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Kimberly Loth Books

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

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Sunday’s power is gone…

And she is bound and determined to get it back…or at least do something useful. 

When Puck offers to let her tag along on a mission to root out rogue Guardian groups, she jumps at the chance to help. 

But along the way, Sunday discovers that maybe the Guardians aren't the good guys she thought they were.

What Sunday does will leave you speechless… 

Download now to find read this thrilling end to the series.

Synopsis

Sunday’s power is gone…

And she is bound and determined to get it back…or at least do something useful. 

When Puck offers to let her tag along on a mission to root out rogue Guardian groups, she jumps at the chance to help. 

But along the way, Sunday discovers that maybe the Guardians aren't the good guys she thought they were.

What Sunday does will leave you speechless… 

First Chapter

“I never wanted to come back here,” I said when Naomi turned onto the gravel road leading to her old house. 

“I know, but this is the only way.”

“I still don’t see how this is going to help me get my power back. We should’ve stayed in Tucson and found a way to retrieve it from that rose.”

Naomi bit her bottom lip. “You’ll find out soon enough.” We’d left Tombstone in the middle of the night and sent Puck to Vegas. Now we were in Arkansas, the place that held my biggest nightmares. Though, now, Tombstone might be worse. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever sleep peacefully again. 

We found Naomi’s dad in the garden. She gave him a hug, and I left them alone and strolled over to her rose. Its brilliant purple blooms outshone all the other roses in the garden. The rose usually buzzed with power, but I couldn’t feel anything coming off it. It also used to tickle me, but when I reached out my hand to stroke a bloom, it didn’t react at all.

“Naomi,” I called.

“Yeah.”

“I think there’s something wrong with your rose.”

She approached, and the rose reached out a small bloom and brushed against her chin.

“The problem isn’t the rose. It’s you.” She closed her eyes as she brought one of the blooms to her nose. 

She didn’t need to be so blunt about it.

Naomi stepped away from the rose and eyed me. “But that’s what we’re going to fix. Let’s go inside.”

Naomi’s dad made us all coffee. I dumped three teaspoons of sugar in mine and a lot of milk. 

Naomi gently pulled out the worn chair. “After my mother wreaked havoc on the guardian and destroyer world, I had to remove power from a lot of people. All destroyer power went directly into the rose. But a few destroyers had figured out how to take guardians’ power by killing them, so I had the power of two guardians that I gave to my father when he agreed to watch over my rose.

“He’s had trouble managing all the power. They seem to work against each other sometimes. They aren’t very strong, which was why I was reluctant to take one from him. I didn’t know if he’d still be able to control the rose with just one power left, but now I think I’m going to take that risk.”

She watched me, but I was still really confused. “What does this have to do with me?”

“Well, what do you think I should do with the other power?”

I shrugged. Who cared?

“I’m going to give it to you.” She raised her eyebrows and waited for me to follow what she was saying.

“That’s possible?” I’d never realized that power could be transferred. 

A slow grin formed on her lips. “Didn’t you hear what I said about giving it to my dad first?” 

I had, but somehow it didn’t register that it could apply to me. Who flipping cared if it was weaker than my own. This was way better than nothing.

“Then what are you waiting for?” I jumped up.

She laughed. “That’s better.” Then, looking at her dad, she asked, “Are you ready?”

He leaned back in his chair and set his coffee cup on the table. “I’ve been asking you to do this for months. Of course I’m ready.”

“Are you sure you can handle the rose with only one guardian power? We can’t let it get out of control. We’ve seen firsthand what happens when a rose takes on a mind of its own.”

“I’ll be just fine.”

She put her palms up on the table, and her dad placed his own on top of hers. 

I’d never seen anything like this at all, aside from the rose sucking out my power. She held onto his hands and closed her eyes. I couldn’t even tell anything was going on until Naomi’s dad stiffened. His face contorted, and he grimaced. 

Seconds later Naomi glanced at me. 

“Your turn.” She waved, and I put my hands in hers. She grasped them.

“Wait.” I jerked away and swallowed. Pain was not something I handled well. “Will this hurt?”

She shook her head. My hands trembled as I placed them in hers again. She smiled at me. “This won’t hurt, I promise.”

A brightness entered my palms, warm like sunshine. The power flowing through my veins wasn’t nearly as strong as what I had before, but it was softer somehow, easier. 

I opened my eyes and stared at Naomi. “Thank you.”

“No problem. How does it feel?”

“Different. Not as strong.”

Naomi tapped her chin. “You knew that. I would’ve had a hard time finding something that was the same. You had more power than anyone I knew.”

“Yeah. But it’s way better than not having anything at all.”

“Dad, how are you doing?” Naomi asked.

