Aurora had barely settled onto the floor when a tap sounded on the door. “Come in,” she sang out.
Olivia Taylor slipped through the psychedelic glass beads that separated the front entrance and the main living room.
Aurora smiled and gestured for her apprentice to join her on the floor.
Olivia hesitated long enough to make it clear she wasn’t a fan of meditation. “I thought we were having a meeting?”
“We are, but not everyone has arrived.”
“Who else are we waiting for?”
Just then the door opened, and Zack Evans strolled in.
Olivia stiffened. Zack grinned, as though unaffected by the cool reception, but Aurora saw through his easy-going swagger.
“Sit down, Zachery, and we’ll get started.”
Zack dropped down beside Olivia. “Hey, Livy, long time no see.”
Olivia scooted away from him. “My name is Olivia.”
Zack tugged on one of Olivia’s long, blond tresses, dimples winking from both of his cheeks. “Yeah, I know, but Livy suits you better.”
Before Olivia could fire back a response, Aurora closed her eyes and started humming Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Within seconds, the Seattle skyline transformed into the Alaskan landscape filled with a glowing emerald light that silenced Zack and Olivia’s argument. A strangled gasp came from the two.
No one ever really believed she was THE Aurora Borealis until they saw her light show.
Several minutes later, she finished then clapped her hands together. “Okay, that’s done for the evening.” Aurora smiled at them. “I imagine you two are wondering why you’re here.”
They stared at her with a mix of curiosity and wariness.
“I have a joint assignment for you.”
They both stiffened.
“Joint. As in together?” Olivia asked.
Zack’s expression was inscrutable. “But we’ve always worked alone.”
“That’s true, but I feel this case requires the services of two angels.”
Their voices rang out simultaneously. “Thanks, but no thanks.”
Aurora studied her charges. Partners who died together were an unpredictable lot, especially when animosity remained between them. “This isn’t a request. It is your assignment, but out of curiosity, why wouldn’t you want to work together?”
Olivia hitched a shoulder in apparent nonchalance. “I prefer to work alone.”
Aurora tapped her forefinger to her chin. “Ah.”
“What does that mean?” Olivia demanded.
Aurora pursed her lips to restrain the laughter bubbling up inside her. “It means, I think there’s more that you’re not telling me.”
“Why would you choose us?” Zack asked. “We’re always fighting.”
“You two have done excellent work since your arrival. I feel that by combining your talents you will succeed where others have failed.”
Zack accepted the praise without question, but Olivia clearly had reservations.
“Okay, so what is our assignment? To stop a nuclear bomb?” Olivia asked.
Aurora chuckled. “No, nothing that drastic. I have a pair of lost souls that are in love but not connecting. Your job is to get them connected.” She handed them each a file.
Olivia scanned the papers, then released a horrified gasp. “You want us to play cupid?”
Olivia sat straighter. “Isn’t there a Romance Division that handles that?”
“Actually, there’s not.”
Zack had been silent during Olivia’s outburst. “Why us?”
He was more analytical than Olivia, a fact Olivia would not appreciate. She didn’t like to be considered emotional. “I’ve assigned angels more experienced than you to their case, and they have all failed. You two are their last hope.”
Aurora hoped her plan to bring Liam and Holly together would also bring Zack and Olivia together. Relationships between angels were frowned upon but not forbidden. Zack and Olivia had done so much good during their time on Earth, they deserved some happiness in the afterlife.
Her superiors wouldn’t approve of the assignment. Angels worked alone, but it wouldn’t be the first time in life, or death, that she’d bent the rules.
Zack drew in a breath, then blew it out. “I’m confused. If they love each other, why would they need an angel—angels?”
Aurora stared out at the glowing emerald sky, recalling how desperately she’d loved a handsome young man once upon a time. “Sometimes love isn’t enough,” she murmured as much to herself as Zack.
“I’ll bet he’s pushy and overbearing,” Olivia said.
Aurora shook her head. “This isn’t about pointing fingers. These two need guidance, a little help in the romance department.”
Olivia stared out the window. “I don’t know anything about relationships. Find someone else.”
“You won’t be alone. Zack will be with you,” Aurora assured her.
“So we really are playing cupid?” Zack asked.
Olivia’s expression hardened. “What exactly do you want us to do?”
“Do what you do on every other assignment. Even though they can’t see you, stay close to them, feel their emotions, and give them a little guidance through actions or words. Then together, I want you to help them recognize how much they need and love each other.”
Aurora studied her charges. Olivia hated vague. She wanted decisive instructions. Zack, on the other hand, was more of a free spirit like herself, willing to think outside of the box to find a solution. Yes, she’d chosen wisely.
“I want you to use your strengths, which are different and unique. Be willing to listen to each other, trust your partner’s instincts and your own.”
Defiance etched Olivia’s features. She’d had a chip on her shoulder in life that she’d carried into death. “I’m not convinced we’re the best choice.”
“I am, and that’s all that matters.”
The sexy rumble of a 1952 Harley Davidson motorcycle filled the room. “That’s my ride.” Aurora stood. “Time for you two to get to work. These two need a Christmas miracle, and I know you can provide it.”
When they didn’t move, Aurora decided it was time for a little tough love. She gave them a nudge and, together, they all stepped out on the balcony.
“James, you’re early,” Aurora called to the angel hovering on a motorcycle beside the balcony.
A smile tilted the handsome jaw that always carried a hint of attitude. What a shame he’d died at the height of his movie career. But if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t be here with her now. Things, Aurora had discovered, always evened out in the afterlife.
“Call if you need me,” she told her apprentices then swung her leg over the back of the motorcycle. She had a good feeling that these two would bring a Christmas miracle to Liam and Holly.
James revved the engine and drove off into the night on nothing but a wing and a prayer.