Angels' Blood

Mass Market Paperback | March 3, 2009

byNalini Singh

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FIRST IN THE GUILD HUNTER SERIES from “a major new talent” (CHRISTINE FEEHAN).

View our feature on Nalini Singh’s Angels'' Blood.

Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.


Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone bad.

The job will put Elena in the midst of a killing spree like no other—and pull her to the razor’s edge of passion. Even if the hunt doesn’t destroy her, succumbing to Raphael’s seductive touch just may. For when archangels play, mortals break.

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From the Publisher

FIRST IN THE GUILD HUNTER SERIES from “a major new talent” (CHRISTINE FEEHAN).View our feature on Nalini Singh’s Angels' Blood.Nalini Singh introduces readers to a world of beauty and bloodlust, where angels hold sway over vampires.Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux is hired by the dangerously beautiful Archangel Raphael. But this time, it’s not a wayward vamp she has to track. It’s an archangel gone b...

Nalini Singh is passionate about writing. Though she’s traveled as far afield as the deserts of China and the temples of Japan, 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. Nalini lives and works in beautiful New Zealand. For contact details and to find out more about the Psy-Changeling series, please visit her website.

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Format:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 6.6 × 4.1 × 0.9 inPublished:March 3, 2009Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425226921

ISBN - 13:9780425226926

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dangerously Exciting! ANGEL’S BLOOD is the first installment in Nalini Singh’s exciting and dangerous Guild Hunter series. This is also a deadly world full of blood and violence that may make some readers uncomfortable. The book is set in a world where angels and vampires roam free. Where the other worldly beings are ruled by the Cadre of Ten. Ten archangels with unimaginable powers; their beauty unmatched by any mortal and often looked up to as gods. Yet to encounter an archangel ensures an almost certain death, to cross one holds a fate far worse than death. Elena is a guild hunter, a member of an age-old organization who tracks and returns vampires who’ve escaped their service contracts to their angels. Elena is also hunter born, a mortal with extrasensory skills that help trace vampires. It also leaves them vulnerable because vampires have an infinity for sensing and being drawn to the hunter born. Elena is one of the best guild hunters in the world and she is really wishing she wasn’t when finding out whom has contracted her skills for the next assignment: The archangel of New York. This book was unbelievable! The plot was engaging and entertaining. The characters are exquisitely crafted and each one vital to the storyline. I have devoured the book several times and after my umpteenth re-read, I figured I should put some words to page about how awesome the story is and how much I adore the author! It was the characters that made the story for me. They were multi-faceted and easily relatable. I love how each one is a mystery just waiting to be discovered. Elena and Raphael were magic together. The pairing seemed unbalanced because Raphael is hundreds of years old and a cruel being full of immense power, and Elena a hunter born mortal who’s lived but a speck of time. Elena is a honed blade, sharp and deadly with an inner strength, fierce loyalty and pure of heart. I honestly thought she was too good for Raphael. This is an awesome beginning to the series and I HIGHLY recommend ANGEL’S BLOOD to anyone who likes their paranormal romance dark, dangerous and deadly.
Date published: 2015-06-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from A lot of logic issues Well, the writing style was good. I am having difficulty completing this book. The author violates Clarke's law (Only ask your reader to believe one impossible thing at a time) with wild abandon. This is at best cotton candy for the mind.
Date published: 2015-01-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Angle blood Really enjoyed this read.kept me wondering what was going to happen next.
Date published: 2013-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Angels, Blood Slow starter but excellent end.
Date published: 2013-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Special Blend of Addictive Now I can say right off the mark that there was nothing I didn't like about the Guild Hunter series. It was interesting from start to finish. I found it so good that when I was done reading it, I re-read it again. I have to say tend to get all fangirly for a bad boy alpha and Raphael has all of this in spades. Not to mention I love a heroine who can take care of herself and kick some serious a$$, and if Elena can't do that then I don't know who can. I am writing this after reading the entire series to date. I love the whole series, but Elena and Raphael hold a special place in my heart. Their books are my fav in the series so far, though I am really looking forward to reading about Illium, Aodhan and of course Jason. Nalini just has a way with her writing that sweeps you away and puts your right beside the characters. You can see what is going on as clear as if it were really happening. I love how she presented Raphael at the beginning of the book. You could tell he was a very commanding Archangel. He is used to getting his way, and people doing what he has told them to do. It makes it all the better when Elena throws him off balance. She really does make him more human. It was interesting to watch him go from being the angel to being something more. I loved seeing the transition from one to another. It didn't happen instantly, and even with him changing he still keeps the parts that make me love him so much. I was swooning over his possessiveness with Elena, made it feel more real that she was more to him than some casual fling. Elena is a torture hunter. She had some serious bad crap happen to her during her childhood that would break many people. Though what happened was bad I did like that Nalini kept adding those moments where the past would collide with the present. It added more flavour to Elena, that she was not just some super guild