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Welcome Birthday Guest Mary Calmes!

As always, thank you for having me Amber.

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The Further Adventures of Cael & Frank

He wasn’t wrong, per say, and so the continual griping, though annoying, was actually warranted.

“What if you die,” he growled at me, and I felt it more than heard it as I was sitting behind him on one of those Budweiser draft horses with my arms wrapped around his waist. “Did that even cross your mind when you ran in after me?!”

He was getting worked up again and I felt bad, I did, but there was no way when the portal opened that I wasn’t following.

It was his birthday after all. I had to be with him on his birthday. Though, in his defense, celebrating in limbo was not where I saw my weekend going. I thought we’d be doing some Black Friday shopping but instead there had been an angel in our living room at 4 am telling Cael—born Caelenh in the pit of hell and now, from falling in love with me, had been elevated to that of heavenly host—that Eae, a fellow angel, was stuck in purgatory. Well, more precisely, limbo, which never scared me because I pictured people holding a pole all day that others had to bend over backwards to get under while everyone stood around drinking Mai Tais and Pina Coladas. Hard for that to inspire fear. But it was a big deal because Eae, the angel, they guy who had showed up to give Cael the news that his pitchfork had been traded in for a halo, had apparently been jumped and taken there.  It was not the place for an angel.

“How can that happen?” I asked the angel, Jericho, standing in my living room. It was just like in Supernatural, the TV show, except there was no flutter of wings. Angels just popped in and poof, were there in front of you. It annoyed the crap out of Cael.

When it was just me being a courier for all manner of paranormal creatures, my home was warded and nothing could just pop in. And once I first lived with, and then later married Cael, as a demon lord, nothing could ever manifest in his home so there was no worry over that. But when he went from demon to angel—which happened through love—the house was protected from all evil, yes, but fellow angels could just show up unannounced.

Cael was not amused.

“You know limbo,” Jericho had been saying when I woke up from the yelling and came stumbling out of our bedroom, bleary and squinting. “You can find him quickly without causing a disturbance and bring him out.”

“It’s his birthday,” I protested even before I knew what was going on.

Both Cael and Jericho turned to me.

“What, it is,” I griped at the angel. “We made it Thanksgiving and then we moved it and finally settled on the day after because that made more sense.”

“I—don’t know what that has to do with anything,” Jericho snapped at me. “We have a dire situation. None of us have ever been to hell or purgatory or limbo and would have no idea where to find Eae but Cael has and Chamuel said that Cael could find Eae once he was there.”

“And this Chamuel knows this how?”

Cael scowled at me and Jericho looked horrified.

Clearly I’d missed something about the angel Chamuel and what he knew for certain. “Whatever,” I grunted. “Just—you want Cael to go to limbo just because he used to be a demon? That’s no fair.”

“Nothing is fair,” Jericho said, and gestured at the air between our living room and kitchen and suddenly there was a portal there and through it, clear as day, I saw a town out of every Robin Hood movie I’d ever seen. Apparently limbo looked like the middle ages.

“Holy crap,” I murmured, watching people walk around in peasant garb.

“Cael,” Jericho pleaded. “Please, I would go in a heartbeat if I knew where to look and would not be detected so quickly. As you were made and not born, we hope that the knights of the pit will not find you so easily.”

“So this is a suicide mission?” I choked out, my throat dry, the lump there suddenly huge.

“It could be,” Jericho whispered. “But our hope is that the second Cael takes Eae’s hand that they both will be transported back here to the earthly plane.”

“And if you’re wrong?” I barely got out.

“Then they will both perish,” Jericho rushed out and even managed to sound a bit sad.

“No,” I rasped, clutching Cael’s hand in mine. “No.”

“Only Cael may go as his presence will not be as bright as ours.”

I wanted to argue that the ex-demon, now angel that I loved, glowed like a super-charged night light.

“You will protect my mate for all time,” Cael said resolutely, staring at Jericho.

He put his hand over his heart. “I will and my word is my bond. An angel cannot lie, as well you know.”

“I do know,” he said, turning to face me so I had to let go as he took my face in his hands. “You know what lives in my heart and that you are my every breath—I will return to you in one form or another.”

He meant in body or in spirit and that would not do. I wanted his body with his spirit intact; I wasn’t ready for anything else.

Yanking free, I bolted toward the portal at a dead heat in my sleep shorts and the old threadbare Foo Fighter tee I had on and it hurt when I hit it and found myself gasping for breath on the other side, standing on rocky ground and wrapping my arms around myself because it had to be in the thirties.