“I think I’ll manage better now. Thanks.” He slumped into his chair.

“Good. Sunday, do you want to go for a walk?” She stood.

Sure beat sitting in here trying to decide if I liked the power or not. 

As soon as I stepped outside, I began to sweat. I did not miss the humid air, though the cover of the redbuds and the oaks along the worn path was beautiful. We strolled down to the creek, and I tossed rocks into the deep pools. Most of the time I didn’t miss Arkansas, but I had to admit, it was peaceful.

I studied my hands. I had power now, but it was different. Could I still do everything I did before? Could I still take power from others, like Naomi? She had taken power from many people, and I didn’t think Naomi liked being a leech. I’d never tried.

“How’d you end up with Alejandro’s power? Did you take it from him?”

“No.” She pinched the bridge of her nose and squeezed her eyes shut. “Well, I took it, but not from him.”

“I don’t understand.”

Maybe Naomi was not who I thought she was. 

“A couple of destroyers killed Alejandro and took his power. I took it back from them.”

Ginny had once told me the whole story of how Alejandro died. She’d had a little wine and went into way too much detail—how everyone thought it was her that killed him and that Naomi was delivered his head. But I didn’t know the why. “I can’t believe they did that just for his power.”

“I know.” 

My stomach clenched.

“Why didn’t you stop it?” I asked. She had been the master destroyer at the time. 

 “I hadn’t learned how to control the destroyers and had no one to ask. It was impossible to figure out on my own, so I was forced to stand by while they slaughtered guardians.” I swallowed. How awful that must’ve been for her.

I fiddled with a rock and found a fossil. I traced the circular pattern and thought about what she said. “Eventually you won, right?”

Naomi crossed her arms. “I did. But too many people died. I made Jason the master destroyer for many reasons, but mostly because he helped me find control. I knew he would be able to handle the destroyers from the beginning. Destroyers know when power has been passed from one to another because there is a period of chaos where they can tell they aren’t being controlled. But the transfer of power from me to Jason went so smoothly that no one knew there had been a change. Most of them think Jason was in charge from the minute my mother died.”

“So, whose power do I have?” I asked.

“I have no idea. It was from a minor guardian, that’s all I know. The destroyers went after the minors after I stopped them from killing the majors. They got around my command by using people without power to kill for them. They had a harder time getting close to major guardians, but the minors were easy.”

“Geesh. What happened to those destroyers who murdered everyone?”

“They’re in jail now. They turned themselves in and were labeled serial killers. One of them might even be on death row. I can’t remember. I didn’t really follow the trials. Honestly, I’d like to forget about it because I feel responsible for all the havoc they wreaked.”

I skipped a rock. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“If I had learned to control the master destroyer power earlier, I could’ve prevented many deaths, including Alejandro’s.” Naomi drew her knees to her chest and rested her face on them, her eyes glistening. She was carrying so much death on her shoulders. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

“You know, Puck thinks if you become a guardian, you can help prevent a lot of bad things that destroyers do,” I said.

She grimaced. “I’m not going to become a guardian.”

This wasn’t news to me, but it was the first time she’d ever said it out loud. 

“So, what’s your plan? To stay a shade?”

Her eyes cleared. “Yes. But there’s more than that.”

“Okay. What’s that?”

She hesitated and wouldn’t look at me. “I’m going to start my own group. One made up of just female shades. We are going to mediate between the guardians and the destroyers.”

I creased my eyebrows. “Did Puck agree to this?”

She sighed. “Puck doesn’t know.”

“So why are you doing it?” This didn’t make sense. If she wasn’t going to have the support from Puck, then she risked losing everyone she loved.

“Because I don’t feel comfortable with either the guardians or the destroyers. I want women to be able to use their power.”

“You don’t think Puck and Jason are going to fight you on this?”

“Of course they are, but they’ll get over it.” She shrugged and fiddled with a few rocks.

“When are you going to tell them?”

“After I have enough shades to make me a threat.” 

She’d need a lot. There were millions of guardians and destroyers.

“And exactly how are you going to do that?”

“Hopefully with you. I haven’t talked to Elizabeth yet, but I expect she’s going to be a huge help. I’m done keeping secrets from you though. From here on out, we’re in this together. What do you say? Will you be my partner in this?”

“Yes,” I said a little too quickly, even though I wasn’t quite sure what it would entail. 

I thought it was a good idea, but the power Naomi gave me came from a guardian—not a shade. When I was a shade, I was strong. I could do more than most. But this was different. I felt warm and sunny, and I didn’t have to work for it. There was no darkness. Shade energy had an edge to it, but this one did not. I was a guardian. 

Which was exactly what I wanted.

“But I’m not a shade,” I said. 

