Welcome back, peeps!
Today I’m sharing the next chapter from Karma In Blue Jeans (Immortal Siblings). This one gives you another glimpse into the world of the Eternal Siblings as well as the Evangeline’s punishment. Karma doesn’t fool around with this one and as it turns out, neither do The Three.
If you haven’t read the first two chapters, you’ll want to catch up before you move on to this one.
The trio entered the mountain cabin Yeshua called his home away from home. The phrase had always struck Karma as funny. As the Creator of All, home is wherever and whenever He wanted it to be. In a blink of an eye He could change His surroundings and yet he preferred the rustic cabin in the mountains.
An entire wall of the main room had been converted into a media center, covered with flat screen monitors. At any given moment, the faces of their human charges could be brought to view. Lucius called the space The War Room. She’d thought the name fit since every time The Three convened in there, Lucius and Fate would argue. Yeshua had the final say of course, but He always heard them out.
He’d been known to change His mind from time to time because of their heated debates, so the rest of the Siblings had learned it was worthwhile to speak their minds and plead their case or that of the humans they’d been assigned to look after throughout all time.
Yeshua stood from the overstuffed chair at the head of the table and welcomed them with open arms. “My sisters! It’s good to see you working so closely together with this Evangeline fiasco. I’m very pleased with the direction it’s taken.”
Rhiannon kissed Him on the cheek. “Really? I could’ve sworn you’d tossed the remote at the screens only yesterday after my last report. I had been convinced you’d jump in Yourself.”
“Nonsense. My frustration got the best of me is all. Nothing more. Nothing less. In Evangeline’s case, Karma and Lucius had been right from the start. The human has squandered every chance you’ve granted her. It’s time to turn the tables on her and why I asked Lucius to bring you here now.”
“Turn the tables? I don’t understand. I thought that’s what Karma has done.” Rhiannon looked between her Brothers with wide eyes, her face filled with uncertainty and concern.
Yeshua pointed to the screen that featured Evangeline’s smiling face. “If she fails the final tests, We wash our hands of her.”
Lucius toyed with his goatee and then smiled. “It’s good to hear You say that. Not all Our creations deserve the second chance to get things right in one lifetime. Some have been through dozens and still haven’t learned their lessons.”
Yeshua nodded. “That’s why I’ve decided for this one—if she does not embrace her destiny now, she’ll not have another chance.”
Karma stood before Him stunned into silence. Never before has He ruled a soul could not be reincarnated to begin again. “I don’t understand. If she fails then this lifetime will be her last?”
“My dear, Karma. I’ve grown weary of allowing mortals such as Evangeline Cross to come back time and time again to make others miserable. Why should she continue to benefit from the work of and on the backs of her fellow-man?”
“Forgive me, Brother. It saddens me to see You this way.”
“Why? Haven’t you said all alone I made the wrong choice to give them free will? That I’d end up broken-hearted in the end?”
Her eyes welled with tears. “Yes, but perhaps I’ve been too harsh. There are some who’ve earned the Blessings and have gone on to help others.”
“True, but their numbers are dwindling. That’s why I’ve come to this decision. Those who twist the Blessings to harm others will no longer be able to come back and repeat the travesty in the next—or any other lifetime.”
She looked to Lucius for help and sent him a silent plea. What do I do?
He lifted his chin toward Yeshua. Go on. Ask him.
“Then give me the chance to find other mortals worthy of Your Blessings.”
Yeshua returned to his chair and sighed. “You know Fate is against this.”
She nodded and then sat at his feet. She held his right hand with both of hers. She held his gaze and wept freely. She felt His sorrow and pain to her very core. “You asked me to step into Lucius’s shoes and be firm but fair with the humans. Until I know their hearts as You do, I cannot hope to perform my duties without wishing to strike out at those who’ve taken away the smile from Your eyes. That sadness tells me you’ve given up.”
He squeezed her small fingers between his. “I’ve not surrendered if that’s what you mean. It’s more of an acceptance. Too few of my human children embrace their gifts. Instead they use them for evil, or even worse—they’re indifferent to each other and the damage they’ve caused.”
“Let me do this and I will find more who deserve their second chances.”
“Go ahead, Yeshua. Grant her this wish.”
All turned to find Fate standing in the doorway. Her violet gown floated about her as she entered the room. She tossed her deep auburn curls over her shoulder and sighed. “I can’t stand in her way simply because I’m afraid to lose her too.”
