A hunger so wild, p.1
A Hunger So Wild, p.1Part #2 of Renegade Angels series by Sylvia Day
A Touch of Crimson
“Will rock readers with a stunning new world, a hot-blooded hero, and a strong, kick-ass heroine. This is Sylvia Day at the top of her game!”
—New York Times bestselling author Larissa Ione
“Angels and demons, vampires and lycans, all set against an inventive, intriguing story world that hooked me from the first page. Balancing action and romance, humor and hot sensuality, Sylvia Day’s storytelling dazzles. I can’t wait to read more about this league of sexy, dangerous guardian angels and the fascinating world they inhabit. A Touch of Crimson is a paranormal romance lover’s feast!”
—New York Times bestselling author Lara Adrian
“Explodes with passion and heat. A hot, sexy angel to die for and a gutsy heroine make for one exciting read.”
—New York Times bestselling author Cheyenne McCray
“Sylvia Day spins a gorgeous adventure in A Touch of Crimson that combines gritty, exciting storytelling with soaring lyricism. Adrian is my favorite kind of hero—an alpha-male angel determined to win the heart of his heroine, Lindsay, while protecting her from his lethal enemy. Lindsay is a gutsy, likable woman with paranormal abilities of her own, as well as a dedication to protecting humanity against a race of demonic monsters. This is definitely a book for your keeper shelf.”
—New York Times bestselling author Angela Knight
“Absolutely perfect! There are so many levels to this book, plots, subplots, shades of gray; it was brilliantly constructed and written.…Not only is the story magnificent, but it is truly one of the hottest books I’ve read this year.”
—Rage, Sex and Teddy Bears
“Catapults you headfirst into the action from the very first page.…[This] had everything I could hope for in a book. Fantastic characters, a hunk of a leading man…a sympathetic and headstrong leading lady, and an awesome story line.…[This] is packed with action, killer one-liners, and gripping cliffhangers.”
—All About Me
“A gripping, touching, and scintillating page-turner. [Day] skillfully blends a timeless tale of love lost and found. [This is] a perfect romance with excellent world building that’s rich with angels, lycans, and vampires.”
—Romantic Times (4½ stars)
Praise for Sylvia Day
“When it comes to brewing up scorchingly hot sexual chemistry, Day has few literary rivals.”
“Day is a writer whose flair for sensuality and storytelling will take her far.”
Also by Sylvia Day
The Renegade Angels Series
A Touch of Crimson
A Caress of Wings
(A Penguin e-Special novella)
A RENEGADE ANGELS NOVEL
A SIGNET ECLIPSE BOOK
Published by New American Library, a division of
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First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, July 2012
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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.
SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Printed in the United States of America
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.
If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
This one is for all the readers who have so generously
embraced the Renegade Angels. Your support and
enthusiasm mean the world to me. Thank you!
I remain deeply grateful to Danielle Perez, Claire Zion, Kara Welsh, Leslie Gelbman, and everyone at NAL for being so wonderful with this series and with me.
Thank you to Robin Rue and Beth Miller for handling the pesky details.
Thanks to the art department for granting my wish to have Tony Mauro design my cover…again. I’m thrilled.
My love to Tony Mauro for another striking cover. I’m such a fan. It makes me giddy to have his artwork on my books.
Himeko, I told you I’d make you a lycan. I did.
And thank you to all the readers, reviewers, bloggers, booksellers, and librarians who’ve talked up the Renegade Angels series and shared it with your friends, customers, patrons, and visitors. I very much appreciate each and every one of you!
Go tell the Watchers of heaven, who have deserted the lofty sky, and their holy everlasting station, who have been polluted with women, and have done as the sons of men do, by taking to themselves wives, and who have been greatly corrupted on the earth; that on the earth they shall never obtain peace and remission of sin. For they shall not rejoice in their offspring; they shall behold the slaughter of their beloved; shall lament for the destruction of their sons; and shall petition for ever; but shall not obtain mercy and peace.
The Book of Enoch 12:5–7
CHANGE—the process a mortal undergoes to become a vampire.
FALLEN—the Watchers after the fall from grace. They have been stripped of their wings and their souls, leaving them as immortal blood drinkers who cannot procreate.
