â€œYou fight naked?â€ Nevar waited for a reaction to that, sure she would laugh at him.
She nodded. He looked her over again, recalling her curves and how they had inflamed him. Still inflamed him.
Fighting naked would certainly give her an advantage over a male opponent, but it provided no protection for her too.
â€œI can highly recommend armour.â€ He regretted it the moment it left his lips and she looked down at his, making it clear that she could see straight through his glamour to his real appearance. Her eyes danced over every piece of it, studying it so closely that he squirmed under the scrutiny.
He had loved his armour once, when it had been blue edged with silver, the colours of a guardian angel, and his wings had been stunning silvery-blue.
His contract with Asmodeus had turned it obsidian edged with violet and had corrupted his wings, turning them as black as Hell.
He could do nothing about either of them, no matter how deeply he wished he could.
So he kept his wings hidden so he didnâ€™t have to see them and did his best not to look at his armour. He had once considered giving it up and disposing of it somehow, but it provided protection, and he didnâ€™t think he could fight like the delicate-looking female currently staring in absorbed fascination at him.
Maybe he could fight naked with her.
His body stirred at that wicked thought and he shifted on his stool, hoping she wouldnâ€™t notice. She would probably toss him across the room if she did.
He would give anything to have that power.
Where did she come from? She wasnâ€™t mortal. She wasnâ€™t angelic. He didnâ€™t think she was demonic either.
She was something else.
And she was beautiful.
And he was sober again.
He didnâ€™t care. Not right now. She had all of his focus, fascinating him with every little thing she did.
She sipped her blood.
His stomach cramped, his fangs itched, and his hunger rose like a demon within him.
He breathed through it. In for five. Out for five. He didnâ€™t need blood. In for five. Out for five. He was stronger than his hunger. The cramps subsided. He exhaled slowly, silently congratulating himself for successfully working through another attack, just as Liora had made him promise he would do. Some ridiculous thing she had called positive affirmation.
The female lifted the glass back to her lips and took another slow sip that painted them red and made him hunger to kiss her.
The darker needs lurking within him gave positive affirmation the finger and seized control, crushing his will to resist before he could muster it.
He tried to back off before he jumped on the female and stole the blood on her lips. The backs of his thighs snagged on the leather of the stool seat, and he fumbled in an attempt to remain upright. His left arm shot out, catching all the glasses on the bar and sending them flying as he fought for balance.
The female stared at him and cocked her head to one side.
He growled at her, dug his claws into the bar and dragged himself up, leaving deep grooves in the black wooden top. The shadows swirled higher, curling over his biceps and twisting around his thighs. His fangs lengthened and he ground his teeth, desperately seeking some calm so he could centre himself or whatever the fuck Liora had called it. His eyes blazed violet, burning in his skull as the skin around them bled into darkness.
His shoulder blades itched, his wings pushing for freedom.
Nevar snarled and buried his claws deeper into the bar top, clinging to it as he fought the change, refusing to give into it. It would pass. He just had to breathe.
What he really needed to do was let this hippy shit go and rip the heads off everyone who was now staring at him as if he was a one man freak show.
He fixed his gaze on her.
Not including her.
Calm came over him like a cooling balm as his eyes met hers, washing through him and chasing back the darkness enough for him to get a grip on it and shove it back in its place, under his control. He breathed slowly and steadily, willing to try the hippy shit again because he had to admit it did work most of the time, and mentally apologising to Liora for doubting her methods, and everyone in the bar for wanting to tear their heads off and drink from their gushing necks.
The woman stood studying him still, her head canted to one side, a curious edge to her gaze.
â€œYou have a sickness,â€ she said.
He nodded. â€œI brought it upon myselfâ€¦ and so I must conquer it myself too.â€
She hopped back up onto her stool. â€œWhy do you deny what will make you better?â€
She held the glass out to him and he shot backwards, hit the stool, lost his balance and toppled over it. To add injury to insult, he landed hard on his knees and cracked his chin on the seat, and a few people nearby snickered at him, including Villandry.
