Welcome Birthday Guest Talia Carmichael!

Happy Birthday month to Amber! Thanks you Amber for letting me come and join the fun. Yay! Let’s party.

I’ve written a little interlude featuring characters from my Something in Common  series.

Perfect Birthday Surprise…

A Something in Common Interlude

By Talia Carmichael

Taggart exited his vehicle and stared at the house. He rubbed his hand along the back on his neck. It’d been a long few days on a case for his team. It wrapped up earlier although he hoped it wouldn’t have. At least then he would have an excuse to not be at Rhodes. He frowned and walked slowly to the front door.

God I hate birthdays. And with Rhodes being so secretive these last few weeks I’m betting he planned a surprise birthday party for me.

He paused before the door and stared at it. He really wasn’t in the mood to be diplomatic about hating birthdays and not wanting a party.

Maybe I should have told him before I didn’t want one. But I had no clue he was planning or even thinking about it. Not until damn Ramirez said he was and sung me happy birthday.

He frowned since technically Ramirez had ruined the surprise part of the party. Earlier when he had come out of his office his squad had cleared out. That was such a rare thing since many usually lingered chatting about something or the other. Or in Ramirez’s case teasing someone about his best feature. It had been silent and with that he knew Ramirez was correct that there was a surprise party. No wonder the squad had been so glad the case was wrapped up.

The door opened and Rhodes studied him and leaned his shoulder against the doorframe and pressed the doorbell. “That’s the doorbell. Or you could have just used your key.” He smirked.  “Or did you forget how to enter a house.”

“Smart ass.” Taggart blew out a breath. “I hate birthdays.” He eyed him. “Especially when some well meaning partner decided to throw a surprise party for another.”

Rhodes face blanked. Taggart silently swore knowing that look. He’d pissed Rhodes  off.

“Rho—“

He straightened and went inside without a word. Taggart stared at the empty doorway then went inside. He braced himself for the yells of surprise. He closed the door and went deeper into the house. As he did he couldn’t hear anything. Not even the dogs who usually clamored to come to him when he came home. He went to their favorite room and stepped in. Still nothing. Taggart frowned at the sight of the pillows piled on the floor. That usually meant they were relaxing and watching movies. He went around since he couldn’t see over them. He stopped and stared at Rhodes who reclined against them and surprisingly the dogs were beside him and docile. They looked ready to launch at him but stayed.

“R—“

“Surprise. Happy Birthday.” Ramirez’s voice boomed from his right.

Taggart turned then blinked at he saw the huge TV various boxes that pictured all their friends and family.

“Yeah, yeah I know I pulled your leg at work about a surprise birthday party but we’re all celebrating your birthday in our own places.” Ramirez winked. “As per Rhodes request. He did let us wish you happy birthday at least this way.”

“Now go enjoy your movies I picked only especially for you.” Dante smiled. “After all I couldn’t let you have a birthday without some good movies. Happy Birthday, Taggart.”

“Happy Birthday Taggart!” The voices echoed then the screen went blank.

He turned to Rhodes. He now realized the way he acted at the door as if mad was all part of the surprise.

Rhodes rolled his eyes.  “Yeah I know you will worship me with your body for not throwing you a surprise birthday party.”

“I’d have worshipped you anyway. Well maybe have you worship me for gritting my teeth and being gracious at the party.”

Rhodes gave him a look of disbelief.

Taggart laughed. “Yeah I didn’t believe it when I said it either. I might not have growled so much at folks.”

“Well I knew that wasn’t what you wanted.” Rhodes shrugged.

Taggart stared at the man who knew him so well. He loosened his tie and then went to his knees next to him on the pillows. He cupped his face and kissed him gently an briefly.

“Thank you.”

“Anytime.” Rhodes eyes twinkled.

“What movie is first?” He smiled. “I know we’re not going to follow what Dante has set.”

“Usually we wouldn’t but that sneaky bastard snuck into the house and stole all our DVD, VHS and wiped all our digital movie files. Even from the cloud. He said we’d get it back after your birthday. ” Rhodes scowled. “And I know who he had do the digital stuff so didn’t even waste my time trying to get it back.”

