Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Michael's Passion by Joel Crofoot ♥ Spotlight & GIVEAWAY ♥ (Paranormal Romance)

The Archangel Michael's passion for life has recently begun to wane. He has isolated himself from the other angels and become complacent on the job. When a slip up in a fight causes him to be cast out of heaven the furthest thing on Michael's mind is helping a demon, until he meets Jahi. Now Michael must face a dilemma he never could have imagined. With Michael already cast out of heaven, what will happen to him if he falls in love with a demon?

Jahi has finally returned to earth with her demanding boss, only to find herself captured by the Archangel Michael. Now she must decide if she can give up the freedom she has sought for so long or return to a life of prostitution, and Michael’s passion for her makes this a decision Jahi can’t take lightly.

Caution: This book contains scenes that are intended for adults only. You probably won't want to bring it to church with you.


Prologue

About a year ago:

Jahi luxuriated in the crisp morning air, welcoming it deep into her lungs. Her chest filled to the brink as filling her with life anew. Then the realization hit her.
Air!
She was breathing! Her eyes shot open and her mouth widened in amazement while she filled her lungs again as if to test the reality of it. It worked!Agares had upheld his end of the bargain, and she was out of hell. She blinked a few times at the unfamiliar brightness then sat up.
Where am I? She wondered. What year is it? The last time she had walked the surface was around the fourteenth century, before that damn inquisitor got her. They got more humans than they did demons, but they’d been right about her.
She was in the middle of the desert somewhere on the hard, sandy ground. Bits of small rock littered itself across a sand bed for as far as the eye could see, occasionally wrapping itself around sparse plants. She prayed it wasn’t Persia. She’d vowed she would never go back there. But then again, beggars can’t be choosers. At least she was on Earth.
She stood up and surveyed the area. Everything around her was brown and beige. It didn’t look like Persia, or what she remembered of it anyway. It was… rockier. A quick glance around her told her that she was alone. She relaxed her shoulders in relief.
Jahi sprouted her wings and launched herself off the ground. The feeling of having air under her wings gave a fluttering coolness to her skin and felt her lips creep up into a smile. She flew in small circles, at first, looking for landmarks, but finding only shrubs and sand. She widened the search in great sweeps like a pendulum and found a paved road. The pavement was smooth, as if it was all one continuous rock. That was new to her. The construction is amazing! Off in the distance, buildings rose from the ground indicating some kind of modern human establishment, so she headed that way.
One week later, she found herself sipping wine from a glass as clear as water in a hotel room at the Riviera Resort in Palm Springs, California. Her current client at the hotel was a businessman from a place called Los Angeles. He’d paid $15,000 for a week with her. Usually she would accept no less than his soul, but at the moment she found herself in need of currency until she could get established in the world again.
