Adrian stood, too. “The decision belongs to both of us. There’s something between us. Something precious and powerful. I want it. I want you.”

His wings materialized, fanning wide. The pearlescent expanse shimmered so beautifully it made her eyes sting. She hadn’t cried since her mother died, but Adrian had brought her close to tears more than once since she’d met him. The way he made her feel important and valuable, the ease with which he accepted her just the way she was . . . For his tenderness alone, she couldn’t allow him to take the fall for her. He made her feel human; he made her feel—period. She was so vibrantly alive when she was with him, as if she’d been half asleep her whole life and was finally stirring. But the humanity he’d returned to her was forbidden to him and she couldn’t afford to forget that. He couldn’t afford for her to forget.

“I like sex as much as the next gal,” she said, beginning to pace. Adrian was a seraph, just like the Watchers. Same class of angels, same offense—same punishment? She had no reason to believe Adrian wouldn’t suffer the same fate, and he apparently wasn’t going to give her one. “It can be a lot of fun and a great stress reliever. In a twisted way, I’m flattered to get you so hot and bothered. But it’s not worth sucking blood over. It’s not worth losing those gorgeous wings. Trust me—the buildup is the best part. You’re not missing anything.”

He moved, traversing the space between them in the blink of an eye and blocking the path of her pacing, forcing her to confront him directly. She stumbled to a halt just before she ran into him. Thunder boomed directly overhead, rattling the silverware on the table.

His arms crossed his powerful chest; his irises glowed with pure blue flames. He bared his teeth in a predatory smile. “Prove it.”


Lindsay shook her head emphatically. “No.”

Adrian caught her by the shoulders when she made a move to step back. The moment he touched her, he was reminded of the fragility of her mortal body.

And she’d risked her life for his.

He wanted her so much he ached with it. His own vulnerability where she was concerned both enraged and humbled him.

“Don’t look at me like that,” she muttered.

“I need you, tzel,” he said softly.

“No, what you need is for me to be the one strong enough to say no and try to talk some sense into you.” Her gaze lifted beyond his shoulder. Pulling free of his grip, she circled him. “I should have realized before . . . You’re having a rough time right now. You’ve been through a lot in a short amount of time and you’re not thinking clearly. You’re being reckless. Shit, you took on a nest with suicidal odds.”

She was exquisite. Her hair was still damp, giving the thick curls the hue of pure honey. When she’d come for his iPad, he’d been riveted by her predatory stride—the sensual sway of her hips, the soft rustling of silk as she drew closer. A golden lioness on the hunt. More than a match for him. More than willing to take him on . . . until she discovered the risks he faced.

Lindsay Gibson was holding back for his benefit, because she was worried about him.

Anticipation tightened his spine, the weighted expectation for a touch he wasn’t sure was coming but hungered for anyway. When her fingers brushed tentatively over feathers on his right upper wing, his eyes closed as the barely-there caress moved through him.

“These are beautiful,” she whispered in a voice filled with awe. “Oh! I thought they were one pair. But there’s . . . three? Oh my god. You have six wings.”

He could only nod, his throat too tight to speak.

Her touch grew bolder. She stroked along the upper curve and the wing stretched slightly in bliss. She gasped and stumbled back. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t stop.”

There was a pause. “They’re sensitive? But you deflected bullets with them!”

“Nothing manmade can wound a seraph’s wings.”

She stepped forward again, splaying her fingers and running them lightly over his feathers. “Watching you in action was amazing.”

He knew from the low pitch of her voice that the memory was an arousing one, a lingering effect, perhaps, from her time as Shadoe. Or maybe that’s just who she was. Lindsay was a warrior in her own right.

Eager to soak up the heat of her focused attention and admiration, he unfurled his wings slowly, a silent encouragement for her to continue touching him.

“Every angel I’ve seen has had a unique set of wings,” she murmured, torturing him with her gentle petting. “Jason’s are dark. Damien’s are gray. There are some similarities among the others, but no one has wings like yours. The touch of red at the tips . . . Gorgeous. Does it signify anything? Or are wing patterns randomly individual, like fingerprints?”