hunter doing her everyday thing. I felt sympathy for her and was obsessed with finding out what had happened to her to cause such emotional and mental anguish. If your looking for tortured characters this series is your taste of angel dust. Very addictive, with its own special blend. I enjoyed reading about the other characters, such as Dmitri. Now here is a man that if sex on a stick existed he would be it. I loved the havoc he created, even when he was punished for it. The man could make any woman crawl to him. He just oozes sex, of course his scent would make him even more of a treat. But deep down there is more to him than what he shows on the surface. Nalini's characters have a common bond and yet they are all very different. I do see similarities but I think that is a glue that holds them all together. I was impressed with the loyalty of the Seven to Raphael, even if it meant getting rid of Elena because she makes him weak. Though they were loyal to him, they would protect him from even himself. Even if it cost them their lives. Here is true loyalty. They all seem to have their own code of honor, and are dangerous when crossed. They make a dark seductive crew of alpha males that will have women swooning at their feet. But to me, they are a Family. They look after one another and are willing to do anything for each other. As I said I really enjoyed reading this series and I am more than looking forward to reading the next book. Now if I could just push the next 3 months into moving faster, I would. Nalini is such an amazing writer and I have not read a book by her I did not like. She has a way about story telling that entraps the reader and has them begging for more. She is a true asset to her profession and I hope for many more books written by her. In other words (and as corny as this sounds) Nalini Singh described in one word. Pro!
Date published: 2012-06-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from What'd I miss?? I have been looking forward to beginning this series for quite some time, and when I finally picked it up, I hunkered in, turned off my phone, made a cuppa, and prepared myself to fall head over heels... So, what happened?? I did not enjoy this novel at all, I found the characters to be two dimensional, and not at all even likable. I quickly tired of the female leads constant repeating of how she wanted to kill him, but how hot she was for him, which made her want to kill him more, which of course just made her hotter...yawn Although I did finish it, I have to say, by about the mid-way point I was beginning to skim the pages, hoping something would take a turn and I would become engaged...it didn't, and I wasn't. Sadly, I will not be continuing with this series, and although it has gotten consistently good reviews, I won't be recommending it.
Date published: 2012-02-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good fun!! (In the event the Chapters/Indigo website deletes my rating, I mention here that I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars/leaves.) I really enjoyed this one. The world building was well done, the characters were generally enjoyable, and the plot moved along quite well. In general, taken for what it is (i.e. a relatively 'fluffy' read within the urban fantasy genre) this one is definitely among the top few of the pack. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the angels were not angelic in the traditional sense (i.e. icons of good). In fact, they turned out to be quite scary/creepy, which was one original element within this universe. The actual world building in general was very well done and, while it did use themes which have been used before (e.g. vampires and vampire 'hunters'), these were worked into a highly original universe. The main character was likeable. I liked the fact that, unlike some other romance and urban fantasy novels, she was able to be friends with other women. In other words, other women were not just 'competition' for all the male attention in the world, which is a common (and highly annoying) theme and flaw in various novels of this genre. The romantic interest of the main character (i.e. the archangel Raphael) took me a lot longer to warm up to, I will admit. Also, the main character did act rather impulsively on several occasions, which was a teensy bit jarring. The elements I mention did not, however, prevent this from being a very fun read overall, which I would situate in the top 10% of the urban fantasy genre. Definitely recommended. Other novels I recommend: -Dragon Bound, by Thea Harrison -Stormwalker, by Allyson James -Daughter of the Blood, by Anne Bishop -Grimspace, by Ann Aguirre -On Basilisk Station, by David Weber -The Demon In Me, by Michelle Rowen -The Shadow Reader, by Sandy Williams -Cry Wolf, by Patricia Briggs (see also the prequel story in the short story collection titled, 'On the Prowl')
Date published: 2012-01-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from This has gotten me into Angels... This book was quite entertaining, and I have to say, Raphael is now on my list of "fictional men I wish I could date". I loved the way the author described the angels. It was in such beautiful detail that I could easily visualize all these beautiful scenes with them. Also, any time there was an injury to a wing, it literally pained me. So... PROS: beautiful imagery with angels, entertaining plot, very sexy main characters, sexual tension to die for. CONS: No character development -if you are looking for a book with some substance, this one probably isn't it. OVERALL: Perfect for a fun and sexy read!
Date published: 2011-08-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from call up to the heavens I already know that was a cheezy title but come on this book was great so it deserves the flamboyant title. So anyway this was the first book I ever read by this author and I thought it was great, I loved the story and the characters, Elena and Raphael were really great together and I'm happy I found this book. All I have to say is if your into the hole angel thing definitley check this book out, it was great it's in my tops. :0)
