Angels and Arias
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Tika Lake Publishing LLC
Date of Publication: 1/21/2015
Number of pages: 325-350
Word Count: 84,000 Words
Cover Artist: Rebecca Berto
Madeline Noel fled war-torn Heaven to hide within the mortal world, but the blessing that could protect her from evil is the holy realm’s forbidden power.
As a talented soprano for the Eden Theatre Company, Madeline hides among prima donnas and tone-deaf flutists. Her perfect voice may entertain audiences, but a careless laugh may shatter glass, and her greatest scream can kill. To control her unrestrained voice, the angels forbid Madeline from embracing the emotions that strengthen her song. Anger. Fear.
The demon-hunter Damascus vows to defend Madeline from Hell’s relentless evil, but he cannot protect her from her own feelings. Though they deny their dangerous attraction, her guardian becomes her greatest temptation.
Surrendering to desire may awaken the gift suppressed within Madeline’s soul, and neither Heaven nor Hell will allow such absolute power to exist.
She flicked the light to her bedroom and dropped her towel in the hamper.
Her hand merely muffled the screeched yelp. Madeline fell backward, smacking against the closet. She tripped and clattered into the hamper. Damascus apologized, but her gasp shattered the perfume container on her vanity.
Madeline yanked the towel from the laundry. The wet scrap of material wove over her body, and she clutched the fraying edges.
Damascus’s silence stole any sound she might have uttered.
His muscles bound, tight and tensed, more prepared for war than the glimpse of her bared skin. The gold in his eyes burned molten. Madeline shifted, her bare toes gripping the carpet to prevent her from toppling over once more.
She shivered. It wasn’t the wet hair that whispered the goose bumps along her spine. Damascus saw far more than the thin strip of cloth hid. His gaze warmed her curves and tickled the swell of her breasts. Her nipples hardened. She prayed he hadn’t noticed.
The memory of the soap in the shower tortured the twisting in her lower belly. For a single, blissful, blasphemous moment, she imagined it had been Damascus’s hand washing her.
His every movement strengthened with need. The wild, uninhibited, dangerous desire would claim them both. Madeline clamored backward, the apology shrill and muffled by her hand.
She hadn’t needed to speak, drop the towel, or offer any secrets. The heat smoldering low escaped in a sigh. The soft puff promised more than she intended. She breathed an invitation.
And he answered.
Damascus shuddered. He blinked, hard, and rubbed his head.
“I apologize.” Damascus forced his words. “I… I didn’t mean to invade your privacy.”
Madeline tugged the towel lower over her thighs. “You didn’t know.”
“I should let you—”
“Don’t worry about it. Here.” She hobbled toward the robe lying over her bed.
“I’ve got it.”
Damascus’s motions stiffened. He retrieved the robe as Madeline lunged for the fuzzy pink arm. Her toes banged against the bedpost, and the surge of pain toppled her into Damascus’s waiting arms.
He smelled of the Realm, of warmth and radiance, citrus and holy incense.
The towel shifted, and his fingers brushed over her bare back. His calloused hands heated, as if he wielded his sword. The heat lashed her—a punishment seared within a delicious reward. The towel tumbled, and she pushed against him to hide what nearly exposed.
His embrace was everything as she imagined, the heat, the intensity of his grip, the fluttering within her stomach and her body upon his. His hands bound a supreme authority over her. He pressed her skin with possessive fingertips. He handled her as if she were delicate and precious.
The shock of it all drove her to silence.
He protected her, but he never held her.
Watched over her, but never touched her.
Saved her from demons, but never reassured her.
He never mourned with her when a Choir was killed.
Every moment hidden far from the Realm passed in painful isolation, and he was the lone simple comfort of home. The sweet, dangerous touch protected her more than his sword or his distant promises. The heat settled the dissonance capturing her mind.
The Realm forbid their touch. A hug cried sacrilege.
Madeline closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder.
Character Name: Madeline Noel
I’m an angel hiding within the mortal world—currently I’m concealed as a human and I’m working as the supporting soprano for the Eden Theater Company’s production of The Magic Flute. I’m avoiding divas by day, and demons at night. I think I might prefer the demons…
Describe yourself what is your worst and best quality?
My best quality is my voice, but it’s also my worst. I entertain audiences and my theater coworkers, but, if I’m not careful, my slightest whisper could shatter glass, and my greatest scream could kill. It’s a lot of pressure on me and my friend’s eardrums.
What is the one thing you wish other people knew about you?
Probably…to cover their ears when I get angry.
What is your biggest secret something no one knows about?
I’m losing control of the emotions which fuel my voice…
What are you most afraid of?
Revealing my true feelings for Damascus, the demon-hunter assigned to protect me. Losing Damascus would also be a nightmare, but, should anyone find out about my feelings, I’d lose him anyway.
What do you want more than anything?
The freedom to explore the power of my voice so I might protect myself and the ones I love.
What is your relationship status?
It’s…very complicated, and the angelic realm wants nothing more than for my Facebook status to remain single.
How would you describe your sense of fashion?
The costume designers at the theater dress me. ;)
How much of a rebel are you?
Since the angelic realm is currently in a rebellion…I try to avoid that word as much as possible.
What do you considered to be your greatest achievement?
Developing a friendship with Natalie—a human, but the one person who knows nothing of my past or my true identity, someone who loves me for me.
What is your idea of happiness?
Returning home and singing for the one I love.
What is your current state of mind?
I have to remain calm at all times to control my voice, but I’m cracking a bit and letting myself feel fear and happiness…and love. It’s all very forbidden.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What is it that you, most dislike?
Which living person do you, most despise?
Corinth, the betrayer angel responsible for terrorizing the angelic realm, nearly destroying the fragile truce between angels and demons, and pledging to murder me to further his own goals. But sometimes…the theater’s prima donna is a bit trying.
What is your greatest regret?
Never attempting to strengthen my voice to protect myself and my friends.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
The realm wouldn’t allow me to answer this question…
…a flaming sword and a burning hatred of demons is a plus though.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which living person do you most admire?
Natalie, the director’s assistant high-school runaway turned prophet. She escaped a hellish childhood only to face the wrath of demons, but she’s surviving…and running the opera’s production very well.
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
I’d be allowed to love Damascus.
What is your motto?
Think before you speak…or laugh…or whisper…or sing…or scream…
Gracie Madison would spend every day, all day writing…if it were socially acceptable. Ever since she was a little girl scribbling with a crayon, Gracie’s dedicated herself to her books and all the supernatural and paranormal, creepy and beautiful stories and characters born within the pages. Now Gracie is committed to finally sharing those books with the world. When the laptop is pried from her hands, Gracie is probably working her day job, rooting on the Steelers, or out with her husband searching for Pittsburgh’s best sushi.
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