Echoes From Heaven
by Mackenzie McKade
Mackenzie McKade LLC
eBook ISBN: 978-1-45249-865-2
Celena, a Christmas angel, has been given the devil of an assignment — to teach Lon Townsend how to love again. But the man is bad to the bone — a playboy to the nth degree—with no desire to change his wicked ways. Not to mention he makes her incorporeal body burn with desire, which is wrong on so many levels.
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The powers above had to be kidding—a celestial joke. No way could any woman get through to Lon Townsend’s conscience, even an ethereal being like Celena. Nevertheless, she’d been given the roguish man as her assignment with a deadline of December 25th and only two weeks to work an impossible miracle.
Make him love again.
A soft cloud of mist rose above the floor of the Welkin Room, the vault in heaven where cries of humans in distress could be heard. The pleasant scent of rain rose to envelop her in the arms of peace among the chaos, but for some reason the calm she needed evaded her today.
A glassy aura shielded her figure as she hung suspended just above the floor’s surface. She felt warm, heat flushing across her face.
An apparition shouldn’t feel warmth—Celena shouldn’t feel anything.
Still, whispers of air threaded through her long, flowing hair, raising it to hover on the breeze. The unstable flurry in the room bobbed her body slightly as her diaphanous gown teased her skin.
Hey, wait—she didn’t have skin. So what was that prickling sensation crawling over her arms? A shiver slid up her back making the atmosphere around her shimmer and her eyes gape in wonder.
From the heavens, Celena called down her water lens. The oval mirror with a handle on each end appeared magically in her hands. Hands she could almost swear had a slight hint of skin pigmentation. Even her hair appeared to be taking on a faint reddish tint.
Something wasn’t right in Heaven and she blamed it on Lon Townsend.
This was the third time this particular human had been assigned to her. Each time she’d successfully talked her way out of the task. But it appeared her luck had run out. She’d put off making contact with the man, hoping her pleas to be reassigned would be heard, but her requests fell on deaf ears.
With a sigh of resignation, she firmed her celestial form. In both hands, Celena held her water lens. The surface shimmered, a swirling haze that cleared to a glassy finish to reveal her subject. A shiver of unease swept over her before she gazed into the speculum connecting them between their worlds. Heaven and Earth.
Gloriously naked, Townsend’s powerful length stretched across his king-size bed. Golden ripples of flesh accentuated every sinewy cord of muscle, every inch of masculine prowess that could make a woman weak in the knees. Except her, of course.
Celena was a Nimbus of Christmas, a specter, charged to lead lost souls back to the light of their conscience and out of the darkness of despair.
But first the subject had to have a conscience, which Townsend did not, Celena concluded, watching the man lounge sinfully on his bed. She swallowed hard, trying to push aside the fact the man looked good enough to eat.
Her gaze darted to the ceiling. “Sorry about that, Sir.” God knew what was going through her head, and she doubted He would approve. Her sleep had been riddled with dreams of Townsend, holding him in her arms, doing the most decadent things to his body. A deep, lonesome sigh revealed how she wanted to taste his lips.
Like that was ever going to happen. Were Townsend to even attempt to kiss her he’d fall straight through her insubstantial form and land flat on his face. The thought forced a giggle from her.
Directing her attention back to the mirror and the image within, her smile turned into a frown. With a touch of confusion, she shook her head, conceding he didn’t look the least bit hopeless. In the past month, each time she dared to conjure his image, he appeared to be having the time of his life—a different woman every night. And for some reason that drove her to distraction.
“Look at him,” she muttered, tightening her grip on the mirror.
Heavy lids shadowed sapphire eyes as he gazed at the ceiling. She had the most impossible thought that he knew she watched from above. Her traitorous body reacted to those dark, rakish eyes. With just a look he commanded her nipples to tighten and moisture to dampen her thighs, which was completely impossible. She gasped as a tightening twisted in her belly. He did this to her every time she laid eyes on him and it wasn’t right.
In fact, it was shameful and inexcusable. A mere human should have no power over her. She raised her chin proudly. Created from the heavens, stars and moon dust, she was pure of thought and spirit.
But oddly he made her think human thoughts of longing and carnal needs. A sudden breeze stirred, caressing her form, and the sense of heat was back, warming her body as if she actually had blood flowing through her veins. She gazed again into her water lens.