Date published: 2010-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! WOW! Awesome story! At first I really hated the archangel but then he started to warm up to me. This novel I find is a difference kind of romance, a little darker then her changeling series. Elena is cast out from her family at an early age and becomes a vampire hunter. She has an advantage that no other hunter has; she can scent the vampire presence and how long they have been turned. In this novel vampires are created by angels and are employed by them. Archangel Raphael calls on Elena for a job. He wants her to track down a archangel gone bad. At the end the story leaves of making you want more, fortunately Archangels Kiss starts right where Angels Blood leaves off.
Date published: 2010-02-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining and Speedy The action in this story moves fast, and I mean fast. From what I could gather it takes place over 3-4 days. The author (thankfully) does not go with the biblical angels. In fact I was very happy at the no-religion tone. Here is what else I liked about this one: the pace, writing, the characters and the chemistry. Elena took a bit to get into and the whole poor, unloved rich girl thing could have been a bit cartoonish. It wasn’t. Raphael is perfect. Their scenes were done well; the dark brooding sensuality was well done. Now what I didn’t like: the-formulaic-easy-way-out ending (NO SPOILERS). As I was reading the book, I kept hoping the author wouldn’t do that, at least not in the first novel. She did. Despite that, I will read the next one in the series.
Date published: 2010-02-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A welcome change from the norm Nalini Singh’s world was unlike anything I’ve ever visited before, filled with such fantasy and creatures unlike what I’d ever read of before that it left my head spinning. I loved every single aspect of this novel, it was electrifying, dazzling, unforgettable. Her concept of angels, archangels, vampires and bloodborns was richly new and enticing. Despite his drawback from humanity, Raphael was not a hard character to love, he had more human traits and tendencies then any of the other archangels and it was refreshing in a world where they had little care for the human lives surrounding them. Elena was the perfect leading woman, a back bone of pure steel, but a heart that melted for those she loved. I absolutely loved this novel, Urban Fantasy at its best with a promise for more action, passion, death and mayhem in the next. This novel spins a web around the readers, sucking them in and thrusting them into a world totally unexpected. Ms. Singh creates that which others could only wish to.
Date published: 2009-07-04
Rated out of 5 by from Excellent Start to a New Series This is the first book I've read by Nalini Singh and I enjoyed it thoroughly, although I have to admit it took me a few chapters to warm up to the story. The main character is Elena. Elena is a vampire hunter, but there's a twist. In this 'reality' vampires are made by Angels and in return must consign themselves to servitude to their makers. Sometimes though, the vamps decide to renege on the deal and that is when the Guild Hunters come in. They hunt down the awol vamps and return them to their masters. As hunters go, Elena is one of the best. This is because she is a natural born hunter - she posseses an inborn talent for sniffing out vamps and following their scent. Unfortunately it is because of this talent that she is chosen by the Archangel Raphael to take on a deadly task - to hunt down a rogue Archangel. One of the things I had trouble with at the beginning of the book is wrapping my head around the fact that Angels seem to be less than Angelic. Archangel Raphael appears to be closer to a demon than an angel. As well, at the beginning of the book, I found Elena to be a bit too abrasive. She obviously must have grown on me though because by the end of the book I loved her. I also really liked the interaction between Raphael and Elena. There are a few loose ends in the book that didn't get explained to my liking, but since there is a sequel planned, I guess I might get my answers then.
Date published: 2009-05-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good read I enjoyed this book, however it's too much of the Twilight Series. Vampires / Angels / Forbidden love.
Date published: 2009-04-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVED IT!!! Nalini Singh has more creativity in her pinkie finger than most people have in their whole bodies! Leave it to her to create a series where angles are the creators and rulers of vampires. At first I thought, Nah that can’t be, but oh yes it can, and she totally rocked it! I loved the main characters, the story line, the ending, everything! I can’t wait to see where she takes us with this series, if it’s any thing like her other one, even though their nothing alike, its going to be awesome.
Date published: 2009-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from OH MY GOD - VERY HOT - GREAT STORY !!!!!! Fantastic, this is a new series with Angels being the dominant race over vampires, humans, etc... I have read all of the Psy series, love Ms. Singh's writing style and cannot wait for the next book - it doesn't matter what she writes , I will buy it.......... Renata from Montreal
Date published: 2009-03-17
Rated out of 5 by from Absolute Must Read Nalini Singh has come out with a great new series. Angels - what an interesting take on the paranormal. In this series the Angels rule and the Vampires are their servants. This book grabs hold of you and you can't put it down. I read a sneek preview in her last psy book and wasn't sure what to make of it, but am I glad I bought it this weekend. The main character Elena is a strong "kick butt" vampire hunter and is hired by the Head Angel of New York to help with situation that is about to come to ahead. If you enjoy reading Patricia Briggs or Laurell Hamilton you have to get this book!
Date published: 2009-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful story in a new series This is the first book in a wonderful new series by bestselling author Nalini Singh. She has developed an interesting new world in the paranormal genre with some very intriguing concepts. It is unlike any other book on the market. In this world, angels are the bosses and vampires are the minions. I can't say too much without giving too many details on this new world, but I can definitely recommend reading this story. I'm already looking forward to the next book in this world. I would also recommend any of Nalini Singh's stories in her Psy world.
Date published: 2009-02-12

