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Copyright © 2016 by Author Gloria Herrmann

This is a work of fiction. The characters and events described herein are imaginary and are not intended to refer to specific places or to living persons alive or dead. All rights reserved. No part of this book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.







Have A Little Faith



Book 2

The Devil’s Darlings Series





By

GLORIA HERRMANN



Dedication



I’m related to a wonderful poet from many years ago. Robert Herrick touched on the many facets of life, and he often wrote about love. The majority of his work is seductive, thought provoking, and still rings true where matters of the heart are concerned. It would seem that his love of words, and love itself, has been passed down through the many generations, and has found its way into my own heart. I love romance; the butterflies, the chase, and the happily ever after. It’s why I write what I do. Because much like Robert Herrick, I love love too.



Of Love

By Robert Herrick

I do not love, nor can it be LOVE will in vain spend shafts on me;

I did this godhead once defy,

Since which I freeze, but cannot fry

Yet out, alas! The death’s the same,

Kill’d by a frost or by a flame



Of Love II

By Robert Herrick

How love came in I do not know

Whether by the eye, or ear; or no;

Or whether with the soul it came

(At first) infused with the same;

Whether in part ‘tis here or there,

Or, like the soul, whole everywhere,

This troubles me: but I as well

As any other this can tell:

That when from hence she does depart

The outlet then is from the heart.





Prologue



So, by now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about my baby sister, Grace, and her wonderful little adventure. She had to pick the roughest time of the year (for our father, anyway) to leave home. She left at Christmas, of all times. Who does that? In some ways, I don’t blame Grace for wanting to go out there and taste something sweeter than our life here. Oh...where is here? Here is Hell. Yep, that’s my home sweet home. It’s not at all like you probably imagine. Yes, there are demons, fiery pits, and a lot of torture going on. However, there are different levels. Think of it like a really grand hotel, or a corporate building. Each floor houses various departments, because not all sins are created equal. And we live in the penthouse. That’s right, the very top floor. We’re tucked safe and sound up there above all the suffering. Dad did a fantastic job making it rather cozy for us girls. We’ve got everything imaginable there. So, there’s truly no reason why Grace should have ever left.

Nonetheless, she did leave. She had absolutely no desire whatsoever to return home. Dad even went after his favorite daughter to bring her home, yet that hadn’t work out quite as he’d planned.

Dad is livid, I mean, absolutely steaming mad at Gracie right now. He’s been a real joy to be around as you can imagine. Ha! To be honest, I’m a little afraid for her. I’ve never seen him quite like this, and I know now, I’m the only who can help her. Don’t get me started on my other little sister, Hope. She’s a real peach, and I’ve had about all that I can stand of her.

I’m usually fairly easy going, and I put up with far more than I should have to. I’ve often been referred to as a welcome mat, but as their older sister, I feel it’s my responsibility to look after them, and perhaps even fill the role as their mother. Things didn’t exactly work out with Dad and our moms. What would anyone expect from a guy, who has earned so many clever names; Chief Rebel Angel, the Father of Lies, the Prince of Darkness, the Fallen Angel, El Diablo, need I go on? No? I didn’t think so.

In case you somehow didn’t catch my drift, Dad is the devil. He’s also a rotten son from what I’ve heard, but we try not to hold that against him. He’s been a fantastic father, maybe a little overprotective at times, but what father isn’t?

Everything is so messed up. I’m partially to blame, I suppose. I agreed to Gracie’s hair brained scheme in the first place, and just look how things turned out. She’s in love with some human, but that’s all Hope’s fault. I can fix this. I have to. The infamous words of Yoda, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”, have become my mantra for this mission.

Let’s just say, I will go through Hell and back to find her...and bring her home.



Chapter 1



Faith



I’d almost forgotten how bright it was on Earth. We’re talking utterly blinding. We don’t exactly get a ton of sunny days where I live. I quickly shield my eyes with my Chanel pearl cat-eye sunglasses. Yes, I said Chanel. Coco is one of my favorite designers, right up there with Louis Vuitton. They say the devil wears Prada, but, in all truth, Dad is more of an Armani kind of guy.

