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Authors: Sylvia Day

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A Caress of Wings

BOOK: A Caress of Wings
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A Caress of Wings

A Renegade Angels Novella

Sylvia Day

N
EW
A
MERICAN
L
IBRARY

Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:

80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Published by New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First E-Book Printing, June 2012

Copyright © Sylvia Day, 2012

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

NEW AMERICAN LIBRARY and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

ISBN: 978-1-101-56839-2

Printed in the United States of America

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

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

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

Prologue

 

In his head, Trevor Descansos was screaming, but no sound escaped from his raw, parched throat. He’d lost his voice sometime in the early days of his captivity and now he had no outlet for the agony that tore at the anchors of his sanity.

Distantly, he heard the voracious suckling of the vampires feeding on him. They chewed on his veins, piercing and gnawing. The pain was like nothing he could ever have imagined. All the times he’d asked a patient to rate their pain on a scale of one to ten seemed so cruel now, and lifetimes away.

Had he once been a hotshot paramedic working toward his medical degree? He remembered that guy like something he’d seen in a movie once, but then, even movies felt like something he had conjured in his maddened mind. His reality had dwindled to a room so dark he couldn’t make out shapes or shadows. Only eyes. Dozens of glowing amber irises, flitting around his body like fireflies as they drank from him.

He’d been in a void for weeks. Or was it months? Dear God . . . Perhaps it’d been years. His wrists were shackled and the iron links securing him to the cement block wall were impossibly heavy.

When he’d first been restrained, he could drag the length of chain around, but he hadn’t the strength any longer. An IV line in his arm—steadily pumping fluids and an occasional shot of something that burned like acid in his veins—kept him alive, but it wasn’t enough to keep him strong.

The former Army Ranger medic from the movie in his head was a strapping guy, 6’2” and a solid two hundred and twenty pounds, capable of carrying clinically obese bodies down endless flights of stairs and performing chest compressions for hours. He had a lot of friends and was popular with women. He had an older sister who was happily married with three gorgeous kids and one more on the way—

Fangs sunk into his femoral artery, making him writhe in torment. He didn’t know what was worse: the creatures who got off on his pain or the ones who got off on his humiliation.

The bites didn’t have to hurt. They could, in fact, deliver unspeakable pleasure.

Some of the creatures weren’t satisfied with simply feeding on him. It wasn’t enough of a kick to smell his fear and hear the panicked beat of his heart. No, they wanted him to suffer in other ways.

Their hands and mouths stroked over his body in a sick semblance of a lover’s caresses, tormenting him mercilessly. Their fangs injected a fast-acting aphrodisiac in his bloodstream, hardening his cock until it throbbed like an open wound and he begged for relief, too mindless in his unnatural need to feel any shame. Females mounted him . . . raped him . . .
laughing
 . . .

A low sound escaped him as the memories violated him all over again. It was a mournful, animalistic sound of utter anguish and it incited the creatures feeding on him into an even greater frenzy. His head tilted back, his face uplifted toward the heavens. He prayed for death. Then he prayed for oblivion in case he was already dead in the bowels of hell and just didn’t know it.

But time passed and his prayers went unanswered.

If there was a God, he or she had long since forgotten about Trevor Descansos.

Chapter 1

 

From her vantage in the night sky, Siobhán studied the ramshackle two-story Victorian home in the clearing below her. The wind whipped through the short strands of her hair as she stretched her wings and circled in wide arcs, neatly avoiding the half dozen other Sentinel angels surveilling the property.

Individually, they honed the attack strategy she’d laid out for them earlier, tailoring it to the terrain around the vampire nest they’d found on the outskirts of Seattle. Not so long ago, they would’ve had lycans on the ground to snatch the vamps that would pour out like sewage from the doors and windows. Now they were reduced to doing it all themselves.

Luckily, they’d worked together for millennia and functioned like a well-oiled machine. When they surged into battle, it was as a unit, without a single sign or word of command needed. Tucking her wings close to her back, Siobhán dove toward the house, spearing through a boarded top floor window in a shower of glass and plywood.

She was immediately set upon by a roomful of hissing, spitting vamps. Spinning, she wielded her wings like blades, slicing through those too stupid to climb the walls and ceiling. Blood sprayed, coating her and the plaster, the stench spurring her to clear the room in seconds.

Moving into the hallway, she blocked out the panicked screams that filled the air and deflected bullets with her wings, whipping them with the fluidity of a cape. She sought out those vamps that were infected with the disease she’d been tasked with eradicating. Those who’d been ill for a while were easy to pick out with their gray eyes, skin, and hair. They looked like specters and acted like zombies, mindlessly attacking any convenient nonvampiric blood source.

The ones she’d captured during previous raids were already dead. She needed more of them if she had any hope of finding a cure—a cure other than the blood in her veins.

Kicking in the door to a room, she found several infected mingling with those who were not. Siobhán grabbed one and chucked him out the window for the Sentinels on the ground to catch and restrain.

She worked her way through the room, picking out the others, maintaining her grimly focused determination so that she didn’t accidentally eviscerate an infected while cleaning house.

And so it went—room by room, floor by floor, until she regrouped with the other Sentinels in the gore-stained kitchen. Her wings dissipated like fog blown by the wind, leaving her unencumbered and able to maneuver in the tight, cramped space.

