As Above, So Below Book Tour w/ exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

Lost Angels
As Above, So Below Book 1
by Loren Rhoads and Brian Thomas
Genre: Paranormal Romance
When the succubus Lorelei sees Azaziel across Lost Angels, she knows he’s been kicked out of Heaven, but is not yet Fallen. She resolves to do whatever it takes to bring the angel down.
Unfortunately, Lorelei doesn’t realize that Azaziel has an agenda of his own. Taking her back to a burned-out church, he forces a mortal girl’s soul into the devil girl’s flesh. Then the succubus needs to find an exorcist who can cast the ghost out of her.
With all the supernatural warriors of Los Angeles looking on, neither the angel nor the succubus can imagine how love will derail their plans…
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Asmodeus, Prince of Los Angeles

excerpt from Lost Angels by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

A section of the alley wall wavered. First the cinderblocks were solid, then oily blackness swallowed them. Out of this darkness stepped Asmodeus, trailed by two fiends in the form of large men, angular to the point of being misshapen.

Probing the refuse with his ebony walking stick, Asmodeus picked his way through the alley. Near the passage’s mouth, he halted. At his feet lay a crumple of shadow: Lorelei’s cast-off dress. The demon gestured down toward it.

Recognizing its master, the dress stirred, lifting a sleeve flirtatiously. When it brushed his hand, the cloth hurried upward into his grasp.

The demon rolled the fabric between his fingertips. Lycra had definitely been one of his engineering staff’s most useful inventions. He considered how tasty Lorelei had looked poured into this pinnacle of the art. What a shame the angel cast it away so maliciously.

Asmodeus raised the torn fabric to his face and breathed deep. Beneath the dark fragrance of Lorelei’s musk—wound amongst it—was the scent of the angel’s longing. He’d lain beside the succubus, kissed and caressed her, but his desire didn’t end there.

Unsmiling, the demon prince crushed the dress in his fist and let it dissolve.

Lorelei follows Azaziel home

excerpt from Lost Angels by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

Aza tugged a handful of keys from his coat pocket and unlocked a rolling metal door. Lorelei was curious to see an angel’s lair. Perhaps he’d insisted she take mortal form for her own protection, to allow her to enter: possible, though doubtful. He’d accepted her company, but took no responsibility for her. Yet.

She followed him into the warehouse. When he rolled the door closed behind them, darkness crowded the building. She took a step simply to hear her heel ring against the cement. Long, narrow, the echoes said.

The angel grasped her elbow. She leaned against him for safety’s sake. He didn’t push her away. The building seemed to hold its breath.

Several paces in, he unlocked another door and eased her across the threshold.

With a rush of wind, a legion of candles burst into light. They clustered in knots on every flat surface. Creamy golden beeswax had pooled around their bases.

On the eastern wall, he’d built a shrine. Shards of mirror formed a starburst. A small casket hid his ritual implements from her gaze. Traces of myrrh lingered in the air.

In the corner lay a single futon on a frame made of loading pallets. The bed had neither sheets nor pillow, but a couple of blankets spilled over its foot. She wondered why he wasn’t living in one of the better hotels downtown. The Biltmore was reputed to have several angels in residence, since its façade was inscribed with their names and images. What was Aza’s story that he didn’t rate a room there?

“Make yourself at home.”

As the angel shrugged off his coat, Lorelei stole a glance, but saw no wings. Pity. It would have made a nice bit of show. She stepped out of her shoes and perched on the edge of the futon to rub her feet.

Aza hung his coat on a simple wire hanger behind the door. Beneath the coat, he wore a clean white button-down shirt, worn chinos, and boots that needed a shine. Did he always dress like Nondescript Man, or had he spiffed up to go out tonight?

Ignoring her, the angel knelt before his shrine, resting his hands on the casket.

Lorelei stretched out on the futon, feeling chilled, and pulled the blanket over her.

The angel got himself right with his Maker and came to lie beside her, also fully clothed. He didn’t share the blanket.

“I’m cold,” she said.

“Hold your hands out,” he answered.

