by C.L. Coffey
Release Date: February 17th 2015
Summary from Goodreads:
After a night out turns fatal, a misunderstanding with the Archangel Michael presents Angel with a chance at Eternal Life: the opportunity to earn her wings and one day become an archangel herself.
Angel is given the task of protecting her charge, trainee detective, Joshua Walsh. There's no denying the attraction between Angel and Joshua, only Michael has pretty strict rules: no drinking, no drugs, and certainly no relationships with humans. Thankfully, she's got other things to deal with, like trying to convince Joshua New Orleans has a serial killer who is preying on other angel potentials like herself.
Angel must quickly learn that when keeping someone safe, doing the right thing is not always the easiest, especially when you've got an archangel looking over your shoulder.
Somehow, the driving took me out of the city and into the residential area of Jefferson. I didn’t really know where I was going, so I was surprised when I pulled up behind an out of place, brand new Dodge Charger, in an area which had been restored to its pre-Katrina glory. I’d reached my destination – that much I did know – but I didn’t know where I was, or why I was there.
That was until I examined the house the Charger was parked in front of. The roof, unlike the other houses around it, was covered in bright blue tarpaulin, midway through a repair, with large sheets of new plywood covering the lower half.
Climbing up a ladder, wearing only a pair of jeans and well-worn Caterpillar boots was Joshua – a long plank of wood resting on his shoulders. I killed the engine and stared up at him, unable to look away from his lean muscles and lightly tanned skin, which was gleaming in the sunlight that filtered through the surrounding trees.
I’ll put my hand up and admit I was close to drooling as I watched him hammer the wood in place. However, much to my embarrassment, he looked up, held his hand over his eyes to block out the glare of the sun, and caught me staring. Again.
While he hooked his hammer through his belt loop and climbed down from the roof, I got out of the car and sheepishly made my way over to meet him at the bottom of the ladder. “Hi,” I offered, giving him a weak finger wave as he stepped to the ground.
“Are you stalking me?” he asked me, warily.
“I wouldn’t call it stalking,” I frowned, although it probably wasn’t far from being.
“You just happen to know where I am on my day off?” he asked, reaching for a rag that lay over his tool box.
He used the rag to wipe his forehead and I quickly had to shake my head to stop from staring again. “I didn’t set out to find you intentionally. I actually set out to go shopping.”
“Shopping?” he repeated, arching that eyebrow of his. “I think you need to replace your GPS because there isn’t a store near here.”
“I don’t know what led me here, but something did,” I frowned, regretting it as I said it.
Joshua rolled his eyes at me. “Is this where you tell me you turned up to save me from falling to my death from the roof?”
I glanced up at the roof of the one story building then down to the grass below us, before my attention returned to Joshua. This time it was my turn to arch the eyebrow. “Somehow, I don’t think the fall will kill you – your thick head would save you.”
“So you’ve come here to insult me then?”
“No!” I objected. “I told you – I don’t’ know why I’m here. Something just led me here.”
“You do realize I think that, and all the angel stuff you keep spouting is a complete and utter load of bull-”
“Joshua!” A stern voice interrupted us.
We both turned to face the owner of the voice, though, while my expression was curious, Joshua’s was sheepish. “Sorry, ma’am,” he muttered.
“It’s not me you should be apologizing to,” the woman reprimanded him. She was tiny – I bet she hardly hit five feet – but she still had Joshua shifting awkwardly on the spot.
My aunt, Sarah, was in her mid-fifties, but the chestnut hair dye, the bob cut and her makeup meant she could usually pass for someone in her forties. This woman, on the other hand, had hair like the clouds after a light rainfall and her bright blue eyes were almost hidden beneath a sea of wrinkles. If I had to guess, I would have said she was in her seventies at least.
Although he didn’t look impressed, Joshua turned back to me. “I’m sorry if I was being rude,” he muttered. Somehow, with his hands jammed in his pockets, he seemed more like a fourteen year old.
“That’s better,” the woman nodded. “Now, what about the rest of your manners?”
“Maggie, this is Angel. Angel, this is Maggie – an old family friend.”
“Enough of the old,” Maggie chided, good naturedly.
“Nice to meet you,” I smiled, offering my hand.
Instead of shaking it, she used it to pull me into a hug. “It’s lovely to meet you, dear. It’s about time I met Joshua’s girlfriend.”
“I’m not his girlfriend,” I quickly corrected her, as Joshua began choking.
“Of course not dear,” Maggie agreed, although she patted my arm as though she didn’t really believe me.
“No, really, she’s not,” Joshua chimed in. “I keep telling you, I don’t have a girlfriend.”
“Of course not, dear,” Maggie told him, mimicking her actions with me on him. “Now, are you here to help?” she asked, addressing me.
“Um, sure?” I replied, wondering as I did what I was getting myself into.
“Wonderful,” Maggie beamed. “I’ll go find you one of Joshua’s shirts, and then you won’t get paint all over that lovely white top.”
She was already heading back into the house as I turned to Joshua. “What have I just agreed to?” I asked him, dubiously.
“Manual labor, darlin’,” he drawled, leaning back against the ladder. That smirk of his was back. “You think you can handle that?”
I’d had no intention of leaving anyway, but as soon as those eyes challenged me – I definitely wasn’t going anywhere. I pulled my hair back into a high ponytail and crossed my arms over my chest. “Where do you want me?”
The smirk was back. Again.
Before he could comment, however, so was Maggie, handing over a blue plaid-shirt. “Here, dear. Joshua hasn’t worn this one for a while.”
