Archangel's Consort / Page 18

Page 18


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Thrusting her hand into his hair, she pulled up his head. “This consort has a knife under the mattress that she won’t hesitate to use if you don’t give her an orgasm soon.”

He smiled. A brilliant, blinding thing. So rare were smiles such as these from her archangel that her heart stopped for a second. Mine, she thought, you are mine.

That smile grew wider. Yes.

It was only then that she realized she’d sent the thought to him. That he hadn’t hesitated for an instant . . . it vanquished the ugliness that had awoken in her earlier, the painful echo of rejection and loneliness. She knew it would rise again—the scar was too deep, too vicious not to—but this man, her archangel, he kept hold of his own; his possessive will was her shield.

“Why are you smiling?” Her own lips curving, she stole a kiss.

“Because I have my warrior in bed, so tight”—two teasing pumps with his fingers—“hot”—teeth on her jaw—“and wet.” Dipping his head, he lavished her neglected nipple with attention. The long, deep tugs pulled at things low in her abdomen, making her squirm, squeeze down on his fingers. Reaching up with his thumb in response, he circled around . . . then finally rubbed at the pulsing nub of her clitoris with the firm touch that he knew drove her crazy.

So close. So close.

He lifted his thumb.

“I am never going down on you again,” she threatened, chest heaving.

Laughter against her skin. What if I ask very nicely? With that, he began to move those knowing fingers in a rapid rhythm, bending his head to suck hard at her nipple at the same time ... before biting down with his teeth.

The orgasm rocked her so hard, she didn’t only see stars, she saw whole constellations exploding in a flash of white-gold. It was glorious, leaving her a wreck. When she was able to lift her heavy eyelids at last, she found Raphael rising to strip off the rest of his clothes. The beauty of him struck her anew. That body—powerful and dangerous, his cock a heavy thickness. Eyes of a blue as vivid as the mountain sky at noon. Wings that could take him above the clouds in an unrivaled burst of speed; the breadth of those wings was exceptional.

As she watched, he reached down, fisted his cock. Pumped once. Twice.

The embers in her body flared to smoldering life. This time, when she raised her arms in silent invitation, he came. No more teasing, no more words. Her archangel pushed her thighs apart and took her with a hard, hot thrust that was an exquisite burn through flesh already swollen from the force of her first orgasm.

“Your mouth,” he said, and then he was taking that mouth as he moved his cock in and out of her in a demanding rhythm that had a rich, dark heat rolling up over her body. This pleasure, it was primal and thick and visceral. It curled her toes, made her breasts swell, and the delicate flesh between her legs flush anew with a rush of blood.

She’d never felt so possessed, so indulged. The orgasm built slower, lasted longer, hit harder. But this time, she felt the scalding rush of Raphael’s own pleasure, heard her archangel’s powerful wings snap wide above her as the muscles in his back flexed and bunched.

Her thoughts splintered.

13

There was only pleasure, no assault of nightmare that night, but Elena was still in no mood to speak to Jeffrey the next morning. “When am I ever in the mood?” she muttered as she landed in front of the tony town house guarded by metal gates on the eastern side of Central Park. She’d expected the meeting to be at his office at Deveraux Enterprises but had received a message an hour earlier moving things to this location.

It was a lovely home, as genteel and elegant as the woman who was Jeffrey’s second wife. The small area of greenery around it—an incredible luxury in the middle of Manhattan—was landscaped with a graceful perfection that somehow didn’t cross the line into severity. Elena couldn’t fault Gwendolyn’s taste, for all that some small part of her resented the woman for taking Marguerite’s place at Jeffrey’s side. But then, Marguerite wouldn’t have recognized the man her husband had become, so it was just as well.

Walking up three shallow marble steps with that hollow realization ringing in her skull, she pressed the doorbell to her father’s home, a home she’d never been invited to, never been welcome in, until this moment. The bell echoed inside, as if the house was empty. A minute, then two, passed without footsteps. Fully capable of believing Jeffrey had decided to leave her standing on the doorstep, she’d turned to head back down when the door was pulled open.

She glanced over her shoulder, a cutting retort ready on her lips. It died the instant she met the composed blue eyes of the society beauty twenty years his junior whom her father had married one fall while Elena had been at boarding school. “Gwendolyn,” she said with a politeness Marguerite had drummed into her. She’d run into her father’s second wife once or twice over the years, but neither of them had made the effort to strengthen the relationship beyond a cool formality.

“Elena. Come in.”

Glad that Gwendolyn at least didn’t seem to insist on using her full name, Elena walked in, conscious of the fact the other woman was studiously not staring at her wings. “I expected a maid,” she said, looking down the long foyer lined with small, softly lighted cubbies that held what were no doubt priceless objects d’art.

“This is family business,” Gwendolyn said, tugging at the sleeve of her jewel green silk shirt.

