Unforgiven (Fallen #5) - Lauren Kate Page 0,1

opened her own foil package and devoured her taco in two bites. “Delish.”

“What are you doing here?” Roland asked Cam.

Cam leaned against a cold marble pillar and shrugged. “I left my Les Paul in the dorm.”

“All this way for a guitar?” Roland nodded. “I suppose we’ve all got to find new ways to fill our endless days, now that Luce and Daniel are gone.”

Cam had always hated the force that pulled the fallen angels to the cursed lovers every seventeen years. He’d left battlefields and coronations. He’d left the arms of exquisite girls. Once he’d walked off a movie set. He’d dropped everything for Luce and Daniel. But now that the irresistible pull was gone, he missed it.

His eternity was open wide. What was he going to do with it?

“Did what happened in Troy give you, I don’t know…” Roland trailed off.

“Hope?” Arriane grabbed Cam’s uneaten taco and downed it. “If, after all these thousands of years, Luce and Daniel can stand up to the Throne and seize a happy ending, why can’t anyone? Why can’t we?”

Cam gazed through the shattered window. “Maybe I’m not that kind of guy.”

“We all carry pieces of our journeys within us,” Roland said. “We all learn from our mistakes. Who’s to say we don’t deserve happiness?”

“Listen to us.” Arriane touched the scars on her neck. “What do we three jaded birds of prey know about love?” She looked from Cam to Roland. “Right?”

“Love’s not the exclusive property of Luce and Daniel,” Roland said. “We’ve all tasted it. Maybe we will again.”

Roland’s optimism struck a dissonant chord with Cam. “Not me,” he said.

Arriane sighed, arching her back to spread her wings and rise a few feet off the ground. A fluttering sound filled the empty church. With deft slashes of her can of white spray paint, she added the subtlest hint of wings above Lucinda’s shoulders.

Before the Fall, angels’ wings were made of empyreal light, all of them perfect, one pair indistinguishable from the next. In the era since, their wings had become expressive of their personalities, their mistakes and impulses. The fallen angels who had given their allegiance to Lucifer bore golden wings. Those who had returned to the fold of Heaven bore the Throne’s hint of silver throughout their fibers.

Lucinda’s wings had been special. They had been purely, stunningly white. Unspoiled. Innocent of the choices the rest of them had made. The only other fallen angel who had preserved his white wings was Daniel.

Arriane crumpled the second taco wrapper. “Sometimes I wonder…”

“What?” Roland asked.

“If you guys could go back and not screw up so epically in the love department, would you?”

“What’s the point of wondering?” Cam asked. “Rosaline is dead.” He saw Roland wince at the mention of his lost beloved. “Tess will never forgive you,” he added, looking at Arriane. “And Lilith—”

There. He’d said her name.

Lilith was the only girl Cam had ever loved. He’d asked her to marry him.

It hadn’t worked out.

He heard her song again, throbbing in his soul, blinding him with regret.

“Are you humming?” Arriane narrowed her eyes at Cam. “Since when do you hum?”

“What about Lilith?” Roland said.

Lilith was dead, too. Though Cam had never known how she had lived out her days on earth after they parted, he knew she would have left this world and ascended to Heaven long ago. If Cam were a different kind of guy, it might have brought him peace to imagine her enfolded in joy and light. But Heaven was so painfully distant, he found it best not to think of her at all.

Roland seemed to be reading his mind. “You could do it your own way.”

“I do everything my own way,” Cam said. His wings pulsed silently behind him.

“It’s one of your best traits,” Roland said, looking up at the stars through the ruined ceiling, then back at Cam again.

“What?” Cam asked.

Roland laughed softly. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Allow me,” Arriane said. “Cam, this is totally when everyone expects you to make one of your dramatic exits into that pocket in the clouds.” She pointed to a rope of fog dangling from Orion’s Belt.

“Cam.” Roland stared at Cam, alarmed. “Your wings.”

Near the tip of Cam’s left wing was a single, tiny white filament.

Arriane gaped. “What does it mean?”

It was one white fleck amid a field of gold, but it forced Cam to remember the moment his wings had changed from white to gold. He had long ago accepted his destiny, but now, for the first time in millennia, he imagined something