Extra Content

Read from the Book

Elena’s instincts were screaming at her to grab the knife in her boot, do some damage and get the hell out, but she forced herself to stay in place. The truth was, she wouldn’t make it more than two feet before Raphael broke every single bone in her body.         It was exactly what he’d done to a vampire who’d thought to betray him.That  vampire had been found in the centre of Times Square. He’d still been alive. And he’d still been trying to scream—“No! Raphael, no!” But his voice had been a rasp by then, his jaw hanging on by stringlike tendons, his flesh missing in places.Elena—out of the country on a hunt—had seen the news footage after the event. She knew the vamp had lain there in agony for three hours before being picked up by a pair of angels. Everyone in New York, hell, everyone in the country, had known he was there, but no one had dared help him, not with Raphael’s mark blazing on his forehead. The archangel had wanted the punishment witnessed, wanted to remind people of who and what he was. It had worked. Now the mere mention of his name evoked visceral fear.But Elena wouldn’t crawl, not for anyone. It was a choice she’d made the night her father had told her to get on her knees and beg, and maybe, maybe, he’d accept her back into the family.Elena hadn’t spoken to her father in a decade.“You should have a care,” Raphael said into the unnatural silence.She didn’t collapse in relief—the air continued to hang heavy with the promise of menace. “I don’t like to play games.”“Learn.” He settled back in his chair. “You will live a very short life if you expect only honesty.”Sensing the danger had passed—for now—she unclenched her fingers with an effort of will. The force of the blood rushing back into them was painful in its extremity. “I didn’t say I expected honesty. People lie. Vampires lie. Even—” She caught herself.“Surely you’re not going to practice discretion now?” The amusement was back but it was tempered with an edge that stroked like a razor across her skin.She looked into that perfect face and knew she’d never met a more deadly being in her life. If she displeased him, Raphael would kill her as easily as she might swat a fly. She’d be smart to remember that, no matter how the knowledge infuriated her. “You said I had to do a test?”His wings moved slightly at that instant, drawing her attention. They truly were beautiful and she couldn’t help but covet them. To be able to fly…what an amazing gift.Raphael’s eyes shifted to look at something over her left shoulder. “Less a test than an experiment.”She didn’t twist around, had no need to. “There’s a vampire behind me.”“Are you sure?” His expression remained unchanged.She fought the urge to turn. “Yes.”He nodded. “Look.”Wondering which was worse—having her back to an enigmatic and highly unpredictable archangel, or to an unknown vampire—she hesitated. In the end, her curiosity won out. There was a distinctly satisfied expression on Raphael’s face and she wanted to know what had put it there.Shifting, she turned sideways with her whole body, the position allowing her to keep Raphael in her peripheral vision. Then she looked at the two…creatures who stood behind her. “Jesus.”“You may go.” Raphael’s voice was a command that awakened absolute terror in the eyes of the one who looked vaguely human. The other scuttled away like the animal it was.She watched them leave through the glass door and swallowed. “How old was…” She couldn’t call that thing a vampire. Neither had it been human.“Erik was Made yesterday.”“I didn’t know they could walk at that age.” It was an attempt to sound professional though she was creeped out to her toes.“He had a little help.” Raphael’s tone made it clear that that was all the answer she was going to get. “Bernal is…a fraction older.”She reached for the juice she’d rejected earlier and took a drink, trying to wash away the stink that had seeped into her pores. The older vamps didn’t have that ick factor. They—except for the unusual ones like the doorvamp—simply smelled of vampire, like she smelled human. But the very young ones, they had a certain rotten-cabbage/putrid flesh smell that she always had to scrub three times over to get rid of. It was why she’d begun collecting the body washes and perfumes. After her initial contact with one of the newly Made, she’d thought she’d never get the smell out of her head.