She pushed them out from under the covers, expecting him to rub them warm. Instead, he caught her wrists. In an unexpectedly swift movement, the angel swung his weight over her, pinning her beneath him, entangled in her shroud. As she struggled to claw at him, he snapped a metal cuff around one wrist. He dragged her toward the head of the futon, wound the handcuffs around a bare pipe there, and cuffed her other arm.

As she tested the strength of the handcuffs, the pipe, and her flesh, he draped the blanket over her. He stretched his legs out along hers, then laid his arm across her midriff.

“Sleep,” he commanded.

Cursing him, she did.

Lorelei and Aza meet

excerpt from Lost Angels by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

Lorelei licked the last traces of soul from her lips, then smoothed the knee-length hobble dress over her thighs. The black lycra snuggled around her like a living creature. The barbed tip of her tail twitched as she scanned the dance club, seeking more prey.

Her violet eyes locked on the creature seated at the end of the zinc bar, dressed in a rumpled khaki trench coat. Through the smoke and flashing lights of the dance club, she saw him for what he was: an angel of melancholy. Hers. His wings weren’t manifest, but the unmistakable glow of his halo enforced a margin of emptiness around him. Shoulders hunched over his glass, he was doing his best to ignore what was going on around the club. Clearly not having fun, which was a damned shame, considering that fun was what Lost Angels was all about. Lorelei wondered what it would take to put a smile on his face.

 

She patted hair over the nubs of her horns and adjusted the dress’s zipper to be demure as could be, only the pale white column of her throat revealed. Once she’d made certain that the seams on her stockings were straight and her mortal glamour was flawless, she stepped out of the shadows. Let’s see if this one could be won without a fight.

The angel ignored her when she leaned across the bar at his elbow, straining the lycra dress just so. Lorelei waved the bartender over. “My usual,” she shouted above the music, “and whatever he’s drinking. On my tab.”

When another Crown Royal appeared in front of him, the angel made no move toward it. Lorelei breathed into his ear, “Say thank you.”

Vaguely in the bartender’s direction, the angel repeated, “Thank you.”

Lorelei touched her glass against the angel’s, then downed a good mouthful of her drink. More Absolut than cranberry, just the way she liked it. However, the angel continued to ignore her, tense and miserable, wanting his whiskey but apparently afraid to touch it.

“Thank you, Lorelei,” she prompted. She leaned against the angel, nestling his shoulder between her breasts. She reached around his waist to hold him close. He could escape her, certainly, if he wanted to cause a scene. She licked her lips, so close to his ear that he quivered at the sound. “What’s your name, Angel?”

He sipped his drink before answering, “Aza.”

There should be an ‘el’ on there somewhere. Amused by the dropped honorific, she echoed, “Just Aza?”

“Aza will do.”

The nickname made him sound accessible. Not fallen yet, but unimaginably lonely. Lorelei asked, “Looking for company, Aza?”

 

The angel put his glass down very precisely on the bar. She was unprepared when his stormy green eyes turned to her. “Maybe I came looking for you, Lorelei.”

The timbre of his voice shivered through her like lightning.

When she was sure of her composure, she purred, “Here I am, Angel.” She planted a kiss between his blond eyebrows. Rather than strike out at her, as she expected, he drew a shuddering breath. Deep down in her hips, the succubus felt a connection made. Not fallen yet, but hers. Her lipstick looked like the mark of Cain on his ivory skin.

 

Book Trailer
Angelus Rose
As Above, So Below Book 2
If Romeo had wings and Juliet a barbed tail, could they find happiness in the City of Angels?
After their escape from the ashes of Lost Angels, the succubus Lorelei and the angel Azaziel want nothing more than to enjoy each other’s company. Unfortunately, Asmodeus, the Demon Prince of LA, has threatened to devour Lorelei’s new-grown soul if she doesn’t bring about Azaziel’s downfall. Meanwhile, Aza is keeping secrets of his own that threaten the tenuous peace between Heaven and Hell.
Three archangels come to town to try to set things right, but friendships are fracturing. The demon in charge of fallen angels is sniffing around. And Los Angeles is about to be caught between a devil and the deep blue sea.
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Azaziel says goodbye

excerpt from Angelus Rose by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

At the sound of a footfall beside the hotel bed, Aza jolted out of his meditation. Even as he summoned his sword to his hand, he moved to shield Lorelei. Instead of Muriel, as he expected, he found his sister Barbelo standing inside the room. She remained far enough from the bed to appear unthreatening. Barbelo’s warm hazel eyes twinkled as she offered folded clothing in her outstretched arms.

