He Fell For Her
Nicole St. James was a nice woman. An innocent, pretty, twentysomething schoolteacher with her life ahead of her. But as the angel of death, it’s Keenan’s job to take that life away. So when a vampire attacks Nicole, Keenan is not supposed to snap and take out the vampire instead. It cost him his wings—but she’s worth it.
Except when Keenan catches up to his pretty schoolteacher, she’s not so innocent anymore. Hot red lipstick, tight black shorts and long white fangs—she’s ready to kick the asses of anyone who helped turn her into a damn bloodsucker. Unless that ass is unusually shapely and attached to a certain fallen angel. Even with all of heaven and half of hell after them, someone will have to teach Keenan about the fun kinds of sin…
“Cynthia’s on my must-buy list.” —New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox
Praise for Cynthia Eden’s novels
“Highly sensual and definitely dangerous.” —Shannon McKenna on Hotter After Midnight
“A wickedly unique voice in paranormal romance!” —Larissa Ione on I’ll Be Slaying You
“A fast-paced, sexy thrill ride you won’t want to miss.” —Christine Feehan on Eternal Hunter
He’d been created for one purpose—death. He was not
there to comfort or to enlighten.
Keenan’s only job was to bring death to those unlucky
enough to know his touch.
And on the cold, windy New Orleans night, his latest victim
was in sight. He watched her from his perch high atop
the St. Louis Cathedral. Mortal eyes wouldn’t find him.
Only those preparing to leave the earthly realm could ever
glimpse his face so he didn’t worry about shocking those few
humans who straggled through the nearby square.
No, he worried about nothing. No one. He never had.
He simply touched and he killed and he waited for his next
The woman he watched tonight was small, with long,
black hair, and skin a pale cream. The wind whipped her
hair back, jerking it away from her face as she hurried down
the stone steps of the cathedral. The doors had been locked.
She hadn’t made it inside. No chance to pray.
He slipped to the side of the cathedral, still watching her
as she edged down the narrow alleyway. Pirate’s Alley. He’d
taken others from this place before. The path seemed to
scream with the memories of the past.
That wasn’t the past screaming. His body stiffened. His
wings beat at the air around him. It was her.
Nicole St. James. Schoolteacher. Age twenty- nine. A
woman who tutored children on the weekends. A woman
who’d tried to live her life just right . . .
A woman who was dying tonight.
His eyes narrowed as he leapt from his perch. Time to go
Nicole’s attacker had her against the wall. One of the
man’s hands was over her mouth, the better to make sure
she didn’t scream again. His other hand slammed against
the front of her chest and held her pinned against the cold
She was fighting harder than Keenan had really expected.
Her attacker just laughed.
And Keenan watched—as he’d always watched. So many
years . . .
Tears streamed down Nicole’s cheeks.
The man holding her leaned in and licked them away.
Keenan’s gut clenched. Knowing that her time was at
hand, he’d watched Nicole for a few weeks now. He’d
slipped into her classroom and listened to the soft drawl of
her voice. He’d watched as her lips curled into a smile and a
dimple winked in her right cheek.
He’d seen laughter in her eyes. Seen longing. Seen...
Now her green eyes were filled with the stark, wild terror
that only the helpless can truly know.
He didn’t like that look in her eyes. His hands clenched.
Don’t look if you don’t like it. His gaze pulled away from her
face. The job wasn’t about what he liked. It never had been.
There’d never been a choice.
They have the choices. I only have orders to follow.
That was way it had always been. So why did it bother him, now? Because it was her? Because he’d watched too
much? Slipped beside her too often?
“This is gonna hurt . . .”
The man’s grating whisper scratched through Keenan’s
mind. Neither the attacker nor Nicole could see him. Not
One touch—that was all it would take.
But the time hadn’t come for her yet.
“The wind’s so loud . . .” The man lifted his hand off
Nicole’s mouth. “No one’s gonna hear you scream anyway.”
But she still screamed—a loud, long, desperate scream—
and she kept fighting.
Keenan truly hadn’t realized she’d struggle so much
against death. Some didn’t fight at all when the time came.
Others fought until he had to drag them away.
Fabric ripped. Tore. The guy had jerked her shirt, rending
the material. Keenan glimpsed the soft ivory of her bra
and the firm mounds of her breasts.
Help her. The urge came from deep within, but it was an
urge he couldn’t heed.
“Don’t!” Nicole yelled. “Please—no! Just let me go!”
Her attacker lifted his head. Keenan stared at him, noting
the gaunt features, the black hair, and the eyes that were too
dark for a normal man. “No, baby. I’m not lettin’ you go.”