Townsend slid across the white satin sheets with a predatory gleam on his face. His sleek, sexy glide was sinful. He moved with the grace of a stalking cat, preparing to pounce on some unsuspecting mouse.
When Celena heard the squeak of a door, she expanded the vision of the mirror, taking in the remainder of the masculine room as well as the voluptuous brunette who stepped beyond his master bathroom.
Now that woman was definitely not a mouse.
Townsend looked at her through heavy lashes, too thick and too sexy for any man—human or godlike. An errant lock of black hair fell across his forehead, while a slow, heated smile rose. With a crook of his finger, he beckoned her to his side.
“Come here.” His soft, sexy growl wasn’t for Celena but the woman wearing a red lace teddy. Her hips swayed invitingly as she slinked forward.
A tremor of disappointment struck Celena. She jumped, startled, when Niara floated next to her and glanced into the water lens.
“Oh my! Your subject?” Niara was the Pacesetter in charge of assigning all subjects to their rightful Nimbus. The elderly woman was slipping in her job, because Townsend did not belong to Celena, nor was the man in despair.
“Bad is what he is. Bad. Bad. Bad—” Celena halted as she saw disapproval darken Niara’s eyes.
“Where is your compassion? This man is crying for help,” Niara insisted. The scowl on her face deepened. Then she glanced back at the man and woman reflecting in the water lens locked in an embrace. Niara’s sheer gown swept the floor where she hovered.
“Help? This is the fourth woman in his bed this week!”
Niara raised a brow. “And how would you know that? I just this morning assigned you the case.”
Heat raced up Celena’s neck, simmering across her cheeks. Caught red-handed. “He is impossible—” Her voice broke as it rose.
“Lon Townsend has not had an easy life,” Niara scolded, continuing to gaze into the mirror. Celena’s eyes widened when Townsend spread the brunette’s thighs and dove between them. The Pacesetter appeared unaffected and looked away.
Too embarrassed to ask any of the other Nimbi if they had experienced these types of reactions when dealing with their subjects, Celena had kept her thoughts to herself.
Celena had viewed his monograph. From the moment he was born, tragedy had stolen those he loved. His mother died birthing him. That stray terrier he carried around with him when he was a small boy was hit by a car. His best friend was lost to juvenile diabetes. Add to that a string of unfaithful lovers and Townsend had lived an unfortunate life.
“Don’t forget the loss of his father in the Kuwait War.” The crafty woman was listening to Celena’s thoughts. “He’s screaming for your gentle hand, my dear.”
It wasn’t screaming Celena heard. It sure wasn’t Townsend making that low lustful sound, but the woman beneath him. And the gentle hand was his as he carried his lover straight to heaven.
Celena closed her eyes. “When do I have to make connection?” Thank God she didn’t have to have physical contact with Townsend. She would control his thoughts and opportunities from Heaven, where she was safe. Still, she didn’t know if she wanted to traipse through his mind or find out what his wicked dreams were.
“Tomorrow,” Niara responded.
A soft moan brought Celena’s eyes open and she couldn’t help looking into the depths of the mirror.
Braced on the palms of his hands, Townsend moved with calculated speed, slow and steady, driving between the brunette’s thighs. Each time he thrust deep inside her, she made a mewling sound of pure bliss. His eyes were so blue with desire, Celena felt herself melting in them.
“This job is going to be hell,” she concluded, lowering her water lens and taking a much-needed breath.
“But rewarding,” Niara added before she disappeared.
* * *
Lon pulled the razor over his angular jaw then swiped the blades beneath the water and turned off the faucet. The shaving cream’s minty scent rose as he wiped his face with a towel and placed it on the sink.
He looked back from the mirror, weary lines etched in his forehead.
“How did life get so fucking complicated?” With a jerk, he pulled the shower door open, stepped inside and adjusted the temperature of the water.
As CEO of a major investment firm, he should be on the top of the world. Instead he felt something vital missing in his life.
He was good at what he did, but it always seemed he was cleaning up other people’s messes.
Pellets of hot water beat against his tense shoulders. He placed his palm against the marble surface in front of him, bowed his head and let the soothing rhythm wash away the tightness in his muscles.
This was his second adventure in four years.
A heavy sigh rose as he lathered his hair. David and John, his racquetball and drinking buddies, had theories as to why Lon was restless.
David ventured that Lon enjoyed the challenge, seeking bigger and better scores.
