Chapter One:  Mutual Happiness










                I had come to the conclusion that the most exciting thing about today was going to be the near freezing temperatures tonight.  Otherwise, there wasn’t anything special about tonight.  In fact, it looked the same as lots of other nights to me.

                It was clear outside and the stars were visible in abundance, twinkling in the sky like silver glitter sprinkled on crushed velvet.  There wasn’t a moon or a single puff of cloud so the looming darkness just beyond the front yard’s security lights limited what I could see and where I could go.  The only reason I was outside so late at all was because the dip in temperatures threatened an overnight frost and if I wanted to keep my flower beds alive, I needed to protect them from it and cover them up. 

                Even though I was bundled up against the cold, the damp coastal wind seemed to seep through my clothes into the very marrow of my bones.  I might as well be wearing a bikini for all the good my jacket and gloves were doing me.  I noticed my breath was vaporizing in the frigid air from the exertion of hurrying to finish the task of covering the flowers.  I was using the pile of old sheets and plastic tarps I had stashed under the bench on the porch for just such nocturnal emergencies and they were heavy. 

                I’ve been in the south too long, I thought to myself as a shiver gripped my body and set my teeth chattering almost uncontrollably.  Hard to believe I used to like the cold.

                When I was a child up north, I used to relish this kind of weather and loved feeling the crispness in the air after a long humid summer.  It used to herald the arrival of colorful, changing leaves, soft comfy sweaters, and my favorite angora socks.  Not to mention such treats as hot apple cider with my after-school snacking, fresh from the oven zucchini bread with walnuts, and that sweet cranberry cobbler the neighbor-lady used to bake.  People just don’t eat that kind of stuff down here.  It’s too heavy.  But up north, it was a fall staple.  Winters lasted months and brought glistening snowfalls, roaring fireplaces, hearty beef stews, and roasted holiday turkeys.

                I supposed I remembered such good things about the winter cold because living here I didn’t have to put up with it very much.  Sure it was cold tonight and I could bake cobblers and break out the rest of my sweaters, but by the time I did, the cold here would have passed.            

                An extra sweater sounded good right now though.  The breeze was making this particular cold weather activity that much harder however.  The sheets didn’t want to lay flat and kept flapping off the flower beds, leaving my plants exposed, despite my effort.  I tried tucking the corners around the landscaping timbers, but that wasn’t working and I had to search out weighted objects in the yard to place around the edges in order to hold the sheets down.

                When I came to the last flower bed, I realized I was out of heavy objects within reach and was forced to run back inside my house for some hard cover books.  The old rectory that I had converted into a house, offered a warm, but brief reprieve from the biting cold.  Having to come back outside after being in again made me that much more anxious to return and be comfortable for the remainder of the night. 

                In my haste, I grew careless however and tossed the first book towards its prospective corner only to have it miss my mark and fall flat onto one of my plants. 

                With a chattering curse, I dropped to my knees to fetch the book and tried to right the smashed plant, but only managed to snap the stem off.  Cursing again, I yanked the corner of the sheet over it and weighed it down with the murderous novel again, resisting the urge to slam it on the ground and stomp back to the house. 

                To add injury to insult, the dampness in the soil was soaking into the knees of my jeans with a numbing coldness.  It had rained hard three days ago, but I didn’t think the ground would still be wet from it.  I was wrong.

                I climbed quickly to my feet to avert further denim discoloration and stave off frost-bite-of-the-knees.  I tried to dust off the clinging dirt and grasses the best I could but only succeeded in getting my gloves wet.  Now my hands were cold and wet too.

                I swore again and turned on my heel to make a beeline for the rectory.  I was done caring whether my plants lived or died at my expense.  I could certainly afford to buy new ones if they did die.  After all, I was a multi-millionaire. 

                I was determined to get inside and be warm again, but I hadn’t taken even one step forward when I suddenly found myself enveloped in a peculiar warm air pocket.  Strong arms circled my shoulders a split-second later, pressing me into a pillar of radiating heat. 

                He didn’t even give me time to be startled or react at all to his rather unexpected presence.  I heard him laugh shortly and then felt his breath in my ear and his long hair brush against my face. 

                “What are you swearing about?” my guardian angel, who went by the very Old-Testament-sounding name of Pershabael, drawled in that sultry Southern accent of his. 

                I gasped as I felt his lips trail over my cheek.  Then he covered my mouth with a gentle, but scintillating kiss before I could even think to answer him. 

                My heart thudded in my chest and my pulse pounded away in my ears as my mind beamed with joyful realization.  I wrapped my arms around the angel’s neck, imprisoning him in our embrace, pulling him even closer to me and then holding him fast.

