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Enter New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s breathtakingly passionate Guild Hunter world with the story of a woman who isn’t a vampire or an angel…or human…
Once a broken girl known as Sorrow, Holly Chang now prowls the shadowy gray underground of the city for the angels. But it’s not her winged allies who make her a wanted woman—it’s the unknown power coursing through her veins. Brutalized by an insane archangel, she was left with the bloodlust of a vampire, the ability to mesmerize her prey, and a poisonous bite.
Now, someone has put a bounty on her head…
Venom is one of the Seven, Archangel Raphael’s private guard, and he’s as infuriating as he is seductive. A centuries-old vampire, his fangs dispense a poison deadlier than Holly’s. But even if Venom can protect Holly from those hunting her, he might not be able to save himself—because the strange, violent power inside Holly is awakening…
No one is safe.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China, the temples of Japan, and the frozen landscapes of Antarctica, it is the journey of the imagination that fascinates her the most. She’s beyond delighted to be able to follow her dream as a writer.
She is the author of the Guild Hunter series which includes most recently, Archangel’s Heart. She is also the author of the Psy-Changeling novels including Silver Silence, Allegiance of Honor, Shards of Hope, and Shield of Winter.
Read an Excerpt
Holly hugged her sister good-bye one final time, her heart aching. "Shoo," she said when Mia hesitated at the entrance to the security line. "You'll be late for your flight if you don't get going."
Mia sank her teeth into the fullness of her lower lip, her chin-length bob gleaming obsidian under the white fluorescent lighting inside the terminal building. "I miss home already."
"You'll be fine." Though Holly was going to miss her elder sister-and best friend-desperately, she took Mia's face in her hands, met eyes as brown as hers had once been, and said, "You're the smartest person I've ever known. You'll knock this out of the park." Her newly minted doctor sister had been offered a prestigious residency at Massachusetts General in Boston.
"I'll be so far from everyone."
Holly didn't point out that her sister's new base of operation was only a few hours' drive from New York, less at the speeds Holly liked driving. She knew what it was to be homesick. She'd felt that way in the vibrant city her family called home when she'd isolated herself from them for several long months in the aftermath of the attack that had changed her into a being who wasn't human, but who wasn't vampire, either.
Thankfully, she'd gotten over that stupidity-and her family loved her enough to forgive her. Of course, her mother reminded her of it every chance she got, but that was par for the course. Daphne Chang also reminded Holly of the time she'd snuck out of the house at seventeen, only to have to call home for help after her asshole date abandoned her on a dark street in Queens.
Holly still had to keep some secrets from her parents, her younger brothers, and Mia, but those secrets were for their protection: mortals didn't need to know about a bloodborn archangel. As far as Holly's parents and siblings were concerned, it was a deranged mortal who'd abducted her friends and her, and who'd infected her with a dangerous virus. An angel had saved her by attempting to turn her into a vampire, but the transition hadn't gone smoothly because of the virus in her blood.
They had no reason not to believe the story.
"I'll drive up and see you anytime you feel alone," she said to Mia, this sister of hers who'd loved her with unflinching stubbornness even when Holly didn't-couldn't-love herself. "Just call."
"I love you, Hollster." Another crushing hug, Mia's body a sweep of soft, womanly curves.
Holly, in contrast, was still hoping her breasts would grow a little bigger if she wished hard enough. In the silverlining department, at least she didn't have to waste money on bras. "Love you more, Mimi," she said through a throat that had gone thick. Not because Mia was heading off on a new adventure, but because Holly was horrifyingly aware of how life could change without warning, how a person could be laughing and living one instant and, in the next, be a bloodsoaked corpse.
She had a serious psychological problem letting those she loved out of her sight. Which was why she forced herself to release Mia; she wasn't about to steal Mia's dreams because of her own nightmares. "Go." Putting her hands on the soft gray of Mia's cardigan, she gave her sister a little push.
"I'm gonna hold you to your promise!" Mia called over her shoulder as she finally tugged her little roll-onboard case in between the ropes that led to the screening area.
That area was visible through the glass, so Holly stood and watched until Mia made it through-all the while fighting her impulse to jump the barriers and wrench her sister back to where Holly could watch over her, protect her. Smiling a little nervously, Holly's eldest sibling waved one last time from the other side, and then she was gone, lost in the stream of travelers heading out of a city Holly loved and hated in equal measure.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!
"Ashwini, I swear to God . . ." Holly muttered as she scrambled for her phone.
That was not the ringtone she'd programmed.
Managing to cut off the annoyingly cheerful chipmunk singing at last, she put the phone to her ear as she headed out of the terminal. "Tell your wife I'm going to murder her the next time I see her."
