Blood of an Angel

Blood of an Angel

Self-Published Re-issue | April 9, 2012
The Embraced series, Book 3

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This title is totally stand alone. You do not need to read the other titles in the series to enjoy this story.

Tiya is turning the tables on the Embraced. She wants their blood. With a desire for vengeance…and lots of weapons…she’s searching for the rogue Vampir who killed her family. One night she meets her match in Charlie, a visiting vamp in the territory where she’s hunting.

Charlie tracks down the woman he knows isn’t human because she’s too fast and way too strong. Soon he becomes obsessed with her and her plight. All he wants is Tiya naked and beneath him on a bed. He wants to possess her in every way. Her blood sings to his and he soon finds out why. Tiya is OtherKin Sidhe…a real, live faery.

Tiya discovers that Charlie has enough sexual heat to melt away the cold knot of revenge within her. He’s a well-bred, well-mannered vamp, but once she gets him stripped, his civilized composure turns into erotic single-minded passion that rocks her to her core. Charlie makes her feel alive again.

But Tiya’s feelings of being alive may not last. Someone in this territory hungers for the special blood of the OtherKin Sidhe…and her family’s blood in particular.

Note: This book contains scenes of light female/female sexual interaction.

“Sexy, sassy, and sinfully satisfying Blood of an Angel will excite you. This erotic romance has all the goods it needs to be a memorable keeper: great plot, characters you want to know, and steamy alpha sex.”A Romance Review

“All of the books in this series are excellent stories, but the introduction of the fae in Blood of an Angel give it an excellent edge…. Although there is a bit of female/female interaction, it enhances the passion that flares between Charlie and Tiya.” —4 Stars, RT BOOKclub magazine

Excerpt

Chapter One

If only he could’ve fallen for a woman like that one.

Charlie leaned against the wall of the café of the upscale bookstore he’d been dragged into by his friend Vincent. A small distance away a diminutive blonde wearing glasses, a burgundy sweater and pair of baggy cargo pants perused the books in the philosophy section. Petite, delicate, brainy-looking, those were all terms he would use to describe her.

Angelic. That one seemed all encompassing.

He wondered what she’d be like with her clothes off.

He looked away from her, berating himself for even contemplating the seduction of an unmarked human female. An entire household of Demi females willing to fuck him whenever, wherever and however he wanted awaited him this evening…awaited him every evening. He shouldn’t even be thinking about how this woman in front of him would look with her clothes off, or how she’d feel under his hands, or how she’d taste against his tongue…both her sex and her blood. Charlie gave his head a sharp shake. Like many Vampir, sometimes he craved the blood of a human. When something was forbidden, it made it more attractive.

Not that he was looking for anything beyond a one-night stand and a little blood at this point. He’d had enough heartbreak to last him a century. Literally.

Still, he was bored and the woman was compelling. He watched as she selected a thick tome from the shelf, cracked it and scanned the first page. Maybe she was a university student. The University of Minnesota wasn’t that far away. A wave of violet scent wafted toward him and he inhaled it like it was a drug. The scent seemed almost intoxicating. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a French braid, revealing a long swanlike neck that featured the fair skin of the naturally light-haired. If he looked closely enough, he could see the fine blue veins in her throat.

The sacyr, the blood-hunger of the Embraced, flickered to life in his stomach. Uneasily, he shifted against the wall. He hadn’t fed yet today, though the sacyr seemed unusually strong despite that.

The woman replaced the tome and tilted her head to the side as she examined the book spines, showcasing that wonderful expanse of neck that he wanted to taste. Charlie cleared his throat and looked away. It wasn’t like he was a new Vampir. He should be able to control the sacyr better than this.

Where the hell was Vincent anyway?

They’d come to the bookstore so Vincent could pick up a novel for Evelyn, the mate of this territory’s keeper, Anlon. Vincent was continually trying to curry Anlon’s favor and offering to do errands for Evelyn was one way to do it. Earlier, Evelyn had mentioned she wanted a new mystery novel that had just released, so here was Vincent, shopping for it.

Vincent was a fairly young Vampir. It had been about twenty-five years since he’d been Embraced. Despite his youth, Vincent had a lot of power. That power had not gone unnoticed by Anlon. Still, Anlon didn’t treat him any differently than the rest of the territory’s Vampir. Anlon wanted Vincent to earn a place in the top ranks of his Vampir, not automatically get it because he was exceptionally strong. Anlon thought Vincent needed to mature into the responsibility of taking a high position with the territory, and Charlie agreed.