John’s answer to everything was Lon needed to get laid.
Not a problem in that field.
He’d always been able to attract women. Finding one he wanted to hold on to for more than a night was the issue. In his youth he’d been burned a couple times, so he was skittish when it came to commitment. But it didn’t stop him from working, and working hard, to find the right woman.
A grin tipped his lips upward when he thought of Debbie. Last night’s brunette had been one hot tumble.
Finishing up in the shower, he opened the door and retrieved a towel. With several rapid movements he ran the cloth through his hair, before he circled it around his hips and secured it. He snatched his deodorant from the counter. One arm held high, he stopped midway when he heard, “Oh my!” The breathy female cry made him place the deodorant back on the sink. He reached for the doorknob. After inching the door wider, he looked into his bedroom to see the most intriguing sight.
A fiery redhead was propped against his satin pillows. Long, spiral curls framed the softest ivory face he’d ever seen. Her big, blue eyes widened as she stared at her hand held before her. Fingers splayed, a twist of her wrist from back to palm, she examined it as if she’d never seen it before. Then she reached up with her other hand and smoothed a path up her arm.
She cupped both palms to her cheeks. “I’m real.” Her gasp held a hint of panic that immediately morphed to a flow of melodious laughter. Her hands moved down her slender neck as if feeling the silky skin for the first time. “I’m so soft.” The innocence in her voice was amusing. Convincingly, she played the part, even releasing a squeal when her hand brushed a perky nipple barely hidden beneath the sheer gown she wore. A shudder visibly shook her body, causing her full lips to part and her eyelids to close.
She was a damn good actress. Still, Lon’s interest shot from zero to ten in a heartbeat. The pulse inside his cock jumped. He hardened instantly.
His friends had outdone themselves this time. John and Dave had said they had a special Christmas present for him, but Lon hadn’t expected it to be an angel in his bed. No wings, but a soft, white glow surrounded her in a halo effect.
His friends were electronic wizards. Lon didn’t know how the hell they got into his house, but he’d have to compliment them on their special effects and his special gift next time he saw them.
Christmas had come early for Lon Townsend.
Their timing was impeccable. He’d taken the next three weeks off for Christmas vacation. This was a great way to begin the holidays.
His hold on the doorknob tightened as she continued to take inventory of her personal assets. She seemed particularly intrigued with her breasts and the small patch of curly red hair at the apex of her thighs, as she dragged the gauzy see-through gown up her legs to take a look.
When her finger slipped into her pussy, she threw back her head and cried out.
Silently, so did he. In fact, he almost swallowed his friggin’ tongue when she splayed her legs wide.
Lon had watched many women seek their own pleasure, but the one before him was like a decadent piece of white chocolate—sweet, with all the sin removed. Every naïve discovery she made, from her shocked and then pleased expressions to her soft cries, appeared genuine to him. And she did all this without giving him the hint that she knew he was present. Not once did she glance up to see if he was watching.
Actress or not, he had the incredible need to taste her. He stepped beyond the door and entered the bedroom. “Find something interesting down there, angel?”
The light around her body dimmed. Her head jerked up. Her eyes were as wide as saucers. Startled, her arms began to flail. The quick twists and turns she made to right herself moved her to the edge of the bed. The next thing he knew she rolled right off. A soft thud sounded as she disappeared, falling to the floor.
There was a moment of silence, when a delicate hand appeared, patting the covers. When her fingers closed around an odd-looking mirror, she pulled it off the bed.
“Niara,” he heard her whisper. And then he could have sworn a different voice rose, that of an older female who replied, “Yes, my dear?”
She must be on a cell phone.
“Niara, get me out of here.” Panic was evident in her tone.
“But you have yet to complete your task.”
“Niara!” Her desperate cry went unanswered.
Okay. This wasn’t quite what he’d expected. He took a step closer. “Problem, angel?”
Two big, blue eyes peeked beyond the bed sheets. “Ahhh…it appears I’m stuck with you.”
“Stuck?” A smile touched his mouth. “Honey, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a woman refer to spending time with me as ‘stuck’.”
“Well, I’m not just an ordinary woman.”
Lon’s breath caught as she rose. The gossamer gown hid nothing of her curvy features. She wasn’t much over five foot, and she definitely wasn’t ordinary.