Janvier laughed, as if threats against his beloved Ashwini weren't the least unusual. "You are still at the airport, Hollyberry?" he drawled in that lazy Cajun accent of his that fooled the unwary into thinking he wasn't paying attention to the world.
"Cut that out." It came out a snarled order. "And add Viper Face to the list of my future murder victims." Venom had given her that ridiculous nickname after she insisted on being addressed as Sorrow. The latter name had fit her at the time, but looking back, she could see she'd been acting a little dramatic.
So sue her. She'd been kidnapped and brutalized by a violently powerful and deeply insane archangel, her life suddenly a miasma of terror and blinding grief. She'd been only twenty-three at the time-and she'd had soul-shredding nightmares night after night. Waking to find herself curled up in a silent, fear-drenched ball on the floor of her closet had become a daily occurrence. As if her subconscious believed that the red-eyed monster wouldn't find her there.
He did, of course.
Because he lived in Holly's tainted blood.
She was allowed a few dramatics.
And it wasn't as if Venom could talk. "Yes," she muttered. "I'm at the airport. Just about to head back to Manhattan."
"I need you to do a pickup at the private airfield."
Holly froze midstep. "Oh, hell no." She knew exactly who was flying back into New York today. "That's your job."
"Alas, I am stuck in traffic," Janvier said. "A truck spilled chickens all over the road in front of me."
"Ha ha. I'm hanging up now."
"But this is no laughing matter, 'tite Hollyberry," was the aggravating response, followed by the sound of a window being lowered. Indignant chicken squawks filled the line seconds later. "See? Janvier does not lie. I am surrounded by frustrated drivers on every side, with no way out, but you are only ten minutes away. Do the pickup."
"Is that an order?" Janvier and Ashwini were Holly's official bosses as of seven months ago, when the entire team in charge of her training-and sanity-had pronounced that she'd gained sufficient and stable control over the twisted, poisonous power that marked her as the Archangel Uram's creation.
Pride curled her toes at the memory of that day-Holly tried to focus on the trust the team was showing in her, not on how she remained on a leash nonetheless. Thanks to Ash's and Janvier's willingness to utilize her ability to make friends with those who lived in the shadows, she was now part of the small but efficient team that kept an eye on the murky gray underground of New York, a place far from the power-drenched environs of Archangel Tower.
Before her life broke apart in a spray of blood and fear and anguish, Holly hadn't known there was a hierarchy in the immortal world. She'd seen the angels who soared high above the skyscrapers and the vampires who stalked the streets as all the same: dangerously strong and hauntingly beautiful. These days, she knew two-hundred-year-old vamps who were homeless addicts with less to their name than Holly, and understood that when a being lived too long, he or she could forget any concept of humanity or empathy.
For many, torture and sex alone, often entwined, held any pleasure.
"Oui," Janvier said in reply to her edgy question. "It is an order. See, I am acting bosslike."
Holly's lips twitched despite herself. "Fine, I'll go pick up Poison."
"Play nice-no putting a cunja on him."
Holly stuck out her tongue at her phone before she hung up. A little boy wearing a tiny blue and yellow backpack saw her, stuck out his own tongue with a giggle. Holly winked. Looking over his shoulder, he waved at her.
She waved back.
That sweet kid, he didn't know that she was the creation of a murderous psychopath, that she had horrific urges inside her that caused her to break out in a cold sweat. He saw only a small-boned Chinese American woman in skinny black jeans decorated with appliquéd black roses on the left calf and thigh, her top a floaty orange silk, and her ankle boots a shining black with small gold buckles.
That ordinary woman's rainbow-streaked black hair was pulled back in a sleek ponytail, her face framed by blunt black bangs, and her nails painted in a wild mix of colors.
The only thing that made her stand out in a city overrun with the stylistically adventurous was the acid green that had taken over the light brown of her irises. The shade had been darker before, nearer to the vivid green of the archangel who'd used her as a human toy, but the acidic lightness had come in firmly over the past year and settled.
When strangers spotted Holly's eyes, they automatically assumed she was wearing contacts. It fit their impression of a woman who looked as if she'd been dropped in a vat of color.
Maybe a touch quirky or peculiar, but human. Normal.
Holly ached to be that normal human woman every single day. But in the four years since she'd been stripped naked and forced to watch her friends be dismembered alive, her throat torn and raw from her screams, she'd gotten over the first four stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.
