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Archangel's Blade - Nalini Singh This review assumes that you’re caught up on the Guild Hunters series and that you’ve read the teaser excerpts on Nalini’s website.

I’ve been in complete lust and love with vampire Dmitri, the leader of The Seven (Archangel Raphael’s elite guard of vampires and angels) since his introduction in the Guild Hunter’s series opener. When the nearly 1,000 year old vampire got turned on from Elena slitting his throat in Angels' Blood? And wanted to f**k her before killed her? That sealed the deal.

I always thought that such a vicious and unapologetic killer like Dmitri would be very interesting to pair with a damaged heroine. Especially since we’ve had hints of a painful past and more than meets the surface. So ever since we met Holly Chang in Angel’s Blood (remember crazed Archangel Uram’s damaged and only surviving victim?), I’ve thought that she would be Dmitri’s mate. But then in March, Nalini announced that we’d never met Dmitri’s mate and eventually revealed her name as Honor…let me tell you, this woman is just as damaged as Holly. Honor may not be physically “changed” like Holly, but the extended torture and rape that Honor has recently endured and barely survived? Well, that’s just as sadistic and damaging as spending some QT with Uram. So Honor fit the bill for all that I’d hoped for in Dmitri’s mate.

The first few pages of Archangel’s Blade contain a bombshell confirmation about Dmitri’s past that you’ve probably suspected for awhile. And then we fast forward to present day where Dmitri is examining dismembered and extensively cut vampire bodies with mysterious etchings seemingly tied to his former life as a human and young vampire. To help Dmitri solve the mystery and stop the killings, the Guild assigns Honor to the case, over her protests. Since being rescued by Guild Hunters Ranson and Ashwini, the formerly energetic Honor has been hiding out at Guild Headquarters. Once a confident and sexy dresser, Honor now restricts herself to dull and drab clothes. She hasn’t gotten over the torture, but the Guild gives her a firm push with this job.

Dmitri is immediately taken with Honor, sets out to seduce her, and lets her know in typical Dmitri fashion *grin* Honor is not “hunter born” like Elena (the Guild’s very best vampire tracker), so Honor’s scent susceptibility is weaker. Dmitri’s usual tricks with his chocolate and fur scent lure don’t work so well on Honor. Add to that Honor’s at present extreme aversion to vampires, despite her long-harbored secret crush on Dmitri, and the man’s got his work cut out for him! Can he handle a woman with uncontrollable, violent urges to slice him? My boy’s up for the challenge, and you know he’s always enjoyed mixing “a little pain with his pleasure” ;)

Dmitri and Honor also set out on a second, more personal mission: they begin working together to bring justice to Honor’s tormentors. I was so pleased that Nalini didn’t turn him into a sap, even as he began falling in love. He’s still the man that will cut a few discreet pieces out of a woman’s heart while smiling at you and pretending he’s doing something else. He remained true to character and I loved the story for it.

Mixed within are a few flashbacks into Dmitri’s rich past. He has always been a very sensual, creative and playful lover :) And holy hot hell - Dmitri’s love scene with Honor? Longest love scene in the entire Guild Hunters series…Yes. I actually did a page count comparison :) Let me just say I hope nothing in the ARC landed on the cutting room floor – because that was awesomely HOT!!

We get to catch up with the usual suspects we know and love, including Illium/“Bluebell” and Venom. Where Dmitri seems to have a more father/daughter relationship with Holly, Venom - who she has nicknamed “Poison” – has a more antagonistic relationship Holly, repeatedly reminding her that he’ll be there to put her down if necessary. She’s this pint-sized Asian with pink-streaked black hair, and dangerous eyes…Holly, who kept slipping past her security, was a TOTAL scene stealer with several memorable ones! I’ve got new suspicions about Holly’s mate’s identity *fingers-crossed!*

As a Dmitri fangirl, I was very happy with this installment and I’m very much looking forward to Angels' Flight in March of 2012 - stunning cover art!

SIDE NOTE: I generally don’t listen to music while I read, but when I’m forced into tuning out Howard Stern radio on a very long road trip, I make an exception. While reading Archangel’s Blade, I listened to the track below on repeat for hours!!!! I’ve never done that before. Just like Dmitri, this track is very sensual and exotic so it went incredibly well with his story. Here’s a link to give the track a listen.
Album: Putumayo Presents Asian Lounge
Track #6: Artist: “Bali Lounge” Track Title: “Angels Of The Island”