Jana Oliver's third spellbinding Demon Trappers novel - following The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief - brings all new thrills, as Riley Blackthorne takes on demons, love... and the future of the human race.
The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father's reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican's Demon Hunters that she's working with Hell. So now she's in hiding, at the top of everyone's most-wanted list.
But it's becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or someone. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm's way. Riley thinks she might know who's behind it all, but who's going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…
About the Author
Jana Oliver is the award-winning author of the young adult urban fantasy series Demon Trappers, including The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief. She is also the author of the Time Rovers series. She's happiest when she's researching outlandish urban legends, wandering around old cemeteries and dreaming up new stories. An Iowa native, she lives in Atlanta, GA.
Jana Oliver is the award-winning author of the young adult urban fantasy series Demon Trappers, including The Demon Trapper's Daughter and Soul Thief. She is also the author of the Time Rovers series. She’s happiest when she’s researching outlandish urban legends, wandering around old cemeteries and dreaming up new stories. An Iowa native, she lives in Atlanta, GA.
Read an Excerpt
By Jana Oliver
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2012 Jana Oliver
All rights reserved.
2018 Atlanta, Georgia
Riley Blackthorne's tears were no more. She'd cried herself dry, yet she still lingered in the arms of a dead man. If given the chance, she would remain in her father's arms for the rest of her life.
When she looked up, sad brown eyes gazed back. Master Trapper Paul Blackthorne was a reanimated corpse now, summoned from his grave by none other than the Prince of Hell. Like the day he'd been buried, he wore his best suit and favorite red tie, the one she'd given him as a Christmas present.
On the run from the Vatican's team of Demon Hunters, Riley had taken refuge in the home of Mortimer Alexander, a summoner of the dead. She had not expected to find her father waiting for her. Now, as they huddled together, she laid her head on his chest, seeking solace in his embrace.
"I've missed you," she whispered.
"I've missed you too, Pumpkin."
This isn't right. We're just borrowing time.
Her dad should be in his grave. Then he would never know that Riley wasn't his innocent little girl any longer, that she'd given up her virginity the night before.
I was a fool. Why did I let Ori do that?
She'd spent that night in the arms of someone who had said he would protect her. Who had claimed she was special and that he cherished her because she reminded him of Heaven. Morning brought the bitter truth — Ori's protection came with a big price tag. Her lover, the Fallen angel, would watch over her only if she consigned her soul to Hell. Then Lucifer, the Prince, had arrived and turned Ori into a statue for failing to follow his orders.
Riley wiped a bead of sweat off her forehead. Her body felt like a war zone, some unknown fire burning inside her now.
What if I'm pregnant? She shuddered at the thought. Ori had said that wasn't possible but that could have been a clever lie. Is that why the Demon Hunters wanted her? What would the child of a Fallen and a mortal be like? Normal? Evil? Somewhere in between?
What would the Church do to me and the baby?
When she shivered, her father broke the embrace.
"Come with me," he said, taking her hand and slowly rising to his feet. "I need to feel the sunlight again." He stopped in the kitchen and poured her a tall glass of apple juice, then they entered a walled garden, where cardinals and raucous blue jays flitted around a well-stocked bird feeder. Water cascaded from the fingers of a nude stone nymph perched in the center of a broad fountain. They settled on a stone bench still covered with frost, and Riley's behind immediately reacted to the cold. Her father didn't seem to notice it.
He handed her the juice. "Drink. You look awful."
It wasn't a good sign when a dead guy said you looked bad.
Riley took a long sip. It was cold and it tasted good. Clutching the glass in her hands, she gave in to the questions that careened around inside her.
"What's it like to be ... dead?" she asked, her voice barely above a whisper.
"You can't tell me, can you?"
"No. Not like I thought," he murmured.
The next question was harder. "Did you see Mom?"
He shook his head as his eyes clouded with sadness. "No."
Riley's heart fractured into smaller pieces. "Lucifer told me what you did. How you gave up your soul for me."
Her dad's eyes widened. "You spoke with the Prince?"
