Lorelei licked the last traces of soul from her lips, then smoothed the knee-length hobble dress over her thighs. The black Lycra snuggled around her like a living creature. The barbed tip of her tail twitched as she scanned the dance club, seeking more prey.
Her violet eyes locked on the creature seated at the end of the zinc bar, dressed in a rumpled khaki trench coat. Through the smoke and flashing lights of the dance club, she saw him for what he was: an angel of melancholy. Hers. His wings weren’t manifest, but the unmistakable glow of his halo enforced a margin of emptiness around him. Shoulders hunched over his glass, he was doing his best to ignore what was going on around the club. Clearly not having fun, which was a damned shame, considering that fun was what Lost Angels was all about. Lorelei wondered what it would take to put a smile on his face.
She patted hair over the nubs of her horns and adjusted the dress’s zipper to be demure as could be, only the pale white column of her throat revealed. Once she’d made certain that the seams on her stockings were straight and her mortal glamour was flawless, she stepped out of the shadows. Let’s see if this one could be won without a fight.
The angel ignored her when she leaned across the bar at his elbow, straining the lycra dress just so. Lorelei waved the bartender over. “My usual,” she shouted above the music, “and whatever he’s drinking. On my tab.”
When another Crown Royal appeared in front of him, the angel made no move toward it. Lorelei breathed into his ear, “Say thank you.”
Vaguely in the bartender’s direction, the angel repeated, “Thank you.”
Lorelei touched her glass against the angel’s, then downed a good mouthful of her drink. More Absolut than cranberry, just the way she liked it. However, the angel continued to ignore her, tense and miserable, wanting his whiskey but apparently afraid to touch it.
“Thank you, Lorelei,” she prompted. She leaned against the angel, nestling his shoulder between her breasts. She reached around his waist to hold him close. He could escape her, certainly, if he wanted to cause a scene. She licked her lips, so close to his ear that he quivered at the sound. “What’s your name, Angel?”
He sipped his drink before answering, “Aza.”
There should be an ‘el’ on there somewhere.
Amused by the dropped honorific, she echoed, “Just Aza?”
“Aza will do.”
The nickname made him sound accessible. Not fallen yet, but unimaginably lonely. Lorelei asked, “Looking for company, Aza?”
The angel put his glass down very precisely on the bar. She was unprepared when his stormy green eyes turned to her. “Maybe I came looking for you, Lorelei.”
The timbre of his voice shivered through her like lightning. When she was sure of her composure, she purred, “Here I am, Angel.”
The Holiday’s Best Ginger Cookies
Since our friends observe so many different holidays, my family celebrates each New Year with a cookie party. Every year, we make these spicy ginger cookies and there are never any leftover.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons minced ginger
3/4 cup candied ginger, minced
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line the cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scatter the turbinado sugar on a plate and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, dry spices, and salt.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter, molasses, white & brown sugars, and egg. Stir in the two kinds of minced ginger and incorporate the flour mixture.
Make 1-inch balls of dough and roll them in the turbinado sugar. Place them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes, until the cookies crack on their surfaces. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when half or more have deflated.
Transfer to racks to cool. Try to save some for the guests!