Archangel's Awakening, страница 1часть #3 серии Cursed Angels Series
THE CURSED ANGELS SERIES
Copyright © 2017 Anna Santos
All rights reserved.
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Cover Design by Moonlight Ljilja
Edited by May Freighter
Proofread by Crystal Services
2nd Edition, all rights reserved.
Archangel’s Awakening was formerly published as Celestial in the Angels of Paris Chronicles.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to similarly named places or to persons living or deceased is unintentional.
ARCHANGEL’S KISS – Book 1
ARCHANGEL’S FIRE – Book 2
ARCHANGEL’S AWAKENING – Book 3
ANGEL’S TOUCH – Book 4
For an updated list of books, and to have access to my upcoming releases, check my website:
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These books are dedicated to everyone who believes in true love.
THE CURSED ANGELS SERIES
War is coming, and innocent lives are at stake.
Aria fights her angel while Cedric declares war to the ones who have kidnapped his mate.
In the middle of all this, Philippe fears for the life of the woman he loves and does everything to convince the Prince of the Angels that they need to join forces to survive.
As the real enemy shows itself and threatens to destroy everything that the angels sacredly protect, Aria needs to find out more about the origin of her power and decide who her heart truly belongs to.
What would you sacrifice for the one you love?
Find out in ARCHANGEL’S AWAKENING, the last installment of Aria, Cedric, and Philippe’s story.
“Aria,” I screamed her name, but it was too late. She jumped to her death.
It took me a moment to register what happened and another to decide to jump after her.
My right-hand man, Gerard, didn’t let me. He grabbed me before I could dive. I tried to push him away. I might not want to bond with her, but I didn’t want her dead. She had a whole life ahead of her. Aria could be happy with no memory of our encounter, my rejection, and my existence. I had instructed her to forget. I had told Gerard to escort her out once the boat stopped, put her in a cab, and send her home. Far away from my world.
Why does it hurt so much?
The gargoyle prince saved her. I watched him fly away with her in his arms, unsure if she was dead or alive.
My anger was directed to one of my men. He had tried to hurt her, according to Gerard. I put an end to the one who drove Aria to jump. My number one had to explain to me why he didn’t follow my direct order and delegated such a task. But not that night. If Aria had memories of what had happened in that boat, we were all in trouble. Cedric wasn’t interested in my version of the events. He would come for our heads.
I opened my eyes and woke up with a startle.
Scrubbing my face, reminiscences of my troubled dreams haunted my mind as I laid back in the chair and watched the ceiling of the hospital room. There was no reason to dwell on the past, yet I did it constantly. The recent events were proof that I was the main reason why Aria kept suffering. Now, she was between life and death, and there was nothing I could do to save her.
Was rejecting her the best thing to do?
She had become an angel and bonded to Cedric. But she wasn’t safe, and the prince wanted to go to war. According to him, I was the cause of everything that was wrong in the world. Still, this time, it wasn’t my fault, and it was bigger than Cedric thought.
Aria was unconscious, fighting her angel. Powerful enemies were targeting her because of her powers. I had no idea how I could protect her and convince Cedric to stop the impending attack on the graveyard.
I stared at her in the dark. Her breathing was normal, and she seemed peaceful. “Come back to me.”
Aria had woken up screaming and trying to pull the needles out of her arms. I had to put my hands on her shoulders to restrain her as the nurses gave her a sedative. She stood there quietly, staring blankly at the wall, probably unaware that I was there beside her. I wished there was something else I could do to help her. Nothing came to mind.
How could I tell her to stop trying to kill herself?
Her weak voice reached my ears. “Did Cedric attack the graveyard?”
“It isn’t night yet,” I explained to her.
She stared at me with a gloomy gaze and a feeble expression. “I need to talk to you, Aria. It’s important.”
“I want to talk to Cedric.”
“I want him to reconsider the nonsense he’s planning.”
“You need to calm down. I’ll talk to him.”
“And what will you say?” she asked with watering eyes. Aria was going to cry again, and I didn’t know what to do to stop her. Maybe I should let her cry until she felt better.
“That he needs to cancel the attack. I have new information that I wanted to share with him, but he was furious and didn’t want to listen to me. Jo and Camille said they would try to convince him to talk to me.”
“Good luck with that,” she muttered.
I pondered her words. “Maybe he’ll listen if we talk to him together.”
“He won’t. He doesn’t listen to anything I tell him. He is stubborn when it comes to angel affairs. And he…takes his duties too seriously. Besides, he hates you, and he probably hates me now.”
“He doesn’t hate you,” I declared.
