Latest News
  • Upcoming release: Find out more at Love Bytes Reviews
    (28/03/2016)
    MORE ...
Reviews
  • The Carpenter (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • Reading 'The Carpenter' for the second time was easy for me because even though all of Serena's men in the 'Workplace Encounters' series are terrific characters, Tom and Matt are two of my favorites, at least so far.
  • MORE ...
  • The Baker (Workplace Encounters)
  • MelanieM @ scatteredthoughtsandroguewords
  • The Baker by Serena Yates is the first I’ve read in her Workplace Encounters series but I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to search out the rest.
  • MORE ...
  • The Mistletoe Phenomenon (Mistletoe Science 1)
  • Maya @ readalloverREVIEWS
  • The story was well written and utterly cute, sweet and it is oriented around family and Christmas.
  • MORE ...
  • The Model (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • Fabio and Edwin are great characters whose devotion is tested by fire and they come out on the other side stronger than ever.
  • MORE ...
  • Amethysts of Wisdom 1 (Gemstone Chronicles 2)
  • Crissy @ Joyfully Jay
  • This is a wonderful love story highlighting that differences in a relationship, when accepted, can strengthen that bond.
  • MORE ...
  • The Chauffeur (Workplace Encounters)
  • Becky @ Bike Book Reviews
  • I love a short story that makes me feel like I just read a full length it is so good!
  • MORE ...
  • Please, Doctor
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • Serena does a great job of exploring the out-of-the-ordinary world of fetishes in a palatable and understandable way.
  • MORE ...
  • The Bricklayer (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • Serena has created an endearing love story, with two awesome men and put them together with brilliant results.
  • MORE ...
  • The Bricklayer (Workplace Encounters)
  • Becky @ Bike Book Reviews
  • I love an author that can give you such a good plot and delivery in a book that isn't novel length, this is a rare talent indeed!
  • MORE ...
  • Aviophobia (Flight HA1710 #5)
  • Heather @ Padme's Library
  • I love how the author has balanced fear, tragedy, and love.
  • MORE ...
  • The Cake (Elemental Superpowers 1)
  • Caitlin @ Romance Junkies
  • Warning; this story will make you hungry for cupcakes and men. In addition, I should note that this is a very steamy novel.
  • MORE ...
  • The Ship Engineer (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • For those of you who haven't read the story, I'd like to recommend that you do so, especially if you like a good romance with great characters, and a happy ending.
  • MORE ...
  • The Chauffeur (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • If you are like me, you will enjoy the story even more the second time around.
  • MORE ...
  • Araton's Destiny (Celestial Justice 1)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • 'Araton's Destiny' is an enjoyable, sweet Christmas story with passionate, wonderfully written love scenes and a great happy ending.
  • MORE ...
  • Eye of Scota (Dalriata 1)
  • Lilyraines @ Night Owl Reviews
  • I really enjoyed reading the book because it talks about taking chances, doing things way out of the characters' comfort zones..
  • MORE ...
  • The Carpenter (Workplace Encounters)
  • Becky @ Bike Book Reviews
  • It is one of my favorites in this series! Thanks Serena for a series that just keeps getting better and better!
  • MORE ...
  • Garnets of Destiny 1 (Gemstone Chronicles 1)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • The first tale in the 'Gemstone Chronicles' is an endearing love story, endowed with marvelous, well-developed characters, but it also has its dark side, featuring malicious villains with hidden political agendas...
  • MORE ...
  • The Ship Engineer (Workplace Encounters)
  • Becky @ Bike Book Reviews
  • I am so in love with the Workplace Encounters series it isn't even funny, and this book is no different!
  • MORE ...
  • Aquamarines of Courage 1 (Gemstone Chronicles 3)
  • Pixie @ MM Good Book Reviews
  • Oh, this is a fantastic addition to the Gemstone Chronicles with its twists and hidden turns. Nico and Nayder are a wonderful pair.
  • MORE ...
  • The Baker (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • Thanks, Serena, for your magical touch when it comes to giving your couples the happy ending they deserve, and for making me drool all over my Kindle while describing all of the fabulous baked goods.
  • MORE ...
  • The Baker (Workplace Encounters)
  • Becky @ Bike Book Reviews
  • Read this one friends, you will love it as much as I did! Thanks Serena, for yet another fab book in this awesome series!
  • MORE ...
  • To Find and To Keep (Keeping You 1)
  • Regina @ Coffee Time Romance
  • If you never read another m/m romance this year, read this one, you will not be sorry.
  • MORE ...
  • The Elevator Mechanic (Workplace Encounters)
  • Lena @ Rainbow Book Reviews
  • 'The Elevator Mechanic' is a delightful, heartwarming story which I thoroughly enjoyed, and would recommend.
  • MORE ...

