I slipped on the ice and fell down our back steps. Granted, there are only four, but I cleverly managed to hit each and every one with my butt and my head, I wrenched my knee and the huge bag of canned goods I was bringing to school for the food drive for the homeless landed on my thigh...the same one that's connected to my twisted knee. I have lovely crescent shaped bruises on my leg and a giant one on my butt. And because I'm silly enough to wear skirts all year round, I also got an atomic wedgie and snow in my underwear. Yes indeed, it's a banner morning for the Green household.
Celtic Fire: Solstice Seduction
Banished from Heaven as punishment for his sins, Taliesin has walked among humans for thousands of years. He's damned sick of it. Death would be preferable to the cultural bankruptcy of the twenty-first century, but what's a cursed immortal to do? It's not like he can kill himself.
Dr. Emerson Matthews has no clue what to do with the enigmatic, gorgeous man who has landed in the psych ward at the hospital where she works. Well, she knows what she wants to do, but it's unethical and likely illegal. Especially since he seems to be out of his mind. Why else would he claim to be a fallen angel?
Hell bent on seduction, Taliesin tempts Emerson, luring her tightly guarded passion to the surface and introduces her to sensual delights she's never dreamed of. As she learns more about the mysterious man in her care, she begins to question her own sanity as his claims of Divine origin seem more plausible with each passing moment.
Guns, razor blades, pills, ropes... The options for suicide were limitless. If one was human. Hell, even the vampires had sunlight and holy water.
Taliesin sighed and scrubbed his hand through his hair in frustration. In the beginning, his banishment from Heaven had seemed a lark. As a fallen angel, of course he’d missed his connection to the Divine. It was a throbbing ache that never truly abated, but over time it had dulled.
Humans had quickly filled the void—practically revered him as a god. For a while it had been enough. With his harp, he’d wandered the length and breadth of Britain, performing in the halls of great kings. Legends of his bardic skill still survived today. It was good to be remembered, he supposed. Of course, he had been the one to suggest writing everything down. It often seemed that the most wildly artistic among humankind needed the most guidance.
He’d been more than willing to guide while some of his fallen brethren preferred to thwart. Some had even hated the humans. They’d refused to have any contact with them or worse, sought to harm them. Taliesin merely looked at them as entertainment during his exile. He’d come to enjoy many of them, revelling in the creativity with which their Maker had gifted them.
He’d shared arcane secrets with Cerridwen, advised Arthur and Merlin and seduced Morgan Le Fay...or perhaps she’d been the seductress. It had been centuries ago. He’d imbibed with Byron and Shelley and served as inspiration for Austen. He’d watched Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Waterhouse create masterpieces. He’d listened as Mozart composed his Requiem Mass and while Lennon wrote Imagine. He’d been a sounding board for Tolkien and had read all of the drafts of all of Yeats’ work and Neruda’s as well.
Now the world was filled with talentless hacks. Faced with the Britney Spears and Paris Hiltons of the world, what was the Angel of Inspiration to do? Well, the Fallen Angel of Inspiration, anyway. Providing inspiration for the humans had been easier in his angelic form. Maybe that was part of the problem...perhaps if he still held his place in Heaven, he would never have had to be tortured with the feeble musical attempts of the New Kids on the Block. Another thought occurred to him. Perhaps the Divine Being had noticed that he’d been enjoying his banishment on earth and now saw to it that songs by those Simpson girls remained painfully lodged in his head. Maybe the real punishment had just begun. More than ever, he longed for the comforts of Heaven and reconnection with the Divine.
It wasn’t simply that he was disgusted and bored. If he was honest with himself, he’d admit that he was lonely. He never thought he’d grow attached to the humans, but he had. Well, some of them anyway. But their lives were over in the blink of an eye. The pain of losing them year after year had become worse with every death.
Shivering Taliesin buttoned the top button of his jacket. Chile with Neruda would be far warmer than this backwater town in Michigan. He’d come here to hear a young poet, but the coffee house had burned down, so instead he found himself walking along the length of a nearby railroad track half-wishing for an oncoming train. Would this exile never end?
Tilting his head back, he closed his eyes. I’m sorry, all right? I’m fucking sorry already. What the hell do I need to do to prove it?
A blinding flash of blue-white light seared his eyes.
“You might want to consider not cursing when you address our Lord.”
Taliesin stifled a sigh. “Hello Gabriel.”
The angel walked at his side. “Haven’t you tired of you banishment? Aren’t you ready to come home?”
Taliesin stopped and stared at his friend. “Did you not just hear me? Isn’t that why you’re here?”
Gabriel smiled patiently. “Not exactly.” Holding up his hand, he immobilised Taliesin as the railroad tracks began to rumble. “This is your last chance to figure it out, my friend.”
“Figure what out?”
The angel shook his head, his eyes sad. Gabriel waved his hand toward Taliesin and he found himself standing in the middle of the vibrating tracks.
“Funny.” He fought against the supernatural hold. “Release me, Gabriel.”
“I cannot. If you are ever to regain your place within the Kingdom, you must learn what He sent you here to learn.”
Rage flooded Taliesin’s veins. “This isn’t a fucking fieldtrip. He banished me.”
The whistle of a not-so-distant train sounded, and the ground beneath his feet shuddered. He attempted to use his few remaining angelic powers to break Gabriel’s hold, but the angel had done something to nullify them. Bastard.
“Release me!” he demanded again.
Gabriel merely held his gaze. “Heed what you’re here to learn.”
“Yes, do be cryptic. It’s always so helpful.”
As the engine drew closer, the blinding headlight pulled his focus from the angel. The painful, metallic squeal of brakes split the quiet night drowning out his thundering heart. The engineer had obviously seen him, but there was no way he’d be able to stop in time. Taliesin sighed. He might be immortal, but immortality didn’t mean getting hit by a train wouldn’t hurt. Someday, Gabriel would pay for this.
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Anny Cook Winter Hearts
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Bronwyn Green Ronan’s Grail
Heather Hiestand Cards Never Lie
Barbara Huffert Deal of a Lifetime
Amarinda Jones Mad About Mirabelle
Kelly Kirch Time for Love
Cindy Spencer Pape Cowboy’s Christmas Bride
KZ Snow Mrs. Claws
Lacey Thorn Earth Moves