The empty plates were piled on the table. Michael’s coffee had been refilled for a fifth time. Caffeine buzzed through his system, causing one foot to tap a frantic beat. The crash was going to be hell. Across from him, Lake was slumped back in the booth, his hands folded over his stomach. He had eaten all but five French fries. He looked better now. Pink flushed into his cheeks and gave him color. His drink was half full, and he downed it in one gulp.
“I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that much.”
“You look like it,” Michael observed.
Lake shrugged, avoiding Michael’s eyes. “I get three meals a day. They just aren’t always the greatest.”
“And a bed to sleep in?”
Lake stared at the table, absently toying with a fork. “I have a home…kinda. My mom’s a drunk, so I have to look after myself.”
“What about your father?”
The two words held the majority of the anger and hate Michael glimpsed in Lake. He reached across the table and took Lake’s hand. His thin frame stilled, Lake’s eyes locked on their hands. Tears formed and Lake’s breath shook. He tried to speak, opening and closing his mouth several times.
“I better go,” he whispered finally.
He rushed out of the café, his head down and fists clenched at his sides. Michael threw enough money to cover the bill and tip on the table, then followed. He didn’t let Lake get far. “Lake, wait—”
“Everyone leaves me,” Lake blurted out. “They all look at me like I’m a freak. Why should you be any different?”
He pushed Michael into the shadows of an alley, the distance between them vanishing. The ability to function left Michael, and his thoughts ground to a halt at the feel of Lake’s mouth on his. He still couldn’t move when Lake stepped back.
“Thank you.” Lake whispered, turning away.
Desire exploded in Michael’s chest like a bomb. He grabbed Lake, pulling his thin frame against him and crushing their lips together. The taste of Lake on his tongue sent shivers down his spine. He moaned, hungry for more.
Born mortal along with his three brothers, Michael is an Archangel with a specific role–to hunt fallen angels and send them back to Hell. He is determined in his mission, never straying from his appointed path, until he meets Lake Divine, and discovers there may be more to his beliefs than blind duty.
But Lake is not who he seems. Offspring of a human and a fallen angel, a Nephilim, Lake must choose his own destiny–give in to the coldness and embrace the dark, or seek the light and rise above the sins of his father.
Two paths lay before them, but only one has the potential to destroy them both.
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