"I can't change what I am," I told her hotly, stung by her words.

"Spoken like a slave to the system."

"Fuck you," I shot back. Having one's pride and self-identity shattered will often make a person irrationally angry, regardless if the point was well made. "Better a comfortable slave than some freakish divine bastard. It's no wonder your kind is being hunted to extinction."

She hit me again, this time packing nephilim power with the punch, not unlike that night in the alley. It hurt - a lot.

"You little whore. You have no idea what you're talking about."

She moved to hit me again but was stopped as Seth suddenly pushed himself in front of me. "Stop it," he exclaimed. "Stop it, all of - "

A blast of power - from Roman or Helena, I didn't know - pushed Seth across the room, to the other wall. I flinched. "How dare you - " began Helena, her blue eyes flashing angrily. "You, a mortal, who have no idea what you're - "

I was already moving before the words could even come out of her mouth. Seeing Seth abused sparked something in me, an angry response I knew to be hopeless but which I couldn't really prevent. I sprang at Helena, taking on the first shape that came to mind, no doubt thanks to seeing Aubrey earlier: a tiger.

The transformation only took a second but hurt like hell, as my human body expanded, feet and hands turning to heavy, clawed paws. I had the element of surprise, but only for a moment, as I slammed into her, knocking her slight body to the floor.

My victory was short lived. Before I could sink teeth into her neck, a hurricane-worthy force blew me from her into my china cabinet. The impact was ten times harder than the one that had pinned Seth and me earlier, and the pain jolted me back into my normal shape as glass and crystal broke behind me, pieces falling around me, cutting my skin.

I moved again, frantic, knowing the futility but needing to do something, too caught up in battle lust. I lunged at Roman this time, urging my body to take on the shape of... well, I didn't even know what. I had no specific form in mind, only features: claws, teeth, scales, muscles. Sharp. Large. Dangerous. A creature of nightmares, a true demon of hell.

I never even came close to touching the nephilim, however. One or both of them anticipated me, mid-leap, throwing me back to land near Seth this time, his wide eyes watching me with terror and wonder. Bolts of power struck me, making me cry out in pain, shattering every nerve within me. My new shape's hide protected me only briefly, and then hurt and exhaustion made me lose control of the transformation. I slipped back into the slim, human body just as another net of power pinned me into place, ensuring I couldn't move anymore.

My entire shape-shifting attack had lasted all of a minute, and I now felt completely drained and worn, my reserve of Martin Miller power finally dried up. So much for bravery. A nephilimcould easily blow one of you out of the water.

"Valiantly done, Georgina," chuckled Roman, wiping sweat off his brow. He had expended a great deal of power too, but he had a lot more of it to spend than I did. "Valiant, but foolish." Walking over, he looked me up and down and shook his head with bitter amusement. "You don't know how to ration your energy. You've burned yourself out."

"Roman... I'm so sorry..."

I didn't need him to tell me how low on energy I was. I could feel it. I wasn't just low, I was empty. Running on fumes, so to speak. Looking at my hands, I saw my appearance flicker slightly, shimmering almost like a heat mirage. That was bad. Wearing a body for long enough, even if it isn't your original, becomes ingrained after a few years, and I had had this one for fifteen. It was second nature to me. I thought of it as my own; it was what I always unconsciously returned to. Yet, I was fighting to hold on to it right now, to not slip back to the body of my birth. This was bad - very bad.

"Sorry?" Roman asked, and I saw on his face just how terribly I'd hurt him. "You can't even begin to imagine - "

We all felt it at the same time. Roman and Helena spun around to shoot each other alarmed looks, and then my front door blew open. The bonds holding me dropped as the nephilim redirected their power at the apocalypse coming through.

Brilliant light spilled inside, light so brilliant it hurt. Familiar light. The same terrible shape I'd seen in the alley appeared once more, only there were two of them this time. Mirror images. Indistinguishable. I didn't know who was who, but I remembered Carter's offhand observation from a week ago: an angel in full form will freak most beings out  -  it'll kill a mortal...

"Seth," I whispered, turning from that glorious spectacle to look at the writer. He was staring at it, brown eyes wide with awe and fear as the glory of it drew him in. "Seth, don't look at them." With my fleeting strength, I lifted a shimmering hand and turned his face toward mine. "Seth, don't look at them. Look at me. Only at me."

Somewhere beyond us, someone screamed. The world was blowing apart.

"Georgina..." breathed Seth, gingerly touching my face. "What's wrong with you?"

Focusing all of my will, I urged my body to fight and hold on to the shape he had first come to know me in. It was a losing battle. A dying one even. I could not survive much longer like this. Seth leaned closer to me, and I tuned out the sounds of chaos and destruction raging around us, instead focusing all the world, all of my perception, toward his face.

I had said Roman was beautiful, but he was nothing -  nothing at all - compared to Seth in that moment. Seth, with those long-lashed, quizzical brown eyes, kindness made manifest in all of his actions. Seth, his messy hair and slightly unkempt facial hair, framing a face which could not hide his nature, the strength of his character shining out at me, his soul like a beacon on a foggy night.

"Seth," I whispered. "Seth."

He leaned toward me, letting me draw him closer and closer, and then, as heaven and hell raged beyond, I kissed him.


Sometimes you wake up from a dream. Sometimes you wake up in a dream. And sometimes, every once in a while, you wake up in someone else's dream.

"If he wanted to carry me off and make me his love slave, I'd do it, so long as I got advance copies of his books."

My first words spoken to Seth as I passionately discussed his work. Seth's initial impression of me. Head held high, hair tossed over my shoulder. A flippant remark always at the ready. Grace under fire. A cool social confidence introverted Seth could never muster but envied. How can she do that? Never miss a beat? Later, my rambling explanation of the five-page rule, a goofy habit he found infinitely endearing. Someone else who appreciated literature, viewing it like fine wine. Smart and deep. And beautiful. Yes, beautiful. I saw myself now as Seth had seen me that night: the short skirt, the racy purple top, brilliant as a bird's plumage. Like some exotic creature, hopelessly out of place in the bookstore's dreary landscape.

All of this was in Seth, the past of his growing feelings for me mingling with the present, and I drank everything up.

Not just beautiful. Sexy. Sensual. A goddess made flesh whose every move hinted at passion to come. The dress strap slipping off my shoulder. Faint beads of perspiration on my cle**age. Standing in his kitchen, clad only in that ridiculous Black Sabbath shirt. No underwear on under that. Wonder what it'd be like to wake up with her next to me, messy and untamed.

It all spilled into me. More and more.

He would watch me at the bookstore. Loved watching me interact with customers. Loved that I seemed to know something about everything. The witty dialogue he pondered for his characters coming to my lips without hesitation. Amazing. Never met anyone who talks like that in real life. My bartering with the used book store owner. A charisma that drew in shy, quiet Seth, made me glow in his eyes. Made him feel more confident.

Still his feelings rushed through me. I had never felt anything like it. Certainly I had felt attraction and fondness in my victims, but never such love, not directed at me.

Seth thought I was sexy, yes. Desired me. But that raw lust juxtaposed with something softer too. Something sweeter. Kayla sitting on my lap, small blond head against my chest as I braided her hair. A brief shifting of the image as he momentarily considered his own daughter on my lap. Fierce and witty on one hand, gentle and vulnerable on the other. My inebriated state at his condo. A swell of protectiveness as he led me to bed, watching me hours after I'd gone to sleep. He thought no less of me for the weakness, for my lapse of control and judgment. It was a letting down of my walls for him, a sign of imperfection that made him love me more.

Tags: Richelle Mead Georgina Kincaid Fantasy
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
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