Twin Angels Jophiel and Ariel are servants of Heaven bound to help the humans of a world headed for ruin. But for them to become the independent Angels they need to be, their bond must first be broken.
Jophiel takes his duties seriously, answering a call from an artist struggling with his dominant, sadistic nature. But Ariel, embittered after being tortured and killed by human captors and returning to Heaven in shame, hesitates. The choice is taken from his hands when he is sent to Earth, wingless and without any memory of who or what he is. Until he regains the faith in the humans he’s meant to help, he’ll never reach his full potential and be readmitted into Heaven. From somewhere within himself, Jophiel must find the courage to let go of his twin and trust Ariel to be strong enough to Rise again… or they will never be together.
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It's an unfortunate truth: love doesn't always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
“Your eyes have been shut, little Angel. You forget that an Angel Fallen is an Angel with darkness around his heart.” He turned his head to glare at me. “An Angel Fallen is a beacon for the darker souls. If Mick and Gabe bring light to this world, there are those who gave up their wings so they wouldn’t be reminded of what they lost.”
“And are you one of those?” I asked, my fear sudden and blinding.
“If an Angel can Fall, why, then, can a Demon not Rise?” he asked, turning to face me. And there, behind him in the fading afternoon light, were wings, the like of which I could never have imagined. Leathery and clawed. Horrific, and yet beautiful as the failing sun shone through the membranes and cast a rainbow shadow over his arms and face.
The sight was terrifying. And then it was gone as Flin rounded the end of the stall and blocked the light for a split second.
There was a moment of brittle silence. I couldn’t breathe. Pac seemed frozen in shock, and Flin’s easy smile slipped from his face.
“So you know, then,” he said, sliding his slender form between me and Pac.
“I don’t know what I know,” I replied truthfully. It could have been a trick of the failing light, a flash of final glory from the setting sun.
Flin’s chest heaved, his fists clenched at his side. “If Angels can Fall—”
“Demons can Rise, yes.” I nodded. “That’s what he said.”
“I believe it,” Flin said, voice tight, teeth grinding. “I believe in him.”
Once upon a time, he would have been called a devil worshiper. He would have been hunted down and killed, along with his Demon. I knew that for an absolute certainty. Like I knew my own name. Like I knew anything at all, I knew this was dangerous, what they were doing, what they wanted.
Pac stood behind his diminutive defender, face pale, fear in his eyes. Fear like I knew. Like I had lived. Fear that left him helpless. Defenseless.
“I don’t know what I know anymore,” I said again, and I turned away from them, at war with myself. Some gut instinct told me how dangerous Pac was. How devastating he could be if he really was a Demon. If he was lying about what he wanted. And wasn’t that what Demons did? Lie and
deceive? My heart told me things had changed. People had changed. The world was not as black and white as it once was, when Demons and Angels were Darkness or Light, and people helpless before them.
If an Angel could Fall, could lose all hope in the face of all of the light and love at his command, then why couldn’t a Demon Rise? Why couldn’t he see through the darkness of his birth to what lay beyond? Who was I to deny him that hope?
“We should get this packed up and delivered to the church,” I said, turning back to them.
I found them tightly bound up in each other, Pac’s arms strong around Flin. If I looked for them now I could see the wings, leathery and clawed, folded around the smaller man, and even a tail, wrapped snakelike around their legs, as though they could not get close enough or hold to each other with enough force to contain how they felt.
The sun finally set, casting a last, rainbow-hued veil of light and shadow over the stall, sifting through Pac’s wings and reminding me of the light of stained glass and the silence of pure worship. A soft sigh left me, liberating something inside. I heard the faint echo of it in my heart, the release of a thousand pent-up breaths: the saddest, loneliest song I’d ever heard.