I took it and put it on while Maggie disappeared back into the house. I turned to Joshua with my own amused smirk. “Plaid?”
“Judge all you want, but she buys me one every birthday and Christmas and I’m not about to upset her by telling her I don’t wear plaid.” There was definitely more than just good looks to this guy than I had first assumed. “The paint and brushes are under the car port,” he finished, climbing back up the ladder.
I watched him go. I think he still expected me to leave. Instead, I walked over to the car port and poured the thick gray paint into a tray and attached the extension rod to the roller. “I agreed to help,” I informed him as I caught him watching me on my way to the far side of the house. He pursed his lips but said nothing, resuming the hammering.
An hour later, we were interrupted by Maggie who had come out carrying two cold cans of soda which were already sweating in the heat. Joshua descended the ladder and took the can, chugging it down in one long gulp. I was watching my very own Diet Coke commercial. It was Maggie who caught me licking my lips and I quickly turned in embarrassment to examine the first quarter of the house I had managed to paint.
“Joshua, you need sunscreen on,” Maggie announced, catching my attention. I turned just in time for Maggie to dump a bottle in my hands. “Make sure he’s well covered, dear,” she said, winking at me.
“I am capable of putting it on myself,” Joshua scowled, snatching the bottle away from me.
Maggie was already on her way back to the house. “And what about your back?” she called over her shoulder, turning enough to wink at us. Then she disappeared into the house.
“Great,” Joshua groaned, already working the lotion into his arms.
“What?” I asked suspiciously.
“She’s got the stupid idea in her head that there’s something going on between us,” he muttered. “You just had to turn up here, didn’t you?”
That hurt – far more than it should have. I blinked, turned, and marched over to the roller. I covered it in paint with more force than was necessary, sending globs of paint splashing over the dirt, and resumed painting the wooden walls.
A few moments passed and there was a loud sigh. “Angel?”
I ignored him.
“Angel?” he tried again, moving to my side.
“What?” I demanded, focusing on the painting and refusing to look at him.
“Would you do my back?”
I stopped mid stroke and stared at him in disbelief. “Work it out yourself,” I informed him, my tone icy. “I don’t think sunscreen application is covered in my job description.”
My tone surprised him, but he quickly recovered, leaning back against a part of the wall I had yet to paint. “I bet it is,” he responded, smiling. “In fact, I’m willing to put money on it being in there.”
I put the roller down and stared at him. “Really?” I asked, folding my arms across my chest. “How do you figure that?”
“You’re my Guardian Angel,” he shrugged. "You’ve got to protect me.” When I didn’t comment, he smirked. “I’m sure that includes protecting me from getting skin cancer.”
At the sight of my mouth dropping open, the smirk became decidedly smug. “I thought you didn’t believe I’m your Guardian Angel?” I accused him, narrowing my eyes.
“I don’t,” he shrugged. “But you do.”
I really wanted to wipe that smug look off his face. I didn’t though. Instead, with a low growl in the back of my throat, I snatched the bottle from him. “Turn around.” Grinning, he did as I said, placing both hands on the wall to brace himself.
I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I was nervous. Chewing my lip I began rubbing the cream into his surprisingly firm muscles – across his back and up over his shoulders. He was tense. I could feel it in his shoulders and I didn’t think it was because of my touch. If anything, he relaxed back into my hands and I found myself working the sunscreen into his back and shoulders perhaps a little more enthusiastically than I should have.
It wasn’t until he made a low moan that I dropped my hands and cleared my throat. “All done,” I announced, clearly.
He turned slowly, closing the distance between us and looked down at me through hooded eyes. Those damn bedroom eyes were back and they had me chewing nervously on my lower lip. When I realized he was staring at that, I cleared my throat and quickly leaped away. “This sun is going to dry the paint out,” I told him as I bent down to check the state of the paint.
When I stood, he was next to me again. “I make you nervous.” It was a very sure statement – no hint of a question in sight.
“You confuse me,” I corrected him, standing my ground. “Or at least, that’s what you think you’re doing.”
“And what is that supposed to mean?” he demanded.
“You spend half your time trying to get me to leave, and the other with no concept of personal space,” I told him, indicating to the fact there was barely a foot between us. “I don’t know what’s happened to you, but you’re going to have to learn to trust me.”
He stared at me for a very long time. I couldn’t work out what was going through his mind, but he finally, wordlessly, backed away and climbed back up the ladder. I took a deep breath and rubbed the back of my neck. Sometimes I wished so much to know what was going through his head.
About the Author
Cheryl works in an office by day. By night she leads a (not-so) secret life DJing, and throughout it all, is constantly scribbling away as the plot bunnies demand constant attention.
Her first novel was written when she should have been revising for her exams. While it is unlikely to ever see the light of day, it was the start of long relationship with the evil plot bunnies of doom.
A need to do more than just one subject led her to the University of Hull, where she graduated with an honours degree in American Studies. For the third year of the four year degree, she was able to call Baton Rouge home. Since then, Louisiana has claimed a large chunk of her heart, and remains a place she will always consider home.
LSU was where she discovered FanFiction and currently writes (mainly) CSI:NY stories and a Rescue: Special Ops story.
When not transcribing the stories of the angels and archangels, working, or DJing, she is at the beck and call of three cats – all of whom rank higher in the household than she does.
This book looks awesome! I'd love to check it out!ReplyDelete
Isn't the cover fantastic!!!Delete
I liked the excerpt, thank you.ReplyDelete
Me too, and you are welcome :)Delete
I enjoyed reading the excerpt. This book sounds like quite an interesting read. I look forward to checking this book out.ReplyDelete
So glad you did!!Delete