Today, Alexis Woods is here to share an excerpt from her story, Lion’s Hero. Lion’s Hero was first published in 2014 but has now been revised and expanded.
Ari peered past the guard as he made his way to the end of the line. Excitement filled him as he saw the area jammed with bodies, lights flickering, humans singing, and… is that dancing? The humans were pressed so close together, jumping and writhing, waving their arms, Ari wasn’t quite sure what he was looking at. On the far side of the room, a huge, pulsating sign caught his attention. Club Haven flashed in colors of purple and green. A club! He’d never been in one though he’d heard plenty of stories from some of the other angels. Finally, a chance to explore this realm like I always wanted.
Excited, he ran his hands down his body—his very human body—taking in his clothing, checking to see if he fit in with these other humans. He wore a black logo shirt that clung to his chest and dark jeans, along with a kick-ass pair of boots on his feet. Interestingly, there was a braided silver ring adorning his left thumb. Sliding his hands over his head and ears, he discovered a short, spiky hairstyle and pierced ears. Fingering the earrings, four on one side and four on the other, Ari mumbled, “Really, my Lord?”
A group of riotous young women rushed past him going in the opposite direction of those standing in line. One of them, a long-haired girl dressed in black and silver, spun and ogled him. A silver bar ran through one eyebrow and a ring through her lip.
“Nice shirt,” she threw his way, before twirling around and running to catch up to her friends.
“Thank you,” Ari replied to her retreating back before he slapped his hands to his face to check for further piercings. “Well, thank you for that, I guess.”
He pulled his shirt away from his body to see what was imprinted on it. Satan’s Thorn, the shirt proclaimed, complete with rampant lion brandishing a wicked-looking stake.
“Funny, my Lord,” Ari muttered with a laugh. An answering chuckle filled Ari’s mind followed by a reminder of Father. “Right. Father. So, my other half… Do I get a hint? It’d be nice to know who I’m looking for.” Instead of the woman he expected, the profile of a man filled his mind: dark hair, the ends curling at the collar of a white shirt with his sleeves rolled up displaying an array of colors on his skin. Club Haven’s neon sign flashed in the background.
Ari gasped and fell against the nearest wall, leaning hard on it for support. He palmed his face as Father’s oration came back to him: He’s a man of God. He finds faith in Me. He’ll be yours… He’s, he, he’ll. Ari breathed deeply, pressing his palm to his heart as he attempted to calm his racing heart.
My other half is a male like me. Shocked, and in awe of this strange turn, Ari slumped.
Father so rarely granted his devoted angels a chance to meet their mate on Earth—his mentor Leo, had been one of the few—but he’d heard through the angelic grapevine that the chosen were always women for the mates of male-presenting angels. Never had a man been chosen as an other half, except when the angel presented more as female.
“Hey, are you alright?” a deep voice asked, coming from Ari’s right.
Ari cautiously spread his fingers to see a white button-down shirt, the top two buttons undone in front of him. A thick gold chain bearing a Star of David sat atop golden skin. He dropped his hands to gaze slightly up at a smooth oval complete with a solid chin, straight nose, and warm brown eyes he immediately wanted to get lost in. Oh, Dear Lord!
I’m right here, Ari. No need to yell.
Those impressive eyes dipped and came closer. Ari jerked his head up, knocking it into the wall. “Ow!” He moaned as he rubbed the sore spot and, with his head down, Ari didn’t realize the newcomer—Your other half, Father kindly supplied—had stepped even closer until his shoes entered Ari’s line view. When the man tried to pull Ari’s hands away, Ari slid to the right, his military reflexes kicking in. The move put distance between him and his other half, and he immediately wanted to zip back into place, but he held still, unsure what the right move should be. His brain was in overdrive. Never had he been in figurative knots, tongue-tied and dizzy.
“Skittish,” the man mumbled, obviously mistaking Ari’s side-step. A woman shrieked and he glanced towards the club’s entrance, just long enough for Ari to see his profile and the bar in the background, confirming that this tall, handsome man was Father’s choice for him.
Eight nights to fall in love.
Ari’s mission: meet the man chosen for him by God. The catch: he only has eight nights to both fall in love and have his chosen fall in love with him—the eight nights of Chanukah.
Gabriel’s test of faith: in reaching out to a young man, he finds himself confronted with the unbelievable. Believe, and the Festival of Lights may herald a miracle leading to a lifetime of love.
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