"He was in the graveyard this morning after ..." Riley paused, biting down on her lip. No, can't go there. Maybe someday she'd have the courage to admit what she'd done, but not now. "Lucifer said you pledged your soul to him so that Archfiend wouldn't kill you. So you could take care of me."
Her dad issued a resigned nod. "Your mother understood why I did it."
"Mom knew?" she blurted. "Why didn't you guys tell me?"
"You were too young."
"That's crap, and you know it," she retorted. "I was old enough. What else haven't you told me, Dad? What else is going to fall on my head when I'm not looking?"
He didn't reply, his eyes not meeting hers. Which meant there was more.
It was so unfair. Her father was supposed to remain alive until she had become a master trapper.
"Lucifer didn't keep his bargain," she complained. "Your soul should be yours."
"He said he wouldn't release it, that I owed him a debt, but he wouldn't say what."
"So you're stuck in Hell until he decides you're not?"
Her father winced. "Don't be angry. I did what was best. My soul isn't important."
He's wrong. It was so important that Lucifer wasn't willing to give it up even when her dad had died before his time.
"Does Mort know who summoned you?" There was a faint nod. "And he's okay with that?" she asked, surprised.
"He was shocked, but he hasn't thrown me to the wolves yet."
"What about Beck?"
Her father shook his head. "I don't look forward to the day he learns the truth. It's going to tear him apart."
Denver Beck, her dad's trapping partner, had considered Paul Blackthorne a mentor. To learn he was aligned with Hell would be as devastating as when Beck had found out she'd slept with a Fallen.
Her father touched her arm. "I'll see if our host has someplace for you to sleep. You need rest."
Riley blinked to hold back the tears. "In a little bit," she said, not wanting to be separated from him. Closing her eyes, she leaned against him, inhaling the confusing scents of oranges and cedar chips that seemed to be her father now. Desperate to find some good in all this disaster, she took his hand and squeezed it, remembering what it had been like before he died. When his hands were warm and his heart beating. When there had been all the time in the world.
* * *
The spare bedroom in Mort's house was bright, decorated with cream walls and peach accents. It looked like a girl's room, which made Riley wonder if he had a sister or a niece. She yawned, then pulled the curtains closed to reduce the light. As she pulled off her shirt, her long brown hair fell over her face. With it came the unmistakable scent of crisp night air. Ori's scent.
"Damn you," she swore, flinging her clothes in all directions, as if that might reverse the dark echoes of the angel's touch. She fled into the shower stall, adjusting the temperature as cold as she could stand to combat the inferno inside her veins. As the water cascaded, she scrubbed her skin until it turned red. The memories refused to be washed away.
When Riley finally climbed into the bed, she curled into a fetal position, sleep tugging at her. She wasn't the first to give up her virginity to a guy who said he'd always care for her. Riley had heard other girls admit the same mistake during whispered confessions in school restrooms. From this point on, she would always divide her life into Before and After the Angel. Statue or not, Ori would be inside her heart, affecting every chance at love for the rest of her days.
Just like Beck.
* * *
To Denver Beck, there were many ways to welcome a new day — spread-eagled on his own lawn, wrists secured by flex-cuffs wasn't the best of them.
"What the hell is goin' on?" he bellowed into the dirt.
The response was the sound of combat boots tromping around inside his house as their owners' voices called out to each other in Italian. When there was a sharp shatter of glass, he swore. Beck closed his eyes to keep the dirt out of them and forced himself to relax. If he fought back, the Demon Hunter behind him might feel the need to make this his last day on earth.
I'll be damned if I die like this.
His only choice was to remain here until the Vatican's elite team finished its search. Which, from all the commotion, involved tearing his house apart.
When he heard a name in the midst of the voices flowing around him, he sighed into the dirt. They were searching for Riley Blackthorne, the seventeen-year-old daughter of Beck's dead trapper buddy, Paul.
The day had sucked even before the paramilitary-style raid, one Beck was sure his neighbors were enjoying with their morning coffee. Right after dawn, Riley had arrived on his doorstep, weeping and shell-shocked. Through tears and sobs, she'd admitted her blackest sin: She'd spent the night with one of Lucifer's own.
