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Authors: Janelle Denison

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Kiss of an Angel

BOOK: Kiss of an Angel
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Kiss of an Angel

 
Janelle Denison
 

 

First published by Leisure Books, October 1995, as HEAVEN’S GIFT

Copyright Janelle Denison, October 1995

eBook Cover Photo Copyright
iStock.com
, July 2011

eBook Formatted by
A Thirsty Mind

eBook Copyright Janelle Denison, August 2011

Published by Janelle Denison, August 2011

All right reserved. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the Author.

Dear Readers,

 

KISS OF AN ANGEL (formerly HEAVEN’S GIFT) was originally published back in 1995.  I loved this story back then, and after reading it again now, I’m still in love with the characters and story-line, which revolves around a guardian angel who is sent back to earth to protect her childhood sweetheart and soulmate.  It’s the kind of romance that is timeless, even though the world, and technology, has changed so much since then. Over the years, I’ve had a lot of requests from readers who have looked for the book, but weren’t able to find it in stores or online.  I’m thrilled that I’m able to bring it to readers now in eBook format, and hope you enjoy watching these star-crossed lovers find the happily-ever-after they deserve.

Sincerely,

 

Janelle Denison

Prologue
 

Amanda Hamilton slipped into the viewing room and smiled at her angel Superior. “I’m ready to be sent back to earth for my next mission, Mary.”

“Good.” Mary motioned Amanda to the viewing portal, which enabled the Superiors to observe occurrences on earth. “We seem to be short on guardian angels today, and of course nothing is going as planned. It seems He has made some adjustments in our schedule.”

“Where will I go?” Amanda asked.

“You’re to become a guardian angel to that little boy.”

Before the crisp images could materialize in the portal, Christopher, another Superior, barged into the viewing room. “Excuse me, Mary,” he cut in breathlessly, “but an emergency has arisen.”

Mary frowned at the interruption. “What is it, Christopher?”

“It’s John Tyler Rafferty. His life is in jeopardy.”

The familiar name caught Amanda’s attention, and she listened to their conversation with sudden interest.

“J.T.? Oh, my, that does present a problem.” Mary’s delicate brows furrowed in dismay. “Things are progressing with him faster than we expected.”

“Yes, and we need to get a guardian to him immediately. Look.” With a wave of his hand, a scene appeared in the viewing portal.

A man sat atop his horse, working to extract a bulky pine tree blocking the flow of water down a creek. The rope running between the horn of the man’s saddle and the trunk of the tree stretched taut. Grabbing the rope with gloved hands, he spoke a soft command to the horse, urging him forward. The horse snorted and labored against the heavy weight of the timber, dragging the tree parallel to the shore with the help of his rider. The rush of trapped water quickly filled the creek and surged toward the pasture.

Glancing toward the dismal sky, the man scowled at the gray, bloated clouds heading his way, a sure warning of an oncoming storm.

Amanda’s breath caught in her throat as she glimpsed the face of her eternal soulmate. Mesmerized, she stepped closer to the portal, cataloguing Johnny’s rough-hewn features beneath the brim of his hat. Before he returned his gaze to his chore, she caught the cold remoteness in his green eyes, a loneliness that made her ache for him.

She hadn’t seen him in years—sixteen to be exact—but the rapid span of heavenly time made the tragic car accident that had claimed her life seem like only yesterday. He’d been a boy of nineteen then, working on his father’s ranch, with the hard-edged promise of becoming a lean and muscular man. They’d been childhood sweethearts, deeply in love and so full of dreams and promises—until fate had interfered and sent her on to the next plateau to wait for him.

Sliding off the horse, he deftly untied the rope from the saddle, then made his way to the base of the tree, half hidden beneath the heavy underbrush lining the creek. Squatting, he loosened the knot he’d made around the trunk.

A gust of wind whipped the hat off his head, sending it tumbling across the meadow. He spared the battered Stetson a quick glance but didn’t give chase. Instead, he flipped the collar of his wool coat up around his ears and continued with his task. The breeze tugged through his sable hair, rumpling it around his head.

Behind Johnny, a figure dressed in a large, bulky jacket approached, his face obscured by the hood covering his head. He held a two-by-four in his left hand. At first Amanda thought he was there to help, until he raised the board and slammed it into the back of Johnny’s skull with one savage strike.

Amanda sucked in a breath as her soul mate crumpled to the ground, his head falling precariously close to the rapidly rising water in the creek. “Johnny!” she gasped, unable to keep the panic from her voice. She looked up at her Superiors. “What’s going on?”

“Nothing for you to worry about,” Mary assured her, placing a comforting hand on her shoulder. “Christopher, send Jay to protect J.T.”

Christopher shifted on his feet. “That’s the problem. Jay hasn’t returned from his last mission yet.”

“Then send Corey.”

“He, too, is unavailable.”

Mary sighed tiredly and rubbed her forehead. “And I suppose Tanner is indisposed as well?”

“Yes. We can always send Jeff, but you know how he tends to get on one’s nerves with his knowledge of chemistry. He’s hardly fit for this mission.”