Charlie watched the situation in this vampiric territory with interest, but he had no ambitions here himself. Here, Charlie was only a guest and he was content to leave it so. His place was in a territory south of here, with a keeper named Gabriel Letourneau. Charlie used to be Gabriel’s right hand. Now he wasn’t so sure what he was, and Charlie wasn’t sure he cared. Something bad had happened down there and Charlie had left without word to anyone.

He’d just needed to get away. Away from Gabriel and his new love, Fate Harding. Away from Raven House, where the memories of the one he’d lost still remained, where the scent of her had clung to the furniture. He’d needed to get away from his own apartment, where her scent and the psychic impression of her had lingered, especially in his bedroom…especially in his bed. He’d spent so many years loving her, wanting her to love him back, allowing her to fill up so much space within him that when she’d died, she’d left a gaping hole.

The term immortal was such a misnomer. The immortal could live forever, yes, but they could also die if the right weapon was used. Charlie shuddered against the unwelcome memories of that night.

“Charlie, come on, man.”

Charlie felt a tug on his elbow, turned his head and saw Vincent’s scowling face. Black eyes stared at him from the visage of a twenty-five-year-old man, though Vincent was actually closer to fifty. His glossy hair, as coal black as his eyes, brushed the collar of his black leather jacket.

Vincent shrugged. “I said your name five times. I don’t know where you went, but it wasn’t anywhere around here. Let’s go.”

Charlie pushed away from the wall and shot one last glance at the alluring little bookworm in the philosophy section. He bet her blood would be so sweet. He bet the woman’s body would feel even sweeter. The sacyr kicked up a notch and Charlie forced it back down. He turned away. Yes, leaving the store and this unnaturally tempting woman was the best option.

Charlie turned up the collar of his black leather duster and walked down the street with Vincent. Griffin House was about five blocks down Grand Avenue and one block over on Summit. Summit Avenue was an older, elegant part of St. Paul. Huge, historical well-taken care of homes lined the wide street along with towering one hundred-year-old oaks. The lawns were well-kept, manicured by fussy owners who employed professionals to keep things just so.

Vincent turned to him and showed him the bag. He grinned. “I got it.”

“Great,” answered Charlie, unenthused. Vincent reminded him of an eager puppy at times. Though Charlie knew he, too, had been the same way at one time. Years and experience had matured Charlie into a shadow of his former self. Charlie didn’t much resemble the man he’d been at the time he’d been Embraced. The same would happen to Vincent in time. “Evelyn will be surprised and pleased, I’m sure.”

“I hope so.”

Their boots crunched on the autumn leaves. Charlie watched the shopkeepers closing up for the night as they progressed down the street in companionable silence.

“How long did it take for you to make it in Gabriel’s territory,” Vincent asked finally. “How long until Gabriel let you into his inner circle and gave you power?”

Charlie shrugged. “I was pretty weak after I was first Embraced. It took me a long time to grow into my powers, but once I did I was very strong. Still, it took many years and a lot of proving myself before Gabriel learned to trust me.”

Charlie’s thoughts strayed to Adam, another Vampir in Gabriel’s territory. Adam had been giving Gabriel some problems when Charlie left. Adam was an undisciplined Vampir, always getting into trouble. He was true to the time he’d been Embraced, the Wild West. Adam was a perfect product of his time—wild, always out for the thrill. Always looking for the next new thing around the corner. Charlie knew that Niccolo, Gabriel’s other hand had left at the same time. That would have left Gabriel with few truly trusted Vampir around him.

Charlie cringed inwardly, and then stopped himself. No. He was not going to concern himself with what was going on down there. Charlie had his own issues to deal with right now, and Gabriel was strong enough to take care of his own shit.

They turned down a residential alley that linked Grand Avenue to Summit. Griffin House wasn’t far. About halfway down the alley, the clang of metal trash cans sounded behind them. At the same time Charlie caught a scent in the air that didn’t belong there.

The scent of violet.

“What was that?” Vincent muttered as he turned. “And what’s that sm—”

A blur of blonde and burgundy rushed into their vision. The scent of violet filled the night air right before Vincent went down. The blur disappeared.

What the…?

“Vincent?” Charlie shouted as he raced to where Vincent lay and knelt. Blood welled from a deep gash in Vincent’s stomach. “You okay?”