Nevar shot Villandry a glare filled with intent that he knew the vampire would clearly read. One more laugh out of him and Nevar would make him intimately acquainted with something wooden and pointy.
â€œIâ€™m sorry.â€ The woman drew the glass back to her, clutching it to her chest between her breasts.
He grimaced, clawed his way back onto his feet, and huffed as he sat down. â€œBlood only makes it worse. Vicious cycle.â€
She drank the rest of the glass in one go, set it on the bar and pushed it behind her, where he couldnâ€™t see it. He appreciated that. It was better than shoving it in his face and taunting him with it as she had a minute ago. She toyed with the belt of her robe, an awkward edge to her body language, and Nevar surmised that he wasnâ€™t the only one having trouble not making an idiot of himself tonight.
Her head jerked up, her eyes leaping to his, and she blurted, â€œWhat are you?â€
Nevar leaned back, caught off guard by her question and unsure how to respond. â€œI was wondering the same thing about you.â€
Her smile bewitched him. There was a touch of innocence in it. Purity that he found alluring, as if she could cleanse him and make him good again. Impossible. The only way he could be good again was to die and be reborn as an angel of Heaven, and he had no intention of letting that happen. Heaven had tampered with his memories, controlling his actions. They had taken his free will from him. He would never return to that place and that life, under their control and unaware of how they played their angels like pawns, erasing memories when it suited them, keeping them in order.
â€œI donâ€™t know what I am. Perhaps I am like you,â€ she said, luring him back to her, and he frowned at what she had said.
He shook his head. â€œImpossible. I was an angel, and now I am a demon, and not by choice.â€
She played with the belt of the robe again, her black eyebrows dipping low and darkening her hazel eyes. â€œIf you had a choice, would you still be an angel?â€
He pondered that. â€œI would want to be an angel again to extinguish the evil inside me, but I have no desire to serve Heaven again. I want to serve no master.â€
She stared at her knees, her gaze distant and her fingers paused against the material. She was still for so long that he grew concerned and leaned towards her without thinking, reaching one hand out.
She spoke before he could lay it over hers, her tone solemn and edged with pain, and he froze.
â€œI despise angels.â€
He sat back and settled his hand on his bare knee instead. â€œWhy?â€
She frowned and he expected her to bite out something, and then her expression turned troubled and he sensed the panic rising within her. Her eyes slowly widened, her eyebrows creeping upwards, and she shook her head.
â€œI cannot remember.â€ Her gaze leaped to his and her breathing quickened. â€œI cannot remember.â€
He could sympathise. He had been there himself, unable to recall events that people told him had happened and he had been involved in. He reached out and touched the robe covering her shoulder, his focus on the wound beneath.
â€œDid angels do this?â€
She snarled and smacked his hand away, and shot to her bare feet. She shoved him in the chest and backed off, her eyes wild, filled with fear that flowed over him together with her power. It rose, growing stronger and pressing down on him. The colourful lights in the club flickered.
â€œI donâ€™t remember,â€ she whispered on repeat and clawed at her hair, drawing the long black strands back from her face, tugging at them. â€œI want to remember.â€
A light above the bar shattered, raining blue glass down on the black top.
Everyone stopped to look at her and she shook her head, curling into a ball.
Nevar did the only thing he could to get their eyes off her.
He caught her right wrist, pulled her between his thighs and wrapped his arms around her. He cupped her head with his left hand and rubbed the small of her back with his right.
â€œBreathe,â€ he murmured into her hair, closing his eyes as he felt her trembling. She smelled like dew, fresh and clean and earthy. Pure. The scent of a cool summer morning.
She sucked down one breath and then another.