Acceptance . . . well, that was going to take a hell of a lot more time, she thought as she slid into the Tower vehicle she'd been assigned. When Janvier had first told her she'd get a vehicle as part of her job as his and Ash's apprentice, she'd glumly expected a sedate sedan, but she should've remembered the kind of people who worked for the Archangel Raphael.
None were the sedan type.
Holly's car was a sleek black thing that looked like an arrow in flight. It wasn't new by any stretch of the imagination and had more than a few dents and scratches-all the better to fit the environs she prowled in the shadowy corners of the city. The tires were good, but not so good anyone would bother to steal them, and the radio only got about five stations.
Holly loved her ride with the passion of a thousand suns.
Inside this car, she could be free, could fly.
No leash. No blood that craved the monstrous. No flashfire memories of a rust red hand stroking her hair as he told her to "Drink, girl," in a gentle voice that belied the carnage in which she knelt broken and beaten.
Today, she raced in and out of traffic with bare inches to spare as she made her way to the airfield that handled the Tower's private fleet. It wasn't the safest way to drive, but Holly was very careful not to put anyone else in danger. Only herself.
Yes, she needed therapy.
But Holly wasn't suicidal. Not any longer. Her head was plenty messed up, but never would she hurt her family by making that irrevocable choice. Her mom and dad, Mia, her younger brothers, had suffered more than enough in the immediate days and weeks after the slaughter, and in her months of confused, angry, scared silence.
It was Janvier who'd made her understand what she was throwing away.
"I will miss my sisters my entire vampiric existence," he'd said to her as they sat on the grass after a sparring session that had left Holly's body a screaming ache. "I have a big family that loves me so, but to grow up with another, ah, 'tite Holly, that is a different bond." A sheen in eyes the shade of bayou moss that her deadly boss made no effort to hide. "Amelie and Jšelle . . . they live here." His fist on his heart. "Always they will stay safe within."
His gaze had gone to his wife, who was practicing a martial arts kata with cool hunter dedication. "And my dangerous cher, my Ashblade, she yet grieves for her brother and sister." As he'd risen to go tease Ash into a kiss, the Guild Hunter's fingers sinking into the chestnut brown of his hair, the copper strands within it glinting in the sunlight, Holly had felt understanding kick her. Hard.
Mia would be gone forever one day.
Alvin and Wesley would be gone.
Her parents would be gone.
She would never get back that time.
Holly had caught the subway home an hour later-to be greeted with tears and hugs and her favorite meal-followed by a grilling so intense it had threatened to set her hair on fire.
It was a memory she hoarded against the unknown future.
Zipping into a parking spot outside the airfield building located at the end of a long and deserted private road, she got out and showed her Tower ID to the guard. He gave her the hard eye regardless and pressed his finger to the receiver in his ear after muttering her name into the microphone on his collar.
Whatever he heard back had him nodding. "You're cleared." A faint curve to his lips. "Nice outfit. I didn't know the Tower let five-year-olds drive."
Eyes narrowed, Holly pulled out her best sincere tone. "Did you get your suit at Slick Vampires Are Us? Asking for a friend."
Smile wiped off, the vampire just looked at her, unblinking. Holly stared back, not about to be intimidated, even if he was at least five hundred years old according to the internal chronometer she'd developed over the past year.
A tingle ran behind her eyes.
Though backing down was against her personal religion, Holly lowered her eyelids and took a deep breath. When she lifted them back up, the vampire was smirking. Gritting her teeth and refraining from pointing out that she'd been a second away from mesmerizing him into clucking like a chicken, she carried on inside. It was a relatively small area with a glass wall that looked out onto the airfield.
Air traffic control was high above in their own little aerie.
That had always struck Holly as funny: angels flew wherever they wished, but if they traveled in an airplane, they needed to obey the rules of airspace. Not that the man she was here to pick up had wings. Venom was a vampire. One of the Seven, Raphael's private guard. That, unfortunately, also meant he was far, far stronger than he should've been for his three hundred and fifty or so years of age.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I read this over the span of 8 hours, nonstop. 325 pages. And I tried to space it out, knowing that it will be 8 months to a year before a new book in the series comes out. It grabs you & doesn't let you go. Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series will be forever on my Must Buy List!
Had to read it in one day. Couldn't wait to finish it.
Fast read ......wanted more
As usual I enjoyed reading the. latest book in the series They can get redundant excellent book
I love this series!
Wonderful read, as always-. I eagerly await the next book I'm this series !
Great characters and story it's always fun to visit these interesting people and get to know each one.
Hard to read and review. After wsiting a year this dull, sad story is quite dissapointing.
I'm so happy Venom got his own story. Holly Chang and Venom were a delight to experience. Thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait for the next installment.