Elena frowned, not at the words, but at the restless movement—Gwendolyn was one of the most “together” people Elena had ever come across. But now that she was paying attention, she saw that the other woman’s eyes were shadowed, smudges of purple marring the rich cream of her skin. “What’s wrong?” she asked, suddenly realizing this might not be about Jeffrey playing power games after all.

Gwendolyn glanced down the corridor, stepped closer. “I know you don’t think of them as your sisters,” she said in a low, intense tone, “but I need you to stand up for my baby.”

Elena went to ask what the hell was going on when a door opened down the hall. Jeffrey’s tall form appeared a moment later. Dressed in charcoal pants bearing a faint navy pinstripe paired with a white shirt, the buttons undone at the collar, he was as casual as she’d seen him in the years of her adulthood.

Before ... She remembered the dreams, remembered the laughing paint-covered man who’d thrown her into the air and caught her on a sunny day flavored with the mingled scents of freshly cut grass, ice cream, and burgers. Long before the blood, before the death. Before the silence . . . and the shadow on the wall.

Steeling her spine against the devastating impact of the memories, she met his gaze, shielded as always by the clear glass of his metal-rimmed spectacles. “Why am I here, Jeffrey?” She knew Gwendolyn would say nothing now. Having seen them in public, she understood very well who held the reins.

It was nothing like the marriage Jeffrey had had with Elena’s mother—a woman who’d teased her husband as often as she’d kissed him. A woman whose body might have survived, but whose spirit had broken under the hands of the serial killer drawn to their small family home because of Elena. That was a guilt that threatened to turn her feet to lead, leave her defenseless in the face of what was almost certainly going to be a knock-down, drag-out confrontation—her meetings with her father never ended any other way.

“I’m glad to see you have some sense of family obligation,” Jeffrey said in that razor blade of a voice. “I suppose you have had more important people to visit in the days since your return to the city.”

Anger, wild and hurting, slammed through the guilt. “They cared when you threw me out onto the street,” she said, glad to see him flinch. “I wouldn’t expect you to understand that kind of loyalty.” She didn’t know what she’d expected—that her father would be taken aback by her wings to the extent of dropping that glacial mask? That he’d look at her with wonder and awe? If she had, she was a fool.

“Jeffrey.” Gwendolyn’s mellifluous voice.

Jeffrey’s jaw was tight, his eyes glittering behind those thin metal frames, but he gave a jerky nod, said, “Come into the study. The girls?” The latter words were directed at his wife.

“In Amy’s room, with strict instructions not to come out.”

The tendons along Jeffrey’s neck went white with strain, but he said nothing as he walked into the study. Elena followed at a slower pace, wondering at the undercurrents she could sense. Maybe she’d been wrong about Gwendolyn. It certainly seemed like the other woman was flexing her claws.

Chewing on that, she found herself in a large room with mahogany bookshelves lined with leather-bound tomes, a solid desk of the same wood taking center stage. That still left plenty of room for the deep armchairs set to one side, near the French doors. It wasn’t only a masculine room, it was devoid of even the slightest feminine touch.

Snick.

The sound of the lock clicking into place as Gwendolyn closed the door was loud in the silence. Needing space, Elena walked to the French doors and swung them open, shifting to lean against the doorjamb, one of her wings exposed to the crisp spring air, the other to the emotional chill inside the library.

Jeffrey stood on the other side of the room, against a bookshelf, his arms folded. “So, you’re an angel.”

“I’m afraid asking me to whore myself for you isn’t going to work any better this time than it did the last,” Elena snapped out, her calm disappearing in the face of that judgmental gaze.

White lines bracketed Jeffrey’s mouth. “You’re my daughter. I shouldn’t have had to go through your Guild to find out if you were alive.”

“Please.” Elena gave a bitter laugh. “When have you cared whether I lived or died?” Not once in the ten years of their estrangement had he bothered to check up on her, even when she’d been badly injured in a hunt, hospitalized for weeks. “Just tell me why I’m here so I can get back to my life.”

It was Gwendolyn who spoke from her position by the door, her body held in a way Elena would’ve never expected from Jeffrey’s perfect society wife. “It’s Evelyn,” she said in a quiet, determined tone. “She’s like you.”

“No.” The single word was gritted out by Jeffrey.

“Stop it.” Gwendolyn turned on her husband. “Denying it won’t make it any less true!”

Jeffrey’s response was lost in the buzz of noise inside Elena’s head as she tried to make sense of the curveball Gwendolyn had just thrown her. “Like me? How?” She wasn’t going to make any assumptions, not here.

Gwendolyn’s lips pursed tight, her hands fisted at her sides as she stared at her husband. When Jeffrey didn’t speak, the black-haired woman turned to Elena. “Hunter-born,” she said. “My baby is hunter-born.”

If Elena hadn’t been braced against the doorjamb, she’d have collapsed—her body felt as if it had taken a tremendous blow. Disbelief had her saying, “That’s not possible.” Hunter-born were rare, very rare, being birthed with the ability to scent-track vampires. However, it did run in families—Elena had always believed her ability came from her mother’s unknown bloodline.


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