As a Light Influencer, Ariel’s duty is to convince mortals to choose Light. It is a duty she takes to heart. If only Kale wasn’t such a thorn in her side. His perchance for goofing off infuriates her...in a charming way.
Kale knows what he should be doing, but whispering in a mortal’s ear never tipped the scales of war in favor of the demons. He’d rather irritate Ariel than fight her. That’s much more fun.
They are opposites in every way. Yet something powerful draws them together. As they begin to question their roles, their feelings for each other grow.
Is there more to their duty than they were lead to believe? Can Light and Dark exist in harmony? Someone believes so and is willing to pull whatever strings to prove it.
Influence of Love is a short fantasy, love story about the angels and devils that sit on our shoulders and whisper in our ears. It is 27 pages long.
CHAPTER ONE James Arnold didn’t blink an eye when the minuscule woman appeared out of thin air with a loud pop. He ignored her as she hovered in the air a moment, smoothing her white dress and wings. She combed her slender fingers through her golden hair. She perched on his shoulder and whispered in his ear. He ignored it as if he didn’t even know she was there.
But that was the truth. He didn’t know she existed. She was nothing more than a tiny, invisible, angelic figure perched on his left shoulder, offering guidance that would lead him to the Light. And if he knew she was there, would he mind?
The voice came from James’ other shoulder, a rich tenor—the opposite of her soprano voice. She wrinkled her button nose as her opposite flitted in front of James’ face, purposely smacking the mortal on the nose in the process before landing next to her. James gave no sign he felt the blow, but she felt a bolt of irritation.
“Kale, we are not to disturb the mortal.”
Kale grinned impishly. His brown eyes sparkled under a mess of reddish-brown hair. Sticking out of the mop were two small, red horns. “Oh, come on, Ariel. It’s not like he notices. We could do the waltz in front of his face and he wouldn’t see.” He grabbed her by the waist and spun her in front of James’ face.
The world swam around Ariel and she struggled to free herself. Acidic thoughts not befitting an angel churned in her head. She leveled an icy glare at Kale but didn’t speak. Instead, she reined her emotions in and returned to her spot on James’ shoulder. Kale followed, still grinning.
“You’re impossible.” She sighed.
“Impossible?” He feigned hurt. “I think interesting is a more fitting term.”
Ariel snorted and focused on James who had started to rise from his chair but had stopped, as if unsure what to do next. She laid a hand on James’ ear and leaned in to whisper guidance. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Kale take note. Before she could think to delay him, he bolted to his side. Feeling James’ decision waver, she spoke quickly, hoping and praying the mortal would heed her words and not whatever mischief Kale sought to lure James towards darkness with.
Kale chuckled as he took his usual spot on James’ right shoulder. By now, Ariel probably thought he was speaking devious suggestions into James’ ear, trying to persuade the mortal to listen to him. Which was what he should have been doing, but sometimes it was worth staying quiet just to annoy Ariel. Her indignity at the fact that he wasn’t doing his job was almost equal to the indignity she displayed when he did do his job.
Settling back on his elbows, he focused on the TV show James was watching. Another food show. The mortal was obsessed with food. He had a weakness for it, as one could tell by James’ wide stomach. It was Kale’s job to exploit that weakness. He was supposed to persuade James to give in to his cravings and desires for food. Sure, James wasn’t as exciting as a politician or recovering drug addict, but Kale enjoyed being on James’ shoulder.
Plus, Ariel was his opposite and easily irritated. That made everything ten times more fun.
A grin spread across Kale’s face. He was back to Ariel’s side in a flash. This time, he went low, sneaking along James’ back. Ariel sat on James’ shoulder, her white wings folded against her back. A golden halo hovered a few inches over her head. Ariel liked to think of herself as an angel and Kale a devil, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
They were Influencers, sent by real angels and devils to persuade mortals. In the war between Heaven and Hell, it was thought one mortal soul could tip the scales. Kale, Ariel, and the millions of other Influencers were nothing more than a small piece of an angel or devil. It was the Influencer’s job to whisper in a mortal’s ear and coax the mortal to give into desires or do selfless acts. All the while, the real angels and devils battled each other. Kale never cared much about the war or the politics of it. He just enjoyed a good prank. Either on the mortal he was assigned to, or his unsuspecting opposite.
Kale gave the tips of Ariel’s wings a tug. She shrieked and flew into the air. She spun around and her gaze zeroed on Kale. Red splashed across her pale face and rage boiled in her blue eyes. “Kale!”
Still laughing, Kale bolted. He glanced over his shoulder and saw Ariel follow in pursuit. Her soft features were contorted into a mask of rage. She’s too sensitive about those wings.
They circled James’ head twice before Kale dove down to skim along the floor. He almost collided with the TV because he was too busy watching Ariel. Just in time, he veered to the left, went around the side, and shot up the back of the TV.
Ariel followed. Her voice was a high shriek. “Don’t you ever touch my wings again! That really hurt, you jerk. How would you like if I pulled on something of yours?”
Kale abruptly halted, and Ariel collided with him. His arms went around her, almost like a hug. For a brief moment, he froze, mesmerized by her weight against him, the way her hair brushed his cheek like silk, and how her warm breath caressed his neck. He felt a strange urge to tighten his arms and embrace her properly. Instead, he stepped back and plastered a grin on his face.
“I would like it very much if you pulled on something of mine.”
Ariel’s eyes widened and her face turned scarlet. She whirled away from him, her back stiff, and her fists clenched at her sides. “I have work to do.” She hurried back to James without another word, leaving Kale balancing on top of the slim TV. His eyes were locked on her as she took her spot on James’ shoulder. Heat spread through him as he watched her lips move closer to James’ ear and he remembered her warmth. He wanted to follow her, to pull her back into his arms, and never let go.
He shook himself from those thoughts. What was wrong with him? What was he thinking? He headed across the room and took his place on James’ right shoulder. He leaned in and started whispering, determined to keep his mind off Ariel and how well she fit in his arms.
READER REVIEWS Christine Rainsrated it 4 stars. What an amazingly fun and cute short story. I love the idea of what the little angels and devils on our shoulders who whisper into our ears are thinking, and how they relate to one another. I'd really like to see more in this series. Hint, hint!