LYCANS—a subgroup of the Fallen who were spared vampirism by agreeing to serve the Sentinels. They were transfused with demon blood, which restored their souls but made them mortal. They can shape-shift and procreate.
MINION—a mortal who has been Changed into a vampire by one of the Fallen. Most mortals do not adjust well and become rabid. Unlike the Fallen, they cannot tolerate sunlight.
NAPHIL—singular of nephalim.
NEPHALIM—the children of mortal and Watcher parents.
(“they turned themselves against men, in order to devour them”—Enoch 7:13)
(“No food shall they eat; and they shall be thirsty”—Enoch 15:10)
SENTINELS—an elite special ops unit of the seraphim, tasked with enforcing the punishment of the Watchers.
SERAPH—singular of seraphim.
SERAPHIM—the highest rank of angel in the angelic hierarchy.
VAMPIRES—a term that encompasses both the Fallen and their minions.
WATCHERS—two hundred seraphim angels sent to earth at the beginning of time to observe mortals. They violated the laws by taking mortals as mates and were punished with an eternity on earth as vampires with no possibility of forgiveness.
WRAITH VIRUS—the street name for a new disease sweeping through the vampire ranks. Symptoms include mindless hunger, foaming at the mouth, and graying of the skin, hair, and irises.
WRAITHS—minions infected with the Wraith Virus.
Table of Contents
A Taste of Seduction
It was fingertips following the curve of her spine that woke Vashti from slumber. She arched into the familiar touch with a purr of delight, a smile curving her lips as she floated up to total awareness.
“Neshama,” her mate murmured.
My soul. Just as he was hers.
With her eyes still closed, she rolled to her back and stretched, pushing her naked breasts up to Charron in deliberate provocation.
The velvet lash of his tongue across her nipple startled her, eliciting a gasp that dropped her back onto the mattress. Her eyes opened in time to see his beautifully etched lips surround the hardened point and his cheeks hollow on a deep, long suckle. She groaned, her body eagerly responding to the attentions of the man for whom she drew every breath.
She moved to clutch his golden head to her breast, but he straightened, making her aware that he stood beside the bed rather than lay upon it. The sight of his fully dressed body told her why he’d woken her.
Towering over her sprawled, bared body, he stared down at her with heated eyes. The fangs peeping through his wicked smile betrayed that he, too, had become aroused by the way he’d woken her.
Her heart raced at that smile. Her chest ached from the surfeit of emotion he inspired in her. She’d lost everything; at times she still felt phantom twinges from the wings that had been severed from her back, but Char had filled the subsequent hole inside her. Now he was everything to her, the reason she rose every day.
“Save that thought,” he said in his richly resonant voice. “I’ll sate your hunger when I return.”
Vash pushed up onto her elbows. “Where are you going?”
He finished strapping on the twin katana scabbards that crisscrossed his back. “We have a patrol that didn’t check in.”
She sighed, knowing how much time Char had invested in training the fledgling, but the kid couldn’t seem to follow orders.
Char glanced at her before securing a gun holster to his thigh. “I know you think he hasn’t demonstrated sufficient accountability.”
Swinging her legs off the side of the mattress, she said, “I don’t just think it. He’s proven it. Over and over again.”
“He wants to please you, Vashti. He’s ambitious. Ice doesn’t leave his posts to play. He leaves because he thinks he can be more valuable elsewhere. If an opportunity to impress you presents itself, he’ll make the attempt. He’s probably tracking a rogue now or trying to eavesdrop on lycans.”
“I’d be impressed if he followed commands without insubordination.” Standing, Vash stretched, then sighed as her mate came to her and stroked his elegant hands down the sides of her torso. “And he’s pulling you out of our bed. Again.”
“Neshama, someone has to pull me from it. Otherwise, I would never leave it.”
She wrapped her arms around him and pressed her face into the leather vest that hugged his lean chest. Breathing him in, she thought again that he was worth falling for. If she could relive making the choice between her wings and her love for Charron, she would have no doubts or hesitation about repeating her “mistake.” The curse of vampirism was a small price to pay to have him. “I’m coming with you.”
Tilting his head, he pressed his cheek to her crown. “Torque says no.”
