Archangel's Blade - Guild Hunter 04 By Nalini Singh

Crouching on the concrete pier lit only by the dull yellow glow of a flickering streetlight several
feet away, Dmitri tilted the severed head toward him with a grip in the dead male’s damp hair,
not bothering with gloves. Elena, he thought, would not have approved of the breach in proper
forensic protocol, but the hunter was currently in Japan and wouldn’t return to the city for
three more days.
The victim’s head had been separated from his—as yet undiscovered—body with hacking
slices, the weapon possibly some kind of a small ax. Not a neat job, but it had gotten things
done. The skin, which appeared to have been either pink or white in life, was bloated and soft
with water, but the river hadn’t had time to degrade it into slime.
“I was hoping,” he said to the blue-winged angel who stood on the other side of the grisly
find, “for a quiet few weeks.” The reappearance of the archangel Caliane, thought dead for
over a millennium, had rocked both the angels and the vampire population. The mortals, too,
felt something, but they had no true knowledge of the staggering change in the power structure
of the Cadre of Ten, the archangels who ruled the world.
Because Caliane wasn’t simply old, she was an Ancient.
“Quiet would bore you,” Illium said, playing a thin silver blade in and around his fingers.
Having preceded Raphael and Elena home from Japan the previous day, he looked none the
worse for wear after having been kidnapped and caught in the middle of a battle between
Dmitri felt his lips curve. Unfortunately, the angel with his wings of silver-kissed blue and
eyes of gold was right. Dmitri hadn’t yet succumbed to the ennui that affected so many of the
immortals for the simple reason that he never stayed still. Of course, some would say he was
leaning too far in the other direction—in the company of those who lived only for the piercing
pleasure of blood and pain, every other sensation having grown dull.
The thought should’ve concerned him. That it didn’t . . . that concerned him. But his inexorable
descent into the seductive ruby red darkness had nothing to do with the current situation.
“He has nascent fangs.” The small, immature canines appeared almost translucent.
“But he’s not one of ours.” Dmitri knew the name and face of every vampire living in and
around New York. “Neither does he fit the description of any of the Made who’ve gone missing
across the wider territory.”
Illium balanced his blade on a fingertip, the yellow glow from the streetlight reflecting off it
in an unexpected spark of color before he began to play it through his fingers once more. “He
could’ve belonged to someone else, tried to escape his Contract, run into trouble.”
Since there were always idiots who tried to get out of their side of the deal—a hundred
years of service to the angels in exchange for the gift of near-immortality—that was highly
possible. Though why a vampire would come to New York when it was home to an archangel,
and a powerful Guild of hunters dedicated to retrieving those who decided to run, wasn’t as

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