Ashes of Angels is another great book by Michele Hauf with her usual blend of action, fantasy, rich characters, romance and, in this book, a touch of humour.
Hauf’s Fallen Angels are a particularly nasty kind. When summoned to earth by one who knows their name and sigil, they have the compulsion to mate with their very own muse, a woman marked with their sigil from birth and the one woman who can give them pleasure. Their one desire is to impregnate their muse so she will produce a nephilim, which in this story are evil monsters supposedly out to destroy the earth, not the sexy demon slayers of other stories.
If the Fallen can’t seduce their muse, they’ll take her by force. Rape by a divine being is still rape and giving birth to a monster that will likely kill you during the birthing process is downright scary. This is the scenario that Cassandra’s granny has trained her to avoid. Enter Samandriel, the raven-haired, silver-winged Fallen one, her Fallen one. She tries to get away but of course that’s impossible when he has the strength of twenty men. She soon discovers that Sam isn’t as Granny would have had her believe. He wants to redeem himself and return Above, also he’s not only downright sexy but also sweet and, yes, innocent – that is so long as he doesn’t have his wings out. Once he’s in that form, the compulsion takes over and he becomes dangerous. Luckily, Caz has some magic up her sleeve to help her get away from him and give her a chance to try to snap him out of it and back to his lovely self.
Fighting brings out his wings and he has to fight to stay alive. Other Fallen are after him, because he’s a renegade. He wants to save the muses from his brothers lust. He believes woman should be respected and not forced into producing monsters. He’s determined not to hurt Cassandra. In fact, he just wants to hold her hand. But the Sinistari demons are after him too. They’re ex-Fallen angels who got scooped up before their feet touched the earth and sent Below. Their task is to kill the Fallen.
Add to this, a dark vampire lord who’s calling more Fallen to earth to make nephilim, so they can drink the monsters blood in an attempt to be able to walk in the sun, and you have a recipe for plenty of action. The Angel’s carry their halos – they’re like a metal ring. Sam wears his at his hip and uses it like a boomerang. If a Fallen angel’s halo ever gets to sit above their head, they get a mortal soul, become mortal and forget their (less than) angelic past.
Despite the dangers, in order to stop the world becoming full of rampaging Nephilim, Cassandra needs Sam by her side, so they get to know each other and love grows. The question becomes – will Sam love her enough to give up his desire to return Above and slip on his mortal soul to stay with her? You’ll have to read it to find out.
How the link with the muse is made at birth – or maybe before – and how the mark appears, I don’t know, but I don’t really care because I was happy to go with the ride as we follow Cassandra’s story. I loved the way Caz had to teach Sam about sex. He isn’t the sexually experienced guy we usually get in romances; he’s the fast-learning innocent, which in this case, is just as good and very endearing. He even calls her Bunny!
I recommend the book for all lovers of paranormal romance and give it 5 stars.