As an angel, Mordecai has the ability to read the thoughts of others. Sitting in a coffee shop, eyeing the human he’s there to help—Charles—Mordecai listens to the man’s internal troubles so he can discern the best way to assist him. Mordecai hears Charles wondering why he’s agreed to meet his workout buddy, Jeffrey, for coffee…knowing Jeffrey intends it as a date. According to Charles’s thoughts, the human has never bothered acting on his occasional flash of appreciation for the opposite sex, and he doesn’t see the point in doing so now.
Mordecai assumes that his task is to help Charles come to grips with his desire for the occasional male. In the past, he’s spent time talking with his assigned human, walking them through a bit of soul-searching. Mordecai doesn’t think anything is special about the assignment. He’s done it plenty of times before.
Everything changes when Mordecai gets his first look at Jeffrey and meets the man’s gaze. The human, Jeffrey—Charles’s date—is his stella guida, his guiding star—the one human he can share a soul with. How can Mordecai help Charles come to grips with dating Jeffrey, when every instinct screams at him to take him for his own?
Sitting on the park bench, Mordecai peered at the clock tower attached to the town’s city hall. He read the time, wondering how much longer it would be before the mark of his current mission would be finished at the gym down the street—a human named Charles Rickter. He’d casted a mental web spell earlier that morning, allowing him to track the man’s location. Mordecai intended to follow him and find a suitable place to bump into the human and spark up a friendship.
As an angel, Mordecai enjoyed sitting and relaxing, so he didn’t mind waiting. People watching, he’d heard it called. He found humans fascinating, with their diverse sizes, shapes, colors, and sexes, spawning so many ideas and beliefs.
Of course, those same myriad of ideas and beliefs were also what created the need for Mordecai’s kind. Angels lived on another plane of existence and were tasked with keeping emotional and spiritual peace between humans. Considering the fighting and quarrels humans and paranormals alike seemed to constantly participate in, Mordecai didn’t think they were doing a very good job.
Fortunately, Mordecai wasn’t alone in that conclusion. He and his brethren had decided to step up their presence in the human realm as much as possible between missions given to them by their creator. Their creator saw the souls of every being in the realm, and he assigned an angel to help those who were going through a personal crisis.
That was why Mordecai sat waiting for Charles. He would need to be closer to the human to listen to his thoughts, allowing him to learn what troubled the man. Then he could devise a way to assist.
As Mordecai sat waiting, he cast out his senses. The mental ability allowed him to listen to the thoughts of those closest to him.
His reasons for that were two-fold.
First, Mordecai would be happy to help calm the thoughts or bolster the spirits of anyone nearby who needed it. Secondly, Mordecai knew there were paranormal hunters out there.
A fellow angel—Zylen—had been captured and held by them, although the general consensus was that Zylen had ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hunters seemed to have mistaken him for another paranormal and had then been uncertain about what to do with him. Fortunately, before the humans had come to a decision about Zylen, he’d been rescued by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
When the Four Horsemen had sent several demons to the creator’s realm, it had caused quite a stir.
The harried thoughts of a woman shuffling down the sidewalk nearby caught Mordecai’s attention.
I just don’t know how to get through to him. Kyle just won’t listen. He used to be such a good boy.
Mordecai turned his attention to the young teenager following a few paces behind the woman. He immediately noted the familial link joining them, seen only by angels and demons, and he knew they were mother and son. Mordecai also took in his hunched shoulders and sulking, mutinous expression. His thoughts were just as telling.
I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not like the store can’t afford to lose a few bucks just because I stole a couple of candy bars. Me and my buddies wanted them.
With a shake of his head, Mordecai rose from the bench. He had his glamour firmly in place, hiding his angelic aura as well as his wings. Keeping his wings tucked close to his back, Mordecai moved swiftly, putting himself in a position where he would pass them on the sidewalk.
The mother—Constance, his angelic abilities provided—peered at him discreetly from beneath her lashes. Her cheeks pinked just a little, and she quickly shifted her gaze forward. He caught the scent of arousal, letting him know she found him appealing.
Mordecai was always flattered when that happened, regardless of how often it occurred. As an angel, he knew he was built big and broad. He had the body of a warrior with solid muscles and a trim waist. Many humans, women and men alike, seemed to find it appealing.
Of course, Mordecai would never act on it. In truth, he couldn’t. An angel didn’t experience any sexual impulses. At least, not until they met their stella guida—their guiding star—the one person they could bond with and build a life with outside of their duties to their creator.
Concentrating on the matter at hand, Mordecai opened his mind as he brushed his fingertips over the back of the young man’s hand while passing him—Kyle. In that fleeting contact, he learned that Kyle had made a couple of new friends at school. They were a bad influence on him, filling his head with entitle-ist and selfish ideas.
Kyle was beginning to think the world owed him, and he should have whatever he wanted without working for it. It didn’t matter that his single mother worked two jobs to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. His schoolwork had begun to slip because Kyle wanted to play video games with friends instead of putting in the time and energy to get decent grades, which would lead to him having opportunities to better himself.
In that same second or two, Mordecai implanted a few thoughts of his own. He boosted the pride Kyle would feel at completing a task, at seeing a job well done. Mordecai added a wealth of empathy for his mother and a surge of respect for how hard she worked to provide for him. He even added in a bit of apathy so he wouldn’t care what his new friends might think of his sudden desire to work hard and help his mother. Mordecai added the knowledge that life wasn’t all about fun, as it came with responsibilities.