The growl behind me would have been scary but it was a frustrated one, not a scary one. Instantly, Cael was in front of me, hands on my shoulders as he shook me. Hard.

I wasn’t small, I’d always been heavy set, but I’d been dropping weight the last few years. I would never be thin though so the fact that he could shake me, rattle my brain, showed his strength and power. He was taller than me, but built long and lean, like a swimmer, with those great shoulders. His platinum blond hair that fell to the middle of his back was blowing forward into his face, and mine, and I closed my eyes loving the feel and smell of it.

“I’m going to murder you,” he threatened me.

I sighed and lifted for the kiss.

The snarl made me smile as his lips touched mine. I was where I belonged, no doubt in my mind. For better or worse and what could be worse than hell?

An hour or so later, he’d used some snazzy spell work to get him and I both outfitted in early serf-chic and we were ready to start on our journey.

Now, as we rode across a field of long dead grass under a dirty dishwater sky, I was eaten up with questions.

“No,” he said as I opened my mouth.

“But I want to know everything about where we are.”

“You’re not supposed to be here,” he reminded me. “Humans don’t get to cross over to limbo with the bodies they had in life and as soon as one of the demons realizes that you’re actually in your own skin, we’ll be in for the fight of our life.”

“But if it’s never happened before, doesn’t it stand to reason that no one will notice?”

He made a noise of pure annoyance. “It’s fortunate you were born pretty because you’re not very bright.”

All my life people had seen me as fat and funny until Cael. I’d taken our first encounter wrong, as though I were not desirable. I’d been corrected. And no, it; wasn’t up to someone else to give you your confidence, but having the most beautiful man I’d ever laid eyes on look at me daily with a tangible mixture of lust and love that was bone meltingly hot, was a continual source of amazement for me.

When we stopped, I was expecting a castle with a moat and the whole nine yards, what I got was like an old western stop on a stagecoach route. There were a few horses in a make-shift corral and everything was muddy and broken down. Cael dismounted first and I followed and I noticed as I stood there that the sky, as far as the eye could see, was now the color of clay. Everything was in shades of brown, nothing vibrant or clear.

“So in limbo everything is just sort of washed out and sepia?” I asked him.

“It is. The point is to know that you are not in Kansas anymore,” he told me as the door opened and eight…men…came out.

I didn’t even have time to appreciate his Wizard of Oz reference because of the demons, or demon knights. The wings and the red armor were a dead giveaway as were the yellow-gold snake eyes, the curse that went back to the garden.

The last two that came out threw Eae down in front of the others. He was bruised and beaten, lips cracked, eyes swollen, wings broken, those, like the rest of him, covered in blood.

“How did you know where he was?” One of the demons asked Cael. “You’re not one of us anymore; the suffering of the pure no longer draws you.”

He pointed at Eae. “He is my brother; all angels can find their own.”

There was laughing. They were a bad B movie so of course they did that but I forgot everything but going to Eae. Rushing to his side, I dropped down into the dirt and put my hands on him gently, lifting him up.

He squinted at me. “Frank?”

I smiled at him.

“You cannot be here. A human cannot pass into this realm.”

Not so great with the keeping of the secret that one but funny thing happened when the demon closest to me lunged—he hit an invisible shield.

It was interesting. He sort of bounced off, shrieked loudly, and…incinerated.

I was surprised.

Eae’s mouth dropped open as he looked over at Cael.

For his part, Cael looked a bit shocked as well.

That didn’t stop the demons and they acted like every guy in every Friday night Kung-Fu theatre movie I’d ever seen. They rushed us. I never understood. If you saw a guy beat the holy shit out of a hundred of your buddies  right in front of you, why didn’t running ever enter your mind? But instead of bolting after they saw their friends literally turn to ash…they came at me.

They hurled themselves forward and like a scene out of Avengers Infinity War, they crumbled. Some of them got wise and charged Cael instead only to get within five feet of him—further away than they got to me—and go super nova and disappear. No ash, just poof, gone after burning from the inside out. It looked way more painful than when they came after me.

When the last guy turned and ran—which made good sense to me—Cael moved like he was going to go after him.

“No, please,” I called to him. “Come here and heal Eae.”

He wasn’t happy about it, and glowered all the way over, dropping to one knee beside me and then smoothing his hands over Eae who caught his breath and trembled.

