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Archangel's Heart(Guild Hunter,book 9)(16) by Nalini Singh
As to Vivek’s Contract—while he might be permitted more flexibility because of his friendship with Elena and his unique circumstances, her fellow hunter was adamant about completing his hundred years of service. “I want to pay my way,” he’d told her, his jaw set. “As far as I’m concerned, the century of service is fair payment for the permanent medical treatment that is vampirism.”
That was truer in Vivek’s case than in others—but all vampires gained the potential for millennia of life on becoming near-immortal. As more than one hunter had been known to point out to a whining vamp who’d breached his or her Contract, there was no point crying over it after you’d already accepted the gift with open eyes. Not like you could give it back.
“I try to tell myself I should be glad,” Sara responded in a jaundiced tone. “Because as long as there are idiots, there will be a Guild, but honestly, the recent crop of rabbits doesn’t seem to have a single complete brain between them.” She blew out a breath. “I better go. Got reports coming in of collars.”
Elena had barely hung up when her phone rang again. This time, it was Marcia Blue, the chief operating officer of Blood-for-Less. It had begun with one small blood café and was now a thriving chain of three across the city. And Elena was the official CEO. That cracked her up every single time.
Ransom and Demarco found it so funny that they’d printed out glossy black business cards for her with Elena Deveraux, Guild Hunter Angel CEO on the front and a silhouette of a suit-wearing, crossbow-wielding female angel on the back.
“Hey, Marcia,” she said. “Our businesses still standing?”
The once-timid vampire responded in a warm but efficient voice and they talked over a number of matters, including plans for expansion. “I’m heading out of town,” Elena said after listening to what Marcia had to say, “but talk to Jonas, hammer out the finances.” Jonas was a vampire and Elena’s financial manager. “I’ll make a final call once he gives me all the numbers.”
“Oh, sure.” Marcia’s enthusiasm bubbled over. “Jonas is great to work with.”
Elena’s eyes widened. Hmm . . . “I have to go now, Marcia,” she said as Raphael stepped out to join her, “but we’ll talk when I get back.”
“Okay, sure. Good night.”
Hanging up, Elena slid away her phone. “Archangel, I think my business partner and my financial manager might have zing between them.”
Turning, she touched her finger to his chest, felt the spark ignite, her belly heating. “Zing.”
Raphael closed his hand over hers. “That’s excellent. Perhaps Marcia can steal Jonas totally away from the angel to whom he is loyal so I can then steal him from you and Marcia.”
“Hey, no industrial espionage while I’m setting up my conglomerate.” Elena gave him her best scowl before returning to the matter at hand. “What else did Dmitri have to tell you?”
When the heartbreaking blue of Raphael’s eyes went metallic in its chill, she knew the news wasn’t going to be good.