Check out this incredible excerpt of Seal of Solomon by Golden Czermak! Releasing on August 29th, this PNR Adventure is a must read!
WARNING: This book is for mature readers only. Not for children. It contains adult themes, violence, coarse language, sexual situations, nudity, and paranormal themes.
The Adventure Continues…
From author Golden Czermak, comes the second installment of the enthralling Journeyman Series.
With no answers and a weapon of mass destruction slung around his neck, Gage Crosse is left with little choice but to travel with Joey Mosely to New York, seeking aid from the Order Council itself. Little do they know that they are about to embark on what may be the greatest adventure of their lives: to find the mysterious Seal of Solomon.
Meanwhile, the fragile threads holding the demon army and its monstrous allies together are unraveling. Keli must act quickly to maintain her position as ruler, else have all their efforts fall into the flames of ruin.
Can the Journeymen keep the Seal of Solomon out of demon hands, or will the Noctis succeed in wrenching all three artifacts from their control?
All the Way from Denver
The driving rain smashed against the fractured windshield of the GMC quad cab as it raced down US 287, pavement whooshing by with a thunderous roar. A set of dented fenders, splintered headlamps, and a shredded bumper lead the way through the deluge; the old truck looked like it had been through hell and back.
Which, as so happens, it had.
The escape from Denver was not easy, the terrible events there weighing heavily on the driver’s mind. Grasping the steering wheel tightly with both hands was a large man, topped with a bushy mop of black hair that matched the stormy clouds and his bleak disposition. The tank top he wore fit tightly over his substantial chest – tainted a rusty brown from deep gashes underneath and also the fluids of many dark creatures that had gotten in his way. This man was skilled at making sure they would not be bothering anyone ever again – their lifeblood spread across the past five hundred miles.
A heaviness continued to bear down on Gage Crosse as he squinted through the downpour with his weighty green eyes. Right then, it would be all too easy to shut out the world and drift off to sleep, but he fought off the urge to fully close them. He was used to battling all kinds of supernatural creatures, but this time, things were different; their numbers were far more extensive and wave after exhausting wave came at him, leaving barely a chance to breathe.
There were things he was experienced within the hordes, werewolves and demons being the mainstay, but amongst the rest were horrifying creatures, so new they hadn’t been given names or entries in any lore book. Yet, despite overwhelming odds, Gage had once again managed to pull through – still alive, still breathing, and still able to feel emotions.
For the last hundred or so miles, the route had been clear of any confrontations, though a pervading sense of dread hung overhead like the dark and wet sky. He let out a sigh of relief, welcoming the respite no matter how brief. Looking over his baby, the battered GMC was probably not going to withstand many more attacks.
They know where you are going, Gage, a nagging voice whispered in the back of his mind. They’re not just going to let you go.
As right as the voice may be, he tried to ignore it, focused instead on staying steady while the wind whipped the cab from side to side. It was still a challenge to see much of anything ahead, the windshield wipers barely having any effect on the torrent. One thing was certain – their incessant noise was contributing to a mounting headache with each successive thump.
As the wipers continued beating, a sharpness arose at the back of his neck. All too familiar, he reached around to tweak the spiked chain that hung across it. This had been happening since he left Denver and it was growing tiresome, the feeling coming and going at chance intervals.
Truth be known, what he really wanted at that moment was to be behind the safe walls of the Lodge and off of this infernal highway. Hopefully there, the effects he was experiencing would be diminished and, for damn sure, no monsters would be lurking. Despite those wants, reality slapped him with a cold, hard fact; the fulfillment of those desires remained over three and a half hours away.
The silver amulet attached to the chain began to grow heavy, dragging downward as if it were trying to cut its way clean through his neck. He took a hand off the steering wheel, moving to adjust the chain.
As soon as the ends of his thick fingers touched the polished metal disc, there was a flare and he was whisked away from the highway.
A tinny smell filled his nostrils and there in front of him was the visage of a lifeless woman spread across mounds of debris in a once splendid country kitchen. Her graceful brown hair was soaked through with blood. It was Adrienne, his dearest, and although the scene was pure carnage, her face maintained its beauty – still as wondrous and delightful as he remembered. To him it looked as if she could have been sleeping peacefully amidst the rubble… but he knew that she was not.
