Archangel's Prophecy (Page 52)
Healer instincts kicking in a second later, she went straight to Elena. “Tell me what happened.” Already her hands were on his consort as Raphael explained Elena’s call to him, and the confusion and enervating sense of tiredness that had come with it.
“My apologies for the glow, Nisia,” he said at the end. “I cannot currently restrain it.” His body burned, as if his cells had boiled to an impossible intensity.
“It won’t affect my work, sire.”
Raphael tried to have patience as Nisia worked on the hunter who was his heart, but a kind of quiet fury ravaged his veins.
Raphael? Izak just reported that you dropped out of the sky onto a Tower balcony. I’d think the boy had been in the wine, but he sounded both earnest and astonished.
Glad for the distraction of Dmitri’s voice reaching for his mind, Raphael answered, I am in our suite. Elena is down.
Wounded? She left us with unexpected quickness but appeared fine.
Because his hunter hated showing weakness. I wait to hear from Nisia.
“She is out of energy,” the healer said a minute later, her tone dumbfounded. “There’s barely enough in her cells to keep her breathing.”
Raphael stared at the healer. “Has she not been eating?”
Frown dark, Nisia tugged at something sticking slightly out of one of Elena’s pants pockets. She had to unzip the pocket to get it out. “A chocolate bar wrapper . . . No, there are three.”
Nisia dropped the wrappers on the nightstand. “She’s eating and drinking but even with the potent and double-strength mix I made for her, she isn’t intaking enough energy to fuel the changes in her body.”
Raphael could literally see Elena’s bones becoming more prominent against the dark gold of her skin as her body consumed itself from the inside out. “Will my blood make any difference?” Elena wasn’t a vampire, formed to metabolize blood into energy.
“We have to try.” Taut desperation on Nisia’s face.
It thrust a cold dagger into his gut. The practiced healer never panicked.
Lifting his wrist to his mouth, Raphael went to tear open his vein when the taste of a haunting golden richness licked across his tongue, a richness he’d tasted only once before in his immortal existence.
His canines elongated.
Life filled him to overflowing.
He bent, scooped Elena into his arms, and lowered his mouth to her lips. You must live, he said into her mind, as he had once before, when they fell broken and bloodied to a New York that was jagged splinters and shattered buildings below them. She had been a dying mortal then, her body so badly damaged that her soul was barely clinging on. You must live, Elena-mine. I would rather die with you than walk into eternity without you by my side.
A sigh into his mouth before her body began to warm, and she raised a hand to wrap it around his neck, her fingers locking in his hair. Her eyes remained closed, but he saw a glow through her eyelids and it was silver. Like moonlight on water, a gift of light and shadow.
Their kiss went on for always . . . and it wasn’t long enough.
When they parted, his canines were the size they should be and Elena’s cheekbones were no longer threatening to cut through her skin, but when her lashes lifted, he saw the eyes he’d seen the day she first stood her ground against him, on the Tower roof. The ring of silver she’d developed since they’d become one was gone. All he saw was a clear, pristine gray.
Fear was an anvil falling on his heart.
“I know that taste.” She released his hair to brush her fingers over his lips. “We fell on that taste.”
“And we rose together.” He crushed her close. Go, Nisia. I must be with my consort.
The healer slipped away without a word.
Elena kissed him again, warm and languid and deeply alive. “Raphael,” she said against his lips when she broke the kiss this time. “I’m not hungry for the first time in days.” A nuzzle of his throat. “Put me down. My wings feel different.”
He did so with care. “More damage?”
“No.” She flared them out, a wonder of midnight and dawn. “No.” A smile brighter than the dawn. “No damage at all.”
He saw the strength of her, and when she snapped her wings to her back and turned so he could check her wing posture, that posture was precise. “No drag,” he told her. “No weakness.”
Laughing in a relief that gave her voice a sharp edge, she said, “I guess all I needed was the kiss of ambrosia.”
Raphael went to agree when a feather floated to the carpet. Indigo blue.
Then another. Midnight.
And a third. Violet.
Elena followed his gaze. Face stilling, she bent and picked up the three feathers. Neither one of them spoke for long minutes as they waited.
The rest of her feathers remained on her wings.
“F**k.” Shuddering, Elena dropped the feathers she’d picked up and walked into his arms.
He held her tight to the blaze of his body. When she lifted her face to his, he kissed her with a passion that devoured. Elena’s response held no gentleness, either, only a primal need. He would’ve torn off her knife sheaths if he didn’t know how much she treasured the soft leather.
So he broke the kiss and forced himself to undo the straps that held the sheaths to her forearms.
Elena kissed the side of his jaw, her fingers settling on his face. “I love how you love me,” she whispered, raw need altering into a poignancy that was a knife thrust to the heart.
Kissing her fingertips when they brushed his face, he continued with his task. Both knife sheaths, then the crossbow and quiver, and the hunting blade she wore at one ankle. Her hair was down so he didn’t have to check for blade sticks hidden in her braid. “Any other sharp objects on your person today, hbeebti?”
A grin that seared his heart. “Down my back.”
Raphael couldn’t smile yet, the memory of her collapsed body too fresh, but he reached to her back. Sweeping the tangled near-white of her hair over one shoulder, she bent her head, and he pulled out the long blade she wore in a spine sheath. He placed it on the pile of discarded weapons . . . then slammed his mouth down on hers.
He had no memory of stripping her bare, but she was naked in his arms, all skin of dark gold and a determined strength. Her hands were on his own skin, his clothing abandoned. Covering her in angel dust, the intimate erotic flavor in every kiss, he captured her moan with his mouth and wrapped her up in wings of white fire that would never burn her.
Rubbing up against him, her nipples hard points, she whispered his name.
He spoke into her mind. Yours, he said, always yours.
They fell on the bed together, wings and limbs entangled. Her eyes reflected back the glow pulsing off him, luminous in their inhuman beauty, but the ring of silver that was a promise of her growing immortality, it hadn’t returned.
Her fingers in his hair, her mouth on his throat, she wrapped her legs around his waist. “Love me, Archangel.”
Raphael surrendered to his consort and to this coupling as rawly physical as it was imbued with a painful love he hadn’t understood until he met Elena. Hope, fear, need, the hunger to cherish, the twist of the heart when she laughed. His eternity was encapsulated in Elena’s not-yet-fully-immortal body. She was so easy to break, his consort, so easy to damage.
And she kissed him like the warrior that she was.
Raphael stroked her with rough hands, molding and shaping her breasts until her spine arched, a needy sound emanating from her throat. He kissed his way down her throat, lower, lower, and he made her scream his name while her fingers clenched in his hair.