people call it Heaven. The residents know it as Everlasting. When you
arrive, adjustments have to be made, especially if you were meant to
live and the person you saved . . . slated to die.
…What kind of guardian angel gets knocked back to earth? The kind who falls in love with one of his wards.
Godricson is heaven-sent. He’s Kenya Kilmartin’s guardian, and when, on
arrival, he’s hired to get her through a difficult time in her life, he
just might fall prey to earthly temptation.
Chance Godricson did not understand why he survived. If he survived.
The next tremor or aftershock might give him his answer.
After walking the mall, searching the rubble, and shouting for anyone to
answer, he faced facts. Some kind of structural collapse above the
exclusive underground shopping center blocked all exits, paralyzed
elevators, and cut the lights.
lingering in the Yellow Brick Mall shortly after the stores closed, to
await his appointment in the office building above, he had, for all
intents and purposes, been buried alive. But not for long. He would find
a way out or die trying.
gold and yellow scarf floated across the mall floor like tumbleweed to
land at his feet. He grabbed it to bandage the gash in his right hand
while seeking the airflow that propelled it.
Ah. A hole in the ceiling near a wall. A structurally sound place to end up.
began gathering and rolling heavy chunks of broken concrete to build a
makeshift stairway. Good enough, he hoped, for one risky climb. Hours
later, he thought—examining his work and flexing his aching hand—the
unwieldy monster just might get him out.
Yes, those steps could collapse . . . hopefully behind him . . . if he moved fast enough.
“Are you lost, too?” The voice shocked him. Chance shouted as he faced it.
Not a ghost. An angel. Small, breakable looking, but evidently not.
had not heard her approach. The young woman appeared to have been
dipped in honey, and rolled in a thick layer of concrete dust. He
probably looked the same. Tear trails marked her cheeks that bore a few
small cuts, and still she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.
“What have you been doing all this time?” he asked.
“Hiding. Expecting another explosion? Waiting to die?” She shrugged. “Except, I didn’t.”
“Why didn’t you answer when I called?” he asked.
“Hands over my ears.” She shuddered and eyed his creation. “Is that supposed to be a stairway?”
“Yes.” It gave him hope, her recognizing it.
She tilted her head. “Why?”
“For our escape.”
She moved the dirt on her face as she swiped at her eyes with the backs of her hands. “From now on, I’m only shopping online.”
let’s get you home so you can,” he said. “The ‘stairs’ can only take
one of us at a time. No hesitating, no looking down or back. Once you
take that first step, it’s a sprint. Pretend you have wings and can’t
She threw her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist. “I’m not good at leading the way. Not at all good. You go first.”
“I can’t. I’m heavier. I might wreck it. You’re light as a cloud. You go.” With difficulty, he pried her off him. “Go. Now.”
She hesitated, shuddered, and swallowed hard three times. “Once I get there, you’ll follow?”
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Kenya,” she said.
“So are you ready to live, Kenya?”
“Now, there’s a question.” She kissed his filthy cheek.
He didn’t remember ever feeling both honored and unworthy.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“Nobody,” he said. “Just an unremarkable lawyer.”
“See you at the top, Mr. Nobody.”
whined as she started but followed his instructions to the letter, a
sprint like no other . . . and still, she proved the weakness in his
creation. Her inner strength put him to shame as he held the beam
nearest the wall, below the highest point of the makeshift stairs. He
couldn’t let go until she made it.
“Please let her make it,” he whispered.
He borrowed some of her strength when the beam beneath his hands began to shudder.
Kenya left the stairs behind her, the last one seeming to disappear
from beneath her shoe, she crouched, cradled by crossed steel beams in
the darkness between floors, her heart racing as another tremor seemed
to wreak havoc in the mall below.
Panic filled her with worry for the man who shared his stairs, until a hand wrapped in a yellow and gold scarf reached for her.
“Hey?” she called, taking that hand with both of hers. “How did you get here before me?”
pulled her through the darkness to the safety of the outdoors and the
dim light of dusk, somehow telling her to live for both of them.
When she thanked him, he was gone.
People surrounded her and wrapped her in blankets, gave her a bottle of water, brought her to the medics.
She never spotted her rescuer among them.
Some people called it Heaven.
The residents knew it as Everlasting.
you arrived, adjustments needed to be made; it’s not always an easy
task, especially when you were meant to live and the person you saved . .
. slated to die.
Chance became Kenya’s guardian angel.
Or a punishment?