To touch her is to touch deathOrphaned at birth, Lilith knows nothing of her family, her last name or the origin of the amazing power she'd always considered a curse. Then the arrival of a mysterious package reveals her mother's legacy--and the existence of a half sister with special powers of her own. When the family reunion turns deadly, only one man can help Lilith defeat her new enemy. His warrior's hands will keep Lilith alive by any means necessary. But his touch will transform her...body and soul.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 09, 2008
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Untouchable by Stephanie Doyle
"Lilith! You must come quickly. Lilith!"
The sound of her name penetrated her sleep. She focused on the language that was being used. English. Not Hindi. One of the nuns rather than a villager. Slowly she opened her eyes and turned her head toward the noise. The heavy tarp that served as the door to her hut was pulled back. Sister Joseph filled the space.
"They are asking for you on the hill. You must hurry."
The plump older woman stepped inside and instantly Lilith pushed herself farther back on her sleeping mat. "Do not get too close. I am not dressed."
The sister obeyed and turned away. Lilith got out of bed and began to assemble what had become her unique habit. First, a cotton slip. Then, a long bolt of silk she pulled over her head that covered her from neck to foot, shoulder to wrist. Ties secured the material to her body, making the uniform less cumbersome. At times she was sure she must be mistaken for a mummy.
Finally she reached for the gloves that sat on her writing table, which was the only other piece of furniture in the small hut other than her sleeping mat. As she slid the gloves up her arms Lilith felt the material cling to her skin. It was a sensual feeling that she allowed herself to enjoy for only a second.
"The brothers have need of your...medicine," Sister Joseph told her with her back still turned to her. The brothers were Buddhist monks rather than Christian brothers, but the nuns who lived in the village situated below the monastery treated them with as much reverence.
"They have a visitor among them. Looking for retreat, I think. I believe a leg wound has festered."
"Leprosy?" Lilith asked. "Has he become infected by one of the villagers?"
"No." Sister Joseph shook her head. "He hasn't been exposed to anyone long enough. Unless he contracted it somewhere else. Listen to us," she said sheepishly. "A man comes in with a wound and we automatically assume it is one of the rarest and hardest-to-contract diseases in the world. We're growing paranoid I think."
"But this is our world," Lilith reminded her. "It is what we see every day. It is natural to make assumptions. I will go to the brothers. I'll see what can be done."
The woman backed out of the hut and Lilith followed her at a distance. It was still night, but nearing morning. Animals in the forest just beyond the village sent signals to their comrades to start the day. They were familiar sounds but still exotic to Lilith's ears even after all this time.
She followed the path that led from her camp up a steep hill that was flattened at the top. A hundred years ago devout monks had come together to build a monastery as a tribute to Buddha. Today it served the same purpose.
Deep in the region of Arunachal Pradesh, near the China border, this track of forest was almost forgotten to the rest of India. As were her human inhabitants. It was why the monks had claimed this space in their search for solitude. It was why the lepers had been banished here, ejected from society.
It was why Lilith called it home.
The trail steepened noticeably but Lilith didn't falter, her legs well used to the path. Although she chose to live among the Christian nuns who had come to care for the lepers, it was the monks with whom she continued her spiritual education. Poor Sister Joseph tried so faithfully to convert Lilith. But while she enjoyed the stories of the man known as Jesus, for in many ways he was also an outcast from his people, there was something about the monks' teachings that called to her.
Maybe because she was surrounded by so much death. The idea of coming back to life to try again appealed to her. Obviously there was more to the religion and Lilith embraced all facets of it, but it was the idea of returning as something different, someone different, that mattered to her.
Not that she ever planned to tell Sister Joseph. The woman would be crushed if she knew there was no hope for conversion. Still, despite their varying religious beliefs, the monks and the nuns had no problem coexisting. If neither subscribed to the other's beliefs they still respected the sacrifice each had made for their faith.
As she climbed higher, the air thinned. Lilith could see the structure in the dark. The monastery was built of stone and mud bricks. An impressive sight, it rose three stories and had over a hundred different rooms linked by long corridors. It was a square design with an orchid garden in the center that Lilith knew the monks referred to as the inner sanctum.
At the main entrance Lilith pulled down hard on a rope several times to announce her presence. The bell clang could be heard throughout the compound.
Eventually the door opened and beyond it she recognized Tenzig, one of the younger brothers. His head was shaved and he was wrapped in the traditional saffron-colored robe that declared his spiritual path. His expression was as serene as ever. He stepped back to allow Lilith to enter, clearly not surprised by her arrival and not in any particular rush. They spoke in the hushed tones of his language as he directed her through the labyrinth of hallways.