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Angel of Darkness

Angel of Darkness

3.9 66
by Cynthia Eden
     
 

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He Fell For Her

Nicole St. James was a nice woman. An innocent, pretty, twentysomething schoolteacher with her life ahead of her. But as the angel of death, it's Keenan's job to take that life away. So when a vampire attacks Nicole, Keenan is not supposed to snap and take out the vampire instead. It cost him his wings--but she's worth it.

Except

Overview

He Fell For Her

Nicole St. James was a nice woman. An innocent, pretty, twentysomething schoolteacher with her life ahead of her. But as the angel of death, it's Keenan's job to take that life away. So when a vampire attacks Nicole, Keenan is not supposed to snap and take out the vampire instead. It cost him his wings--but she's worth it.

Except when Keenan catches up to his pretty schoolteacher, she's not so innocent anymore. Hot red lipstick, tight black shorts and long white fangs--she's ready to kick the asses of anyone who helped turn her into a damn bloodsucker. Unless that ass is unusually shapely and attached to a certain fallen angel. Even with all of heaven and half of hell after them, someone will have to teach Keenan about the fun kinds of sin. . .

"Cynthia's on my must-buy list." --New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox

Praise for Cynthia Eden's novels

"Highly sensual and definitely dangerous." --Shannon McKenna on Hotter After Midnight

"A wickedly unique voice in paranormal romance!" --Larissa Ione on I'll Be Slaying You

"A fast-paced, sexy thrill ride you won't want to miss." --Christine Feehan on Eternal Hunter

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nicole St. James hadn’t figured on falling prey to a vampire. Fighting to stay alive, she catches sight of another man and begs his help, not recognizing he’s an angel of death awaiting the inevitable. Keenan has been stalking Nicole for weeks, and his unwilling yearning for her compels him to kill the vampire instead. Retribution for disobedience is swift. Six months later, Keenan, now one of the Fallen, is drowning his sorrows when Nicole struts into the bar, manifestly no longer human. Keenan doesn’t know that Nicole is wanted for the murders she committed as a neophyte vampire, while Nicole is unaware that Keenan can regain his angelic status if he kills her. Motorcycle chases, bar fights, and Keenan’s discovery of lust drive this crisp, heart-pounding, smart thriller. Eden doesn’t bring much that’s new, but she puts it together far better than most. Agent: Laura Bradford. (Dec.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758274281
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
11/29/2011
Series:
Fallen , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
44,651
File size:
849 KB

Read an Excerpt

Angel of Darkness


By CYNTHIA EDEN

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2011 Cindy Roussos
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-7428-1


CHAPTER 1

Six months later ...

When the woman with the midnight-black hair and dark red lips strolled into the cantina, he knew his hunt was finally at an end.

Keenan lifted the tequila to his lips, barely feeling the fire of the liquid as he tossed it down his throat. It had been a long hunt, but after all this time, he'd found her.

Nicole St. James.

The only charge who'd ever escaped him. The woman that, sure as the devil, had changed his life. The rage began to heat his blood because it shouldn't have been like this. Not for him. Not for her.

He slammed the glass down on the countertop. She hadn't even glanced his way. She'd just sauntered to the old, scarred tables in the back. What was she doing?

Nicole St. James was a schoolteacher. She was a woman who wore long skirts and loose, gauzy tops. She wasn't a woman who wore torn and faded blue jeans, jeans so tight they hugged her thighs and hips, and she didn't wear tops like that — tops that barely covered her breasts and left her midriff bare.

Too much flesh.

He yanked his gaze back up. Did she even realize how much danger surrounded her? And why was the woman in Mexico? She should have been home in New Orleans, enjoying the life he'd given her.

The one he'd sacrificed so much to make certain she had.

But no, she was leaning over some man and skimming her fingers down the guy's tanned neck as she whispered to him.

Seduction.

The man rose, laughing, and turned away from his friends. Someone called out, "Mamacita!" as Nicole and the man disappeared through the small back door.

Keenan's shoulders straightened as he rose from this chair. Okay, so he'd expected ... more. The woman hadn't even glanced his way. Not once. She'd found her stud, taken his hand, and led the guy right outside.

Eyes narrowing, Keenan stalked after them. The man could find another lover. He had plans for Nicole St. James.

