Michael (From Grace, #2)
by Kris Norris
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He’s God’s deadliest weapon. His firstborn son. And still he failed.
From Grace, Book 2
Blessed with the ultimate power of Heaven, Michael shouldn’t have to be rescued by his brothers. It’s a reality that gnaws at his very soul. To make matters worse, they weren’t the only ones to witness his defeat. But surely fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to introduce him to his intended mate on the day of his greatest failure, would it?
Greyson, Prince of the Fae, knew the instant he met Michael that the archangel was his true soulmate. And yet, months later, Grey’s still waiting for the man to acknowledge the truth, to quiet the unrelenting need that burns beneath Grey’s flesh. But how can he convince a warrior that love and duty don’t have to be exclusive?
Left with few options, Grey asks Michael to give him one night. No expectations. No promises. Just the two of them. Together. A moment Grey knows will have to last a lifetime—until Grey’s life is threatened.
Michael might not be ready to acknowledge Greyson is his mate, but he’ll be damned if he fails the only man he’ll ever love. He won’t let Greyson down, even if it means his only course of action is a fall from grace.
What am I doing?
Michael groaned inwardly as he stood at the edge of the pond, staring at the shore across from him. Sunlight danced along the calm surface, reflecting the sinking orb on the distant horizon. Frogs called to each other in the tangle of reeds at the edge of the water, the low sound adding to the surreal atmosphere of the glen. A light breeze rustled the feathers on his wings, tousling his hair across his face, and for a moment his reasons for visiting the faery realm didn’t seem so crazy.
A door creaked open behind him, followed by the pad of footsteps across the stone path. The noises around Michael paused, almost as if the surrounding land was taking a long, slow breath before picking up again, the constant chatter not as peaceful as it had been seconds before. A sigh lit the air, followed by a disgruntled huff.
“Tell me, Michael. How long are you going to stand there, avoiding him?”
Michael sighed under his breath before glancing over his shoulder. Gabriel leaned against a tree, his silhouette illuminated by the warm light of his brother’s cottage. The angel’s shadow stretched out in front of him, the edges joining with the darkness on the soft grass. His grace shimmered around him—not quite as luminous as it’d once been. More of a muted fluorescence than the blinding light Michael knew surrounded him. A testament to the combined energy of Gabriel and his mate Kei—a fire mage whose magic had been woven through his brother’s grace when the sorcerer had inadvertently saved Gabriel from falling. Though Michael guessed Gabriel hadn’t minded the way the event had turned out—Kei and Gabriel. Together.
Michael looked back at the setting sun, watching the different shades of orange and yellow chase each other across the sky. He’d spent more than a few nights watching the sphere dip below the horizon—enjoying the simple pleasures he’d allowed to slip away. Vowing to make the most of his second chance.
Pain and anger churned in his gut. He’d nearly died at the hands of Abaddon. If it hadn’t been for Gabriel, Kei and Greyson, Michael never would have survived. A chuckle sounded inside his head. Lucifer. His brother had been the one to free Michael from Abaddon’s cage. Had healed him when Gabriel had been unable, and that one act had opened a channel between them. Not that Michael couldn’t block the other man. He just didn’t seem to have the energy most days. Penance for not being strong enough. For allowing his complacency to cloud his judgment. Blind him from seeing what had been festering around him for years.
He drew a deep breath. “I think Kei’s love of fire has melted your brain, brother. You’re talking nonsense.”
Gabriel snorted. “Still in denial, I see.”
Michael huffed as the other angel moved in beside him, the man’s gaze taking in the colors staining the clouds. “There’s nothing to deny. I was just watching the sun set. Something I’ve taken for granted for far too long.”
“No, you were trying to catch a glimpse of Greyson as he headed out for his nightly patrol.”
It was no secret that Greyson checked the various portals dotted along the perimeter each day, a fact that had made watching the fae dangerously easy.
Michael shrugged off the comment. “The portals have been warded, even against us. If Greyson hadn’t given me a means of bypassing them, I wouldn’t be here. Which means he doesn’t need to perform nightly checks.”
“We both know Greyson sees it differently. Ever since Uriel popped in for an uninvited visit, he’s been obsessively vigilant about security.”
Michael nodded, despite the jab of guilt. Just another way he’d failed as God’s Warrior. He’d allowed Uriel to destroy parts of the faery realm. Kill some of Greyson’s people. And Michael knew it was a burden he’d never truly shed. “That’s not his cross to bear.”
Gabriel arched a brow. “Nor is it yours.”
Michael huffed, staring at the water again, when the door behind them opened and closed. Another shadowed silhouette moved across the ground. Michael didn’t need to turn to know Kei had joined them. His brother’s mate was rarely far away, especially with them still learning how to share their power.
Kei gave Michael a pat on his shoulder before stopping in front of Gabriel. He leaned into the other angel’s chest as Gabriel wrapped one arm around his upper torso. “What is it with you angel types and all the guilt?”
Michael glanced at the mage. “I’m merely shouldering what is ultimately mine. If I hadn’t allowed Abbadon to imprison me—”
“The guy was crazy. No one’s responsible for his decisions but him. And I doubt either of you would have believed your own brothers would rise against you.”
“Regardless…” Michael glanced away. Arguing with Kei and Gabriel was about as effective as arguing with Greyson. Stubborn didn’t begin to describe their joint personalities.
He raised his chin. “So why allow Greyson to continue his obsession?”
Kei laughed. “He’s about as reasonable as you are. But you’re only lying to yourself if you think he’s this vigilant because he’s afraid something might get past his wards.”
“Then why make the nightly rounds?”
Kei’s lips lifted into an amused smile. “Maybe because he’s got ulterior motives for following such a strict, dare I say, predictable schedule.”
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