The room was very luxurious compared to the medieval environments she remembered. The man’s suitcase was spread out over the stand in the corner, draped in his slacks, with a pair of jeans crumpled on the floor below. The large bed and its soft blankets were a mess from their earlier carnal activities. The only personal belonging she had to contribute to the décor sat perched on the dresser: A jewelry box she’d retrieved from a cave in the Alps where she had buried it long ago. Her current client had supplied her with new clothes, and currently she was wondering where she could store them until she found a place to live.
She would have to leave tomorrow because Zepar, one of the leaders of the Southwest United States, had summoned her. She felt her mood dampen at the thought of a new boss. She’d had one week of fun and freedom and now she was about to go back to servitude. She took another drink. She was heading straight back to being surrounded by demons who’d leer at her, detest her for her physical weakness, and resent her sensual pull over them. Drink. Having a boss with constant demands and threats. Drink. Not just threats, but also punishments. She would never escape the fucken punishments. Drink. Her whole existence was one long punishment, even now that she was back on the surface. Drink.
Jahi had hoped that things would be different this time. She should have known better. Things were never going to be different. Drink. Why had she even bothered to dream? She felt a tear slide down her cheek.
“Come now, my dear. It's not all that bad.” Agares’s smooth voice startled her.
She whirled around to find herself face to face with the Duke of demons that had surfaced her, for a steep price. Prepaid, of course. She wanted to roll her eyes, but he was much more powerful than she was, and it was likely she’d one day be working for him again. Insubordination was not tolerated in the demon community.  “My human client will be back shortly, M’lord,” she lied, hoping that would send Agares off.
Agares gave her a smile, revealing perfectly white teeth that contrasted sharply with his tan skin. “No, he won’t.” His dark eyes scanned the view from her window then landed back on her. “Have you heard from anyone?”
Jahi nodded. “I’m to report to Zepar in a city called Los Angeles.”
“And you’re crying because you’ll miss me, right?” he asked in an arrogant and sarcastic tone as he reached up a hard hand and thumbed the tears from her cheek. He shot her a lascivious gaze as he drew his hand back and sucked the tears off.
Agares face suddenly turned serious, and he stared at her in a way that made her uncomfortable. His eyes darted back and forth over her face suggesting that he was deep in thought. Then they stilled, and he stepped closer. “Los Angeles you say? Perhaps I shall pay Zepar a visit with you, so he knows what a gem you are.”
A spark of hope ignited in her. Not that she had any interest in Agares, but she was opportunistic, and if a chance presented itself she’d try for it. She inched closer to him, and flared her powers of seduction in his direction.
“If I’m such a gem, M’lord, perhaps a change in status is due.”
He eyed her with an appreciative smile, then further closed the gap between them, wrapping an arm around her waist. His grip on her held her tight against his body. Agares bowed his head and brushed his lips against her cheek, then placed them near her ear and whispered. “I see you are very ambitious.” His tongue shot out and slid up and down her earlobe. “But you’ll always be a whore.”
           

