Home > Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(12)

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(12)
Author: Nalini Singh

Do it! Biting down on his lower lip hard enough to break skin, she locked her legs around his h*ps and jerked her own upward.

A single hard inch, and then all of him as he thrust deep, stretching her tight flesh with his thickness. Elena came without warning, her body clenching around his so possessively that he broke the kiss to brace his fisted hands on either side of her head. Refusing to lose that connection even as her body spasmed in a near-painful orgasm, she grabbed his face, initiated another kiss that was all tongue and heat and fury.

His c**k slid over her oversensitized muscles as he pulled out his entire length, only to slam back in so hard she felt him in her throat. Then he was coming inside her, the intimate wetness pushing her over the edge into a pleasure so vicious, it tore her to pieces.

• • •

“You’re still wearing all your knives.”

“I should’ve used them,” Elena muttered from her position trapped beneath Raphael’s body, his c**k still inside her, and his breath hot against her neck. “Bastard.”

“You drew blood, so I believe we’re even.”

Arms wrapped around his neck, she kissed his temple. “I’m sorry I scared you.” It wasn’t the done thing for an archangel to admit fear, but he was hers, and she’d hurt him without meaning to; it was up to her to fix her mistake.

His wings shifted, but he didn’t extricate their bodies. “I didn’t know fear until you, Elena. Use the power wisely.”

It was a punch to the heart, that na**d admission. “Well,” she said in an attempt to make him smile, “if it gets me this well f**ked . . .”

Rising onto his elbows, his hair a turbulent mess and his lower lip already healed, he pinned her with a gaze kissed with more than a touch of male arrogance. “Have I not been satisfying you?”

God, he was sexy. She wanted to tear off his clothes and drive him wild when he got that look on his face. “Given that I screamed the greenhouse down the night before last,” she said, her toes curling at the reminder of how he’d taken her from behind, her hands braced on her workbench, “I think you know exactly how well you’ve been satisfying me.” She moaned as he withdrew from her body, her tissues deliciously swollen. “Though angry sex does have something going for it.”

A faint curve of his lips at last, his head dipping to press a kiss over the bite he’d taken of her breast, the mark red yet. “Yes.” He rose, did up his pants, and dragged her to her feet. “It may become my favorite way to work out our differences.”

“Not if you do this to all my clothes,” she said, realizing the ripping and tearing sounds had been for real. “Damn it. I just changed.” Sudden panic, a glance at her watch. “I still have fifteen minutes to make the meet with Ransom.” Racing into the bedroom, she stripped off her weapons, slithered out of her clothes, and—after a quick dash into the bathroom to wash some hotly personal fluids from her body—returned to re-dress.

An insane three minutes later, and Raphael, wearing a black shirt identical to the one she’d shredded, slid her longest blade down her back again. “The hunt might run late,” she said. “So don’t send the squadrons out looking for me.”

“Either you have forgotten your prior engagement,” Raphael said as she rapidly rebraided her hair, “or you’re attempting to avoid it.”

It came to her in a rush of memory—heavy embossed paper, a polite invitation it had taken her hours to draft, a response elegant and formal but with a delicate, whimsical drawing of a lemur in one corner. “They didn’t cancel?”

“Elijah offered, but I told him we’d like to see him and Hannah at our table.” Folding his wings tightly to his back, he walked out onto the balcony, the winter air a cold blast as she followed. “I think it’s time we began to build some true friendships among the Cadre. Other alliances are already forming that may be destructive in the war to come.”

Rubbing at her bare arms, she tried to remember if she’d left spare full-length sheaths at the Tower. However, it wasn’t only the wind and the thickening cloud layer that had the hairs rising along her arms. “You’re thinking about Neha and Lijuan.” The two powerful archangels were neighbors, had always had a cordial relationship.

“It could be a lethal liaison.”

