Home > Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(14)

Archangel's Legion (Guild Hunter #6)(14)
Author: Nalini Singh

“Be visible in the doing.”

She had a feeling Raphael hadn’t considered this when he’d spoken those words. It was no doubt a bad, bad idea, but damn if it wouldn’t get a stupid amount of coverage, maybe give the city something to smile about.

“They should make motorcycles for angels.”

It was a kick to the gut, that splinter of memory. The words had been spoken by the young angel whose funeral cortege would reach the Refuge after darkfall, his statement directed at a friend as the two of them sat with their legs hanging off a Tower balcony to the left of where Elena stood. She’d smiled at the time, but now the words incited a renewed wave of angry sadness.

This one’s for you, she thought and swung her leg over the thrumming machine. However, she didn’t sit—that would leave her wings touching the street. Instead, she placed her hands on Ransom’s shoulders and stood on the footholds. She had to spread her wings a little to avoid tangling them in the bike, but it wasn’t as bad as she’d feared. “You’re going to have to deal with considerable drag.”

“My sweet girl eats drag for breakfast.” Then they were off, the wind slamming into her face and her wings as Ransom executed a turn and roared down the street to the wide-eyed astonishment of everyone they passed. Laughing, Elena threw back her head and enjoyed the ride as that young soldier would’ve, had he only been given the chance.

She and Ransom had unquestionably made an impression by the time he brought the bike to a gentle stop in the silent street behind an older building. “This do?” he asked, nodding at the external fire stairs that led all the way to the roof.

“Yep.” Hopping off the bike, she checked her wings. “Still in one piece.”

“Told ya.”

Bumping his fist to her own, he roared down the street.

I do believe that is the first time any angel has ridden a motorcycle.

Grinning at the kiss of the wind and the rain inside her mind as she climbed up the fire escape, she said, I bet that gets our would-be invader’s panties in a bunch.

An . . . interesting image, but as a distraction from the state of our defenses, it was inspired. If, however, I didn’t know Ransom was much in love with another, I’d now have to kill him.

No touching my friends, remember?

I wouldn’t have to touch him to kill him.

Very funny. Having made it to the roof, she flared her wings and, sweeping off the edge of the building, flew in the direction of the gun shop as Raphael returned to Tower business. She’d debated heading for the pro first, men being men, but according to Sara’s intel, Darrell hadn’t visited the woman in over two months. The gun shop, however, was one he went to every time he was in town.

The owner, bearded and with a serious beer gut, was happy to cooperate once she reassured him he hadn’t somehow earned the wrath of the Tower. “Darrell? He’s a good customer, nice guy, too, but I haven’t seen him for, let’s see . . . going on a week now.” A chuckle. “He really stocked up that last time.”

When Elena heard what Darrell had bought, her head almost exploded. He has an arsenal, she messaged Ransom and got #%&! as a reply, then a call.

“Indoor shooting range was a wash. Literally.” Ransom’s tone was taut. “Burst water pipe five days ago, but the owner says Darrell came in every day before the damage, was a crack shot with multiple guns.”

“Shit.” If Darrell had moved from fists to guns this fast, they could be talking massacre.

“I’m heading to check out his mother’s place. They’re not close, but if he was angry, he might’ve turned up there.”

Elena’s next stop, the resupply store, had her slamming up against an ex-cop who gave her a blank face and said he didn’t gossip about customers. Too f**king worried to put up with bullshit, Elena laid her cards on the table, no sugarcoating. “Darrell is in trouble. The kind of trouble where he might pick up a gun”—not to mention the freaking assault rifle he’d bought—“and put it to his head or someone else’s.”

“And what?” Flat cop eyes. “The Tower cares?”

That was his problem? “The Guild cares.” She slapped down her license.

“I heard you were still hunting,” he said, after examining the badge, “but I guess I figured that was horseshit.”

“Yeah, well, it isn’t.” She slid away the license. “Now, Darrell?”

“Saw him three days ago.”

