Some love can last a lifetime—their love was destined to last longer.
Angel’s first words to Kel were I’m going to marry you. She was seven at the time. He was eight. And he didn’t laugh when she spoke the words.
Best friends as children, lovers as young adults, they had an unexplainable bond. Their future looked set. Until the night they were attacked by a creature that couldn’t exist.
Angel survived the attack—barely. But Kel didn’t. Or at least, nobody thought he did. His body was never found and Angel’s life would never be the same.
The attack might not have killed Kel’s body, but it sure as hell killed his heart. Twelve years later, there’s one part of his former life that he can’t move past. Angel. He can’t let her go, but he can’t have her either. She doesn’t even realize he is still alive.
But when a threat surfaces, Kel’s willing to do whatever it takes to protect Angel. Even if it drives them both to the edge of insanity and back.
Warning: Some violence. Some sex. Some bloody violence. Even a little bit of bloody sex. Not all of the sex is between the hero and the heroine, even though every time that happens, the hero closes his eyes and thinks of England Angel. Not exactly a traditional romance, but I promise it does end HEA.
Kel felt something moving in there.
Something living and hungry…
His skin crawled.
Foreboding choked him.
The scent of blood and pain colored the air around him in vivid, dark shades. The scent of blood didn’t call to him at all, the stink of fear and pain drowning out what might have once been appealing.
Under the sour, bitter stench of violence, there was something disturbingly, distressingly familiar. It tickled his memory until Kel had no choice but to work past the abhorrence and make himself focus, make himself drag in a deep breath of the fear-tainted blood.
He went cold and for just the briefest of moments, he couldn’t move. Denial wrapped itself around him, followed by some futile hope he wouldn’t even allow himself to cling to. Hope was such a bitter, ugly disappointment.
Instinct took over, instinct that hadn’t existed until twelve years ago. It wasn’t just the instincts of a vampire-the fear coming from that place was enough to have the typical civilian vamp backing away damn quick. Definitely not vamp instinct-it was the instinct of a Hunter and while he’d do damn near anything not to have it, ignoring it hadn’t ever been an option.
It pushed him into action. Without consciously realizing it, he slid into the shadows and cloaked himself within them. He pulled the darkness around him and used its cover as he made his way inside the warehouse.He heard a broken, tortured moan. It was a pitiful, faint sound and as it faded into the air, there was a laugh-icy and amused, so damn evil it made Kel’s skin crawl. The part of his brain that wasn’t controlled by instinct was screaming to get the hell away.
That kind of evil wasn’t anything he wanted to look at, anything he wanted to face, anything he wanted to fight.
A fucking failure, that was Kel. Hunter instincts, Hunter drive, and he still didn’t want this fight. But he didn’t turn around. He didn’t leave. There was no way he could, even when he heard her heartbeat falter, heard the rattle of her breath. It was the sound of death edging closer and Kel could even feel the chill of it looming near.
A man’s voice broke into the silence, underlined by a dry edge of humor. “I told you that it was pointless to fight, darling girl. And yet…still you fight. Why is that? Unless it’s to amuse me.”
Kel’s lips peeled back from his teeth as he heard a familiar sound, a wet thwack as a fist struck flesh. The only sound she made was a distant, almost non-existent moan. He emerged from the shadows just as the feral bent down and fisted a hand in her hair.
“Let her go,” he said in a flat voice. As he spoke, he also released his control on the shadows, an illusory talent some vampires had. It was all a trick of the mind, but it came in handy-muffled his presence, could cause an aversive effect where people avoided something without even realizing why.
And apparently, it worked on this one, because when his brown eyes cut towards Kel’s, there was surprise in his gaze. His eyes widened and the faint, bored smile on his lips widened. Dropping his victim to the ground, he stepped over her…like she was so much garbage. Something about the feral’s features, the way he moved, was disturbingly familiar but Kel didn’t know where he had seen this guy before. Hunters didn’t let ferals live-if this was one Kel had fought and not killed, then Rafe would have sent another Hunter to do the job.
But he’d seen him before-
No time to worry about the past though, because the present was bearing down on him, hard and fast. Kel wasn’t about to go hand-to-hand with a vampire that probably had a good century on him. Shit, if he’d known he was going to be dealing with a feral this strong, he would have enlisted help.
For vampires, strength came with age and in relative terms, Kel was just a baby compared to this fuck. As the feral circled around him, something about the man’s moves, something about that ugly sneer on his face, kept tickling at Kel’s memory.
“A bit young to be out here trying to tangle with me, aren’t you, boy?”
He slid a hand inside his shirt and closed it around the Beretta. Drawing it, he leveled it at the feral’s brow and smiled. “I’ll manage.”
The feral paused, cocked his head as he peered at Kel. Something flashed in those brown eyes, curiosity. “Hmmmm…You’re a cocky one, aren’t you, boy?”
“Yeah, I keep hearing that.”
“The Council really should be more careful.”
Something cold slivered through the air. The temperature seemed to drop twenty degrees. But it didn’t affect Kel. The fear that might have had some sway over him was one Kel had been trained to resist. As the temperature dropped and fear rolled through the room like a river, all Kel did was tighten his finger on the trigger.The feral lunged to the side. Kel moved with him and when the vamp tried to circle around behind him, Kel echoed his moves.
I’ve done this before, he thought.
The feral across from him stilled, narrowed his eyes as he peered at Kel. Something measuring…
They both figured it out at the same time.