Working my way through my books, one by one, and today, I’d like to share an excerpt from the first novella in my Riverbend spinoff series, The Emissary. Hope you’ll enjoy reading about the world’s first emissary to the angels (Jake) as he meets the Archangel Azrael (his boss) for the first time. Happy reading! 😀
“An angel’s work is never done — that’s part of the gig.”
An angel’s work is never done—that’s part of the gig. But angels hadn’t been created to deal with such a vastly over-populated planet, rife with misery, suffering, and general chaos. Helping souls in peril has become a nearly impossible job, and even angelic tempers are frayed.
The archangel Azrael has had enough. He believes he’s found a way to ease their burden while saving jeopardized humans, too—hired help.
When Jake Daughtry lost his life rescuing a total stranger from certain death, he was on the fast track to Heaven. But that was before Azrael pulled him right out of line at the Pearly Gates. Now, as an Emissary to the Angels, Jake is taking to the highway in a quest to help souls in trouble. But the innate stubbornness of human beings bent on self-destruction is a challenge unlike any he’s ever faced.
It’s up to Jake and Azrael to bridge the gap between humans and angels. Will they ever convince the Council of Angels this endeavor is worthwhile? Can Jake figure out how to play by Azrael’s complicated rules? Will Azrael ever master the use of contractions in general conversation?
To find out the answers, hop on board Jake’s big red-and-white semi and travel the roads from the Florida Keys to north Georgia on an adventure that will make you laugh hard and cry even harder.
December 12, 2013
“Take This Job and Shove It”
Midnight, December 12, 2013,
Tooling Down a Lonely Highway,
Somewhere Between Here and There.
“WHAT AM I going to do with you, Jake?”
Jake snapped his head to the right, gasped at the sight of an angel in the passenger seat, then jerked forward again just in time to prevent his semi from running off the highway. “What the hell! Are you trying to kill us both?”
“Language, please. And do you really think either of us could be killed so easily?”
Instead of a reply, Jake fumed in silence, glaring through the rain-streaked windshield as the last of the daylight disappeared. He thought about not answering at all but figured that would only make things worse. “I’m guessing you must be Azrael. Nice of you to drop in for a surprise visit and all, but a bit of advance notice next time might help me avoid a fatal collision. I don’t think killing innocent humans is part of my job description.”
“Ah. Sarcasm. I had forgotten how amusing it can be. But advance warning would eliminate the element of surprise, now wouldn’t it?”
“Whatever you say, Boss.”
Azrael rumbled low in his throat. “Do not call me Boss.”
Jake felt the hair on the back of his neck rise. “Do you have to growl at me like that?”
“I think you heard me. I am not fond of that type of slang.”
“If I stop calling you ‘Boss,’ will you stop sneaking up on me and growling that way? It doesn’t sound very angelic. Besides, it’s creepy.”
“I will do as I wish. And this is not about me. It is about you.”
“Why? What have I done?”
“Suffice it to say, you have done plenty, as you perfectly well know. Or do you want me to read from the list? I can go all the way back to your first day, if you like.”
“My first day was only a few months ago, so how long can the list be? And by the way, your on-the-job training for new hires is sadly lacking, in my opinion.”
“No one asked your opinion, but since you are pleading ignorance, let us start with the most serious transgression, shall we? How about Gabe Angelino?”
Jake winced. He thought he’d gotten away with that one, but he should have known better. These people—and he used the term loosely—apparently didn’t miss much. And for Azrael, himself, to show up? Probably not good.
The angel continued. “Really, Jake? Could you have been any more obvious? They are not supposed to know who you represent, you understand.”
“Sorry. He tried so hard to ignore me, I thought I might have to up my nudges to catch his attention. But he stayed with me of his own free will, until we were close enough that I was pretty sure he’d walk the last mile or so, himself. That’s the main thing, right? It’s not like I gave him any clues while we were driving.”
“No. You left him a note, instead, and used it to compel his memory of you. He would have forgotten you completely had you managed to refrain from doing that.”
“Maybe I didn’t want to be completely forgotten.”
“I am sure you did not, but it is not about what you want, regardless of whether it feels good to find out you have made a difference. I am also sure you enjoyed being contacted.”
