Angel fever, p.13
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       Angel Fever, p.13

         Part #3 of Angel series by L. A. Weatherly
Page 13


  She caught her breath. “Oh, yes, Raziel, please,” she murmured, gripping his hand. She leaned down to kiss his neck. “Please,” she repeated.

  He didn’t need further urging. He changed to his angel form and stood before both girls, wings spread; reaching out mentally to them, he rested a hand in each of their auras and began to feed. Even with Summer’s sadly depleted energy, experiencing two of them at once was intoxicating: waves of sensation that rocked through him, nourishing him.

  When he’d finished, the two girls sat slumped weakly, looking awestruck, Lauren in the chair and Summer leaning against it. Raziel shifted to his human form again and smiled to himself at the picture they made.

  “Come with me,” he said, tugging them both up by their hands. Summer staggered as she rose; he put an arm around her. All right, so perhaps he shouldn’t be doing this when the girl was so weak already – but he’d be getting rid of her tomorrow, after all.

  “Oh, Raziel…I feel like my life is a fairy tale now,” whispered Lauren as she got up. She snuggled against his side.

  Her words seemed to echo. Raziel froze, staring at her, as an image rushed into his mind: the gently shifting branches of a long-ago willow tree, lit by the glow of his wings. A woman with wavy blonde hair, gazing up at him: You’ve made my life a fairy tale.

  “Why do you say that?” he demanded.

  Lauren blinked. “Well, because it is. When the earthquakes came, it was so terrible at first, but now I’m almost glad they happened. You’ve made life a fairy tale for both of us. We feel so lucky, Summer and I. ”

  “We do, we really do,” said Summer dreamily.

  He was an idiot. Two beautiful girls, and he was thinking about one from nineteen years ago? Who wasn’t even alive any more and had been catatonic for years before her death?

  “Well, come on then,” he said, lifting Lauren up in his arms; she squealed in delight. “Let’s see if we can make the fairy tale a little more real for you both. ”

  Later the dream that was memory came again.

  Both girls had now departed. Raziel stood at his bedroom window with a sheet wrapped around himself, scowling out at the flaming Rocky Mountain sunset. The images had awakened him from what should have been a refreshing nap. He could almost hear Miranda’s voice still, so soft and childlike – feel her arms around him as the two of them sank to the ground, the willow branches making a private cave.

  “You know, I – I get confused sometimes now,” she’d whispered.

  “Do you really?” It had been cold out there; he hadn’t cared. Ah, the smoothness of her neck against his lips – the delicious taste of her life energy, still pulsing through his halo.

  Miranda had nodded, green eyes wide. “Since I met you, it’s hard for me to think… It’s like part of me is in another world, and I can’t figure out where I’m supposed to be. ”

  Hardly surprising, the amount he’d been feeding from her. Raziel had chuckled, only half listening. “First a fairy tale, now another world. I’m not very good at keeping you in the here and now, am I?”

  “No, you are! Oh, Raziel, you’re the only thing that does. ” She’d reached up to cup his cheek, swallowed hard. “The rest of my life – college, compositions, concerts – none of it matters compared to this, right now, with you. ”

  “Shall we make the most of it then?” he’d murmured, still caressing her. “Of course, it will probably make you feel even more confused, so maybe we shouldn’t – I seem to have that effect on humans. ”

  As he’d known she would, Miranda had joyfully acquiesced. He remembered feeling a slight regret that her mind seemed to be dissolving so quickly – though not enough regret to make him hesitate.

  Now Raziel gritted his teeth. Why did he keep dreaming about this? Ever since the earthquakes, Miranda had been haunting him. She was a woman he’d once enjoyed, yes – for a short while, he’d been almost obsessed with her – but now, after nearly two decades, he wouldn’t even have remembered her if it hadn’t been for the child she’d somehow borne.

  He glared out at the mountains. Yes, the half-angel, half-human, wholly impossible child – who, if still alive, had the power to destroy them all, according to Paschar’s vision.

  No. Not after tomorrow.

  In the window, his reflection showed a handsome, sensitive face with crisp black hair, whose expression was more apprehensive than he liked to admit. Raziel knew the dream would linger for days now. Seeing again Miranda’s image – so like their daughter’s – he pressed his forehead against the cool windowpane and swore softly. Why, out of so many human conquests, had this one young music student begun haunting him?

  And why did her memory fill him with such unease that what should have been a time of triumphant anticipation instead felt dark with foreboding?

  ALEX KNEW THAT MOST OF the drive to Denver would have been pretty desolate anyway – crossing first the Nevada desert and then the Utah one – but the earthquakes had taken desolate to a whole new level. Though he longed to just floor it, in too many places there were deep potholes lurking or dramatic ripples in the asphalt – and out here there’d been only aftershocks.

  It had still been enough to change the terrain for ever.

  Dawn was breaking as the remains of Las Vegas came into view. The Strip had been almost totally destroyed; Alex could make out the jagged base of the Eiffel Tower and half a pyramid. Grimly, he recalled a trip he and Sam had made into Vegas, to scavenge holograph machines for training from the ruins of an angel-themed hotel. Poking around in the shattered building with his flashlight had not been an experience he’d want to repeat. Christ, there’d been people in there when the place went down.

  Willow sat in the passenger seat, staring at the devastated city, her face tight. Alex touched her leg, glad when they left the sight behind.

  Five hours after leaving the base, they reached Utah. When at last they turned east onto Highway 70, the route was transformed: fresh, smooth asphalt gleamed in the sun.

  Thank god. The truck leaped forward as Alex punched down on the gas. It was a relief to be going faster, though the newly repaired road meant it was a route used by Eden staff. It’d be pretty attractive to bandits too – and a truck loaded with half a dozen full fuel containers was a prize they’d kill for.

  Willow sat quietly, hugging her knees. Alex took in her expression. “Getting worse?”

  She gave a tense nod. “Stronger with every mile. ”

  Gradually the road started to climb as they entered the Rockies. Neither of them commented as refugees began appearing: straggling groups weighed down with belongings. Without fail, they stuck out their thumbs the second they spotted the truck. The hope on the tired, dusty faces gouged at Alex.

  An older woman holding a little girl’s hand came into view. Willow’s eyes were sorrowful as she studied them. “Heading to Denver Eden,” she said.

  “Or Golden. It’s just opened, remember?” The small town was only about ten miles from Denver. Alex shifted gears, hating what he knew would happen to everyone they were passing.

  “Yeah. ” Willow sighed, still gazing at the woman and child. “So I guess they didn’t hear the Voice of Freedom,” she said softly.

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