‘Angels’ Blood’ by Nalini Singh #1

Extract

Elena’s instincts were screaming at her to grab the knife in her boot, do some damage and get the hell out, but she forced herself to stay in place. The truth was, she wouldn’t make it more than two feet before Raphael broke every single bone in her body.

It was exactly what he’d done to a vampire who’d thought to betray him.

That vampire had been found in the centre of Times Square. He’d still been alive. And he’d still been trying to scream—“No! Raphael, no!” But his voice had been a rasp by then, his jaw hanging on by stringlike tendons, his flesh missing in places.

Elena—out of the country on a hunt—had seen the news footage after the event. She knew the vamp had lain there in agony for three hours before being picked up by a pair of angels. Everyone in New York, hell, everyone in the country, had known he was there, but no one had dared help him, not with Raphael’s mark blazing on his forehead. The archangel had wanted the punishment witnessed, wanted to remind people of who and what he was. It had worked. Now the mere mention of his name evoked visceral fear.

But Elena wouldn’t crawl, not for anyone. It was a choice she’d made the night her father had told her to get on her knees and beg, and maybe, maybe, he’d accept her back into the family.
Elena hadn’t spoken to her father in a decade.

“You should have a care,” Raphael said into the unnatural silence.

She didn’t collapse in relief—the air continued to hang heavy with the promise of menace. “I don’t like to play games.”

“Learn.” He settled back in his chair. “You will live a very short life if you expect only honesty.”

Sensing the danger had passed—for now—she unclenched her fingers with an effort of will. The force of the blood rushing back into them was painful in its extremity. “I didn’t say I expected honesty. People lie. Vampires lie. Even—” She caught herself.

“Surely you’re not going to practice discretion now?” The amusement was back but it was tempered with an edge that stroked like a razor across her skin.

She looked into that perfect face and knew she’d never met a more deadly being in her life. If she displeased him, Raphael would kill her as easily as she might swat a fly. She’d be smart to remember that, no matter how the knowledge infuriated her. “You said I had to do a test?”

His wings moved slightly at that instant, drawing her attention. They truly were beautiful and she couldn’t help but covet them. To be able to fly…what an amazing gift.

Raphael’s eyes shifted to look at something over her left shoulder. “Less a test than an experiment.”

She didn’t twist around, had no need to. “There’s a vampire behind me.”

“Are you sure?” His expression remained unchanged.

She fought the urge to turn. “Yes.”

He nodded. “Look.”

Review

Angels’ Blood follows the best vampire hunter Elena Daveraux, a strong female protagonist who refuses to back down. She is funny, stubborn and a great heroine who you cannot help but love. In the world that Singh creates, Archangels rule and angels flying around are normal. The rest of the setting is recognisable to all readers, the backdrop still has humans ruling, cars driving around, people going to work. The vampires are people turned by Angels and when they default on the agreement of their transformation, Elena is contracted to find and bring them back.

The Archangel Raphael is arrogant, powerful, at times ruthless and unbelievably sexy. His descriptions make us readers fall in love with him as well. Yet, Elena never looses her strength, determination or wit, something that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some authors tend to have the male as overly dominant and the woman becomes submissive or is quietened within the narrative, Singh never allows Elena to yield, instead she is fiercely independent throughout. Their ‘relationship’ they start to build is one where they both refuse to lose their identity and this builds obvious tension.

Needless to say there are obstacles to their ‘relationship’, including his own dominance and need to control. Yet, without giving anything away, the main obstacle was one that I could not see how they would overcome. Usually, in paranormal romance you can see the ending, yet with ‘Angel’s Blood’ I wasn’t sure how and if Raphael and Elena would end up together. I love a surprise twist and that is exactly what Singh provided me with.

I loved this book. Both characters are flawed, both have trauma in their pasts but it is what gives them their character, grit and strength. The supporting characters are funny, opinionated and perfectly compliment the two protagonists. My one grip is that when wanting to get the next book, I had to buy the next 10 because they weren’t sold individually, unless as an e-book. However, I am not complaining too much as The Guild Hunter Series, is quickly becoming my favourite new paranormal series (even though it isn’t new in terms of publication). It is also worth noting that although the title references Raphael, the name of the series ‘Guild Hunter’ is focused on Elena, another example of the equal terms Singh is trying to create.

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