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506 pages, Paperback
First published April 1, 2011
“Then I’m glad I’m your first.”
“I’m going to be thrown out of Paradise tomorrow, Beatrice. Our only hope is that you find me afterward. Look for me in Hell.”
"She was both perfect and untouchable, a brown-eyed angel dressed in resplendent white, while he was older, world-weary and wanting."
“I will always be conscious of your absence.”
“I don’t expect you to understand. You’re only a magnet for mishap, Miss Mitchell, while I am a magnet for sin.”
“You’re gorgeous, Gabriel. You always were, you know.”
“Nature’s cruelty— the fallen angel retains his beauty. But I’m ugly on the inside.”
For if you truly believe that kindness is never wasted, you have to hold tightly to that belief even when the kindness is thrown back in your face.
“When I am an old man and I can remember nothing else, I will remember this moment. The first time my eyes beheld an angel in the flesh. “I will remember your body and your eyes, your beautiful face and breasts, your curves and this.” He traced his hand around her navel before dragging it lightly to the top of her lower curls. “I will remember your scent and your touch and how it felt to love you. But most of all, I will remember how it felt to gaze at true beauty, both inside and out. For you are fair, my beloved, in soul and in body, generous of spirit and generous of heart. And I will never see anything this side of heaven more beautiful than you”
I see the appeal of GI and had I read when it was initially published I would, at the very least, have stuck with it to the end.
However, the forbidden teacher-student-rich alpha male-virgin female trope has become so boring and redundant. It doesn't help that this- with its copious allusions to Dante and Frodo blah blah- is slightly too pretentious for my taste. DNF @ 50%
"You are a only a magnet for mishap, Miss Mitchell, while I am a magnet for sin."
"Sometimes people, when left alone, can hear their own hatefulness for themselves. Sometimes goodness is enough to expose evil for what it really is."
He pressed their lips together, and she sighed, resting her head against his chest and listening to the steady, contended rhythm of his heart. Time passed or stood still. Two almost-lovers entwined beneath a dark November sky, the stars and moonlight their only illumination.
"You could have any woman you want, Gabriel."
He furrowed his eyebrows. "I only want you."
She rested her head against his chest and smiled.
"Being without you, Julianne, is like enduring an endless night without stars."
She realized immediately that not only had she never seen a professor as attractive as he before, she had never encountered a professor who was so studiously put together. He could have appeared in an advertising campaign for Prada, something no prpfessor had ever done before.
(For it must be noted that university professors are not usually admired for their fashion sense.)
Miss Mitchell tasting wine was the most erotic thing he'd ever witnessed.
She was not merely attractive; she was beautiful, like an angel or a muse. And she wasn't merely beautiful; she was sensual and hypnotic, but also innocent. Her pretty eyes reflected a depth of feeling and radiant purity that he had never noticed before.
Miss Mitchell was a Calamity Jane, a vortex of vexation.
"Wrath is one of the deadly sins," she remarked, turning away from him to gaze out the window, trying to alleviate the burning sensation in her middle.
He laughed bitterly. "Remarkably, I have all seven; don't bother counting. Pride, envy, wrath, sloth, avarice, gluttony, lust."
She lifted an eyebrow but did not turn around. "Somehow, I doubt that."
"I don't expect you to understand. You're only a magnet for mishap, Miss Mitchell, while I am a magnet for sin."
"Beatrice." He smiled and handed her the apple.
She stared at it entranced, as if it were a treasure.
"Come, Beatrice." He held his hand out to her.
"Have you ever lain next to a boy and looked up at the stars?" He pulled her down to the blanket and watched her as they lay on their backs.
He threaded his fingers through hers and placed the connection that was theirs on top of his heart. She could feel it beating slowly beneath her touch, and she took comfort in its steady rhythm.
"You're beautiful, Beatrice. Like a brown-eyed angel."
"What are you thinking?" She shifted herself so that she was curled up at his side, close to but not touching him with her body.
"I was thinking about how I waited for you. I waited and waited, and you never came." He smiled at her sadly.
"You're here now. Apparuit iam beatitudo vestra."
"I don't know what that means." She sounded shy.
"It means now your blessedness appears. But really, it should be now my blessedness appears. Now that you're here." He pulled her closet, snaking his arm beneath her neck and down to her waist where he splayed his hand, fingers wide, at the small of her back. "For the rest of my life, I'll dream of hearing your voice breathe my name."
In their orchard, which was Paradise, there were only two almost-lovers and no one and nothing else.
He released her hand and rolled onto his back, gazing up at the ceiling. "I lost my soul, Julianne."
"What do you mean?"
"You're looking at one of those precious few who have committed the sin unto death."
Gabriel sighed. "My name is the bitterest irony. I'm closer to a devil than an angel, and I'm beyond redemption because I've done unforgivable things."
Sometimes people, when left alone, can hear their own hatefulness for themselves. Sometimes goodness is enough to expose evil for what it really is.
Lazy but curious hands caressed naked skin, exploring gently but chastely. Sighs commingled in the dark as two souls breathed as one. Two heartbeats synchronized when they recognized one another. And two troubled, conflicted minds finally came to rest.
"Your body and mine together. You came to me last night, Julianne. You came to my bed. Why did you do that? Why did you tell me you couldn't stay away? Because we're soulmates, just like Aristophanes described- one soul in two bodies. You're my missing half. You're my bashert."
Julia was breathing his breath, hot and moist inside her mouth. He was her oxygen. She couldn't stop kissing long enough to truly inhale, and her head began to float. It made the feel of his lips more intense, so didn't fight it. She just gave in, licking and sucking and moving...
Gabriel retreated minutely, breaking the kiss.
He let his thumbs trace the curve of the naked skin at her waist. She inhaled quickly, and he hugged her close, wrappin his arms around her and feeling her breasts pressed up against him.
"You need to become accustomed to my lips, Julia, because I intend to kiss you a lot."
Two bodies pressed tightly together in a lover's dance, eager with anticipation.
"I can feel your heart beating." she whispered.
"For you," he said , with a smoldering expression.
"When I am an old man and I can remember nothing else, I will remember this moment. The first time my eyes beheld an angel in the flesh.
I will remember your body and your eyes, your beautiful face and breasts, your curves and this...."
"I will remember your scent and your touch and how it felt to love you. But most of all, I will remember how it felt to gaze at true beauty, both inside and out. For you are fair, my beloved, in soul and in body, generous of spirit and generous of heart. And I will never see anything this side of heaven more beautiful than you."
"I love you. I just want to make you happy, to watch you smile. Forever."
Lightness and darkness, innocence and experience, kissed and caressed in the warmth and acceptance created by their love. The dark angel whispered to his muse in Italian until she fell asleep in his arms, happier than she had ever been. She was loved.
"Will you come back?" Her voice was almost a whimper.
Gabriel sighed deeply. "I'm going to be thrown out of Paradise tomorrow, Beatrice. Our only hope is that you find me afterward. Look for me in Hell."
He gently rolled her onto her back and placed his hands on either side of her hips, hovering over her-eyes wide-staring longingly and intensely down into her very soul.
And then he brought his lips to hers....
....she couldn't have known this, but Professor Emerson had a thing for women in exquisite high-heeled shoes. He swallowed noisily as he took in her breathtaking and obviously designer black stilettos. The Professor wanted to touch them...