New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh takes us into the dangerous, haunting world of archangels…and a love that is legend.
For thousands of years, the passion between Alexander, Archangel of Persia, and Zanaya, Queen of the Nile, burned furious and bright, seemingly without end. But to be an archangel is to be bound to power violent and demanding. Driven by its primal energy, Alexander and Zanaya fought as fiercely as they loved. Locked in an endless cycle of devotion and heartbreak, it is only Zanaya’s decision to Sleep that ends their love story.
Eons later, it is the Cascade of Death that wakens them both. The passion between them a flame that yet burns, Alexander and Zanaya stand together in one last battle against the ultimate darkness. But even a warrior archangel cannot win every war. Alexander’s scream shatters the world as Zanaya falls, broken and silent…only to rise again in a miracle that may be a devastating curse. For is it truly the Queen of the Nile who has been resurrected?
Only one thing is clear: this is the last beat of their passionate, angry dance. The final song for Alexander and his Zani…
Excerpt From Archangel’s Resurrection
by Nalini Singh
Lijuan, Archangel of Death and Goddess Over All, gloried in the howl of her power as battle raged around her, Raphael’s once glittering city now broken and scorched. Imprudent child. He should’ve listened to Lijuan, listened to his goddess! She’d told him what to do, had attempted to guide him. But no, he would make the wrong choice. He would choose to tie himself forever to a mewling mortal.
It mattered naught that his consort now bore wings and other trappings of immortality. She was nothing, a worm to be crushed under the boot, as Lijuan had once crushed her own worm. Because worms dug inside you, creating runnels and holes. Weaknesses. Fractures. Vulnerabilities.
Raphael had all of those. And today he would pay the price. They would all pay.
She laughed at the temerity of the archangels who’d gathered into an alliance against her. Together, they thought they could defeat her. When all they’d done was made things easier for her by congregating in one place. They might’ve been the apex predators on the planet once, but Lijuan alone held that throne now.
They were nothing but her servants.
Ignoring the chaos all around her, she scanned the area until she pinpointed the archangel she most wanted to remove from the equation. There she was. Small in stature, with skin “like the night, eyes that held the stars, and hair of violet moonlight”—or so she’d been described by the idiotic poet who’d written a scroll devoted to Zanaya, Queen of the Nile.
Lijuan had researched Zanaya as part of her investigation into all possible Sleepers who might prove a problem in the future . . . but she’d paid a little extra attention to the so-called Queen of the Nile. Not because she was more of a power than the others, but because Zanaya had managed to obtain the one thing that Lijuan had never been able to capture: the love of Alexander, Archangel of Persia.
Oh, he’d been kind to Lijuan, had told her that she was too young and that perhaps after another seven thousand years, they could come together. Only later had she realized that he’d simply been letting her down with kindness—by then, she’d seen true passion in a man’s eyes, had understood with bitter clarity that what she’d seen in Alexander’s had been . . . gentle, yes. Twined even with affection. But passion? No. Not even the merest inkling.
Why her and not me?
A gnawing question inside her ever since she’d learned of Zanaya and Alexander’s history. Because that’s how the most ancient scrolls were written—with their two names linked. As if they were so much a unit that it was understood that should Zanaya walk the earth, Alexander would belong to her and no one else.
Rage burned through Lijuan.
How dare he choose this mere archangel in place of Lijuan who was a goddess? How dare he still look at Zanaya in a way he’d never once looked at her! She shouldn’t have noticed how their glances met, shouldn’t have noticed anything beyond what was necessary to win this war, but she had—and the reminder of her pathetic past self enraged her.
Fueled by the lifeforce of those who’d sacrificed themselves to their goddess, she turned noncorporeal . . . and then she flew straight to the archangel who mocked Lijuan by her very existence. Lijuan had no weaknesses. After she killed Zanaya, she’d take care of Alexander. She’d consume them both, and once they were inside her, she would control them.
Zanaya never stood a chance.
Appearing behind her, Lijuan sank her fangs into the archangel’s neck, and drank of her life. Those fangs usually only emerged in angels during the Making of a vampire, but Lijuan could call them up at will. Yet another sign of her difference from these creatures who sought to humble her.
Sudden savage winds whipped at Lijuan’s hair as Zanaya called up her power, the archangel’s body twisting to respond to the attack, but it was a futile effort. Lijuan had swallowed up too much of the potent power that made up a member of the Cadre, and Zanaya was fading, fading.
Lijuan’s rage, however, oh, it continued to scald.