“If you want I can arrest him for breaking and entering.” Taggart held in his laughter.

He knew Rhodes was pissed that they had gotten in. Rhodes would be upgrading the system again and that meant more drills of security for the guys he managed. Taggart made a mental note to make sure they knew it was Dante’s fault. He knew that would make them do little things to get back at Dante. He went to smile.

“If you laugh I will deck you.” Rhodes said it mildly but Taggart knew he meant it.

He sat on the cushions then looked at the dogs. “What did you do to them? They’re not usually so still.”

“Bribery. Got them some new throw pillows to shred.” Rhodes said then to dogs. “Go get it.”

They took off.

“What are we watching?” He toed off his shoes.

Rhodes pulled him close and nuzzled his nose into his neck. “Something we haven’t seen before but we can use it as a backdrop to the real show.”

“That’s what you are calling it now.” Taggart snorted then turned his head and kissed him.

Rhodes pulled him closer and molded their bodies together. Taggart smiled. Yes this man knew him so well and had planned the perfect birthday surprise.

 

 

Copyright © Talia Carmichael, 2017.

All Rights Reserved.

 

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AmazonDreamspinner

To see how Taggart and Rhodes got together check out Magnetism…

Here is the blurb:

Magnetism

By Talia Carmichael

Series: Something in Common  – Book 7

 

 

Blurb:

Taggart Monroe wants to know what makes Rhodes Winslow tick. Rhodes finds the friendly barbs he and Taggart exchange intriguing, fun, and sexy. He wants Taggart and knows Taggart wants him even though he won’t admit it. Taggart studies people the way he studies the details of his cases, so he’s drawn to a man who is an enigma. Getting to know Rhodes is an adventure Taggart can’t resist, just like the magnetism between them.

 

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Contest:  From the comments below, 1 winner will be selected at random from all the comments and the prize for winner will be an $10 Amazon egift card! (This is open to all. Note you will need to be able to get an egift card from Amazon)

The contest will go until 11:59 pm Eastern time on November 27, 2017, so you have time to enter. Please enter an email address when you post your comment below. Once I announce the winner your email is how I confirm I am sending the prize to the person who commented below for the contest.

I will post winner and instructions to claim the prize on November 28, 2017 on my blog here http://taliacarmichael.com/blog.

Good Luck!

 

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Bio: Talia Carmichael is a romantic who believes that family, no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. She is an author who writes sexy stories in a variety of genres. She believes in creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It’s all about the journey.

Among her books you’ll find contemporary, futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal settings with M/M themes that will have a happily-ever-after. Her books are passionate, intense, and real… to fill the craving. Check out more about Talia at http://taliacarmichael.com  or  http://taliacarmichael.com/blog. Contact her at http://taliacarmichael.com/blog/contact

or check her out on facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/TaliaCarmichaelAuthor. facebook group –  https://www.facebook.com/groups/TaliaCarmichaelBookNook

Twitter:  @taliacarmichael

 

Want to join all my alter egos to chat, review or join my street team check more information – http://scribesunleashed.com.

 

 

Welcome Birthday Guest Stephani Hecht!

Jax’s Special Day

Jax looked at the clock on the wall of the training center and let out a sigh. He was willing to bet he was the only student at the Coalition Training Academy who wasn’t looking forward to the weekend. Who was he kidding? He was the only teen in the world who wasn’t looking forward to the weekend in the whole world. Which just showed how sucky his life really was.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t all doom and gloom. He was working toward the goal of someday becoming a soldier for his feline Coalition. Better yet, he had more friends there then he ever did at the civilian school. He’d even snagged himself a boyfriend. Yet, in the process of doing all that, he’d lost a ton, too.

He’d first been disowned by his family for his decision to become a fighter. At first, he’d thought it’d been because he was so small. Sure, he may be a Lion shifter, but in he was dinky, even by human standards. Then his father had actually put a bounty on his head. That’s when Jax found out his dad was more than a little bent. So, he had no place to go on the weekends.

Most of the time, he didn’t mind that so much. He’d made friends with some older students who had no homes, either. So, he would just hang out with them. It even let him forget he didn’t have a normal life for a bit.