The guy licked his lips. “I’m too damn hungry.” Then he
smiled and revealed sharpened teeth that no human could
Vampire. Figured. Keenan had been cleaning up their
messes for centuries. A mistake. That’s what all those parasites
were. An experiment gone wrong.
Nicole opened her mouth to scream again and the vamp
sank his teeth into her throat. Then he started drinking from
her, gulping and growling and Nicole’s fingernails raked
against his face as she struggled against him.
But it was too late to fight. She’d never be strong enough
to break away from the vampire. She was five feet six inches
tall. Maybe one hundred thirty- five pounds.
The vamp was over six feet. He was lean, but muscle mass
and weight didn’t really matter—not when you were talking
about a vamp’s strength.
Keenan stared at the narrow opening of the alley. Soon,
he’d be able to touch her and her nightmare would end.
“You’re just going to stand there?” Her voice cracked.
His head whipped back toward her. Those green eyes—
fury and fear—were locked on him.
She shouldn’t see him yet. It wasn’t time. The vamp
hadn’t taken enough blood from her.
Nicole slammed her hands into the vampire’s chest, but
he kept his teeth in her throat and didn’t so much as stumble.
Her neck was tilted back, her head angled, and her stare
“Help me.” She mouthed the words as tears slipped down
her cheeks. “Please.”
Her plea seemed to slip right inside of him. “I will.” The
words felt rusty, and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d
talked to a human. No need for talk, not really. Not when
you were just carting souls. “Soon...”
The vamp’s head lifted. Her blood stained his mouth and
chin. “Baby, you taste so good.”
Her body slumped as her knees buckled. Keenan’s wings
stretched behind him even as his muscles tensed.
“Grade Fucking A,” the vamp muttered and he eased back.
Why stop feeding? The vamp planned to kill her. Keenan
knew that. Nicole St. James was dying tonight.
Nicole’s hand rose to her throat. Her fingers were shaking.
“Y-you’re not real . . .” Her eyes never left Keenan.
“Oh, I’m damn real.” The vamp swiped the back of his
hand over his chin. “Guess what, sweet thing? All those stories
you heard? About the vamps and this city? Every damn
one of ’em tales is true.”
Nicole didn’t look at the vamp. She kept her eyes on
Keenan as she inched her way down the alley. With every
slow move, her hands pressed against the wall.
“You gonna run?” The vamp taunted. “Oh, damn, I love
it when they run.”
Yes, he did. Most vampires did. They liked the thrill of
“Why don’t you help me?” She yelled at Keenan, and the
wind took the words, making them into a whisper as they
left the alley.
That was the way of Pirate’s Alley. Sometimes, no one
could ever hear the screams.
The vampire seemed to finally realize his prey wasn’t focused
on him. The vamp spun around, turning so that he
nearly brushed against Keenan. “What the fuck?” The guy
demanded. “Bitch, no one’s—”
Nicole’s footsteps pounded down the alley. Smart. Keenan
almost smiled. Had she ever even seen him? Or had her
words all been a trick to escape?
The vampire laughed, then he lunged after her. Four steps
and the parasite leapt at her, tackling Nicole to the ground,
and keeping her trapped in the alley. Glass shattered when
she fell—a beer bottle that had been tossed aside. She crashed
into it and the bottle smashed beneath her weight.
“You’re gonna beg for death,” the vamp promised her.
Perhaps. Keenan slowly stalked toward them. He lifted his
hand, aware of the growing cold in the air. The stories about
death’s cold touch were true. Nicole’s time was at hand.
“Please, God, no!” Nicole cried.
God had other plans. That was why an angel of death had
been sent to collect her.
The vamp’s hands were at her throat. His claws dug into
her skin. The scent of decay and cigarettes swirled in the air
“Flowers,” Nicole whispered. “I smell . . .”
Him. Angels often carried a floral scent. Humans caught
a trace of that scent all the time, but never realized they
The vamp sank his teeth into Nicole’s throat again. She
didn’t even have the voice to scream now. Tears leaked from
Keenan knelt beside her. The first time he’d seen her, he’d
thought . . .
Now, covered in garbage and blood, still fighting a vampire,
still struggling to live . . .
It was time. His hand lifted toward her and hovered over
her tangled hair. His fingers were so close to touching her.
Just an inch, maybe two, separated them. But . . .
Why couldn’t someone else have come into the alley this
night? A cop? A college kid? Someone to help her.
And not someone who was just supposed to watch her
A fire burned in his gut. She didn’t deserve this brutal end
to her human life. From what he’d seen, Nicole had been
good. She’d tried to help others. His jaw ached and he realized
he’d been clenching his teeth.