Poor guy, he looked terrible and I wondered how long he’d actually been there. Hard to say how time moved in limbo and I knew that what to me had been two, maybe three hours, to Eae could have been weeks

“How are you both here?” He asked when Cael was done and he looked great again, standing easily under his own power in white armor with this jet black wings. People thought all angels had white wings but I’d been told that only archangels got gold or white. It was a hierarchy thing.

“I’m here because of Jericho,” Cael told him, gesturing at our mount. “Frank is here because he doesn’t let me traipse across dimensions without him and had I known that bringing him meant protection from all creatures of perdition, I wouldn’t have worried in the first place and this could have all happened without any drama.”

“Well, I assure you, a rescue mission to limbo is normally a life and death undertaking, and not for the faint of heart.”

“I think heart is the point,” Cael told him, taking my hand in his. “Clearly the sacrament of love exists here.”

“The bond of love exists across all planes,” Eae apprised him. “There is no limit.”

“But most mortals cross into limbo with only their souls and the form they take here is merely an affect like that of my mount.”

I pointed at the horse. “That’s not a Clydesdale?”

Cael was back to scowling at me. “Why would there be horses in limbo? All animal souls rise, they have no sin.”

I nodded. “That makes sense.”

He let out an exasperated sigh.

“So what is it really?” I wanted to know.

“It’s a cross between a komodo dragon and a—what—a tarantula would be the closest thing I believe.”

I was really glad I couldn’t see it.

Eae turned to me. “May I ask what you saw when you looked at the demons?”

“Fallen angels. They have wings and armor just like you.”

He smiled at me. “I wish I could see myself as you do. Human eyes are so blessed to see what they perceive and not as we truly are.”

“You have that wrong,” I said, taking hold of his shoulder. “I had a demon for a mate and now I have an angel—I’ve always seen things crystal clear.”

He looked quickly at Cael who gave him a slow shrug. “I think he sees the truth.”

“Yes,” he rasped, nodding fast, choked up, I could tell. “Yes.”

I watched then as Cael took Eae’s hand and the portal Jericho had suspected would be there, suddenly was.  We were all though it and back in our living room, in moments.

Cael didn’t love it when first Eae, and then Jericho, hugged him. Apparently Jericho had remained in our home, watching Netflix for the two weeks that we were gone. He’d held down the fort and talked to my best friend, James Castile, or Charming, who co-owned Covenant with me, a rehabilitation shelter in downtown Long Beach. He was a werewolf without a pack and I was the mate of an angel so—we were weird together.

“Thank you for staying,” I said to Jericho.

“Thank you for saving my brother,” he said, tears in his eyes as he looked at Eae before lunging at Cael again.

“Oh could you just leave?” My mate groused, the annoyance rolling off of him. “It was supposed to be my birthday and all I wanted was a nice meal, maybe some cake and lots of sex. Is that too much to ask?”

Apparently not because the angels were both suddenly gone and in their place was what looked like pasta carbonara and an antipasto salad and a small chocolate cake.

“I used to be impressed with how well angels got blood out of clothes but it turns out they can cater too,” I teased him, grinning.

He grabbed me then, hands on the side of my neck. “You will never scare me like that again do you understand me? I may take chances but you may not.” He finished, putting a little thunder in his voice like he could do lately, the big voice an actual thing.

“No,” I argued, not backing down, my own hands on his hips. “I go with you always. We won’t ever be apart and that goes for your birthday and every other day. You’re stuck with me,” I said, lifting my left hand into his line of vision. “With this ring, you did wed.”

“Yes,” he murmured as he bent and kissed me.

It seared through me, and I moaned into his mouth.

“Perhaps the food can wait,” he husked before he kissed me again.

I was betting it could.

24 thoughts on “Welcome Birthday Guest Mary Calmes!

  1. Happy Birthday Amber! Thank you Mary for these shorts of Frank and Cael. I love these characters from your Creature Feature. Um if it is at all possible could you please collect these shorts of your two characters and put them together in like a short sequel? I would willingly buy all of them!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thank you Mary ^^ I love Cael and Frank and I hope maybe someday all the snippets will be grouped into one 🙂

  3. ooohhh I got to get this book featuring Cael and Frank. One I haven’t read yet. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Frank and Cael are my favorites. Thanks for their book and the previous snippets. Would love to see another novella with them.

  5. Thank you so much! I love your books so much! A Matter of Time is my absolute favorite m/m series, but all of your stories are beautiful.

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