But this weekend was different than the others. It was his birthday. His sixteenth to be exact and the first one he would have since his family had splintered.

He ran his hand through his hair as he fought off the usual waves of frustration. He’d never imagined his future would have played out this way. Just a year ago, he’d been the good obedient son. The one who always toed the line and tried so hard to be perfect. Where did it get him? Alone and forgotten on his damn birthday.

“Okay, class is over. Go back to the dorm and get ready,” their instructor, Logan, called.

Jax jerked back into the present as his classmates began to file out of the training room. After a moment, he followed. Not that he had to get ready for crap, but he did want to say goodbye to the others. His best friend, Ava, would be spending the next couple of days with her fathers. Even Jax’s boyfriend, Alvus would be taking off. On some weekends he did stay behind, but his parents insisted he come home at least a couple of times a month.

Jax still dawdled a bit, so by the time he arrived at the dorm, Ava was already gone. He felt a pang of disappointment. She hadn’t even given him a frigging Happy Birthday. Which was a bit odd. She was so reliable and never forgot those kinds of things. Yet, she’d done so when it mattered to him the most.

Alvus and his twin were still there, though. Alvus darted around a couple of glances before he reached out and tugged Jax behind a set of bunk beds. It gave them a rare moment of privacy, since the dorm was mostly empty.

“I wish I didn’t have to go home,” Alvus said as he wrapped his arms around Jax’s waist.

“I wish you didn’t have to go, either.” Jax leaned forward until their foreheads were touching.

Even though he and Alvus had been together for a month, it all still felt so new to Jax. The comfort he got whenever Alvus touched him. The mere fact that they even touched, period. It still made Jax feel all jittery inside whenever Alvus smiled at him. It depressed Jax even further as he realized he wouldn’t be seeing that grin again until late Sunday.

Jax could have stayed that way forever. But, there was the overpowering fear of them being discovered. It was a huge no-no for students to get touchy-feely with each other. So, Jax forced himself to take a step back. Which turned out to be a good thing since he heard Ava calling his name.

“I thought you left already,” Jax said as he stepped out from behind the beds.

He frowned when he spotted Ava’s dads, Shane and Trevor, with her. Even stranger, Shane was smiling. That scary ass Assassin never did that. Unless, it involved him murdering or maiming somebody.

“I forgot something.” Ava smiled at him.

“What?” Jax asked.

“You.” She pointed a finger at him.

“What do you mean?”

“My dads talked to Mitchell. He agreed to let you come home with us this weekend. We’re taking you to this new place at the mall. It’s a huge arcade. They even have bowling in there and a restaurant.” She danced a little on the balls of her feet. “Everybody from the Academy is going to be there, too.”

A wave of happiness went through Jax as he spun around to look at Alvus. His boyfriend had a huge smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. He even shoved his hands into his front pockets as he gave Jax a sheepish hug.

“You knew about this?” Jax accused him.

“Yeah. Ava swore me to secrecy, though. I’m not about to have her kick my ass, because I spilled,” Alvus said.

Jax felt so excited he wanted to hug his boyfriend. He didn’t dare, though. Not when the others were watching. So, he had to settle for a playful punch.

“Just let me pack a bag,” Jax said to Ava.

“I already took care of that,” she informed him. “Besides, you’re needed in the cafeteria.”

“Why?” Jax frowned.

“Just follow me.” She waved her arm.

When they arrived, Jax’s mouth parted in shock. Not only was it full of people, but they were all there for him. Not only did a huge round of applause greet him, but the place was decorated with balloons and streamers. There was even a huge cake with his name on it. The best part, though, was the table that was loaded with gifts.

He couldn’t believe who’d shown up. Not only was Mitchel, the Coalition leader, there, but so were all of his teachers. Some of them even came up and hugged him. Jax could hardly talk as he greeted all them. He was so overcome with emotions. For once, they were all good ones, too.

After a dinner of pizza, Jax began to open his gifts. When he grabbed one of the larger ones, he grew confused. It felt heavy and there was no name on it. He carefully peeled away the heavy gold wrap and revealed a long box. When he lifted the top, he was greeted by a set of weapons.

