Angel of Darkness(4)

By: Cynthia Eden


“I’ll shred that pretty face—”

Her coffin would be closed.

The fire twisting in Keenan’s gut burned hotter, brighter with every slow second that passed. Why her? She’d ... soothed him before. When he’d heard her voice, it had seemed to flow through him. And when she’d laughed ...

He’d liked the sound of her laughter. Sweet, free.

“Help ... me ...” Her broken voice.

Keenan squared his shoulders. What did she see when she looked at him? A monster just like the vamp? Or a savior?

“No one fuckin’ cares about you ...” The vamp yanked the glass out of his neck. More blood sprayed on Nicole. “You’ll die alone, and no one will even notice you’re gone.”

I will notice. Because she wouldn’t be there for him to watch anymore. She’d be far beyond Keenan’s reach. He didn’t know paradise, only death.

She tried to push off the ground, but couldn’t move. The blood loss had gotten to her and made her the perfect prey.

The vampire smiled at her. “I’m gonna start with that pretty face.”

Nicole shook her head and swiped out with the glass. The wounds didn’t stop the vampire. Nothing was going to stop him. No one. Nicole would scream and suffer and then finally—die.

And Keenan would watch. Every moment.

No.

His hand lifted, rising in that last, final touch. His touch could steal life and rip the soul right of a body.

He reached out—and locked his fingers around the vampire’s shoulder.

The vampire jerked and shuddered as if an electric charge had blasted through him. Keenan didn’t try to soften his power. He wanted the vampire to hurt. Wanted him to suffer.

And that was wrong. Angels of Death weren’t supposed to want vengeance. They weren’t supposed to get angry. They weren’t supposed to care.

Killing the vampire was wrong. Against orders. But ...

She will hurt no more.

The vamp would not slash her pale skin. He wouldn’t carve open her chest or defile her body.

He’d just die.

The vamp fell to the ground, his body as hard as the stones beneath him.

Keenan didn’t worry about the creature’s soul. Those headed to the pit needed no courier. But Nicole ...

Her breath rasped out as her chest heaved. She was still alive, but barely. His hands lifted to her savaged throat, the move an instinctual gesture.

Stop the blood.

But he didn’t touch her. Couldn’t. Because, this time, he didn’t want to kill.

“Help ...” Her desperate whisper made his chest ache.

His wings beat against the air. No humans were close enough to save her.

She was suffering, but she’d keep living. Until he touched her, she wouldn’t die, no matter how bad her wounds were.

Help. Right then, killing her would be kinder than the nightmare she faced as she fought for every breath.

“L-live ...”

But she didn’t want to let go. He’d met a soldier like her once, lifetimes ago. A man who fought on, determined to hold back the cold touch of death. The soldier had been gutted, but he’d fought, desperate to stay alive, despite the pain.

Keenan hadn’t expected to find that same fierce spirit in the schoolteacher. He should have remembered the lesson humans had taught him before: Appearances could be deceiving.

Her lashes began to flicker, yet her heart still beat. He could hear the too-fast rhythm.

End this. Death would be kinder than this pain.

But he couldn’t touch her.

His hands clenched and he tossed back his head as he yelled into the night.

That was when the wind hit him with the force of an avalanche, slamming into his body, lifting him up, and tossing him in the air, higher, higher. The wind took him away from the woman who fought so valiantly below.

The night sky whipped past him as the whisper of a thousand voices filled his ears. A dim light appeared, growing brighter, brighter—beckoning him upward, then blinding him when he got too close.

Darkness.

Keenan blinked and found himself on his knees. He’d been tossed onto a gleaming marble floor. Keenan knew who would stand before him even before he allowed his gaze to lift.

Azrael. The leader of the angels of death.

“What have you done?” Azrael—Az—demanded.

Keenan closed his eyes and saw a woman bleeding out in an empty alley. Shivering with cold. “She still lives.” He rose to his feet, letting his wings spread behind his back.