“Rise and shine, Big Brother,” she encouraged quietly.

Aza lifted the blankets and stepped to the floor, but Lorelei didn’t stir. He reached out, gentle as a breeze, and lifted a lock of her shadowy dark hair away from her throat. Her luscious, slightly parted lips invited him to leave a kiss, but he knew one kiss would lead to others. His sister waited.

He tore his gaze away and turned toward Barbelo to accept the clean—if not new—clothing. Relieved not to have to put his bloodied battle gear back on, Aza stepped into a comfortably worn pair of jeans. As he buttoned on a clean chambray shirt, Barbelo collected the torn clothing he’d worn to the nightclub, along with the blazer Lorelei had borrowed, and put everything into the bathtub. Barbelo burned the lot with a brief, bright flame.

Standing at the bedside to gaze down at the sleeping succubus, Aza knew—as clearly as he’d ever known anything—that he had to leave Lorelei. There were mortals in need, souls in torment. Aza knew at his core that he had been created to serve them. Still, he hated to leave Lorelei like this, without a goodbye.

As she’d anticipated his need of fresh clothing, his sister had also foreseen his difficulty in bidding the succubus adieu. Barbelo appeared at Aza’s elbow to offer him a single long-stemmed red rose.

 

Aza lifted the bud to his lips. Its petals were as warm and soft as Lorelei’s skin, without the electric musk of her perfume. He left a kiss on the rose for Lorelei to find later. The flower shimmered from crimson to a deeper, more passionate hue. He laid it on his pillow.

Then, without looking back, he followed Barbelo from the room. If he gave in to second thoughts, the succubus’s gravity would trap him. He set his shoulders and fought it.

Azaziel’s secret

excerpt from Angelus Rose by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

Outside the church, the night lit up with the sound of singing. A lone male sang a quiet lullaby. Lorelei froze, riveted by the maddeningly familiar voice. Then a slow smile crept across her face. Azaziel. Right on cue. Lorelei wondered what little honey her angel was crooning to now.

Desperate to distract her, the priest asked quickly, “Call you about Yasmina? That’s your whole message?”

Lorelei stalked toward the window. Joseph wrestled out of the bedclothes behind her, but hesitated before his hand closed on her arm. Lorelei could feel his heat at her back, his breath on her hair, but ignored him. What didn’t Joseph want her to see?

She peered cautiously around the window frame. Outside, a winged angel stood in the center of the fenced playground: without a doubt, her Azaziel, clad in a pair of 501s and a button-down blue chambray shirt. Above and around him like traces of a molecule’s orbit, swirled the souls of children. A multitude of souls, she saw, hundreds. Lorelei cataloged them instantly: none of them saved, many of them swinging toward the light, a few of them still shadowy with unshed mortal grievances.

Aza offered his lullaby to the souls of unsaved children.

Lorelei struggled to wrap her mind around what she saw. Her angel hoarded souls, children’s souls: to what purpose? Demons collected the damned and sent them on their way; angels scooped up the saved. Devils consumed the remainder, removing them from the wheel of life. Very few mortal souls—those who had withdrawn from the eternal battle—had the determination to stick around as ghosts. What were these children doing here?

Behind her, Joseph dropped his bible on the floor. The noise resounded in the little room, magnified far louder than the action justified. Outside, the angel immediately stopped singing and manifested his sword and armor.

“You’d better go,” Joseph warned.

Lorelei worked up a vicious grin. “I’m here to see Aza,” she reminded.

“He might not be alone.”

“I’ve been ordered to work my way around to his friends.”

Before the priest could answer, she stepped up onto the window ledge and sprang out.

Aza’s face lit up, thrilled once again to see her. His armor evaporated.

But Lorelei was too angry to fully appreciate his welcome. No wonder the angel had come to her exorcism with a Childbed Angel. Lorelei wondered how many of the other sixty-nine guardian angels had come to LA to protect Aza’s ill-gotten flock.

