Earthbound angel Dimitri Radchenko has waited centuries to avenge his family and to find the one woman destined to complete him. After nursing her back to health following a demonic possession, he fears he may have finally found that woman in romance author, Elle Gates.
Elle is beautiful, smart, and successful, but she is also human. Having endured centuries of loss, Dimitri fears binding his heart and soul to a woman destined to age and die. But Elle has been living a lie. When she suddenly disappears, Dimitri is compelled to follow, and discovers that not only is Elle not who she seems to be, she isn’t who she thought she was.
Dimitri’s eyes flew open, his lungs struggling for breath, his chest burning. It took him a second to get his bearings and remember where he was. Always before he’d watched the nightmare in Elle’s mind in much the same way he would view a movie. This time he must have dozed off with his mind still linked to hers and somehow gotten sucked in.
He was an ancient warrior who’d seen more horrors than most people could imagine, yet the brief immersion into her nightmare had been beyond even his experience. How did she stand it night after night? Elle whimpered in her sleep, and he moved closer. Unable to stop himself, needing to offer her comfort, he reached out a hand to smooth the damp, tangled hair away from her face. His fingers brushed the petal softness of her cheek, and she turned to nuzzle his palm. Dimitri froze, and then slowly pulled back his hand. Elle followed the movement instinctively, rolling in his direction until her body came right up against him. She slung a bare leg over his and draped an arm across his stomach. The moment she touched him, the gray, swirling patterns indicative of restful sleep and normal dreams returned. His heart pounded in his ears, and his mouth went dry. Her nightmares had disappeared at his touch.
Dimitri lay as still as stone, struggling to ignore the warm, moist breath fanning his skin where Elle’s cheek rested against his side. His brain had been completely on board with his plan to disregard the bond drawing them together but, if the sudden tightness in his groin and the hot flush creeping over his skin were any indication, his body was ignoring his good intentions completely. He shifted slightly to ease his growing discomfort, and she burrowed even closer into his side. He risked a glance at her face and all of the logical reasons he’d been selling himself for walking away struck him as utterly selfish. For the first time in the many weeks he’d been with her, Elle’s expression bore no strain, no tension, and no fear. So many lives he’d been powerless to save, powerless to change. He couldn’t change her mortality, but what if he could offer her freedom from her demons? Did he still have the right to walk away just to avoid his own eventual heartache? Scarred, battle hardened, disillusioned, Dimitri Radchenko knew he was no bargain for any woman. He wondered if a woman like Elle Gates would consider him a fair exchange for peace.
“Dimitri?” Her voice was a sleepy whisper.
“It’s just a dream, baby. Go back to sleep.”
“M’kay,” she mumbled and plastered herself even more closely against his side.
Taking a deep breath, Dimitri carefully lowered his arm and rested his hand on her nearly naked hip. Gritting his teeth against the silky texture of her skin, he pulled her into him. She sighed softly, and his heart twisted, battling a war between contentment and consternation. Elle Gates was human, fragile, doomed, her limited lifetime a blip on the radar of his long existence. Nothing but pain awaited him. And hell, considering she was human, there were no guarantees the bond had any effect on her at all. This attraction could be all one sided. Still, in this time, at this moment, he couldn’t deny it. Holding her in his arms and thinking of her as his felt…right.
Mac’s wife had put her faith in Dimitri to keep her friend safe, and he fully intended to do so. Even if he couldn’t quite decide whether his determination to protect her stemmed from his promise to Kat or his own desire. It was irrelevant at the moment. Something had this woman spooked enough to run from a successful career, everything and everyone she knew and loved, without a word. As the first faint fingers of dawn stole through the gap in the drapes and inched across the room toward the bed, Dimitri reluctantly disentangled himself from Elle’s arms and gathered up his things. With a lingering look at her peaceful face, he faded from the room with plenty of questions but absolutely no answers.
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