“What did he buy?”

“No, it wasn’t here. I saw him at the corner bar couple of blocks over with a stacked redhead. Legs up to her ears.” A shrug. “I figured the man was enjoying his time off, and who was I to bother him.”

The pro’s apartment, too, Elena realized, was only two blocks over.

People pointed and whispered the instant she stepped out of the store, this part of town busy, but no one crowded her. All it had taken for her to get her space was shooting a crossbow bolt into the boot of an idiot who wanted to get up close and personal. He’d lived, despite his whining, and now she had a rep. Exactly as she liked it.

“Ransom,” she said, cell phone to her ear as she walked, just like every other New Yorker on the street, “the pro. Redhead with long legs?” Curving around a businessman engrossed in his miniature tablet, she heard a crash and turned to find him staring openmouthed at her, his expensive gadget on the ground.

“Tourist,” sniffed a passing black-suited executive, her hair a sleek blonde bob and a cup of take-out coffee in her hand.

The acerbic comment made Elena grin, then they’d moved past one another.

“Wait,” Ransom said. “I was just looking up her photo—yes, that’s her. Double D chest, too.”

“Should’ve known you’d notice.”

“I’d have to be dead not to notice that. I got a nibble about a bar on—”

“I can see your bike.” Hanging up, she jerked up her head. “Bar staff know anything?”

“They saw him three days ago, that’s it.”

Crossing the street without a word, they made it to the pro’s apartment building in under a minute. Her doorman, his eyes bugging out at the weapons bristling from their bodies, didn’t put up a fight at their questions, divulging that the woman hadn’t left her apartment for forty-eight hours and counting.

“And Honey, she never misses her book club. That was last night.”

Elena’s eyes met Ransom’s at the doorman’s coda, the acrid taste of fear on her tongue. There was a very good chance that Honey Smith was no longer able to read a book, able to do anything, her decomposing body lying irreparably broken in her apartment.

Elena was so sick of being too late.


Having taken the stairs to the roof, Elena swept down, intending to look through the windows of the apartment, only to find the blinds shut. She returned to meet a gun-toting Ransom in front of one of the doors that lined the stylishly decorated and dimly lit penthouse floor. Her own gun out of its holster, she moved quietly to the other side of the door wide enough that her wings wouldn’t be a hindrance in a fight.

“I don’t smell decomp.” It was a bare whisper.

Elena didn’t either, but what if their quarry had been smart and changed the temperature inside? “Air-con,” she mouthed and saw Ransom’s lips flatten into a thin line.

“Ask or go?”

“Go soon as we have an in.” Ransom slid away his weapon. “Can’t take the risk he has a gun to her head if she isn’t already dead, and he’s in there with her.”

Motioning for her to keep out of sight, he put on his shades and pounded on the door. “Hey, sweetheart.” It was just loud enough that the resident, if she was alive, would worry about her neighbors. “Open up. We had a date and I paid in advance!”

Hearing rustling sounds from inside the apartment, Elena scowled at Ransom to pull away from the door in case Darrell shot through it. When he stayed put, she gritted her teeth and prepared to shove him out of the way the instant she picked up anything that sounded even vaguely like a weapon.

Except the next thing she heard was the door being unlocked and pulled open, the security chain jerking it to a stop. “Shut up, you drunk moron,” hissed a clearly irate woman. “You’ve got the wrong apartment.”

“You Honey Smith? I made the appointment through your website.”

“I’m not taking new bookings.” Unhidden frustration. “You must’ve made a mistake.”

“I have a f**king confirmation number.”

“Show me.”

“Here.” Lowering his hand into a pocket, Ransom slammed out with some kind of a metal tool and the security chain was gone.

The redhead screamed as they came in, guns out . . . to find themselves facing the wrong end of a Glock semiautomatic held by a tall, lean man in jeans that hung low on his h*ps and at least three days of beard growth on his face. “Honey.” The black-satin-robe-clad woman slid behind him at the curt order.

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