                My body was already reacting to his proximity as well as his intense warmth.  I molded my every curve against his like we were interlocking puzzle pieces.  He was my lover after all, and I knew every plane, peak, and valley of his body as well as just where, and how, I fit into it.

                “Percy!” I gushed, parting from his satin-soft lips just long enough to take a much needed breath.  He felt so good to me, I just wanted to climb into his arms and curl myself around him. 

                “Mya!” he gushed back, equaling my enthusiasm.  He flashed a white, toothy smile and kissed me again, bending me back over his arms.

                A few solid minutes passed before I pulled back so I could look into his beautiful sky blue eyes.  I swear he got better looking every time I saw him.

                “Oh I missed you!” I breathed before planting another one on him.  I felt, as well as heard him moan in response.

                His hands slid down the small of my back and cupped my rear end.  He shifted his hips, nudging me before tightening his grip on me and lifting me up and off my feet. 

                Without breaking our embrace, the angel gathered my body against his torso and turned.  As if I weighed nothing, he beat his wings once, and without any noticeable effort, rendered us both airborne.

                Clinging to him now, I felt the muscles of his shoulders flex as he pulled his wings back down and snapped them up again.  We rose even higher and were actually moving now.  The ground looked like dark rushing water below us.

                 A mere second later we had reached the front porch of the rectory.  Pershabael landed lightly on the creaky old slats and released me from his grasp.  I slid down his body and smiled up at him in complete adoration.  Flying with him was always a thrill, no matter how short the flight plan.  To me, there were true benefits to having a real angel for a boyfriend.  I couldn’t get enough of stuff like that. 

                Of course there were other things too.

                Even though it had been a good three months since I’d last seen Pershabael, I didn’t care to waste time with pleasantries and conversations.  There’d be time for that later.  From the way he was pawing me, I didn’t think he cared for conversation at the moment either.

                Once we opted to move off the porch, I practically kicked in the front door to get us inside and dragged Pershabael with me by fistfuls of his hair.  He trailed after me, seizing my head in his large hands and bestowing another devouring kiss on me as soon as he’d crossed over the threshold. 

                I had to force myself to pull away from him so I could close the door behind us, wary of letting precious heat out, but ready a split-second later to throw myself back into his arms.

                When I turned to face him however, I got my first good look at him of the night and was struck immobile.

                Pershabael raised his chin and peered down his rather aristocratic-looking nose at me.  “Something wrong?”

                It took another second before I could get myself to shake my head.

                “Um, no,” I said, hoping to reassure him.  “It’s just that…you’re naked.”  No wonder I could feel the intense heat from his body when I had held him.  Usually I had to go through layers of leather, body armor, and chain mail to get my hands on him.  Tonight he’d come to me clad only a short, filmy-looking sort of shawl-thing draped around his hips.  “Uh, aren’t you cold?”

                Pershabael shook his head.  “Not at all,” he informed with a amused smile.  “Don’t be concerned.”

                Determined to show him I wasn’t, I shook my head and worked to be rid of my own buffering layers.  I couldn’t wait another instant to feel his bare baby-soft skin entwined with mine. 

                I watched as with a casual flick of his wrist, the angel stripped off his only garment and let it slide down his long legs to pool at his feet on the floor.  His eyes grew smoky as he watched me disrobing a few steps from him. 

                I wasn’t stripping with near as much allure however.  I tore at my clothing to get it off of me, but it was hard paying attention to what I was doing with him already gloriously nude and within arm’s reach.  I could only fumble anymore with all the buttons and zippers still confining me.

                “Help!” I whimpered and was placated by another of his handsome smiles.

                Obliging me, Pershabael stepped forward to assist me, but apparently it wasn’t easy for him not to tear anything either.  He bit his lower lip, hinting a bit of inner turmoil with his honed self-discipline. 

                Once I was naked, that self-discipline of his seemed to evaporate with a jolt of electricity the moment he placed his hands on my bare flesh.  Passion overtook him as he drew me to him for another protracted kiss before dragging his mouth down the side of my neck.  Cradling my back, he kissed, nibbled, and caressed his way down to my breasts.  Latching onto a nipple, he teased it erect, laving it with his tongue before closing his lips around it to suckle. 

                I delved my hands into the thick tresses of his hair, holding him to me as my mind whirled in all directions with pleasure.  Now he was pressing his warm body into mine with clear intent, his hands eagerly roving my curves.  He raised his head to kiss me once more. 

