Raphael had no idea what he was getting into when he went to Castle Archangel to study the People’s oral history. He didn’t expect his wings to suddenly change from brown to the purest white—the mark of an Omega, the destined mate of the Alpha. There has never been a male Omega before, not in all the millennia angels have flown the skies of Earth. However, when Raphael meets ebony-winged Gabriel, the true leader of the People, he knows he wants this man more than anything. Change is not always bad.
When Gabriel’s wings suddenly turn to startling ebony, he must deal with the knowledge that he is an Alpha, a leader of the angels. When he discovers that his destined mate is a man, he must accept that being Alpha of the People means accepting more than he’d expected. When their current leader challenges him, accusing Gabriel of committing one of the People’s most dishonorable crimes, Gabriel must fight: for his honor, for his mate, and for the survival of the angels.
Be Warned: m/m sex
“Gabriel,” Raphael replied, standing gracefully. He attempted a smile. “What brings you to my afternoon storytelling session? Did Ariel tell you I’d be here?”
“She did.” He paused. “And I think you know why I’m here.” He didn’t look away, instead letting his eyes take their fill of Raphael’s masculine beauty. His blue eyes were clear and intelligent and his lean frame was muscular, but for some reason, when Gabriel took in the entire package, he couldn’t think of a better word to describe his mate than mine. The possessiveness he felt startled him. Raphael’s dark hair set off his eyes, like deepest night showcased the brightest stars. When he flicked his gaze down to his mate’s arms, he frowned slightly, disappointed to see the long sleeves covering up what he’d hoped were changed markings. He couldn’t possibly be wrong about this, could he? God help him if he was.
Raphael narrowed his eyes, seemingly impatient with Gabriel’s indirect response. “I am not some damsel in distress.”
Gabriel’s nostrils flared. “You want me to say it?” he asked quietly, controlling the instinctive heat Raphael’s intransigence raised. He wasn’t angry, not precisely, but he was agitated. Restless.
Raphael nodded. “It won’t be real unless you speak it aloud. Let the wind hear.”
Gabriel took a deep breath and concentrated on the way the dirt shifted beneath his bare feet. He listened to the air sighing over his shoulders. He glanced up at the infinite sky and let his mind truly accept the knowledge of what he was about to do. When he looked back down, Raphael had braced himself, putting a hand on the tree he’d been sitting against.
“I claim you as my Omega. My mate. My succor and healer. I claim you for our People, for our honor.” Here he paused, trying to push words past the thundering of his heart. “And I claim you for myself.” He spoke the last in a whisper, hoping to God that Raphael could hear him. He sensed the people around them watching, mixed human and angel, and he despaired at having to do this in front of them. He’d have preferred privacy. But perhaps the legitimacy of my claim will not be questioned, because of the public nature of my action, he mused, trying to find the positive in the most vulnerable moment of his life. Claiming a mate of the same sex is truly unprecedented. There will be repercussions.
Raphael’s eyes flared, black on blue. “If your claim is valid, I will accept you as my Alpha. My mate. My leader and shield, for the honor of our People.” He stepped away from the tree and began to unbutton his shirt. “And I would be honored to claim you for myself.” He said that last quietly, so only Gabriel could hear, hands trembling as he peeled off his shirt and flung it to the grass.
Reason lost the battle with instinct. Gabriel’s wings burst from his body like rain falls from a thundercloud and he strode forward, not caring that humans had seen him shift. Let them look, a voice in the back of his heat-clouded mind said. Let them see the Alpha claim his Omega. He reached out and grabbed Raphael’s arms, fingers pressing into the silvery marks that traced up the shorter man’s skin. Abruptly, Raphael’s wings sprang forth: blinding white, tipped with gold. Gabriel’s mouth opened, but he couldn’t speak. Couldn’t breathe. They began to rise together, magic filling their bodies as the mating instinct began to take them into the skies.
“Gabriel,” Raphael croaked, holding onto Gabriel as tightly as Gabriel held onto him.
“Shh,” he said, bringing him closer. Their legs tangled. They were so close he could feel Raphael’s erection straining against his jeans. Gabriel moaned softly, hips jerking as a rising thermal off the ridge suddenly lofted them thousands of feet into the air.
“My God.” Raphael looked dazed.
Gabriel knew how he felt. He leaned in and Raphael met him halfway, lips soft and warm and perfect. When Raphael nibbled Gabriel’s mouth open, he groaned, unable to comprehend how such a simple thing could make his entire body feel like it was on fire. He grabbed his Omega, pulling him even closer. He couldn’t get close enough. The kiss turned feral, with Raphael ravaging his mouth, tongue running over Gabriel’s lips desperately, and then they were falling.