Names have power.
Even awful ones.
I called myself Feather. But really? I was Useless. So I chose to save Sanctuary, though that meant I lost everything: my majestic sheets, my old name, my fudging body… and my sweet, sexy soulmate, Mikhail.
When the super-hot and literally horny Rumple sends me back home, not everyone busts out the confetti. You’d think by sacrificing myself, I would have solved a lot of problems. But I only uncovered more, and made some new, powerful, glitter-hating enemies.
When Protectors start to disappear, I’m stuck wandering through Sanctuary’s basement/sex dungeon to find them… and that’s where I discover a terrible truth. The real danger isn’t on the other side of the Great Gate.
It was inside Sanctuary all along.
In the last book we discovered much about Feather including part of her true name. We also learned of Gavriel’s devotion to Arabella and Mikhail’s love for Feather. Now they are both feeling her loss as she’s sacrificed herself to the Great Gate. Mikhail because she’s his mate, and Gavriel with guilt because he’s the one who urged her relentlessly to do it.
Now floating between worlds with Rumple as she’s always called him is holding her atoms together. When she walked through the gate, she didn’t realize how much pain she’d be in, however, she is not cleansed of all the ‘smut’ that once covered her.She’s already guessed his real name, Seraphiel ‘Rafe’, but he’s not admitting to it as he works to bring her back.
This is a favorite scene.
Rumple’s next question drew me back. “But Mikhail didn’t think you were ugly?” I was about to answer, when the whisper “Always was the most perceptive of the Angeli” intruded on my amoeba-thoughts.
I guessed your name, didn’t I? When he didn’t answer, I allowed myself to feel anger. You’re Seraphiel, the one they call Rafe. You were Mikhail’s and— I hesitated. The last time I’d mentioned Gavriel’s name, Rumple had said some angry word in an angelic language, almost bursting my eardrums, and stormed off across the universe or whatever. I tried not to think of him, but the pain of that moment washed over me like a tidal wave, and I was unwillingly drawn back into the memory.
Gavriel loomed over me in the room where his beloved mate Arabella slept. She was motionless, and felt almost like a supportive, silent presence. If she hadn’t been there, I might have fled.
“Useless. Trash. Nothing.” He spat the words—my name—and his lip twisted into that perfect, beautiful curl that reminded me silently that he was better than me. Literally. More perfect, more angelic, purer. He was beautiful to look at: tall, with sweeping, bright golden wings and skin, gleaming hair, and gold and blue eyes to match. But the glint in those eyes now was sharper than the soul knife I’d used to cut the stain off my body.
I was used to name-calling. I’d been called much worse in my years on Earth. But then his eyes closed for a moment, his long, golden lashes sweeping down like cruel butterflies, and he accused me of something I couldn’t live with.
“You’re destroying him,” Gavriel rasped, his voice thrumming with pain as he spoke of Mikhail. “He was already weak, apparently from centuries of carving new soul light out of his own flesh. With your burden of shadows on his shoulders, he’s fading. He knows, as well as I do, that he only has so much time now that he’s carrying weight for you as well.”
I could handle not deserving my mate. I knew I was trash. But I could never live with the knowledge that I had destroyed my Growly Bear. My undeserved soulmate.
I cried, and mourned, and prayed for courage to do what I knew I had to.
And then I kissed Arabella goodbye and went to sacrifice myself for her and for my best friend, Sunny. For Mikhail… and for the rest of a realm almost entirely populated by beings who detested me.
I tried to send a mental smile to Rumple, and a thought about my favorite Earth tattoo: NO REGERTS. But my mind flickered back to the mob in the Assembly Assembly Hall, shouting for me, Arabella, and even Mikhail to be sacrificed to shore up the fragile Great Gate. My fear, and Mikhail’s deep sadness, and the crowd’s currents of panic, anger, and judgment.
For a moment, the void around us vibrated and hummed with a peculiar, terrifying energy that made that memory pale in comparison. I tried to collect my atoms and tuck myself closer to Rumple’s chest. But that was where the strange sensations were originating.
After a while, Rumple spoke. “Gavriel is why you’re here? He condemned you to be unmade, and our best friend to…” His voice stopped, and I tried not to think about whether or not Mikhail was missing me.
Then I realized what he’d said: our best friend.
You really are Seraphiel. You were his best friend, and Mikhail’s, the one who left to go fix the imbalance in the Abyss…
He hummed for a while, the tune almost a dirge. “Yes, little one. This is the Abyss.”
Oh no, I said, when I could think-speak again. Then all those High Angeli and Protectors who sacrificed themselves by walking into the Great Gate, they ended up in Hell? They sacrificed themselves for nothing?
Laughter spilled out across the void. “You are the only soul created whose first thought would be of others, of the ones who went before you. Concern for them, and not yourself. How did the Singer of Songs ever play such a perfect tune?”
I latched onto that thought, desperate to change the subject. If the sacrifice I’d made had been for nothing, if I’d left Mikhail, and Sunny, for no reason… that would break me entirely. The Singer of Songs. Sunny said that name. That’s the creator of the universe?
“The Great Goddess Herself. The Singer of Songs, the Maker of All Things, the Dreamer of Infinite Dreams,” he murmured, his hands moving around my form.
Now that I thought about it, my atoms were sort of balling up. His song changed to one I knew, a love song with thousands of verses. He’d sung it to me a lot over the years.
So She’s real, I mused. Does She know what’s going on in Sanctuary? Does She have some sort of a plan?
I felt a tap on what could have been my nose. Or my butt. I wasn’t sure which end was up here in the Abyss.
“She does have a plan, Little Sacrifice. Just because you can’t perceive it, doesn’t mean it’s not there.” A tiny sparkle shot across the infinite void, like a delayed Roman candle. “How could you see it, anyway? You don’t even have eyeballs.”
I’m not a Little Sacrifice. I’m a Great Sacrifice, jerkwad, I thought, before the form he’d been smooshing together broke apart into atoms and quarks and all sorts of sub-atomic particles… and Rumple started all over again, his love song never stopping.
Bright, Merri. Fallen Feather (The Forgotten Angel Book 2). Kindle Locations (154-198). Bright and Dark Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Back by the Great Gate another scene was unfolding, Sunny in distress because Feather didn’t let her try to talk her out of it, Righteous cutting at his wings because he realizes she was Tili the one he was supposed to save long ago, Gavriel staring in horror and shock and Mikhail collapsed and barely breathing. The Gate is now changed as well, it’s a wall rather than a gate and that was not its purpose.
Gavriel on speaking with Righteous learns more about Feather than he expects a truly startling revelation.
Seraphiel sends Feather back through the Great Gate, opening it once more, it needs to be sung to all the time to hold back the Abyss.
Feather has a new name, and a new goal. Gavriel is on earth and Righteous ‘Ry’ is singing at the gate when she arrives His greeting is enthusiastic as is Sunny’s when she finds out. The first thing she must do is save Mikhail.
Guides go rogue and rules are changed to suit their moods. There are many surprises in this book along with laughter, tears, revelations and romance. Oh, and one heck of an ending!
5 Contented Purrs for Merri!
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Once upon a time, Merri Bright tucked romance novels behind all her textbooks and read love stories instead of the lessons. Now she writes the same kind of books she’s always loved, dreaming up stories about naughty angels, misunderstood demons, sexy shifters, growly Alpha males, and all sorts of dragons.
She drinks cinnamon tea while she writes, and believes in the power of naps, kitten cuddles, long walks with her dog, and that ice cream and a good book can fix anything.