Malpheas is one of the most powerful demons from Earth, but when he wakes up from cryo on the other side of the galaxy, he notices something is wrong—he’s human. Oh, hell no. In order to get his powers back, he must remove the sigil on his arm by carrying out three good deeds. But acts of kindness aren’t exactly his strong suit. Working undercover as a security officer investigating a suspicious death, he’s assigned to work with Hope, the most softhearted woman he’s ever met. If she can’t teach him how to be good, no one can.
Hope is in a pot of trouble, and if anyone finds out what she did, that pot would quickly boil over. She just needs to lay low until she can figure out a way to fix this mess. But when she’s ordered to show Mal the ropes and introduce him to everyone, sorting out her problems becomes impossible. Mal is sexy as sin, broody as hell, and believes she can help him change his bad-boy ways. Fine. If that keeps him from discovering her ties to the rebellion, she’ll teach him how to be a perfect angel.
As they work together, though, it becomes clear that Hope isn’t the only one with a hidden agenda, and their irresistible attraction to each other just adds fuel to the fire. When secrets are exposed, they must make the impossible choice between doing what’s right and doing what’s necessary.
Light meets dark, good meets evil…and love can hurt like Hell.
The Trakis Seven
Hope Featherstone entered the code into the keypad and pressed her palm to the panel. For a moment, it looked like the override hadn’t worked, and she cursed under her breath. Then the door pinged and slid open.
She slipped inside, and the door closed behind her. Leaning back against the cool metal, she breathed in deeply, trying to slow her heart rate. The air smelled musty, as though it had been around too long, and the temperature was slightly cooler than the rest of the ship. A shiver ran through her, and she wrapped her arms around herself.
Was she doing the right thing?
The truth was she had absolutely no clue. They had planned for so many contingencies, but not this one. President Max Beauchamp was dead. Sucked into a black hole with the rest of the people on board the Trakis One.
The light in the cryo chamber was dim and tinged green, giving the place an eerie quality. Rows and rows of cryotubes filled the huge chamber, each with a glowing green light to show it was still functioning, safely carrying its cargo to the new world. The people in here had been sleeping for five hundred years. The fleet had almost despaired of finding a new home. They had nearly run out of food, and the ships were literally falling apart on them, when, against the odds, they had reached a system that appeared capable of sustaining human life. They were home.
Time to move.
She glanced at the number on the cryotube nearest where she stood and orientated herself. She’d been here once before, but that was six years ago, when she’d first awoken from cryo. She’d had to come back, just once, to be sure that he was here and safe. After that, she’d forced herself to stay away. Not to bring attention to herself or Liam.
Now everything had changed.
The metal was cold under her fingertips as she trailed her hand along the cryotubes, glancing at the sleeping faces through the clear windows in the upper surface. The people looked so peaceful. She had no memories of her own time in cryo. No dreams had haunted her sleep. Though the nightmares had returned since she’d woken.
Finally, she came to a halt by the tube she was looking for. It appeared no different than all the others, just recognizable by the number on the side. A smile curved her lips. “Hello, little brother.”
Then she took a deep breath—still not convinced this was the best course of action, but at the same time not convinced it wasn’t—and reached across to enter the code to start the wake-up process.
She almost jumped out of her skin as a man spoke from behind her. Snatching back her hand, she clenched her fist at her side and turned slowly. It was Jeff Conners, the ship’s security officer.
Crap. Just brilliant!
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
She forced what she hoped looked like a natural smile. “Hi, Jeff. I was just passing by, and I thought I heard something strange.”
He frowned. “You shouldn’t be able to access this area with your security clearance.”
“The door was open.”
His frown deepened. “I’m sure it closed behind me.”
But he sounded more confused than suspicious.
“Maybe there’s some sort of glitch.”
The whole ship was falling apart, so this wasn’t a big reach. At that moment, the lights flashed off and on again as though to prove the point.
“Is there a problem with the cryotubes?” she asked, more to take his mind off what she was doing there than as a real question. She’d already confirmed the status, and they were fine. But that was something else she shouldn’t be able to do with her security clearance.
“The captain just wanted me to check out a couple of things,” Jeff said.
“Like what? Is anything wrong?”
“That’s classified information.” He shrugged. “But we’re being extra careful. We don’t want anything to go wrong now we’re so close. And with what happened to the Trakis One…”
She shuddered dramatically and inserted a hint of fear into her voice. “All those poor people. It won’t happen to us, will it?”
“No danger of that. We’ll keep you safe.”
Jeff liked her. She was aware of that, but then she was young and passably attractive, and there weren’t many young, attractive women about. Plus, she was nice. Everyone thought so. Unfortunately, Jeff was a pompous, self-important ass, as were most of the senior crew members. He was also forty years older than her and twice as wide as he should be—not a good look in the tight, form-fitting crew uniform. How he was maintaining the excessive weight with the rationing, she had no clue. Well, actually, she had a few clues. As security officer, he had clearance for just about all the systems. It would be easy to help himself to extra rations.
She forced herself to step closer. Placing her palm on his chest, she widened her smile, fluttering her lashes for good measure. “I’m so glad we’ve got you to protect us.”
He visibly preened. “Maybe we could meet up after my shift finishes. Catch the night’s news comm or something.”
“That would be…lovely.” Not.
“Right now, I’d better escort you out and then check on that door.”
She dropped her hand to her side and stepped back. “Thanks. This place gives me the creeps. I’ll be happy to get out of here.”
“You get used to it,” he said. “They’re just sleeping.”
Hope turned and had taken a couple of steps before she noticed Jeff wasn’t following. She turned back slowly, and her heart rate kicked up. Jeff was staring at Liam’s cryotube, brows drawn together. He stepped closer and peered down through the clear window.
Jeff reached out a hand and wiped the window. “What the…?”
“What is it?” she asked brightly as her fists clenched at her side and panic tightened her muscles.
“I don’t believe it, but I could swear that’s…”
His gaze darted from her and back to the cryotube. He raised his left wrist. The one with the comm unit.
She couldn’t let him make that call.
“Don’t do that, Jeff. Let me talk to you first. Explain.”
His right hand went to the pistol at his waist, and he backed away, clearly aware now that she was up to something.
If she could stop him, she could find a way to persuade him to keep quiet…somehow. There had to be a way. It couldn’t end like this.
His finger moved to switch on the comm unit, and without thinking, she leaped for him. The momentum knocked him backward, taking her with him. He crashed into the cryotube behind him, his head hitting the metal with an ominous thunk. Then down to the floor. Hope landed on top of him, and the breath left her in a whoosh.
Beneath her, Jeff wasn’t moving, and she slowly pushed herself up. She gazed in horror at Jeff where he lay, his body twisted at an awkward angle, his eyes wide and staring.
Hunkering down, she pressed her finger to the pulse in his throat. Or the place the pulse should have been. Nothing.
Oh God, what have I done?