                I reached between us to take him in my hand and stroked his velvety fullness a few times to make him even harder.  He was already long and solid against my belly; the heat from his body searing my still somewhat-chilled skin.  He groaned his approval against my lips as I touched him and lifted me up off the floor into his arms.  I wrapped my legs around his waist now, letting him carry me to the plush rug in front of the fireplace in the living room.

                I tightened my grip and squeezed, eliciting another throaty moan from him.  Slowly, I eased his tip against my entrance, urging him to proceed, feeling myself open and moistened enough to receive him.  As he lay me down on the floor, he gently pushed himself into me with one gliding thrust.

                I cried out, always amazed at how incredible he felt inside me and almost startled by my body’s intense initial reaction to him.  As he began to move, I slid my hands down his sides to grasp either side of his slender waist and tightened my legs around his lower back.  I furled myself around him, urging him even deeper inside me, pushing harder against his hips, burying my face in his muscular chest.  With relish, I breathed in the mysterious rainwater scent of his bare skin. 

                “I love you, Mya,” Pershabael murmured.  He ground his hips fully into me and then moaned with evident pleasure.

                “I love you too!” I exclaimed.  I arched my waist and pushed up to encourage him.

                Pershabael gasped and trembled in the most delicious way over me.  He flexed his back, pumping me slowly at first, and then settled into a more intense rhythm. 

                I couldn’t help but react accordingly.  Every movement he made was sheer sensual euphoria.  I groaned in appreciation, squeezing him with my thighs and stroking his chest with my hands.

                “Yes, sweet lover,” the angel breathed into my ear and turned his head to place a tender kiss on my brow.  “I love you so much.”  I felt his palm pass over my forehead and brush back my hair.  “You are so beautiful tonight for me.”

                In truth, I couldn’t have looked skuzzier: unwashed, unshaved, no make-up, but my whole body warmed at his words and my heart pounded away.  I knew without a doubt, I had never been so completely in love before as I was with him.

                Pershabael really was my angel in all respects.  He had saved me from a life full of misery--of my own doing.  He’d saved me from surrendering to the self-destructive influence of the dark angel, Mazriel.  Pershabael was my guardian and lover who had shown me what love truly was and how my real happiness was actually found in the hearts of those I made happy.

                Now my body was pulsing with pleasure because he knew exactly how to make me happy.  His happiness was my happiness too, and I knew just the thing to keep all this mutual happiness flowing.

                Reaching up, I ran my hands over the angel’s back, tickling my way across his shoulders until I brushed against those plush feathers at the base of his wings.  He had them folded down the center of his back, tucked against his spine as if to keep them out of the way as he made love.  I stretched out my fingers to touch the reddish-gold-colored down and caressed the hard corded muscle beneath.  I succeeded in making Pershabael shudder and I could feel it throughout his entire body.  It was as if he tried to groan as well, but could only manage a loud half a gasp.  It was the sexiest little sound and I smiled, pleased. 

                I had discovered sometime ago that his sensitive wings were an erogenous zone of his, and since they felt as luxurious as graded Chinese silk, I didn’t have to force myself to touch them.  In fact, I had a hard time keeping my hands off them.

                “Stop,” Pershabael pleaded, his whole body tightening now like a coiled spring.  “You’ll finish me too soon.”  He shifted his weight on me and slowed his thrusting to more of a roll of his hips.  “You know that drives me crazy.”

                “I know,” I said and grinned mischievously, then supplicating him with a deep kiss.  I unwrapped my legs from around his lower back and straightened my body beneath him, tightening around him, slowing him down even more.  I pet the sloping curve of the upper part of his wing.

                Pershabael released a ragged-sounding sigh as if he might even be in pain, but I knew better.  I felt him tremble again and his voice when he spoke was a low growl.

                “Mya!” he half-scolded me.  “I can hardly control myself as it is.  You feel too good.”

                “I don’t want you to control yourself,” I admonished him back.  “I want you to absolutely lose it tonight.”  I delved my fingertips into the soft down as I gnawed the side of his neck.

                “You come first,” he countered breathlessly.  He reached down and slipped his hand underneath my left thigh, raising it, aligning it with his side to open me and allow him to penetrate me deeper and speed up again.

                “No,” I protested, but the change in position felt too exquisite.  I tensed and quivered with real need as the angel ground his body harder into me and focused the pressure and friction he was placing between my legs onto that one magical sexual spot all women adored on their bodies.  I raised my other leg to accommodate him even more, but also ran my hands over the quills of the longer flight feathers lying against his back. 

