Angel or Not?
If he succeeds, he gets angel wings. If he fails, he gets unspeakable pain. What if Charlie wants neither?
Urban fantasy light short story with a touch of gay romance in a slightly noir short story with a very happy ending.
In another Los Angeles, two Nephilim take hell-horses into battle against Angels, risking everything in an effort to give Hell’s lowliest slaves a chance at freedom.
Eventually, every Nephilim must face Choosing Day, and for Charlie Chrysalis, the day has arrived. At Angel Headquarters in Los Angeles, the Angel Sidriel—Charlie’s guardian and also his worst enemy—asks the key question: “Spirit or Flesh?” If he chooses Spirit, Sid will certainly do everything he can to make sure Charlie fails, but he’s made up his mind. His test: solve Region Six Immigration Crimes Case D665. It looks like a piece of cake. But can Charlie bring down Sidriel's brand of justice upon innocent, unfortunate souls, even if it means he must silence his heart and sacrifice the respect—and possibly love—of the one man he doesn't want to disappoint?
Charlie’s Choosing day, downtown in another Los Angeles
“Your test, Charles.”
For once, Sidriel—Supervising Angel Khabiel’s right hand man—spoke to me in a civil tone. I searched the Angel’s eyes, but as always I found only bitterness, ingrained and directed toward me with its usual extra measure of malice. Inside the thin folder he handed me, I found grainy photos of what looked like a roadhouse in the old American West, stagecoach and all. People and odd-shaped bundles littered the double-barn-sized room, but I couldn’t make out details. The one paragraph summary told me only that someone was smuggling immigrants. It didn’t say when, where, how, or who. I mentioned that to Sid.
“Exactly,” he said, and laughed.
Funny? Perhaps, but behind his thin smile and hooded eyes, I saw a vicious streak a foot wide. He knew me well, knew what would hurt me. And he couldn’t wait to dole it out.
(Limited ARCs available at Booksprout.)