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Angel in Chains
     

Angel in Chains

4.7 44
by Cynthia Eden
 

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Mortal Sin

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain

Overview

Mortal Sin

As a fallen Angel of Death, Azrael is cursed to walk the earth alone in search of redemption. One night, as he wanders the streets of New Orleans, he discovers a woman surrounded by panther shifters. No longer able to contain the anger simmering within, Az summons his dark powers and attacks, determined to protect this innocent human from certain death.

Only Jade Pierce is no delicate flower. She's spent years learning to survive and fight the evil forces sent by her ex-lover who refuses to let her go. But after seeing Az in action, she figures she could use a little supernatural help. And so she plans a course of seduction guaranteed to arouse his interest and his angelic passions. . .

Praise for Cynthia Eden's novels

"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

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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780758267634
Publisher:
Kensington
Publication date:
11/27/2012
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
855,175
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Angel In Chains


By CYNTHIA EDEN

KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.

Copyright © 2012 Cindy Roussos
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7582-6764-1


CHAPTER 1

Living in hell sucked.

Azrael, once the most powerful Angel of Death to grace the golden floors of heaven, hunched his shoulders against the sharp wind that blew off the Mississippi River and funneled into the twisting streets of New Orleans.

He'd fallen six months ago — fallen and burned — and he still hadn't gotten used to the stench that could fill the alleyways. Especially during Mardi Gras.

Why did humans worry so about dying and facing the devil in hell? This mortal realm was hell to him. With the voices, always crying out, the bodies, always too much, the sins —

Everywhere. No matter how hard he tried, there was no escape from the mortal sins that surrounded him.

More than enough sin to tempt an angel whose wings had burned away when he fell.

"Help me!"

The scream broke through the night, close, and Az's head whipped to the left. Over the odor of rotten garbage, stale cigarettes and old booze, he caught the scent of ... fear.

And animal. Not just one beast, either.

"Stay away from me!" The voice again, a woman's, and now he could hear the fear mixing with rage in her screamed words.

Even as hard, biting laughter floated to his ears, Az found himself heading toward the mouth of another alley. Heading toward the sound of her screams.

As he rounded the tight corner, Az saw the men first. Three of them. Big, hulking guys who'd closed in on their prey. Az couldn't even see the woman, but he knew she had to be in the middle of the half-circle of men. A brick wall waited behind them, trapping her. There was no place for her to flee.

Az entered the alley and waited.

The cold whisper of Death hadn't come to this place. Not yet. If it had, Az would have felt the presence of another Death Angel. He always could sense his own kind, even if he wasn't ruling the cold bastards anymore.

But Death wasn't there. So the woman wasn't about to die, at least not yet.

Just then, the woman shoved through her attackers, and he saw her face. Wide, desperate green eyes, pale skin, dark red lips and —

"Help me!" She yelled the words at him.

Az didn't move. For thousands of years, his job had been to watch those who were dying. To wait until the last moment — and only then had he been allowed to touch. As a Death Angel, his touch killed. It took the soul straight from the body, and he carried that precious burden to the realm that waited beyond this world.

His job ...

No longer.

He'd watched innocents die. Seen them slaughtered in times of war and peace. Seen murderers walk the earth, killing over and over, and he —

"Asshole, help me!" She snarled at Az, and he blinked. "Don't just stand there staring," the woman snapped. "Help —"

A guy with black hair and a leather jacket grabbed her around the stomach and hauled her back against him. "He knows better than to go gettin' involved, Jade." A heavy drawl coated his words. "Knows that if he tries playin' white knight ..." The guy looked up with a crooked grin that flashed too-sharp teeth, "he'll get himself killed."

That was when Az noticed the claws that had risen to wrap around the woman's throat. Not normal human fingernails. Instead, two-inch long, razor sharp claws sprang from the man's hand.

So not just regular mortal jerks. "Shifters," Az muttered as he rolled his shoulders. Interesting. Perhaps the night had just picked up for him.

All three guys were sporting claws and toothy grins. But the woman — no, no sign of claws or fangs from her, and she smelled ...

Like strawberries.

He frowned. He'd recently developed a taste for the sweet fruit, and even ten feet away, he could catch the female's heady fragrance.