“I didn’t tell either of them how to reach me.”
“No, but once the man remembered you—”
“Hunter. His name is Hunter.”
Azrael huffed out a sharp breath. “Yes, I am aware of that, but I would rather not think of him in those terms.”
“What terms? Human ones?”
“It is always better not to keep them in your mind after your work is done. Now, as I was saying, once he remembered you, and told the woman—”
“Willow,” Jake muttered.
“The woman. Once he told the woman who you were, she put out a direct call to you. And that, as you well know, is not supposed to happen. Your behavior was in violation of the rules.”
“She emailed me, that’s all. And I didn’t think emailing a fake person, employed by a fake company, would be in a list of prohibited actions.”
“Why do you persist in being so difficult? You know the method matters not. It makes no difference if you are called via cell phone, email, or a tormented scream from deep within the abyss. You represent us. If called, you must answer. You have no choice. Therefore, you are not allowed to give them a way to reach you. Surely this was stressed repeatedly when you were given this job, and doing so is frowned upon by, shall we say, upper management. So. Why did you leave him a transparent clue like that, and a ‘nudge,’ as you put it, to remember your time together? Give me something, Jake. I would rather not lose you this early on.”
Jake lifted his foot from the accelerator and angled the semi off the highway and into a deserted truck stop. He parked, then faced Azrael, noting more concern than he’d expected in his companion’s arctic blue eyes. The urge to fight died.
“I’m not sure why. I did what I could for him, but he was far more desperate than any of my other riders had been. I was afraid he needed a lot more. So, I left him a fake name with a little push to spur his memory, in case he needed me again. What good is it to have this power if I can’t ever put it to use?”
Azrael groaned. “And I am the one who argued that you had so much potential.” He rubbed his pale hand over his face, then took a deep breath and gave it another go.
“Once again, you do understand that you broke the rules, right? They are not supposed to remember you, find you, or contact you. And you are absolutely, positively forbidden to contact them, too, in any way, shape, or form. You showed up on their doorstep, Jake. You had tea with them! What were you thinking?”
“Technically, I only had tea with Hunter. Willow stayed inside. And I was thinking that saving this gentle, decent person from harming himself was more important than saving my job.”
“Or your own soul?”
Jake’s mouth tightened. “So, if I break a heavenly, though still bureaucratic, rule to be sure a good man is safe, I flunk your tests, and my mortal soul is in danger? What is this? Go directly to Hell? Do not pass Go? Do not collect $200?”
Azrael buried his face in his hands.
Jake had no idea what was about to happen next, but he decided it really didn’t matter.
“If that’s the way it is, then I don’t want this job. I don’t know how to turn my back on people that way. I can’t do it.”
“What?” Azrael’s head jerked back up, and he stared at Jake, mouth agape. “What are you saying?”
“Simple. I quit.”
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Author Marcia Meara
Marcia Meara lives in central Florida, just north of Orlando, with her husband of over thirty years and four big cats.
When not writing or blogging, she spends her time gardening, and enjoying the surprising amount of wildlife that manages to make a home in her suburban yard. She enjoys nature. Really, really enjoys it. All of it! Well, almost all of it, anyway. From birds, to furry critters, to her very favorites, snakes. The exception would be spiders, which she truly loathes, convinced that anything with eight hairy legs is surely up to no good. She does not, however, kill spiders anymore, since she knows they have their place in the world. Besides, her husband now handles her Arachnid Catch and Release Program, and she’s good with that.
Spiders aside, the one thing Marcia would like to tell each of her readers is that it’s never too late to make your dreams come true. If, at the age of 69, she could write and publish a book (and thus fulfill 64 years of longing to do that very thing), you can make your own dreams a reality, too. Go for it! What have you got to lose?
Buy Marcia’s Books Here
Wake-Robin Ridge: Book 1
A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2
Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3
The Light: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 4
Swamp Ghosts: Riverbend Book 1
Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2
That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3
Riverbend Spinoff Novellas
The Emissary 1
The Emissary 2 – To Love Somebody
The Emissary 3 – Love Hurts
Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love
Reach Marcia on Social Media Here:
Blog: The Write Stuff