Angels' Blood

By: Nalini Singh






Berkley Sensation Titles by Nalini Singh

Guild Hunter Series

angels’ Blood





Psy-Changeling Series

slave to sensation

VISIONS OF HEAT

caressed BY ice

mine to possess

hostage to pleasure





Anthologies

an enchanted season

(with Maggie Shayne, Erin McCarthy, and Jean Johnson)

the magical christmas cat

(with Lora Leigh, Erin McCarthy, and Linda Winstead Jones)





THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada

(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand

(a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,

South Africa





Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England





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 websites or their content.





ANGELS’ BLOOD





A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author





PRINTING HISTORY

Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / March 2009





Copyright © 2009 by Nalini Singh.





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.

For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.





eISBN : 978-1-101-01678-7





BERKLEY® SENSATION

Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

BERKLEY® SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.





http://us.penguingroup.com





For the real Ashwini,

who is definitely not all kinds of crazy

(except when I drive her to it).

Best friends—and sisters—

don’t come any better than this.





1

When Elena told people she was a vampire hunter, their first reaction was an inevitable gasp, followed by, “You go around sticking those sharp stakes in their evil putrid hearts?”

Okay, maybe the actual words varied but the feel was the same. It made her want to track down and exterminate the idiot fifteenth-century storyteller who’d made up that tale in the first place. Of course, the vampires had probably already taken care of it—after the first few of them ended up in whatever passed for an emergency room back then.

Elena didn’t stake vampires. She tracked them, bagged them, and returned them to their masters—the angels. Some people called her kind bounty hunters, but according to her Guild card, she was “Licensed to Hunt Vampires & Assorted Others”—which made her a vampire hunter, with the attendant benefits, including hazard pay. That pay was very healthy. It had to be to compensate for the fact that hunters occasionally had their jugulars torn open.


Still, Elena decided she needed a pay raise after her calf muscle started protesting. She’d been stuck in a cramped corner of an alley in the Bronx for the past two hours, a too tall female with pale, almost white hair and silver eyes. The hair was a pain in the butt. According to her sometimes friend Ransom, she might as well wear a sign announcing her presence. Since dyes wouldn’t work on it for longer than two minutes, Elena had a great collection of knit caps.

She was tempted to pull her current one down over her nose, but had a feeling that would only intensify the malodorous “ambience” of this dank piece of New York City. That led her to thinking about the virtues of nose plugs—

Something rustled behind her.

She swiveled . . . to come face-to-face with a stalking cat, its eyes reflecting silver in the darkness. Satisfied the animal was what it seemed, she returned her attention to the sidewalk, wondering if her eyes shone as freakily as that cat’s. It was a good thing she’d inherited dark gold skin from her Moroccan grandmother or she’d have resembled a ghost.

“Where the hell are you?” she muttered, reaching down to rub at her calf. This vamp had led her on a merry chase—through his own sheer stupidity. He didn’t know what he was doing, which made him a little hard to second-guess.

Ransom had once asked her if it bothered her to round up helpless vampires and drag their sorry asses back to a life of virtual slavery. He’d been laughing hysterically at the time. No, it didn’t bother her. Just like it didn’t bother him. The vamps chose that slavery—of a hundred years’ duration—the instant they petitioned an angel to Make them almost-immortal. If they had stayed human, if they had gone to their graves in peace, then they wouldn’t have found themselves bound by a contract signed in blood. And while the angels did take advantage of their position, a contract was a contract.