First of all, I want to thank For the Love of Bookends for hosting me and agreeing to be one of the stops on my blog tour promoting The Gifted One, my latest release from Dreamspinner Press.
The Gifted One is a story about Matt, who falls in love with Gabriel, his guardian angel. Their love is threatened by demons, who want to kill Matt before his potential as a seventh son of a seventh son can be realized, and by the angels, who fear that Matt and Gabriel’s love will mean disaster for all of creation.
As part of the angel theme, I’d like to blog today about earth angels. In the research I’ve done, earth angels are more commonly described as angels that have been reborn as humans. Their purpose in life is to heal others and protect them from harm. These individuals typically sacrifice themselves for others.
This resonates with me, as I seem to have been truly blessed with three earth angels in my life. In fact, I even dedicated The Gifted One to them:
To my earthly guardian angels:
my mother, my grandmother, my husband and my love
Because of you I am a gifted one
To me, these three individuals are the hallmark of an earth angel.
My mother sacrificed so much as a single-parent, raising a stubborn boy in the barrio. She worked jobs she hated, so I would have a chance to break the cycle of poverty, obtain a college degree, and strike out into the world on my own. Without the many personal, professional, and financial sacrifices she made, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
My grandmother worked just as hard to raise me. In the absence of a father and with a mother constantly working to provide for me, she stepped in and sacrificed herself to be my caregiver. She had already raised four children of her own, yet she never once blinked when she assumed the role of taking care of me. She gave me the strength and the will to know that with determination anything in my life was possible.
Because of the care my mother and grandmother provided me, I was able to venture out into the world and find my husband, a man who sacrifices so much for me to pursue my dream of being a writer. He provides me with unconditional love, support, and the most selfless of all, time. He rarely complains when my head is buried in the computer, and he’s making dinner or cleaning house. He understands my drive and determination feed my writing, and he gives everything he has to support that pursuit.
Self-sacrifice is a trait not everyone possesses, yet it is a trait that has the potential to positively influence someone else and bring about substantial change. This is something I learned from my earth angels, and it is one of the lessons I wanted to incorporate into my novel.
In The Gifted One, the love between Matt and Gabriel is grand, but the unique quality of its magnificence marks it as something to be feared because it is unprecedented and unknown. However, when they surrender themselves to the power of love, they prove that love has the power to realign the heavens.
A lesson I learned from the angels in my life.
I’ve provided a blurb and an excerpt for those who’d like to read them, and I also wanted everyone to know that as part of my blog tour I’m holding a contest. All you have to do is leave a comment to this post, and your name is entered to win a free electronic copy of The Gifted One. If a reader happens to follow all my blog stops, then she or he can leave a comment at the other sites a well. This means that someone could enter 7 times for a chance to win the book. At the end of the tour, a winner will be chosen and announced.
As his birthday approaches, Matthew Westlake fears more than just growing a year older. He fears never seeing another year at all. Each birthday brings a close call with death, leaving holes in his memory, recurring nightmares, and one more glimpse of his guardian angel. This birthday Matt must stand against ancient evils that have hounded him since birth, because he is a Gifted One—a seventh son of a seventh son.
Within Matt rests the unlocked potential of a force for good, but it also makes him a target. Being the Gifted One and dodging demonic attacks aren’t Matt’s only problems, though. He’s fallen in love with his protector, the Archangel Gabriel, and Heaven will condemn that love to save Matt’s soul. But Heaven doesn’t count on Gabriel loving Matt in return, defying divine law, and placing them in danger from demons and angels alike.
Since leaving Matt’s apartment and meandering through the heart of Houston, Gabriel found it difficult to center himself. The cool night air had always done the trick in the past. It usually revitalized his spirit as the wind currents drove his concerns away. But the oppressive heat stifled the wind, leaving his heart heavy and his soul in turmoil.
He was not accustomed to such spiritual turbulence.
He always prided himself on remaining in control. When his brothers lapsed into emotion that clouded their judgment, Gabriel found comfort within the cold logic of purpose and duty. It gave him strength and direction.
Everything changed in the few short moments alone with Matt. He now felt lost and confused. The emotions he struggled to suppress would no longer be contained, and they were feelings he could not have. Even so, his resolve to keep them contained disappeared once he held Matt in his arms.
Matt wanted Gabriel as more than merely a protector. He wanted Gabriel as a man.
His brother had warned him earlier that he was blurring lines not meant to be crossed. He denied the accusation then. Not because it wasn’t true but because he had refused to see the intensity of his feelings.
His years spent protecting Matt and watching him grow into the exceptional man he now was changed him. The beauty of Matt’s soul and the tenderness of his heart enraptured him. His jaded perspective saw what true potential resided in the world.
Where others before Matt met the horrors of their past by turning cruel and vindictive, Matt soared above the evil that haunted him. Instead of hurting those less fortunate, he healed them, tapping into the potential that still remained unlocked inside his soul. He saw only the good, even when presented with nothing but tragedy. His heart remained open and accessible, not indifferent and spiteful.
He truly represented the best of what this world had to offer, and though Gabriel couldn’t see it before when Michael had visited him, he saw it quite plainly now. Even more than that, he felt the warm glow burn deep within him.
Gabriel had fallen in love with Matt.
But was that possible? Would it even be allowed? Rules existed against such emotions, and for good reason. When the lines had previously been crossed, chaos erupted. Would his feelings for Matt spark such calamity as well?
It was difficult for Gabriel to believe any bad could result from the growing seed of love that took root within his soul. Even now, it spread outward, staking claim to every part of his being, so that all he could think about was Matt’s gentle touch and the soft lips that offered kisses like nectar.
In Matt’s arms, his singularity of purpose multiplied a thousandfold. His life was no longer his duty or his ultimate function. He became more than what he had been created for. He became the man Matt saw, and in his hazel eyes, he found a different purpose and a new strength.
For the past few decades, Matt had been his duty, his assignment. Matt had become so much more since then. Matt became his reason to live, which he knew would alter his actions and potentially jeopardize his mission.
He had always been willing to do what was necessary to protect Matt. It was his job, and he had done it countless times already. If it cost him his immortal soul, so be it. But now, he was willing to move beyond his job. He was willing to do whatever Matt wanted, even if it required breaking ironclad rules.
And if he hadn’t gotten out of Matt’s apartment when he did, he would have gladly added his body to his heart, which Matt already possessed.
About the Author:
Jacob Z. Flores lives a double life. During the day, he is a respected college English professor and mid-level administrator. At night and during his summer vacation, he loosens the tie and tosses aside the trendy sports coat to write man on man fiction, where the hard ass assessor of freshmen level composition turns his attention to the firm posteriors and other rigid appendages of the characters in his fictional world.
Summers in Provincetown, Massachusetts, provide Jacob with inspiration for his fiction. The abundance of barely clothed man flesh and daily debauchery stimulates his personal muse. When he isn’t stroking the keyboard, Jacob spends time with his husband, Bruce, their three children, and two dogs, who represent a bright blue blip in an otherwise predominantly red swath in south Texas.
You can follow Jacob’s musings on his blog at http://jacobzflores.com or become a part of his social media network by visiting Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.