Reya Sinclair is the last person a man sees before he dies. As a Redeemer, she offers the soon-to-be-departed one last chance to atone for their sins. It's a painful job, but it's her only shot to secure her own salvation. She won't let anyone stand in her way-not even a ruggedly sexy cop hot on her trail. Bound by her duty, Reya must shake him before he ruins her . . . but her heart can't seem to let him go.
“[F]raught with extraordinary peril, emotional upheaval, and tests of resolve.” – RT Magazine
Reya Sinclair is a Redeemer of Souls. Her mission is to give Earth’s most depraved sinners a shot at redemption just before they are slated to die. Her own redemption is on the line as she fulfills her duties, leaving a trail of dead bodies in her wake. It’s all going perfectly well until one detective takes notice, possibly bringing her quest for salvation to a halt.
Thane Driscoll is a good cop who’s seen too many bad guys get away, including the man who murdered his father. He exacts his own style of justice, even if it costs him his humanity. A string of mysterious deaths leads him to a woman who’s not quite human and might hold the key to finding his father’s killer.
When death and shadows descend, New York City becomes a battleground for the forces of light and dark. As the body count rises and sparks fly between them, Reya and Thane race to uncover a terrible truth. Can one man hell-bent on revenge and one woman determined to save her eternal soul be enough to keep the planet from spiraling into darkness?
Charles R. Merck leaned back in his chair and regarded the woman who called herself Reya standing in the middle of his office. She appeared to be in her late twenties, with long black hair that edged on blue.
His overhead lights glowed off porcelain skin. Her eyes were sharp, quicksilver in color, and almond in shape. A silky fabric covered her from head to toe in a black glove that left nothing to his imagination. The long coat dusted her knees, and opened up just enough to make him itch to see more.
He didn’t usually see clients at this hour of night, but when she’d shown up unexpectedly, he’d taken one look at her long, sleek, sexy body and decided to work late. His wife wouldn’t miss him. She knew better than to question what he did.
Reya lifted her dark gaze to study him in the dim light of evening, and for a fleeting moment, he felt a chill up his spine. But then he remembered who he was. He owned this office. This building, in fact, and every soul in it.
He laced his fingers across his belly. “So what brings you here, Miss Reya…?”
Her red lips formed the words “Just Reya.”
He gave her a smile. Perhaps she was a call girl. Even better. “Reya, it is. What may I do for you?”
She didn’t smile back. “Actually, I’m here to do something for you.”
His smile grew as his mind leapt ahead. She was a hooker, an early birthday present from one of the boys. Harold, perhaps. Or Carl. He’d have to thank them big-time tomorrow.
She slipped the long black coat off and swung it on the back of the chair. Damn, she was a looker. He was already getting hard. He licked his lips. “And what would that be?”
She spread her hands on his desk and leaned forward, giving him a look at a nice pair of breasts beneath the black tank top. “I’m here to tell you your sins.”
His eyes were glued to her breasts, and he nearly missed the words. Then he looked into her eyes. They seemed almost animal-like. Confusion clouded his head, and then he laughed. The boys picked a live one this time.
“Tell me my sins or act out my sins?” he countered.
Her expression didn’t change. There was an endless darkness in those eyes, and the hair stood up on the back of his neck.
“You run a twenty-billion-dollar company,” she said, her voice rough. “You gave yourself a fifty percent raise and a five-million-dollar bonus last year.”
He couldn’t pull himself away from her gaze, and he noticed an annoying ringing in his ears. Despite that, his mind was catching up quickly. “Wait. What? How do you know that?”
“While your employees were told the company was on hard times. Mandatory overtime without pay, no raises, no compensation for their blood.”
The ringing in his ears increased. His hands were suddenly freezing; he could hardly feel his fingers. Anger set in slowly, his mind fighting every step of the way. This was his office. And all the while, he couldn’t escape her eyes.
“The secret meetings where you dreamed up your next way to squeeze them,” she continued, her voice a hypnotic tone. “Stupid idiots. Like puppets in your hands. A penny here, a dollar there, they won’t even notice. And if they did, they won’t dare say anything for fear of losing their tiny houses and food for their rug rats.”
Her words echoed in his mind, memories of words he’d said himself in those meetings. Who told her? Who betrayed him? No one fucked with him. He didn’t get to be a powerful man by being nice.
“Who told you?” he managed to rasp.
She smiled then, and the chill that had claimed his hands spread up his arms and to his chest. He was shaking from the cold.
“You did,” she said. “And now you have one chance to make it right.”
His entire body was trembling uncontrollably now. “If you think you can blackmail me, forget it. I’ll destroy you.”
She stepped back from the desk and stared at him. His world, the world he’d created for twenty-two years, seemed to fade away. All he could see was her black shape, which had swallowed his office.
“Are you sorry for your sins, Charles Raymond Merck?”
He sputtered through lips that felt like ice. “Sorry? For what? You come in here and tell me I’m wrong? I’m wrong? I built this company from nothing. Those peons would have nothing without me.”
Righteous anger warmed his chest, bringing him back to his senses, strengthening him as he latched on to what he’d built. He pointed a finger at her. “You tell whoever you work for to go to hell. Now get the fuck out of my office.”
She didn’t move, only narrowed her gaze. It felt like a sliver of ice to his soul. “I’ll take that as a ‘no.’ Goodbye, Charles.”
