The Four Horsemen 1
For Pestilence, the White Horseman, love becomes the most powerful cure.
Having lost his wife and child during the Black Death, Pestilence accepts the fate destiny has given him as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. For centuries, Pestilence did his job, spreading plagues and disease around the world. He does it to keep the balance between good and evil, yet he hates every minute of it. He longs to be left alone, but suddenly fate seems to have a different plan for him.
When Bart Winston stumbles into an Amazon clearing, he’s terribly ill and sure he’s going to die. A tall white-haired man with unusual black eyes catches him in his arms and Bart’s life takes a turn into the unbelievable. Blaming the whole situation on his illness might have worked, but as he gets better and learns about the strange man who heals him, Bart must accept there are more things in the world than he ever guessed.
Pestilence and Bart heal each other, and begin to wonder if there can be a future for the White Horseman and the mortal he’s fallen in love with.
Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.
Publisher’s Note: This book was previously released under the same title. It has been re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.
Crashing sounded through the forest and Pest raised his head, tracking the noise as it came closer to him. A jaguar chasing a capybara wouldn’t make hardly any noise, and it would be faster. He’d spent centuries learning every sound and scent of the Amazon.
The animals were silent, so the creature blundering amidst the foliage wasn’t native. Should he move further back and let whatever or whoever was out there wander past him? It was rare for Pest to be bothered by indecision, yet he admitted he was getting bored. When the boredom struck, he’d visit one of the indigenous villages where they treated him like a god. They told legends about him throughout their history and he found their worship far easier to accept than any friendship they might have offered him.
Frowning, Pest listened to another loud crash echoing through the trees. It wasn’t an animal or a native. He hadn’t been alerted to any expeditions going on in the Amazon basin. His friends in the Brazilian government tended to contact him if there were any tours or scientific trips underway, so he could avoid them. He owned a satellite phone and used it occasionally to keep the cover story he’d created alive. While he rarely mingled with mortal society, he did have to deal with them once in a while. Pestilence would tell them he was researching undiscovered infectious diseases in the Amazon.
“Help me,” drifted through the humid air and Pest closed his eyes, trying to zero in on where the plea came from. It was weak and definitely human. Pest stood and froze. What did he think he was going to do? There wasn’t any way he could help whoever it was.
He stared down at his pale hands, scarred and rough from the life he’d been forced to live. Once, his hands were soft and gentle as he went about his practice, helping to heal his patients. No more. He’d turned his back on those days after his family died. While he could have been like Death, and lived among humans, Pestilence chose to leave society and the presence of mortals.
His option of whether to ignore the human or help was taken from him as a figure stumbled into the clearing that Pest had picked to have his mid-day meal in. He watched as the man took two steps in his direction before collapsing. Sighing, Pest fought the need to rush to his side and examine him. He couldn’t touch the man unless he wanted the stranger to die for sure. Yet all of his training as a doctor screamed at him to make sure the man wasn’t dead.
“You can touch humans, Pestilence. Just ensure your own hands are covered.” Death’s advice rang in his ears, spoken centuries ago when Pestilence was new to the job of a Horseman. He’d never figured out how Death knew he’d wrestled with the terrible irony of a doctor becoming the Horseman known as Pestilence. All his mortal life, he’d fought disease until he’d met one he couldn’t defeat.
The Black Death or the Bubonic Plague had hit his town and so many had died while he had fought with all of his knowledge and strength to save them. Guilt ate away at his soul as he watched his family die, one by one.
Being unable to touch a mortal with his hands without making them sick was one of the many changes Pestilence had had to get used to over the centuries. The strangest thing was he could kiss a person, or make love to him or her, but he couldn’t touch his bare hands to their skin. He remembered how shocked he’d been the first time he had realised his dark hair had gone completely white, and the whites of his eyes had been taken over by black, so there was no colour whatsoever.
“Please help me.”