Taharial's Struggle (Celestial Justice 4)

Taharial's Struggle (Celestial Justice 4)
Release Date: 26 June 2013
Description:

What if you're the angel of purification and you're fed up with humans no longer agreeing on what type of rituals are required or which ones are right?

Taharial, as the angel of purification, is responsible for many different types of rituals in a variety of religions. When his boss hears him complain, he sends him on a slightly different mission, one that will challenge the very definition of purification and might just reaffirm Taharial's faith in humanity..

Dexter is a young man who lost his chance at a normal life when a car accident rendered him a quadriplegic. Once out of his coma, many healers try to help, but there is no improvement, and Dexter becomes despondent.

Will Taharial be able to change desperation into hope for both men? Or will the struggle with this assignment become too much?

 

NOTE: This book has been previously released in January 2012. No changes have been made to the story, it is identical to the previous version.


Pages: 71
Words: 21,780
Heat Index:Heat Index
Cover Artist: Allison Cassatta
Book Type: EBook

Chapter One

Taharial entered the small, domed space of the sweat lodge somewhere in the American Rocky Mountains more hesitantly than he should have. As the angel of purification, he was supposed to be pure and innocent, but his mutinous thoughts about the futility of some of the rituals he presided over made him overly conscious of his own lack of enthusiasm. The fire in the shallow pit at the centre of the lodge had already nicely heated the stones placed at the four cardinal corners, and the small group of meditating humans encircling the flames looked serene.

All Taharial could think was how much he hated the heat. Why his celestial body became susceptible to human sensations when he spent prolonged periods on Earth was beyond him. Surely, the Big Guy could have come up with a better way of doing things? Taharial sent a quick prayer of apology into the ether, hoping his supreme boss would forgive him for the blasphemy. He was supposed to be supportive and accepting, not critical of the way the universe worked. His mutinous feelings would get him a severe reprimand, most likely, if the judicial panel or any of the other overzealously pious members of the human division got hold of him.

Of all the human purification rituals, the ones involving actual physical contact with some substance thought to have purifying properties had always struck him as the oddest. They made him feel uncomfortable, pulled him out of his celestial body, and made him want to be more than an angel. Different from an angel. Not an angel at all. Whatever!

He had been called to supervise this sweat lodge ceremony, so he had no choice. The heat inside the small domed space was stifling. Not for the first time, he wished there was no need to get involved in the human side of the physical plane when he did his job. It may have been easier for him to be the purifying presence if he managed to become the link between earthly and celestial energies, but it was also more draining.

The sweat leader, an old man of mixed Native American heritage, dipped a small calabash into the wooden bucket of water next to him and poured it onto the hot stones. This produced the steam that was such an essential part of the ritual. After all of the four cardinal directions had been symbolically recognized by their own dip, he commenced the traditional prayers and chants that would guide the three other men and two women in their effort to cleanse themselves of the hatred they had accumulated. Working for the oil company that was in charge of constructing the pipeline across Alaska may have provided them with jobs, but their hearts were not into destroying so much of their ancestral lands to accommodate the new construction. Their spirits were down and they desperately needed to purify themselves.

Once the prayer was spoken and they were well on their way, Taharial faded into the distance. His presence, having made the required connection, was no longer required.

 

The next job was a little more challenging. A small country church, decked out in beautiful flowers and filled to the last pew, was about to become the center of an ugly scene. Festively dressed worshippers stood in a protective half-circle around the two women in front. The mother clutched a tiny baby boy to her chest, her sister looking on.

"You people need serious help." The angry father wearing the rumpled suit raked his sparse hair as he stopped right before the altar. He pointed at the child in the baptism outfit and stepped even closer. "I'm not going to let you put my son through this ridiculous ceremony just to have him become part of a church that is most likely going to abuse him. I want him to wait for baptism until he is old enough to know what is happening. Baptism needs consent, after all, and should not just be an empty ritual that is used to get more members for a church that is losing them in droves."

The two women stared daggers at the intruder and the rest of the congregation made hissing noises.
"Please lower your voice, sir. Your remarks are blasphemous. Everyone knows it is right to baptize children at birth, to ensure their souls are-"

"You are so wrong! The proper ritual has to happen later in life, so it actually means something." The father fisted his hands.

"I am sorry, sir, but you are not correct. We have come here in peace and would like to continue with the ceremony. You are welcome to watch, but please do not interrupt." The priest stood up straight and looked down his nose at the clearly outnumbered father. The priest sounded calm, his eyes and facial expression spoke volumes.