It was much different now than the last time I’d visited. Last time, it was pouring rain, and we had gotten drenched before we even had an opportunity to get our bearings. Today it was sunny, with hardened dirty mounds of snow remaining along the streets of downtown Seattle. I figured I had better start here to look for Gracie - right where we’d left her. Well, technically Gracie shoved Hope through the portal that leads us back home, and stayed put here in Seattle. I even tried to go back for her, but the threshold had already sealed shut. I was afraid that it would still be closed when I traveled this morning. When it had magically opened for me, I knew that luck was on my side. I knew this plan of mine might actually work, and everything would turn out great. Okay, so, I’m an optimist. Sue me.

All that mattered was that I was here. However, there had been one small glitch, I think Ariel, Gracie’s demon bestie, may have seen me. Trust me, I tried to be ultra-sneaky, however that’s not exactly something I’m very good at. No doubt, Ariel will run and tell my father. That’ll go over great, I’m sure. Leave it to my sweet little sister to befriend a demon. They, above everyone, should never be trusted. And therein lies the problem with Gracie. She trusts anyone and everyone. Now, do you see why I’m so worried? She’s out there somewhere, and anyone could be taking advantage of her.



***



Damn, another tiny hiccup. This trip is proving to be a little more challenging than I had expected. I just tried to check into that fabulous hotel that we’d stayed at last time. Apparently, our credit is no longer good there. Luckily, I keep a lot of paper around. And by paper, I mean cold hard cash. Cash will get you anything, and take you just about anywhere. I don’t rely on that plastic junk. I’m old school, I guess you could say.

After shelling out payment for my room, and a few extras bills, aka, hush money to the manager, I’m all settled in. This room is different from the one we’d stayed in last time. It’s smaller, but has a much better view. There’s only one bed, which is perfect for the short stay I have planned. The rich maroon and soft gold tones are regal and lovely. There is a large gift basket on the small granite table with a bottle of champagne neatly tucked inside of it. I pull it out to inspect the label. This place knows luxury well. I appreciate their attention to detail.

Enough stalling, I need to come up with a plan of some kind; a blueprint on how I’m going to make this little mission of mine a success. I had to try and think where Grace was at. Where would I be hiding out? Probably shacking up with some gorgeous guy. For the life of me, I couldn’t recall the man’s name that she’d fallen in love with. I just knew that he was a dog doctor, something like that. Maybe I should have prepared a little more for this mission. That would have meant asking Dad some questions, and then he’d figure out that I was going after Gracie. And trust me, I certainly didn’t need him on my case. Grace has always been Dad’s favorite. It doesn’t upset me one bit. I’m not really the jealous type. Hope, on the other hand, is. Hope has had it out for Gracie from the moment she was born. Not me, I was overjoyed when Grace entered our little family, despite the very sad circumstances that I assume she’s already shared with you all. I felt an immediate connection with her. I knew that she would need me, but what I hadn’t realized until recently, was just how much I had come to rely on her.

As I’m holding the bottle of champagne, I’m remembering all of the crazy times I’d shared with my baby sister. I miss her terribly. I place the bottle into the small refrigerator, and survey the room again.

Gosh, I hope this doesn’t take longer than necessary. If it does, at least I’ll be comfortable here. It was time to get to business - no more foolin’ around, and getting caught up in ancient history. There would be plenty of time to remember all of our good memories together once she was safely back in Hell. My sister needs me to find her…now. I leave my room, and exit the hotel to begin my search.

I’m feeling a tad dizzy as I stare up at the tall buildings that surround my hotel. They block out the sunlight and cast long dark shadows everywhere. It would be easy to feel insignificant in this city. Everything is massive, loud, and overwhelming. Just another reminder why I needed to complete this mission quickly. It wasn’t that I hated Earth, but it certainly wasn’t home. I know it sounds absolutely insane to say that Hell is better than a lively city like Seattle, and that’s not exactly what I mean. It’s just that this place is so different. I feel lost here. And maybe even a little scared. I need to find Grace, and end all of this silly nonsense. I spot a coffee shop, and I could have sworn it called my name. Is it so bad that I want to properly caffeinate myself before I begin the heavy task of saving my precious Gracie? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.



***



Oh, where to begin. For starters, packing more sensible footwear should have been a tad higher on my list of priorities. My poor Christian Louboutin heels, is all I have to say. I’m back in my room sans Grace. Yep, you got it, I haven’t found her yet. It’s times like this that I wished I had one of those, oh what are they called...yes, a cell phone. Then I could track her little ass down.

