Vaughn felt the wave of evil wash over him, a wave strong enough to wake him from his sleep. He shuddered as the residue from the wave coated him. He pushed aside the cloying feeling and focused instead on the source.
He stretched out his mind, seeking the origin, and failing to find where it had started. All he found was a trail that reached farther into the distance than his mind could reach. He’d need to fly if he was going to track the wave to its source—and fly now, before it faded.
“Did you feel that?” Vaughn asked his brothers. He used his telepathy to send the question to his brothers, but knew someone from their host would soon be in contact using the same method.
“It shook the ground below our feet,” Sullivan answered.
Vaughn easily sensed the anxiety and frustration coming from his brother and imagined he was already pacing, like a caged lion, in the darkness of his daylight refuge.
“It was stronger than anything I’ve felt in decades,” Vaughn said. “Do you think it was a breach?”
“Shit,” Knox cursed. “I hope it’s not a full breach. If there’s a demon above ground he could create enough chaos to have us overwhelmed by rampaging blood suckers by nightfall.” Knox swore again and Vaughn imagined both his brothers were now prowling their underground lair.
“I can’t wait for you,” Vaughn said. “I need to move now.” He pulled on his black leathers—saving the power he would have expended by teleporting his garments onto his body—for what may yet prove to be an extended hunt.
“Don’t go alone,” Sullivan said with a sigh. “We’ll follow as soon as darkness falls.”
“Vaughn.” His name was a summons from their leader.
“Mikhail has sent for me. I’ll contact you when I can.”
Vaughn closed his eyes and focused on their host’s leader. He arrived at Mikhail’s side before he’d taken his next breath. An instant later Grigori, Parker, and Dominic were gathered around them at the lookout above their village. Mikhail had called on each of the guardians who were still able to walk in the light.
Most of their angel brethren had suffered injuries throughout their years on Earth that had both enhanced and limited their innate angelic powers. It was hard to come away unscathed from so many thousands of battles.
None stood now as they had when they’d first descended. Those who hadn’t died from their injuries were now more powerful and more deadly than they had been at their creation. That added power came at a price, however, and that price was different for each of them.
For Sullivan and Knox, the price was to never again walk in the sunlight. For Vaughn, it meant being caged for two nights each lunar cycle. He knew his penance was not as great as some, but the nights he was caged were still horrific. He lost himself to the madness of the beast within. His constant fear was that one day he’d actually escape his cage and kill all those he loved in a mindless, bloody rampage.
He shuddered at the thought and focused now on Mikhail. Mikhail was staring at him intently. Their leader knew all their secrets, all their fears. That was Mikhail’s curse.
“I won’t ever let that happen, Vaughn.”
Vaughn nodded once, clear in the understanding that Mikhail would end his life before he allowed the wolf within him to harm one of their own.
“We leave immediately,” Mikhail said. “The trail is weakening with each passing second and I fear we have a long way to go before we find the origin of this attempted breach.”
“Are you sure they didn’t actually succeed this time?” Parker asked. “It sure as hell felt like one of the fuckers broke loose.”
Mikhail turned to Dominic and raised an eyebrow. “You’re the one with the demon radar. Is one of them above ground again?”
Dominic’s jaw tensed as he shook his head. The light shone on the fine silver scars that ran down his face and neck. Vaughn had been the one to carry Dominic home after he’d been attacked by a demon who’d made it to earth. He knew the scars continued down the length of Dominic’s back. He’d nearly died that day.
“We’ll follow you,” Mikhail said as Dominic stretched out his ebony wings and took flight.
Dominic’s close call with death had left him with a keen awareness of demons. They could all sense the residue of a demon’s taint, but Dominic was aware of them on a visceral level. Dominic might hate that shared connection, but he still used it to their advantage. He was a guardian, as was Vaughn. The job of protecting the Earth fell to them and they would all continue to fight until their souls ascended to heaven.
Vaughn spread his wings and joined his battalion as they followed the wave of evil to its point of origin.
A Sullivan let his fear, his anger, his helplessness sink into the deepest, darkest place in his heart, so that when he lowered his lips to Faith’s there was nothing but love, passion, and a deep burning desire in his kiss. Their joining might only be a cruel few days long, but it would be the happiest and purest forever he could give the woman he loved beyond reason.
Faith moaned as their lips touched, their mutual need igniting and burning hot. The smell of her arousal was even sweeter than Vaughn had conveyed to them, and he was helpless to resist its siren call.