Taharial sighed and extended his wings, trying to spread calm and serenity amongst the irate humans. It was always difficult when parents belonged to different churches that sometimes held opposite beliefs. Why did these humans insist that one type of baptism was better than another? Why had they made up so many different rules around a ritual that was meant as a symbol of welcoming a life into the Big Guy's circle of beings? Did they not realize they were already part of it from the moment they were conceived-ceremony or no ceremony? Taharial was so tired of all this senseless fighting between different religions.

His efforts to make peace between the feuding factions were in vain. He was only the angel of purification, after all, not a bringer of peace. Silently requesting support from his brothers in the diplomatic section, he faded away. These fights just made him sad.

 

A few celestial hours later he finally made it back to Heaven. While not much time would pass on Earth as he recuperated and recharged his energies, the break would enable him to come back to himself enough to start the process of supervising and supporting different types of purification all over again.

"All this flitting back and forth between different religious rituals, with all their attached rules and regulations, is just exhausting." Taharial sank into the soft embrace of the supportive energy construct a human might have called an easy chair. It was part of a small group of similar structures in a quiet corner of the Angelic Recreation Facility. A lot less noisy than the Celestial Center for Energy Management, where angels of all the different divisions went to recharge their energy reserves, this location was set up for quiet conversation, contemplation, and the acquisition of new information.

"Oh, come on, it cannot be that bad." Carmael, the angel of joy, would say that.

"Believe me, it is." He rubbed his forehead, still deeply enough in human mode after his recent month-long foray to Earth to display some of their habits. Although his celestial body was close to the human form in many ways, it did not, strictly speaking, require any of the human maintenance, like eating or sleeping, nor was he really subject to human mannerisms. Still, after a long time among them, he always found it took a little time to readjust. "Do you even know how many religions they have developed? And how intent they are that each be different from the other?"

"But this is your job, is it not?" Carmael frowned, his longish hair covering half his face when he shook his head as if to clear it. "You are the angel of purification, so surely, you are the one in charge?"

"I wish." He leaned back and took a deep breath. "Humans are far more inventive than you can imagine. If left alone, and sometimes even when supervised, they come up with more rules and regulations than even our judicial panel could keep track of. And they are very bossy and insistent on everyone following their newest ideas."

"You sound very fed up." Carmael relaxed, letting his limbs rest more firmly against the supporting structure of the energy chair.

"I just do not see the point of it sometimes." He sighed. It made him a very lonely angel that was for sure.

"If they all know what is right and wrong with such certainty, what is the point of us being there to supposedly guide and help them?"

"Careful!" Carmael sat up and looked around as if to make sure they had not been overheard. "Do not let anyone catch you uttering such undermining thoughts. You know what they are like. Angels have been reprimanded for less."

"Indeed they have." The new voice came from their left.

Taharial flinched then looked up at the imposing presence of Raphael himself. The angel of healing rarely came to mix with others, probably because he was very busy. Three levels above that of a common angel like himself, Raphael was one of the Powers and a member of the Second Triad. His friend Carmael may have technically been at the same level as Raphael, but he certainly did not behave like it, making it easy to forget the celestial hierarchy that separated him, a member of the lowest level of the Third Triad, from Carmael and Raphael.

"I am sorry." Yet again, Taharial had messed up. He suppressed his sigh and focused on getting through this encounter with at least some of his dignity intact.

"There is nothing to be sorry about." Raphael smiled, his eyes crinkling with laugh lines. "May I join you for a moment?"

Taharial nodded. As if he could deny the powerful angel anything.

"Alone?" Raphael cast a meaningful glance at his colleague and Carmael nodded briefly in acknowledgement as he rose from his energy chair.

"See you later." Carmael left with his characteristic smile on his face, as if he did not have a single care in the universe.

"Sure." Taharial felt somewhat nervous now. With the exception of his friend Carmael, it was not his habit to talk to an angel that high up in the hierarchy without a solid reason, nor outside a more formal setting. As far as he knew, those reasons were never good for the recipient of the attention. Araton's and Zuriel's recent cases in front of the judicial panel were proof enough. Both angels had vanished from view just before a third one, a cop angel no less, had followed them into oblivion. So far only archangels had gotten involved.

They were councilors and a level above common angels, usually able to solve whatever problems there were. With a representative of the Powers, the next level up, in front of him, who knew what might happen.