Chapter One

Michael did not fall from grace so much as he just never returned to it, or there, or them, or Him. It wasn’t the thousands of years fighting demons that stopped him; it was more his mood over the last several decades. There was an ache in his chest, an emptiness that he couldn’t fill. The void drained the life from him replacing it with a hollow shell of the angel he used to be. The last thing he wanted was to see the bright, shining, happy faces of the angels up there. Their feeble, but well-meaning, attempts to pacify him were wasted on him. He preferred to just stay here and kill things.
That was how he’d found himself in Lancaster, CA, a desert shithole of a town about seventy miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles that had an overabundance of drugs, street gangs, hood-rats, and tumbleweeds. A demon he’d been stalking for about the last twenty-four hours led him this way, and the damned thing had apparently taken up residence in some sort of section eight apartment complex. After watching the demon go into an apartment, Michael had been waiting on the roof of the building ever since. The apartment itself was no doubt riddled with traps or wards, so waiting was safest.
It was going on nine hours, and Michael was getting bored. The weapons he was carrying were digging into him now after sitting in one position all night. An hour ago he’d started flipping a knife in his right hand, wondering if he was going to get to use the thing. How much longer am I willing to wait? Another half hour dragged on and Michael got up considering going into that apartment despite the dangers. He stretched his tight muscles, feeling a mild pull as his human form released its stiffness.
Blessedly, he heard the lock on the door flip with a metallic clicking sound below him. The door to the apartment opened and out into the sun walked the demon, keys in hand. It turned to lock the door behind it.
Michael started to spread his wings with anticipation, but eased them back so as not to alert the demon to his presence. The demon was in human form disguised as a bald, tattooed, overweight, white man, wearing jeans, a torn t-shirt, and a black leather jacket. Interestingly, Michael was dressed similarly, although he preferred his black cargo pants.
The demon jingled his keys as he walked unsuspectingly down the catwalk. Seeing his long-awaited chance, Michael leapt off the roof, landing immediately in front of the demon, his golden eyes glowing as he grinned at the shock on the demon’s face. Please run. Michael hadn’t had a good chase in ages and he missed the thrill of them. The excitement and alert demanded by a chase was one of the only things that seemed to fill that void lately, although they rarely lasted longer than a few minutes.
The demon took only a millisecond to collect himself, but he did not run, much to Michael’s disappointment. Instead, he lunged at Michael’s face with a fist-hold of keys. Michael blocked the punch with his forearm, and stabbed his knife toward the demon’s gut with the other hand. The demon blocked Michael’s stab attempt, grabbing Michael’s wrist. The fight that ensued was nothing short of a martial arts miracle, especially since it took place at such a speed that humans would see nothing but a blur.
Michael drove his left fist into the creature’s inner forearm, causing the demon to release Michael’s wrist. Michael followed that up with a knee to the groin, which the demon immediately blocked with two palms, one of which was finding its way to Michael’s chin in a hurry. Michael took just enough of a step back to give himself room to block the uppercut before returning a jab to the demon’s face with his left fist, hoping to distract it long enough to stab the thing back to hell.
It didn’t work. The demon blocked the attack with its right palm, and spun around enough to nail a shin into Michael’s peroneal nerve on his thigh. The force would have dropped a human. Michael barely registered the impact, concentrating, instead, on his next move, since the kick had brought the demon in closer. Just close enough for a strike. Michael absorbed the blow to his leg and feigned injury, so he could pivot slightly and thrust with his knife, straight into the ribcage of the demon.
Black blood, reeking of evil, began to pour out of the wound, and Michael retracted the knife allowing the blood to seep faster from the newly created hole, only to stab the knife back into the heart of the demon that stood black-eyed, with his jaw gaping in shock. Another one down.
From somewhere from behind him, the sound of shots from a gun rang out, but up here in Lancaster that was probably a common occurrence. Michael had to stay where he was to ensure this abomination returned to its pit. A burning in his gut called his attention, and Michael glanced down to see if the demon had landed a punch he didn’t remember. What he saw was his own glowing blood, spewing from a hole about where his belly button would have been, if he were human. Fuck! He’d been shot. Human made bullets were only a minor inconvenience, but he didn’t want to attract human attention.
He glanced over his shoulder at the mortal men coming at him from the stairs of the catwalk. Fucken demon cronies, he thought. Probably drug dealers or gang members. Likely both. He had better get out of here lest he hurt a human. Even if they were demon cronies, they weren’t worth the trouble. He retracted the knife from the demon, who was dying much too slowly for Michael’s taste.
“Hey!” someone screamed from behind him. Michael turned his head to see how close the cronies had gotten, and felt a sharp stinging pain in his gut.What the…? He looked down in horror, just in time to see the demon’s hand wiping its black blood into Michael’s wound. The thing was laughing, or trying to anyway. It was more like coughing and hissing now, with black spittle running down its chin from its lips.
Michael shoved the thing down as he realized the severity of the situation. It had infected him and he had to get the hell out of here now! He leapt up on the roof again, dripping his own shimmering blood and leaving a trail for any who cared to follow.
Michael cloaked himself in invisibility and tried to transport himself back to his place. He didn’t make it further than the next building. The burning from the infection in the wound felt like a hot poker in his gut. Shit, I’m really in trouble now. Michael did the only thing he could do. It was such a human thing that he was disgusted with himself. He pulled out a cell phone and dialed the number of the only person he knew would answer… Gabriel, his brother. How long had it been since he talked to him? Five, ten years?