“I didn’t think a hunter would be so disturbed at the sight of the just Made.” Raphael’s face appeared oddly shadowed, until she realized he’d raised his wings slightly.Wondering if that implied focus or anger, she put down the glass. “I’m not, not really.” True enough now that that first, instinctive flash of disgust had passed. “It’s the smell…like a coating of fur on your tongue. No matter how hard you scrape, you can’t get it off.”Open interest showed on his face. “The feeling is that intense?”She shivered and looked around the table for something else to take the edge off. When he pushed a cut grapefruit in her direction, she dug into it with relish. “Uh-huh.” The citrus fruit’s acidic juices dampened the reek a little. At least enough that she could think.“If I asked you to track Erik, could you?”She shivered at the memory of those almost-dead/not-quite-alive eyes. No wonder people believed those stories about vampires being the walking dead. “No. I think he’s too young.”“What about Bernal?”“He’s on the bottom floor of the building right now.” The barely-Made vampire’s odor was so noxious, it permeated the building. “In the lobby.”Golden tipped wings spread to shadow the table as Raphael put his hands together in a slow clap. “Well done, Elena. Well, done.”She looked up from the grapefruit, belatedly aware she’d just proven how good she was when she should’ve flubbed it and gotten out of this, whatever “this” was. Shit. But at least he’d given her some idea of the job. “Do you want me to track a rogue?”He rose from his chair in a sudden, liquid movement. “Wait a moment.”She watched, transfixed, as he walked to the edge of the roof. He was a being of such incredible splendor that simply seeing him move made her heart squeeze. It didn’t matter that she knew it was a mirage, that he was as deadly as the filleting knife she carried strapped to her thigh. No one, not even she, could deny that Raphael the Archangel was a man made to be admired. To be worshipped.That utterly wrong thought snapped her out of her dazed state. Pushing back her chair, she stared hard at his back. Had he been messing with her head? Right then, he turned and she met the agonizing blue of his eyes. For a second, she thought he was answering her question. Then he looked away…and walked off the roof.She jumped up. Only to sit back down, blush reddening her cheeks, when he winged upward to meet an angel she hadn’t seen until that moment. Michaela. The female equivalent of Raphael, her beauty so intense that Elena could feel the force of it even from this distance. She had the startling realization that she was looking at a mid-air meeting between two archangels.“Sara’s never going to believe this.” She forgot the stench of young vampire for the moment, her attention hijacked. She’d seen photos of Michaela, but they came nowhere close to the reality of her.The other archangel had skin the color of the most exquisite, fine milk-chocolate and a shining fall of hair that cascaded to her waist in a wild mass. Her body was quintessentially female, slender and curvy at the same time, her wings a delicate bronze that shimmered against the richness of her skin. Her face… “Wow.” Even from this distance, Michaela’s face was perfection given form. Elena fancied she could see her eyes—a bright, impossible green—but knew she had to be imagining it. They were too far away.It made little difference. The female archangel had a face that would not only stop traffic, it would cause a few pileups in the process.Elena frowned.  