Lucius smiled. “I thought you’d be happy to get me out of your hair.”
She scowled and embraced him. While I’ll not miss the fights, I will miss your handsome face across the table. You’ve kept me on my toes every moment. I cannot continue to be selfish. Even gods must follow their hearts. I’ve known you’d find Brigid sooner rather than later, but I never thought it would be now. That part has been hidden even from me.”
“I’m not gone yet.” He kissed her forehead and held her to his chest.
“No you’re not, which makes this the perfect time for Karma to live on Earth for a bit.” Fate’s Irish brogue thickened as she became more emotional.
Karma got up from the floor and through her arms around Fate and Lucius. “Thank you!”
“Now don’t get too excited. You’re still expected to carry out your present duties. While you’ll appear human, you’ll still have all your powers. With that comes a great responsibility. There are those who would do anything to take away your Gifts and turn them against you. You must be on guard at all times.”
“Black Heart?” Karma’s spine tingled at just the thought of the vile creature that’d been a thorn in the side of The Three since the days of Adam and Eve.
Fate pursed her lips and her emerald-green eyes blazed. “Aye. He has spies everywhere and I’m sure he’s heard the rumors about Lucius stepping down. He’s never forgiven him or Us for the curse. While he cannot do anything to Lucius, Malachi could harm you while you’re in mortal form.”
“I’ll be careful.”
Yeshua beckoned to her to sit in the chair next to His. “As a human with your powers, you may find you wish to exact immediate punishment or reward. Think before you do to be sure it’s deserved. Justice will be with you, but he is not immortal. If he is slain, he is dead and will have to wait for the next life cycle to return. If you are drained of your powers as a human, you too will die.”
“I’ll lose my immortality?”
He nodded. “Only for a short time. You will come back, but at a great cost. It weakens all the Eternal Siblings when one must regenerate. It leaves all of us vulnerable to attack.”
She shook her head. “But not You.”
“No, not me but I could lose some or all of our brothers and sisters. I could not bear it. The world and heavens as We know them now, would cease to exist. Knowing the risks, do you still wish to do this?”
She glanced around the room. All eyes were upon her. Rhiannon’s appeared filled with anxiety. Fate’s appeared filled with resignation, and Lucius’s amber eyes glowed with determination and faith in her.
“Then so be it”
* * * *
drop of saline solution
“Mr. Cross, I don’t think it’s wise to discharge your wife in her current state. She’s extremely agitated and we’re concerned she may harm herself again.”
His eyes darted to the shiny name tag on the other man’s lab coat. “Dr. Justice, with all due respect, don’t be stupid. She didn’t try to kill herself. She had a frickin’ stroke.”
The doctor nodded. “She did suffer a stroke, yes but she also consumed two bottles of wine by her own admission as well as a fist full of Alprazolam.”
He closed his eyes and fell back against the wall. The pills had been a new prescription his own doctor had prescribed for him. He’d tossed the bottle in his dresser drawer, determined to not use them unless absolutely necessary. They were for panic attacks and came with specific instructions to never mix them with alcohol.
After his last fight with Evangeline, he’d looked for them. When he couldn’t find them, he thought he’d misplaced them. Then all the shit hit the fan with her publisher and he’d practically ripped the bedroom apart searching for the medication. All he’d wanted to do was relax enough to get a decent night’s rest. Now here he was talking to a man much too young and good-looking to be a doctor concerned about his wife’s mental state.
“Dad, maybe we should have her committed.” Marissa’s soft voice rang in his ears and brought him back to the discussion.
“Committed? She won’t stand for that. She’ll just check herself out of here.”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. She can’t walk. The stroke affected her entire right side of her body. We need to give her time to heal mentally and physically. With as much Alprazolam and alcohol she had in her system, I can legally hold her here for the next seventy-two hours. It would be best if she heard it from you and she’s here voluntarily.
“This is the best place for her. She needs to stay off the Internet and out of sight.” Marissa touched the faint bruise on her cheek.
He clenched his jaw. He’d never known Evangeline to get physical with their daughter before. When he’d seen the hand print on her pale skin, he’d seen red. The only thing that had kept him from confronting his wife had been the fact she had to be taken away in an ambulance. Time to face the facts. Evie’s turned into a stranger and if I don’t put my foot down now and get her the help she needs, we’re all lost. “I’ll talk to her, but I can’t promise you she’ll listen.”
“You’ve always been able to get through to her, Dad. We have to be strong now. This is for her own good. She’s been out of control and I’m scared.”
