And vampires, Elena knew too well, weren’t true immortals. They could die. “I know my vamp great-grandma or -grandpops is probably long dead, but still, it’d satisfy my curiosity to unearth the truth.”
A sudden chill shook her, her skin pebbling.
Shaking her head, she joined Raphael at the door, the two of them due at the Tower for a meeting with Dmitri. “Nothing. Just someone walking over my grave.”
* * *
She and Raphael flew to the Tower without playing in the sky today. When they landed on a high balcony, the wind lifted up Raphael’s hair like a lover that couldn’t stay away. She didn’t blame it. Some nights, she just lay there and played with the midnight silk of it, her wing draped over him with unhidden possessiveness.
“Come, hbeebti,” he said, folding back his wings. “Let us speak to Dmitri, then return home. Montgomery may stop feeding us if we keep sleeping in the Tower.”
They’d only done that the past week because Dmitri had been out of state, having taken Honor to their private cabin for a break. He’d returned today, ready once more to take up his responsibilities as Raphael’s second.
Slipping her hand into Raphael’s, Elena walked with him into the Tower. Her lips tugged up at the contact, the eerie chill having faded during the flight over the red-gold waters of the Hudson, the first edge of sunset spectacular today.
Raphael caught the change in her mood, glanced over. “What amuses you?”
“Why do you sound so suspicious?”
“Because your favorite things are sharp and draw blood.”
“Funny, Archangel.” Laughing because he was guilty of feeding her addiction to the most beautiful blades, she said, “We’re holding hands. I never held hands with anyone before you, and when we first got together, I never thought we ever would.” He’d been so hard, so dangerous.
“In this, Elena, I, too, was a virgin.” His fingers tightened on hers, his wings outlined with a glow that would’ve terrified her once.
And she realized he was exactly as hard and even deadlier than he’d been when he made her close her hand over a blade, when he made her bleed—but she was no longer a mortal hunter meeting one of the Cadre. Nor was she the new consort still learning the man she loved beyond life, beyond reason. Oh, he’d keep surprising her for centuries, millennia, of that she had no doubt. But the one thing she no longer had any question about was that they were an impregnable unit.
The world might attempt to tear them apart, but the only way it would ever succeed would be through death.
If this is death, Guild Hunter, then I will see you on the other side.
Her heart squeezed.
No, not even death would separate them. “I like holding hands,” she declared, moving their clasped hands slightly back and forth as they walked down the wide hallway in which Dmitri had his office, the walls newly painted an elegant gray, the thick carpet beneath their feet a darker gray.
Raphael’s response was silent, his wing brushing hers as he . . .
The damn archangel had dusted her.
Glittering, sparkly stuff stuck to her, delicious beyond compare when she parted her mouth and it licked onto her tongue. Her thighs clenched. “This is not funny!” She glared at him even as arousal flooded her system, but he was laughing too hard to care.
Her heart, it just stopped.
Even now, the Archangel of New York rarely laughed and never like this. Until she could see the youth he must’ve once been, with eyes of a wild, astonishing blue that asked a woman to laugh with him. She’d never before seen him as truly young. How could she? He had so much power that it pulsed in his every touch, burned in his skin.
Hauling him close to her with her hands fisted in the cream linen of his shirt, she took a kiss, took him. He sank into her, his wings sweeping up to wrap around her until all she could sense was Raphael, all she could taste was him. And angel dust. The special blend he’d created just for her.
He pushed one hand into her hair, fisting it as he wrapped his other arm around her waist and backed her up against a wall. Something fell with a dull thud. Maybe the vivid painting of wildflowers that had just been put up, all the art having been taken down during the repainting.
Elena loved that simple piece Honor had found in a thrift shop, but right now, it could’ve been a priceless artwork by the Hummingbird and she wouldn’t have cared. She was far too happy to be pressed up against the hard warmth of her archangel tip to toe after spending the previous night on watch. No time for shenanigans with Dmitri away and Illium off-shift, Aodhan assigned to patrol the sea border, and Raphael dealing with the overall security situation.
She’d flown a proper defense grid, both to stay in practice and because none of them could afford to be blasé with the Cascade an unpredictable foe that could unleash itself at any moment, smashing the world back into chaos and, possibly, war.
Today, however, the others were on-shift and she could kiss her lover. He burned hot, Raphael, but he was a crashing sea in her mind, a tumultuous, passionate storm that swept her up and thundered through her veins.
We can talk to Dmitri later, she sent to Raphael, sliding her hands up the ridges and valleys of his chest. Let’s go upstairs to our suite.
She tried to ignore that pointed cough that held a biting amusement.
Raphael’s lips smiled against hers. I think my second has other ideas. Pulling away with a kiss that promised more to come, he folded back his wings to reveal the vampire who leaned against the wall about ten feet down the corridor, beside an open door.