Archangel's Prophecy (Page 30)
Her archangel, his face harsh and beautiful, ran his fingers firmly over the arch of her wing. “How is your strength?”
“Good.” She’d had a full pre-dinner meal with Beth, astonishing her sister with how much she could put away. “Nisia’s cleared me for flight. No further degeneration since the first round of tests, so her magic drink must be helping.”
Putting his hands on her waist, Raphael said, “I have to return to the sinkhole.” No smile, no hint of softness. “Then I must fly deep into the territory.”
The fear of losing him to his power, it bit at her. Focusing on how he held her, how he felt like her Raphael no matter what, she said, “Has something happened?”
“The sentries have reported changes in the movement of the lava, and I’m receiving reports of geothermal activity in a slightly distant region not known for it.”
“Let us hope not.”
“Be careful.” She watched the wind riffle through the midnight strands of his hair. “Did Alexander want help?”
“This storm has passed for the time being, but we will be shipping over winter supplies to be used should another one hit.” He gripped her jaw. “You will not come with me?”
Haunted by memories of three cold graves and a small hand clutching tightly at her own, she fought her gnawing need to cling to him. As he couldn’t box her up and put her in a safe place, she couldn’t stop his development. All she could do was love him and hope he’d remember her no matter how the Cascade changed him. “I need to get to the bottom of the attack on Harrison, neutralize the threat to Beth and Maggie.”
Tightening his grip on her waist, Raphael lifted off. You will land the instant you sense trouble with your wings.
“I will,” she promised.
A hard kiss that burned with archangelic strength and had her wrapping her arms around his neck as she fought to assuage both her desperate need and his. They spun against the starlit sky, and when they parted it was with heaving chests and dilated eyes. “I love you, Raphael.”
“Knhebek, hbeebti,” he said in return . . . and then he let her go, this being of excruciating power who understood that her mortal heart would wither and die in a cage.
She turned to watch him fly away from her and saw wings of white fire. Of an archangel who was becoming . . . more.
Elena touched her gloved fingers to her lips, remembering his kiss. Her Raphael’s kiss. Then she turned in the direction of Beth’s home. When her head throbbed, she took stock, but it was nothing, just a passing pulse. Probably a stress headache. It wasn’t like she didn’t have cause.
Once in Beth’s neighborhood, she did slow and wide glides in the air as she considered how things currently stood. The Tower forensic team had processed the entire scene and locked up the house using the key Jeffrey had provided. Both the front door and the—repaired—back door had been discreetly rigged to show evidence of any unauthorized entry.
Elena didn’t think the assailant would returning—not unless he had firm evidence Harrison, Beth, and Maggie were back in residence. It wasn’t coincidence that he’d attacked Harrison first. No—her face stiffened—the unknown intruder had wanted to terrorize Harrison by promising to murder Beth and Maggie.
That didn’t mean the threat was a toothless one, especially since Harrison had survived the attempt on his life. Anyone angry or motivated enough to break into a vampire’s home to slit his throat wouldn’t hesitate to get at the target by harming his family.
The fruit of Harrison’s innocent act that had harmed someone? Possible. Also possible was a drug connection, or another illegal business enterprise. Harrison had always thought himself smarter than others—the reason why he’d once tried to escape his Contract.
Elena was the hunter who’d hauled him back.
That had been just great for family relations.
Deciding on a course of action, she landed. It felt far too good. Her muscles had begun to strain and quiver. As if she were a fledgling barely used to flight. And f**k she was hungry again. After gulping down Nisia’s mixture, she grabbed a chocolate bar from a pocket where she’d stashed it.
She was halfway through it when her phone rang. “Sara,” she said through a mouthful of pure dark chocolate. “Sorry I didn’t reply to your message.” It had come in while she’d been with Nisia.
“Forget that—Ransom said he saw pretty senior Tower vampires at Beth’s house. Is she all right? Maggie?”
Elena gave Sara the details. “I’m about to start knocking on neighbors’ doors, see if anyone heard anything.” As a mortal-born angel, she’d get a better reaction than the people she might’ve asked for help—Izzy was adorable and sweet but not practiced at this type of task, and the more experienced Tower vampires and angels tended to scare people. As for her mortal hunter friends, Elena tried not to pull them into immortal problems if at all possible.
Humans had a way of ending up hurt or dead once in the immortal world.
“S**t, I should’ve asked Honor.” Dmitri’s wife wasn’t only highly capable at gathering intel, she was handy in a fight, and had only been a vampire a short time. Most people didn’t even realize she wasn’t human.
“She’s out with the advance team prepping the training site for Eve’s group, remember?” Sara said.
Elena rubbed her forehead with her fingers. “I did know that.” It had simply become lost in the mess of memories and worries in her head. “Did you approach anyone on your Slayer shortlist?” Good thing Sara had rejected her as a choice—the way things were going, Elena wouldn’t be able to chase a ninety-year-old escapee from a rest home, much less a hunter gone bad.
“No,” Sara answered. “I realized we both forgot about one person who’d be perfect—probably because we hate the thought of him walking alone.” A sigh. “Archer was unusual in being a family man. Most Slayers are single. And I have a highly intelligent hunter who’s both single and not easy to anger. Like Archer, he wouldn’t act without thought, wouldn’t be vulnerable to psychological games.”
“Hell, Sara.” Elena blew a white cloud visible against the night. “You’re talking about Demarco.” Cheerfully good-natured Demarco, who liked to tease her by wearing a Hunter Angel T-shirt, but who fought like a demon.
“It’ll ruin him.” Sara’s tone was weighted with the dark responsibility of her task. “I need more time to make sure I’m not making the wrong call.”
Because if Sara asked, Demarco wouldn’t say no. He’d step into the breach, the courageous idiot. The possibility of losing a friend to the darkness was too much on top of her failing wings, Raphael evolving further and further from her, the ghost owls, all the crazy s**t. “Why do we have to have a sole Slayer anyway? Who made that stupid rule? Why not a team?” Friends and comrades could get you through a hell of a lot.
Sara was quiet for a long moment. Elena took that time to tear off the last hunks of her chocolate bar. Imani had it right: change sucked. Even her beloved Guild was in turmoil.
“You know,” her best friend murmured at last, “I don’t know the reasoning behind having a single designated Slayer.” Intrigue in Sara’s tone now, pushing aside the heaviness. “I’m going to do some research. Good luck with the door-to-door.”