Vincent groaned.

Charlie’s mind whirled as he tried to get a fix on what happened and where the attacker had gone. He stood up and turned in a hard circle, ready to fight whoever it was, but all he saw were garages, chain link fences and trash cans. Somewhere in the distance, a dog barked.

Out of nowhere came the blur. Something hard hit Charlie’s solar plexus, knocking him back and spilling him on his ass on the ground of the alley. What the hell was faster than a Vampir?

His stomach clenched in agony. Not much could harm the Embraced, but whatever the blur had done to him, it had harmed. He rolled to the side for a moment, one palm on the pavement. Pebbles bit into his palm. He held his stomach with his other hand and groaned. His whole body screamed in pain. Something hot and wet touched his forearm and he pulled it away to see his white shirt stained dark with his own blood. Piercing physical anguish consumed him. It bowed his spine and made him squeeze his eyes shut.

Had she hit him with a hawthorn stake?

No. Hell, he’d be completely incapacitated right now and on his way to death if the blur had done that.

Movement in front of him caught his attention. He looked up and saw the bookstore blonde staring down at him. Her eyes were cold now, the cold gray of a winter storm or of gunmetal. “Let me finish this business I have with the other and I’ll let you go. I have no quarrel with you.” She had a slight accent he couldn’t place. English, maybe?
She backed into the darkness and Charlie’s gaze fell to Vincent, who lay unmoving on the ground.

The woman moved over Vincent, a hawthorn stake loose in her hand. She knelt. They spoke in low tones for a few moments. Charlie was too injured to pitch his hearing and listen in. Every part of his body felt like it was slowly dying and he felt so unbelievably bad that he almost wished for it. His head pounded with the rush of blood. His legs and arms were growing cold. Pain lanced through his stomach as though someone was continually stabbing him. He was prey for any animal that came along right now. Charlie tried to push up, but collapsed back down.

The woman’s voice grew strident, as though she was enraged. She raised the stake.

Charlie’s mind struggled to comprehend the world beyond his pain. He squinted at her.

She was going to kill Vincent.

That fact gave Charlie enough motivation to push past the ravaging pain in his body. His muscles and mind protesting the movement, Charlie pushed off from the ground and launched himself at the woman with an anguished roar. She cried out in surprise, as he slammed full-force into her midsection, driving them both back into the door of a garage behind them. A hot slickness coated his stomach and chest and it took him a moment to realize it was his own blood. She struggled against him, waving that hawthorn stake dangerously close to his back.

Hawthorn wood was highly toxic to the Embraced. The wound made by a hawthorn stake not only poisoned their blood, it wouldn’t close up. Ironically, most Embraced died of blood loss if someone staked them. So the fact that the hawthorn was now scraping his shoulder didn’t make Charlie feel exactly warm and fuzzy.

He shifted to the side and grabbed the wrist of the hand wielding the stake. His whole body screamed from whatever it was she’d done to him. The wound made him weak and she was exceptionally strong. Way too strong for a human female. The result made them almost evenly matched in a fight. Almost. He suspected he was still the stronger one.

There was something off here. What was it?

With single-minded intensity, he pushed her down the garage door to the pavement. She shrieked in rage, but she couldn’t stop him from pressing that wrist down to the ground. The woman might be faster than him, but it turned out that, even injured, he was still stronger. He wrested the stake from her grasp and threw it to the side. It ended up behind a row of trash cans that stood nearby.

She kicked, coming dangerously close to his balls with her knee, and slammed her fist into his jaw. His head snapped to the side under the force of the punch. Pain blossomed through his skull.

Damn, she was strong. She couldn’t be human, but she didn’t feel like an Embraced.

What the hell was she?

He needed to further control the woman, and he needed to do it fast. Using his inner thighs, he pressed in, pinning her legs together. He also grabbed her other flailing arm at the wrist and pressed it down to the ground.

She shrieked again and Charlie wondered when someone in one of these nearby houses would call the cops. They didn’t need that. The police would call in the local SPAVA unit—Squad for Paranormal and Vampiric Activity—and they’d give both Charlie and Anlon absolute hell. Any conflict between a human and an Embraced—if human really was what this woman was—got extra-special attention from the local law enforcement, always at the expense of the Embraced, no matter which party was truly at fault. Prejudice against the Embraced was alive and well in the United States.

