Black Spring Page 1

Author: Christina Henry

Series: Black Wings #7

Genres: Fantasy

Loading...

1

I woke to the sound of dogs barking. My eyes drifted open halfway, just enough to register the sun streaming through the open blinds. Nathaniel’s arm was thrown around my waist, his body snuggled into my back. The child inside my belly shifted under his hand. The scent of bacon cooking drifted from the kitchen.

My three dogs, Lock, Stock and Barrel, nosed inside the bedroom door, their nails clicking across the hardwood floor. They came around to my side of the bed, their doggy faces set in mute appeal, tongues lolling.

It seemed like a pretty typical domestic scene, except that there is nothing typical about my life. The dogs weren’t dogs at all, but Retrievers—powerful magical creatures who’d given me their allegiance when I’d freed them from slavery to the Agency.

The man in bed with me wasn’t a man, but the son of an angel and a . . . Well, I wasn’t sure exactly what Puck was, but he was definitely something old and powerful. Besides his lack of humanity, Nathaniel also wasn’t the father of my child. He wasn’t even my lover, or my boyfriend. I didn’t know how to define our relationship status as any other way except “complicated.”

The person cooking the bacon in the kitchen was my many-greats-uncle Daharan, brother of Lucifer, dragon shapeshifter, creature of fire and something older than the Earth itself.

As for me, I was the daughter of a fallen angel and an Agent of Death. Lucifer was my grandfather. My baby had the blood of a half nephilim inside his veins, a legacy from his dead father. I had more enemies than I could count. I’d spent the last several months trying to stay alive while those enemies tried to kill me and my very ancient family members plotted around me.

We were definitely not going to win any awards for normality in this family.

The dogs needed walking, but everyone pretended not to notice because no one could control them except me.

“I’m coming, I’m coming,” I grumbled, sliding out from beneath Nathaniel’s arm.

This was harder than it sounded. I was only three months pregnant, but it appeared that I was twice that. I’d never fully appreciated the ease and elasticity with which I’d rolled out of bed before I took on the aspect of a hippo.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Nathaniel murmured.

“No one is going to mess with me while I’m walking these three,” I said. “Besides, it’s been a quiet couple of weeks.”

And it had been, I reflected as I got dressed. Since I’d killed Titania, the faerie queen. Since Nathaniel’s half brother—and heir to the court of Titania and Oberon—Bendith had been killed by his biological father, Puck. Since Puck had tricked me into freeing him from his bondage to Titania.

Since I’d had an adventure in another space and time, and discovered the darker places in my heart, the black menace at the core of my magic. I’d worked hard to force that darkness to recede, to let my natural personality reassert itself. But it seemed that since I’d tapped into that power, it floated closer to the surface, shadows seeping into my edges.

Like so many things that I’d discovered since becoming aware of my ancestry, my new magical abilities were impossible to undo. And my darling grandfather Lucifer definitely preferred it that way. All the better to tempt you with, my dear.

Lucifer cherished a long-held hope that I would give up my life and become heir to his kingdom. I’d rather eat nails for breakfast than manacle myself to the first of the fallen. Besides, Lucifer’s crazy lover Evangeline was pregnant with his child, and I knew very well that she was angling to put that kid on the throne. If I expressed even the smallest iota of interest in taking Lucifer’s offer, she would set a thousand assassins upon me, regardless of what Lucifer might want.

No, embroiling myself further in Lucifer’s machinations was definitely not at the top of my to-do list. I pulled on a pair of jeans I couldn’t button. The taut roundness of my lower belly protruded over the fly. I pushed a rubber band through the buttonhole, looped it and wrapped the other end around the button to keep the pants from sliding down. A long, baggy Cubs sweatshirt completed this uber-stylish look. I shoved my slippers on and padded out of the room.

In the kitchen, my uncle Daharan was making pancakes and bacon in large quantities and placing them on covered platters I didn’t even know I owned. He’s not your garden-variety uncle. He’s an ancient being, one of Lucifer’s three brothers, and he spends at least part of his time in dragon form.

For the moment he was living in the apartment downstairs. Locks didn’t keep him out, and he came and went freely between my place and his. Somehow I couldn’t be irritated about this. There was some quality about Daharan that made me trust him, trust that he would do me no harm. Beezle wasn’t so sure, as he tended not to trust anyone so closely related to Lucifer, but as I entered the kitchen I noticed his mistrust of Daharan did not extend to disdain of his cooking. Beezle was perched on the counter next to the platters filching as much bacon as he could while Daharan’s back was turned.

The dogs trotted ahead of me, down the hall, and stopped before the front door while I paused in the kitchen.

“That’s a whole lot of breakfast for three people and a gargoyle,” I remarked.

“You’re eating for two,” Beezle said before Daharan could answer.

“And you’re eating for five,” I said.

Daharan ignored the byplay. “We will be having guests this morning.”

“What guests?” I asked warily. The last thing I wanted was for one of Daharan’s brothers to show up. Alerian terrified me. Lucifer infuriated me.

Next