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Sunday Snippet #92

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A Touch of Crimson

Author: Sylvia Day

Publisher: Signet

4 October 2011

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Closing the distance between them in less time than it took to blink, Adrian asked, “Where is she?”

“Bathroom. Where’s Trent?”

Adrian was struck again by the confidence and command with which the lycan carried himself, an innate self-assurance that had enabled Elijah to swan dive out of a plummeting helicopter despite his terror of heights. It was also responsible for drawing attention to him as a possible Alpha in the lycan ranks.

Deliberately testing him, Adrian replied with provocative disregard and vagueness. “Obeying orders.”

Elijah nodded curtly, hiding any adverse reaction he might have had to the nonanswer. “There’s a demon in the store. One of the night clerks.”

“Not our problem.” North America was Raguel Gadara’s territory. It was the seven archangels’ responsibility to police demons. Adrian had been created solely to hunt renegade angels. Aside from Sammael – or Satan, as he’d become known to mortals – most demons were unworthy prey for a Sentinel.

“I think this one might be a concern. He was trailing the woman around the store.”

“Keep an eye on him. And escort Lindsay to me the moment she comes out.”

“You want me to watch her? What about you?”

Stopping when they were shoulder to shoulder, Adrian turned his head and met the lycan’s gaze. He knew Elijah wasn’t concerned about his well-being so much as curious about Lindsay’s importance. “I can manage on my own for a few minutes.”

He continued on, stopping in the Asian food section before rounding the endcap. He was halfway through the baking-supplies aisle when Lindsay appeared at the end. Elijah was directly behind her.

“We have everything we need,” Adrian told her, “unless you have some requests.”

She paused midstep. Although her pose appeared casual and relaxed on the surface, he felt the razor-sharp tension in her. An inexplicable breeze ruffled the thickest blond curl draping over her brow.

He sensed the demon behind him before Lindsay spoke.

Her brown eyes turned as dark and hard as black onyx. “Back away from him, asshole.”

Power rippled down Adrian’s spine and spread outward, disabling the security cameras in the store with an electrical surge. Elijah bared his canines in a savage snarl.

“Call off your dog and bitch, seraph,” the demon hissed behind him. “I don’t want any trouble.”

“Bullshit,” Lindsay snapped. “I can feel the evil in you.”

Adrian made a quarter turn, affording him a simultaneous view of both Lindsay and the creature she was bristling at – a dragon whose hands flexed beside his thighs, preparing to expel the not inconsiderable fire power Adrian sensed in him. As far as demons went, he was merely a nuisance to a being of Adrian’s age and power, but the rapaciousness with which he regarded Lindsay and the disrespect he showed her was intolerable.

“If you apologize to the lady for your rudeness,” Adrian said softly, “I might refrain from eviscerating you.”

“Fuck.” The dragon held up both hands, his eyes darting. “I’m sorry, lady. Just tell her to stand down, seraph, and I’ll walk out of here.”

The demon’s mortal guise was that of a sandy-haired, ponytailed teenager with baggy clothing and a name badge that read SAM, but there was a reptilian coldness to his gaze that betrayed a far darker interior. Dragons were a nasty class of demon, prone to terrorizing mortals for sport before making a snack of them. But this guy was Raguel’s problem; Adrian had bigger game to hunt.

Adrian flicked his wrist dismissively, already bored with the delay. “Go.”

“I think not,” Lindsay growled.

A streak of silver raced past Adrian’s eyes. His gaze followed with equal speed.

For an instant, the dragon swayed with a throwing dagger protruding from his forehead and his mouth agape in a frozen look of disbelief. Then his body disintegrated into embers, falling into a pile of ash half the height of the man. The suddenly anchorless blade cut through the debris and clattered to the floor amid a stunned silence.

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