â€œCome, we must move.â€ Asmodeus scooped her up into his arms and beat his wings before she could even form a response, taking off into the crisp night air.
It was getting chilly.
Liora used it as an excuse to cuddle up to his bare chest and was thankful he only had partial armour. It was much nicer curling up against hard hot flesh than it would have been rubbing against cold metal plates.
â€œYouâ€™re going to be in trouble, arenâ€™t you?â€ she said and the breeze carried her voice over his shoulder.
He beat his shadowy black wings and took them higher, until they were gliding above the city and she couldnâ€™t take her eyes off how beautiful it was. All the lights twinkled in the darkness and cars streamed down streets forming bright slashes of red and white. Boats caused the wide river to glow in places. The Eiffel Tower sparkled in the distance.
â€œPerhaps,â€ he whispered and she felt his gaze shift to her, boring into the side of her face. â€œBut I have a feeling that you may be worth it.â€
She smiled at that. How could anyone think this man pure evil? She had only had to speak to him to know that while he held darkness inside him, and was capable of great cruelty and violence, there was still some good in him, hidden away beneath the vicious exterior he wore like a shield.
She turned her head to look at him but he moved his gaze away from her, looking down at the city as they flew over it instead. She drank him in, studying the nuances of his expression as his golden gaze flitted around, taking in the scene stretching below them. The wind ruffled his wild black hair and she ached to brush her fingers through it, combing it back and feeling its silkiness just as nature was allowed to do.
â€œWill the Devil send more men for me?â€ She feared the answer to that question even though she already knew it deep in her heart.
The black slashes of his eyebrows met in a frown and his golden eyes darted to her. â€œYes.â€
â€œWill you fight them?â€ Her voice trembled and she hoped he would think it was the wind that caused it, not the fear growing in her heart. She had never been this afraid before, had always faced things head-on and without flinching, even as a child. The thought that the Devil wanted her for some nefarious reason and had sent his best man to retrieve her, marking her as important to him, made cold steal into her veins and sent a shiver through her soul.
Asmodeus hesitated and something surfaced in his eyes, something that set her on edge. He looked uncertain.
Over a year ago, Serenity had called and told her that they had to cancel their get together because something had happened to Apollyon. Heaven had exercised its will on him and had controlled him, forcing him to do their bidding against his will, and it had shaken the powerful male.
If Heaven held that power over Apollyon, did that mean Hell and the Devil wielded it over Asmodeus?
â€œI will try.â€ He looked away again, the sombre note to his deep voice and the fraction of his emotions that she could sense with her power conveying that he meant it but he didnâ€™t believe he would be able to defeat whatever force the Devil sent after him.
All the more reason to ask Apollyon and Serenity for help, but she still couldnâ€™t bring herself to raise it with him, not while everything felt so tentative and liable to fall apart if she mentioned the other angel.
â€œPerhaps you would be safer away from me.â€
Liora stared at him, shock rippling through her. â€œNo. Iâ€™m safer with you.â€
â€œDo not fool yourself, Liora. I feel your fear. I thrive on that emotion. It gives me pleasure as much as anger and rage, and pain.â€ His voice gained a dark edge that echoed within his power and she frowned when she realised what he was doing. He was driving a wedge between them. He meant to make her leave. â€œYou are safer away from me.â€
â€œI am safer with you. If anyone has the power to protect me, itâ€™s you, Asmodeus.â€
â€œOr Apollyon. He would be the better choice. He is always the better choice.â€ The darkness in his voice turned to bitterness that she could feel lacing his power and she held on to him.
â€œHow do you know heâ€™s the better choice for me? Isnâ€™t it my choice?â€ She glared at him now and then it faded away when she caught the tiny almost imperceptible grain of fear hidden beneath his other emotions.
Fear that he would fail her?
Or fear that he would end up doing as his dark master commanded and would hurt her?
He thrived on seeing others hurt and their suffering. He was afraid that the Devil would make him harm her and that he would end up enjoying it. She had thought the Devil would be sick and twisted, but this was taking sick and twisted to a whole new level.