They were large, silver blades. The handles were ornate and black and curved to fit into his palms. Even without touching them, he could tell the edges were sharp. They certainly weren’t practice daggers. No, they were something a real soldier would use.

“What are they?” Jax asked as he traced his fingers along them.

“They’re sai,” Shane said. “Since, you’re learning the art of defense now, I thought they’d be the perfect starting point for you.”

Jax jerked his head up in shock. Shane was smiling at him and he looked…proud? Jax never expected to see that kind of expression thrown his way. Much less from one of the most respected members of the Coalition.

“You got these for me?” Jax asked, stupidly.

“Yeah, why are you acting so surprised?” Shane asked.

“I don’t know. I just never expected…” Jax trailed off as he shrugged.

Shane put a hand on his shoulder and gave him a gentle squeeze.

“I’ve already told you this, but I guess I’m going to have to repeat it,” Shane said. “You’re my family now, Jax. We all care for you and are going to make sure you turn into an amazing soldier. Now, have a damn happy birthday.”

Shane walked away, but Jax still felt a warm sensation go through him. His sixteenth birthday had turned out to be great after all. Despite the fact his parents had turned their backs on him, his new family had come through. As Jax looked down at his weapons he knew he’d never forget the moment. No matter how many more birthdays he went through.

I am giving away a free copy of Jax’s Rebellion to one commenter!

 

Pick up a copy today too!

 

Welcome Birthday Guest Mary Calmes!

Happy Birthday Amber, thank you for including me in your celebration.

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Cael & Frank

 

I had not counted on the glowing.

“You’re gonna hafta go wait in the car,” I told my husband, love of my life and newly minted—it hadn’t been quite a year yet—member of the heavenly host.

“Whatever for?” He snapped, brows furrowed, glaring at me as I prepared to cross the busy street to meet my cohort, and partner, on the other side.

“You’re illuminated,” I said distractedly, watching for my opening so I could make a run for it.

“I’m sorry what?”

“Car, now,” I reiterated and would have darted but the hand on my bicep, holding tight, preternaturally so, kept me where I was.

Turning, I was surprised at the wintry blue gaze I was on the receiving end of.

“What’s the matter?”

“I want to go with you.”

“Well you can’t,” I informed him with a shrug. “I can’t very well walk into the bowels of that club with an angel tailing me.”

The glare just darkened.

“You get that I have to transact with an alpha and a draugr in there right?”

“I understand that you have to broker a business deal between a werewolf and a vampire, yes,” he said petulantly, crossing his arms. “But I’m telling you right now—if I don’t go with you, you’re not going.”

I shook my head. “We agreed that I would keep my job and that I wouldn’t work for you anymore and because I don’t work for you anymore that I would then be freelance.”

“Yes but––”

“And because I’m still a courier, there will be those times when I have to go places that are a bit––”

“Dangerous, horrifying dens of iniquity that make Sodom and Gomorrah look tame?”

“––shady,” I said, ignoring him, taking a step back so he had to either let me go or yank me toward him. As expected, he freed me. “You know nobody’s gonna touch me in there, I’m there to get signatures from both men for Madam Lamont and then I’m out of there. It won’t even take ten minutes if everyone’s sitting down.”

He grunted.

“The fuck is the hold up?” James Castile, or Charming as I called him, snapped as he jogged down the sidewalk to me. He was my partner, and a werewolf and the guy who’d been patiently waiting in front of the club on the other side of the street. He had apparently gotten tired of making rude hand gestures at me and crossed over to find out what the hell was taking so long.

I indicated Cael with a sweep of my hand. “He wants to come in with us.”

Charming took a breath and I understood why. When Cael was a demon, he was terrifying. He could transport anyone he wanted to the pit of hell and drop them off. He could also blow you up with a fireball, eviscerate you, eat you, and just the smite you into oblivion with a wave of his hand. His name alone would make other demons piss their pants if they knew he was even slightly vexed. Both the man and beast that lived in Charming lived in awe and dread of his rage. Since becoming an angel, due to loving me, his power was no less apocalyptic—we were told—but we hadn’t actually seen it in a punishing sense. Basically, he wasn’t scary anymore.