His body tensed.

"Back away!" Another man snarled. This one had a dark, tribal tattoo that snaked up his arm and the side of his neck. "Back away or start bleeding."

Az didn't back away. He kept his hands at his sides. Finally, a challenge. And here he'd been bored for days. "Let the woman go." His voice rang out, calm but strong.

The tattooed shifter laughed, then he charged right at Az. Az held onto his control — careful, careful — and when the shifter swiped out with his claws, Az tossed a ball of fire right at the fool.

The jerk howled in pain and dropped to the ground, rolling as he tried to put out the flames.

Fried shifter.

The woman stared at Az with eyes gone even wider as her lips parted in stunned surprise. He almost smiled. Poor little human. The humans never realized just how dangerous their mortal world was.

They truly were lambs out walking blindly with wolves. Or shifters.

"Duncan, fuck!" The shifter still holding the woman stared in shock at his burning friend and then glared at Az. "You just asked for death."

Az didn't stop his smile from spreading this time. "No, you did."

The shifter threw the woman against the nearby wall, and Az heard the sickening thud as her head hit the bricks. Then the leader and his backup dog both charged at Az. Az thought about playing with more fire, but he opted to get his hands dirty this time. He punched out, striking so fast he knew the shifters wouldn't even be able to see the movements of his hands and body, and in seconds, they were on the ground, bleeding and broken.

He dusted off his hands. Hmmm ... He hadn't even gotten blood on his knuckles. Perhaps he was getting better at this business of physical fighting.

When he was sure they weren't about to rise, he stepped over their prone bodies and stalked toward the woman.

He hadn't just watched this time. The knowledge sank into him as he approached her. An innocent hadn't died while he looked on. Az reached for her. A faint line of blood trickled from the corner of her mouth. Gently, because he could show gentleness, he wiped the blood away and gazed down at her.

Humans were too weak. They could be broken and killed far too easily. He knew. He'd killed thousands of them in his time.

He lifted her into his arms and her head rolled back against his shoulder. The scent of strawberries was stronger, and a strange ache burned in his chest even as a rough tightness filled his body.

Her lashes cast dark shadows on her cheeks, and the flickering glow of a streetlight fell through the alley and hit the black curtain of her hair.

Holding her carefully, he turned toward the alley's entrance. Police sirens screamed in the distance, and, though it was already nearing dawn, he could still hear the drunken laughter that floated on the breeze.

During Mardi Gras, no one ever slept in this city.

"D-dumb ... bastard ..." It was the shifter who'd held the woman moments before. He spat blood on the ground and tried to rise. Failed. Since Az had broken both of his legs, the guy would need to shift in order to heal. Az figured he had a few more moments before the man had enough strength to shift.

Before any of them did.

And he and his human would be long gone by then. Tightening his arms around her, he stepped over the broken bodies once more and ignored the growled curses that filled the air.

As he left the alley, he tossed one last stare back at the shifters. "Come after me, and you'll only find death." He felt it was only fair to warn them. If they chose to ignore his helpful warning ...

Then they could meet death.

The rage in their already glowing eyes had another smile lifting his lips. You'll come for me. So be it. He turned and stalked into the waning night with his human.

She was soft in his arms, a lightweight. Did she know how lucky she'd been? Probably not. In his experience, most humans were completely oblivious to the dangers that surrounded them.

The majority of humans roaming the earth didn't even know about the existence of the Other, all of the paranormal creatures that often walked right beside mortals. Demons, vampires, djinn — all of the so-called monsters were real.

Humans just didn't realize that fact.

The woman he held was a human who'd survived a pack shifter attack. He figured the odds of that survival were usually about a million to one.

Of course, those odds changed considerably when a Fallen became involved.

Few creatures on this earth were stronger than he was.

He snaked through the streets, turning left, right, and no one he passed so much as blinked in surprise at the sight of an unconscious, bloody woman in his arms.

Mardi Gras.

He'd just reached the steps of his apartment in the Quarter when an animal's roar reached him. The loud, ferocious cry of a big cat.

Az stilled. The men had shifted faster than he expected.

He hurried inside his apartment and kicked the door closed behind him. Then he carried her to the couch. The woman's eyes were still closed when he placed her on the cushions and a faint moan slipped from her lips as he eased her out of his arms.

