“We manifest as men,” said Michael, “because there has never been a time when it was favourable to manifest as women.”
A scene from Moonstruck Consent, book 4 of the not*the*same*river series.
I was curled up in my favourite armchair by the empty fireplace in the drawing room, my back to the voices stirring me from sleep. I’d only meant to sit down for five minutes, to wait for Magnus so I could tell him Archer was awake. I hadn’t meant to fall asleep for—I checked my watch—nearly half an hour.
“Have you seen Uriel or Jem lately?” said Michael.
“Not since I came back up,” said Lucifer. “Why?”
“They’re not answering my echoes.”
“You could try going to a Cas—”
“Don’t say it.”
Lucifer sighed. “Jem’s probably just on the road … in deep cover somewhere. You know he never stops. And Uriel …” Apparently, Lucifer didn’t know what to say about Uriel because he was silent for a long time. I peeked around the side of the chair. Eventually, he laughed then said, “He enjoys his gallivanting lifestyle, making friends and influencing people. Gabriel’s probably got him hunting down some lost species of fur or something. Like he did with Raph. He’d just brought up a huge haul of weapons the last time I spoke to him.”
“Up?” said Michael, voice laced with panic.
“Jesus, Michael. The Pacific, not Hell.”
“The last time I saw Uriel, he was dining with Astaroth.” Michael screwed up his nose. “By candlelight.”
Lucifer’s eyes widened, and he sputtered out a laugh. “You don’t think …” Michael shrugged, and Lucifer continued. “That’s ridiculous. You know how Astaroth can’t keep physical state. They’d probably fall asleep before …” Lucifer shuddered.
Michael had a faraway look in his eyes. “But Astaroth is so … persuasive.”
Lucifer smirked. “Something to share?”
“What? No. Well … no. Just worried about Uriel.”
“He can take care of himself. So can Jem.”
Michael hummed then said, “If they haven’t responded by next week, I’ll check Hell. To be on the safe side.”
“We could just summon Astaroth. Find out what’s going on.”
Michael shook his head. “It’s not time.”
“Ah, yes. A time for everything. I wish we’d never laid eyes on that book.”
“Truth is truth,” said Michael.