In fact, she was gorgeous—a hundred pounds of heaven, from her bouncy red hair, to her shapely figure. With a sprinkling of freckles across her upturned nose, she was adorable.
“Are you my Christmas present?”
Her dainty fists flew to her hips. “You wish. I’m your Nimbus of Christmas.”
“Nimbus of Christmas.” A roll of her eyes, she shook her head. “Christmas Angel.” The last said with a “duh” sound.
He was up to playing her game. “Ahhh… You’re here to make all my dreams come true?”
With an upward brush of her hands she fluffed her hair. “Something like that.”
Legs parted, he dropped the towel from around his hips.
Her eyelids shot wide, jaw dropped, as she pinned her stare on his rock-hard cock. “P-Put that thing away.”
His grin deepened as a flush of color dotted her cheeks. “Oh honey, I plan to tuck it away somewhere nice and tight.”
His fingers folded around his erection. Her eyes gaped more. The pretense of innocence she displayed was so damn cute. But clearly she was comfortable with her own nudity, as she never made any attempts to hide from him, standing there in her flimsy gown. A fact that told him she’d be a firecracker between the sheets. Firmly, he slid his hand up and down his shaft.
She took an audible breath. Her chest rose and fell rapidly. “This isn’t funny.”
With a hiss through clenched teeth, he pumped his erection several times. “No, but it could be fun, especially if you would do this for me.” His thumb slipped over the crown, pressing against the slit where semen had already beaded. Just the thought of her touching him, that perfect hand or mouth wrapped tight around his firm flesh sent shivers up his spine.
He wanted this woman.
“C’mon, angel, touch me.”
Celena wanted to do just that so badly she could taste it. All the times she’d observed other women stroking and caressing him, she’d envisioned her own hands smoothing over his firm muscles—her body making love to him. And that particular organ he held in confident hands had intrigued her more than anything.
What would it feel like? Taste like?
Did she dare?
Her tongue moved between suddenly dry lips. Breathing and swallowing became difficult as she continued to watch him masturbate.
With each stroke he grew longer, firmer. Hips slightly forward, his eyes darkened. The most incredible look fell across his features. Sexy, primitive and all male.
The light scent of mint surrounded him, but there was something more—raw male masculinity. It oozed from him and surrounded her like an aphrodisiac. She’d never heard her heart race, but it was racing now.
Celena took a step toward him.
“That’s it, angel. Come to me.” His dark, sensual voice had a magnetic pull. Was he the devil in disguise? Because he was tempting her beyond what was rational.
Remember who you are, Celena.
Yet his seduction was too strong. Or was it her own fascination—her own need that drove her to stand before him? She felt so small in his shadow. The hunger in his eyes made her feel like a woman, flesh and blood, not the celestial being she was. Her body’s temperature rising and the unusual way it ached had to be real. Hot. So hot inside and out. Her breasts felt heavy, the tips radiating with sensitivity. The wetness between her legs fed her need to feel what it would be like to be human.
He reached for her. A calloused but gentle palm touched her cheek as his hand grazed her face to bury in her hair and cup the nape of her neck. He pulled her closer, his mouth slanting over hers.
When their lips met, her knees weakened. She had to grasp his arms to keep from falling. He was tender, yet firm, demanding her surrender with a simple kiss. His tongue swept every inch of her mouth.
The wild, almost primitive taste of him was unlike anything she’d ever experienced.
What was she thinking? It was her first kiss. Everything he was doing to her was new and exciting. From the way his tongue explored her mouth to the caress of his hands across her back. When he grasped her buttocks and pulled her against his hard erection, she froze.
I’m his Nimbus—Townsend’s angel. I wasn’t sent here to fulfill my desires—desires I’m not even supposed to be feeling. She broke the kiss and stepped from his arms.
A frown contracted her brows together. Why was she sent to Earth? With all her previous subjects she’d served them from the safety of Heaven through her water lens. “Am I being tested?”
“Tested? If so, you passed with flying colors.” His voice was a husky thread of need. “Now come here. I’m not finished with you.” He pulled her back into his arms. “In fact, I’ve never tasted anyone as sweet.”
Lord, his hands felt so good on her skin.
“No. No. No. This isn’t right.” She struggled, and he immediately released her.
Confusion tugged his mouth into a scowl. “What’s wrong?” He appeared tense, clearly as rigid as another part of his body that drew her attention.
Her eyelids squeeze tight. Don’t think about it. But she did.