“He doesn’t love me either, or he wouldn’t have lied to me and let me suffer for so long while I thought I could become the reason for his death.” She sobbed, and I frowned at her words. “He saw me suffer and did nothing to stop it! Why should I be the one understanding what he did? Why am I always the one to get blamed for his mistakes?”
“How could you become the reason for his death?” It was one question I would like to have an answer to. Kayden had said the same thing. I needed to know since Aria was torn up about it. There was something important that they weren’t telling me, and I was getting bothered by so many secrets.
“It’s complicated, and it’s a secret. I can’t tell you,” she whispered with sadness in her eyes.
I simply nodded.
“I really can’t tell you.” She cleaned her eyes clumsily. “He’ll hate me more, and something bad could happen to you and me.”
“He doesn’t hate you, Aria. He’s mad because he thinks… Actually, I don’t know what he thinks, but from where I stand, it looks like you are breaking up with him.”
She looked at me, sighed, and stared at the wall without denying or confirming. Maybe she didn’t know what she was feeling.
“Cedric only thinks about what I can give him and what I can do for him. He never stops to think about what I need and want. I know that I owe him my life, but that’s not a reason for me to dedicate my life to him and change everything about myself to please him.”
“Everything, apparently. I’m not good enough if I can’t understand that vampires are evil, specters need to be sent back to hell, and people must be punished if they attack one of us.”
“Life is complicated… Cedric is doing what he thinks is best for his people.”
She fisted her hands. “He didn’t even listen to what I had to tell him about the people who attacked me or about the fact of my angel was being ruthless. I don’t want to be like that. He doesn’t understand me!”
I got worried that she would have another stroke. She shouldn’t get upset.
Aria kept talking, exposing her feelings. “I’m not going to say that what we feel for one another isn’t real. I know that we love each other. Still, there are times when Cedric builds a wall between us, shuts me down, leaves me out, and treats me as if I’m the one to blame for my indecision and doubts. He keeps saying that I’m childish and need to grow up. Yet until a couple of weeks ago, I was mature enough for my age. My biggest problems were what college to choose and what would happen to me if I wasn’t able to make new friends in college. What’s wrong with that?”
“There’s nothing wrong with that,” I assured her, caressing her hair while tears ran down her cheeks. “Please don’t cry.”
“I can’t help it. I’m trying not to. I keep saying to myself that he loves me, but I’ve realized that it isn’t true. He doesn’t love, not me anyhow. He loves my powers and the girl he wants me to be. He wouldn’t always be asking me to change if he loved me, would he?”
“No, he wouldn’t.” I wasn’t going to lie to her. If he didn’t love her like that, then he could go to hell. He could take the angel he gave her out of her body and go love some bimbo with all the qualities he was looking for.
“I know that. I always knew that. So why didn’t I leave? Why? Why did I keep doing what he wanted me to do? Why do I keep falling for his excuses and hoping he realizes the harm he is doing to me?”
“I don’t know, Aria. I think we all try to please the people we love even if that means we have to change and be someone we are not. I can relate to that. I’ve tried to be someone else to please a girl, and it turned out that everything I did was worthless in the end. She chose someone else, someone who could give her the status and the money she wanted. My love was meaningless because I wasn’t what she thought I was… I wasn’t worthy of her.” He took a breath and looked into her eyes. “I know that what I’m saying isn’t making any sense to you. It’s an old and boring story. It isn’t even the best way to compare our life experiences. What I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t try to change for others. We should change for ourselves and become what we want to be. Do you understand?”
She nodded, wiping her eyes. “I understand. Cedric can be a jerk. He needs to be more reasonable and listen to other people’s opinions.”
I couldn’t help but smile at her words.
“And he needs to stop telling me what I have to do and how I have to be. I need to…let him go. I need to be myself.”
“Aria, you should talk to him without yelling.”
“I tried. He always gets his way. He convinces me that I’m wrong, that I’m selfish and need to grow up. Afterward, he says he’s sorry about pressuring me and assures me that he will be more understanding. Yet he isn’t… He isn’t.” She was out of breath, clutching at her chest.
Aria’s complaints weren’t helping me stay calm, either. I was getting mad at Cedric’s behavior.
“Cedric lied, and he expects me to be okay with that. I just need to forgive him and pretend that nothing happened. Act like everything is fine and that I don’t have doubts about accepting my angel. My angel always wants what he does. She isn’t interested in my parents and my former life. She doesn’t feel sorry for others. Her coldness clouds my mind and my feelings. She tries to make me different.”
“You have to stop fighting her. It’s killing you.”
“I don’t care.” She shrugged. “So, what if I die? Isn’t the world going to be a better place without me? There will be no more wars.”
“It’s not that easy.” My heart hurt with her depressing words. “I don’t want you to die.”
