Title: There But For The Grace
Series: Angel’s Grace #2
Authors: Jeffrey Cook & A.J. Downey
Release Date: March 8th 2016

Tabbris, the Angel of Free Will,
is in Hell…


Worse, the keys to the gates
of Heaven and Hell have gone with him. Now, the hounds of Hell are close on his
heels as he fights a desperate battle to keep the keys out of infernal hands,
while trying to reach Earth once again. At least he prevented Adelaide from
being dragged down with him.


Meanwhile, Adelaide is still
possessed by the Angel of Visions, and Iaoel seems to be planning to stay,
regardless of what Addy wants. Now she’s in search of a rogue angel to find a
way into the underworld to rescue Tabbris…


Before all Hell breaks loose…

“This is it?” I asked and huffed out a dubious sigh.

“It’s a prison. It ain’t the Ritz, Baby.”

I glanced over at Uriel and narrowed my eyes, “When Gabriel
does it, it’s funny, and almost cute. When you do it, you look like a jock

His eyebrows disappeared into his fiery ginger hairline, and
his lips spread into a giant smile as he struggled not to laugh.

“Uriel,” Raphael’s lyrical voice came from behind the both
of us, “Michael has asked us not to encourage her crude behavior.”

“You always do what Daddy tells you to do, Raphael?” I
asked, turning.

Raphael gave me a smile that was beatific in nature, as
serene and unblemished as the silver glass of a lake on a calm day. One of the
most peaceful things I had ever seen. I blinked when he answered me, “Yes,
Child… but do remember, Michael is not our father.” He pointed one elegant,
long finger skyward. “He is, and always will be.”

I rolled my eyes heavenward. “Yeah, sorry. You guys really
don’t get us at all though, do you?”

Uriel shrugged. “We try.” He side-eyed Raphael. “Some of us
harder than others.”

“Right.” I took a deep breath and let it out slowly,
returning to the problem at hand, “How am I supposed to break into a prison?”

We stood alongside the road leading up to the prison gates,
a long, lonely stretch of cracked blacktop, the center lines so faded they were
barely there. Two lanes, one in, one out, nothing but scorched and waving
unkempt grass, no more than knee height for almost as far as the eye could see.
Even if a man managed to escape, he’d be easy pickings out in that grass. It
was a sad, lonely, and desolate place to spend your last days. I wondered how
on Earth Haziel had become an inmate here. How the fuck I was going to get in?
Did they even allow death row inmates visitors? I mean, random ones…

“There,” Uriel said, and I followed his pointing finger. An
old Mercedes, something out of the 1980s, was stopped behind what looked like
the last in a series of chain link gates topped with razor wire, as it trundled
aside. The Mercedes waited until the gate was all the way open, pulled through,
shifted gears and headed up the road in our direction.

Uriel and Raphael stood with me on the side of the two lane
highway. They had assured me we were quite invisible to the humans inside the
prison. They said that was one of Raphael’s stronger gifts: to obfuscate. Being
a healer, obfuscation during the heat of battle was kind of a necessity. I’d
asked him why he hadn’t done a better job in the battle beneath Chernobyl and
he’d smiled a little sadly and had told me that with the state of things as
they were, he’d had little to no energy to expend on obfuscation, that he had,
instead, relied on Uriel to defend him and the rest of the healers. It’d made
me a little ill to think of the implications in that. I’d voiced my theory

“Were we really that outnumbered?”

“My dear child,” he’d said, “We are fortunate that none of
the Archen fell during such a fight. Our Father, was with us, so it seems.”

I looked from Uriel to Raphael and back to the Mercedes
coming our direction. The Archangels both looked expectant, and I sighed
inwardly. Not for the first time, I wished that Gabriel were here instead of
these two. Mostly because Gabriel was at least familiar, and we kind of got
each other. I looked from Uriel to Raphael one more time and followed their
eyes to the oncoming Mercedes. The car pulled up, and I looked at the driver, a
priest: black shirt, white collar and all. He turned his head and looked right
at us curiously, before pulling past and driving on. I blinked stupidly. Damn

“I thought we were invisible to anything human,” I said with
a sinking feeling.

“We are.” Raphael’s serene smile stretched, and I really
wanted to smack it off his face.

“Then was that..?” I pointed after the Mercedes.

“It was.” Uriel’s smirk was even more infuriating.

“Seriously, guys?”

I ground my teeth and watched the taillights fade into the
gathering twilight before turning on the two Archangels.

“Now what do I do?” I asked, and it sounded petulant even to

“Well, I guess you wait for him to come back,” Uriel said
with a wink, and then they both winked—right out of existence.

“Oh you happy bastards!” I cried, then wondered if I were
suddenly visible to the guards that were mere dots in the towers to either side
of the distant gate. I had to assume I wasn’t, and that I was still hidden from
sight or invisible or whatever when no one came out to investigate When the
shift change came? Well, the cars that passed me by, not a single one of the
occupants turned to look at me, so that confirmed my hypothesis.

