Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bad Angels: Falling by Belinda McBride

Bad Angels: Falling
by Belinda McBride
Cover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-60521-204-3
Genre(s): Paranormal, Dark Fantasy
Theme(s): Ménage, Bisexual and More, Magic and Mayhem, Elves, Dragons & Magical Creatures
Series: Bad Angels
Length: Novel


Just what exactly happens when an angel goes bad?
Stripped of his voice, his memories, and his divinity, Rion Hunter falls to Earth in a fiery blaze. After crashing into a muddy sheep pasture in Scotland, the disgraced angel finds himself face-to-face with an unlikely rescuer: a sidhe-born farmer named Rex.
Rex finds himself rapidly falling for the beautiful angel, which can be risky when the object of your affection just might be psychotic. And if that isn’t enough, the men find that they’ve come to the attention of a ravenous succubus, who has developed an appetite for Scottish farmers.
Falling isn’t so bad… it’s the landing that hurts.


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Kokabiel lay deep under the surface of the Earth where he remained for hours and days and years until one morning he emerged, whole in body, but damaged and tainted in mind and soul. He burrowed his way through the mud and ice of the Earth's crust, emerging from the rich black soil in an unwitting parody of birth.
Naked and filthy, he sprawled on the new spring grass, chest heaving, eyes bewildered by the colors and shapes that he saw, confused by the sounds that filtered past the mud in his ears. Strange animals surrounded Kokabiel, ignoring him as they grazed in the field. Creatures wheeled through the sky overhead, borne on feathered wings, much like his…
He twisted, eyes wide in horror. They were gone. Burned away. Only charred stumps remained where his wings belonged. Panic gripped his heart and he lurched to unsteady feet, once again searching for the wings that he felt, yet were not to be seen. He opened his mouth to cry out, but only a coarse sound emerged from his throat, bursting past his mud-coated tongue.
Kokabiel turned to flee in panic, but clumsy legs betrayed him, spilling him to the muddy ground where he lay panting, the crippling fear too much to fight.
"They're still there, lad. They'll grow back soon enough, now that you're back in the light."
Kokabiel rolled over and located the voice. He scrambled on his backside, trying to distance himself from the threat. The creature looked familiar: two legs, two arms, a good-natured face under a mop of dirt brown curls that glistened with silver. He couldn't understand the words the man spoke, but the meaning registered in his brain.
"Ah… it's all right. You laddies are always pretty shaken once you wake up. Don't know if it's the fall…" Humorous, smiling eyes gazed up at the heavens, and then down to the soil. "…or if it's the landing. Either way, you angels got it rough. Took you longer than most. You must have fallen further." He grinned, exposing a roguish smile. "I'm Reux. That means headache." He chuckled at his own words. "Needless to say, I don't use it often. You can call me Rex. That means king. Better name, if you ask me. Now what do I call you?"
He moved a little closer, and Kokabiel eyed the creature nervously, for this was no human nor was it angel. He looked like a man, but through eyes blurred with fatigue, Kokabiel saw something else entirely. Something man-like and charming. Something magical. Surely this was no demon?
Rex moved closer, squatting down on his haunches, resting his arms on his knees, long, slender hands hanging loose. His legs were clad in worn fabric breeches. A woven cloth shirt hung loose to mid-thigh. Scuffed leather boots rose to his knees. The creature's eyes were no color Kokabiel had ever seen; brown mixed with green and gold, harmonizing with his richly colored curls and warm brown skin. The forest green of his eyes echoed the rich green of his shirt.
At his neck hung an ornate amulet, dangling from a worn leather cord. Magic resonated from the object.
"You're a pretty one, aren't you? That's going to be a problem right quick. I'll have to keep you hidden from the lassies till you're on your feet. Can you tell me your name?"
Rex's voice was mesmerizing, lyrical. Kokabiel felt his heart begin to settle; his fear began to recede. His panic rose once more with the realization that knowledge was flooding into his brain. Colors had names, words had meaning.
Kokabiel moved his lips experimentally, and a harsh sound came out. Before his voice was music, pure and crystalline. Now it was hoarse and husky. He'd lost his wings and now his voice. Tears stung his eyes.
"Koka…" He broke off, unable to bear the sound.
He nodded.
The creature… Rex… rose and paced. Through tear-blurred eyes, Kokabiel thought he saw something… but he blinked and it vanished. No, Rex was no angel, nor was he human.
"The Kokabiel? The Star of God?"
"Shit. What in hell's going on up there?" He ran a hand through his curls, frowning up at the sky. Seeing Kokabiel's look of confusion, he shook his head sadly. "You aren't the first, lad. Not by far."
Kokabiel reached up and clasped the hand Rex offered. The other man pulled him effortlessly to his feet. He wobbled unsteadily, unaccustomed to the weight of a corporeal body. He stepped and winced, a sharp pain jabbing into his naked foot. His muddy skin pebbled with the cold. Kokabiel glanced down. His flaccid penis rested in a nest of dark curls. That was new. Before, his body had been hairless and smooth. He reached up and tangled hair filled his fist. It was no longer brilliant and star-colored, but a rich, vibrant hue… like blood. It was very nearly the color of blood. His hair fell almost to his hips rather than floating in waves around his shoulders. Gaps in the filth on his skin showed it to be creamy white rather than alabaster.
Kokabiel touched the skin of his face, under the drying mud. It felt as it should, smooth and hairless. The features felt the same. He wondered what color his eyes were. He suddenly realized that he didn't know what he looked like. Beyond his name, he had no memory.
"So you are God's Star. Obviously, we can't be calling you that."
Rex strode to a lump on the ground. It was a pack of some sort. He reached in and tossed Kokabiel a blanket, which he accepted with gratitude, wrapping it around his trembling body. A sharp pain ripped through his belly, followed by an unusual noise. Rex grinned as he turned away.
"A bit hungry, eh? Well, I've got mutton stew that'll be near ready."
Hungry? That was the pain in his belly? He trudged behind the man, realizing that he stood much taller than Rex, by nearly a handspan. The other man had broad shoulders, tapering to narrow hips. Kokabiel had nothing to compare the man to, but saw him as a thing of beauty and exceeding grace.
Grace. He had fallen from Grace.

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