“No. I didn’t want you in my world, but I wanted you to live.”
She pushed me away. “It’s my life. You don’t get to decide what I do with it. Not you or Cedric.”
“I want you to be happy,” I tried to explain as I gave her the space she needed.
Folding her arms, she muttered, “That’s what he also claims. I’m not happy. Having my whole life changed and having to deal with your regret and Cedric’s possessiveness… I can’t stand it anymore.”
“I told you I wouldn’t see you anymore.”
“You are here, aren’t you?”
“Do you want me to leave?” I asked, misery twisting my heart. I didn’t want to leave, but I didn’t want her to be upset because I was there. Someone had to stay with her. Cedric didn’t seem to want to spend his time next to her. I didn’t want to judge his actions. However, he didn’t seem to be thinking straight. Aria needed someone to tell her that she was loved.
“I don’t know.” Tears fell from her eyes. She turned her face, so I didn’t see her cry. “I’m confused. I have all these feelings inside of me. For a few hours, my mind was set free from my angel. I felt things that I hadn’t noticed before, feelings my angel numbed. I saw Cedric’s eyes when he rescued me. I saw how scary his angel is and how scary I will become. I’m not ungrateful like he said. I appreciate the fact that he saved me. I appreciate that you saved me, too. But…what if it was better if she had taken my angel out? She said she wanted him to listen to me screaming. She hates Cedric. Why does she hate him? Who is she?”
Aria stared at me as she rubbed her eyes. I forced myself not to move and take her into my arms. It was excruciating, and I wished I could do more to ease her pain.
I ran my fingers through my hair and massaged the back of my neck as I breathed out. “I don’t know. Did you tell him any of this?”
“Do you think he would listen? He said he knew who was behind my kidnapping and that he was going to take care of it. That he was going to punish them.”
“Did he explain to you why he was going to do that?”
“Because it was an offense to him and that they were trying to undermine his power.”
“Not just because of that. Aria, we need to talk. You need to explain to me why your angel is so important.”
“Well, I’m supposed to be stronger than the normal ones. I told you what they said to me when they kidnapped me.”
“Yes, I remember. Is your power connected to Cedric’s?”
“If I die, he dies. He said so.”
“And if you lose your angel?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then we need to find out,” I said sternly. I didn’t want her to die if she rejected her angel or if Cedric rejected her and took the angel out of her. Kayden said that if his associate had taken all of Aria’s angelic essence from her, it would have killed her. That woman was taking a sample to examine, but I didn’t know what to believe. “We need to talk to Cedric. And you need to calm down and stop fighting your angel.”
“I’m just trying to be myself. I’m trying to be in control of my emotions. She doesn’t like that,” she explained.
“Is it because of me?” I asked, feeling my heartbeat increase with the possibility.
She remained quiet.
“I will leave if that makes you stop fighting your angel.”
“I don’t want her to take control. I feel better when you are here,” she mumbled with a quivering voice and reddened cheeks. “You can stay.”
“Then I need to tell you something about your kidnapping, the attack on the graveyard, and the fact that your life is still in danger. Even if Cedric can be a jerk, you need to promise me that you will help me talk to him and make him change his mind. It
“I know you are brave, Aria.”
“How can you know that?”
“You didn’t fall for my talk in the boat, you fought the vampires who tried to assault you, and you would rather drown than be sexually molested. That says brave to me.” I was aware that I was bringing up bad memories to the surface, but what I said was the truth.
“I’m afraid of flying,” she said in a low voice after staring into my eyes for a moment.
“That doesn’t make you a coward.”
“It makes me a terrible angel.”
I smirked, finding her adorable. She had a point there, though she would conquer that fear in time. Aria was such a beautiful angel. I wish I could be an angel if that meant she would go to heaven and be happy. I hope there was a way for her to keep being an angel, even if she didn’t want to kill people. I was conflicted. I didn’t want her dead, and I didn’t want her suffering because of me or Cedric.
“Does wanting to be a human again makes me a terrible person?” she asked.
Leaning forward, I reached for her hand and held it tight. “You have the right to be whatever you choose.”
“I don’t want to be a vampire.”
“No one will turn you into a vampire.”
She pursed her lips as she looked at our hands. “Are you really sorry?”
“For rejecting you?”
“I was, and then I wasn’t. It’s complicated.”
“Try explaining it to me.”
“I was an idiot for rejecting you. I did that because I’m afraid of rejection myself. And by proximity, I was terrified of love. I rejected you because I didn’t think I could love again. Maybe lust but not true love. Not that I’ve felt true love before. I realize now that I didn’t. It was…just my imagination. Sophie didn’t exist. She was the image of someone I wanted her to be, my perfect love.”