Maybe.

Probably.

We weren’t sure, we didn’t actually know. Since becoming an angel, beings that Cael had known before, steered clear of him. Nothing unnatural or unclean came near him. Witches, warlocks, vampires, every kind of shifter, fairies, and elves, all of those were suddenly fine with him. No one got that wide-eyed stare anymore or ran for their life and while I knew that Cael enjoyed talking to more people, from humans to every permutation under heaven, he was also not digging the loss of the fear factor. After living for a thousand years, he’d gotten used to people not taking their safety for granted in his presence but now everyone did, including Charming.

“You can’t come with us,” Charming assured Cael, speaking words he would not have had the balls to utter close to a year before.

“And why not?” Cael growled at him.

Charming indicated all of him. “You’re glowing.”

He huffed out a breath and turned back to me.

“What? I told you that already. There’s a soft white glow coming off of you like the lights we have in the library.”

He looked down, staring first at his black Tom Ford suit and then at his Prada wingtips before looking back up at me. “I don’t see anything.”

I squinted at him. “Baby I’m telling you, you look like a klieg light.”

Midnight blue eyes narrowed in half. “I refuse to let you walk into a club filled with demons and whatever else just because you won’t let me take care of you.”

I sighed deeply because this was an old argument.

“I don’t suppose we can table this conversation until after we broker this deal and get paid?” Charming suggested, arms crossed, looking tired suddenly. “One of us is not married to a rich demon.”

“Angel,” I corrected.

He threw up his hands with a groan.

“What?”

“If this is about money,” Cael began. “I will give you your own bank––”

“I make my own money,” I told him for the billionth time. “You don’t provide for me, I provide for me.”

“Which is why everything must be separate, yes?”

“Yes.”

“Why is that?” He asked, clearly irritated if his tone and the set of his jaw was any indication. “Why do you get a say and I do not?”

“Because you’re not responsible for me,” I insisted, taking a step closer to him.

“Am I not?”

“You’re my husband but you don’t have to take care of me. We take care of each other.”

“And yet you won’t let me use my money to allow you to do what you want.”

“Which is?” I said, trying not to sound like I was daring him to dazzle me but failing. I was placating him and being a bit snide.

“You want to teach.”

People who didn’t know him would say that it was his angelic senses that told him the truth of what was in my heart but really, it was just good old fashioned observation. He listened whenever I said anything and filed it away.

“I…what?”

“You want to open a center where kids of all species, human, shifter, magical and non-magical alike can come together and be educated about each other. You want to give kids answers so they don’t grow up hating or fearing, but instead being confident in their knowledge and ready to reach out to another creature that may be alien to them. You want to stamp out the dread of difference.”

Yes I did. “I’m working on getting the money together.” I reminded him.

“But you and your pet here––”

“Hey,” Charming groused at him.

“––could be the first people employed at your—what? Shelter? Learning Center? Whatever you’re going to call it, it could be yours if you simply put aside your pride, accept my help, and let me pay Charming until you get on your feet and the donations start rolling in.”

I couldn’t take charity and especially not from the man I loved.

“Yes you can,” he said as though he were reading my mind. “If you simply realize that you doing what you’re doing now only makes me worry and that doesn’t do anything good for either of us.”

And that was true too. I was working hard which kept me out late and up early and gone before he rose for the day. We were doing the ships in the night thing lately and that was taking a toll. I wanted my dream and him and lately I was feeling that something had to give. As I would not, could not, lose him…it was looking like my dream would have to be left by the wayside.

“Why do you have to choose? Why can’t you have both?”

I stared into the deep, dark, midnight blue depths of his eyes as he took a step close and captured my face in his hands, tilting my head back before he kissed me.

It was gentle, loving until I parted my lips, offering, and he clutched me tight, claiming what was his.

My moan was loud and I leaned my heavier, thicker frame against his, no longer feeling what I did in the beginning, that me not being the  perfect specimen that he was would turn him off. Once upon a time I’d thought that not being a male model would matter to my mate. It didn’t. Not that I stopped me from working to be healthier, but the drive for the flawless physique was no longer an obsession. To him, I was beautiful and desirable and knowing that, knowing that was what he truly saw when he looked at me, turned me to a puddle of goo at his feet every single time.

