Home > Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(9)

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(9)
Author: Nalini Singh

She knew angelkind in general remained fascinated with her, the first angel Made in living memory and one who continued to hunt. According to what she’d heard from Illium, there were as many angels glued to news reports about her as there were humans and vampires. So why not use that notoriety to the city’s advantage?

Raphael’s hands stroked off her robe to leave her naked, her skin igniting under his touch. “You need to rest,” she argued halfheartedly, a clawing need inside her to taste life in its most primal form. “You pushed your new ability to the limit in the infirmary.”

Lips on hers, his mouth claiming everything she had. “There are,” he said, backing her against the wall, “other ways of revitalizing the self.”

Elena gasped as he lifted her, her legs locking around his waist to leave her intimately exposed.

He was hard and demanding that night, her archangel, his fury at the attack on his city a rage in his blood—but she was no fragile bird. Giving back kiss for passionate kiss, she took the pounding thrusts of his c**k and demanded more, until there was no more thought, only the most beautiful firestorm of sensation.

• • •

Raphael had thought only to hold Elena close as she slept on the thick carpet in front of the study fireplace, their bodies and wings entangled, but he must have been more tired than he’d understood, because all at once, he realized he wasn’t awake. Instead, he found himself on the forgotten field where Caliane had left him more than a thousand years ago, when he’d been a boy at the dawn of his existence.

A boy who’d thought to kill his mother before she became an even bigger monster than the one who had orchestrated the death of two thriving cities, the adults drowned, the children broken in ways even Keir, their greatest healer, couldn’t repair. No immortal would go to the ancient ruins of those cities even now. There was too piercing a silence, created of the pain of thousands of souls, such silence as Raphael would never forget, the pain of it an icy wind.

Today, as he stood draped in a quiet heavy with the echo of memory, he saw blood on the grass, the crimson liquid that had dripped out of him as he lay splintered on the earth underneath a crystalline sky so blue it hurt. Yet he wasn’t on his face on the grass as he’d been then, his wings torn and heavy on his body, parts of him missing. No, he stood on his feet and he was a man, an archangel, not that scared, determined, heartbroken boy.

Flexing his hands as if in readiness for battle, he took a step forward . . . and walked into a wall of whispers. Hundreds of voices, each one raspy and somehow unused, the words interlaced and incomprehensible. They came from every side, yet when he rose up into that sky of cutting clarity, he saw nothing but the gnarled bodies of the trees that surrounded the field, sentinels of such age that they had stood through eternity.

And still the voices whispered and murmured, pushing at him in waves that ebbed and flowed, until at last, he heard a single strong voice slice through the chaos. The other whispers died away, but did not fade altogether as that one voice asked him a question. “Who are you?”

Feet touching the grass once more, the dew wet on the very tips of his wings, he felt a roaring surge of anger. “Who are you to ask questions of an archangel?”

The murmurs rose again, the volume rising to a thunderous crescendo.

Archangel. Archangel. Archangel!


“Archangel.” Elena gripped Raphael’s shoulder, his skin strangely cool under her fingertips. “It’s time to get up.”

He always woke at her first touch, but today she had to call him a second time before his lashes lifted, the relentless blue of his eyes shadowed by a darkness that muted their vivid hue. “It’s daylight,” was the first thing he said, his gaze taking in the lacy streamers of light coming in through the study windows.

“You were in such a deep sleep, I thought I’d give you a few extra minutes.” It was the only gift she could give; to protect an archangel was an impossibility. “It’s barely dawn.” Watching him get to his feet, this magnificent and lethal male who was her own, she rose and pulled on her robe. “You had an angry look on your face at the end. Bad dream?”

“Not bad so much as strange.” He didn’t speak again until they’d both showered and begun to dress, their bedroom drenched in dawn sunshine from the skylight and open balcony doors. “I dreamed of the field where I fought Caliane.”

Tying off her braid, she busied herself checking her crossbow, though she saw nothing of the weapon, every ounce of her being concentrated on Raphael. He spoke rarely about that agonizing day, and she hadn’t pushed him, because the whole “time heals all wounds” thing? It was a load of bullshit. “Was your mother in the dream?”

“No.” Walking to the balcony, his upper body bare, he spread his wings as if soaking in the sun’s rays, the golden filaments hidden in the white sparking with a fire so brilliant, Elena found herself brushing her fingers along the living silk.

“What do you see, Elena?”

“There’s a kind of fire in your feathers now.” She almost expected to capture a piece of piercing white flame in her hand. “It’s incredibly beautiful.”

Raphael glanced at his wing, shrugged. “So long as they work.” Folding them in, he turned to pick up one of her throwing blades and slid it into the sheath on her left arm. “The dream was not . . . what it should be,” he said, as she made a minor fix to one of the sheath straps. “Of course, yesterday was no ordinary day. It’s not inexplicable that I should dream of violence.”

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