Eve of Destruction (Marked #2) - Page 31


Accelerating to a speed faster than mortal time, Raguel noted how the world around him slowed. The wayward hats hovered in midair, arrested. Birds hung in midflight. The only thing moving at his pace was the Infernal. The creature broke free of its confinement and leaped out onto the field, felling two trees and leaving a depression in the ground.


It was a flesh-colored mass the size of a bus. The beast barreled toward the unsuspecting formation with a speed that was stunning considering its bulk. It ran on all fours, fists punching into the Earth with unrestrained ferocity. The shoulders and thighs were disproportionately gigantic, a grotesque contrast to the smaller head and tiny waist. But the crowning atrocity was its mouth, a yawning cavern lined with rows of yellowed teeth.


It crawled inside my Mark, Mariel had reported. She screamed and it lunged into her mouth. It disappeared inside her. It should have been impossible. The creature was many times her size . . .


The falling trees were at the midway point in their rush to the ground. Tucking his arms close to his sides, Raguel beat his wings, increasing his velocity.


He was one of the holy angels. He who inflicts punishment on the world and the luminaries.


But he had no problem kicking the ass of anything vile. Sammael had been gunning for him since he was cast from Heaven. Raguel supposed it was time to give his fallen brother what he’d long wanted.


“Out of the belly of Hell I cried,” Raguel said grimly, zeroing in, praying for strength and the blessing of God. “And You heard my voice.”


So much time had passed since his last battle. Time wasted. Time misused. He’d grown arrogant. Sloppy. And an innocent, untrained Mark had paid the price. Jan Molenaar’s soul would now wait in Sheol—purgatory—its owner denied the chance to redeem it. Raguel prayed his next act would redeem them both.


The Infernal reared up on its hind legs, attaining a breathtaking twenty-plus feet in height. It screamed with open-throated hatred at the heavens, beating at its chest in an awesome display of power.


Retracting his wings at the last second, Raguel dived into the gaping maw.


Eve was striding down the hallway before her brain fully registered Alec’s intent.


Get there. Quick.


Her aching body was galvanized by the purring rumble of his voice, a seductive timbre that even cellular reception couldn’t diminish. She hurried through the kitchen and opened the rear door. Richens sat on a folded-up jacket on the lowest step, his head turning to see who joined him.


“Hollis.” His eyes and expression were eerily blank. “I need to talk to you.”


“Lose Mastermind,” Alec ordered.


For some silly reason, it meant a lot to her that he remembered her nicknames. “Getting there,” she muttered.


Eve shook her head at Richens in silent negation. Later, she mouthed. She jumped off the step and onto the dead grass.


“You just showed up and now you’re leaving again?” he groused. “We have to pack.”


She didn’t bother pointing out that he wasn’t doing anything to help. “I forgot something next door.”


“That’s what Garza and Hogan said . . . before they headed in the opposite direction.”


Eve waved him off, unsurprised. Garza was going to get calluses on his dick if he didn’t slow down soon.


“You still moving?” Alec asked.


“Yes. By the way, this Novium business is damned inconvenient. I really needed to talk to

Izzie. She should have reached Molenaar around the same time as me. But she didn’t show up until ten or fifteen minutes later. Where the hell was she?”


“The Novium is never convenient, angel. And you can’t do anything about your classmate now anyway. Raguel has you packing and you can’t work alone.”


“So I’m just stuck being miserable?”


“Your brain is seeking the sensation of a kill, so we’ll trick it—temporarily—into thinking you’ve done that.”


“How?”


“Phone sex, angel.”


She stumbled over a protruding patch of dead weeds. “Killing demons is orgasmic?”


“How did you feel after you killed the Nix?”


Euphoric. Slightly drunk. “O-kay . . . That’s really kinda sick, Alec.”


“Hey, they’re the bad guys, remember? The scourge of the Earth. Evil incarnate. It’s okay to feel good about vanquishing them.”


Rounding the backside of the duplex, Eve bypassed the kitchen door and went to the main entrance of the girls’ side. It was unlocked and she hurried in. A pile of duffel bags and backpacks rested on the threshold to the dining room, including hers. “Can you go upstairs and ask God for a little help here?”


“You know better than that.”


“Can’t you try?”