Az stepped back and stared down at her. Pretty, he supposed. She had delicate, almost innocent features that were belied by the plump fullness of her mouth. His gaze tracked down her body. Humans were obsessed with sex. He'd always known that, so he supposed human males would be pleased with the woman's curving body and long, long legs. He was —

Pleased as well.

Az blinked. What the —

Her eyes opened. No innocence. Big, dark green and so deep Az took one look into her eyes and thought of tangled sheets, naked flesh, and the pleasures that humans took in the dark.

I want pleasure.

Her brow furrowed as she stared up at him. Then he saw understanding come flooding back to her in an instant. She jumped up and let out an ear-splitting shriek.

When she went to run by him, Az just stepped out of her way. If she wanted to race right back to the pack ... "It will just be your funeral," he said, shrugging. He'd done his good deed for the century.

His bored tone stopped her. She glanced back over her shoulder at him and blinked.

"They're probably hunting you now." He walked away from her and headed toward the window that looked out over the street. "Hunting us," he added quietly and realized he was anticipating the fight. When had he come to crave the fury? When had the bloodlust grown so within him?

She stood as still as a statue before his door. Her hand was up, hovering above the doorknob, and he could almost feel the fear rolling off her in waves.

But then she took a deep breath, and he saw her small shoulders straighten. She shoved back the heavy tangle of her hair and turned to face him. "How did you get us away from them?"

Az shrugged once more.

She took a step toward him. "You ... you know what they are, right?"

Amusement flared in him. "I did notice the claws." Rather hard to miss those.

She blinked, and her eyes narrowed as she studied him. He'd never seen quite that shade of green before. She crept closer, bringing that light scent of strawberries to him. When she stopped, she was less than a foot away from him. It would be so easy to touch her.

Though he knew well just how dangerous a touch could be.

Yet she stood close enough to kiss. But angels weren't supposed to kiss mortals ...

You're not an angel anymore. The whisper came from deep inside of him. The same tempting whisper that he'd been fighting since his fall.

You're not an angel. Do what you want.

You're not an angel. Take what you want.

He was discovering that he could want many things.

The top of the woman's head barely reached his shoulders. She tilted her head and stared up at him. Then her gaze swept down his body.

Az stiffened even before she whispered, "What are you?" Rather insulting question. "I'm the man who saved your life." Did she need to know more? He didn't think so.

Her hand lifted and pressed against her mouth. A small trace of blood still rested near her lips. "There were three of them, and, you're big and all, but there's still just one of you."

She might just be one of the most ungrateful humans he'd ever encountered. Stifling a sigh, Az inclined his head. "You're welcome."

She stared in surprise for a moment. Then she laughed. A soft, strangely lyrical sound spilled from her lips, and her wide smile lit up her face.

Not just pretty.

Az tensed as the wave of need hit him. Not lust for blood or death. This time ... the lust was just for her.

You're not an angel anymore. Take what you want.

"Yeah," she said, as her laughter faded but the smile still lingered on her lips, "thanks for saving my ass." Then she held out her hand to him. "My name's Jade. Jade Pierce."

He stared at her hand. She wiggled her fingers at him. Slowly, Az lifted his own hand and caught those wiggling fingers. Soft. "I am Azrael." He dropped her hand. He hadn't used the name Azrael in centuries. "Most just call me Az."

"Well, Az, it's a pleasure to meet you." Her gaze slid over his body again. "But I'm gonna have to ask, once more, just what are —"

The door crashed in behind her. She didn't scream this time, but maybe Az just didn't give her a chance to scream.

Because as the three black panthers — fully shifted panthers — leapt into the room, jumping over the broken door, Az grabbed Jade and threw her toward the couch.

Then he ran right for the snarling beasts.

He should have known better than to let down his guard. Shifters and their damn acute senses. They'd caught his scent, her scent, and followed them right through the Quarter.

"I warned you," Az snapped and leapt at the nearest panther. He caught the beast's front paws and shoved the giant cat back. "You should have listened." There would be no more warnings now. Only death.

With a twist of his hands, Az broke both paws and tossed the cat back through the door.

