THE GIFTED ONE
JACOB Z. FLORES
Rating: 5 Cups
Matt Westlake has a lousy track record with birthdays. Not having a party or getting socks instead of video games is one thing. His birthdays, instead, tend to be punctuated by legitimate tragedies. On his twenty-seventh, this pattern comes to a head when two old enemies collide over which one gets the pleasure of killing him. The attackers are thwarted by the fortuitous appearance of Officer Craig Belton and of Matt's very own guardian angel–the Angel of Vengeance himself, Gabriel.
Amid the tangle of Matt's past life and future destiny, Matt and Gabriel acknowledge their love for one another, something celestial law states can and must never be. At the same time, Craig is suspicious of Matt's interest in Gabriel, who seems to appear too conveniently for the cop's taste any time Matt is in trouble. Craig and Matt embark on an affair that quickly turns sour when Matt's desire for Gabriel reveals itself in the moments following Matt's recurring nightmare about the night the only parents he has ever known died.
Despite a broken heart, something keeps Craig in Matt's orbit. Matt tries to unravel the confused threads of his feelings, desires and his calling as the Gifted One, a state of affairs not helped by the three people he cares about most in the world. What Matt does not know yet is the fabric of Creation itself hinges on the fires in three men's hearts, fires that the most powerful princes of hell will stop at nothing to extinguish.
The Gifted One may be one of the best-executed angel tales available today. Mr. Flores has clearly given more than casual study to the subject of angelology, and his effort pays off brilliantly. He deftly weaves canonical and apocryphal angelic and Biblical lore, together with a modern-day parable about the triumphs, tragedies and struggles of men who love men into a complex novel offering genuine emotion, hot sex and edge-of-your-seat action. Mr. Flores has penned the rarest of romance novels, one deserving the often-used and all too seldom warranted title of "Classic". My only regret is the scale stops at five cups for this bravura work!
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More