Standing on the sidewalk across the street from a club that had a line a mile long to get inside was no exception. I slipped one hand up the carved line of his muscular chest and curled the fingers of my left over his hip wanting to slip them under his belt so I could tug on his shirt tail until I touched skin. The sultry roll of arousal tumbled through me and I jolted in his grip when his tongue rubbed over mine.

“Let’s forget this,” he murmured softly, seductively, teeth nibbling over my bottom lip as my eyes fluttered shut and his fingers slid up the back of my neck and sifted through my hair. “Just give in. For the second time in your life just let me take care of you.”

I had been stubborn before and it had ended when I was finally honest and submitted to him. He loved me so my place was not subordinate, but equal, always, in all things and I had a niggle of doubt that perhaps, again, I was being blind.

Charming cleared his throat and the spell was broken. I took a step back, smiling sheepishly at my mate, and turned to my partner.

“If Cael wants to start us in our business, why is that bad?”

“Because we can’t take charity,” I told him.

“To help people?” He looked confused. “Won’t we be asking other people to do the same?”

I opened my mouth to protest.

He put up his hand to stop me. “C’mon Frankie,” he said, cajoling. “Listen to the angel huh? Don’t you kinda have to now?”

I turned quickly back to Cael whose very evil, very un-angelic cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin was making his eyes glitter under the street lights.

“No.”

“But he’s right,” he asserted, taking a step toward me as I took one back. “I’m an angel now, incapable of deception. I can’t do things for personal gain, only for the good of others.”

“I suspect that there’s some demon still in there.”

“And yet,” he husked, the silky rumble of his voice calling to me as much as the curl of his mouth and the daring cant of his eyebrow. “I’m glowing.”

He was, in fact, still glowing like Claire Danes had in Stardust.

I huffed out a breath. “I’ll think about it.”

“You––”

“After this job,” I said quickly. “And you have to stay out here.”

“But it’s my birthday,” he said like that changed everything. “You can’t say no to me on my birthday.”

I walked backward, stepping off the curb. “I can if I don’t want you to get hurt.”

He scoffed.

“We have no idea about the limits of your new angelic power.”

“True.”

“And you can’t glow in the club.”

“Why not?” Charming asked me.

“I––”

“C’mon, people will just think it’s some cool new gadget that’s turning him into a human glowstick,” he said, gesturing at Cael.

“Fine,” I relented and got a smile from my mate in response as he moved to my side, took hold of my hand and then tugged me after him, ready to cross the street.

Alone, I would not have gotten in. But I was flanked by Cael, who looked like some anime character come to life with his flashing blue eyes and platinum blond hair, and Charming, who resembled a rock god with his inky curls and porcelain skin, so the doorman lifted the velvet rope and ushered them, as well as me, in fast.

Inside, we were met instantly by a stunning succubus demon, Miranda, who normally charged up to Cael whenever she ran into him. This time she stopped, her green cat eyes turning their true blood red color in an instant and she winced.

“So it’s true, my lord Caelenh,” she gasped, “you’ve been unmade.”

He nodded.

“Were you stripped of all your demonic power?”

“I was.”

“There are many who will come for you now,” she said almost sadly. “I will mourn when you are killed but as a human it will be quick.”

I was going to correct her but he squeezed my hand to keep me quiet. She turned then and we followed her through the teeming club and then back through a short hallway to stairs that led down, three flights in all, deep into the basement.

There was a large area at the bottom that reminded me of a Victorian drawing room with the antique furnishings, the velvet and lace, and the crystal chandeliers. There was an assortment of creatures along with humans willingly donating blood to vampires and demons. Following where Miranda indicated with a sweep of her hand, we reached a heavy wooden door and inside there were ten men milling around while two others sat across from each other at a small round table.

“Finally the courier arrives,” the draugr, a Celtic vampire, said brusquely gesturing me over. “The ice age didn’t last this long.”