Despite her appreciation for Michaela’s looks, she was having no trouble thinking straight. Which meant the damn arrogant blue-eyed bastard had been fucking with her mind. He wanted her to worship him? They’d see about that.No one, not even an archangel, was going to turn her into a puppet.As if he’d heard her, Raphael said something to his fellow archangel and winged back down to the roof. His landing was a lot more showy this time. She was sure he paused to display the pattern on the inside surface of his wings. It was as if a brush dipped in gold had started at the top edge of each wing and then stroked downward, fading to white as it neared the bottom. In spite of her fury, she had to face the truth: If the devil—or an archangel—came to her and offered her wings, she might just sell him her soul.But the angels didn’t Make other angels. They only made blood-drinking vampires. Where angels came from, no one knew. Elena guessed they were born to angelic parents…though, come to think of it, she’d never actually seen a baby angel.Her thoughts derailed again as she watched the fluid grace of Raphael’s walk, so seductive…so perfect.Standing up, she sent her chair crashing to the tiles. “Get. Out. Of. My. Head!”Raphael came to a standstill. “Do you intend to use that knife?” His words were ice. She felt blood scent the air and realized it was her own.Looking down, she found her hand clenching on the blade of the knife she’d drawn instinctively from the sheath at her ankle. She’d never have made such a mistake. He was forcing her to hurt herself, showing her she was nothing but a toy for him to play with. Instead of fighting, she squeezed harder. “If you want me to do a job for you, fine. But I won’t be manipulated.”His eyes flicked over the blood seeping from her fist. He didn’t have to say anything.“You might be able to control me,” she said, in response to the silent mockery on his face, “but if that would’ve gotten the job done, you’d have never gone through the farce of hiring me. You need me, Elena Deveraux, not one of your little vampire flunkies.”Her hand unclenched in a violent spasm as he made her release the blade. It fell to the ground with a thud cushioned to softness by the blood that had pooled below. She didn’t move, didn’t attempt to stem the flow.And when Raphael walked to stand less than a foot from her, she stood her ground.“So, you think you have me over a barrel?” The sky was a seamless blue but Elena felt storm winds whip her hair completely out of its coil.“No.” She let his scent—clean, bright, of the sea—settle over the lingering coat of vampire on her tongue. “I’m ready to walk away without a backward look, return the deposit you paid the Guild.”“That,” he said, picking up a napkin and wrapping it around her hand, “is not an option.”Startled by the unexpected act, she closed her hand to help slow the bleeding. “Why not?”“I want you to do this,” he responded, as if that was reason enough. And for an archangel, it was.“What’s the job? Retrieval?”“Yes.”Relief began to wash through her like the rain she could feel so close. But no, it was his scent, that fresh bite of water. “All I need to start with, is something the vampire wore recently. If you have a general location, even better. If not, I’ll get the Guild’s computer geniuses on tracking public transport and bank records etcetera, while I hunt on the ground.” Her mind was already at work, considering and discarding options.“You mistake me, Elena. It’s not a vampire I want you to find.”That halted her in her tracks. “You’re looking for a human? Well, I can do it but I really don’t have any advantage over a good private investigator.”“Try again.”Not vampire. Not human. That left…“An angel?” she whispered. “No.”“No,” he agreed and, once again, she felt the cool brush of relief. It lasted until he said, “An archangel.”Elena stared at him. “You’re joking.”His cheekbones stood out starkly against the sun-kissed smoothness of his skin. “No. The Cadre of Ten does not joke.”Her stomach curdled at the reference to the Cadre—if Raphael was any example of their lethal power, she never wanted to meet that august body. “Why are you tracking an archangel?”“That, you do not need to know.” His tone was final. “What you do need to know is that if you succeed in finding him, you’ll be rewarded with more money than you can hope to spend in your lifetime.”Elena glanced at the bloodstained napkin. “And if I fail?”“Don’t fail, Elena.” His eyes were mild but his smile, it spoke of things better not said aloud. “You intrigue me—I’d hate to have to punish you.”Her mind flashed to that image of the vampire in Times Square, that broken mess that had once been a person…Raphael’s definition of punishment.