Deep breaths. Sorry, if I seem a bit out of sorts and maybe even a tad grumpy, but I’ve just spent nearly an entire day scouring this city for Grace. I have no clue where she is. Maybe I should have brought Hope with me, at least she’d have an idea as to what to do. Both of my sisters are incredibly clever, unlike yours truly. What in the heck had I been thinking? Here I was, defeated, not to mention in a whole lot of pain, and with no real direction on how to proceed next.

I rub my aching toes and decide to make use of that gigantic tub in my bathroom, one fit for royalty. A little pampering might be just what the doctor ordered. Maybe I could come up with a solid plan after soaking. It was worth a shot, right?

As I submerge my body in the milky bubble bath, I cannot tell you how amazing it feels. I plug my nose and slide completely under the water. I love the sensation of being fully surrounded by the luxurious warmth. I feel the tension lodged inside my muscles dissipate. I popped up to get air, and the scented candles I had lit, filled the room with a delicate floral aroma. This was more than nice, it was a well-deserved treat for the torture I’d endured today.

I stay in the water until it got colder than I could stand. I toweled off and throw on the soft terry cloth robe and slippers the hotel graciously provided. I venture out of the bathroom and stare out the massive window, the glittery lights of the Seattle skyline shone back at me. I would give Grace one thing, it was gorgeous here at night. It seemed to come alive. It became bright and energized. It reminded me of New York, a very condensed, miniature version, but it had that same glow.

Time to come clean about a few things. This is not my first, or second time at the rodeo. I’ve been to Earth more than a few times. It was long before either Hope or Grace was born. I went on business trips with Dad when I was just a tiny tot. It was such a special time for us. A daddy and his daughter jet setting around the world. He showed me so many things when we traveled. We went literally everywhere. I mean I’ve been all over the globe; Paris, Hong Kong, New York, London, you name it. That’s how I got so into fashion. I was exposed to a variety of culture all thanks to my flamboyant father. No designer knockoffs for his little princess.

My sisters have no clue about my life before they were born. Once Hope entered our world, things changed…drastically. To be honest, Dad wasn’t really expecting another daughter, or any child for that matter. I sort of think that if anything, he’d hoped for a son; someone to carry on the name and pass on his legacy to. I was thrilled at the idea of finally having a playmate, a best friend, someone to share secrets with: A sister.

Hope didn’t exactly live up to my expectations. The reality was that she was jealous right from the start. I did nothing but shower my new baby sister with love and affection, but it wasn’t me that she wanted it from. It wasn’t as though Dad was cold or unloving towards Hope. If anything, I got the short end of the stick. Gone were the trips around the world, and my special time alone with him. Things were definitely different after Hope was born, but I had accepted my new life.

Then a few years later, I was given another sister. She lived up to my wish of what a sister should be. Gracie became my dear and precious baby sister. I couldn’t have asked for a sweeter, kinder, and more loving sister and friend. She was everything Hope wasn’t. And soon, they were at odds. I felt that it was my duty, being the oldest and all, to play peacekeeper, or at the very least to keep them from killing one another.

Did I miss my old life? You bet I did. It was a heck of a lot easier, that’s for sure. There are moments when I nearly forget how things used to be. I wouldn’t trade having Grace in my life for anything, and maybe that’s why I’m so desperate to find her. My biggest fear is that I may never see her again. So much for that optimistic attitude I was rockin’ earlier. I tried to banish those doubts because they were just too awful to contemplate. No, this wasn’t just me wanting to find my little sister, I absolutely had to. Everything depended on it. With Dad being so pissed off at the moment, I wasn’t sure how long he’d wait before attempting to go after her again. Then, there was Hope. I was almost worried that she would attempt to bring Gracie back herself, just to earn some major brownie points with her daddy.

We were just one big happy dysfunctional family.

I know that Gracie is out there somewhere, among those twinkling gold lights. I just need to try really hard and I could do this. I yawn, exhaustion has burrowed its way inside me. A good night’s sleep will help rejuvenate me, because tomorrow, I have to locate Grace. I’m certain by now that Dad probably has figured out I wasn’t home. The sooner I get back with Grace in tow, the better.


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