Steel is an Angelus warrior. His duty to protect his king and prince is paramount, and he will protect them at all costs. Despite Iron declaring that mating Brett provides enough energy to disguise Goldie’s aura as an immature Angelus that the hunters can track, Steel is not willing to take the chance. They’ve been wrong before, and the consequences of being wrong again would be devastating. So he continues to secretly reap energy from humans by trading his body for answers and information in the hopes of returning home.
Since joining this nest of winged men, Paul has had to rethink how he sees the world. When he notices Steel sneaking out at night, he concocts a plan to follow and find out what the arrogant warrior is up to. He discovers more than he expected and confronts him afterward. Their interaction soon turns violent, but a bigger threat of hunters closing in around them forces them to fight together, and after the battle the tension between them takes a sexual turn.
However, when Steel tries to dig himself out of trouble on his own, he ends up caught in a trap. Can Paul save him in time to stop his proud warrior being broken by their enemies, or will Steel have to suffer for his pride?
Steel looked himself over in the mirror one last time, checking that his leather jacket hid his wings well enough to pass for a bulked up human. It wouldn’t fool a hunter, at least not a good one. But it was enough to go to Angels and Demons, Edward’s nightclub that ran a masquerade night once a week where all the humans dressed up as what they considered to be an angel or a demon. It also served as the perfect cover for Angeluses and Demonii to come out to do their reaping and business.
It was perfect for what he needed.
Brett and Iron were certain the energy the two raised together was more than enough to shield Goldie’s immature Angelus signature. That was what the hunters had used to narrow in on their location before. Steel, however, was taking no chances.
It hadn’t been too long ago that they were almost caught because he and the others had not reaped enough energy, and not long before that since they were hiding out in a forest, foraging and hunting for enough food while struggling to keep warm in the hard winter. Angelum didn’t experience cold seasons, and they’d never seen snow before they were huddling together in a tree hideaway trying to ignore the white numbing crystals that stung them to the quill.
Iron might be his superior and the warrior guardian to the king, but Steel was the only other fully fledged Angelus warrior they had. He was bred for strength and ferocity in defense of his charges. Copper was still learning. That gave Steel the right to have a say in the protective measures taken. He might not have been able to spare his king the degradation of having to lie with humans to reap their sexual energy before, but he would ruin himself to make certain their nest remained secure now.
Since Iron had become mated to the scientist human, the mated pair were always sneaking off together. Every time, Iron informed him, though, and always stayed close at hand in case he was needed, so Steel couldn’t complain about Iron shirking his duties. The love between the two was almost palpable. It gave the others hope and stopped the nightmare of having to whore themselves out for safety of the nest. For that, he would be forever grateful. But nothing was certain, and Goldie and Platinum needed to be protected at all costs.
His shame meant nothing in comparison.
So he kept reaping, both for the energy to add to the shield around Goldie, and for the knowledge, the secrets he divined from the ones he chose to share his body with. Angels and Demons was an exclusive club for the city’s rich and powerful. Edward had made his own personal playground for people like him. It was all for his dead lover, Wolfram. Steel had often contemplated the possible reasons why Edward offered them such sanctuary and had built clubs and safe places for others like them to go. Mostly Steel concluded that Edward must believe that if such havens had existed before, his lover might still be alive.
Coming back to his image in the mirror, he swallowed his doubts and headed out of his room. At his door, Steel paused to listen for anyone nearby. Copper was on sentry duty, and Steel knew the young warrior paid too little attention to inner threats. As that worked to his advantage for the moment, he hadn’t corrected the oversight. Besides, they were all loyal in the nest—there was no threat to watch for.
He quickly crept out and trod lightly over the soft carpet until he reached the first set of double doors that secured the nest. He lined up with the hidden iris scanner and waited again. They had implemented several measures, including this one and the muted keypad systems, another scanner in the elevator, and a thumb print lock that measured pulse and temperature to check for heightened emotion and warned those inside with a sharp beep if the persons scanned were flagged by the system. Those outside wouldn’t know. The security mechanisms had all been good suggestions, and Paul and Brett had risen in his estimation.
As the doors unlocked, he entered the code to the private elevator and swiped the keycard that would allow it to go down. Again he was scanned, but his irritation eased knowing he could rest easier on his off hours with all of these additional measures in place.
The elevator beeped in acceptance of his clearance, then began its descent.
By the time it reached the lobby, he was itching to be out of the confined space. Human transportation, even elevators, were not built to accommodate an Angelus, even less so an Angelus warrior because they were so tall and broad. Thank goodness his wings were slightly restrained by the jacket, or else he might not have been able to stop them lashing out at the metal walls in discomfort. He ducked through the doors as soon as they opened, escaping to the lightness of the lobby, and took a deep breath.
A few humans who worked as building staff lingered about, including the security officers that were stationed at the desk at all times and the one standing at the door. Steel gave them grudging respect for their diligence and commitment to their own duty and passed by, heading out into the darkened street beyond the automatic glass doors.
The cold night air nipped at his nose and he hunched his shoulders to keep the worst of the chill from chasing goose pimples down his neck. The last thing he needed was for his wing roots to freeze again. It took forever to get the pins and needles to leave the sensitive flesh after it had numbed in the cold. To get hard while experiencing that would be like trying to sustain an erection while chewing on broken glass. Not conducive to what he needed to do.
The club wasn’t far away. He picked up his speed and wondered what new lows tonight’s shame would bring. Hopefully, at the very least he could come closer to finding out how the hunters were searching for them and hopefully procure a way to safely contact the Demonii king.