His gaze drifted to the vampire. It would be so easy to
stop him and take one more monster from the world.
Forbidden. The order burned into his mind. He wasn’t
supposed to interfere. That wasn’t the way. Wasn’t allowed.
He was to collect his charge and move on. Those were the
He’d take Nicole St. James this night, and someone else
would wait on him tomorrow. There were always more
humans. More souls. More death.
Her hands fell limply to her sides as the vampire drank
from her, and her head turned toward Keenan.
There was gold buried in her eyes. He’d thought her eyes
were solid emerald, but now he could see the gold glinting
in her eyes. Angels had strong vision—in darkness or light—
but he’d never noticed that gold before.
Her eyes locked right on him. She was so close to passing.
He had no doubt that she saw him then.
“Don’t worry,” he told her. The vampire wouldn’t hear
him. No one but Nicole would hear his voice. “The pain is
already ending for you.” His hand still reached for her. He’d
wanted to touch her before. To see if her skin was as soft as
it looked. But he knew just how dangerous such a touch
would be—to both of them.
Keenan well understand what happened to those of his
kind when they did not obey their orders.
Despite popular belief, angels were not the favored ones.
They did not have choices like the humans. Angels had only
“I don’t . . .” Her words were barely a whisper. Had the
vamp already savaged her neck too much for speech?
The vamp gulped down her blood, growling as he drank.
“Don’t . . . let me . . .” Her lashes began to fall. The fingers
of her right hand began to curl inward, and her wrist
brushed against the jagged glass. “Die . . .”
There was so much desperation in her voice, but he’d
heard desperation before. Heard fear. Heard lies. Promises.
But he’d never heard them from her.
Keenan didn’t touch her. His hand eased back as he hesitated.
He’d taken a thousand souls. No, far more. But her...
Why her? Why tonight? She’s barely lived.The vamp should be
the one to go, not—
Nicole let out a guttural groan. Keenan blinked and his
wings rustled behind him. No, he had a job to do. He would
Nicole grabbed a thick shard of broken glass and wrenched
it up. She shoved it into the vampire’s neck and caught him
right in the jugular. His blood spilled over her as the vamp
jerked back, howling in pain and fury.
Her throat was a mess, ripped flesh, blood—so much
blood. Hers. The vamp’s. Nicole grabbed another chunk of
glass and swung again with a slice to the vampire’s neck.
She was fighting desperately for every second of life that
she had left. And he was supposed to just stop her? Supposed
to take her away when she struggled so hard to live?
You’ve done it before. Do it again.
So many humans. So little life. So much death.
“Bitch! I’ll cut you open—”
The vamp would. In that instant, Keenan could see
everything the vamp had planned for Nicole. Her death
would be ten times more brutal now. The future had already
altered for her. Because I hesitated.
“I’ll rip your heart out—”
Yes, in the end, he’d do that, too.
She’d die with her eyes open, with fear and blood choking
“I’ll shred that pretty face—”
Her coffin would be closed.
The fire twisting in Keenan’s gut burned hotter, brighter
with every slow second that passed. Why her? She’d . . .
soothed him before. When he’d heard her voice, it had
seemed to flow through him. And when she’d laughed . . .
He’d liked the sound of her laughter. Sweet, free.
“Help...me...” Her broken voice.
Keenan squared his shoulders. What did she see when she
looked at him? A monster just like the vamp? Or a savior?
“No one fuckin’ cares about you...” The vamp yanked
the glass out of his neck. More blood sprayed on Nicole.
“You’ll die alone, and no one will even notice you’re gone.”
I will notice. Because she wouldn’t be there for him to
watch anymore. She’d be far beyond Keenan’s reach. He
didn’t know paradise, only death.
She tried to push off the ground, but couldn’t move.
The blood loss had gotten to her and made her the perfect
The vampire smiled at her. “I’m gonna start with that
Nicole shook her head and swiped out with the glass. The
wounds didn’t stop the vampire. Nothing was going to stop
him. No one. Nicole would scream and suffer and then
And Keenan would watch. Every moment.
His hand lifted, rising in that last, final touch. His touch
could steal life and rip the soul right of a body.
He reached out—and locked his fingers around the vampire’s
The vampire jerked and shuddered as if an electric charge
had blasted through him. Keenan didn’t try to soften his
power. He wanted the vampire to hurt. Wanted him to
And that was wrong. Angels of Death weren’t supposed
to want vengeance. They weren’t supposed to get angry.
They weren’t supposed to care.
Killing the vampire was wrong. Against orders. But . . .
She will hurt no more.
