Archangel's Prophecy (Page 20)
That wasn’t quite true—the youngest of Marguerite’s four daughters had far more depth to her than most people realized. Even Elena hadn’t understood that for a long time. Beth might prefer to live in a bubble of joy, but she understood the harsh realities of life. And when it counted, she’d always been there for Elena.
It was Beth who’d gathered up Elena’s things after Jeffrey threw them out in the rain and the snow.
I have no desire to house an abomination under my roof.
Her oh-so-loving father’s words to his eldest surviving child. Elena might’ve spent her life hating him for them if she hadn’t figured out that her father was as f****d up as she’d once been. Jeffrey Parker Deveraux had watched his hunter mother be beaten and decapitated by vampires, then lost two cherished daughters and the woman he loved beyond life to another killer, only to discover that one of his surviving children was the reason the monster had come to their door. Elena’s hunter-born scent had been the irresistible lure; Ari, Belle, and Marguerite the casualties.
Yes, Elena had a certain amount of sympathy for her father.
Forgiveness for his rejection, however, that would take a lifetime.
All the years when Elena had walked alone but for her friendship with Sara, it was Beth who’d held out a hand and kept her connected to their shattered and ruined family. Her younger sister had become lost in trying to please Jeffrey for far too many years, but no matter how bad their sibling relationship had become at times, Beth had refused to cut the bond or just ignore it. She had a quiet stubbornness most people never realized.
But the mention of Beth didn’t calm Harrison. Eyelids blinking rapidly, he pulled even more desperately at her hand.
Elena froze. “Is Beth in danger? Maggie?”
F**k. She considered the time of day, where her sister might’ve gone. “Has Beth taken Maggie to visit our grandparents?”
Relief rocked her. Jean-Baptiste was a far older vampire than Harrison, and ruthless with it. Elena didn’t know who he’d been before surviving decades of torture, but the Jean-Baptiste she knew wouldn’t hesitate to summarily execute anyone who threatened to harm his own.
She dug out her phone and sent through a warning regardless: Beth and Maggie at risk. Stay alert.
Jean-Baptiste acknowledged her message with a single word: Understood.
“They’re safe,” Elena told Harrison. “Now focus on staying calm so Laric can help you.”
Harrison gave as much of a nod as was now possible for him to give. His breathing seemed to have improved, but his olive-toned skin was deathly pale. He’d lost an exponential amount of blood before Laric arrived.
“Will my blood make any difference?” she asked the healer—consort to an archangel or not, she was a baby immortal who had a flicker of wildfire in her blood. That wildfire was a weapon capable of wounding Lijuan. Who knew what it’d do to Harrison? But if there was no choice . . .
“I don’t want to use your blood when I cannot judge the impact it might have,” the healer said in his broken voice.
“I can donate,” Jeffrey said, stiff but resolute, while frowning at Eve.
Elena’s youngest sister closed her mouth.
A headshake from Laric.
Understanding, Elena translated: “Harrison’s injury is beyond the rejuvenating capacity of human blood.”
She knew Laric himself couldn’t donate without losing the energy he needed to help Harrison—and Laric was young, too. Not in years, but in development. He’d been in a kind of stasis for the hundreds of years he’d spent hidden from the world, his growth stunted.
Thinking quickly, she pulled out her phone again and called Dmitri. “We need strong blood to save a vampire’s life,” she said the instant he answered. “My brother-in-law.” She rattled off the address, though she was sure Dmitri already knew it. It was his job to know anything and everything that could impact Raphael.
“I’ve got someone nearby,” was the response before he hung up.
Only three minutes later, Harrison’s eyelids trapped birds as he fought to lift them and failed, another angel walked into the room. He was the night, his wings an inky black and his clothing obsidian. The intricate tribal tattoo that covered one half of his face only added to the impression of danger and darkness and a man who walked his own path.
Elena hadn’t even known that Raphael’s spymaster was in the city. Not an unusual circumstance with Jason. He came and went like the wind. Which was why it caused her no surprise whatsoever that he’d made his way through a locked door without a whisper of warning noise.
Walking up to Harrison, he used a small blade to slit his own wrist. The scent of blood—powerful blood—had Harrison’s eyelids flickering again, but he was too weak to even angle his head toward the source of the life-giving fluid. Jason pressed his bleeding wrist against Harrison’s mouth after tugging back Harrison’s head just enough that he could drip the blood directly into Harrison’s mutilated mouth.
Elena couldn’t tell if her brother-in-law had enough of his throat left to swallow, and she could see no sign he was trying to suck in the blood. Jason had to remove his wrist and cut it again multiple times before Laric signed, He has had enough.
Harrison’s fingers went limp on Elena’s hand at the same time, dropping heavily to the sofa. No blood dripped from his throat, though the gash was wet and red. As if he’d run dry. “Is he still alive?” She did not want to have to tell Beth that Harrison was dead.
Yes. I’ve put him in a deep sleep. Blood as powerful as Jason’s may have otherwise caused a seizure.
“Here.” It was Eve, holding out a slightly damp dish towel toward Jason and doing an excellent job of hiding her awe at being in his presence. “I went into the kitchen and got these.” A glance at Elena as she gave her a towel, too, before putting one on the coffee table for Laric. “I was careful even though you’d cleared it.”
“Good girl,” Elena said, as Jason inclined his head in a silent thank-you. He wiped the cloth over his wrist to remove the smears of blood. His warm-brown skin, she saw, had already sealed up again. Jason was at least seven hundred years old; more important, he was seven hundred years old and powerful with it.
Prior to her fall into the immortal world, Elena hadn’t understood that power and age didn’t always correlate. Some of the difference had to do with inborn strength—immortal genetics, if you would. But some of it had to do with dedication and persistence. The two elements—inborn strength and a resolute will—combined in angels like Jason and the other members of Raphael’s Seven.
“Thank you,” she said to an angel she might never truly know, he was so contained and private.
“There is no need,” was the quiet response. “He is your family.” Putting the dirty dish towel in a pocket instead of giving it back, likely an automatic reaction from a man used to being a spy and leaving behind no traces, Jason held Elena’s gaze with the bitter chocolate of his own. “I will continue on my way. I must speak to the sire, then I will head homeward. Mahiya was not able to come with me on this last journey.”
And he missed her, Elena thought, happy for this dark angel that he’d found a lover to whom he did show all of himself. “I’ll see you both when you’re next in the city.”