Since the fateful night of her father’s murder, Elizabeth Clark has always felt a silent protector watching over her, keeping her safe from harm. As she prepares for her rigorous senior year at the prestigious Leonard Anthony Arts Academy, a performing arts high school in New York City, Elizabeth’s wildest dreams come true when her protector reveals himself as Remiel, her guardian angel. Drawn to the one person she considers her only salvation, Elizabeth may realize too late that her defender may also be her damnation.

As a guardian angel of the human race, Remiel may only observe and guide the mortal lives he watches over. He has never been able to interfere no matter how much he desires. No human or guardian has ever been able to break the impenetrable barrier between our world and theirs until Remiel rescues Elizabeth Clark on the night of her father’s murder.

Nearly eight years later, Remiel is summoned back to the now seventeen-year-old's side, only armed with the guidance that Elizabeth will need him now more than ever. Captivated by the beautiful, enigmatic violinist, Remiel, once again, finds himself able to cross the threshold of worlds. As Elizabeth faces the trials and tribulations of her senior year, Remiel is unsure which is the greater danger, the monsters who hunt her from the past or the ones who stalk her in her mind. Caught in a raging battle between his duty and his heart, the one person he has sworn to protect may be the one he cannot resist.


Excerpt from The Immortal Beloved © Copyright 2023 D.J. Birch

I had to see her. I had to truly look into those eyes and see her looking back. The thought of those crystal eyes of green smiling at me was intoxicating. It hurt my chest. I wanted it so badly. Any doubt or fear in my mind was gone. All I knew was tonight, Elizabeth would see me.

As she walked over, I couldn’t help myself but whisper aloud. “Notice me.”

She didn’t though. Elizabeth instead filled up a black goblet with a punch at the drink station. She joined a few other friends at a standing table, sipped on her drink, and enjoyed herself while I was left alone to longingly stare at the girl with who I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with.

As the dance continued, I thought hard. I had been in Elizabeth’s world when her life was being threatened. At this dance, there was a low possibility she would need rescuing (thank goodness for that; that girl was like a danger magnet). When the police had come to her father’s office and were just about to find her, I was also able to be with her even though her life was not in immediate danger. My interference had come from a place of intense emotion. Perhaps, I could play on that.

I decided to eradicate the emotions that usually allowed me to cross the barrier: anger and fear. I would not allow such dangerous feelings to be the only way I could be with her. Instead, I focused on the burning desire within me to simply talk with her. That’s all I wanted. More than anything, I hoped to speak with Elizabeth.

I focused hard on that emotion as she danced with her friends, took goofy pictures at the photo booth, and laughed at Mickey’s dancing. No luck. I tried talking to her aloud. Perhaps, she could hear me. Failure. I even resorted to tapping her on the shoulder to see if that would do anything. Now, I was just feeling stupid.

The frustrating night wore one. Elizabeth was on the dance floor with Candace and a few other of her friends. Wiping the sweat from her forehead, Elizabeth motioned to her friends that she was taking a break. Candace shouted something at her as Elizabeth walked off the dance floor. Elizabeth looked back and laughed.

“Oof.” Elizabeth crashed into someone. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you there, well, probably because I wasn’t looking where I was going.” She giggled and looked up at me.

I had wanted this so badly for so long I almost didn’t notice when it had happened. Elizabeth Clark was smiling all breathless from the dancing, waiting for me to respond.

“No, I apologize,” I replied coolly.

She could have left. She could have politely nodded and strode away. Instead, she blinked twice as if to get a better look at me.

“Uh,” she stuttered and shook her head, clearly not saying what was on her mind. “I like your outfit, Westley.”

I hadn’t even thought about what I was wearing. I looked down at myself to see I was wearing a ninja-like outfit with a black mask and sleek bandeau to conceal everything except my eyes and the lower half of my face.

“I’m glad you approve, Aphrodite.” I smiled. “Most people don’t recognize me.”

Elizabeth blushed. “I’d spot a Westley anywhere. The Princess Bride is timeless although I like the movie better than the book. It’s got more uhh….” She snapped her fingers in thought. “How do I put it?”

“Substance,” I finished for her. “You get to know the characters better.”

“Exactly.” She clasped her hands together. She looked at me closer. “You know, I thought I knew nearly every single person in this school, but I can’t seem to put your face to a name. Yet, you seem familiar.”

“I feel the same way, Elizabeth.”

She shook her head. “Now, I feel like a jerk. I’m usually good with names, and you seem like someone…” she trailed off.

“Worth remembering?” I offered with a knowing smile.

Elizabeth did a nervous giggle, and then for a moment, her smile faltered at my expression. She took another good look into my eyes. I could tell she wasn’t exactly sure what she was looking for. Best not let her figure out who I am just yet. She wasn’t ready.

“So”—she regained composure over herself—“where’s your Buttercup?” Elizabeth turned around and began looking through the costumed masses. “I’ve got to see the two of you together.”

“You can’t miss her; she looks like a goddess out there.”

“Point her out to me.”

“As you wish.”

“Hey, you stole that from…” Elizabeth turned around and stopped. I had disappeared. She bit down on the inside of her cheek and nodded to herself. “Figures. I bored another one away.”

I watched her leave and felt like a fool. I never wanted to upset Elizabeth on my account. I would just have to explain myself in person later.

Unbeknownst to Remiel or Elizabeth, a dark figure watched the two of them in the shadows. No one gave the looming figure a second glance. He was dressed in a trim suit, and his face was perfectly painted like a skeleton. The creature’s eyes followed Elizabeth’s every move: her walk, her smile, her laugh, her heartbeat. He studied her like a hawk creeping on its prey. Twirling his walking cane with a crystal ball at the top, the creature’s thin lips curled upward into a malicious grin. A low chuckle rose in the back of his throat. “Sweet Elizabeth,” his voice slithered, “I look forward to our time together.”

With a final sweep of his cane, the creature disappeared back into the shadows from which he came.