I don’t remember what initially prompted me to write Edge of Heaven—the sexy, m/m story of two angels trapped in limbo. I don’t write a lot of stories in first person, but when I do most of the time what pulls me in is the character’s voice. And Edge (the main character) was no different. Edge...has issues. An “edge” if you will. He’s moody and irreverent. He has secrets, and hang-ups, and a whole closet-full of flaws—most of which he’s in denial about. All of which made him a fabulous character to write. So, I guess, as with most of my books, I wrote it to learn more about the story; to figure out who this nutty guy was, and what he wanted....beyond sex with his angel-in-training, of course. That part was pretty obvious.
One thing I never fell in love with was the cover. So when I got the chance to self-pub the paperback version, I jumped at the chance to change it. It’s still a work in progress, however. I'm still not sure it does the story--or Edge--justice.
“Is this a bad time?” Matteo asks, showing up on my beach unannounced. He’s gazing at me a little uncertainly, and I guess he’s responding to the look of shock on my face. At least I hope I look shocked. It’d beat looking panicked, disgusted, and dismayed, which is closer to how I’m really feeling. New as he is, there’s no way he should have been able to follow me here, so hell yes, it’s a bad time!
“Time doesn’t really exist,” I say, cleverly sidestepping the question. “And good and bad—those are also illusions.”
“I see.” Matt’s brow crinkles up. He looks around curiously. “So what is this place, anyway, Hindu hell?”
“What? Hell? No, it’s not hell, and…why Hindu?”
“Okay, Buddhist maybe. Same basic philosophy, isn’t it? Nothing you see is real. It’s all illusion, and everything’s the same: good and bad, pleasure and pain, action and inaction, blue and green.”
I blink at that last part. Now he’s got my attention. He’s nuts, but he’s got my attention. “Uh…blue and green?”
A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. “Well, yeah, you know, ’cause that’s how the world looks, right? From a distance?”
I don’t want to do it, but I can’t help laughing. “Cute, pal. But I’m pretty sure the Divine Miss M’s no Buddhist.”
Matteo grins. “My mistake, then.” He points at the log on which I’m sitting. “May I?”
I’d like to say no, but I’d have to have a reason to do that. A good reason I mean, one I’d be willing to admit to. Which I don’t. “Sure. Help yourself.”
It’s a big log, practically a whole tree. There’s plenty of room for us both. At least that’s what I tell myself. Still, it’s an effort to keep from moving away. I want to slide over to the very end to make sure he doesn’t sit right next to me. Which he does. Big surprise, huh? I don’t want to sound like a wuss or anything, but the guy’s clearly got no sense of personal boundaries. He’s sitting so close to me our shoulders are practically touching. I can feel the heat rising from his skin. It’s sensuous, tempting. I have to fight the urge to lean into it.
“So seriously, what is this place?” he asks, surveying the scenery.
I’m kind of wondering about that myself. I mean, I know what I see when I look around me, but I also know it’s a reflection of my own thoughts. None of it is actually real. Does Matteo see what I see? Or is he seeing something else? “What does it look like to you?”
He glances around again. “Somewhere along the West Coast would be my guess. Northern California, Pacific Northwest, something like that.”
“Yeah, that’s how it looks to me too.” I stare out at the ocean. Sunlight dances on the waves. A couple of gulls fly by. Who’s to say what’s real, anyhow? “This is the beach I used to go to as a kid.” I point at the rocky shore. “There are tide pools between those rocks. Man, I used to love messing around down there. And over that way”—I turn and point over his shoulder to that place where the beach ends in a fall of boulders and water laps at the base of the cliff—“is the entrance to a cave. It’s hard to find. You can only reach it at low tide. Sometimes not even then.”
“It seems like all of the best things in life are like that, aren’t they?” His voice is low, suggestive. I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
“Hard to get.” He’s staring right at me. Our faces are just inches apart. I can see the gold flecks in his dark eyes and the fine gold stubble that lines his jaw. My fingers are tingling. It’s like I can already feel the sandpapery texture of his cheek sliding against my open palm. His lips are full, slightly parted. They look soft. They look inviting.
I put my hand in the center of his chest and push. “Tell me more about yourself.”
“What do you want to know?” he asks, lips twitching into a tiny smile. “I swear I’m clean. No drugs, no diseases. Or does that even matter here?”
I shake my head. “It’s none of my concern. And it’s also not what I’m talking about.” My hand is still pressed against his heart. He seems not to mind. I do, but I just can’t seem to move it away. “Tell me how you died.”
And there goes his smile, disappearing in a red-hot instant. He straightens—away from me, away from my hand—and looks out at the water once more. “It was so stupid, you know? So totally senseless.”
Oh crap. There’s an unmistakable tinge of anger in his voice. Eerily familiar, it puts all my nerves on alert. My heart starts pounding. My jaw gets tight. I don’t want to ask it, but it’s my job. I have to know. “What did you do?”