No Enemy But Time (A Brandywine Investigations Universe Story)

No Enemy But Time (A Brandywine Investigations Universe Story) by Angel Martinez

Book: No Enemy But Time (A Brandywine Investigations Universe Story) by Angel Martinez Read Free Book Online
Authors: Angel Martinez
Tags: Romance, Gay, Fantasy, SciFi, demons, Angels
Chapter One

    If I tilt my head, I can still see the shadows of wings in this light.
    An approaching late spring squall shoved the wind into gusts, causing the trees to sway and flail their branches in dismay. Shadows played across the moon, Rembrandt lighting Michael's body, making the illusory wings rustle in dark, restless twitches, so unlike Michael's own bright wings in his former life.
    Zack shivered, a wave of unease rippling through him. The unsettling moments had increased since winter, fast-moving storms of dark spots across his heart that he could neither explain nor predict. At first, he had blamed them on reestablished contact with his father. An honorable god, yes, but he had lived too long in darkness and Zack still found his company disquieting. But they persisted, even when he hadn't seen Hades for weeks. His hunter's instincts screamed, though so far gave him nothing to go on besides a vague, burrowing dread.
    Something's coming… something dangerous. He ran a gentle hand down Michael's back, a crooked smile curving up when the sensitive wing dimples twitched under his fingers. I'll watch. I'll keep you safe. Whatever it is.
    "Hey." Zack leaned in to nuzzle into Michael's hair, blond turned to silver in the moonlight.
    With a contented sigh, Michael stirred and turned his head on the pillow. "Are you going?"
    "Few minutes. You want breakfast or should I let you sleep?"
    Michael blinked sleep-blurred eyes and started to push himself him up. Zack kept a hand on his back to keep him on his stomach. "If I'm going with you, I need to have breakfast with you."
    "You're not even awake yet. Stay. Sleep. The birds won't mind if you miss the first day."
    "All right." Michael rose up far enough to plant a soft kiss on Zack's lips before he snuggled back down with a smile. "Bossy."
    Zack patted his muscular ass. "Damn right. I'll be back before lunch. Don't forget to bring in your columbines if the wind picks up much more."
    A twinge of anxiety nearly stopped Zack as he eased the bedroom door closed, but he didn't have anything solid on which to pin his fears. A leftover wisp of nightmare. Wind and shadows.
    He guzzled down coffee, wolfed down a bagel, and slipped into his water shoes, still shaking his head at his groundless fears. Michael would be fine on his own. While he wasn't the powerful being he had once been, their lives were quiet and peaceful. He had no need for wings and miracles to putter successfully around his beloved garden. Zack rolled his bike from the shed and set out for the park. Every year since they had moved to Lewes, he had taken three days off from his animal control business—catch and release only—to assist with the migratory bird census.
    The empty early-morning road stared blindly at him. The only sounds accompanying his tires on the asphalt were night insects and the capricious wind. He could almost believe it was a century ago, when the world was larger and less crowded and his Michael was the one to keep him safe.

    * * * * *

    Though still early for most butterflies, Michael kept the butterfly garden for the few migratory wanderers who might pass through. He knelt next to the flowerbed, carefully teasing invasive plants out of the rows and replanting them in the wild bed. The varied reds of the bleeding hearts and wild columbine, the bright pink of the early blooming fuchsia, and the proud white crowns of Queen Anne's lace all bloomed against the backdrop of yellow and white fragrant stars of his honeysuckle vines on their wooden trellis. Zack called it his happy place, and Michael couldn't argue with that. The busy hum of bees, the riot of annual creation—it settled him, warmed him. He needed those things desperately, now, where once a garden would simply have brought him joy.
    He had no regrets. From the moment he had been assigned to Zack, mostly god with a human birth mother for his third life, he had felt the universe shift. An Abrahamic angel watching over an infant Greek god

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