"Your Eminence."

The Pope, John Paul the First, turned around in his chair. Standing at the door of his office was a simple monk. "Yes?"

"She is here."

The Pope sat up straighter and his eyes lit up. "Show her in."

The young monk bowed and instantly left the room.

Moments later, a young woman entered. From her looks, she looked to be no older than twenty. She had thick waist length black hair that was hanging free. Her face was perfect, high cheekbones drew attention to her bright violet eyes. And beneath her small nose, was a perfect mouth, full and red. Her tight black pants and thick silver belt showed her off her tiny waist and long shapely legs. Her black shirt was open at the throat, revealing a necklace with a silver cross.

She bowed. "Your eminence." Her voice was soft and rich.

The Pope stood. "That is not what you used to call me. Come in, Rachael. There is no call to impress me in private."

Rachael Gabriella rose gracefully to her feet. "So what was so pressing, Ada, that you had to call for me personally?"

John Paul raised an eyebrow. "Something that will not please you."

"Not another marriage proposal."


Rachael sat on the table and studied the ceiling. "I give up."

"You're to have a partner for your next assignment."