Naomi did a double take. “No, I guess you aren’t.” She tapped her chin. “There has to be a way to go back into the shade energy. I’ve seen Puck and Kai both do it. We’ll talk to him when we get back.”

“You know he’s not going to like that. He’s been wanting us both to become guardians for a while. Even if he does know how, he probably won’t agree to it.”

Naomi exhaled. “Well, we’ll just have to convince him.”

A blue crane flew along the creek, and we both watched him for a moment. He was beautiful and graceful. There were times when I wished I were a bird or an animal. Then I wouldn’t have to deal with all this. I loved both Naomi and Puck.

“I don’t like getting between you and Puck.”

Naomi reached over and squeezed my hand. “I know. This is all a little messed up. But I’m glad you’re on my side.”

I gave her a smile, but I didn’t know for sure if I was on her side or not.

“Are you ready for a job?” Naomi asked.

I snorted. “I’m not sure I’ve recovered from the last job yet.”

She nodded. “I know, but things will move fast. Leadership sucks sometimes, but I meant it when I said we’re in this together. I want to lead the sister shades with you by my side.”

I giggled. “Is that what you want to call us? Sister shades? It sounds like a nunnery.”

Her face reddened. “I hadn’t thought that much about it. But we need a name.”

“Yeah, let’s brainstorm that later. Maybe Elizabeth will have better ideas. When are we going to get them?”

“A week. Elizabeth needed time to round up the girls, and Puck needs to talk to his council about the situation.”

I took off my flip-flops and waded out into the creek, enjoying the cool flow of water over my feet. I shouldn’t have agreed to lead this with her. Then I could just be neutral. I didn’t want to get between her and Puck or have to worry about saying anything I shouldn’t to Jordan. We weren’t talking at the moment, but that would probably change. It wouldn’t be possible to back out now. If I stayed a guardian, then I wasn’t betraying anyone. But if I stayed on this path with Naomi, I’d be betraying not only Puck, but Wyatt and Jordan too.

“What do you need me to do?” I asked.

“Puck’s going to ask you to go on a recruiting mission with him. I want you to go.”

“Isn’t he a little high up on the food chain to go on recruiting missions?” That was minor guardian stuff. 

“This is no ordinary recruitment. Do you remember when I took you into Puck’s closet before you left for Tombstone?”

“Yeah. All the walls lit up with a massive map.”

“Do you remember the white spots?”

“That’s why you wanted me to go to Tombstone.” It was white, which supposedly meant there were no guardians there.” I snorted. Yeah, right.

 “Tombstone isn’t the only white space. Alejandro left Puck a list of all the secret guardian groups that he knew about, told him that if something major happened with the destroyers, then Puck needed to warn them. But after what happened in Tombstone, Puck’s going to bring them all into the main fold because he’s worried they might be doing equally horrible things.”

“Why does he want me to go?” Small minnows tickled my feet. 

“Puck has already sent out minor guardians, and not one could find anything. You were in Tombstone for only a few weeks, and not only did you find the group of guardians, you found the girls too.”

“My powers are weak now. I’m not going to be the same.”

“Your ability to find people has nothing to do with your powers. That was all Sunday.” She snickered.

That made sense. I was good at finding people, but I didn’t see what Naomi had to gain by my going.

“Why do you want me to go?”

“Isn’t is obvious? You’re going to help Puck find his group of boys, but while he’s distracted by them, you are going to find the groups of women and send them to me. But, and this is serious, you can’t tell Puck. Until we can make a stand, he cannot know.”

“What makes you think I’ll find entire groups of women?”

“A hunch. Honestly, I could be completely wrong. It’s possible they’ll be scattered around, but I think female shades will be there. Look at Tombstone.”

“My new power is too weak. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it.”

“You are letting your unfamiliar power be too much of a crutch. Trust yourself. I do.”

While I found the prospect of going on recruiting missions with Puck intriguing, I was still nervous about the secrecy of the whole thing. I liked Puck too much to lie to him.

“Naomi, can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but why are you doing this to Puck? I thought you loved him.”

She ran a hand over her face. “I do love Puck. But I love myself too, and I have to make some sacrifices to do the right thing. Female shades have been oppressed for too long. If we simply try to join the guardians, it will take years before we are fully represented or respected, but if we start our own group, we’ll be a formidable force in no time. Plus, there is a serious need for a mediator group. We’ll intervene in guardian and destroyer disputes and facilitate peace and maybe even more. It’s the perfect position for us, actually.”

Somehow, I didn’t think the boys would see it that way. That’s not what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a guardian. I wanted to make people happy. Was that really so bad? 

Naomi stood up. “Time for us to go. My dad is going to be upset that this visit is so short, but we’ve got things to do.”

I groaned. Another stupid airplane.

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