Raphael sat on the energy construct vacated by Carmael and looked around as if to make sure nobody would overhear them. Everyone else was focused on various activities, but still, Raphael waved his hand and a thin energy barrier rose around them, immediately muffling all noise from the rest of the large space. When it closed itself off above their heads, they were effectively enclosed by a soundproof bubble. Being a Power, and part of the Second Triad, sure had its advantages.

"First of all, let me explain that you are not in trouble." Raphael smiled reassuringly.

"How do you know..." Taharial smacked his forehead in another decidedly human gesture. Of course Raphael would know. "Okay, that is helpful to know, but forgive me, I am still somewhat worried."

"Understandable." Raphael nodded and settled more comfortably by sinking deeply into the relaxing energy. "But, as you will see once I have explained the assignment to you, there is absolutely no reason to be worried."

"Assignment?" That sounded suspiciously like work.

"It is a new approach we want to try. Do not let it get out; it is still highly confidential. If successful, it could revolutionize the way we do things." Raphael rubbed his temples. Was the powerful angel as susceptible to human influences as Taharial? "Just the thought of it will have some of the traditionalists in an uproar, so we need to be careful."

"A revolution-here-in Heaven?" He felt weak. The last time that had happened it had not gone so well, as any one of the many souls in hell would be willing to confirm. And now Raphael wanted to draw him into a risky scheme like that?

"Not a revolution!" Raphael's eyebrows almost touched his hairline. "No, more a way of doing things differently. There have been a few cases recently where the judicial panel seriously misjudged the situation and, as a result, have had their judgments overturned by the Big Guy himself."

"Is that what happened to Araton, Zuriel, and Israfil?" He could not have stopped the question if he had tried. This was a great opportunity to find out the truth behind all those rumors and he was going to make the best of it.

"Yes. I cannot give you any details, because I do not have them myself, but I do know that all three of them have decided to become human. It was sanctioned by the highest authority but the facts of what happened have been hidden from us." Raphael tilted his head. "I am told that none of the angels of the Second Triad have been able to penetrate the veil of secrecy, and the members of the First Triad are not willing to discuss the situation. The only explanation is that anyone below their level is part of the plan, so we cannot be told any details."

"Just like humans?" That thought alone was mind-boggling.

"Yes, just like humans are not aware of the Divine plan, there is now apparently a part of it which we are no longer privy to either." Raphael smiled. "This does not worry me, do not get me wrong, but there is a hypothesis about the direction the Big Guy wants us to take, and we would like to confirm this."

"Why?" Surely, the Big Guy knew what he was doing and would inform them when the time was right.

"Curiosity, pure and simple." Raphael grinned. "We just want to know."

"But is it not dangerous to question his wisdom like that? I am not willing to endanger my immortal soul for this 'assignment', you know." No way!

"For all we know what we want to do is part of the plan." Raphael's smile became mysterious.

"Oh." Taharial could feel the first tendrils of a headache, a sign that his energies were either seriously depleted or totally misaligned. He suspected the second. Thinking in complicated patterns was bound to have an effect on his celestial body.

"So, let me tell you about our plans and then you can make a decision that is based on facts, such as they are, rather than suppositions and speculation." Raphael sat forward, clearly intent on making sure that Taharial got the whole story.

"Okay, that is fair." He could only hope that he would still be able to say no at the end of whatever explanations Raphael was ready to give him.

"The reason that I interrupted your discussion with Carmael is your statement that our guidance of most humans may be superfluous since they seem to know what is right and wrong without getting us involved. At least in the way that we have traditionally been doing things. Certainly, the definition of purification has changed from a purely spiritual and religious process to now include other areas of human life such as environmental and scientific aspects. In fact, I believe that the majority of human beings no longer take the spiritual side of things as seriously as maybe they should." Raphael shrugged. "While this may all be part of the Divine plan, it makes the transitional period rather difficult."

"So, where do I fit into all this?" From the sound of it, all these changes could be the explanation of his increasing dissatisfaction.

"I believe what we need is a wider definition of purification on the one hand, and a return to some of the original principles on the other. Humans seem to be able to deal with the newer types of purification quite well, but the lack of spiritual guidance will have an effect sooner or later. I am already beginning to see this in my area of healing. While humans have made tremendous progress in the scientific area, they are overlooking the contribution spiritual healing or purification can make to the physical processes."

"So you see us working on this together?" Me? Working with Raphael?

"Maybe not together, but there is a specific case which could benefit from the addition of your talents. In fact, if my theory is correct, your contribution may be the only thing that can save this human's life." Raphael had turned deadly serious, all traces of a smile gone.

No pressure then, right?

©Serena Yates, 2012 & 2013
All Rights Reserved

$0.00
Ex Tax: $0.00