The vamp would not slash her pale skin. He wouldn’t
carve open her chest or defile her body.
He’d just die.
The vamp fell to the ground, his body as hard as the
stones beneath him.
Keenan didn’t worry about the creature’s soul. Those
headed to the pit needed no courier. But Nicole . . .
Her breath rasped out as her chest heaved. She was still
alive, but barely. His hands lifted to her savaged throat, the
move an instinctual gesture.
Stop the blood.
But he didn’t touch her. Couldn’t. Because, this time, he
didn’t want to kill.
“Help...” Her desperate whisper made his chest ache.
His wings beat against the air. No humans were close
enough to save her.
She was suffering, but she’d keep living. Until he touched
her, she wouldn’t die, no matter how bad her wounds were.
Help. Right then, killing her would be kinder than the
nightmare she faced as she fought for every breath.
“L-live . . .”
But she didn’t want to let go. He’d met a soldier like her
once, lifetimes ago. A man who fought on, determined to
hold back the cold touch of death. The soldier had been
gutted, but he’d fought, desperate to stay alive, despite the
Keenan hadn’t expected to find that same fierce spirit in
the schoolteacher. He should have remembered the lesson
humans had taught him before: Appearances could be deceiving.
Her lashes began to flicker, yet her heart still beat. He
could hear the too- fast rhythm.
End this. Death would be kinder than this pain.
But he couldn’t touch her.
His hands clenched and he tossed back his head as he
yelled into the night.
That was when the wind hit him with the force of an avalanche,
slamming into his body, lifting him up, and tossing
him in the air, higher, higher. The wind took him away
from the woman who fought so valiantly below.
The night sky whipped past him as the whisper of a thousand
voices filled his ears. A dim light appeared, growing
brighter, brighter—beckoning him upward, then blinding
him when he got too close.
Keenan blinked and found himself on his knees. He’d
been tossed onto a gleaming marble floor. Keenan knew
who would stand before him even before he allowed his
gaze to lift.
Azrael. The leader of the angels of death.
“What have you done?” Azrael—Az— demanded.
Keenan closed his eyes and saw a woman bleeding out in
an empty alley. Shivering with cold. “She still lives.” He rose
to his feet, letting his wings spread behind his back.
Az shook his head. “No.”
Fear gripped him. “What? I didn’t touch her, I
“You confess to disobeying your orders.” Az’s face tensed.
She was dead? Determined to get back to Nicole, Keenan
spun away from Az. No one else would take her over, not
after what he’d risked.
“You knew the penalty for such an act.” Az’s words froze
Yes, he knew he had to answer for taking the vampire’s
“I’m sorry, Keenan. You... you were a good angel.”
Wait. Keenan whirled back around to face the blond angel.
“No, you did not. That’s the problem.” And there was
sadness cloaking the words, when there was never any emotion
in the angel’s voice. Never much emotion in any of
No love. No fear. No hate. Only duty. That was the way
it should have been.
Except when I looked at her, I ...felt.
“Temptation can destroy us all.” Az’s all- seeing bright
blue gaze raked him. “You had the chance to obey. You
knew when the moment of her death was at hand, but you
killed one not on your list.”
“He was a vampire!” The rage was new—something that
had developed only when he saw the pain Nicole suffered.
“He was torturing, killing, he deserved—”
“We all get what we deserve.” Az’s chin lifted. “Beware,
my friend, this will hurt.”
“I’ve heard it’s the fire that makes you scream the loudest.”
There was no fire—
The wind hit Keenan again, wrapping around him, but
this time, its grasp felt like the edge of a hundred blades.
Az watched him with a hard stare. No more emotion.
Maybe it had never been there. “Did you think we did not
know the lust you held in your heart?”
What would angels know of lust? What would they know
of anything but following orders, protecting the weak, living
in that vast, blank world of nothing?
“Why do you think she was given to you?” Az asked.
And he finally understood. A test. One he’d failed because
he hadn’t been able to watch Nicole slip away.
“You broke our rules. You took a life not yours to extinguish.”
Az’s cold voice floated to him. “And you failed in
To take Nicole’s life. But, no, Az had told him that she
didn’t live; he’d said—“Where is she?” He’d had to shout to
be heard over the fury of the wind.
But there was no answer. Nothing but the wind howling.
And then the fire came.
The fire ripped through his body, starting at his feet, burning
up, up, even as Keenan fell, plummeting from the sky.
Expelled from my home.
He flapped his wings as he tried to fight that controlling
He cried out in agony as the fire spread to his wings. This
was no phantom fire—real flames ate at his skin and burned
his flesh. Burned his wings, his wings— No!
