Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Guild Hunter, #2
Heroine: Elieanora P. Deveraux
Date of Publication: February 2, 2010
Started On: December 13, 2015
Finished On: December 15, 2015
I can’t put to words how glad I am that I decided to start reading the Guild Hunter series. Even the fact that I am a tad late to the party is one that fills my heart with glee. All because of the fact that I have got a bit to catch up on, books that I can fall back on when most reads turn up lackluster and definitely not what I am looking for. It is ALWAYS good to have books that you can count on lined up, just in case, and from this moment on, the Guild Hunter series is going be that for me.
I am simply loving the experience of reading about Raphael and Elena. Most of the time, even when it comes to a series that you adore, we only get to see glimpses of a hero and heroine that we might have loved to pieces in one of the books of the series. But here, we get to savor all the goodness that is Raphael and Elena through a couple of books at least, their newly forged bond something so precious and fragile, yet at the same time one filled with the kind of strength that you know would take them places, through the extremely rough and turbulent times their relationship will be subjected to. To get to see their relationship grow in that aspect is one that makes me as a reader, feel privileged. Because an author has to be extremely talented to carry the same characters forward and always give the reader something interesting and exhilarating to read about. And without a doubt, Nalini Singh is definitely the kind of master who can weave such magic over her readers.
Book 2 in the Guild Hunter series continues just days after Elena wakes up from the year long coma she has been in, healing from the severe injuries she had endured, injuries that would have killed her, if not for Raphael making her an immortal of his kind. While Elena is hunter-born which means she has the sort of strength that actually drew her into the realm of the archangels to begin with, as an angel, Elena finds herself at her weakest, trying to regain her strength in time to attend a ball that Zhou Lijuan, the oldest archangel in existence is throwing in her “honor”.
Raphael and Elena are completely new to the concept of the bond that they share between them, each thrown into uncharted waters when it comes to the love they have for each other. Elena and Raphael must strike to achieve that balance that would work for them, something not very easy to do when Raphael himself is alpha male personified, with a helluva lot of power in his hands. His love and need to protect his woman is one that wars constantly with Elena’s need for freedom, independence and her inborn need to assert herself as Raphael’s equal, someone worthy of sharing the title of his mate.
There is also the fact that Raphael and Elena both continue to be haunted by their pasts, not to mention the intricacies involved in archangel politics, each and everyone seemingly looking for ways to exploit Raphael’s weakness that is supposedly Elena. What made Archangel’s Kiss doubly interesting for me was the fact that Elena’s suppressed memories when it comes to her past, mired in darkness, blood and gore is one that kept materializing until we were able to bring together the pieces to identify the sort of monster that she had been dealing with. Her guilt that comes out of it plus her vulnerability which makes her turn to Raphael to keep the nightmares at bay were reasons I fell for Elena’s character, more so than before. The altogether strong, independent and put together Elena, finding in herself the strength to lean on Raphael made the story for me.
If I were to sound poetic about the whole thing, I would say that Raphael and Elena were waiting for each other, more so Raphael because he has been in existence for centuries. Raphael has found someone worthy of laying down his very life for, as he proved in the first book itself, and in Elena he has found the woman who would stand beside him, no matter what. I am just hoping that in the books to come, Nalini would show us why Elena’s entry to Raphael’s life came at such an opportune moment. I say opportune because her arrival seems to have heralded a deep wave of change in everything that is to do with the archangels. The way I see it, as with anyone that is left with too much power in their hands, the archangels too need a change in their power structure, something that would keep the checks and balances in place so to say, that would mean that they too would be accountable for their actions.
Though the story’s main focus as per the blurb was supposed to be on Elena and Raphael’s invitation to the ball that Lijuan was throwing for them in The Forgotten City of Beijing, China, this doesn’t materialize until we are almost at the end of the story. But I believe what happened prior to the event was needed to make the story appear more wholesome.
Now that I have discovered this series, I find it quite difficult to drag my mind and heart away from these books and turn my attention towards anything else, but trudge on I must. Quite a bad time for this to happen with a lot of deadlines right around the corner. One very striking point in the story for me was the entrance of Naasir into the picture, and oh what an enigmatic character he makes out to be! The following quote should suffice as to why he made such an impact with his entrance, which I am sure is a sentiment echoed by almost all readers when it comes to him.
All the angels were gone, but a vampire moved out of the shadows as she exited the house. His skin was a shade that drew the eye, inviting tactile contact—a dark, dark brown with an undertone of true gold. The color was so rich, so warm that it shimmered even as the moon slid behind a cloud, enveloping the Refuge in purest night. But his eyes, a brilliant, impossible silver, pierced the darkness as if it didn’t exist. Hair of the same shade as his eyes fell around his face, sleek and cut in jagged lines that accentuated the angle of his jaw.