As her Superiors argued over who they should send, Amanda stepped closer to the portal, her heart thudding with uncharacteristic heaviness in her chest. She watched the unidentified man administer a sharp slap to the rump of the untethered horse with the board, spooking the animal into galloping away. Then he hoisted himself up on his own chestnut, and with a vicious kick to the horse’s sides he bolted away.

The cruel man intended to leave Johnny, she realized—leave him to die in the sleet storm just beginning to break. Icy rain swirled in the wind and settled over his limp body, blanketing him in a deep chill that would eventually kill him, if the water from the creek didn’t rise over his head and drown him first. A weak puff of condensation from his parted lips indicated the swift drop in temperature. His breathing slowed to an alarming, comatose state. The urgent need to save Johnny swelled within Amanda.

Making a split-second decision, she whirled to face her Superiors. “Send me.”

They both stared at her incredulously. Then Mary smiled softly. “That’s impossible.”

“You know I’ll protect him well.”

“Amanda,” Mary said slowly, “sending you to protect your childhood sweetheart, the man you’re waiting to be joined with, is a conflict of interest.”

Christopher leaned close to Mary and whispered out of the corner of his mouth, “We have no one else to send and this is an emergency.”

Amanda knew Mary was right. She had no business meddling in her soulmate’s life, but she couldn’t help wanting to be with Johnny again, if only for a little while. She’d left her mortal life so suddenly, there had been no opportunity to say good-bye to him, and it would be years yet before they were joined again. The thought of being with him, touching him, overwhelmed her. “Please assign me this mission,” she pleaded.

Mary’s lips pursed in disapproval. “It’s too risky,” she said to Christopher. “J.T. is still deeply in love with Amanda. You know his soul and Amanda’s are matched for eternity and they'll be reunited after he passes from earth.” She gave him a pointed look. “He’s not due to join us for another fifty-two years. If Amanda botched this mission because of her feelings for J.T., we’d have to answer to
our
Superior. I don’t think He’d be too happy to find out we’ve broken the heavenly law.”

“In this case I would think He’d understand,” Christopher countered, exasperated. “J.T. Rafferty
must
not die, and without a guardian angel he will surely do just that, lying in freezing temperatures with a bleeding head wound and a concussion!”

Mary hesitated, glancing from J.T. to Amanda.

“We can suppress her memory of everything she knows of her past with him,” Christopher suggested.

“I don’t like this one bit. Suppressing her memory is too risky.”

“We don’t have a choice. We must act immediately, and Amanda is the only one available.”

“Very well,” Mary said on a reluctant sigh. “But she must remember nothing about her past with J.T., only that she must protect him.”

Amanda listened to her Superiors, holding back the urge to object to their plan to suppress her memory. The thought of the treasured memories she’d shared with J.T. being erased, even if only for a short time, alarmed her.

“It’s only temporary, Amanda, until the mission is complete,” Mary said, as if reading her thoughts. “Come here so we can block your memory and properly equip you for this assignment.”

Amanda took a deep breath, reassuring herself that even without the recollection of her time on earth with J.T., in her heart she would always love him. He was, after all, her soulmate.

Obeying her Superior, she stood in front of Mary and closed her eyes.

The heavy weight of Mary’s hand settled on her shoulder and her body tingled from head to toe, as she was supplied with the background and identity of Caitlan Daniels for her new mission.

“Hurry along,” Mary said after the moment had passed. “J.T. doesn’t have much time. Oh, and here is your medallion.” She produced a gold chain with a shiny gold piece attached and dropped it onto Caitlan’s palm. “Use it sparingly. Only in dire emergencies. You know the rules.”

Caitlan nodded and slipped the chain around her neck, the warmth of the medallion nestling just above her breasts. In the next instant she was gone.

Mary looked at Christopher. “I hope we don’t come to regret this decision.”

“We really had no choice.”

“What if she remembers him?”

Christopher gave Mary a confident look. “As long as she wears the medallion her memory will be protected. She knows better than to take off the medallion.”

Mary nodded but wasn’t totally convinced. A second later she let out a soft gasp, her eyes widening. “Oh, my goodness. We forgot to tell her who is trying to harm J.T.!”

Christopher smiled. “She’s a smart angel. She’ll figure it out.”

Chapter One
 

“Can I take this silly blindfold off yet?”

“In a minute.” Grinning at Amanda’s impatience, J.T. Rafferty guided her into the line shack situated on the west end of his father’s ranch property, three miles from the Circle R’s main house. Wanting complete privacy for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, he’d waited until he knew for certain the ranch hands had retired for the evening before bringing Amanda here.

She fidgeted anxiously on her sandaled feet and pleated her fingers in the pink dress she wore. Pearl buttons down the bodice added a simple elegance to the plain country dress. “Where are we, Johnny?”

“Hold your horses, Mandy,” he drawled, lighting the oil lamp by the door. Leaving her for a moment, he walked to the scarred wooden table in the middle of the small room. Holding back a chuckle at the sight of the lopsided birthday cake he’d conned his sister into making for him, he set it in the center of the table. “I know the ride out was bumpy, and this place is musty, but it’ll be worth it.”

“You’re worth anything I have to endure,” she said softly.

BOOK: Kiss of an Angel
8.69Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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