But more important than avoiding SPAVA was finding out if Vincent was all right. He hadn’t moved or made a sound since the woman had knelt over him with the stake in her hand. The fact that Charlie had wrested the hawthorn away from her before she’d had a chance to strike Vincent gave him hope that he was probably okay.

The woman went limp beneath him. Charlie was thankful, since the blood he’d lost was making him feel weak and the sacyr was rising hard and fast as a result. Plus, the closeness of his peculiar woman and her violet scent, combined with his own rage, was fueling his blood hunger.

She stared up with him with complete and utter animosity in her eyes.

Gone were the glasses. Gone was the illusion of bookishness and fragility. Completely gone was the impression that this woman was angelic. She felt delicate beneath him, but the way she’d kicked his ass contradicted that image.

“You should have let me kill him. He deserves to die,” she spat.

Charlie’s brow furrowed. Vincent was harmless. He was one of the most harmless Embraced he’d ever met. Vincent was almost naïve. What could Vincent have done to gain this woman’s wrath? The question posed on his lips was why in the moment the woman suddenly pushed up hard. Caught off-guard by the jolt of inhuman strength, Charlie toppled to the side.

The woman sprang to her feet, eyeing the dark corner behind the row of trash cans where Charlie had thrown the stake. She lunged in that direction, but he stretched out quick as a striking snake and caught her by the ankle. He toppled her to the ground face-first and pushed to his feet.

The sacyr roared within him, overwhelming his weakness. It screamed in his head. He needed to feed. He needed to feed now.

Too bad for the woman in front him. She was about to become a meal.

With an intense gaze, he watched her flip to her back and spot him. He was the predator now. He might be injured. He might be weak. The rising sacyr didn’t care about any of that. It just wanted the blood of this woman. Her gray eyes widened as she realized the tables had suddenly turned. Charlie watched her crabwalk back a few paces, then lurch to her feet.

Charlie lunged.

The woman spun to the side, kicking her booted foot up and around in a roundhouse kick. Her heel caught him hard in the solar plexus, right where she’d wounded him. He grunted, but the sacyr held him upright, made him push through the intense pain. The sacyr was unstoppable now. He had no say in his actions and was a slave to its whims. She threw a punch, but he blocked it. He took a step forward, she took a step back. It was like a dance, but one wholly without romance.

She turned to run, but he grabbed her by her upper arms and dragged her back flush up against his chest.

He lowered his head to her ear, scenting the violet in her hair and the blood that ran through those delicate veins under her pale, soft skin. He inhaled and closed his eyes, letting her aroma infuse him. His breath left him in a groan of ecstasy. “All the gentleman’s been beaten right out of me,” he murmured into her ear. “You’re in trouble now, angel.”

She stilled. Her breathing sounded harsh in the suddenly quiet air. It was as if the whole world had fallen away and only this alley, only he and this mysterious woman, remained.

Charlie dipped his head to the place where her shoulder met her throat and rubbed his lips against her skin. The woman shivered. From fear? He didn’t know. He didn’t smell any fear on her, but by rights she should’ve been afraid. Charlie only knew that her shudder increased the pull and strength of the sacyr.

He had to have her…now.

He flicked his tongue out and tasted her skin, tasted the hard pulse under her earlobe. So sweet. So soft. So perfect. He stifled a groan. His fangs extended and he brushed them across her vulnerable throat. At the same, he readied his glamour. Charlie was exceptionally good with glamour. The woman would feel nothing but pleasure when he bit her.

It was far more than she deserved.

The sudden scent of arousal filled the air, delicately musky. The woman whimpered in her throat. She relaxed against him and the tang of her sex, plumped with excitement, teased him.

That sound, along with the fragrance of her, gripped him and wouldn’t let him free. Feeling drugged, he grazed his fangs along her shoulder. He felt the skin slice open in a thin, neat line and tasted just a drop of her blood on his tongue.

Somewhere in the sacyr-controlled, pain-fogged back of his mind, Charlie noted that she didn’t taste like a human. Her blood was smoother, silkier on his tongue. It reminded him of milk flavored with a bit of sugar.

So, delicious… He lowered his mouth to take another taste.

Suddenly, the woman thrust her elbows up hard and twisted to the side. Charlie tried to maintain his grip on her, but she was gone in a blur of speed.

An angelic tinkle of laughter was all he heard from the mouth of the alley. Then, nothing.

The sacyr wailed within him at being denied sustenance. His wound overwhelmed him. Charlie groaned, dropped to his knees and knew nothing more.