He didn't bother going out softly. Keenan wanted them to know he was coming. He shoved his palm against the door and the wood splintered beneath his touch.

Then he was outside. The night air, thick with humidity and musky with the scent of wild animals, hit him. One more step forward and Keenan caught the soft whispers in the air.

A woman's husky voice.

A man's hungry mutters.

The heat inside of Keenan flared hotter.

He turned the corner, and he could see them half-hidden in the shadows. Kissing. Nicole's hands were all over the man. She was up on her toes, and her head lowered as she began to kiss her way down the man's neck.

Keenan crossed his arms over his chest. He cleared his throat. "Uh ... sorry to interrupt." No, not sorry at all.

Nicole glanced back at him. Same deep green eyes. But there was no surprise in her stare. So she'd known he was there? Well, it was pretty hard to disguise the smash and splinter of wood.

But Romeo must have been too far gone to hear because he whirled in surprise with his beady eyes narrowed. The guy's shoulders blocked Keenan's view of Nicole. The guy snarled, "Vete a la chingada!"

Right. Been there. He didn't exactly plan to be taking another trip to hell. "You need to leave."

The guy blinked.

"I want her." Keenan's voice rumbled too much when he spoke, but fury churned inside of him, demanding release.

So he was having trouble controlling his emotions. Getting slapped with all these feelings hadn't really been part of his game plan.

"Too bad," the guy snapped, his English tipped with his Mexican accent. "She's busy tonight."

Her fingers curved over the would-be-lover's shoulders. "Let's get out of here."

Keenan shook his head. "No, Nicole, you're not going anywhere."

Silence.

Then, slowly, her fingers unfurled from the man. She shifted her stance, took a step forward, and Keenan stared right into those green eyes — eyes that had haunted him for so many nights.

"How do you know my name?" She whispered.

He smiled. "You'd be surprised at the things I know about you."

"I'll take care of this cabron!" Romeo promised.

Cabron. Bastard. Keenan lifted a brow at the guy. "You should leave now." Nicole didn't glance at Romeo. Her stare stayed focused on Keenan. "Really fast. Leave."

"What? No, we're —"

Her head turned toward the man. "Leave."

His eyelids flickered. "Puta."

"Yeah, great, call me whatever you want, but just go." Her hand came up and pressed against the guy's chest. He stumbled back about five feet. "Go."

"How did you —" Romeo's eyes widened and then he turned and ran back into the bar.

Nicole shoved her hair back over her shoulder. Then she braced her legs apart and kept her arms loose at her sides.

Interesting. When had the little schoolteacher learned to prepare for an attack?

"Who are you?" She asked him, her face showing no hint of fear.

"I'm someone who's been looking for you." True enough. "For a very long time."

She gave a little shrug. "And here it is, your lucky night. Looks like you found me."

No, he hadn't found the woman he'd expected.

"So what are you going to do now?" She murmured as she walked closer to him. The moonlight spilled onto her face. His eyes narrowed. Her face was a little thinner. Her cheekbones were more defined. Her eyes were still as wide and dark, but her lips appeared redder and plumper than before. The woman was still beautiful, no doubt, but ... a darkness seemed to cling to her.

Her body was as slender as he remembered. Her breasts still round and firm and her hips — no. He shouldn't be noticing that. Her body didn't matter.

"Like what you see?" She whispered, and her slow drawling voice sounded like ...

Temptation.

He backed up a step.

One black brow lifted. "Now, surely, you aren't afraid of me."

"I fear nothing." After what he'd seen, what he'd done, there was simply nothing left to stir fear in his heart.

"Good for you," she muttered and the words didn't seem sexy. More ... annoyed then. But then she blinked and the heavy-lidded mask came back. "Tell me how you know my name."

She was almost close enough to touch right now, but he wouldn't touch her. No, he never touched. Touching was far too dangerous.

You didn't touch unless you were ready to kill. He wasn't ready ... yet.

"I've known your name for a long time." No sense lying. Besides, lies weren't possible for his kind. "Ever since you were put on my list."

He heard the hard inhale of her breath.

"L-list?" Now there was fear flickering in her eyes. Her voice hardened as she said, "You're one of them."

"Them?" Curiosity stirred within him.