“A tiger,” she whispered, watching him walk to her, though to call it a walk was a gross disservice. His stride was the fluid, silent prowl of the animal she sensed around him. “You have the scent of a tiger on the hunt.” Rich, vibrant, deadly.
“I am Naasir.” His voice was cultured, his words gracious, but those metallic eyes watched her with unblinking focus. “Dmitri asked me to assist you.”
The Guild Hunter series I believe is Nalini giving reins to the darker side of her uber talented mind, which is something I am eternally grateful for. For those that love a good urban fantasy series with a strong heroine and a melt-your-panties variety of hero, this series is definitely for you. Even if the stories are not about Elena and Raphael throughout, worry not. Because Nalini has assembled a cast of characters that would definitely win your heart over in more ways than one.
Final Verdict: Filled with darkness of the kind that is so well crafted that you can’t help but want for more!
You can’t scare me, she thought to him.
A lie, Guild Hunter. I can feel your heart thudding like a trapped rabbit’s.
I’d be stupid not to be afraid. But I’m not going to back away from us just because you’re feeling a little extra snarly.
A split second when his lips stopped, then she felt them curve, his hand rising from her throat to cup her cheek. The white-hot burn of his power faded, was replaced by the erotic touch of his skin. Only you would ever dare say that to me.”
So tight and slick and mine.
Blatantly possessive, hotly male.
Her bottom rubbed against him with every undulation of her body, driving her to a fever pitch. “I need more.”
You can’t have my cock, Elena.
She trembled, tried to find her mind. “Why not? I’m rather fond of it.”
That got her another teasing brush across her clit. Sparks flared behind her eyelids, and she barely heard him through the buzz in her head.
You’re not strong enough to take what I want to do to you.
“Even if you fail,” he said, “I have every confidence that you’ll find a way to end my life before I stain the world with evil.”
Rebellion in those eyes. “We die,” she said, “we die together. That’s the deal.”
He thought about his final thoughts as he’d fallen with her in New York, her body broken in his arms, her voice less than a whisper in his mind. He hadn’t considered holding onto his eternity for a second, had chosen to die with her, with his hunter. That she would choose to do the same . . . His hands clenched. “We die,” he repeated, “we die together.”
They rose through lingering traces of angel dust, each fine mote kicking her further into a kind of heat she wasn’t sure she could survive. Groaning, she pressed her mouth to the uncompromising angle of his jaw, licking at his skin, sucking and tasting as he flew them home. Against her belly, he was hard, deliciously tempting. She wanted to close her hand around that heavy heat, but had to satisfy herself with biting kisses along his jaw.
He didn’t stop her, but his body grew increasingly more taut, his muscles electric with strain by the time they landed on the balcony outside their bedroom. She felt him slide open the doors, shut them after they entered. And then the archangel lost control.
She couldn’t take all of him. He was too big, too thick. But I’ll have eternity to refine my technique. The sensual thought blazed out on an inferno of need as she loved her archangel, licking and tasting and sucking.
Brilliant white fire against her skin and she knew he was glowing, this lethal being she dared tease in the most intimate of ways. His response when it came, was starkly sensual. Your mouth—his voice sandpaper in her mind—is a little piece of heaven and hell.
It was the rawest, most primitive way to possess a woman, but his hunter pushed up on her elbows, gave him a challenging look, and said, “I’m waiting.”
He slid into her in a single hard thrust. Her scream echoed off the walls, but it was a scream that held equal parts demand and need. Gripping her hips tight, he pulled out almost fully, then slammed back in. There was no mercy in him any longer, but Elena didn’t ask it from him.
Learn to fly fast, Elena, he said as he pushed them both to a final, blinding peak. Then we will dance in the sky.
She pressed her lips to Raphael’s jaw. “But you, you’ve always been the rain, the wind, inside my mind. I taste you when I sleep, when I wake, when I breathe.”
If Jason hadn’t landed then, Raphael would have drawn Elena inside, taken his fill of her own unique scent. As it was, he ran his hand to close over her nape, brushing his mouth over the sweet curve of her ear. I will taste you tonight, Elena . Be ready for me—I won’t stop until you scream your pleasure.
He heard her heart hitch, her breath catch. But his hunter had never yet backed down from a challenge. Anytime, angel boy.
Her scream echoed into his mouth. He kissed her through the taking, through the raw, almost painful emotion of their joining. He kissed her until she gasped for breath, until her eyes went blank with pleasure, with passion, with ecstasy. And then he kissed her as she came down from the peak.
“Again,” he whispered into her mouth.