six friends in case the other supernaturals found out exactly what was going on and it turned dangerous. Ambrose had said he would help but had taken the coward’s way out and gone back to the angels to help deal with Striker’s betrayal.
He knew his break from the humans was almost at an end. The angels didn’t need him anymore to oversee the change, and he knew the human women needed him more. Shade, and the girls’ dragon friend, Dante, were on watch, but Ambrose should have helped more.
He still had time though. Maybe he could make amends.
“Ambrose?” Shade asked, worry in his features.
Ambrose shook away his thoughts and guilt and looked back to his two best friends. “Sorry, I was lost in thought. What is it you needed to tell me?”
Lily and Shade shared a worried glance that transformed to pure bliss, and a little stress on Shade’s side.
“We’re pregnant!” Lily explained, her cheeks rosy and her eyes bright.
Ambrose smiled, full out, a rarity, he knew. He pulled Lily into a tight hug and twirled her around. “Congratulations, Lily, my dear, you will be a wonderful mother.”
Images of his own children’s faces flashed in a fading memory, but he didn’t feel any pain, only that hollowness of a long-lost future.
He put Lily down and gave her a chaste kiss on the mouth. “I will be there for you if you need me.”
He clapped Shade on the back, and Shade gave him a look that said the other angel knew what Ambrose had been thinking about. They’d been friends and brothers too long to hide those things.
“I’m very happy for the both of you,” Ambrose said. He pulled back and held his arm across his chest. “I will do all in my power to ensure your child, and your future children, are safe and happy,” he vowed.
Shade mirrored his movement, and they both bowed. Tears stained Lily’s cheeks, but she still held her smile.
“You’ll be godfather, Ambrose, right?” she asked.
As if he could say no. He nodded, pleasure at the thought of their trust running through him.
“Of course,” he said, his voice choked with emotion.
“We’ve already told the others in the human realm,” Lily continued. “Sorry we didn’t tell you first, but it didn’t make any sense to come here before telling them.”
“I don’t mind, Lily.”
“Jamie will be godmother; is that okay?” Lily asked. He knew she’d sensed something off between him and her friend, but thankfully, she hadn’t broached the subject.
The name he’d fought so hard to forget.
The woman who haunted his dreams, more so than his dead wife.
Jamie, the woman who could have been his true half if he’d let it happen—who was his true half.
“Of course,” he said again, this time a new emotion threatening to choke him. “Let’s celebrate with a good meal, shall we?” He led them to a small eatery, his thoughts not on their conversation, but on the woman he’d avoided.
Jamie deserved more, a future. Not the broken shell of a man. He wasn’t selfish enough to think he would make her happy, though he desperately wanted to be that man. Sometimes he thought he could be—could see their future.
No, he couldn’t. She was too young for him. Too full of life. She’d be happier without him.
He closed his eyes while Shade and Lily talked to each other. He tugged on the cord that connected him and Jamie, the one she didn’t know existed because she hadn’t made the change to supernatural yet, even though he knew she was feeling the effects of the need to change. Luckily, it hadn’t been as bad as Lily’s, so he could leave her. She might feel only slightly weak, but she hadn’t had the seizures or other side effects that Lily had endured, thankfully.
Unlike Lily though, Jamie had been feeling the weakness for almost a year.
And, it was his fault.
He’d left her, and they hadn’t made love.
Hadn’t even kissed.
He hadn’t wanted to tie her to a man too old to be what she needed. In his heart, he’d known there was another for her. He’d felt it. The world consisted of just one true half per person, and some triads, Ambrose felt for certain there was another for Jamie, one that would be her true half. He knew in his heart that she would be happy with that other man, whoever he may be.
He sighed. Now he was just kidding himself. There wasn’t potentially several mates out there for any one person. If he could feel like something was missing, like there was another for her, then that meant there had to be someone for him, as well.
He shook his head. No, he couldn’t think about that.
Jamie was not the one for him, despite the cord that tethered them. Despite the lightning that had caused it all to begin with.
Her body was weakening because she’d met him and he’d started that change—or, in his opinion, that curse. He couldn’t let her go through it any longer. No, he wouldn’t be with her. She deserved better, but he could find that other man. The one he knew existed as sure as he felt the cord that connected him and Jamie. He would do what he must to find that man for her. He couldn’t bear to think of her in any more pain.