                Doing that achieved not only quick, but damn-near volatile results.  Pershabael buried his face against the crook of his arm and cried out through his clenched jaw.  His quaking, seizing orgasm was enough to shove me over the edge seconds later in an all-out, shrieking, thrashing climatic free-fall of my own.  Even as my body released its final spasm around Pershabael’s, I realized I wasn’t done yet.  Ever in tune to me, my lover seemed to sense my continued readiness and thrust into me several times more.  I couldn’t help but succumb to the immense pleasure of the feeling again, and once more after that even.

                It wasn’t until way later I could even register sensation again.  I felt the slumping weight of Pershabael’s body still trembling on top of me and wrapped my arms around his neck to pull myself up and drop a breathless kiss on his rather flushed cheek.

                “Mya, why did you do that?” he kind of grumbled, easing himself out of me and rolling onto his side on the rug next to me.  “I could have gone much longer, you know.  I was pacing myself--to make it better for you.”

                I grinned and turned my head to look at him to see if he was being serious.  With those big blue eyes of his and that flawless skin, he could pull off the most endearing, child-like pout when he put his mind to it.  He was clearly pouting now and even though I wasn’t feeling the least bit apologetic for what I had just done, I couldn’t help but say I was sorry.

                “I’m sorry, but you’re just such a great lover,” I told him right out.  “I was getting impatient.  Besides, I don’t think I could have withstood it being any better than it was.  My brain’s still short-circuiting on me.  I’m seeing stars every time I blink.”

                At that Pershabael smiled.  He leaned forward and touched my lips with a delectably provocative kiss.

                “Patience darlin’, is a--”

                “Patience is a virtue, I know,” I repeated, cutting him off.  I sighed and gestured at him.  “It’s your own fault, you know.  This…does not motivate me to be patient.  Look at you.  All your gorgeousness only makes me impatient for more.”

                The angel’s brow raised.  “Good things come to those who wait,” he said and captured my mouth with his once more.

                “I don’t want to wait,” I complained, running my hands over his chest.  “I want good things now.”

                The angel laughed.  “Don’t be greedy.  You know there’s plenty more where that came from.”

                Leaning over me, he teased my lips open and then kissed me, touching my tongue with the tip of his own.  I drew it further into my mouth, chewed it and sucked on it.

                Still kissing me, he crossed my arms over my ribs and then used his body weight to roll me onto my side facing away from him.  I whimpered in protest as I was torn from his mouth.

                “Hush,” he whispered, holding me still.  Satisfied with the position he’d placed me in, the angel stretched out and snuggled up behind me.  He tucked me under the arm he was laying on and as if to keep my wrists pinned across my torso, he encircled both with his large hand.  He’d given himself more access to my body than I had of his and he didn’t waste time taking the advantage either.  While nuzzling the back of my neck, I felt his free hand smooth over my waist and down my thigh.

                “What are you doing?” I asked, my voice low and thick-sounding.

                “No touching me allowed this time,” he announced.  Now he bent my leg forward and positioned it that way on the rug.   

                I held my breath. 

                Then, as if to taunt me, Pershabael stretched out his wings and rested them on the floor, well out of my reach.

                Now I felt his hand knead my buttocks, savoring each caress--almost as much as I was.  I pushed back up against his hand, wriggling from side to side.  I could also feel his restored hardness pressed along the back of my other thigh and tried shifting my position next to him to move things along.

                “I want you now please.” 

                The angel chuckled at my lack of patience.  “You haven’t learned a thing, have you?” he asked and smacked me with the flat of his hand.

                “Hey!” I yelped, but actually, it felt sexy.

                That only made him laugh more.  “Spare the rod and spoil the child,” he quoted and then, as if to make up for it, his finger delicately traced the line between my legs from my lower back to my hypersensitive opening.  He repeated the caress without mercy. 

                I shivered and sighed and tried twisting around to face him.  “This isn’t very fair.”  Need I remind him I’d waited three long months for this and I didn’t think I should have to wait another second.

                “It will be worth it,” he murmured and dropped a wet kiss on my shoulder.  “I promise.”  As his lips touched the bend between the base of my neck and my shoulder, his fingers delved a little deeper into my folds.

                I squeezed my eyes shut.  The sensation was really turning me on, but it was also very nearly torturous, making me mad with need, especially when his talented digits penetrated me and proceeded to stroke me insane.

                “I’ll get you back for this,” I grumbled, trying to sound ominous, but was fast succumbing to ecstasy and my mind was only interested now in all the enticing sensations I was being subjected to.  I moaned and wriggled against his hand even more.  “Oh yes…when you least expect it.  That’s when I’ll strike.”

                “Mmm,” Pershabael rather casually replied.  “I look forward to it.” 

                Any further protests I harbored abruptly fled as I crashed into gratification yet again. 

                The wait was clearly over.