Fear like I had never known swept over me - and lust. I had never been attracted to a woman before, but Lilith has that effect on everyone. It is fixed in her being. No one can resist her.

She wore a tall, slim shape that night, willowy and lovely. Her skin was the pale white of the aristocracy of that time -  a white never achieved by those of us who worked outside regularly. Her hair was a raven's wing of black, falling in gleaming waves to her ankles. And her eyes... well, let me just say there's a reason the old myths call succubi "flame-eyed." Her eyes were beautiful and deadly, promising anything you could ever want or desire if only you would let her help you. I still can't remember what color they were, but I could not look away from them that night.

"Letha," she crooned, approaching me. The air shimmered around her, and I actually trembled now from my desire. I wanted to run but instead sank to my knees, both from respect and the inability to stand. She came to me and tipped my chin so that I had to look in those eyes again. Sharp, black nails dug painfully into my skin, and it felt wonderful. "You will be my own daughter now, spreading discord and passion for the rest of your days. You will be both punisher and tester, a creature of both dreams and nightmares. Mortals will do anything for you, just for a touch. You will be loved and desired until the earth is dust."

I whimpered at her proximity, and then she moved closer still, lifting me up so I stood before her. Those glorious lips came to mine, and that kiss shot orgasmic pleasure through my body. My cries were lost, smothered in that kiss. I closed my eyes, unable to look at her and unable to break away. I soaked into that ecstasy pulsing over and over in my body. And yet, as I let that bliss consume me, something else happened too.

My mortality was being stripped away.

It felt like disintegrating, like I had become ashes in the wind. I wondered if that was how death felt. Like you were nothing. Gone. Then, just as quickly, I was put back together, myself once more. But I could feel the power burning through me now, different from the life that filled humans. My immortality shone like a star in the night, cold and pure. No longer would old age threaten. No longer would sickness haunt me. No longer would my flesh be passionately driven by the knowledge that time was short, that I had to leave my mark on the world. That I had to pass on my blood.

I opened my eyes, and the onslaught of pleasure disappeared. So did Lilith. I stood alone in the darkness, quivering with my newfound power. And with that power, I could feel something more: an itch in my flesh. An itch that told me my skin could become anything I wanted it to be with only a thought. I was reborn. I was empowered.

And I was hungry...

"What's wrong?"

Blinking back tears, I looked up at Carter. He stood in the doorway to my bedroom, pushing a lock of hair out of his eyes, face concerned.

"Nothing," I muttered, burying my face in my pillow. "No nephilim ?"

"No nephilim." An awkward pause followed. "Look... are you sure you're okay? Because you don't look okay."

"I'm fine. Didn't you hear me?"

He still wouldn't give up, though. "I know we're not that close, but if you need to talk - "

"Like you'd understand," I scoffed, venom in my voice. "You've never had a heart. You don't know what it's like, so don't even pretend like you do."


"Go. Away. Please."

I turned back toward my pillow, waiting for another protest, but none came. When I dared a peek, the angel was gone.


Carter brought me daffodils the next morning. I had no idea where he could have found them this time of year. He'd probably teleported to another continent.

"What are these?" I demanded. "You aren't coming on to me after all, are you?"

"I'd bring roses for that." For the first time since I'd known him, the angel looked embarrassed. "I don't know. You seemed upset last night. I thought... I thought these might cheer you up."

"Thanks... that's nice, I guess. About last night... when I snapped at you..."

He shook it off. "Don't worry about it. We all have moments of weakness. It's how we recover from them that really counts."

I put the daffodils in a vase, considered putting them on the counter. Roman's bouquet, now wilting, was already there, and the red carnations I'd bought the night Duane had died had long since been thrown away. It seemed unfair to give Roman's flowers competition, so I put Carter's on the windowsill in my bedroom.

After that, the days fell into a comfortable routine. Carter and I never became best friends, but we managed a sort of pleasant equilibrium. We hung out together, watched movies together, and even on occasion cooked together. The angel turned out to be pretty dapper in the kitchen; I was still inept.

At work, he followed me around, as invisible and unobtrusive as promised. I wasn't sure what he did during my shifts. He gave me the impression he wandered the store, people-watching. Maybe even browsing books. I also knew he spent a good deal of time waiting in my office, even if I wasn't there, hoping another nephilim note might appear. None came. The occasional nephilim flashings did, however, and Carter would disappear for a while without even telling me, either giving me a brief feathery touch on the cheek to indicate his return or speaking a few quick words inside my mind.

I also started having coffee with Seth before my shifts. He had been waiting for me that first day back with a white chocolate mocha, and to my surprise, one for himself as well. "Bruce made it decaf for me," he had explained.

The gesture had been too cute to refuse, so I'd sat and talked with him that day, and the next, and the next... It was hardly cutting him off as I'd intended, but I did stay pretty firm in refusing any other attempts at socializing outside of work. The coffee encounters seemed good enough for him, fortunately, and an interesting dynamic soon developed.

Since I was still depressed over Roman, I moved and acted sluggishly, talking very little, too caught up in my own personal misery. Seth must have sensed a bit of this, and rather than let our coffee conversations die in the water, he took the lead in discussion - a notable change for him. It seemed a bit forced at first, but once he grew more comfortable, I found he truly could speak as well as he wrote. I marveled at the shift and enjoyed our time together, finding my heartache over Roman soothed a bit.

He's really nice, Carter noted one morning after I'd left Seth to go work the information desk. I don't know why you spend so much time mooning over that other guy when you've got one like this.

It isn't as simple as Seth being nice or not, I snapped back, still feeling a little weird about the mind-to-mind communication higher immortals employed so readily. And it's not like I'm looking for a new guy anyway. Besides, you didn't even know Roman. How can you talk?

I know that you didn't know him for that long. How much could have really developed between you guys?

Plenty. He was really funny. And smart. And good looking.

I suppose relationships have been built on less. Still, I'm putting my money on Seth.

Go away. I have to work.

Angels. What did they know?

While walking home from the bookstore on my fourth day at work with Carter, he asked, You want to go see Erik?

I frowned, thinking. I had worked the early shift today and had to go back tonight to teach the staff's final dance lesson. I had two hours before that happened and had figured the angel and I would continue our newly formed habit of watching old movies together.

"What do you have in mind?" I asked aloud, once we were safely inside my apartment.

He materialized beside me. "I want to test the waters. We've had no nephilim activity in a while. No notes. No attacks. Yet, we know it's still around because I keep getting those little flashings. Why? What's its game?"

I pulled a can of Mountain Dew out of my refrigerator and sat on a stool. "And you haven't ruled out Erik as a leak."

"No, I haven't. Like I said before, I don't want it to be Erik, but he is probably the biggest mortal source of immortal information around."

"And," I concluded drearily, "if he communicates with the nephilim, he might know some of its plans. What are you going to do, shake him down for information? Because I don't want to be around for that."

"I don't work that way. I can tell if people are lying, but I'm not particularly good at... oh, how shall I put this, teasing information out of them. As you noted recently, I'm not exactly charming. You, however, excel at charm."

Tags: Richelle Mead Georgina Kincaid Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
Articles you may like