Angel's Blood:Guild Hunter 1

By: Nalini Singh


Change

Change can kill.

Devastate.

Destroy.

But it can also save. The Psy know this better than any other race on

the planet. With the imposition of Silence, the protocol that wiped their

emotions even as it saved their minds, this race of telepaths and

telekinetics, foreseers and healers, a race both gifted and cursed, clawed

its way back from the edge of the abyss.

As they stood looking down into the horror they’d escaped, they

shivered and turned away.

Years passed. And when the Psy Council declared that their once

catastrophic rate of insanity had lowered to negligible levels, that there

was no longer any violence in the PsyNet, they knew they’d made the

right decision. The only decision.

Love. Happiness. Joy. What did any of that matter when the flip side

was murderous rage, blood-soaked anarchy? The Psy preferred to leave

such things to the “animal” races—and while the humans and changelings

buried themselves in the viciousness of emotion, the Psy evolved into the

most powerful beings on the planet.

Cold. Pitiless. Silent.

But now, in the year 2080, more than a hundred years after the

“miracle” of Silence, the animal races are beginning to rise. And change

is pulling the Psy back into the abyss. Into emotion and chaos . . . and

nightmare.

4



1

When Elena told people she was a vampire hunter, their first

reaction was an inevitable gasp, followed by, “You go around sticking

those sharp stakes in their evil putrid hearts?”

Okay, maybe the actual words varied but the feel was the same. It

made her want to track down and exterminate the idiot fifteenth-century

storyteller who’d made up that tale in the first place. Of course, the

vampires had probably already taken care of it—after the first few of

them ended up in whatever passed for an emergency room back then.

Elena didn’t stake vampires. She tracked them, bagged them, and

returned them to their masters—the angels. Some people called her kind

bounty hunters, but according to her Guild card, she was “Licensed to

Hunt Vampires & Assorted Others”—which made her a vampire hunter,

with the attendant benefits, including hazard pay. That pay was very

healthy. It had to be to compensate for the fact that hunters occasionally

had their jugulars torn open.

Still, Elena decided she needed a pay raise after her calf muscle started

protesting. She’d been stuck in a cramped corner of an alley in the Bronx

for the past two hours, a too tall female with pale, almost white hair and

silver eyes. The hair was a pain in the butt. According to her sometimes

friend Ransom, she might as well wear a sign announcing her presence.

Since dyes wouldn’t work on it for longer than two minutes, Elena had a

great collection of knit caps.

She was tempted to pull her current one down over her nose, but had a

feeling that would only intensify the malodorous “ambience” of this dank

piece of New York City. That led her to thinking about the virtues of nose

plugs—

Something rustled behind her.

She swiveled . . . to come face-to-face with a stalking cat, its eyes

reflecting silver in the darkness. Satisfied the animal was what it seemed,

she returned her attention to the sidewalk, wondering if her eyes shone as

freakily as that cat’s. It was a good thing she’d inherited dark gold skin

from her Moroccan grandmother or she’d have resembled a ghost.

“Where the hell are you?” she muttered, reaching down to rub at her

calf. This vamp had led her on a merry chase—through his own sheer

5

stupidity. He didn’t know what he was doing, which made him a little

hard to second-guess.

Ransom had once asked her if it bothered her to round up helpless

vampires and drag their sorry asses back to a life of virtual slavery. He’d

been laughing hysterically at the time. No, it didn’t bother her. Just like it

didn’t bother him. The vamps chose that slavery—of a hundred years’

duration—the instant they petitioned an angel to Make them almostimmortal. If they had stayed human, if they had gone to their graves in

peace, then they wouldn’t have found themselves bound by a contract

signed in blood. And while the angels did take advantage of their

position, a contract was a contract.

A flash of light in the street.

Bingo!

There was the target, chomping away on a cigar and boasting on his

cell phone about how he was a Made man now and no prissy angel was

going to tell him what to do. Even with several feet of distance between

them, she could smell the sweat pooling under his armpits. The

vampirism hadn’t yet advanced enough to melt away the fat he wore like

a spare coat, and he thought he could run out on a contract with an angel?