A Fallen Angels Paranormal Romance Collection
Perfection is impossible, even for this collection of angels.
"You’ve heard this story, or one just like it, a hundred times before. Cranky guy dies without learning the true meaning of Christmas, is turned into an angel, and sent back to earth in order to save some other poor schmuck from suffering the same unhappy fate.
Usually it’s billed as a romance, or a dramedy, perfect for a night of family fun. Which is ludicrous. Even Dickens, the man who invented cheesy Christmas stories, knew better than that. His Marley was clearly miserable, as who wouldn’t be in his situation? Which, as it happens, is also my situation.
Hi. My name is Jacob. I’m an angel. And this is my story."
Being fully transparent is good for a relationship, right? Well, maybe not when it’s literal.
Christmas Angel is a second-chance, holiday romance with a celestial twist. Jake’s been sent back to earth to mend fences with his ex. Or has he? Certainly Tony doesn’t seem to think that's the case.
Tony might have ninety-nine problems—and then some—between dealing with his meddlesome family AND running the family business (a Christmas tree farm in rural Texas) but he's pretty sure that playing catch-up with his ex-husband isn’t supposed to be one of them. It’s a little hard to imagine what kind of future the two of them could have when only one of them is alive.
I find [Tony] in his office, staring moodily at his computer. He has a pair of readers perched on his nose—giving him a nerdy professor look that’s super cute.
“Nice specs,” I say as I cross the room. “Are those new?”
“Yeah,” Tony murmurs. His cheeks color as he hurries to remove them—a damn shame, if you ask me. Although that blush he’s wearing now is pretty cute as well.
“What’re you—” he starts to say, stopping when I hold up the thermos and bag. His eyes widen into a look that I would’ve termed pre-orgasmic in other circumstances. “Oh, yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” he says as he grabs them from my hands. “Gimme.”
I settle into the chair on the other side of his desk and watch as he flips open the thermos and guzzles down at least half of it, then sighs and murmurs a heartfelt, “Thank you, God.”
“You should probably thank your mother, too,” I mention, as he roots around in the bag.
“And thank you, Mom,” Tony murmurs obediently as he pulls out a package wrapped in foil, which turns out to contain two bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits. His reluctance is palpable as he holds them out and asks, “Do you want one?”
I’m almost tempted to mess with him by saying yes. But I behave myself. I shake my head and answer, “Nope. All for you,” then smile as he quickly devours the first sandwich with just a few wolfish bites. Watching him eat is bringing back memories.
I can’t stop staring at his mouth, and at his throat as he swallows, at the blissful expression on his face. “Good?” I ask weakly, feeling envious of the biscuit crumbs that cling to his lips.
Tony nods. He flicks a glance my way then licks his lips clean. “Thanks for bringing ’em over,” he mumbles as he tears into the second biscuit.
Jesus. That mouth. “Where’d we go wrong?” I wonder. Unfortunately, I wonder it aloud. “Sorry,” I add when Tony’s face puckers like he’d tasted something sour. “I meant me, not we, right?”
“No.” Tony sighs and shakes his head. “No. You were right the first time. I made mistakes, too. I just don’t see the point in discussing it, you know? Where’s the sense in doing a postmortem at this point? It’s not like it’s gonna change anything.”
“No,” I say, which probably sounds like I agree with him. “It’s not gonna do that.” But I don’t agree with him. Why not talk about it? Just because we can’t change things doesn’t mean they don’t matter. A little closure would be good, better than what I have now, which is mostly memories and regrets—and a hollow, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that’s warning me that those memories and those regrets are going to follow me into eternity, that they’ll stay with me, and eat at me, and torture me, forever.
Tony finishes his meal in record time—even for him. Then he tosses his trash into a wastebasket and gets to his feet. “All right, c’mon,” he tells me. “Enough lazing around. Let’s go do some work.”
“Ookay.” What work? I wonder as I follow him back into the hall, and into a storage closet. We pause there only long enough for Tony to shrug into a Carhartt and grab some supplies—gloves, goggles, shears, a pole saw.
“Shouldn’t you be telling someone where we’re going?” I ask as we exit the building through a back door, hoping he’ll take the hint.
He doesn’t. He shakes his head and says, “I don’t exactly answer to anyone.” Then he motions toward a UTV side by side with attached trailer and adds, “That’s us, by the way.”
“Just like old times,” I quip as I remember riding around here with Tony in similar vehicles on countless occasions. “So, how about you tell me what’s going on? Where the heck are we going?”
Tony flashes me a smile as he swings himself into the driver’s seat. It’s not a very good smile. In fact, if I could think of any reason why it should be the case, I’d say he looks faintly nervous. “You said you always liked helping out on the farm,” he reminds me. “Isn’t that what you told me last night?”
“So, it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.”
“What money?” I scoff as I round the vehicle. There’s a wreath attached to the UTV’s front grill. As I walk past it, I tap the bells that decorate it, making them jingle softly as I remind him, “Angel, remember?”
“Well, whatever currency you use,” Tony mumbles as his smile slips away and his eyes grow bleak. “I mean, there’s bound to be something, right?”
“I’m sure there is,” I reply, and immediately decide to stop teasing him because he’s right not to smile, not to laugh or be amused. Because it’s not funny. Not at all.
As Tony navigates us over the utility road, I watch the passing scenery—or pretend to. It’s such a familiar feeling, riding around like this with Tony, except that, in the past, I’d reach out now and then and touch him. Just casually. Just a hand on his leg or something.
We’d be sitting relaxed, chatting casually, allowing our arms to brush against each other’s, not how we are now—stiff, silent, and withdrawn, both of us making an effort to keep within our own little bubble.
I wish I had the courage to just do it, to reach out and brush his cheek, to ask about that smile, to try and cheer him up. But I guess it’s not really courage that’s the problem, is it? It’s the fact that I no longer have the right to do any of that.On that long ago Christmas Eve—the night after we’d raced Tim to the lamppost—we’d lain together, Tony and I, in the room he usually shared with Tim, in one of the narrow twin beds with which the room had been furnished, since we were still too uncertain about our changing circumstances to risk pushing the beds together. Our bodies were plastered so tightly together. It was the first time I’d ever felt that close to another person, or so comfortable with touching and being touched, so much at peace.
If you're interested in reading more about the "long ago Christmas Eve" Jake mentions, I have a short freebie that explains it. Read Gingerbread Kisses here: http://rhymeswithforeplay.blogspot.com/2022/12/romance-writers-weekly-flash-fiction.html