"A hunter." Her bow lips tightened in distaste when she spoke the term.

But she was right. Now he was a hunter and she was his prey.

"I haven't done anything wrong! I haven't killed anyone — not since —" She broke off and tears filled her gaze. "I thought if I didn't hurt anyone else, you were just supposed to leave me alone."

He could only stare back at her. "Leaving you on your own isn't an option for me."

Her chin snapped up. "I won't make this easy for you."

"No, I didn't expect you would." Nothing had been easy with her.

"I'm not going to be the weak target you think." Her hands were fisted at her sides. "You want to take me in, then come and try."

He blinked at that. "I —"

"You're not takin' her! Get the gringo!" The shout had Keenan tensing. He glanced back and saw that Romeo was back, and he'd brought friends. The drunks from inside — only they didn't look so drunk now. No, they looked furious and very, very determined.

They were also armed with knives and guns. What? Why? Because one of them had lost a potential lover for the night?

"We're taking her. Not you," Romeo threw out as he and his men strode forward. "We didn't wait this long to find her just to have some gringo get in our way."

Nicole hurriedly backed up.

The men brushed past Keenan, barely seeming to notice him.

"I know what you are," Romeo called to Nicole. "A monster like you ..." He spat on the ground. "Killed my mother."

Nicole wasn't a monster. She was just a woman.

"Your kind thinks you're so safe ... so much better than the rest of us ..." This came from an older man with graying black hair and cold brown eyes. "Think again, señorita." His long fingernails looked almost clawlike.

"I-I don't ... I don't want to hurt you." Nicole retreated a few more feet. A fence stood behind her. An old wooden fence that had to be at least six feet tall. Trapped.

Keenan watched — and waited. The men weren't even glancing at him now as they closed in on Nicole. Six men against one woman. Were those fair odds?

I had to just stand back before. For so many years. Just stand and watch.

He was done with watching.

"You don't want to hurt me?" Romeo repeated. "Then what the hell were you planning to do to me tonight, puta? I know damn well what you were —"

She shook her head. "I had to — I didn't mean —"

And it must have been a trick of the light, because her green eyes seemed to darken with her fear.

Then she spun around and leapt over the fence.

Leapt over that six-foot-high fence in one bound.

"Get her!" The old man screamed.

"Don't even think of touching her," Keenan said, his voice quiet, but cutting through the guy's scream like a knife. He could hear the thud of Nicole's footsteps as she fled — she was rushing away far faster than a human could run.

But Nicole was human.

No, she had been human.

The men paused, for just a moment, then they sprang for the fence.

"I said," Keenan growled, the fury breaking through his control because he still hadn't fully mastered the whole control concept, "don't even think of —"

The old guy lifted his gun and pointed it at Keenan's chest. "This fight ain't yours."

Romeo made it over the fence. Two others were right on his heels.

Keenan stepped toward the gun. "Yes. It is."

"She would've killed you tonight." The gun barrel trembled in the old man's hands. "You're lucky, we saved you —"

Keenan grabbed the gun in a move too fast for the human's eyes to track. He slammed the butt of the weapon into the man's head and heard the thud of impact even as the guy fell to the ground. And as the man fell, Keenan turned fast and fired the gun — once, twice — and took down the men still in the back alley.

He didn't kill them. He just gave them something painful to remember him by. "Go after her again," he promised, "and the bullets will be in your hearts."

They didn't answer because they were too busy groaning in pain and writhing on the ground. Keenan stared at them a moment longer as he memorized their faces. He always kept his promises.

He turned, holding the gun close, and jumped right over the fence. He followed the sound of the screams and the scent of the blood as he tracked his prey once more.

Nicole wasn't getting away from him, and those bastards after her would learn that when an angel spoke — they damn well better listen.

Even if that angel had fallen.


Outrunning humans wasn't normally hard. But when the humans in question had baited a trap and you'd walked right into it because you were so freaking thirsty — well, then things became considerably more difficult.

Nicole's knees barely buckled as she cleared the fence, and, seconds later, she started streaking across the empty lot as she rushed for the darkness on the other side.

Then the growl reached her. A deep rumble of sound — a truck's engine. The truck's headlights flashed on, coming right out of that waiting darkness, and she realized just how good the trap truly was for her.