Or any pain at all to think of it.
Nevertheless, he knew more pain was coming. She’d been living too easily for too long, and fate was a bitch when she wanted to be. Their connection might have allowed him to heal her physically, just like the night of Striker’s death when he’d first felt the cord, but he couldn’t heal this. He knew he would have to find this other man for her to be whole. That way she could find for her the one who could help her find her supernatural half and live in peace.
He would find him so Jaime could feel alive again.
Ambrose wasn’t for her. No, he was for no one.
He wouldn’t wallow, but he would live like he always had, hollow but with a purpose.
Pyro paced the length of his foyer, anger rolling through him with each step. His son was dying, but not fast enough for his taste. The bastard had forsaken their oaths and refused to take souls into the hells realm. Why couldn’t the little twit die already?
Soon though, Pyro felt Balin begin to fade more with each day and relished it. Within days, Pyro wouldn’t have to deal with the chain that shackled him to this realm. Although Balin didn’t force him to remain in hell, if Pyro left, he was afraid of the damage Balin would do in his absence.
Like free the slaves and gladiators.
No, that wouldn’t do.
Pyro went to his throne, an ornate chair made of the bones of his enemies, and plopped down, his body weary with boredom, something that could never do for a demon such as he.
He needed something to pass the time waiting for Balin to die. He couldn’t kill his son in hell. No, ever since Lucifer had killed his own son in hell, they’d put a curse on the ability to kill one’s loved ones. Damn that demon for ruining everything like always.
Maybe it was time to put his other plan in place. With Balin about to die, Pyro could use his men and powers to hurt the enemy who’d given him the scar that ran down the side of his body. The scar that revolted the women he took to his bed. Though they had to deal with it anyway, he wouldn’t let them leave once he found them. That was not a demon’s way.
Yes, it was time to pay Ambrose a visit.
He couldn’t go to the angelic realm to find him. No, that would start a war, a war he would relish, but he was not in the mood to deal with the politics. However, he could go to the human realm and not start a war—it was in his blood. No one cared about the humans anyway. They were just the piss and backwater of the purebloods.
And, if his sources here correct, there was a woman who’d peaked the old angel’s interest. A woman who’d been struck by lightning and lived to tell the tale. No, the two angels and that dragon where not as secretive as they thought. All of the realms knew something was amiss with those women, but no one cared enough to deal with it unless it affected them.
One of them had turned into a brownie.
He wondered what the woman who Ambrose had set his gaze on would turn into.
Maybe Pyro could cut it out of her.
Oh yes, that sounded like a plan. He’d take the girl and bring Ambrose to him. Though the angel wouldn’t want an all-out war by stepping on hell’s land, he could find a way to make it happen. The old bastard was crafty like that.
Pyro smiled, his teeth lengthening, his talons curling.
Yes, this would work. He’d send his men to get the girl, play with her to his heart’s content, and the old winged bastard would come to him.
And, while all of this was happening, Balin would die from his own stubbornness, his own failure to do what was meant to be a demon.
A scream tore from the woman he’d pinned to the wall earlier and he sighed.
Fuck, he’d forgotten about her in all his planning. Well, it was of no use wasting a human since they were so hard to come by these days. Fools were forgetting the magic and not summoning the demons as often.
Pity to those who did.
Pyro took out his blade, sharp and deadly, just the right size of blade to extract the most pain and smiled again. He stood then walked to his captive.
“You really should know not to summon things stronger than you,” he warned as he slowly sliced away at her flesh. The human’s eyes turned a brassy dull, the life fading out of her as she screamed, and he let the terror wash over him in pure bliss.
“Sadly, I’m bored with you now, so I’m going to give you to my men. I was going to kill you, but now I have another human in mind.”
Her blood spattered on his bare arms and he turned away, licking the rivulets as he did so. With a nod to his men who had come into the room at the final scream, two of them went to her, grins on their faces.
Pyro had to find this human woman and lure Ambrose to him. That was his goal. The other humans could wait until later. A scream filled with insurmountable pain echoed along the walls behind him, and he took a deep breath, letting the horror seep into his pores.
It would be a good day.
Finally, Ambrose would pay.