The other short S.L. Armstrong and I did for the Goodreads M/M Romance group’s Love is Always Write event. This is actually for the prompt I chose, as Jungle Law was the prompt S.L. chose. 😀 An Angel’s Soul came out June 21st, and you can download it for free from Storm Moon Press, but I thought I’d give a couple of teasers to it.
Cole groaned as he shifted on the floor, a beam of sunlight across his face. His back and head hurt, his muscles stiff. What the hell had happened? He slowly sat up and rubbed his face with his hands. Rob. Rob had brought him some coke. Had he overdosed? Or had he just passed out? If he’d overdosed, wouldn’t he be dead? Maybe he was dead and this was Heaven. Or Hell. He didn’t much like the idea of Hell being his apartment, which smelled of stale cigarettes and booze.
He looked around, noting the shattered whiskey bottle and the angel asleep beside—
Cole stared at the naked creature beside him with massive white wings. That was an angel. Angels weren’t real, though. He rubbed his eyes again, but when he opened them once more, the angel was still there. Maybe there had been something in the coke. Maybe Rob hadn’t gotten the good stuff after all. He reached out and ran his fingers along the feathers. Christ, he’d never felt anything so soft! The wing shivered under his touch, but the angel didn’t move.
It was real. The angel. Was real. Angel. In his apartment. Maybe that was why he wasn’t dead. He brushed the angel’s blond hair back from the perfect, beautiful face. Male. He had an unconscious, gorgeous, male angel sprawled on his office floor, and his mind didn’t quite believe it. Cole cleared his throat and gave the angel’s shoulder a little nudge.
“E-Excuse me,” Cole murmured, his voice rough. “Hello?” A pained flutter of a sound escaped the angel, and he hesitated to touch again. He didn’t see any wounds on the angel, but maybe his touch was a little too hard. He swallowed thickly and, as gently as possible, pet over the blond hair and the feathers. “Are you all right? Come on. Wake up.”
The wings shifted, and another of those bird-like sounds twittered from the angel, followed by a soft moan. Cole’s heart jumped up into his throat, and he scrambled back a little, dodging the feathers of one wing as it lifted and flapped. A sudden pain jolted up through his hand, and he cursed under his breath. He’d forgotten about the broken glass, and now he was paying for it. The cut wasn’t too terribly deep, but it stung like a motherfucker, and he cradled his hand against him.
“Do you remember what happened when angels and humans last coupled?”
Raziel sat up, his mind heavy with lingering slumber. His eyes scanned the room and fell upon an angel, bathed in Holy Light, standing near the windows, his wings outspread and arms crossed. He swallowed thickly, a flush creeping up his face. Raziel knew who had come to level judgment on him. “Chamuel.”
Chamuel smiled at him. “Do you remember, Raziel?”
“I remember.” Raziel glanced at Cole’s sleeping form, the human unaware of the angels’ conversation. He slipped from the bed, refusing to talk with Chamuel while holding his ward in his arms. “But he is no woman for me to seed and breed giants with. Where is the harm?”
“Where is the harm?” Chamuel shook his head. “Raziel, they are our charges. We watch over them. We do not kiss them. We do not couple with them. We do not prevent their deaths when the natural order says they are meant to die.”
Raziel’s wings shivered at the reprimand in those words. “If I am not supposed to intervene on my ward’s behalf to save him from himself, then what am I supposed to do? Watch him die when I could help?”
“There are limits to our calling.” Chamuel stepped closed, cupped Raziel’s cheek. “You have broken many rules, my friend, and you cannot escape punishment. Was it worth it? Was he worth it?”
Pain tore at Raziel’s heart, tears filling his eyes. He looked over his shoulder at Cole, and he remembered his whispered promise to the man before sleep had taken him. He couldn’t fight Heaven, though. Raziel didn’t want to leave, but Chamuel would make him. There wasn’t much choice. For angels, there was never any choice. He drank in the sight of Cole, and whispered, “Yes. It was worth it.”
The sound of fluttering wings filled the room, and then there were only the soft sounds of an apartment at night. The refrigerator kicked on, humming softly through the wall, and the toilet ran for a moment, filling its tank. The air conditioner clicked on, the unit nearly silent as it pumped cool air into the many rooms. Cole rolled over in bed, mumbling softly in his sleep as his hand reached for warmth he missed in his dreams, but the warmth was gone. The sheets were cool, the room empty but for its sole occupant, and even in his sleep, Cole knew something was missing.