“Not his call to make.” She pulled back, her eyes narrowed. Torque was Syre’s son, but she was the Fallen leader’s lieutenant. When it came to the Fallen and their minions—collectively, vampires—only Syre could gainsay her. Even Char had to take orders from her, which he did gracefully for a man who commanded others by nature.
“He has a demon problem.”
“Damn it. He should be able to take care of it.” Yes, hunting the demons who preyed on vampires was her job. No one was better at it than she was, but she couldn’t be everywhere all the time.
“She’s another one of Asmodeus’s.”
“Of course she is. Damn it. Three times in two weeks? He’s fucking with us.” That changed things up. Taking down a demon in the direct line of a king of hell was a bit more politically involved. Vash had a reputation for being a wild card; she’d take the heat without casting as much of a shadow on Syre as his offspring would. And now she was pissed off enough to want to deal with it herself. They may have fallen, but they weren’t easy targets.
Char pressed a kiss to her forehead, then released her. “I’ll be back before dark.”
“Before dark…?” A quick glance at the bedroom window and she understood. “It’s dawn.”
“Yeah.” His face was as grim as she knew hers must be.
Ice wasn’t one of the Fallen, as she and Charron were. He was a mortal who’d been Changed, which meant he was photosensitive. Regardless of his overeager nature, he should’ve checked in before sunrise. Now he’d have to hunker down somewhere until dusk came or Char found him, whichever came first. A few sips of Char’s potent Fallen blood would afford a temporary immunity that would get the errant minion home.
“Have you considered,” she began, pulling back, “that it might be wise to let him stew it out? How will he learn, if he never faces the consequences?”
“Ice isn’t a child.”
Vash shot him a look that challenged that pronouncement. Ice might be nearly as broad and tall as her mate, but he lacked Char’s steely control, leaving him as impulsive as a kid. “I think you’re projecting traits onto him that he doesn’t have.”
“And I think it’s about time you trusted my judgment.” His returning gaze dared her to keep pushing.
It was a look no one else would even consider giving her, and not just because of her rank. While it goaded her obstinacy, she appreciated her mate’s willingness to confront her when he felt strongly about something. It was his ability to separate how he treated her as a superior officer and how he treated her as a woman that first stirred deeper feelings in her, during a time when the humanity she’d been sent to observe had begun to spread like a stain inside her.
She couldn’t pinpoint when her feelings for him had deepened. One day, Charron had been just another Watcher angel like her, one of the seraphim sent to earth to report on man’s progress to the Creator. The next, his smile had taken her breath away, and the sight of his powerfully graceful body had caused places low in her belly to cl
Hiding her new awareness of him had been torturous, but she’d done it for a time, embarrassed by her mortal weakness and unwilling to taint him with it. When he’d succeeded in cornering her, then seducing her, he’d taken her with white-hot determination, and she had fallen from grace into his arms with full awareness of the consequences. She hadn’t shed a tear or made a sound when the avenging Sentinel angels had severed the wings from her back, turning her into the Fallen bloodsucker she was today. She had, however, begged and pleaded for mercy for Charron, and she’d cried the sobs of the heartbroken when they’d stripped him of his gorgeous wings, too.
His touch on her face brought her out of her memories, returning her to the present and the man whose eyes were now the gleaming amber of a soulless vampire. “Where do you go,” he asked softly, “when you drift away from me like that?”
Her mouth curved on one side. “I was telling myself how stupid it is to be irritated by your compassion and desire to mentor when I fell in love with you for those very traits. Among many others.”
Char fisted his hand in her long hair, bringing the crimson strands to his lips. “I remember you in flight, Vashti. When I close my eyes, I can still see you with the sun at your back, its light shining off your emerald feathers. You were a jewel to me, with your ruby hair and sapphire eyes. I ached whenever I saw you. The need to touch you, taste you, push inside you was a physical pain.”
“Poetry, my love?” she teased, although the levity in her tone was marred by the huskiness of deep emotion. He knew her so well. Read her thoughts so easily. He was her other half, the best part of her. While she was temperamental and capricious, he was levelheaded and constant. When she was impatient and easily frustrated, he was reassuring and forward thinking.
A Hunger So Wild by Sylvia Day / Romance & Love / Mystery & Detective / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes