“Raphael.” The angel in front of them had slanted eyes of vivid green and wings of silken copper against hair of darkest scarlet, her nearly translucent skin showcasing her otherwise vivid coloring to dramatic effect. Reaching up as Raphael bent down, the act appearing familiar to them both, the stranger pressed her lips to Raphael’s cheek in a soft caress.
“And this,” she said, turning to Elena with a deep smile, “must be your Consort. I am honored to meet you.”
“Tasha is a friend from long ago,” Raphael explained, a warmth in him she hadn’t seen with any other female angel. “We played in Amanat as children.”
“Do you remember when we decided to raid every fig tree in the city?” Musical laughter, sparkling eyes. “Your mother was so cross, she made us plant ten fig trees each. I can still see you with the shovel, your face streaked with dirt and leaves stick in your hair.”
The gorgeous image of Raphael as a mischievous boy made Elena smile, even as her instincts cautioned her to be wary. Unlike, Michaela, who made no effort to hide her desire for Raphael and contempt for Elena, Tasha was all warmth and laughter….while subtly reminding Raphael they had a history.
The depth of her sudden dislike made Elena pause, wonder if she was being fair….but then Tasha put her fingers on Raphael’s forearm as she brought up another shared memory. Elena didn’t play games like this, and in any other situation, she would’ve called the woman on it, but there were far more important things in play tonight. Still, she wasn’t sorry to see the back of Tasha when the other angel was called away by a friend.
Raphael’s head jerked up without warning a second later. “Lijuan is here.”