“The stain appeared when I severed the wings from Syre. I was the first to spill the blood of an angel.”

“The first ever?”


Lindsay touched the nape of his neck, then slid her fingertips between his wings down the length of his spine. His back arched with a serrated groan, his body trembling.

“Is this—?” She cleared her throat. “Is this erotic to you?”

Reaching behind him, Adrian caught her right hand. He pulled it beneath his wings and around to his front. She was forced to step closer, her breath near enough to sink through the down to his skin beneath. He wrapped her fingers around the rigid length of his cock.

She made a soft sound, one he recognized as a cry of vulnerability. Ruthless, he pressed his advantage, stripping the pants from his body with a terse thought and pressing her palm against his bare flesh.

There was a moment of breathless stillness. He waited for her to jerk away or take over.

Her voice, when it came, was quiet. “You did that with the shotgun, too, didn’t you? You took it from the vampire and sent it to me. You did it with the straw in the airport. You can move things, just by wanting to.”


Her hand closed around him.

His arms fell to his sides, his fists clenching. The clean scent of her body and the rich undertone of her arousal permeated his senses. Lindsay was intoxicating—certain to be addicting.

“You’re burning hot,” she whispered.

“You make me that way.” His blood had gone cold the moment he’d learned of Phineas’s death. It had turned to ice when Lindsay had collapsed to the ground with blood splattered all over her. It wasn’t until now, under the heat of her touch, that he finally felt . . . human again.

She fisted him at the root, then stroked to tip. “And big. God, you’re so thick and long. I want this. I want you. So badly. From the moment I first saw you.”

“Take me.” His voice was a rasp.

“I can’t.”

His jaw clenched. She had every right to be afraid. She was smart to be. It was only going to get more difficult from here.

Lindsay pumped him again, harder. Then again.

“Yes,” he growled, thrusting into her hand. “Jack me off. Make me come.”

“Jesus . . .” She released him.

Adrian shook with his hunger. He needed her touch. Two hundred years without it had left him dead in all the most fundamental ways. Now every sense and nerve ending was alive again, and desperate for her.

She came into view, rounding his right wings.

He stood there, exposed in every way.

Her gaze locked with his. “Tell me the truth, angel. Is this just you and me? Or is this you, me, and a motive I haven’t figured out yet?”

“Just you and me.” His chest tightened with the half-truth. In reality, everything stood between them. His mission, her father, the rules that would deny him the solace of Lindsay’s body . . .

Tell me the truth, angel.

He choked on the truth. It wrapped around his throat and squeezed so tightly he could barely breathe, let alone give her the disclosure she deserved. I’m going to pit you against your own people. I’m going to train you how to kill your father. I’m going to send your soul from this earth once and for all. My love will destroy you, and me, and everything we care about. I can’t stop it.

She slid her recovering left arm around his waist, tucked beneath his wings. Her right hand reached for him again. His breath hissed out between his teeth.

She stroked him firmly. His wings trembled as lust surged through him. The next pump of her fist was so perfect it was painful.

“Faster.” He gasped, pulling her closer with an arm around her shoulder.

Lindsay widened her stance, stabilizing herself with her arm at his waist. She faced him directly, standing perpendicular to his body. He was seared by her proximity. The side of his torso was tucked between her breasts, while her thighs were planted on either side of his. Anchored, she used the leverage she’d gained to fist his aching cock with greater power and speed.

Adrian’s head fell back in supplication. His wings lifted and curved around them, sheltering their precious intimacy.

All the while her hand moved on him, her grip strong and the tempo steady. His chest lifted and fell with rapid, heaving breaths. Her breath, too, came quick and hot, gusting over his chest. Her nipples were hard and tight against him, her hips moving in quick, needy little circles. He pressed his lips to her forehead, his eyes stinging.