I am so sorry darlin’… he thought, lamenting over having to leave her body behind in the collapsed ruins of his old home.
The image shifted, rippling to her in a ghostly form, rising up from a vortex of shadows into the heavens. “Non Omnis Moriar,” she said softly, disappearing into the blackness.
Then, as quickly as the vision had appeared, it was gone. Gage was back in driver’s seat, still moving along with his heavy boot on the gas.
Not all of me shall die, Gage said in a low voice as the rain seemed to diminish. That motto, inked across the top of his back, had carried him through the darkest of times, and this was no exception. I’ll always remember you, Ady. Your memory will live on… still bright. He brought his hand to his chest and lightly tapped the middle.
He allowed his mind to wander a bit since he could now look out through the light sheets of drizzle and the truck continued down the flat green countryside for another lengthy stretch.
A depressing thought dashed in. How am I going to break this to Joey?
Adrienne and he were like siblings, knowing each other for at least a year before Gage ever came into the picture. Although Gage had no brothers or sisters of his own, he knew that Joey would take the news very hard and could relate wholeheartedly to the feeling of loss.
“Goddammit!” he shouted crossly, slamming the horn with the edge of his palm. This life did nothing but bring pain everywhere with it: one happy-go-lucky thing replaced by five unhappy-go-to-shit ones.
Gage crumpled his brow as he thought about his own relationship with Joey. How was this going to change their dynamic? Would it? Should it? While those were certainly questions that had built up, he didn’t yet know if he could, or even wanted to, answer them.
Instead of harping on it, Gage decided on a different form of remedy, one that had worked many times in the past.
He reached over to the radio, flicked it on, and selected his favorite track on the mix CD that was permanently loaded in the player. Track number seven began to play, the music of Dream On filling the cab, and he was left to think on old times… normal times, before the paranormal came in and made his life anything but super.
Eventually US 287 transitioned to I-45 outside Alma, Texas. Fort Worth and Dallas had disappeared well beyond the receding landscape. The musical escapism continued and before he knew it, Gage was passing by Huntsville, Texas.
The Lodge was now just over an hour south, but as the nagging voice indicated to him earlier, his pursuers were not going to just let him go. Of course, that’s when the drive suddenly took a turn for the worse.
The panorama grew dark again, as if someone had cranked down a global dimmer switch. Gage looked skyward, noticing there were no more clouds than before, so he diligently prepped himself for another encounter. This shit was not going to keep him from his destination. He cleared his head of excess baggage and the grip he had on the wheel tightened. He could have navigated his way back to the Lodge using his veins as a map since they were sticking so far out from his arms.
The way ahead went black, a dark figure appearing in front of the truck. Gage slammed hard on the brakes, fishtailing on the slippery road. Turning nimbly into the swerves, he managed to right himself before coming to a screeching halt. Gage searched frantically, but the being was nowhere to be seen.
“What the fuck?” he blurted, looking down the empty freeway. With chills, he recognized the shadowy form from his brief but defining encounter with it back in early 2014. It was Death. “What’re ya doing here, Skeletor?” Gage probed. Despite the big man’s lack of fear, Death’s presence, especially now, was particularly disturbing to him.
A loud thud came from the truck bed and Gage shot a glance in the rearview, expecting to see a pair of shriveled hands coming at him. What he saw was no less dangerous: a heavyset man had leapt into the bed, his eyes pitch black, rimmed with crimson.
“Another one of you damn red eyed freaks?” Gage grumbled. He floored the gas, using the demon’s size against him. The chubby man fell onto his ass, rolling toward the back like a huge ball. His rotund body struck against the tailgate with a mighty boom and it came right off, sending a shower of sparks into the air as they both careened into the grassy median, smashing hard against the dividing barricade.
“Well, fuck my life!” Gage shouted at the empty spot where the tailgate had been, speeding up to put some distance between him and the demon paste. “Sorry old girl!”
Another loud noise came from ahead, the tall shape of a werewolf landing squarely on the hood.
“I swear, if a damn bloodsucker shows up to complete this trio, I’m officially retiring,” Gage jeered, grabbing his choice pistol from its resting spot beside him.
