Rebel Angel: A Sainted Sinners Novel
Faeries?”
    “Actual Faeries,” he agreed with a chuckle.
    “This is amazing!” Aurora said.
    “It is,” he agreed, content to sit and watch her.
    They stayed for a bit longer, until Aurora seemed to tire.
    “Let’s go inside,” he suggested.
    She nodded, relaxed and easygoing. This side of her was a pleasant surprise. He caught himself thinking that she would be undeniably, breathtakingly lovely if she were always like this, at ease and happy.
    As they neared the house, he wondered if now wasn’t the perfect time to ask her a few more personal questions. She was calm and in a good mood, there wouldn’t really be a better time for it.
    “I want to ask you a question,” he said.
    She glanced up at him, tossing her hair out of her eyes.
    “Alright,” she said, giving him a wan smile.
    “How can you be sure that Heaven is involved in your mother’s death?” he asked.
    Aurora slowed, giving him a blank look. He hurried to clarify.
    “I mean, Hell… that’s completely expected. But Heaven… I don’t quite see it.”
    Aurora’s expression hardened.
    “You think I’m lying?” she asked, her eyes sparking with anger.
    “No, I just—”
    “You think I’m stupid? Or maybe crazy, huh?”
    “Aurora, I didn’t say that.”
    “Is that why you’re really here?” she spat, her face flushed with fury. “Heaven wants you to sway me, charm me, try to convince me that I’m wrong?”
    He didn’t have a response for that. Technically, he was supposed to sway her to the side of Heaven. He wouldn’t lie to her, so he kept his mouth shut.
    “Let me tell you something, Ezra. Angels and demons took everything from me. Everything . If you think I didn’t do my homework, think I just plucked a bunch of crazy ideas out of the sky, think again.”
    “I didn’t mean to say—” he tried.
    “You know what? Save it. I should have known better. I don’t know whose side you’re on, but clearly you’re not on mine.”
    She whirled and headed for the house, but Ezra caught her wrist, jerking her to a stop. She rounded on him, looking ready to spew fire.
    “Don’t,” she warned.
    “I am here for you, as your protector. I have no stakes in this game.”
    She pulled from his grasp.
    “This isn’t a game, this is my life,” she said. “And if you don’t believe me, you should leave. Or let me go. I’m better off alone than with someone who thinks I’m a crazy liar.”
    “I don’t think that.”
    “You don’t believe me, either.”
    He paused. “I am just trying to understand.”
    Aurora gave him a long look, then shook her head. She turned and left without another word, leaving him standing in the sand feeling like a fool.
    Way to ruin a perfectly good evening, he admonished himself.
    Shaking his head, he followed her into the house. He wasn’t going to leave, not after Le Medcin’s command that Ezra protect her.
    If he was going to stay, if he was going to gain her trust, something would have to give.
    And damned if he wasn’t certain that it would be him.

6
Ezra
    T he next night , Ezra dreamt of the end of the world. In the dream, he flew high above the earth, watching the chaos begin. Everything was a little fuzzy, only a few details catching his attention at first. He felt strangely detached, disconnected from it all.
    Down below, great seas of fiery lava welled to the surface of the planet at the far corners, creeping outward and scorching everything they touched. As the seas began to heat and recede, the fires caught and spread.
    The heat provided huge drafts that pushed him higher and higher. He glided toward North America, moving impossibly fast. He pumped his wings hard and tucked them in, diving down toward the Southern states, zooming in on New Orleans.
    As he dropped, he saw that the skies were pink and orange and red, reflecting the fires in the distance. It was frightening even to Ezra, who’d existed before all the prophecies about the end of the world were even written down.
    In the

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