â€œAsmodeus,â€ she whispered and he looked at her, his beautiful golden eyes void of any warmth. She wished she could touch his cheek and reassure him somehow, but she didnâ€™t want to loosen her grip on him when they were so high above the city. â€œYou will not fail me.â€
He looked away again and uncertainty filled his eyes for a brief few seconds before they cleared again.
â€œApollyon will not fail you. I am only a shadow of that male.â€
It struck her that he was having one serious existential crisis and she was in part to blame for it. Her careless words when they had first met had dealt blows and wounded him, and now he couldnâ€™t shake the doubts that she had placed in his head. She wished she had the ability to turn back time and relive that moment all over again with the knowledge she had now, but even she wasnâ€™t that powerful.
All she could do was try to smooth things out and heal the wounds she had unwittingly inflicted with her words.
â€œYouâ€™re not a shadowâ€¦ not any more than Iâ€™m a shadow of my cousin. Sheâ€™s so damn good and caring, and Iâ€™m reckless and wild, and liable to go off demon hunting without telling anyone, and Iâ€™m forever getting into scrapes. Everyone tells me I should be more like herâ€¦ but Iâ€™m not her. We share blood but weâ€™re not the same person. We couldnâ€™t be more different.â€ Liora leaned in and pressed a kiss to his cheek, lingering with her lips against his cool flesh.
He paused, beating his wings to keep them steady in the night air high above the glittering lights of Paris.
â€œYou wonâ€™t fail me, Asmodeus. Iâ€™m choosing you,â€ she whispered against his skin and then settled her head on his shoulder, waiting for him to rebuff her.
She looked down at the quiet world below them.
â€œDo you like the view?â€ she said to fill the silence.
â€œIt seems alien to meâ€¦ bright and colourfulâ€¦ strangeâ€¦ unsettling.â€ He didnâ€™t sound as if he liked it. â€œHell is a black cavernous ceiling above a forbidding harsh landscape. Rivers of molten lava and lakes of fire provide the only natural light. It isâ€¦ different to this world. You would think it bleak, desolate and dangerous.â€
Everything Apollyon had told her it was.
She frowned and looked at Asmodeus. â€œThen youâ€™ve never seen the stars?â€
His golden gaze drew away from the world below them and rose to meet hers. â€œNo.â€
â€œWill you take me somewhere?â€
He nodded. â€œWhere?â€
Liora bravely took one hand away from his neck and Asmodeusâ€™s grip on her increased, drawing her closer to him, filling her with a sense of safety that felt strange considering he was apparently made of pure evil. She didnâ€™t think a male with nothing but evil in his heart would care much about whether she fell to her death or not. A male who was only evil and nothing good would have laughed as she fell and ensured he was close enough to get a good view when she splatted against the pavement.
She pointed to the distance, to the darkness beyond the city boundaries. â€œTake me out there. Take me to the stars.â€
Did you enjoy today’s tease?
Her Wicked Angel
The King of Demons and the Devilâ€™s right hand man, Asmodeus is a dark angel born of evil and created for destruction. When his master orders him to venture into the mortal world and retrieve a female for him, he seizes the chance to leave Hell for the first time, uncaring of what the Devil has planned for herâ€¦ until he sets eyes on the most beautiful woman he has ever seenâ€”a female who awakens new feelings within his black heart, unleashing passion so intense that it controls him and desire he cannot resist.
He will not let his wretched master have her. She will belong to him.
Liora is a witch with a bad reputation and an obsession with fighting demons. A mission gone wrong sees her sent to Paris to cool off, but when a dark and deadly warrior with a gaze of golden fire lands in her life, she ends up burning hotter than Hell for the wicked angel. Nothing will stand between her and the immense, forbidding male. Not her cousin. Not Asmodeusâ€™s sworn enemy and twin, Apollyon. And certainly not the Devil.
Caught up in a tempest of danger and soul-searing passion, can they survive against the odds and seize their forever after?
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)