“You guys are such assholes,” I muttered under my breath to
myself. I wondered briefly to myself: if you prayed to someone and cursed them
the fuck out in your prayers, would they hear it? I unshouldered my pack,
dropping to sit cross-legged on the edge of the road and prayed to who

“I’m not giving up, Tab. This is some serious bullshit, but
I promise, no matter what crap they pull, I’m going to get you out.” I felt
stupid talking to myself, but I had to believe that somehow, some way, he could
hear me. I didn’t know how well prayers travelled to Hell specifically, but I
had to have faith that they did, that he knew I wasn’t giving up.

I looked up to the sky and huffed out a breath at the cloud
cover. Of course it couldn’t be a clear night full of stars. Why wouldn’t I get
rained on? Let’s make this whole fucked-up situation as cliché as possible! No
sooner had I thought it, than the first drop splattered against my cheek.

“Aw, damn it!” I uttered. I rooted through my pack and
satchel to no avail: nothing that would serve as rain gear, of course. I
cinched up the pack quickly, so at least I might have a dry set of clothes to
change into later, when the slide and snap of nylon against nylon made me jerk
my head up. Gabriel smiled down at me, a large golf umbrella open above us.

“Thanks,” I said with a gusty sigh and pulled myself up to
my feet. I pulled my pack back up onto my shoulders to keep it off the ground
while the rain pattered down around us, picking up in intensity.

“Particular reason why he didn’t stop and why Raphael and
Uriel just left me out here?” I asked.

“Yes, you know there is. We don’t tend to do things without
a reason.”

“Care to fill me in?” I rubbed my hands over my face and
sighed out. Gabriel, who loved to gender bend with the best of them, had chosen
to show up as a dude this time around and, as always, was impeccably dressed in
a suit and tie.

“Haziel and the Archangels don’t have the best rapport.”

“Seriously? No wonder he didn’t even slow down. That’s
great, that’s just great… why would he stop for me tomorrow?”

“Because tonight, he is working to find out who you are, and
when he can’t do that, and when he finds you here all alone tomorrow… hopefully
his curiosity will get the better of him.”

“Jesus, Gabriel! Why couldn’t you guys have just left me
alone out here in the first place? Why didn’t you guys just say, ‘Hey Addy, when
the priest drives by, flag him down. That’s the dude you need!’ I mean,
wouldn’t that have saved so much more time?” Time. Time that could be better
spent getting Tab out of Hell. I didn’t want to leave him down there any longer
than I had to. It wasn’t fair. It just wasn’t fair!

“Easy, Addy,” Gabriel put his hand on my leather-clad
shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze. He’d used my name, which meant we were
being super serious, which was good. This was as serious as it got.

“We didn’t know where on death row Haziel was. We couldn’t
be sure. Standing out here was recon as much as anything else. He gave himself
away when he looked at you guys. Truthfully, we’re almost as blind as you in
all this, and your guess is as good as ours.”

I threw my head back and stared at the inside of his
umbrella, it was growing so dark that I could barely see the silvery spiderlike
legs of the metal skeleton above us. I prayed for patience, and for Tab to hold
on, but mostly I prayed to God that Haziel would talk to me. Give me a
direction to move forward with. I had to find Tab, I had to help him, and I had
such a feeling of urgency surrounding it all that it wasn’t even funny.
Text Copyright © 2016 Jeffrey Cook & A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses,
places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s
imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons,
living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All Rights Reserved
Addy’s boss has been murdered…


She’s next. She’s been folded into something that
supernatural forces want, and it looks like she’ll have no choice in the


Tab’s been through hell to make sure this sort of thing
doesn’t happen – literally. The red-winged Angel of Free Will cares vehemently
about individual agency in human destiny. How much he cares about Addy herself
may be another thing entirely, but at any rate, she has a better chance with
him than with the rest of the Angelic family, Fallen or otherwise.


In a run for her life and a race in which the involvement of
the Devil himself is considered among the least of their worries, Addy must
find enough moments of calm to unfold the Angel’s Grace inside her, learn from
the visions it provides, and find the keys to Heaven and Hell.
About the Authors
A.J. Downey


A.J. Downey is a born and raised Seattle, WA Native. She finds inspiration from her surroundings, through the people she meets and likely as a byproduct of way too much caffeine.


She has lived many places and done many things though mostly through her own imagination… An avid reader all of her life it’s now her turn to try and give back a little, entertaining as she has been entertained.
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Jeffrey Cook

Jeffrey Cook lives in Maple Valley, Washington, with his wife and three large dogs. He was born in Boulder, Colorado, but has lived all over the United States. He’s the author of the Dawn of Steam trilogy of alternate-history/emergent Steampunk epistolary novels and of the YA Sci-fi thriller Mina Cortez: From Bouquets to Bullets. He is a founding contributing author of Writerpunk Press and has also contributed to a number of role-playing game books for Deep7 Press out of Seattle. When not reading, researching, or writing, Jeffrey enjoys role-playing games and watching football.


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