The Lost (Celestial Blues, Book 2)

Chapter One

It wasn’t a dream, of that he was sure. First, the only thing Griffin Shaw dreamed of was the night he’d died, fifty years earlier. Second, the only person he dreamed of was the woman who’d died with him, and whom he’d been searching for ever since.

Third, and perhaps most important, Grif damned well didn’t dream of hairy, oversize angels with heads that shone like eight-balls, and chips on their shoulders as wide as their wings.

No, this was vision, Grif thought, as he slipped his suspenders up over his shoulders, and padded barefoot through the dark ranch house. This was the same source material of Moses and the Apostles, and it was also the message he’d been warned was coming. His job now was to search out the herald.

Dropping into the sunken living room, he gave a gentle probe with his celestial eyesight, searching for a floating shimmer of silvery plasma or some other sign of angelic presence, but no one, no thing, waited for him there. All he saw were Kit’s possessions, plentiful but not hoarded, and despite the circumstances, it made him smile. Katherine Craig—modern-day girl reporter, rockabilly chick, and the sole woman on earth, or the Everlast, able to convince Griffin Shaw that life was still worth living—only gathered items around her that had personal meaning, exceptional value, and spoke of an era long gone.

His era.

Grif couldn’t much see the point in preserving what was never perfect to begin with, but there was no telling Kit that. She might be a twenty-first-century woman through and through, but she lived a rockabilly lifestyle, which meant she was retro to the core.

Spotting no sign of Pure presence in her shockingly pink kitchen, Grif headed back through the dark living room, and into the short, squat foyer. He could enter and exit any earthly property without restriction—even outside of prophetic vision—so ignoring the blinking alarm, he simply opened the door, stepped through . . . and was promptly struck in the head by a newspaper.

A youthful cackle sounded in the street. “Little piker,” Grif muttered, bending to reach for the unlikely missile.

Paperboys don’t deliver in the middle of the night.

He froze at the thought, and then his gaze landed on the headline. Suddenly he was running in the street.

“Hey!” Grif called after the teen. “Hey!”

Vision or not, the boy clearly hadn’t thought Grif would follow. Surprise had the kid glancing back, then overcorrecting when his bag swung from his shoulder. Another loud cry sounded in the street, this one less amused, as he then catapulted across the handlebars and performed a perfect header into the corner stop sign.

Sighing, Grif tucked the paper under his arm.

The tightly clipped grass was crisp and soft beneath Grif’s bare feet—the sensory acuity was another sign that this was a vision and not a dream—but summer’s shadow reached up from the base of the blades, its fingers still warm. It was early June, and though some nights still went cool, the long grasses and potted plants were beginning to yellow beneath the desert sun’s unforgiving gaze. Evergreens—the matured pines and fountaining grasses studding the yard’s perimeter—would pretend not to care, but unlike mortals, Grif could hear the cries of the nonindigenous plants. To a being both angelic and human, it sounded like the weak final gasps of someone expiring from dehydration. Some life-forms, he decided, were not meant for the desert.

Just as some weren’t meant for the Surface.

“What’s the big idea?” Grif asked, without preamble, holding the paper out in front of the unconscious teen.

The kid’s eyelids flipped open, but nothing human swirled in the