Chapter Two

Jahi strolled confidently along Hollywood Boulevard, attracting a lot of attention as she did. The attention made her smile with pride and she felt herself pull her shoulder back into a tall prideful stride. Women glared with jealousy, and men salivated at the sight of her raw sexuality. She was carrying a six pack of Miller Lite in her right hand. On her other arm, a Gucci purse hung over her elbow. Her financial standings had improved drastically since arriving in Los Angeles. Thanks to a few high rolling clients.
Her stilettos made clicking noises as she walked, and everyone who was around to see her stopped to stare. Her heavy black hair stood out exquisitely against her short, red dress, and her long legs were displayed for the viewing pleasure of anyone easily tempted by erotic fantasy.
Turning up Gower Street, she headed toward the First Presbyterian Church. There was an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that was about to let out, so she figured she would drop off a little gift by the exit. Nothing big, just the six pack. That was not why she had come, of course, but why pass up the opportunity to lead someone into temptation?
Earlier in the day, she’d met Daniel, a hard-working family man, firefighter, father of three. He’d been sober for about three years, which was lucky for his family because he was a mean drunk. But Jahi was about to undo all of his progress, and then some.
As she walked to the side door of the church where the meeting goers would exit, she planted her six-pack half in the bushes. It was clearly visible to all, but hidden enough to look as though it might belong to someone, like a bum hiding his possessions.
She reapplied her lipstick while she waited, making sure not to dab it off absentmindedly. She’d leave some on his shirt collar for his wife to find. Noting the parked cars on the street, she found Daniel’s pickup truck and headed for it. She placed her finger on the front right tire as she walked past, creating just enough of a leak to leave them stranded after a short drive. Then she sat on the curb, head in hand, and feigned to cry until she heard the voice she was waiting for.
“Ma’am, are you ok?”
She sniffled and looked up. There he was. Her knight in shining armor. This was going to be fun.

***
“You look like shit.” Gabriel handed Michael a beer. They were back at Gabriel’s place in Los Angeles. Michael had barely made it through the lavish sun-filled foyer of the Beverly Hills estate before collapsing on a white leather sofa that matched the bright interior.
“I feel like shit.” Michael cracked open the beer and guzzled it.
“You shoulda healed by now. What happened?” Gabriel pulled up an ornately carved chair with a fine needlework cushion. If anyone else knew how old that chair was, or that it had once belonged to Pope Benedict XIV, they would have been dismayed by his casual use of it. Most of the decorations and half the furniture in the estate were priceless. Gabriel appreciated the fine craftwork of humans, which made his posing as an antiquities dealer a perfect cover.
“The bastard got me with his blood,” Michael said, wincing in pain as he tried to adjust his position.
Gabriel sneered at him. “What is this, your first day? Rookie.”
“Fuck off.”
“You got complacent and now you gotta go see the Man.”
Michael winced again, but this time at his brother’s words. “Nah, I’ll be fine. I just need to take a break for a while.”
Gabriel sat back and slowly blew air out of his mouth, then studied Michael with an expression of doubt. “Don’t wait too long before you go see Him. This is not the kind of thing that's going to get better by waiting.”
“We’ll see,” Michael said, closing his eyes. Gabriel sat there a minute staring at his brother. He had a really bad feeling about this and he was usually right about such things. Michael hadn’t checked in for at least seventy years, maybe more. No communication at all. Now he was about to turn up asking for help. Michael wouldn’t have a choice in the matter, because Gabriel could smell the infection already. It was a sour smell that mixed with the sweet scent of angel blood. The Father was not going to be happy.
Gabriel downed the rest of his beer and slid his chair back. He needed another drink if he was going to sit here and watch his brother suffer. He went to the kitchen to get another cold one and returned to his place on the chair.
Michael hadn’t shifted at all, his massive, perfectly proportioned body still sprawled out on the couch. His face was a shade paler than usual. Michael’s long blond locks somehow had golden angel blood in them, probably from the fight. The beautiful face Gabriel recognized seemed to be deteriorating as if Michael was aging right in front of him. The skin of Michael’s face sagged over his cheeks and slack jaw. New lines had appeared and his lips shriveled like raisins. Gabriel took a long swig, then put the back of his hand to Michael’s forehead. Yup, fever. This was going to be a long night.


