Jacob Bailey has retreated to Scotland to die in solitude, tormented by the loss of the love of his life and wishing for an end to his suffering. In his remote house by the sea he is visited by an angel, with history and pain of his own, a being who brings far more to Jacob’s final days than he could ever hope for.
Something awoke him later from a night everlasting. The angel. His angel. Well, no, it seemed the archangel Michael was his angel in the strictest sense of the word but the dark beauty, well he was the only angel Jacob knew, the one who kept coming back unbidden. The one who had captured Jacob’s imagination like never before. He was the one sitting on the end of Jacob’s bed. He watched silently from amber, unblinking eyes, like a cat.
Jacob summoned his will, his courage. “Who are you?”
“Didn’t I tell you that?”
“The archangel Michael doesn’t like you.”
Morning Star gave a scornful snort. “He doesn’t like many angels, not just me. And I’m an archangel too, so don’t think he’s my superior.”
“He called you Bringer of Light. How many names do you have?”
“One or two.”
Jacob sat up. He regarded the angel coldly. “There’s a letter on the dresser over there from my friend Stephen, which I haven’t opened yet. I asked him to find out what Morning Star is a translation of. Why don’t you read it to me and then I’ll finally get the truth, seeing as you won’t give it to me.”
The angel’s expression was like ice. He drew himself up tall, his wings shivering into submission behind him as though they feared his temper. He crossed to the dresser and plucked the letter from it. Then he moved to the fire and deliberately tossed the envelope into the flames.
Jacob cried out. His legs were too numb to propel himself from the bed but he half threw himself face down over the covers, reaching hopelessly towards the fire. The smouldering embers were barely enough to curl the edges of the paper but his angel saw to that.
He cast an imperious hand over the fire and, a moment later, the flames roared greedily to life in the grate, licking so viciously within their confines that Jacob was driven back to the head of the bed, cowering, his face blooming with heat.
Morning Star turned away from the fire. His expression was smug and satisfied, his eyes glowing.
“Who are you?” Jacob cried almost hysterically, and he saw a livid expression cross the angel’s face.
Morning Star pounced like a ferocious winged beast. His growl shook the room. He pinned Jacob to the bed, breathing cinnamon over him, his eyes burning brighter than the fire. He pressed a hand over Jacob’s mouth, delicate and soft but with a suffocating grip of steel.
“I am fallen,” he hissed. “I am Lucifer.”
Jacob’s mouth opened in a soundless cry of horror beneath the angel’s hand. He thrashed impotently beneath the weight atop him. He gripped at the angel’s muscular shoulders, nails scratching ineffectually. The angel lowered his face to Jacob’s; his blazing gaze seared his eyeballs. Then his other hand took Jacob around the throat, pressing steadily, harder, harder.
Jacob felt liquid velvet spread out from his core, the darkness consuming him the way the morphine did. He felt nothing but welcome release and he prayed this was it.
His vision narrowed to twin points of hellish flame and he called upon God as he sank away.