“You get thicker before you come,” she breathed. “And harder.”

Her hand flew as she worked him, pumping him, her speed preternaturally quick—and just what he needed. Two centuries of pent-up desire demanded release now. Then he could seduce her properly. He would lure her into his bed, where he could wrap himself around her and pretend that nothing and no one existed but the two of them. No consequences, no deception, no inevitable and eternal parting.

“Yes,” he panted against her perspiration-damp forehead. “I’m almost there . . .”

Need coiled around his spine and pooled like molten iron at the base of his cock.

Ever his temptation, she coaxed him with a voice made husky by her own desire. “Show me. Come for me, Adrian. Come hard.”

“Keep touching me . . . don’t stop.”

“I won’t. I can’t. Let me see you—”

His entire body jerked with the first wrenching spurt. “Lindsay.”

She made a soft sound of hunger as he shuddered through the explosive climax, her arm tireless as she brought him off with the dedication of a woman who wanted nothing more than to pleasure him.

I love you. The words clawed their way up from the depths of his soul, threatening to escape.

Unable to stem the rush of feeling, Adrian smothered the truth with the softness of her mouth.

Lindsay’s knees buckled the instant Adrian’s mouth sealed over hers.

He turned in her embrace, cupping her face with gentle hands. As ferociously lustful as he’d been while desperate for orgasm, he was devastating with his tenderness now. His lips were light against hers, his tongue a velvet lash. She caught his wrists, so lost to the scent and taste of him that she didn’t realize they were moving until her back came up against a wall.

“Thank you,” he whispered, before licking into her mouth.

A low whimper escaped her. He moved his head slowly, from side to side, sliding his parted lips back and forth across hers. His fingers pushed into her hair and kneaded her scalp. Heated delight coursed through her, permeating her overeager body and soothing her frantic desire. Growing languid under the surprisingly delicate onslaught of his mouth, she reached for his lean hips, pulling him closer.

“Stay out of my head,” she warned.

“It’s not your head I want to get into right now.”

The feel of his cock against her belly, still hard as steel, made her breath catch. Adrian breathed into her mouth, filling her lungs with air from his own. The intimacy was more potent than his fingers sliding down and across her shoulders, pushing aside the thin straps of her camisole. Her back arched, offering her breasts.

In her mind, she knew it was wrong to be this way with Adrian. She knew she had to stop, that she had to make him stop. Her hands fell away, her palms pressing flat against the wall. But the feel of his touch on her bare skin, his fingertips following the line of her waistband before slipping beneath her top, was sublime . . . so perfect . . .

She gasped out a laugh, her stomach concaving to flee his questing fingers.

His beautiful lips curved against her mouth. “You’re ticklish.”

Adrian’s delight was palpable, reverberating through her and shaking her resolve. He gripped her waist and tugged her into an exuberant embrace.

Oh god . . . she couldn’t take him like this. Sensual. Playful. His brilliant eyes no longer stormy but lit with joy—because of her. It was a level of intimacy she didn’t know, had never experienced in her previous brief sexual encounters. She hadn’t known what she was missing . . .


“Hmm . . . ?” He kissed her temple, then moved lower, to her ear. “Where else are you ticklish, Linds?”

“We—” The flick of his tongue along the shell of her ear made her shiver. Her hands fisted. “W-we shouldn’t be doing this.”

“You don’t have to do anything,” he purred, cupping her swollen, tender breasts.

A low moan escaped her. She turned her face toward the wall of windows beside them. The sun was shining brightly, sparkling through the rain droplets clinging to the glass—a reflection of his mood and how she’d lightened it.

He caught her nipples between thumb and forefinger, tugging lightly. “Such tiny, delicate nipples for such lush breasts. I’m going to tongue them until you come.”

Her hips thrust forward without her volition, her sex clenching in greedy demand. “For a virgin”—she gasped—“you’re damn good at seduction.”

Adrian paused, his cerulean eyes glittering with amusement. “You think I’m virginal?”