They'd known she'd come to the bar. They'd known she'd be hungry. They'd known she'd take a man outside for her drink.

Then all they'd had to do was make certain her escape path was cut off.

The truck roared toward her, tossing up dust and dirt in its wake as it aimed right for her.

Nicole lunged to the left. A gunshot fired behind her and she felt the close rush of the bullet as it whipped by her arm. Dammit, why couldn't they let her go?

The truck swerved and followed right behind her. She was fast, but not faster than a truck.

The bumper hit her and she went down. Nicole slammed into the dirt, but she rolled quickly so those wheels didn't plow right over her.

Dirt filled her lungs. Blood poured from the gashes in her arms. And the thirst grew. I went too long between feedings. Shouldn't have waited.

But she hated to drink blood. It reminded her too much of what she was. Monster.

And when she drank, the dark temptation to take and take welled within her.

A truck door squeaked open. "We hit her!" Not a Mexican accent this time. She recognized Texas when she heard it.

The other door groaned open. "Keep yer gun on her. It'll take more than a smack from my Chevy to put one like her down."

Yes, it would, but Nicole kept her eyes closed and kept her breathing light. The men eased closer. She could smell their sweat and their fear.

And excitement.

Other footsteps pounded in the distance — her would-be victim and his buddies must be coming in.

Then she heard the thunder of a gunshot. One. Two. But she didn't flinch at the blasts. If they wanted to shoot at each other, fine with her. Infighting meant fewer guys for her to fight off later.

The ground vibrated with the footsteps of her hunters. She waited, held steady, waited and —

The first man nudged her with his boot. No, not a nudge. The jerk kicked her with his boot. She turned, moving fast in an instant, and caught his legs. Twisting hard, she broke his right leg, then his left. He was screaming before he hit the ground.

And she was up. Nicole slammed her fist into the other attacker's face. Bones crunched. Blood spurted, and oh, she would have taken a drink. Fitting punishment for them running her down like a wild dog, but ...

But she needed to get the hell out of there.

More bullets were flying, but they weren't even coming near her. Someone must have real crappy aim. She darted around the truck and ran for the shrouding darkness once more. There'd better not be another truck waiting there.

Nicole risked one quick glance over shoulder, and when she did, shock had her tripping.

Only one man followed her now. What had happened to the others? She'd counted at least six before she'd run like the devil was chasing her.

Been there, done that.

The man striding so calmly across that barren field had a gun in his hand. But as she looked at him, he tossed the gun onto the ground. Wait, wait, that wasn't the guy she'd intended to steal a few sips from in that dark lot. That was ... him. The stranger with the voice like thunder's rumble. Deep and dark and, oh, damn, she was in trouble.

Nicole made it into the darkness in the tattered remains of the woods. She pushed inside the trees, still hurrying. She'd scouted this area earlier. There was a turn up ahead that would lead her back to old sedan she'd parked and —

The thirst.

Nicole swallowed and kept moving. Her mantra these days was just keep moving. That was the way she'd been living her life. One wild step at a time.

As she broke from the woods, she saw her sedan waiting. Lucky for her, that beaten-up gray shell still managed to drive. Her breath expelled in a hard whoosh as she sprinted forward. She'd head to the next town. There was just enough time to get there before dawn. She'd drive over and find more prey.

Going without blood wasn't a possibility that night. She couldn't afford to be pushed to the edge. Not with the hunters after her.

"Nicole."

A shiver worked over her at his voice. Don't look back. She wrenched open the car door and jumped inside. Her hands were shaking when she shoved the key into the ignition. Hurry.

She slammed the car into reverse, spun it around and —

Her headlights burned right on the man standing in the middle of the road.

Tall. Muscled. Dressed all in black, he should have looked like a devil. He didn't. He looked like the best sin she'd ever seen.

And that fact terrified her. Because, until six months ago, Nicole had never sinned. Now she couldn't seem to stop, no matter how hard she tried.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Angel of Darkness by CYNTHIA EDEN. Copyright © 2011 Cindy Roussos. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes dark tales of paranormal romance and romantic suspense. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book Worldand IndieReader  best-seller.  Cynthia is also a three-time finalist for the prestigious RITA® award . Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over fifty novels and novellas. Visit her online at www.CynthiaEden.com.

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