Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 77

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“What?” I whispered.

He tilted his head, kissing the tip of my nose. “You’ll never know the real reason, but you can choose to believe whatever you want about it. You don’t have to make your choice now, but no matter what you decide to believe, it doesn’t change who or what you are or how much you mean to me or to Zayne or to the other Wardens and Stacey. Even Cayman,” he added.

“Even Cayman?” I laughed hoarsely.

He kissed the corner of my mouth. “Even him. None of that changes. That female—Lilith—if she did what she did to save you, that’s great. If she did it to save her own life, then forget her. Either way, it doesn’t change you.”

I closed my eyes as I leaned into him, and he took my weight, wrapping his other arm around me. “You’re right.”

“I’m always right, Shortie.”

“No, you’re not.” I grinned when he snorted. “But you are right now. It would be nice to know that Lilith cared for me and made a choice to save me, because I’m her daughter, but it doesn’t really matter in the end.”

“Nope.” He kissed the other side of my lips. “Not at all.”

“I matter,” I whispered, and he rewarded my response with a direct smacker on the lips. “You matter. We matter.” I got another kiss for that. “Zayne matters and Nicolai and Dez and all the other Wardens matter. Stacey matters. Even Cayman matters.”

His lips curled into a smile against mine. “I wouldn’t go that far.”

“Shush it.” This time, I kissed him.

Roth clasped my cheeks as he pulled back. “Are you okay?”

I knew he was asking not just because of what happened with Lilith, but also with Zayne, and I loved him so much for that—so, so much. “I’m okay.”

“Ah, then you better hold on, Shortie.”

“Hold on—” I squealed as he stood suddenly, and I did hold on, wrapping my legs around his lean hips and my arms around his neck.

“You got it.” Then he kissed me again as he made a low sound deep in his throat that sent shivers all across me. His lips glided over mine again, nibbling and clinging to them until he deepened the kiss with a plunge of his tongue, and I felt the metal ball. Every sense fired in all directions, and it was explosive, and my heart fluttered, along with many, many other parts of my body. A familiar yearning surged inside me, and instead of sending fear skittering through my system, it shot darts of sublime pleasure through my veins.

“Don’t stop holding on,” Roth ordered, and dark sensuality deepened his voice. “I’m going to make you more than okay.”

And he lived up to that promise.

Six months later...

A warm wind lifted my hair, tossing the pale strands across my face and stirring the tiny, sensitive feathers layering my wings. The moon was high and clouds were thick, a perfect night for flight.

I was perched on the roof of One World Trade, one foot on the ledge, the other dangling off. My wings were arced high, keeping me from toppling right off. Down below, dazzling lights lit up the streets. I couldn’t make out people, but I could see their shapes, a bunch of tiny blurs moving. Around me were other buildings stretching tall into sky, windows lit up while others darkened. None of them were as high as me.

Reaching behind me, I placed my hand flat against the building and closed my eyes. The sad and yet powerful history of rebirth and renewal that had taken place on this patch of land was hard not to feel, not to take a moment to recognize.

I had learned a long time ago that sometimes humans could be more evil than any demon rising up from the pits of Hell.

A sharp whistle drew my attention and my eyes opened as I let my hand fall back to the ledge. The whistle had come from somewhere on Wall Street, and a grin tugged at my lips. I stood slowly.

And then I took flight.

Wind rushed up, immediately catching my wings as they spread. Arcing up with closed eyes, I flew higher, and cold air swirled over my heated skin, down the center of my back and over my wings. It was just like Jasmine had described it when I opened my eyes. I stretched out my arm and I really thought I could possibly grasp the stars in my hand and tug them close to my chest.

Maybe I could even fly straight to the heavens, but I seriously doubted the Alphas would be too thrilled about that. The mere thought of knocking on their pearly gates brought a smile to my face as I allowed myself to spin like a little missile before I hit the part of the atmosphere where I could easily be clipped by a plane and would start to have trouble taking in oxygen. I knew if I went any farther, I wouldn’t be able to breathe, but I also knew instinct would take over and my body would force me back down. I’d learned that the hard way last night.

One glance below and it was like the whole world was right beneath me. Buildings jutted out at me, like dozens and dozens of fists reaching up. Millions of people lived and breathed in an area that now appeared so incredibly small.

What an awesome view of New York City.

A torrent of wind smacked into my wings, but I spun out of the gust, and then swooped down. Tucking my wings back, I let myself get caught in an epic free fall. I picked up speed and for a moment, the rate at which I fell stole my breath, but there was no fear or panic, just an incredible rush of adrenaline and joy.

Halfway back to the city, I unfurled my wings, slowing my descent so I didn’t pancake into the side of a building, because that would have been one heck of a way to end the night and my little cross-country jaunt.

Coasting over the city, I avoided the areas I knew the other Wardens frequented and glided back toward the financial district. The New York clan knew we were here. Dez had even phoned ahead, warning the clan he’d come from not to mess with us, but I didn’t want to push our luck. Though I doubted I was enemy number one for them and we all had worked together half a year ago to stop the Lilin and the apocalypse, my partner in crime would always be another story—a very tricky story.

Slowing down, I landed in a crouch on the roof of what I thought was a bank. I’d just folded my wings back when a heavy form landed beside me, causing tiny pieces of stone to loosen from the ledge and fall to the ground. Arching a brow, I looked up.

Roth stood with his legs wide and wings spread. His skin was inky like onyx, shiny and hard. Bare-chested, he blended into the night around him. Or he would’ve if he hadn’t flashed his fangs at me—and if the skull on the buckle of his belt wasn’t bright white.

“Your hair,” he said.

My eyes narrowed while I resisted the urge to reach up and see what he meant. “What about it?”

He grinned as he knelt beside me, quickly slipping back into his human form. “You look like you just rolled out of a Guns N’ Roses video.”

“Thanks for that.”

“Possibly even the ‘Paradise City’ video.”

“Better and better.”

Leaning over, he kissed my temple and then my brow. “Freaking sexy as hell, though. Reminds me of what it looks like after I get my fingers in it and we’re—”

“I get the picture.” I laughed. “Totally know where you’re going with that.”

“What? I was going to say when we’re waking up in the morning.”

I snorted. “Oh, whatever.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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