Beck had known this Ori guy was bad news from the first moment he'd seen him with Riley, but he'd never expected the bastard to be a Fallen angel.
Why him? Even now, he could see her huddled on the couch, weeping, as he'd shouted that very question at her. After all Beck had done for her, she'd taken up with that thing.
When he'd spat insults at Paul's daughter, she'd responded in kind. Fearing how bad it might get between them, Beck had bolted from the house. When he'd returned a short time later he'd found his front door wide open and the Vatican's team on the prowl.
More rapid-fire conversation bounced around him: Beck didn't need to speak the language to hear the frustration. Since Riley wasn't lying in the dirt beside him, the raid made the hunters look bad. They would need a scapegoat, and Beck would do just fine. A new voice cut in — one he recognized — it was the hunters' captain. Apparently he'd finally decided to join the party.
Without warning, Beck was hauled roughly to his knees. Once he was up, he tried to wipe his mouth on a shoulder; it proved impossible with the flex-cuffs in place. The Demon Hunter with the rifle circled around to the side, the weapon pointed at Beck's chest.
The captain of the unit squatted in front of him, his dark eyes flinty. Elias Salvatore was thirty-two, a decade older than Beck. He had a Mediterranean complexion, black hair, and a goatee, coupled with an athletic build. His navy turtleneck sported epaulettes and the Demon Hunters' emblem — St. George slaying the dragon. Crisply pleated trousers were tucked neatly into polished combat boots.
"Mr. Beck," he said evenly.
"Captain Salvatore. What the hell is goin' on?"
"We were informed that Riley Blackthorne was here."
Who told ya that?
"She was here a while ago. Must have left."
The man's eyes narrowed farther. "Where is she?"
"No idea." It was a safe bet one of the neighbors had heard them shouting at each other, so he went with the truth in case the hunters bothered to check. "We had words."
"That's none of yer business," Beck said. A second later, he was facedown in the dirt, a heavy boot pressing on his back.
The captain issued a crisp command and Beck was hauled up again. He gave a look over his shoulder and found that the boot belonged to Lieutenant Amundson, the captain's second-in-command. He was a tall man, Nordic, and not known for his manners.
Beck spat dirt. "Get these damned cuffs off me."
Salvatore gave a gesture. There was the snick of a knife, a stinging pain, then the cuffs fell away. Amundson had made sure to cut Beck's palm in the process.
Beck wiped his hands on his jeans, then inspected the wound.
The captain delivered a penetrating look over the prisoner's shoulder. He gestured for the lieutenant to move away. "I apologize."
Beck clamped down on his fury. Throwing punches wouldn't be a smart move at the moment.
Did the hunters know about Riley and the Fallen? They have to. Why else would they be lookin' for her? Still, he didn't dare make assumptions.
"What's this all about?" Beck asked.
The captain rose. "Let's go inside."
Beck stood, dusted off his jeans, and retrieved his trapping bag from where it lay near the driveway. He felt the bottom of the canvas and was relieved to find it wasn't wet, which meant none of the glass spheres inside had shattered when he'd been tackled by the hunters. He'd need those special magical globes to trap Hellspawn.
After ensuring they were alone, Salvatore closed the front door behind them. Beck had expected the place to have been turned inside out, but that wasn't the case. The only damage appeared to be a glass that had been knocked off the counter. He ignored the mess on the floor and dropped onto the couch in the same place that Riley had occupied when she'd delivered her devastating news.
Where are ya girl? If she ran to her apartment, they'd find her there. If she was smart, she'd go to Angus Stewart, one of the two master trappers in the city. Stewart would watch over her.
The captain sat in a chair opposite him. He moved as if he hadn't had a decent night's sleep in days. "We must find Riley Blackthorne as quickly as possible."
"There's a Fallen angel in Atlanta. His name is Ori. We believe he has targeted Paul Blackthorne's daughter."
Beck made sure he appeared shocked. It wasn't hard. He still couldn't believe that Riley had been with one of Lucifer's allies.
"Why would one of those want her?"
"He is known for his seductions."
