I stared down at Phoenix in their crib. They were knocked out. They were half cuddled with the stuffed Gnome Angel – Gnomegel – in their crib and half swaddled. I obviously hadn’t done the swaddling thing correctly.
With the wave of a finger, I corrected the error. I leaned over then, placing Gnomegel further down in the crib. It would still be within Phoenix’s view when they woke but not close enough to be dangerous. Kissing their forehead, I headed out, closing the door. I needed to have the conversation with Medea.
I needed to finish what I’d started. More specifically, I needed to unearth all of Michael’s secrets so that I could clip that arrogant asshole angel in the buds. Despite what he’d said, I knew he was coming for me whether I actively went after him or not. He’d always had it out for me, and he wouldn’t rest until he could ruin my life and destroy my family.
I couldn’t risk my family.
Medea was lying in bed, curled on her side. I lay next to her, pulling her into my arms, kissing her neck softly until she started to wake. Once I knew she was with me, I wrapped my arms around her holding tight. “We need to chat, my sorceress.”
“What is it, Gabriel?” She asked, her concern overriding her sleepiness as she immediately tried to turn in my arms.
I held her still. “Ssh… nothing major. I just – it’s time for my trip.”
She frowned. Even facing away from me, I could feel the dips at the side of those sexy lips. “What trip?”
“The trip. The one I was on before – Lycaon called. The one Michael reminded me about when I took death ether-boy back.”
Her body went still. “I thought you were leaving that alone, Gabriel.”
“I never said or implied that.”
“I just wanted to make sure you and Phoenix were situated first. Everything happened so fast after I got back from the drop-off. Then Phoenix was here.”
“Yes. I need to get this Michael thing figured out and settled if we’re going to be safe from him. Now that you and Phoenix are in a routine, I can go and -“
With a surge of her energy against my hands, she broke my hold and stood upright. Her slim, five-foot six-inch frame towered over me, purple magic flashing in her eyes. “Are you trying to trot off on some grand adventure and leave me at home, alone, with our child, like some… some… Stepford wife?”
My brow wrinkled in confusion, “Grand adventure? No. I’m trying to keep us safe from a psychotic angel. We’ve dealt with one of those already, if we aren’t counting Lui. I think that’s enough for a while – don’t you?”
“Then I’m going, Gabriel.”
At that, I stood, forcing Medea to take a step back. My height put me firmly above her, but the force of her anger had me momentarily rethinking my actions.
“No, Medea, you are not.”
I nodded. “Probably.”
“Then, you’ll need backup.”
“And what about Phoenix?” I asked earnestly, even though my tone was all snark.
She growled low and long. I phased away to avoid anything she may have pulled from the ether to toss at my head. Medea angry was not a game, as we’d seen. I didn’t think adding postpartum hormones to the mix would make it any better.
I phased back in behind her, pulling her against me. I wrapped my arms around her again, pulsing her collar with healing, calming energy, letting her meld back against me.
“I’ll be okay, love. I promise.”
“You can’t promise that, Gabriel.”
“I promise I will make it back to you and Phoenix. That’s a promise I will never break. You are everything; I’ll always come back to you.”
She nodded slowly, her hair sliding against my bare chest with the movement. Turning her around slowly, I leaned forward, my soft locs falling like a curtain around us. “Kiss me, love.”
Arching up, she slowly brought her lips to mine. The world began to spin as it always did when I got lost in the power and magic of us.
The night was for us. Then I would be off.
Raph had moved locations. She was squirrelly that way. Either that or she was just always trying to seem important. I honestly thought it was a little of both. Raph caused a crapload of trouble but also still had access to a boatload of answers. I was hoping, once again, she’d come to the rescue.
This time the fort was a nondescript townhouse. It was a middle unit, boasting five floors, looking out over New York City’s Central Park. The amount of money she’d had to drop for that location was probably comparable to what I’d paid for our oceanfront family home. That’s if you didn’t factor in that she’d probably also purchased the houses on either side as a way to bolster her security. Finding her had been easy, almost too easy. As I climbed the townhouse’s steps, it made me wonder whether my call had been expected.
My wings flexed and pulsed internally, as I shifted from foot-to-foot. The urge to go battle ready was strong. After my meeting with Michael, that was to be expected when walking into an Angel’s den. Or lair? I gazed around, raising my fist to knock. Definitely a lair.
Before knuckles touched wood, the door opened. Before me stood a tall, thin, woman, decked out in all manor of fine armor. I counted a sword and three blades – and that was just what was visible. Her scent was unique, she felt both of the plane and not. She was definitely not an angel, but she wore the protection power of one of Raph’s Misfits.
“She’s expecting you.” The words came out monotone before she turned and walked away as though she knew I’d follow.
She was right. I did.
Gabriel, once more into the angel’s lair. Or den?