Because it did, she made a critical error. She eased her iron control on the vicious power which made her a goddess—and created a leak. A whisper of her own power flowed into Zanaya, a gift of which she was utterly unworthy. But no matter. Zanaya was dead anyway. At least now, Lijuan knew not to get so entranced by the refueling process that she lost her grip on the screaming endlessness that was her glory.
Sated for the moment, she dropped Zanaya’s shriveled corpse and turned noncorporeal once more. There would never again be a scroll written that paired Zanaya with Alexander.
What a terrible shame that their love story had come to such an inglorious end.
Her lip curled when she saw golden-haired and silver-winged Alexander race to catch his lover’s desiccated body before it could shatter against the earth. What a fool he was; so not worthy of the goddess she’d become. How odd that she’d once wanted him. Now, all she wanted was his death. His end. Nothing could exist in this world that reminded her of personal failure.
She was a goddess. She. Did. Not. Fail.
Alexander saw Lijuan attack Zanaya.
Fighting to get to her, he witnessed Zanaya’s wings droop, her body go limp.
But her mind, it was yet functional, yet held enough power for her to reach out to him along a pathway so old that it was part of his most elemental being: Xander . . . kill me. She must be sto—
Even had he the heart to follow her whispered plea, it was too late. Lijuan went noncorporeal again, dropping Zanaya from the sky. And his Zani’s wings were crumpled, her body dropping akin to a broken bird’s. Zani! Zani!
Silence, nothing but silence from his quicksilver lover with her wicked tongue.
He caught her before she could hit the hard earth, his Zani, her spirit so bright and beautiful. Making a hard turn in midair, he arrowed his way toward the Tower infirmary. “Hold on, Zani. Hold on!” It was an order, but she was beyond hearing him.
Her body was a whisper, so light that it was as if she was made of air. Her skin had turned to paper, the flesh of her curves just gone and her skin cold, so cold. Cradling her as close as he could while not hurting her, he kept on talking to her, kept on trying to make her respond. But all he heard was a silence without end.
Then, and through all the hours that followed.
“You promised you’d speak to me after the battle,” he whispered to her after they’d vanquished the monster Lijuan had become, and he carried Zanaya’s broken body to Cassandra’s fire.
The seer of legend had promised to hold her safe.
Again, his Zani who’d never hesitated to speak around him, said nothing. Her silence was a wound bigger than any other she could’ve inflicted on him.
He pressed a trembling kiss to her lips, and it tasted of the salt of his tears. “I can’t exist in a world where you do not.” He’d only lived this long because, no matter his anger at her, he knew that she Slept whole and unharmed. “Come back to me, my Zani.”
Until the very moment when he forced himself to give her into Cassandra’s embrace. The seer’s lilac hair was licked by the gold and orange of the enormous, impossible fissure deep into the earth above which they hovered, and the seafoam auroras of her haunting—haunted—eyes were tender, her arms careful as she cradled Zanaya against the floating softness of her gown.
“You will care for her.” It came out an order.
Cassandra didn’t tell him he had no right to give her orders. Gaze lost in the terrible gift that drove her to a madness that had her clawing out her eyes when she could no longer stand it, she said, “Alexander, Archangel of Persia, Child of Gzrel and Cendrion, before you lie two paths.”
Her tone was eerie, echoing as if spoken in a great chamber.
Gut tight, Alexander clenched his fists. It took everything he had to keep his tone civil. “I don’t wish for blurry prophecies that could mean anything and need to be interpreted. I want to know if Zanaya will rise and when.”
Cassandra looked down at the body in her arms, a body she’d already wreathed in her flame. “This I do not know.” Her face was soft now, her voice softer. “But I know this, Alexander, this is an ending . . . but it isn’t the last ending. That, too, will come. Choose with care for it will be the forever last.”
Copyright © 2022 by Nalini Singh
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember and all of my stories always held a thread of romance (even when I was writing about a prince who could shoot lasers out of his eyes). I love creating unique characters, love giving them happy endings and I even love the voices in my head. There’s no other job I would rather be doing. In September 2002, when I got the call that Silhouette Desire wanted to buy my first book, Desert Warrior, it was a dream come true. I hope to continue living the dream until I keel over of old age on my keyboard.
I was born in Fiji and raised in New Zealand. I also spent three years living and working in Japan, during which time I took the chance to travel around Asia. I’m back in New Zealand now, but I’m always plotting new trips. If you’d like to see some of my travel snapshots, have a look at the Travel Diary page (updated every month).
So far, I’ve worked as a lawyer, a librarian, a candy factory general hand, a bank temp and an English teacher and not necessarily in that order. Some might call that inconsistency but I call it grist for the writer’s mill.