â€œSlower.â€ He stroked her back, cursing himself for enjoying the feel of her pressing against him. â€œIn through your nose and out through your mouth. Breathe like youâ€™re filling your lungs up from the bottom. Nice and slow.â€
He couldnâ€™t quite believe he was spouting Lioraâ€™s hippy shit to his beautiful stranger.
She seemed to be embracing it though, and it seemed to work for her just as it did for him. Each slow breath she took had her power falling, the weight of it lifting from his shoulders. She released her head and pressed her palms to his breastplate, and a foolish part of him wished he wasnâ€™t wearing his armour so he could feel her delicate hands on his flesh. Her breath skated across his arm.
â€œI know a little about forgetting things,â€ he said in a low voice destined for her ears only and kept stroking her back. He couldnâ€™t stop himself now. She was soft and warm beneath his calloused palm. Tempting. â€œIt can get a little too much to handle at times. You just have to breathe.â€
She nodded, exhaled, and pushed back from him. A sense of loss immediately engulfed him as she slipped from his arms, placing some distance between them, and straightened her robe.
He lowered his hands to his knees and searched for something to say, trying to come up with something that would make him look good. Something reassuring. Women liked that sort of thing.
She swept her hair out of her face and lifted her chin, looking him straight in the eye. â€œWhat do they call you?â€
â€œThey call me many things, and most of them not complimentary.â€ He smiled at her formal way of asking. She leapt between antiquated and modern so much that he was going in circles trying to figure out how old she was. He held his hand out to her. â€œBut you can call me Nevar.â€
â€œNevar,â€ she whispered and he liked how his name sounded when it fell from her lips, spoken in her soft voice, edged with warmth.
She reached out to take his hand.
A black vortex appeared off to his right. Asmodeus stepped out of it, his expression stormy and dark, relaying his anger, and his golden eyes locked on Nevar like a hawkâ€™s on prey. The portal shrank and Asmodeus advanced, the crowd parting for him. Every demon here knew of his master. It was impossible to mistake him for anyone else as he towered above them, his short black hair and golden eyes matching the Devilâ€™s, and his partial gold-edged black armour in place, protecting his hips and shins, and leaving his chest bare.
â€œThe King of Demons,â€ the woman whispered with the same reverence as she had used to speak Nevarâ€™s name and stared at Asmodeus with wide eyes that were a little too adoring for Nevarâ€™s liking.
Asmodeus paid her no heed, which spared him from Nevarâ€™s wrath.
He seized Nevarâ€™s wrist and dragged him off the stool, and Nevar fought him, clawing at his hand to get it off him. He was damned if the bastard angel was going to drag him around and command him in front of the female, belittling him.
â€œYou will return to Hell, Nevar,â€ Asmodeus said, the compulsion behind the words sinking claws into Nevar and dragging him downwards, towards that realm.
He wasnâ€™t strong enough to fight Asmodeus or his commands when he was weak with hunger, but that wasnâ€™t going to stop him from trying.
He attempted to pull his arm free of his masterâ€™s grip but Asmodeus tightened it, digging claws into his flesh and spilling his blood. He fought him every step of the way as they headed towards the exit. The female left the bar and followed, her gaze darkening by degrees.
â€œI will not go with you,â€ Nevar snapped. â€œI will not return. It is time you did your duty.â€
Asmodeus yanked on his arm and sent him barrelling through the open door. He hit the damp tarmac and snarled over his shoulder at Asmodeus. The wretched angel would pay for that.
Asmodeus loomed over him.
The female stopped a short distance away, hovering near the entrance to Cloud Nine.
Nevar fought the change that threatened to come over him and the need to fight Asmodeus burning inside him. A need that would never die. He growled and flashed his fangs at Asmodeus. The male stood his ground and glared at him, his lips compressed into a thin line and his arms folded across his bare chest, as Nevar rose to his feet.
â€œYou will return to Hell, Nevar.â€ Asmodeusâ€™s deep voice echoed around the walls, drawing a few glances from the mortals in the queue for Cloud Nine.