Her stories just keep getting better and better
He may be the youngest immortal in the archangel Raphael’s elite guard, but Venom is just as dangerous as the rest of the Seven. Having been Made by the Queen of Snakes, Venom is a unique and deadly creation. He’s also been a mystery to us and I’m so glad we finally have his book! I’ve enjoyed Venom’s snarky banter and his ruthless wit throughout the series. He’s forbidden fruit and could tempt the most divine immortals to fall. He may look like a gorgeous supermodel you’d happily be seduced by, but beneath Venom’s skin lies a lethal creature with poison so virulent, you’ll be begging for death. Holly was just a young and carefree twentysomething when she was kidnapped with several of her friends by a crazy madman. Having been tortured in unspeakable ways, Holly was changed on a fundamental level. Trying to find her new place in the world, she’s starting to be happy again. But she’s hiding a deadly secret. Not only that, Holly’s got this big a**hole with stupid sunglasses who’s made it his life’s work to forever be a thorn in her side. Whether it’s calling her annoying nicknames or making fun of her “kitty fangs," Holly loathes Venom with every cell in her body. If only he’d find someone else to torture As with all Nalini Singh books, ARCHANGEL’S VIPER is exciting, thrilling and brilliantly put together! I loved every page of it! Holly and Venom love to hate each other and their constant ribbing had me laughing every single time. The ultimate antagonists, their banter was the comic relief that balanced the heavier aspects of the book. I love Holly. She’s a survivor and I loved watching her grow into her maturity. She constantly battles adversity and NEVER stops fighting. Holly is a kick-ass heroine and I admired her greatly. Venom is the same old Venom. He’s infuriating, aggravating and devastatingly sexy. Even though I’m not a big fan of snakes, Venom started to grow on me as the story went on. It was interesting to learn about his past and why he’s become a jaded, cynical vampire. ARCHANGEL’S VIPER exceeds all my expectations and I never wanted it to end! However, I am looking forward to the next Guild Hunter book. Could it finally be Illium’s book? Or maybe Aodhan? Or maybe a secondary character gets a chance to shine… or it could be another Raphael and Elena book. Whichever way the series flows, you better believe I’ll be a ride-or-die reader until the end! I whole-heartedly recommend this and every book by Nalini Singh! ***I voluntarily read a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own***
In the Guild Hunter series, readers have gotten to know Holly since Elena first rescued her from a brutal attack by the insane archangel Uram. Holly barely survived, and the attack changed her irrevocably not only in an emotional sense, but physically as well. Those changes have not stopped, Holly lives in constant fear of becoming a monster with no hope of redemption. Venom, the youngest in the Archangel Raphael’s private guard known as the Seven, survived his own monstrous transformation centuries ago. With his snakey eyes and poisonous fangs, Venom has always been one of a kind—as is Holly, for no one knows exactly what she is. Not entirely human, not exactly vampire, Holly, once known as Sorrow, is certainly very deadly. Venom and Holly have an adversarial relationship, though neither of them would admit it, they enjoy the physical and verbal sparring. Holly’s job for the Tower, under the direction of Ashwini, Janvier and, of course, Dmitri, involves working in the shadows and underbelly of the city where the higher-ups would not be welcome. When someone decides Holly is a prize to be had, she and Venom are forced to work as a team in the seamy places of New York to track down the ones who are foolish or arrogant enough to hunt anyone under the Tower’s protection. Holly fights with every fiber of her colorful and eclectic being to hold back the dark and terrifying remnant of Uram, which somehow wants to take her over; and now, something or someone powerful is calling her to another archangel’s territory in a way that’s much too intense to be ignored. Possibly adding to the upsurge in Holly’s own abilities is the catastrophic effect known as the Cascade which has been amping up some angelic powers. This unpredictable force may not only apply to the top tier angels and archangels. Even though she’s a strange hybrid with an unknown future, the most important thing to Holly is her humanity. Venom, with his cold reptilian inner being and poisonous abilities, thought he lost his ability to feel compassion or love centuries ago. But when this small spitfire of a girl refuses to give in to the horrors that nearly destroyed her, it awakens something inside him that he thought impossible and forever lost. Fans of Ms. Singh will be well pleased with this fine addition to the series. It has everything wonderful we have come to expect: action, adventure, humor, and romance as well as being a very clever tale that will keep you guessing about exactly what is going on and how it will all play out until the very end. This story has just the right balance between the difficult and often dangerous world Holly and Venom inhabit and a love story that alleviates the violence and aggression. Their story has been building for quite some time so having it come to fruition is very satisfying. I absolutely, totally enjoyed all aspects of this book and while that may sound like hyperbole, the praise is much deserved.
Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh is the 10th book in her wonderful Guild Hunter series. I say this quite often; Nalini Singh is one of the best authors around, and the fact I love both her Psy/Changeling and Guild Hunter series proves how good she is. Nalini writes fantastic stories in different worlds that flow so seamlessly, and each book just grabs hold of you at the start and never lets go till the very end. I do feel bad for those of you who do not read Nalini Singh, as you are missing an amazing author. On to my review. We met both Venom and Holly, our heroes in this book, early in this series when he saved her from sure death. Holly had been tortured by an insane Archangel, Uram; and she had witness the horrifying deaths of her friends. Though she is considered human, Holly was left with abilities she gained from Uram’s vampire blood coursing in her body. Her acid green eyes; ability to mesmerize others; has a poisonous bite (which Venom also has, but he is immune to Holly’s bite); and does require blood, which she minimizes as much as she can. Venom, is one of Rapheal’s Seven, and very dangerous, but loyal to the Seven, as well as being different from the others. After being away for two years, he returns and Holly was sent to pick him up. Venom not only was the one who saved Holly, but he also is the one who tries to teach her to control the violent impulses she has. However, they have never gotten along, both always antagonizing each other. Venom enjoys pushing Holly’s buttons, and she just hates him. Holly has changed since she was first rescued, and Honor (Dimitri’s mate), has worked with her on her emotional stability, as well as Janvier and Ash training her how to fight as a warrior. She is tough, smart, and fights off an inner voice that wants to control her. When Venom and Holly drive to the tower, someone attacks them trying to kidnap Holly. It seems that someone has a bounty on her head. Dimitri and Venom begin to worry what is it about Holly’s blood that warrants a 5 million dollar bounty? When Venom and Holly start working closely together to find out who is trying to kidnap her, they begin to see each other in a different light. They were the same in many ways, allowing them to be their normal self in front of each other, and in a short time their relationship will escalate in an unexpected romance. Venom sees that Holly is fighting something deep inside her, and she will tell him the truth about an otherness she feels. Besides the mystery of who is trying to kidnap her, the main focus of this story is finding out what/who is trying to control Holly. What follows is an addictive and captivating story with Venom and Holly following the trail that is pulling her into the lands of another Archangel. Venom and Holly surprised me how much I fell in love with this fantastic couple, and they sizzled together. The last half of the book was such a thriller, with many twists and turns right to the very end. I can’t tell too much more, as I do not want to ruin this for you, but I loved Archangel’s Viper, as well as a couple that totally won me over. Nalini Singh once again gives us a wonderful addition to this fantastic series. She is an author whose flawless skilled writing simply has me in awe. I have never failed to love every single one of her books in both series. If you have not read the Guild Hunter series, what are you waiting for?
Another in a series of phenomenal books set in the Guild Hunter world and her Archangel lover. This story is about another of the powerful Seven-Viper. From revealing his mysterious past to a new beginning for Holly "Sorrow" Chang and the unknown repercussions from Uram's attack. A must read.
As always a great story. I love the way she incorporates the character’s history in the books and the main characters too. Don’t miss any as it would be harder to understand the undertones although the author does give brief background peeks so your not totally lost with the older characters.
Can't wait for more.
Another great edition to the series!!!
Archangel's Viper by Nalini Singh is the tenth book in Guild Hunter series but the first that I have read. That being said, I absolutely adored this book. Not being a fan of angels and archangel stories, I was skeptical in diving in this book but once I started, I just couldn't stop! The cover is average but the blurb is intriguing and traditional Nalini Singh writing. It has all the ingredients of a memorable story. A strong plot, fluid and engaging narrative, the right mix of emotional play and scorching chemistry, headstrong characters and a mystery that keeps the reader on edge throughout the book. While it is part of a series, Archangel's Viper can be read as a standalone but it is always recommended to read books from a series in order. 4.5 super shiny stars to Archangel's Viper and Njkinny recommends this book to all paranormal romance lovers above the age of eighteen. I look forward to reading the other books in this series and eagerly await the upcoming one. This review is also available on Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff (NWoBS)
What a great story with Holly and Viper! I couldn't put it down. Grab a blanket and get comfortable, this book will have you yelling for an encore!
I love this series. I’m so hooked on this series that I cannot put them down.
Highly recommended author and series.
It was one of the sweeter books in the series. I’m very fond of the entire series, to be honest, and recommend.
ms singh hss done it again. although i wished it would have had bit more of raphael & elena in it. venoms and holly story was funny and heart wrenching all the same.