Elena thought of a Manhattan under siege from a hail of fire and ice, while the reborn fed on mortal flesh in a bloody plague across the city, and felt her gorge rise. “Jason said he’s positive Neha hasn’t been taken in by Lijuan.”

“Neha also has a twin in her territory who may yet lead her army against Neha,” Raphael pointed out. “And she blames me for the death of her child.” A reminder that no matter Neha’s acceptance of Jason into her territory in the recent past, certain wounds continued to fester. “Lijuan, meanwhile, has been very polite about keeping both her reborn and her forces away from their shared border.”

Put that way Elena could see the alliance forming in front of her eyes. “Elijah and you—you’re friends already.”

“Of a sort. He has always offered his support to me in matters of the Cadre.” Acknowledging a passing squadron led by Illium, who looked every inch the blooded fighter she so often forgot him to be, Raphael shot out a random bolt of energy.

Elena sucked in a breath as Illium gave a single command and the squadron split to avoid the bolt . . . which Illium deflected with the sword he’d pulled from his back. It hit the Tower without causing damage, and Illium saluted them with a grin before continuing onward. “That wasn’t angelfire.” An archangel killer, angelfire could shatter concrete.

“No, it was a weak strike meant to test the squadron’s alertness.” Eyes on the city, Raphael returned to their earlier topic of conversation. “If Elijah and I are to create a true friendship, an alliance that’ll hold in the fighting to come, then I must not only invite him into my territory, but trust him on a level beyond.”

“You’re going to tell him the full effects of the Falling?” Open surprise in his consort’s tone.

“No.” He trusted none of the Cadre enough to share the compromised status of his defenses. “Elijah may have offered the olive branch of friendship, but he has also held his territory for longer than I’ve been an archangel. He is as ruthless as any of us.”

“How bad is it?” Elena asked quietly. “Now that you’ve had a chance to assess all the injuries.”

“We’ve begun the process of transferring in men and women from outlying areas to bolster our defensive force, but Tower personnel are chosen for a reason. They’re the best of the best, each personally tested and selected by Galen.” Furthermore, his weapons-master made it nonnegotiable that each fighter return to the Refuge once every two years for intensive training.

“The outlying areas—they won’t be left vulnerable?” Checking the gun she carried in an inner thigh holster, having swapped out one of her blades for the sleek piece, Elena slid it back, the fine lines of her face troubled in the stormy light. “Since we’re taking their people.”

It was exactly the kind of question a consort was meant to ask, one that challenged without judgment. He knew Elena often thought she didn’t know the “rules” of immortal behavior, but knowledge of pomp and ceremony was useless without the heart to love their people and the courage to speak her mind. “It’s considered cowardly to nibble away at a territory and no archangel wishes such a stain on his or her honor.”

“Well,” she said, as a spit of rain hit her cheek, the sky holding the deluge for now, “I guess that’s good news.”

“In a sense. But there’s no shame in being clever about your invasion.” Immortals valued intelligence as much as strength. “To soften up a city for an attack by engineering an event such as the Falling? It would be considered a good strategy in the aftermath.”

“The diseased vamp.” Eyes of winter gray met his, the rim of silver faint in this light. “It can’t be a coincidence.”

“We’ll know nothing for certain until Keir completes his tests, but I’ve told all senior angels and vampires to report any aberrant or troubling behavior. No such disease can be permitted to gain a foothold anywhere in the territory.” He looked to the clouds once more. “Complete your task for the Guild, Elena. Be visible in the doing. Our objective remains the same—not to give our enemies any indication that the city has been so grievously wounded.”

“Far as I’m concerned,” Elena bit out, “if the Falling was a planned attack, it wasn’t clever but cowardly. Murder from a distance.”

Words he’d expect from a warrior.

A fleeting kiss, her weapon-roughened fingertips on his cheek. “I won’t be late.”

He watched her leave in a sweep of midnight and dawn, her wings unlike any other, and he knew he’d damn his own honor and take vengeance on the world should anyone dare lay a finger on her.

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