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Archangel's Heart(Guild Hunter,book 9)(11) by Nalini Singh
Dmitri moved just barely in time.
The blade thudded home in the wall on which he’d been leaning, would’ve pinned his ear to it if he hadn’t shifted. As it was, he rubbed his jaw, then reached up to remove the blade and throw it back to her in an easy spin she caught without issue. “You’re faster.”
Raphael nodded. “Yes.” He moved down the corridor until they were about fifteen feet apart. “Throw blades at me,” he said. “As fast as you can.”
Elena didn’t hesitate—Raphael was more than strong enough that even if he didn’t dodge in time, he’d heal from a knife wound in a heartbeat. But she didn’t think he wouldn’t be able to dodge. She’d sparred with him enough to know he moved like lightning. The only angel who was faster was Illium.
Bluebell could outdodge even his sire’s blades if he tried hard enough.
She threw every one of her blades one after the other in a blur of metal, aware of Dmitri watching with dark-eyed focus as Raphael dodged or simply caught the weapons in the air. Honor poked out her head from her office across from Dmitri’s, realized what was going on, and stayed safely out of the line of fire. She, too, would heal from a knife wound, but she was a baby vampire. It would take time—though not as much as it should.
At Dmitri’s request, Raphael was the angel who’d Made Honor. She had the blood of an archangel running through her veins, just enough to make her stronger and more advanced in vampiric terms than she should’ve been for her age as an almost-immortal. Not that it had changed her except on the surface, honing her beauty to a luminous edge.
No, Honor was still Honor: a woman full of heart who loved history and languages and who was a hunter to the core. A number of former street kids owed their bright new futures to Honor’s deep capacity for love—and the other woman wasn’t resting on her laurels. She continued to work to save children who were lost and alone.
“Whoa!” Honor cried out as one of Elena’s blades almost clipped Raphael’s temple.
Elena grinned and spun out another blade before he could recover from his harsh swerve, but he was still too fast. He caught her final blade, spun it over, and threw it back. She slid it into her thigh sheath, then put away the others as he threw them back to her one by one. Several had embedded into the carpet and the walls after he moved out of the way, and Elena wondered what the Tower repair crew would make of the random knife holes that had appeared in this newly renovated hallway.
Probably shrug and mutter, “Business as usual.”
“So?” she asked as she sheathed the last of the blades, her heart thumping with the exhilaration and pure fun of what they’d just done.
Surprisingly, it was Honor who answered. “You’re faster,” she said definitively. “I remember watching you practice in the Guild ring a year ago, and while you were dangerously good, you could’ve never come that close to actually hitting Raphael.”
Dmitri’s gaze had softened when it landed on his wife, but by the time he returned his attention to Elena, those dark irises gleamed once again with taunting amusement. “It appears the Tower’s resident baby is now a toddler.”
“I’m going to carve out your heart one day, fry it with salsa sauce, then feed it to the crows,” Elena said conversationally. “Don’t worry, Honor. It’ll grow back. Unfortunately.”
Shaking her head, Honor walked over to stand beside her husband. He immediately put his arm around her shoulders. Unlike her usual casual office wear, Honor was dressed in hunting clothes today—leather pants, boots, a simple T-shirt, and a leather jacket that would protect against knife strikes or claws.
“You on a hunt?” Elena asked.
“Just got back,” Honor said with a roll of dramatic green eyes tilted up at the corners and set against skin of warm honey brushed with a shimmer of gold, the soft ebony of her curls pulled back in a ponytail. “A spoiled and frankly idiotic vampire decided to take off after a fight with his angelic master—who also happens to be his lover.”
She threw up her hands. “I mean, who thought that was a good idea? I found him ‘hiding out’ in a fancy hotel drinking expensive room-service blood, hauled him home, and left vampire and angel both looking at each other with equally sulky, pouty faces.”
Adding her own eye roll to Honor’s because, seriously, people were stupid sometimes. Even people who’d lived for centuries. “A job’s a job I guess—and we have to stay sharp.”
“That’s what I figured.” Honor shrugged. “But forget about me. When are you two going to be friends?” A pointed glance from Dmitri to Elena and back.
“Never,” Elena and Dmitri said in concert, then scowled at each other for that unintended agreement.
Honor laughed and reached up to run her lips over the hard line of Dmitri’s jaw, while Raphael’s amusement was quieter but no less potent.
“Nice of you to dress up for me, though,” Dmitri said to Elena.
“Oh, bite me,” she said, realizing her mistake a second too late.