Beck's jaw tensed, but he didn't reply.
"There is a strange pattern of events in this city, and that usually means there's an epicenter, a focus to that activity."
"If yer sayin' that Riley's the reason for all this —"
"What other conclusion can we draw?" Salvatore retorted. "Every demonic event in this city has centered on her: A Grade Five demon tried to kill her. The same fiend pressed its attack during the trappers' meeting at the Tabernacle, and that ambush alone cost you a third of your Demon Trappers Guild."
"I know the numbers, hunter," Beck replied sullenly.
"If she is the nexus of this activity, we have to locate her and find a way to break that connection with Hell before more people die."
Beck didn't want to think about what "break that connection" meant. "Why a commando raid on my house? Ya could have knocked on the door like anyone else."
"You weren't home," the captain observed. "Do you usually leave your house unlocked?"
Beck hesitated. "No. Why?"
"Both the front and back doors weren't bolted, and your alarm wasn't engaged. The back door was partially ajar, indicating a hasty departure, perhaps?" The captain leaned forward, elbows on knees. "Did you call Riley and warn her that we were coming?"
By now they'd have gone through his phone and know he'd called Riley after they'd quarreled, so he opted for the truth. "I didn't know ya were comin' here."
"Yet you spoke to her."
"Yeah. We argued about this Ori guy. He'd told her he was a freelance demon hunter, and I told her to stay away from. She wasn't listenin', so we had words. I called her to ..." Why had he called her? Certainly not apologize, that was for sure.
"Where is she now?"
Beck shook his head. "I don't know. Now I'm done talkin' to ya unless the Guild's lawyer is watchin' my back."
The captain sighed. "Look, I respect your loyalty to the girl's father. Paul Blackthorne trained you, brought you up through the Guild. You were there when he died at the hands of the same demon that tried to kill his daughter. I know what you're feeling, but we need your help."
Salvatore scowled. "So be it." He triggered a radio on his shoulder, and Italian filled the air. He'd barely finished giving the order when two hunters were through the front door.
The captain rose from, his face set. "Denver Beck, as representative of the Holy See, I arrest you for obstructing justice, additional charges to be filed at a later time. You are duly warned that if you are found to be aiding Hell in any manner, the ultimate penalty is death."
"Go figure," Beck muttered.CHAPTER 2
Riley stood alone in a field of crisp, freshly fallen snow. There was nothing around her, no buildings, no people. High above, a bloodred moon held court in the sky, thousands of stars paying homage.
A breeze tugged at her hair, and it smelled of deepest midnight. She felt Ori's presence even before his arms slid around her waist, drawing her back against him. She knew it was a dream, but she didn't want to wake. Here, it would be perfect. There would be no Heaven or Hell, no one to tell her what she was doing was wrong. It would just be Ori and her forever.
Turning in his arms, Riley gazed up at his black hair and bottomless eyes. Eyes that had seen the beginning of the cosmos.
"I am sorry," Ori murmured, his voice just as she remembered it. "I hurt you, and that is not what I wanted."
"It didn't have to be that way," she said. It could have been so different.
Excerpted from Forgiven by Jana Oliver. Copyright © 2012 Jana Oliver. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Loved it. Great book, great story. I was very entertained.
Even though I bought this book back in March, I didn't start reading it until yesterday. Why? Because I was mad at Beck! Riley screwed up, yes, but I was mad at Beck! When I first started the book, I was mad at him again! Now, this is NOT to reflect on the story on a whole. The story is great and the fact that I was mad at Beck was great because it shows how well Jana weaves this story, drawing you in and really becoming emotionally invested in these characters. With each book in this series, the steaks are set higher and higher. I think this is probably the most intense of the books yet. I was on the edge of my seat, holding my breath. I swear with the turn of every page you're like "How is she getting out of this one?" Even in the downtime with her friends, you're still wondering what's going to come next. We start the story back up with Paul Blackthorne - now a reanimated body - back with his daughter. Beck is not really speaking to Riley right now. Even if he wanted to, he's face down in the dirt in front of his house while the Hunters' ransack his home. As I said, things just keep piling on as the Vatican's demon hunters believe Riley is in league with Hell - an offense punishable by death. Don't forget, we still have those fake bottles of Holy Water out there and demons chanting Riley's name! I love how Jana truly weaves this story together where you can't really separate them by books. While each does have its own story arch, they are still a continuing story arch, each one leading into the next. Some things answered, more questions come up. Definitely happy with this latest edition.