Moving quickly, releasing Cael’s hand before I went, I drew the envelope from the inside breast pocket of my suit jacket and passed it to him. “You sign first, then the alpha, then I’ll deliver it back to Madame Lamont and she’ll transfer the title of the Delon property.”

His eyes flicked up to my face as he took hold of my wrist. “I appreciate my gift alpha.”

Crap. Trying to pull free was useless; it was like being held by stone.

“Both are yours.”

He glanced over at the werewolf. “You’re giving me one of your wolves as well?”

“No man, he’s not one of mine.”

I turned to the alpha. “You told Madam Lamont you guaranteed our safety.”

“Yeah I lied. The only way to seal a deal with an old world vamp is in blood so…what can I tell you?”

“She’ll never transfer the property,” I assured him, trying again to yank free but there was no way.

“She will if she wants to get paid. What are a couple couriers to her?”

He had a point.

“I just need to unload that fuckin’ building because the taxes are killing me.”

The vampire signed the document and then passed it over.

“Our business is done,” the alpha said, tucking the signed pages into the pocket of his peacoat. “Enjoy your dinner.”

“Thank you alpha.”

The scoff was loud.

Everyone turned to Cael.

“If you don’t unhand my mate it will be your end.”

The draugr chuckled. “I was saving you for last Caelenh.”

“Have we met?”

“No, but I know of you and I know what was done to you.”

“Perhaps,” Cael sighed and one second we were all standing there, not moving, and the next every man but me and Charming was plastered to the walls of the room.

“Holy shit,” I said.

“I thought he wasn’t strong anymore,” Charming gasped.

Cael let out a breath and there were suddenly wings. Big, seven foot tall white wings covered in feathers, edged in gold that folded neatly behind him. He coughed softly, crossed his arms, and then gave the draugr and the alpha his full attention.

“The best part about being made an angel is the new lack of uncertainty. Before, when I was a demon, I had to go on gut instinct about whether people were good or bad, but now, all I have to do is look at you to know whether you’re damned or not. And if you are, in fact, damned, I can simply––” He snapped his fingers and the guy next to the alpha went off like a blood bomb splattering several of the others. “Judge.”

The yells, screams and general horror was instantaneous.

“Whoever told you I was human was misinformed.”

“I thought angels were sweet and stuff,” Charming said, moving up beside me.

“Angels are warriors,” I told him. “Haven’t you ever seen pictures of Michael or Raphael or Uriel? They’re scary as hell.”

“Hell indeed,” Cael said smugly as the light coming off him got brighter and brighter.

“Shit,” Charming muttered and we were suddenly outside, across the street where we’d started. We had enough time to look over at the club before Cael dashed across the busy street and swaggered over to us.

“What did you do?” I asked gently, reaching for him as he got close enough.

He walked into my arms and I hugged him tight, loving, as always, the feel of him against me and how we notched together like we belonged together—which we did.

“No one lays their hands on you,” he said icily. “Ever.”

That I knew. “Look at me.”

Lifting his head so he could see my face, our slight difference in height making me have to look up at him as close as we were, he waited for whatever it was I was going to say.

“Are they dead?”

“All but two, yes.”

So matter-of-fact. “And you’re allowed to do that?”

“Yes. Angel. Did you know?”

I groaned. He chuckled.

“So I’m thinking that Charming and I are gonna be out of the courier business.”

“Are you fucking around?” Charming wanted to know.

“No. It’s time to start a new path.”

“Yes it is,” Cael said, beaming. “Happy Birthday to me.”

“I think I can do a lot of good.”

“And this way imagine all the trouble you’ll keep me out of,” he teased, glowing again, clearly happy.

“Yes.”

“Now can we go home so I can have my real birthday treat?”

Charming gagged.

“Yes please, I’d love to go to bed with an angel.”

His smile was luminous.

 

*****

Mary Calmes believes in romance, happily ever afters, and the faith it takes for her characters to get there. She bleeds coffee, thinks chocolate should be its own food group, and currently lives in Kentucky with a five-pound furry ninja that protects her from baby birds, spiders and the neighbor’s dogs.

www.marycalmesbooks.com/

www.marycalmesauthor.com

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