While he watched, she turned, grabbed her coat, and walked across the marble floor to the door. He reached for his phone, icy fingers fumbling to punch the numbers.
They answered on the first ring. “Security.”
Charles clutched his fingers, trying to get blood flow back into them. His office was freezing. “There’s a woman dressed in black leaving my office. Detain her. Use force if you have to.”
Charles slammed the phone down and punched in another phone number. Normally he wouldn’t risk calling one of his goons from his office, but screw it. He could cover it up. His best man, Harris, answered, “Yes?” It sounded like he was in a bar. Too bad.
“I have a woman I need you to interrogate tonight,” he said.
“I have a previous engagement,” Harris answered.
Charles clenched the phone and felt life in his fingers. “I don’t give a damn. I fucking pay you well enough. Get your ass down here now.”
There was a tense pause. “Of course.” Then the line went dead.
Charles tossed the phone in its cradle and leaned back in his chair. He felt terrible, his body vacillating between chill and outrage. That bitch. Who the hell did she think she was, telling him his sins? He’d make damn sure he found where she’d gotten her information from, and then he’d make sure she never shared it with anyone again.
“Fuck her,” he muttered and pushed off his chair. He walked around his desk. He stumbled unsteadily to the liquor cabinet. He opened the doors and grabbed a bottle of very good scotch. He sloshed scotch into a glass and raised it to his numb lips. The liquor burned down his throat in a single swallow. The heat raced like a flame down his core.
He filled the glass again, happy to see his hands were steadier now. His mind felt clearer and sharp. By the end of this night, that bitch would be silenced along with any dirty little secrets she had on him.
He grinned. He was back.
Charles took his glass over to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that surrounded his penthouse office. Below, Manhattan stretched out in straight, perpendicular lines. From this vantage, it was a thing of beauty. Made by men like him. This was his city, and he knew his place in its hierarchy. He was a powerful man. Others looked up to him and treated him as such.
No smart-ass woman was going to change that.
As he sipped his drink, the arrow-straight streets began to waver. He frowned and blinked rapidly as they merged and parted. He looked down at his drink. It was the first one today. Was it an earthquake?
He looked out again, feeling suddenly dizzy as the city lights spun wildly. Whole blocks of skyscraper windows blinked on and off. Rows of streetlights twisted and warped.
This is wrong, he thought, taking a step back. Something was happening. He swung around, paranoid, feeling as though he were being watched.
Suddenly, his office lights flickered, and then went black. The usual thrum of the air-conditioning ground to a halt, leaving an eerie silence and the ever increasing ringing in his ears.
As his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, he swore he could see shadows circling his office. They mocked him with their swagger. He knew he was in trouble, but his mind seemed to shut down completely, unable to form a course of action.
His phone. He needed his phone. He leaned in the direction of his desk, but his feet wouldn’t move.
“Move,” he heard himself say, surprised at the high pitch of his voice. “Move!”
Nothing. Panic seized him again, more powerfully this time. He tried to wrench his body around, and the glass slipped from his fingers. He heard the heavy crystal shatter on the marble.
Finally freeing himself, he reeled back a few more paces and hit the wall. The office rocked up and down like a boat, and he swayed heavily. Fog filled his mind, and his body seemed detached and weak. His gaze dropped to the broken glass on the floor, a few feet away.
For long moments, he stared at the tumbler. It didn’t look right. His brain scrambled to find the wrong. The base was fine, but the sides were like knives, pointing straight up.
Charles laid his head back against the cold wall and looked up. Reya’s smile flashed in his eyes. And then the floor shifted again, sending him stumbling—one terrible step at a time—closer to the glass. He tried to call out, but the words wouldn’t form.
He fell forward like he was toppling off a tall building, felt the glass enter deep into his chest. The pain was quick and cold radiated from the floor. He couldn’t move, couldn’t yell for help. Flashes of his life passed by in seconds. The truth of what he’d been sunk in swiftly and terribly, and the fear of all the wrongs he’d done crushed him into the glass. Warm blood soaked his shirt and his face, and then there was no more cold.
RT Mag says “Readers’ imaginations will take flight as ghosts, demons & other assorted creatures fill the pages of” REDEMPTION by @cj_barry
REDEMPTION – 4 stars
Reviewer Donna M. Brown: “Barry offers up a remarkable tale peopled with strong characters and a unique storyline as Reya and Thane travel a most unusual path to find happiness. Their journey is fraught with extraordinary peril, emotional upheaval, and tests of resolve. Readers’ imaginations will take flight as ghosts, demons and other assorted creatures fill the pages of this marvelous book.
Summary: Reya, a Redeemer of Souls, is earning her way back to Heaven by ridding the world of one creep at a time. She doesn’t kill them outright, but creates circumstances that lead to their deaths if they don’t accept redemption. Det Thane Driscoll has been put on probation, albeit for a righteous shooting of a pedophile. He’s in the Paranormal Investigation Unit and has seen Reya on tapes of several of the crimes. He believes her unlikely story and, together, they set out to find the culprit from Hell behind an attempt to take over Earth.”
“Five Rose Hearts: A great read and would love to recommend it to ya all. Hope that you’ll like it as much as I did.” – Curse of the Bibliophile
“HJ Recommends: If you like a different type of read with a little paranormal and metaphysical fiction with an awesome butt-kicking heroine, don’t miss Redemption by C.J. Barry.” – Harlequin Junkie