I love this series you have to read it i only 10 and lllloooooovvvveeeee it
These books are the best! You should totally read them! They have great relationships and who to trust issues in it, too! Best books!!!!
This is the third book in Jana Oliver’s ‘Demon Trappers’ series. I liked it better than the second, it’s almost as good as the very first. I liked the way the book builds more on action and adventure and I like the way Riley is being more rational in her decision making, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart. Things seem to look up for her in the relationship department with Beck...but are things really as they seem? Riley has made deals with heaven and hell so is right in the middle when Armageddon threatens to begin. There's plenty of Demon action in this book, and more background in Demon Trapper history. The book flows fast, many issues are resolved at the end but then there’s also a cliff hanger ending which leaves me keen to read the next one.
I absolutely loved this book. I'm 13, i had my mom read it and she instantly fell in love with the series. It is an amazing book for all generations and ages!
These novels are absolutely amazing and I can't wait to read this one!!! Riley is a strong female main character and she never gives up. You must read these books!
Thisbook is way beyond magnificent as well as all the other books in the series
Okay, so first I’d like you to know that this was the first book I read from the author---the first book I read from the series. So I don’t have anything to compare to especially with the previous books in the series. Though personally, I asked to review this book is because the many positive reviews I heard from the first two- The Demon Trapper’s Daughter and Soul Thief. Surprisingly enough, even with the vast new and old characters- the demons, the trappers, fallen, summoners, I wasn’t entirely lost. Once I tuned in with Riley, everything comes vivid in her POV. I understand the situation she’s in, the relationships and misunderstandings she had with the other characters and even her choice to uncover the mysteries and protect humanity. The storyline was easy to follow but the twists and turns are not easily figured out. I loved Jana Oliver’s writing style, its fresh and unique. The readers were always up for action and at the same time, subplots were given emphasis and the tension between the protagonists, the mysteries, the conflicts were all there. She wrote the book with passion and deep detail that it’s easy to imagine the world she made, the demons, and the action-packed scenarios happening. I also loved Riley, she’s a strong character that doesn’t depend on her leading man or anyone, she actually thinks about resolutions and the things to do in order to make things right especially the consequences of her past actions. Her behavior was measured and it’s less on drama, she was too mature for a seventeen-year-old, which isn’t bad. Beck…at first, I thought Beck’s a girl..:D. He was hot, gorgeous, yes, but it was really unfair of him to get really mad with Riley, just because she made the mistake of sleeping with another man, which, take note, Beck had been with many girls before. I would have loved to see more of them- Beck and Riley that is. Meanwhile Justine, I hate her. Though I know, she played an important role in the story. Just don’t want to talk about her. By the way, another queer about this book, is that the feminine names are mostly used by boys and the masculine ones, Riley, Justine are for girls. The ending? I would have like to see the epic battle to be really epic. I was expecting far something greater and yet the resolution was too perfect for me. With all the non-stop action, the ending seemed a little too easy maybe. Meanwhile Riley’s dad is a character I would never forget, her love for Riley that even in death, he would still do everything to keep her safe. I laughed, I cried, got annoyed, mad, I felt everything while reading this book. I can’t wait to read the last book in the series and see how the story would end and especially to have more of Riley and Beck. Forgiven is an action-packed, enthralling and riveting tale of Demon Trappers and the world in chaos of the near Armageddon set in the future but not too futuristic. With heart-pounding, jaw-dropping scenarios, Forgiven would leave you wanting for more. Highly Recommended!..:)
The book really did have a lot of action in it unlike someother series where the author drags the plot on and on. The book was written very well and the characters seem to develop a lot. Lots of action that will keep you turning pages for hours. I read this book in 1 day and couldn't put it down.