After the Fall by L.G. Castillo
Series: Broken Angel (#2)
Publication Date: September 15, 2013
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance
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There’s a Spanish proverb that says, “From the thorn and the pain, a flower is born.” Naomi Duran never really understood what that meant until she became an archangel.
Finally reunited with the love of her life, Naomi thought she had everlasting love and happiness in Heaven. Even with the rebellious Lash by her side, she learns that life as an archangel isn’t easy.
When secrets of the past are finally revealed, tempers flare, brother is pitted against brother, and Naomi and Lash face the greatest threat to their relationship: choosing among love, family, or duty.
In the end, can this family of broken angels forgive past mistakes, or will they carry the thorn in their hearts forever, ripping their family apart?
After the Fall – CHAPTER 1
Rachel’s cloak fluttered as she sped through the dark tunnel. He was there. She could feel him.
Shivering, her fingers fumbled with the heavy material as she drew it closer to her body. Puffs of white drifted from her mouth as she panted, trying to catch her breath. With each step she took, it was as if her angelic powers were being drained away. She stopped and slumped against the damp wall of the cave, unable to take another step. Could she do this? Even if she managed to reach him, would she have any power left to save him?
Gabrielle had warned her it would be like this, but Rachel had dismissed her, especially when she first stepped into Hell. It looked just like home! Lush grass and fragrant flowers lined the landscape as far as she could see. Snowcapped mountains stood as a backdrop against the clear blue skies—even the stream was located in the same exact spot as in Heaven. If it wasn’t for the unnerving feeling in the pit of her stomach and the hairs that stood on the back of her neck, she would have sworn she was home.
Considering Lucifer held his captives at the Lake of Fire, she had assumed Hell was a vast empty land of sweltering heat. It wasn’t until she found the cave hidden behind a waterfall that she finally understood what Gabrielle meant about not letting her guard down. The cave was frigid. The icy air seemed to seep into her pores and deep into her bones, causing her teeth to chatter uncontrollably.
She wished Gabrielle had given her more information about what to expect. She would’ve dressed warmer. Gabrielle had only gone once, and she had waited on the outer boundaries of the cave. According to her, one time had been enough. It had taken her days to recover from the experience.
Only Raphael knew what Hell was really like. He had made Gabrielle wait for him while he bravely went through the deepest depths of the cave to reach the lake. He was the only person she knew of who had gone down and returned—alive.
If only she could have asked Raphael about what to expect and how to prepare. She sighed. If she had, there was no way she could’ve slipped away unnoticed. She would’ve been reported to Michael and more than likely, would’ve been put on watch until it was too late.
A sob escaped her at the thought of his death. She slapped a hand over her mouth, horrified as the sound echoed in the darkness, bouncing off the walls. Her body shook as she wrestled with the thought of losing him. She had to pull herself together. If she were caught, it would be the end for both of them.
Her feet scraped across the floor of the cave as she trudged forward in the darkness. As she rounded a corner, she came up to a pair of tunnels.
Which way should I go? Her eyes watered, and she bit down on her lip, frustrated. She was tired. So tired. If she chose the wrong one, she didn’t know if she would be able to make it down the second. Time was running out. She had to make a choice, now!
She was about to go down the tunnel to her left when she heard a moan from the right.
She raced toward the sound with renewed energy, and within minutes, she came into a large cavern. Heat slammed against her body, making her cringe in pain from the abrupt change in temperature. She stopped suddenly, her arms flailing out as she tried to regain her balance and not fall into the molten lava that appeared right before her eyes threatening to singe the tips of her toes.
Immense heat blurred her vision, and she rubbed her eyes. All she could see was a sea of red heat. Where is he?
Searching through the haze, she finally saw a faint figure, motionless. She blinked again and gasped when her eyes finally focused.
No! It can’t be him.
Across the lake, chained to the wall, naked, was the one person in her life who she couldn’t be without. The one person for whom she would defy the orders of the most high of archangels just so she could save him.
Tears spilled down her heated cheeks as she took in his once magnificent body, scorched by the lava that splashed onto his skin. His beautiful downy-white wings were now a grotesque black. With each movement he made, feathers turned to ash and fluttered lifelessly to the ground.
“Uriel,” she croaked.
Uriel lifted his head, and pained eyes looked back at her, a startling blue against the black of his charred face. “No,” he groaned. “Leave. Leave now. He’ll be here—”
The cave rumbled, and lava sprouted into the air. A splattering of the searing liquid fell onto his chest. He arched his back and screeched.
“I’m coming, Uriel!” She tore off her cloak and flicked her wings open.
“It’s too late for me,” he rasped. “Don’t do this.”
“No, it’s not. I don’t care what the others say. You’ve redeemed yourself. You deserve another chance.”
He looked deep into her eyes. “Forgive me. I’m unworthy of you.”
“There is nothing to forgive. I love you.”
Desperate to find a way to get to him, Rachel looked around the cavern. She swallowed hard as she flit her wings and with all the strength she could muster, propelled herself into the air. She was only able to get herself a couple of feet off the ground. It was as if an invisible barrier was holding her down. Frantically, she looked around for another way to get to him and saw a narrow stone path with lava washing across it. There was no other way to him.
With all her might, she pushed herself upward, trying to get distance from the fiery liquid. The cave shook again, and a wave of lava slammed against the walls, sending droplets of lava flying into the air and onto her wings.
She wailed in pain and began to fall.
“No, Rachel. Go back,” Uriel moaned.
Before Rachel could tell him there was no way she was leaving him, she felt a rush of air on her back. An arm wrapped tightly around her waist and yanked her away from the lake, away from Uriel.
“Take her…Gabrielle,” Uriel gasped. “Keep her…safe.”
“You have my word,” Gabrielle said as she tightened her hold on Rachel.
“No!” Rachel screamed, struggling against Gabrielle’s steel-like arms. “Let me go. Let. Me. Go!”
Rachel stretched out her arms as if just by doing so, she could hold on to him. “Uriel! Uriel!”
Just as Gabrielle flew out of the cavern, a loud thunderclap rocked the cave, and the sound of his screams ripped through her, mixing with her own.
She fell limply into Gabrielle’s arms as they flew back through the frigid tunnel. The cold spread to her face, her hands, and then crept into her heart and the deepest part of her soul until there was nothing left except a dark numbness. It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore.
When they flew out of the waterfall and into the sunlight, she stared lifelessly at the clouds drifting overhead. And though the sun shone down on her face, she couldn’t feel its warmth. She doubted if she would ever feel it again. The cold emptiness in her heart would be there forever because Uriel was dead.
Series: Broken Angel (#1)
Publication Date: May 6 2013
Genre: New Adult Paranormal Romance
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Decades after being banished from Heaven for saving a life he shouldn’t have, Lash is given a chance to redeem himself. His mission: protect Naomi Duran, a young woman who has lost her faith. The assignment proves to be anything but simple when his superiors, the Archangels, withhold key information about Naomi and refuse to restore Lash’s powers. When an unexpected source reveals centuries-old secrets, his trust is shaken to the core, and he begins to doubt those whom he had once considered to be his greatest allies.
Determined to avoid anything that would risk his chances of returning to Heaven, Lash struggles with the greatest obstacle of all—his growing feelings for Naomi. But when her life is threatened by an unknown source, Lash questions the wisdom of the Archangels and his ability to keep her safe.
Soon, Lash will have to choose where to place his faith—in the home he has fought so hard to regain or in the forbidden love he can’t bear to lose.
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