CHERUB’S PLAYBridge-angel-small

2014 Finalist – Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers
2013 Finalist – Crested Butte Writers Conference
2012 Winner – Land of Enchantment Romance Authors
2012 Winner – Central Ohio Fiction Writers – paranormal category

            Wildlife Biologist Sandra Coulton would prefer to focus on computer data and research findings, rather than confusing and unmanageable emotions like love. She wants nothing more than to quietly finish her deceased father’s bear study, but her research is inexplicably interrupted when she finds an eight-month-old baby boy sitting on the roof of her remote ranch house in Alaska. (The cowboys all swear the Great Stork delivered the child.) Sandra bonds with the mysterious baby and wants to adopt him, if no one can find the boy’s real parents.

            One week earlier, Austin Smith, an unemployed, part-Cheyenne Indian bush pilot, wanted nothing more than to quietly finish his beer when an odd woman came up to him in the bar and put a baby in his lap. She said, “It’s your turn now, Dad,” and left. Though he doesn’t remember the woman and can’t find her, he assumes the child is his, the result of an earlier dalliance. He was beginning to like the idea of fatherhood and finally settling down when the boy mysteriously disappeared.

         Archangel Geoffrey Almaric Behir de Giverny can’t remember what he wants, and he’s anything but quiet about it. He’s on a mission, but his arch-rival Gabriel has given him a bit of amnesia to win a bet. Now Geoffrey finds himself in a diaper, which Sandra is changing, and everything he says to her comes out as baby talk.

            Hearing of the child, Austin rushes to the ranch to reclaim his son, only to fall in love with Sandra, who is the perfect antidote to his lifelong wanderlust. Against her better judgment, she’s immediately attracted to Austin, too. But, even if he were a reputable suitor, not a wayward n’er-do-well, her father’s death makes Sandra fearful that any man she loves will leave her.

            Sandra and Austin square off over child custody when Sandra’s congresswoman mother, Martha, is stranded in the forest in which Sandra’s bears live, and which Martha’s timber constituents want to cut down. Someone must rescue her. Austin can fly Martha’s helicopter, if they find it, but he won’t go anywhere without his son, whom he’s already lost once. Sandra won’t let the baby out of her sight either, so they all ride to the rescue on horseback together.

            Given his archangel status, Geoffrey thinks his mission is to save the congresswoman, but his efforts are hampered at every turn by the mutual attraction, distraction, and pre-occupation Sandra and Austin have for each other. Everyone’s efforts are hampered by Gretchin, a trained Hollywood bear who escaped from a film shoot. (Is that bear they encounter on the trail wild and dangerous, or just acting?)

            Geoffrey’s angel tricks can’t save Sandra and Austin from each other, or from the other forest creatures, but a few “miracles” happen, some more human than others. In the end, Sandra overcomes her fear of loss and embraces the untamed and unconditional nature of love.


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