The wolf man rose, anchoring the claws of both feet and one arm into the thin metal, using the other to strike the windshield as he howled. The window spider-webbed across the entire thing; Gage couldn’t see anything at all.
“Dammit!” he shouted, pointing the gun forward with a long exhale. “I promise to get ya fixed up after.” He pulled the trigger several times and the safety glass shattered, pelting the giant dog with a harmless crystalline shower.
Now with a clear shot, he aimed again and fired, the silver bullet racing straight between the wolf’s eyes.
Without warning, a cloud of shadow swooped in and swiftly encased the wolf like a barrier. Gage thought he saw a monstrous lion’s head amidst the smoke and watched as the wisps of vapor were sucked into the wolf’s body.
“Well shit, this is a first!” he said, letting loose with the remains of the silver bullets.
The wolf flung its eyes open as the bullets struck; they had shifted from penetrating yellow to black and red. Silver had lost its effectiveness and with renewed vigor, the werewolf swiped at Gage. Its claws narrowly missed as he ducked out of the way.
“A demon possessed werewolf… great,” Gage grumbled as he laid low with his face pressed against the seat. “Don’t you Noctis know how to play by the rules?”
The truck veered as he drove for a bit without looking, ejecting the spent clip onto the floor mat. It clinked against a collection of other empties that had grown around his feet like metallic weeds. Reaching into the ammo rack mounted under the dash, where the last of the clips were stored, he took a tan colored one. The magazine was filled with a dozen iron bullets, his only hope against the demon-wolf.
Before he could load it, the vehicle swerved sharply to the left. Yanking the wheel in the opposite direction, Gage glanced up to see the werewolf had a tight hold of it.
Hell no! he thought, rising up in the seat menacingly.
“Crosse! Prepare to die!” the beast snarled, wrenching the wheel back over toward the median. The truck left the pavement and tore into the grass. Metal barriers whooshed by, grating against the sides of the GMC and stripping away its brown and white paint.
Gage choked. “Nobody drives this truck but me,” he said boldly, grabbing the clawed hand with his own. Slowly, he unwrapped each of the coarse fingers and squeezed them tightly, bending them back until he could both hear and feel a snap. They did so satisfyingly and the corner of Gage’s mouth turned up as he steered the truck back into a lane.
The monster groaned in pain, but did not topple, still locked in sturdily by the anchors he had made. Wasting no time, he lashed back at Gage.
Seeing the oncoming talons, Gage’s smirk evaporated as he dodged them again. The brute missed, though a few loose strands of Gage’s hair were sliced right off the top. The driver’s seat ended up catching the brunt of the attack – shreds of fabric floated by as Gage loaded the new clip into the custom MK-23.
The click it made was so reassuring, but the racket that followed wasn’t. The sounds of metal being punctured reached his ears, the enemy taking meticulous steps toward the cab. There Gage wouldn’t stand much of a chance in the tight space.
Not about to let himself become dog chow, he sat up confidently with the backing of his loaded weapon. “That ain’t gonna happen, fucker.”
Seven bullets, dull and ferrous, leapt from the barrel, making their way into the beast. Most struck hard in the center of his chest, while a couple entered his anchor arm, spreading a raging pain like fire. Three more bullets arrived, forcing him down to his belly like a snake. He held on tight to the detaching hood, determined not to fall and become a smear on the whizzing pavement.
“Gah!” Gage yelled. “Stubborn son of a bitch! The edge is right… there… would be nice of ya to USE IT!”
Arm over arm the werewolf pulled itself across sharp, flayed edges. Streams of dark blood were left behind, contrasting against the bright white paint.
Gage had long grown tired of this fool and just wanted him gone, so he aimed and almost pulled the trigger again. But he resisted. With only two bullets left, there wasn’t much room for error. So, despite the urge to simply let loose, he chose to stay still and do nothing. That would bide time to make sure these bullets counted.
The werewolf continued to claw his way to the window, the outer edge of the frame bending beneath his hands.
Gage glanced down to check the pistol hidden in his lap, then returned to staring down the monster.
The monster grasped at the wheel, dragging his weighty body into the cab. His snout was mere inches from the tip of Gage’s nose and each breath was hot and sticky with spit, reeking with the smell of rancid eggs.