Nevar shook his head, but he wasnâ€™t answering his master. He was answering the dark hunger inside him, the vile need to surrender to his urges and act on his impulses. He refused. He wouldnâ€™t give in to them, not while the female was watching him.
He hated that part of him and how he felt when it emerged.
Not just the way he changed psychologically, craving violence and bloodshed despite not wanting to feel such things. It was the physical changes he underwent that really sickened him. The claws and the fangs, and how his skin turned the colour of shadows, and most of all the horns that made his skull feel as if it would explode as they emerged.
Asmodeus cast a black portal and the femaleâ€™s eyes darkened and she bared her fangs, her deadly gaze pinned on his master now.
Was she going to attack him?
Asmodeus didnâ€™t give Nevar the chance to find out. He shoved Nevar into the swirling vortex and he landed in Hell, on the black plateau on which Asmodeusâ€™s ruined fortress stood, high above the rest of the barren basalt wasteland.
He landed hard but was on his feet in an instant, rushing back to the portal, a sliver of him filled with hope that the female would step through the vortex too.
Asmodeus stepped through it and the swirling black ribbons evaporated.
Nevar growled and cursed him in the demon tongue.
His master gave him an unamused look. â€œYou are drunk. I have a way to sober you up.â€
Nevar straightened, forgetting his desire to correct his master and point out that he wasnâ€™t drunk, at least not on alcohol. Perhaps he was drunk on the female, intoxicated by her beauty and innocence. All of that fell away though, drowned out by what Asmodeus had said and his overwhelming reaction to it.
All angels suffered from intense curiosity and he was no exception.
Asmodeus folded his arms across his broad chest and crimson bled into the edges of his golden irises, a sign of the anger that laced the incredible wave of power that swept over Nevar, battering him fiercely enough that he had to plant one foot behind him to keep himself steady.
â€œI sensed you leave Hell and went to the chamber after dealing with the Devil on your behalf.â€
Nevar took a step towards him, a trickle of dread running through his veins. â€œWhat of the chamber?â€
Had something happened to it while he had been absent? The look in his masterâ€™s crimson eyes said that it had, and that the Devil would be punishing both of them.
Asmodeus flashed his fangs on a black snarl. â€œThe chamber is dark.â€
Nevarâ€™s heart plummeted into his stomach.
â€œThe destroyer has awoken.â€
Did you enjoy today’s snippet?
Her Avenging Angel
Once a proud angel of Heaven, Nevar is now a servant of Hell, bound to a new masterâ€”the King of Demons. Consumed by darkness and driven to seek revenge, he set in motion a series of events that awakened the Great Destroyer, a force that will bring about the apocalypse. Now, he is the creatureâ€™s master and the fate of our world rests in the hands of an angel with only darkness in his heart.
Lost in the mortal realm without any recollection of how she came to be there, Lysia is only aware that she has survived a great battle. When she stumbles into a demon bar, she finds more than a chance to discover what happened to herâ€”she finds a dark and deadly angel warrior who stirs fire in her veins and awakens soul-searing passion she cannot deny.
With the mounting threat of the Great Destroyer, the forces of Heaven and Hell against him, and a band of dangerous angels intent on capturing Lysia on his heels, can Nevar protect the beautiful woman who is light to his darkness and find the strength to save the world?
You can get your hands on the first book in this series, HER DARK ANGEL, for FREE right now on selected Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and Apple iBooks Stores. Find out more at my Paranormal Romance Ebook Offers page.
If you haven’t had a chance to read any of the books in the Her Angel romance series yet, they’re all available at major ebook retailers and in paperback, and you can find the links and samples of the books at my website:
Her Dark Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #1)
Her Fallen Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #2)
Her Warrior Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #3)
Her Guardian Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #4)
Her Demonic Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #5)
Her Wicked Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #6)
Her Avenging Angel (Her Angel Romance Series #7)