Chapter Three

Jahi made it home around three that morning. Daniel was probably crawling into bed with his wife right now. She’d smell the alcohol on him and all hell would break loose. Jahi on the other hand was returning to her penthouse apartment in The Century Building of West Los Angeles. She stepped off the private elevator into her reception area and retreated back to her grand bedroom, flicking the fireplace on with a wave of her hand as she walked by it. The fire light lit the lavish king sized bed and added to the soft yellow shine of the city lights creeping through the windows.
“You didn’t check in tonight,” a gruff voice called from an easy chair across the room. Jahi whirled around, surprised at the company. Agares, now her boss and the district manager of the demonic Southwest of sorts, was sitting in the dark with his legs crossed. He’d followed her back to Los Angeles, then basically taken over the region. She hadn’t had to deal with him for a while because he had increased the soul quota for the entire Southwest causing her to work a lot of overtime. Jahi didn’t mind because it was a convenient excuse to avoid him, and all other demon kind for that matter. Many others in the horde took issue with demanding pace, and stupidly voiced their opinions. He’d made examples of quite a few. She shuddered thinking about the way they screamed as scraps of their flesh hit the floor.
Usually, as long as she checked in nightly, attended the monthly meetings, and met her soul quota, she could avoid Agares. Now, he was in her room. His black business suit matched his short hair and his onyx eyes. His dark olive skin had an appropriately reddish glow in the fire light. Jahi knew a personal house call meant she was in trouble.
“I told Zepar I would be working, M’lord.”
“Yes, he informed me,” Agares drawled. “And to what end were you working?”
“I, uh, made a long term investment,” Jahi replied, trying not to sound as uneasy as she felt. A home visit by Agares was greatly discomforting, and she was starting to wonder which of the horde had set her up. “Three or four souls for the price of one.”
“Ah, good. I like that strategy.” Agares uncrossed his legs and stood up. Jahi breathed a slight sigh of relief as she presumed he was leaving, until he began talking again. “And have you made any short term gains to bolster our coffers?”
Fuck! The pace of her heart beat ramped up. “I turned over a soul last night.”
“So none tonight?” His eyes narrowed.
Jahi looked at the carpet of her bedroom floor. She was going to have to go back to work tonight. “The night is young yet, M’lord.”
“So it is.” Agares took several steps in her direction, unbuttoning his suit jacket as he did. Jahi tried to step away but found that she couldn’t move. This was one of his preferred specialty tricks, along with earthquakes, and Jahi was his favorite play toy. “Perhaps I should take your debt out in trade,” he said as he approached her frozen body.
Jahi fought to move, or even talk, but she was a living statue. Agares removed his jacket and tossed it on the bed, then began unbuttoning his shirt cuffs at each wrist.
“Did you say something?” he asked her patronizingly, as if she could answer.
When her mouth was finally allowed the slightest of movements, Jahi replied “Not here.”
Agares’s eyes swept the room then fell back on her. “Is there a problem with the bedroom?”
“I don’t shit where I sleep.”
His head fell back with a rolling laugh that filled the room. “Fine, whore. Lead the way.”
Her legs were freed, and she lost balance from having been fighting the invisible restraint. She quickly righted herself with all the dignity she could muster.
“This way.” She led Agares toward the guest bedroom across the giant apartment. She could feel his eyes on her body the entire way. Once in the guest room, Agares again subjected her to the statue treatment, but this time he was right behind her when she froze in place.
“So this is more to your liking?” he whispered in her ear from behind. She had no way of responding. He pushed her hair aside and placed his mouth on her neck, nipping a little with his sharp canine teeth. “It's been awhile for us, hasn’t it Jahi?” he softly spoke into her skin, then tongued the back of her earlobe, before slipping it into his mouth to suck. His hands found her hips, then slid down her legs.
He pulled the dress up to just below her butt, and gripped a cheek with his right hand, his left hand circling her body around the waist. “Have you missed me?” he asked haughtily, knowing she couldn’t answer if she wanted to.