She should be a basket case right now. Traumatized for life and frightened into paralysis. Instead, the memory of Molenaar’s death filled her with an aggressive, wild energy. The need to move, to act, to rip something apart was difficult to fight. But a good hard screw would do just as well. That bothered her more than she could say.


“Angel—”


“Why is sex so much a part of being a Mark?” She swiped at a drop of sweat that trickled down her temple. “Sex brought us together in the first place. Then, it was involved when Abel put the mark on me, and again when I went through the physical changes with you. Seems to me that being marked and being a nymphomaniac go hand in hand.”


“It’s balance, Eve. You’re a killer now. You’ll wake up in the morning for the sole purpose of murdering something and you will usually go to bed having accomplished that task. Sex connects you to someone. It forces you to give and take intimacy. It keeps you human.”


“Balance would be sex one day and hunting the next.” She leaned against the living room wall. “Mixing the two is just . . . kinky.”


“Sex isn’t the reason we hooked up.”


She quivered at his rumbling tone. “Liar,” she breathed. “It’s all we had time for.”


“Liar,” he rejoined gruffly. “It took us half a second to see where we were headed. Time had nothing to do with it and the sex was a bonus.”


Eve would never forget the sight of him on his Harley outside the ice cream store where she worked after school. He’d had her at the first glance. “You made my mouth water,” she confessed. “Still do.”


“Right now, I could tell you to cool off with a shower and an ice pack. I could tell you to pick a fight with that blonde who has issues with you and knock out some of the stress that way. I could suggest that you slip away and get yourself off without me. But I’m not going to let you do any of those things, Eve, because I need to be your go-to guy.” He paused, then, “And I need Abel to not be that guy.”


Sagging into the

wall, Eve knew she couldn’t feel any worse. Reed had run like hell, but she couldn’t say that without explaining what he’d been running from. And it didn’t matter anyway. Alec was a damn good guy and she was lucky to have him in her corner. He wouldn’t be there forever, but right now was better than nothing.


“Eve?”


“Gimme a minute. You slayed me.”


He laughed softly. “I’m glad you don’t need wine and roses.”


She wiped at her wet cheeks with her free hand. “You make this all bearable, you know.”


“Just bearable? I’ll have to work harder.”


More than bearable. He made her feel safe and sane. He didn’t put her off or undermine her. He treated her with respect when everyone else was manipulating her into cramped corners.


“I miss you like crazy,” he murmured. “You’re in my head even when I’m sleeping.”


“Did you have a wet dream?”


“Damn near. You were lying beside me, naked and hot as hell. I got hard just watching you sleep.”


Eve understood that. Admiring him while he was sleeping was a favorite pastime of hers. Sleep softened him in a way nothing else could.


“I pulled you under me and slid into you before you were fully awake. You made those sexy little noises you always make when I’m deep in you. I could almost feel you fisting around me. And the way you can’t stop coming . . . Drives me fucking crazy that I can get to you that way.”


The images that flooded her mind concentrated the heat of the Novium and dropped it low in her belly. Alec’s voice, roughly seductive like velvet, always left her weak in the knees. He was inexhaustible, and his need to get her off until she couldn’t take any more had pretty much ruined her for other men.


“I wish you were here with me now,” he purred. “I’d strip you bare and lick you from head to toe.”


She gave a shaky exhale. “You have an oral fixation.”


“Which you love.” The smile in his voice sparked an inner quivering.


Alec never did anything in half-measure. Unlike Reed, who rode a woman hard and put her away wet, Alec took his time during sex. He used his mouth first, then his hands. From head to toe, front to back, every curve and crevice. Whispering praise both lewd and tender. Taking hours.


“Are you thinking about my mouth on you?” he murmured. “Are you hot and wet?”


“Are you alone?” Eve locked the front door. The big picture window was covered by a white sheet that let milky light in, but made viewing impossible. It was as private as she was going to get without venturing off to someplace farther away. “Do you have an audience?”


“I’m all yours. Why are you whispering? Aren’t you alone yet?”


“Yes, but we’re having phone sex, Alec. And I’m inexperienced. It would be embarrassing if someone overheard me. Where’s the horse?”


He laughed. “Giselle is handcuffed to the bathroom pipes in the adjoining room.”


“Handcuffed? Sounds kinky.”


“Stop it. Tell me you miss me.”


She sighed. “A lot. Are you naked?”


“Not completely. Just enough to get the job done. I’ve got work to do, too, but you come first.”