Angels have long since been a fascination of mine. When I was a kid, the idea of a powerful heavenly creature waiting in the wings to protect me made me feel safe. I enjoyed thinking I might be special enough for the heavens to watch over me. As I grew into an adult, angels entered my thoughts less often.
At least until I had a nightmare a few months ago.
I dreamed that darkness existed all around me. The only object I could see was a door. When I went to open it, the door was locked. Naturally, I panicked, which is a nice way to say I just about lost my ever-loving mind. Confined spaces and I are just not friends. To make matters worse, something grunted on the other side of the door. As I tried to get out, whatever was on the other side attempted to get in.
Even though I feared the darkness around me, what was on the other side of the door terrified me even more. It kept pushing the door open, and I kept pushing back, trying to keep it shut.
Then, the door turned to paper and caught on fire. There was no way I was going to stop the monster from getting in. Just as the door burned down but before the monster could gain entrance into the room, a blinding white light turned on behind me destroying the door and the monster beyond.
Being the curious cat I am, I turned around to see who brought the light, but before I could lay eyes on my savior, I awoke.
Immediately, I wrote down the dream, and that dream eventually became The Gifted One, which is my newest release from Dreamspinner.
I took the essence of my childhood fantasy and combined it with my dream, and a romance between a man named Matt and his guardian angel Gabriel was born.
I’m pretty proud of this book. Not only does it combine my love of both romance and horror but it also touches upon some mostly-forgotten religious lore. During my research, I found an apocryphal text from the Bible titled the Book of Enoch. It describes the fall of a group of angels called the Watchers and how their sins created the giant Nephilim that resulted in the great biblical flood.
When I heard that it was paranormal month at Guys Like Romance, Too, I jumped at the chance to share The Gifted One. Since the novel has angels, fallen angels, demons, giants, and even God Himself, I figured my latest release might fit the bill quite nicely.
I hope you do too.
As his birthday approaches, Matthew Westlake fears more than just growing a year older. He fears never seeing another year at all. Each birthday brings a close call with death, leaving holes in his memory, recurring nightmares, and one more glimpse of his guardian angel. This birthday Matt must stand against ancient evils that have hounded him since birth, because he is a Gifted One—a seventh son of a seventh son.
Within Matt rests the unlocked potential of a force for good, but it also makes him a target. Being the Gifted One and dodging demonic attacks aren’t Matt’s only problems, though. He’s fallen in love with his protector, the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven will condemn that love to save Matt’s soul. But Heaven doesn’t count on Gabriel loving Matt in return, defying divine law, and placing them in danger from demons and angels alike.
The minute his head hit the street, Matt’s breath left his body and stars suddenly rocketed into his field of vision. The world spun around and made him dizzy.
Rain continued to fall around him, splashing his face and getting in his mouth and nose. Each splatter of rain felt more like a slap across the face. Never before had rainfall hurt so much. It reminded him of what he sometimes did to unresponsive patients at the hospital. Gentle smacks to rouse the patient to consciousness.
The sudden sound of a car peeling toward him grabbed his attention. Even though it hurt to move, he turned his head to the left and watched as a black truck barreled down the road toward him.
He needed to get to his feet and get out of the way, but when Matt sat up, the world spun around even faster and he almost lost consciousness. He had a concussion and that meant he was going nowhere without someone to help him up.
Now only a few feet away, the truck continued toward him. Matt knew this was it. His number was up, and it was time for him to meet his maker. He just hoped his death wouldn’t break his grandmother’s heart. She had suffered enough loss in her life already.
Matt braced himself for the impact, but instead of metal slamming into him and tires crushing his bones, a blur of movement darted toward him through the rain. Someone he couldn’t see through his hazy vision lifted him off the pavement, before sidestepping the oncoming vehicle.
A flash of something bright flew from the stranger’s hands and hit the rear tires of the truck. In response, the vehicle skidded and lost control. It spun to the left before lurching forward and careening into the intersection, where an eighteen-wheeler T-boned the truck. The resulting impact caused the truck to split in half with a deafening crunch of metal.
“Good God!” Matt exclaimed as his vision cleared enough to see drivers exiting their cars in an attempt to rescue the man in the truck. It wasn’t until his feet once again touched the ground that he realized he had still been safely cradled in his savior’s arms.
Matt looked up at the man who saved him. When he saw him for the first time, his breath left him for the second time that day.
The man was stunning. His eyes looked like chipped fragments from the heavens. The radiant blue filled Matt full of awe and made him want to soar like a bird on the uplifting currents emanating from the man’s stare. Rivulets of rain fell from his jet-black, short-cropped hair, which matched the stubble that spread across his face. It made him look brooding, serious, and intimidating.
Matt, however, wasn’t fooled. Hidden behind the strong, chiseled face, that most would find unapproachable, he sensed only kindness and compassion. A rough exterior existed, no doubt. His chest was expansive, framed by massive shoulders and muscular arms. Packaged inside a black leather jacket and dark blue denim, he looked tougher than diamond, but Matt instinctively knew he had nothing to fear from this man.
He had risked his life to save him, and Matt knew he would do it again, if necessary.
“How’s your head?” the man asked. His voice sounded like a symphony.
“It hurts,” he replied. Although he forgot the pain for a few moments, the throbbing returned with a vengeance. “Good thing I’m a nurse. I know what to do.”
“I have no doubt.” The man reached up and placed his sizeable hands on each side of Matt’s head. After a few moments, the pain ebbed to a dull ache before disappearing all together.
“The pain’s gone. What did you do?”
“I did nothing,” his savior said before turning to leave as the heavens abruptly shut off the rainstorm.
“Wait a minute. Come back here.”
“Excuse me, sir, but are you okay?”
Matt turned to face a police officer. “I’m fine,” he told the officer. “But I have to go.”
“I’m afraid I can’t allow that. You need to answer some questions. And see a paramedic.” The officer glanced back across the street, where the man’s partner dealt with the accident.
“Listen, Officer Belton,” he said, reading the name on his tag. “I have to go find the man who saved me and thank him.”
Officer Belton’s eyes narrowed in concern. “The man who saved you?”
Matt nodded in reply and turned around only to find his savior had disappeared as suddenly as the rain.
“There wasn’t anyone else here, sir. I was in my patrol car across the street. I saw you fall down and the truck headed toward you. I tried to make it here as fast as I could, but you jumped out of the way at the last second. There was nobody else.”
The serious look on Officer Belton’s face told Matt that the policeman believed he was telling the truth. The problem was that Matt knew it wasn’t.
How was it possible for him to be saved by a man no one else could see?
You can buy The Gifted One at Dreamspinners Press
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