Agares’s right hand explored its way under the dress, letting his fingertips run lightly across the black lace thong that was covering her sex. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure you enjoy it as much as I do this time.” His middle finger ran up and down the outside of her panties, over and over caressing her. He nibbled at her exposed neck as he stroked her. Finally, his hand cupped her mound, while the tip of his middle finger found her clit and pressed it, making small circling movements. Jahi felt her body respond with pulsing spasms as his finger toyed her. Her legs would have buckled if she hadn’t been restrained.
“Come for me,” he whispered into ear.
Jahi tried to fight the growing urgency in her body. His finger pressed hard and the stroking grew faster, as did her breathing. His finger rocked quickly back and forth over her most sensitive spot creating a tightening throughout her body. Finally, when she could bear it no more, a hot release spread over her as her muscles seized. He released his invisible hold on her vocals just long enough to hear a guttural moan from her lips.
“That's my girl.” His hand moved to give her butt cheek an appreciative slap. He unzipped the dress from behind and lowered it from her body, leaving it wrapped around her ankles. She hadn’t been wearing a bra so she was left in her thong and stilettos. Her lush breasts were bare to his eyes and the glow from the city lights outside the window. The taught round little nipples stood erect to the night air.
His left hand came from behind her again, this time reaching for her breast. He caught one of her nipples between his thumb and forefinger, rubbing it lightly, as he made a deep inarticulate moan in her ear.
“Get on the bed,” he ordered a moment later, releasing his mental hold on her. She knew running was useless. He would just freeze her mid-step, and then he wouldn’t be as gentle as he was being now. She climbed on the bed, lying on her back, as she waited for him to disrobe.
His white shirt came first, revealing a perfectly muscled torso, with no hair but some light peach fuzz. She wondered if this was his natural human form, like her form was, or if he’d assumed this form later. He kicked off his shiny dress shoes and removed his trousers, draping them neatly over a chair. His erection was apparent beneath his brand name underwear, and it popped out ready for action as he slid his briefs down his muscular legs.
Agares approached the bed, climbing over her on all fours. She felt his mental hold take over again. He spread her legs with his hands and sat between them. She felt her arms being pushed above her head with his mind, freezing her in that position, then he sat back on his heels enjoying the view.
Jahi could feel her skin heating and blushing with the attention and she struggled against his hold. He ignored her struggles and reached forward, stroking her again.
“Don’t be impatient my dear, we have forever after all.” With a quick flick of his wrist, he ripped her thong free of her body and tossed it aside. “I do like it when you struggle though. Perhaps I should be less gentle.” She felt him release her mouth and vocals again, just in time for her to feel a sharp zap of electrical charge hit the side of her leg from his fingers. She yelped in surprise and pain.
“No, M’lord,” she replied. “I was enjoying it as it was.” She knew from personal experience that he could get really nasty if he wanted to. He seemed to be in a good mood tonight, and she wasn’t about to jeopardize that.
His fingers stroked the crevices of her sex, and one slipped ever so slightly inside her. He pulled that hand slowly back to his mouth, smelling the finger. “Yes, it seems you were.” With that, he bent his head forward and brought his mouth gently to her sex, spreading her legs even more with his mind. She felt his tongue against her sex as he began to lap in slow easy strokes, laving first at her entrance, then working his way up to her clit. Anticipation mounted in her as he teased. She wanted to arch up to him, but couldn’t.
________________________________________
End of this sample Kindle book.









I was raised in northern New York state on a farm. At 18 years-old I enlisted in the Marine Corps and spent my first 4 years in Japan working as a radio operator. I then became a bomb disposal technician (we call it explosive ordnance disposal) and returned to the U.S. to be stationed out of California. I did 2 combat tours to Iraq then left the Marine Corps to pursue higher education. I currently reside in Los Angeles and anticipate graduating with a doctorate in psychology in the fall of 2017. In my free time I enjoy running, playing with my dogs, and reading.


  



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