He’d never known pain, but after this day, he would never
The wind stopped. His body hovered in the air, his shoulders
hunched and his wings burning. He tried to move his
He dropped, falling straight for the earth below, and he
burned as he fell. Burned and burned.
Az had been right. The fire made him scream the loudest
as he became the one thing he’d always dreaded.
Nicole St. James screamed and bolted upright. The night
was quiet around her. Too quiet. Stars glittered above her
and, for a moment, she didn’t know where she was. Didn’t
Pirate’s Alley. She’d taken a shortcut on her way home.
She’d wanted to get inside that church. After hearing her
doctor’s news and crying all day, she’d needed to get inside.
But the doors had been locked, and she’d taken the shortcut
Her hand lifted to her throat. When she swallowed, it
burned, and her fingers touched something wet and sticky—
blood. But she didn’t feel any wound. The skin was smooth.
She glanced around as her heart drummed way too fast
now. She’d been attacked. She remembered that. One man.
He’d shoved her up against the side of the alley, and then—
There was a dead man beside her.
Nicole screamed and did a fast, backward crab- walk away
from him. The guy’s eyes were wide open, and his throat—
it had been slashed good and deep with... oh, damn, with
the glass that was next to her.
I did that.
Vaguely she remembered her hand wrapping around the
glass. She’d lifted it and—
She’d killed a man. Her eyes closed as nausea rose in her
He tried to kill me. The reminder blasted through her head.
She’d defended herself, that was all.
The guy had bitten her. He’d ripped into her throat. She’d
fought back, and he’d wound up as the dead one.
But ...but she didn’t have a wound anymore.
Nicole rose on shaky feet. Her throat burned, but it wasn’t
so much from pain as from thirst. Her throat seemed so dry.
Parched. Just how long had she been screaming?
Nicole’s gaze scanned the alley once more. This time, she
saw the dark liquid on the ground. Blood. Her nostrils
flared a bit. The coppery scent was strong. She licked her
lips and realized she was starving.
“Ma’am?” A voice called from the darkness.
Nicole’s head whipped to the right. A man stood at the
far end of the alley. She could see his long, tall shadow. Actually,
when she narrowed her eyes, she could see his dark
hair, the hard lines of his face, and the gleaming badge on his
A cop. Finally.
The beam of his flashlight hit her, and she lifted a hand
against the bright light.
“Shit. Ma’am, is that blood?”
Yes, she had blood on her hands. Her blood? His? Probably
both. “I was...attacked.” For all the dryness of her
throat, her voice came out perfectly normal. Actually, she
sounded way too calm. Maybe she was in shock because she
sure didn’t feel calm. Her insides were churning, her heart
racing, and—really, really weird—her teeth were starting to
The cop crept closer. “Where are you hurt?”
Nowhere. “I-I killed him.” She’d never lied to the cops before.
Why start now?
Silence. Then she followed the slow sweep of his light
toward the ground and the dead man.
“He was biting me . . .” But she didn’t have the bite-
marks anymore. And surely, she’d just imaged those too- long
teeth. “He was so strong. He wouldn’t let me go and I—”
Shoved a chunk of glass into his throat.
The wind whispered against her cheek and the breeze
brought the scent of blood to her. Blood and ...the faintest
aroma of flowers. “Someone else was here.” The certainty
filled her. She tried to remember the other guy, but could
only recall a dark shadow. A big, strong shadow of a man.
And . . . his eyes had been blue. Bright blue.
“A second assailant?” The cop came even closer. “Ma’am,
I want you to lift both hands for me.”
She lifted them, aware of the clench in her gut. Why was
she so hungry?
“That’s good, that’s real good . . .”
A pounding filled her ears. A fast, wild pounding. And
suddenly, she could smell everything—blood, flowers,
sweat, cigarettes, alcohol, and even incense from the cathedral.
“I’m gonna radio for backup and we’re gonna get you
taken care of, okay?” The cop was right in front of her now,
and Nicole realized the pounding seemed to come from
him. Her eyes drifted over his face and on down the strong
column of his throat. There. His pulse hammered against his
flesh in a double- time beat.
His pulse. His blood. So close.
Her hand lifted toward him.
“Is all that blood his, ma’am?”
She shook her head and the move made her feel dizzy. “II
think some of it’s mine.” Nicole couldn’t take her eyes off
his neck. Then the ache in her mouth turned into pain, and
she cried out as she slapped a hand over her lips and tasted
the blood on her fingers. As she hunched over, Nicole’s hair
formed a curtain over her face, blocking her from the cop’s
The blood slipped into her mouth.