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Behind him, in the salt-stained storm window, he glimpsed a passing shadow from the corner of his eye.

Then the faintest tapping on the glass pane. Wresting his eyes from her body, he moved toward the window, released the lock. A torrent of rain poured down outside, reuniting with the sea. A black cloud hid the moon and shone no light on the face of his visitor.

"May I come in?"

Cam was late.

Though Cam possessed the power to have simply appeared out of thin air at Daniel's side, Daniel pushed open the window further to allow him to climb through. So much was pomp and circumstance these days.

It was important for them both to be clear that Daniel had welcomed Cam in.

Cam's face was still cast in shadow, but he showed no sign of having traveled thousands of miles in the rain. His dark hair and his skin were dry. His auric wings, compact and solid now, were the only part of him that gleamed. As if they were made of twenty-four-karat gold. Though he tucked them neatly behind him, when he sat down next to Daniel on a splintering wooden box, Cam's wings gravitated toward Daniel's iridescent silver ones. It was the natural state of things, an inexplicable reliance. Daniel couldn't inch away without giving up his unobstructed view of Luce.

"She is so lovely when she sleeps," Cam said softly.

"Is that why you wanted her to sleep for all eternity?"

"Me? Never. And I would have killed Sophia for what she attempted - not let her run free into the night as you did." Cam leaned forward, resting his elbows on the railing of the loft. Down below, Luce tightened the covers around her neck. "I just want her. You know why."

"Then I pity you. You will end up disappointed."

Cam held Daniel's eyes and rubbed his jaw, chuckling cruelly under his breath. "Oh, Daniel, your shortsightedness surprises me. You don't have her yet." He stole another long glance at Luce. "She may think you do. But we both know how very little she understands."

Daniel's wings pulled taut against his shoulder blades, but the tips were reaching forward. Closer to Cam's. He couldn't stop it.

"The truce lasts eighteen days," Cam said. "Though I have a feeling we may need each other before then."

Then he stood, shoving the box back with his feet. The scraping along the ceiling over her head made Luce's eyes flicker, but both angels ducked back among the shadows before her gaze could settle anywhere.

They faced each other, each still weary from the battle, each knowing it was a mere taste of what was to come.

Slowly, Cam extended his pale right hand.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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