Resisting the urge to hurl what little fluid he had left, Gage brought up his pistol and set it right against the creature’s temple. His hand was as steady as a rock and his confidence pegged on high.
“I believe this is checkmate, Fido,” he whispered as he popped off a couple pieces of hot iron into the wolf’s skull.
“No… this is,” the werewolf replied, tearing the steering wheel from its column with his last bit of strength. Deed done, he pushed himself out then listed, falling from the edge of the hood. His body hit the rushing pavement and rolled underneath the rear tires with a grotesque crunch.
The truck lurched and barreled off the highway. Gage couldn’t steer, now riding a bullet himself. Fastening his seatbelt, he tried to slam on the brakes but it was too late, the barrier coming up fast before all went dark…
The gentle rhythm of rain had returned and wreckage of the GMC was hard-pressed into the barricade. The sprinkling water thinned the blood stains into a light pink runoff which was pooling underneath the inoperable vehicle. The front end was obliterated steel, far beyond repair, yet three of the four tires were still in decent order. However, the last one hung from a busted rim like an inner tube wrapped around an alloy taco shell.
Despite her battered appearance, most of the GMC could possibly be salvaged. Which was more than could be said of Gage. He was slumped over in his seat, eyes loosely closed. No breaths came from his open mouth, nor rise or fall from his large chest. In fact, there was no movement at all except for the steady flow of tepid blood from his body.
The situation was grim and that is when he reappeared.
Death hovered over the median, dark, graceful, and menacing. Holding a long pole of gnarled mahogany, his robes caught the wind and the tattered black fabric moved like snakes, yet slowly as if underwater.
It grew frigid and the sheets of rain transformed into hail as he made his way toward the crash site. Releasing the staff, it hung in the air for a second before vanishing in a wisp of shade. The grass froze, pummeled by the falling chunks of ice, leaving a cracked trail in his wake.
Back on the highway, traffic had gotten heavier, but zoomed by as if nothing was out of the ordinary – unable to see the disastrous wreckage between the north and south bound lanes.
Reaching the driver’s side, Death glared ominously at Gage’s motionless face. There was glimmer below his large black hood, as if eyes underneath had caught a stray flicker from a distant candle.
Whispers then came, skimming on the breeze from all directions. A cacophony of a thousand voices speaking in unison, all addressing one man.
Amidst the clamor, the Reaper lifted one of his skinless hands and extended it into the cab. A lean finger, dusty and splintered, rose to point at Gage, hovering just above his temple. “Gage… Crosse…” Death spoke, his hollow voice rising above the discordance of the others. “There is much left for you to do, man who does not fear death.”
With dagger-like quickness, the trembling finger was thrust deep into his skull, penetrating the bone with ease. Gage convulsed in the seat, belching up ungodly amounts of fluid.
Abruptly, the hail became rain once again, the grass soft and fertile. Death was gone and with a painful, dry gasp, Gage awoke.
Make sure you’re all caught up with Homeward Bound! OUT NOW!
WARNING: This book is for mature readers only. Not for children. It contains adult themes, violence, coarse language, sexual situations, nudity, and paranormal themes.
The entire world is on the brink of finding out nightmares are real.
An army of demons known as the Noctis is growing in strength.They control all manner of foul beasts and if not stopped soon, cities will burn, lives will end, and hope will be lost.
The only thing standing in the way are the Journeymen; humans and supernatural beings united against the darkness.
There is one known amongst men and the supernatural alike that you don’t mess with. Unless it’s on his terms.
His name is Gage Crosse and he’s the best damn Journeyman around.
These are his adventures.
About the Author:
In the beginning, Golden worked the standard corporate rat race, completed college for a Chemical Engineering Degree, and began a small photography company on the side.
Since then, and the growth of the FuriousFotog brand, Golden became an internationally published modeling/fitness photographer and eventually began working as a book cover model.
Having been in the industry for at least four years, he has interfaced and networked with countless authors and other clients. As part of his work as a photographer, he worked with them to create book cover images – now numbering well over 250 at the beginning of 2016.
Learning the ins and out of the book world, along with being an avid reader and storyteller himself, Golden finally decided to write and publish his first book, Homeward Bound, in 2016. This paranormal adventure romance will span a total of six books and new ideas for other stories are in the works as well.