Malachai came in through the shattered sliding glass door, his blond hair turned silver by the moonlight. “Twelve,” he said, giving her the number of infected they’d rounded up. “We’ve got them sedated, but we have to get going. We didn’t bring enough blood for seconds.”

She nodded. The metabolisms of the infected were so accelerated they required near constant feeding. Without it, they simply digested themselves, turning into sludge-like piles of putrid blackened waste. “Head outside. I’ll take care of the house.”

“Siobhán.”

Turning, she faced the Sentinel who ascended from the basement and asked him, “Get started on the fire without me?”

“That was the plan.” Carriden’s flame blue eyes met hers and something in them, a rare flash of pity, snared her attention. “No one should see this,” he said gruffly, “but you’ll want to.”

She walked past the tall blond angel and descended into a rank pit. It was pitch black in the depths of the house, but her preternatural sight didn’t require light to see the piles of human bones in the corners or the blood and excrement that fouled everything in the subterranean abyss.

Her boots stuck to the cement floor, making a sickening squelching noise as she turned around, taking in everything. The rattle of chains arrested her, her wings snapping open to shield her from any threat.

An animalistic growl drew her gaze to the far corner. She heard a weakened but too-rapid heartbeat and the quick, shallow breathing of a terrorized mortal.

“Dear God,” she breathed, horrified to realize a man was alive and trapped in this nightmare place.

Her eyes closed for a moment. It seemed unlikely anyone could long retain their sanity in such conditions, but she would have to put her hands on him to determine absolutely whether his mind could be salvaged.

Taking a deep breath, Siobhán said, “Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.”

The unique, compelling resonance of her voice—one of her many angelic gifts—was irresistible to mortals. She heard the panicked beat of his heart slow and the raggedness of his breathing even out.

“What’s your name?” She approached him cautiously, as she would a feral beast. He couldn’t harm her, but she could hurt him if she was startled into defending herself against a perceived attack.

When he didn’t reply, she wondered if the ability to speak had been taken from him, either physically or mentally.

“I’m going to touch you,” she warned, crouching beside him. She couldn’t see his face beneath a matted beard and dark hair that hung in a dirty curtain to his pectorals. His limbs were gaunt, his bones standing out in harsh relief beneath his paper-thin skin.

“Don’t be afraid,” she repeated.

Still, despite the powerful compulsion embedded in her voice, he flinched at the barest touch of her fingers.

His memories slammed into her in a violent, churning deluge of impressions and emotions that rocked her back on her heels. She yanked her hand away and he caught her wrist so quickly she was shaken. She moved faster than mortals could track with their inferior eyes, but the connection to his recollections had hit her so hard he’d taken her off guard.

His name was Trevor Descansos, and he’d once had the face and eyes of an angel.

“Please,” he rasped, in a voice that struck a chord deep inside her. “Kill me.”

That had been her intention. To be merciful and put him out of his misery. While his mind wasn’t broken, his soul was shattered. He was likely damaged beyond repair.

Even if she healed his body and wiped his memory, the devastation to his soul could be a lethal blow. He may never be the man he’d once been, a man who’d dedicated his life to saving the lives of others, both as a warrior and a healer. He might never again flash the dazzling smile she’d seen in his memories, never laugh his carefree laugh with his sister’s family, never charm another woman into experiencing the delights of his once beautiful body . . .

“Don’t leave me like this,” he said hoarsely. “Please . . . not like this.”

Abruptly, she knew she had to try to save him. She couldn’t give up on him without a fight. He’d already been thrown away and forgotten once. She couldn’t do it again.

“I won’t,” she promised. Moving carefully so as not to spook him, Siobhán gripped the shackle that chained his wrist and snapped it open with a tug—child’s play for a being of her strength. She did the same to the others: the one on his other wrist and the two on his ankles. “I’m going to pick you up, Trevor, and carry you out of here.”

His chest rose and fell in an elevated rhythm—the sound of hope too fragile to survive even the slightest blow.

“Can you lean into me, Trevor?” She deliberately used his name repeatedly to remind him of the man he’d once been, a man who would’ve done whatever it took to get out of this dank cell. “I don’t want to move too quickly and frighten you.”

It was a wise precaution. It took him several long minutes to gain the courage to lean toward her and rest his head weakly against her shoulder. She summoned a blanket with a thought—another handy angelic gift—and wrapped him up with it. Then she lifted and carried him across the basement of horrors, up the stairs, through the house, and finally to the outside where the others waited.

“Burn it down,” she told Daniela, who stared at the pitiful figure she cradled close.

She stood on the lawn with Trevor’s arms draped around her neck, watching the house until the faint licking of flames visible through the broken windows expanded to engulf the entire façade. He whimpered and she realized the bright light after living a year in the darkness was excruciating to his eyes. Arching her wings over them, she shaded him, cocooning him from further harm.

His head lifted, pulling away from her. Through a scraggly, greasy part in the curtain of his hair, she saw one bloodshot blue eye focused on her wings. Then his gaze rose to settle on her face.

“Angel,” he choked out, tears streaming down his face. “What took you so long?

BOOK: A Caress of Wings
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