“What do you mean?” No child should feel afraid for her parent. I’ve failed my daughter.
“She’s been manic and obsessed with her book sales and rankings. If they fell below some random number in her head, she’d flip out. Last week she sobbed uncontrollably when her last book fell off the Bliss and Amazon best seller lists. She’d been frantic to set up more giveaways. I kept telling her the she was attracting the wrong kind of people with those things but she didn’t care. As long as they bought the books, she didn’t give a shit if they actually read them. She maxed out yet another credit card ordering those knock off handbags.”
Where the hell was I when this all happened?
Who was he kidding? He knew. They’d had another fight over her out of control spending on the gift baskets. Once again she’d refused to listen and told him flat out to mind his own business. He’d left and checked into a hotel downtown just to get away from her and her drunken rages.
It’s not like they were heading for bankruptcy. He’d had his thriving editing business and online magazine. His income alone had always been enough—until she started attending every reader and author convention she could find. The costs of print books and swag were enough to wipe out one credit card, but then she had to go bigger than everyone else. She’d actually hired her own entourage to man her tables so she could concentrate on signing and not deal with the money aspect.
He’d tried to get her to pick a few key meet and greets and then cut out the rest. She’d refused to listen. The last straw had been a call from their bank informing him she’d taken out a loan using her SUV as collateral. The banker had been an old college buddy of his and had given him the heads up.
She’d blown through all the money and then some. Huge chunks of it went to the critique partner to buy her silence. He found that out two days ago. He’d been floored with her admission and utterly defeated.
She’d become someone he didn’t care to know let alone be married to anymore. It had damn near broken his heart to tell her so. Remembering the moment now, threatened to do it again.
“I’m tired of fighting with you. I didn’t sign up for this bullshit.”
“For better or worse ring a bell?” She’d sneered and then tossed an empty wine bottle at his head.
“Don’t throw our vows in my face, Evie. I’ve been by your side through every doctor appointment, hospital stay and every round of chemo. This is a whole other ball of wax. You’re asking me to be an accomplice to your lies. What you’ve done is not only dishonest, it’s illegal.”
“No. I paid her for the work. She’s like my ghost writer.”
“You’re twisting this to suit your needs and justify all the lies you’ve told your fans and Bliss.”
“Stop calling it lies. I’ve not done anything all the other top Romance authors haven’t done.” She opened another bottle of Pinot Grigio and filled her glass to the top.
“Really? The ones who had been caught plagiarizing, you watched fall and had a party to celebrate. You’re the one who turned in your biggest competition to those bloggers and sat back while her career combusted over one book. You’ve done it with two full series—sixteen books in total. How many more will it be?”
“As many as I want. Don’t you even think about messing this up for me, Dallas. It’s finally my turn at the top. I won’t let you take that away from me too.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean? I’ve given you everything you’ve ever wanted and more.”
“Except another child!”
“You were sick and your doctor gave me a choice, either you or the baby. I couldn’t save you both.”
“You knew I wanted him more than life itself and you took that choice from me. I’ll never forgive you for that.”
Fifteen years later she’d still tossed that in his face. She’d been hemorrhaging and they had to take her uterus. Their son had lived three hours. Long enough for him to hold him and say goodbye. Evangeline never got that chance because she’d been on the operating table for over ten hours in order for her doctors to remove all the cancer that had ravaged her breasts and her body a second time.
Marissa had been their miracle after the doctors had told them the chemotherapy had rendered her infertile. The second pregnancy had been a complete surprise. Devastation had set in when told her cancer had returned. Chemotherapy had been out of the question during the pregnancy, so the cancer ran wild.
When she’d started to bleed, the doctors had taken her to surgery to save both of them. In the end, Dallas had been the one to make the horrible decision of which to save.
There was no way he’d wanted to raise two kids on his own. Evangeline and Marissa had been his life—heart and soul. While he wished the outcome had been different, he knew he’d made the right decision for his family. All had agreed.
Except his wife.
Whenever she wanted to cut him to his core, she’d bring up the loss of their son and he’d cave in to whatever she wanted to make her happy. As much as he hated to admit it, he’d created the monster who lay strapped to the hospital bed before him. If he’d stopped her from going down the path from the start, demanded both of them get counselling, maybe they’d be living a whole other life.
Now he had to pick up the pieces of their lives and figure out a way to move on, even if it meant losing her in the process.
* * * *
Next week: Chapter 4
Dr. Justice is in the House!