Like a cat scattering pigeons, Lorelei’s appearance shattered the precise geometry of the children’s adoration of the angel. Their souls shrieked and fled the devil. She noted that they seemed trapped within the confines of the chain-link fence.

Lorelei reached out for a young man—Erik, all gothic doom and gloom—and trailed her talons through his soul. She found lust there, drooling admiration for the devilish charms straining her yankable black dress. That one she caught in the reflection of the buckle of her purse.

Aza put his sword away. He jumped upward, opening his wings as he leapt toward her. “Come away from here,” he ordered.

“We’d better go somewhere we can talk,” Lorelei answered. “You have some explaining to do.”

Opening scene

excerpt from Angelus Rose by Loren Rhoads & Brian Thomas

Morning dawned brown in Los Angeles, just the way Lorelei liked it. The air smelled of car exhaust and dust, with a hint of charred human flesh. The succubus breathed deeply, savoring.

Although she felt a flicker of loss for the human soul who had possessed her for the past week, she had to admit that it felt really good to be alone in her infernal flesh once more. She stretched, letting the borrowed suit jacket fall open to reveal that she wore nothing beneath it but thigh-high stockings and a towering pair of black Ferragamo pumps.

Lorelei sensed a current of desire eddying on the breeze. She looked down from her position on the bodega’s roof to find her angel gazing up at her.

“What do you see?” Azaziel asked.

“I think the nightclub has stopped burning.” She hopped lightly down from her perch, assuming her mortal guise as she did so. The angel’s regard warmed her as he caught her and set her feet on the sidewalk.

After he sank back down to the bodega’s stoop, Aza asked, “Where did you get the jacket?”

“It’s your sister’s.” Lorelei posed for him. “Like it?”

“I’m not sure it suits you.” In mortal seeming, Azaziel looked ashen in the morning light. Angelic blood smeared his white button-down shirt. Dried ichor flaked off his blue jeans. Lorelei snuggled against him on the stoop. She petted his blond hair back into place, but there was little she could do here on the street to ease the exhaustion in his gray-green eyes.

“Look,” she purred, “we could both use some shut-eye. If you’ve changed your mind about taking me back to your church, fine. I know a place where we could crash.”

“We’re not going back to your sister’s den,” Aza countered wearily. “I met her last night, before the exorcism. She didn’t like me much.”

“Don’t take it personally, Lover. Floria doesn’t like anyone very much.” Lorelei stood once more, twisting around to make sure the seams on her stockings were straight. She grinned at the angel. “Don’t you worry, though. I’m in no hurry to catch up with Floria again, after the last couple of days. Aspersions were cast… She and I are going to need some distance, if we’re going to repair our friendship.”

“I’m sure that’s true of my family as well.”

“I don’t doubt it.” The succubus held her hands down to him. “Come on, Lover. The longer you sit, the harder it will be to get moving again.”

Azaziel rubbed his thumb over her long thin fingers to sneak in a caress as she pulled him to his feet. His tone was less affectionate. “We are not putting one of your projects out of his bed, either.”

She smiled, letting the dawn sparkle in her lavender eyes. “Nice idea, Aza. Jealousy always works in my favor. But I’m not in a mood to invite complications. Work can wait.”

“I thought you were always on the clock when you were with me.”

“I don’t see anyone checking my timecard just now,” she teased. “C’mon, Lover. All I want is a bath and clean sheets and a little more of your company. We can debate philosophy later, if we’re still awake.”

He engulfed her in a hug. “Simply holding you makes me feel better.”

She laughed. “How you talk, Angel. Let’s get a room.”

 

Loren Rhoads is the co-author (with Brian Thomas) of the novel Lost Angels about a succubus who sets her sights on an angel and ends up possessed by a mortal girl’s soul. The sequel, Angelus Rose, came out in February 2020.
Loren is the author of The Dangerous Type, Kill By Numbers, and No More Heroes, a space opera trilogy set after a galactic war has wiped out much of humanity.
She is also the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. She blogs about graveyards as travel destinations at CemeteryTravel.com.
You won’t be surprised to know that she likes long walks in the moonlight and old graveyards.
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