Sullivan’s cock was hard in an instant, the sadness and fear replaced by the need to make Faith his, make her theirs. He pressed the hard ridge of his cock against Faith’s groin and she gasped, pushing herself tighter to him.
“Sully, that feels incredible.”
Faith’s nails dug into his shoulders as she pulled him closer. The damp heat of her core scalded him, even through the denim of the jeans she wore. Sullivan reluctantly pulled from her soft lips, and she mewled a small protest that had his cock twitching and releasing a gush of pre-cum.
“You make the sexiest noises,” Knox said, turning Faith’s head toward him before he proceeded in devouring their mate with a passionate kiss that had Faith shaking with need.
“You have too many clothes on,” Vaughn said helpfully.
Sullivan’s cock throbbed, and he nearly came when Vaughn tore the thin jumper Faith was wearing down the back, and peeled it from her body.
“Fuck,” Vaughn snarled. “You’re so damned beautiful I may just come in my pants.”
“Glad I’m not alone,” Sullivan said, his hands smoothing up Faith’s sides to cup her naked breasts. He had a scant moment of sanity to be pleased. Her ribs were not quite as prominent as they had been a few days previously, before the hard points of her nipples rubbing against his palms had his lust sucking him into its maelstrom of need.
“There’s no going back once we make love to you, Faith,” Vaughn said, his hands dipping into the waist of her jeans and tearing the denim apart easily. “The change in your cells is permanent and irreversible. You will be immortal by morning.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Sullivan snarled into Vaughn’s mind. “Are you seriously trying to talk her out of being ours?”
“He’s giving her the choice, Sully,” Knox said, speaking aloud to include Faith. He licked his lips as he stared into her shining eyes. “Honesty and trust, remember?”
“I don’t understand why I alone survived the demon’s touch. Why I was the one in the countless generations of the angel’s descendants who was chosen to be yours, and I don’t care. I know how I feel when I look at you all.” Faith paused as she gazed into each of their eyes and a single tear ran down her cheek. “I feel loved, cherished, adored. Feelings I never dared hope someone would have for me.
“And I feel the same way toward the three of you. I’ve loved you from the first time I woke in your arms, Vaughn. I’ve loved you, Sullivan, from that first kiss. You poured your love into me and my heart ached with joy.”
“And when did you love me, Faith?” Knox said, his smile wide. His trust in their mate was total.
“When you asked my permission to transport me home, despite the fact you were on fire from exposure to the daylight.”
Sullivan winced as he remembered the pain of the flames he and Knox had endured, but he knew he’d do it again in an instant if it meant keeping Faith safe.
“I only did it so you’d climb on top of me to tend to my wounds,” Knox said.
“I want this,” Faith said, staring at each of them. “I want to be with you all forever.”
Sullivan groaned and took Faith’s face gently in his hands as he sealed his mouth to hers. She was the sweetest of Earth’s bounty. Her taste was an addiction he’d never want to kick. He stroked his hands down Faith’s smooth back and cupped her ass to move her farther up the bed. With a tiny trickle of power, he made his clothes disappear. He nudged her legs apart with his knee and slid his hands up her body. He smiled as she writhed under his palms.
He kissed Faith, his tongue thrusting deep as the blunt head of his erection slid through the slick, wet heat of her pussy. A groan slipped from him as his naked skin stretched over Faith’s. Leaning on one arm, he slipped his other hand between them to stroke the bundle of nerves of her clit.
“Sully.” Faith moaned his name into his mouth as her breath grew choppy and she pushed her pelvis up against his fingers and groin.
He slipped his fingers down to her pussy and found her wet and hot, the tissues of her sex plump with arousal. He pulled reluctantly from her lips and gazed down at the woman created for him. She was beyond beautiful. She was stunning, gentle, and pure, right to her shining soul.
“Your first time may sting a little.” Sullivan smiled as she pushed her core against his throbbing cock. “I can’t heal you, or you’ll just be a virgin all over again for Knox and Vaughn.”
“I want you, Sully,” Faith’s eyes were almost glowing in the dim candlelight of their home, the home she’d created when she’d come into their lives at last. “I want all of you.”
Sullivan frowned briefly, but Faith ran her small hands over his sweat-slicked shoulders to stroke the thick muscles of his back that allowed him flight. He understood her statement then, and released the shield that cloaked his wings from existence in this dimension, and spread them out behind him. Faith’s smile was incandescent. Her joy and wonder as she saw and caressed his wings brought him the peace of total acceptance as her mate.
“Mine. Mine forever, Faith.”