Ruined my door. That panther had —

Claws dug into his back, driving deep into muscle and scraping bone. Hissing against the pain, Az snapped his teeth together and whirled around in a blur. He reached out as fury slammed through him and Jade's horrified yell rang in his ears.

Attack. Destroy. Kill.

He touched the panther, and the animal stiffened beneath his fingers. The beast's blazing gold eyes locked on him. Az's breath heaved as he demanded, "Ready for hell?"

The scent of flowers swept into the room, blowing in on the breeze from outside. It came right into his home and seemed to surround the shifter.

Az knew well what that scent meant. An Angel of Death was close. Despite what humans may have thought, Death didn't smell like rot. Death was sweet. The better to tempt and lead away the souls.

Az lifted his hand. The panther fell to the ground. The fur melted away, and he stared down at the tattooed body of the man who'd chosen to seek death. "I warned you."

A whimper had Az's head rising. The other panther crouched, and its head swung back and forth between Az and the body on the floor. Az lifted his hand, palm up, toward the beast. "Want to join him?"

The panther spun away and leapt through the window. Glass shattered, and Az bit back a snarl of his own. Something else to fix, dammit.

He rushed to the door. Both the surviving panthers were racing away. His brother Sammael would say they were hauling ass.

Finally. They'd realized they should fear him. And it had only taken the little matter of death to drive that point home.

"Oh my God!" The wild cry came from his elderly neighbor. He glanced over just in time to see Ms. Hattie McRae duck back inside her apartment. Great. A frantic call to the cops was probably being made.

Looked like he wouldn't be repairing the place after all. Time to clear out. Again.

Whenever humans found a dead body, they tended to ask endless and useless questions. When they asked those long and boring questions, he'd discovered the cops didn't like it when he told them to fuck off.

"You ... killed him." Whispered from behind him.

Az straightened slowly. His back burned and his shirt stuck to the blood coating his flesh.

"How?" Jade asked. The floor creaked as she came closer to him.

His wounds would heal, but for the moment, the pain had his teeth grinding together. Now wasn't really the time for explanations. Not that he felt like offering any to her.

With a wave of the hand that had killed, he motioned toward the busted doorway. "Flee while you can." Another warning. Hopefully, she'd be smart enough to actually listen to him and get the hell out of there.

He'd do the same. Leave this place. Find another dwelling.