She wanted to touch him—stroke him like the woman the night before had done. He had passionately called out Debbie’s name as her hand and then her mouth pleasured him, sucking and licking until he exploded, filling her with his semen.
But more than anything Celena wanted him to part her thighs and bury himself deep inside her. She ached to be human—to feel the wicked desires of the flesh—two bodies coming together as one. Not with anyone, but Lon Townsend. There was something about him that made her senses fly out the window and crave things she shouldn’t.
For Saint Peter’s sake! What was wrong with her? She was a Nimbus.
“My name is Celena.”
“Well, Celena, I have about fifteen minutes before I’m expected at John and Dave’s Christmas party and I can’t go like this.” His fingers curled around his erection. “Honey, either you have to take care of it or I’ll have to, because it’ll never fit in my pants in this condition.”
Celena’s cheeks flamed with heat. She shook her head in small, quick movements that bounced her long red curls around her face.
“Have it your way.” He moved to the bed, climbing upon it and settling into a relaxed pose. Leaning against the pillow, he bent both knees, one against the bed and the other pointing to the ceiling. Then his confident hand began to stroke up and down. All the while he pinned her with a sexy, dark gaze.
The temperature in her body shot out the top of her head when he said, “Come sit by me, angel.”
Her darn legs immediately started to move. Within a heartbeat she was beside him on the bed. With his free hand he reached for her shaky one. She didn’t fight him when he guided her to his erection. She gasped as her fingers folded around him. The sensations were astonishing. Soft and hard, it was like silk around steel.
His palm, warm and big against her hand, slowly began to move up and down his shaft. Accidentally, she gave her wrist a little twist on an upward stroke.
A deep throaty groan surfaced, his fiery gaze pinned on her. “Yeah.” He inhaled a ragged breath. “I like that.” His grip tightened around her hand.
She did the little twisty thing again. Pride flushed throughout her when he groaned again.
A bead of pre-come pearled at the slit of his erection. What in the world came over her she would never know, but she leaned forward and flicked her tongue and tasted him. She no sooner raised her head than a stream of semen shot into the sky.
“Oh my.” She giggled, watching his seed splatter on the bed beside them. “Did I do that?” The salty, masculine flavor teased her taste buds begging for more.
A growl rumbled in his throat. “Hell, yes, you did that.” He jerked her into his arms and captured her mouth in a demanding kiss.
His artful tongue slid across the seam of her lips, urging them to open and let him in. She could do no more than obey as he slipped inside and feverishly caressed her tongue. Amazingly, she reciprocated and found herself locked his arms, enjoying his heated takeover.
All too soon it ended.
He glanced at the clock on his nightstand. “We better get going.”
Celena felt dazed from the heady kiss. “We?”
“Yeah. I’m sure John and Dave are dying to see how we hit it off.” He disappeared into the bathroom.
“John and Dave? Party? I can’t go to a party. I don’t have anything to wear.” The words no sooner left her mouth than the most exquisite evening dress appeared on the bed. It was silk, emerald green.
She startled when the water lens began to hum. Celena scooted off the bed and went to where the mirror lay on the floor. The surface of the lens was smoky then began to clear. Niara’s image surrounded by clouds reflected from within.
Celena snatched the lens off the floor and grasped the mirror by its handles. “Niara!” She shot a glance toward the closed bathroom door. “Please get me out of here before Townsend returns.”
Niara shook her head. “It’s not to be, my dear. You must finish your assignment before Christmas.”
Panic slithered across Celena’s arms. Did Niara know what just occurred? Pleasepleaseplease. God, let the answer be no. “But I don’t know if I can do it.”
“You will find your way,” Niara assured her.
“How?” Celena was losing control of the situation. There was no way she could stay until Christmas with Townsend and not be tempted to act out her fantasies.
“You have everything within you to achieve success. Remember, you can’t leave his side. The rest will be at your fingertips, like the gown and shoes.”
“Shoes?” Celena glanced around to see a pair of three-inch stilettos and the skimpiest pair of panties and bra she’d ever seen.
“Enjoy yourself, dear.” Celena didn’t care for the knowing grin on Niara’s face or the laughter in her voice. “We will talk soon.” The image of the older woman vanished from within the water lens, the surface once more glassy.
Celena released one side of the mirror and let it slowly slip to her side. “I guess I’m going to a party.”
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