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Angels in slavery? Brit Montgomery cannot believe it, until she is sent on a rescue mission to another dimension and witnesses the cruel practice first hand. The angel, Gyldan, is the most beautiful being she’s ever seen. She is drawn to him but sometimes beauty disguises wicked secrets. This man who rocks her world seems more demon than angel.
Gyldan, born into slavery, has one desire—fly free. When he escapes to Earth, he faces an alternate self-realization full of dark glory…and disbelief. Gyldan is bent on experiencing his newfound powers unmindful of the harm to Brit or others.
Confused and hurt by Gyldan’s erratic evil actions, Brit turns away. While Gyldan’s journey of self-discovery pulls him further distant, Brit finds acceptance in a solitary, comfortable life of her own until she realizes the day of reckoning has come. Will Gyldan be her final ruin or has he come back to her with a gift more precious than life itself?
Page Count: 330
Word Count: 82485
The last day of April, night grudgingly faded to gray then took an icy stand against the dawn. I smelled a storm brewing on the horizon, tasted rain in the offing.
Restless clouds shadowed the short-lived day. Long before the evening hour, torches smoked and flickered in the drafty passages of the castle. Fair weather or foul, from sundown to sunrise, the wind howled its lament, whispered through cracks in the stone walls, whipped up dust devils on the floors, ruffled heavy velvet curtains and wool tapestries. Whimsical gusts toyed with women’s skirts, caused candles to flicker and fires to gutter, stirring ghostly shadows. An unquiet spirit, the Demon Wind haunted the Castle Kharsag.
The night the High Priest slew our brother Daniel, the Demon Wind was born. Sometimes, I wished we’d all perished. Minstrels would have sung about babes sacrificed at the full of the moon, but bards do not spin tales about slaves.
We hadn’t died, and most people saw that as a tragedy.
In the two Kingdoms—perhaps on the whole of Anachrys—only three of my kind existed. As a child, I couldn’t understand why having wings made me a freak. As an adult, I understood perfectly. The lesson had been shackled to my feet and chained to my wrists.
In every other way, I was a normal man with the same wants and needs. Tonight, I craved solitude, and two nights before the Feast of Bealtuinn, I was again where I shouldn’t be.
For countless years, the old music room had been the tomb of an instrument no one was allowed to play. The place was cold and reeked of abandonment. A thick layer of dust coated the harp. I sank down on a cracked leather stool and caressed the strings. My Golden Lady’s voice rose soft, expectant. Closing my eyes, I rested my head against her long, elegant neck.
The last day of December in this, the fifteen-hundred and fiftieth year of the gods, I would turn thirty.
How we’d come to the castle I didn’t recall, but the stone fortress in the southern kingdom of Angallach was the only home we’d ever known. One thing I knew for certain—Man feared the different and unexplainable. Fear bred hate. They bound our wings. We were forbidden to lift our feet from the floor for fear we might fly. Smiles and laughter were prohibited. We had never—would never—set foot beyond the barrier walls. We were prisoners of the Castle Kharsag.
Tomorrow, the Rites of Spring began. We’d leave our menial tasks and take the stage, transforming from slaves to musicians.
Tonight, I’d risked everything to visit the harp, to pour my troubles into beautiful music, but I was too restless to sit still. The storm broke on a flash of lightning and clap of thunder. Wind whipped the torrent sideways. In the candle’s glow, individual raindrops, each as distinct as a snowflake, captured my eyes, but my feelings were as turbulent as the stormy night. I rose and paced to the window, leaning my elbows on the sill.
Six months ago, for the first time, I had lain with a woman. Miriam and I had met at Samhuinn, the harvest Sabbat, the end of the Goddess-ruled summer and the beginning of the God-ruled winter. Rain drummed against the window, and sensations flooded back. I remembered how she’d touched me, how she’d kissed me, and the warm embrace of her body. As memories scrolled before my eyes, I surrendered, letting time slip back to last fall.
At the last feast of a week’s celebration, revelers filled the Great Hall. The Demon Wind flung a scream at the castle. Banners of visiting noblemen fluttered.
Sarah mounted the stage first, a murmur rippling over the crowd. King Edward’s courtiers were accustomed to seeing us about the castle. We must have visitors from his sister’s court to the north. Rarely did Queen Mary call on her brother. There was bad blood between the twin monarchs.
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