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Archangel's Heart(Guild Hunter,book 9)(15) by Nalini Singh
“I will prepare.” Montgomery melted away, no doubt to inform the chef, Sivya—who also happened to be his wife. The two had married in a quiet, beautiful ceremony a year earlier.
“Dmitri,” Raphael said as they walked into the library. “What have you learned?”
Looking up from something he was reading on a handheld screen, his expression devoid of anything but hard-eyed concentration, Dmitri said, “I heard from Dahariel.”
Elena wasn’t surprised at the news. Dahariel might be a cruel bastard with inexplicable taste in women, but he was also an experienced second whom Dmitri respected as a peer.
“Astaad’s territory experienced a number of small tidal waves triggered by undersea quakes,” Dmitri told them. “Minor damage only.” He motioned with the handheld. “The media’s confirmed quakes around the world, but so far, there are no reports of any significant damage except to buildings that were already weak for other reasons.”
Elena’s phone buzzed.
Stepping away from the screen when she saw Sara’s name flash up, she walked outside onto the lawn so her conversation wouldn’t overlap Raphael’s. “Sara,” she said. “What’s happened? Did someone in the Guild get hurt after all?”
“No, but I just heard that your dad was in a town car that got hit by a truck.”
Elena’s hand clenched tight on her phone, her stomach tensing. “Injuries?” She knew her best friend would’ve made sure to get that information for her.
“Jeffrey’s got a broken arm but is otherwise fine. Not a scratch on either driver.” Sara told her the name of the hospital where her father was being treated. “I know you two don’t have a warm and fuzzy relationship but I figured you’d want to know.”
“Thanks, Sara.” Staring out toward the glittering skyline of Manhattan, thousands of tiny windows lit up against the night, Elena wondered what Jeffrey Deveraux was thinking at this moment, knew she could never predict his thoughts or actions.
“Damn it,” Sara muttered. “That’s another idiot.”
Elena knew exactly what had her friend—and head of the Hunters Guild—so hot under the collar. It was a welcome distraction from thinking about a father who would never again be the papa she’d so adored. “How many vamps decided to make a break for it in the confusion after the quake?” That was why the Guild existed—because not every vampire wanted to fulfill his or her hundred-year Contract.
Elena had heard all the sob stories, but fact was fact: to become a vampire, you had to agree to serve a hundred years under the angels. And it wasn’t as if the angels made any effort whatsoever to hide that such service could involve pain and torture and treatment so harsh it might break you. Not all angels were brutal, but enough had been jaded by centuries or millennia of life to the point that sadistic and often sexual punishments were a source of sick pleasure.
Vivek hadn’t wanted to become a vampire for that very reason, even knowing that vampirism would eventually heal his spinal cord.
“A hundred years of slavery to have the use of my body,” he’d whispered. “A hundred years at the mercy of some random immortal who might decide to treat me like a pet dog.”
Elena had promised him that he wouldn’t ever be under the command of a “random immortal,” that he’d be overseen by whichever of the Seven was in charge of the Tower at the time.
Quite aside from that, Raphael was smart: he’d never waste Vivek’s skills by assigning him to a menial task.