"Flee?" She repeated, voice rising a notch.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Angel In Chains by CYNTHIA EDEN. Copyright © 2012 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 World, and IndieReader bestseller. 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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Angel in Chains 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
lrhubble More than 1 year ago
Another great book Contemporary, Paranormal, New Orleans, Louisiana Azrael “Az” is a fallen Angel of Death. As such he is cursed to walk the earth in search of redemption. As he wanders the streets of New Orleans one night he finds a woman that is surrounded by panther shifters. Determined to protect this innocent he finally lets his simmering anger free and attacks the shifters. Jade Pierce has spent years learning to survive and is most definitely not a delicate flower. Trying to escape from an ex-lover who refuses to let her go, Jade wonders if maybe she can use some supernatural help in her bid for freedom. So Jade plans some seduction to guarantee Az’s interest and passion in a course to get the help she needs. This is another great book in a series that is proving to be completely different from most Fallen Angel stories readers would find out there. This series is also proving to be very addictive and sure to have readers dying to get their hands on the next Fallen Angel. The action is fast and intense in this series and while each book is proving that it can be read as a stand alone the reader would get a lot more enjoyment out of them by reading them in order. Readers will never look at Fallen Angels the same again after reading about these Angels. This is another wonderful story from an author that consistently delivers in her books. This is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a great series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book thanks love this paranormal book and story line
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love how Eden put all sort of supernatural characters in these series. It meshed perfectly in my opnion. Her own world she created, with all sorts of powers different species have. It is not just a love story, it gives you want you want too. Sexy connections. Az fighting death Angel Bastion, in order to save the one her loves from dying at Bastion's touch. Heck, I would tear through the book if it was 500 or even a 1,000 pages. That is how much I enjoy her fallen angel series. Kitsune
DragonSR More than 1 year ago
Way hotter than I expected! This series just keeps getting better and better. Don't want to give away any secrets except that it was a way terrific read. Will look forward to the next in this series and would definetly give any Cynthia Eden books a try.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story line. Keeps you reading until the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
love this book I also love the series I hope the author writes more books in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lion cub padded in. Is this it?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The lioness came in
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MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
ANGEL IN CHAINS by Cynthia Eden is an exciting Paranormal Romance set in New Orleans. #3 in "The Fallen" series,but can be read as a stand alone,with re-appearing characters. See,"Angel in Darkness",and "Angel Betrayed". Another amazing story by this author. Follow,Azrael,Angel of Death and Jade Pierce,on a journey of danger,and fate. Filled with danger,angels,shapeshifters,survival,passion,a powerful witch,the Angel of Death,evil forces,choices,a prophecy,and seduction. As usual Ms. Eden has written a story for the ages with powerful characters,and an intriguing plot. As "The Fallen" series continues,it just grows better and better with each new book. "Angel in Chains" is Azrael's story. The big question is rather Azrael can keep Jade from her ex boyfriend clutches and keep her safe without destroying himself in the process. Ms. Eden is a talented storyteller. Paranormal readers as well as romance readers will not be disappointed.A powerful,sexy,dark, paranormal with a few twists. If you have not read "The Fallen"series pick up a copy I would suggest you do, you will not be disappointed. Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: MILD REVIEWED BY: AprilR (Review courtesy of My Book Addiction and More)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read.
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Hfowler More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this series. I'm glad Az found love and was able to work things out with his brother.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Basista More than 1 year ago
Loved it!
vikingGIRL502 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as well as the others in the series. It has action, comedy, and romance. Can't wait for the next one.
AVoraciousReadr More than 1 year ago
An excellent addition to the series! Azrael had been the head honcho of the Angels of Death until he Fell. Now, he wants redemption so he can go back to the Heavens and not deal with all the pesky emotions that come with being a Fallen. When he comes across a human woman in a dark alley being surrounded by panther shifters he thinks he might have found his ticket home. Save her and be redeemed. However, things aren’t going the way Az expected. Jade Pierce has been running from her psycho ex-boyfriend for years. He’s a panther shifter and he always ends up finding her. Staying ahead of him is wearing her down and she needs to find a way to kill him or she’ll never have peace. When the stranger steps into the alley and kicks the crap out of the panthers who wanted to take her back to Brandt, she thinks she might have finally found someone who could help her rid the Earth of Brandt forever. She decides to do whatever it takes to persuade the hot powerful stranger to help her, but with both using the other, attraction burning out of control and a prophecy foretelling of Az’s destruction of the world will they survive what is coming? Another home run from Cynthia Eden. I loved Az’s story. I wasn’t sure how Az, who was a bit of a villain in the other two books, would make a great hero, but I shouldn’t have worried. How do you keep the most powerful Fallen from bringing about the world’s destruction? With an unlikely hero. I will say no more, but one character that I found intriguing, but didn’t particularly like, might just have changed my opinion of him. Maybe. Possibly. We’ll just have to see.  Well-written, fast action, great plot, twists & turns, excellent characters, nasty psychotic villain, steamy sex and an ending I didn’t see coming made for an awesome read. I’m in for the next book 'Avenging Angel' due out May 28th. *Many thanks to Kensington for providing me with a review copy. Please see disclaimer page on my blog. 
SirenJC More than 1 year ago
This series is very addicting. Az and Jade are amazing together. They initially start their relationship off with white lies. They are both using each other to gain something that is equally important to each other. Every chapter of this book was amazing but the ending literally has you on the edge of your seat. I absolutely love this series. Cynthia Eden always does a fantastic job. I can't wait to see more from her.
MelannD More than 1 year ago
I love paranormal romances with a dark hero and a kick ass heroine!! This book was fantastic!!  I have not read the first two books in the Fallen series, but it did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this book.  This is a stand-alone book.  I did not feel as if any pieces of the story were missing.  This is a fast paced story with tons of action, lots of interesting characters, sizzling sex scenes, suspense and lots of twists and turns throughout the book.    I loved all the characters and how they interacted with  each other.  The chemistry between Az and Jade was amazing!  You will not be able to put this book down.