Kiss of Snow Page 13

But when they’d discovered she was an X, the shields they’d put around her had been brutal prison walls, unlike anything she’d known. She’d been so small, so scared. Even her brave, strong mother, with her gentle telepathic touch, was gone, unable to reach Sienna through the hard carapace of Ming’s creation. It had probably been for the best—Kristine had stood no chance against a daughter who’d put her in intensive care with a simple childish display of temper.

“Did you ever play?” Hawke’s voice so rough, his body so muscular and overwhelming.

She had never felt more feminine, never felt more like a sexual creature. “No.”

A pause. “Sienna—”

“No,” she said. “No more questions. Not tonight.” She wanted to dance with him, be a woman in the arms of a man who made every part of her awaken in a hunger she’d never expected to feel and who, for this magical moment, was hers.

His jaw, heavy with stubble, rubbed against her temple again as he shifted his hold to press her closer. Then, as the music played, as the night grew softer and quieter, they danced.


FROM: Alice <[email protected] /* */ >

TO: Dad <[email protected] /* */ >

DATE: November 5th, 1971 at 11:14pm

SUBJECT: re: re: JA Article

I protest! I did very much enjoy your paper in the Journal of Archaeology, and it has nothing to do with being your daughter—I totally agree with you about your interpretation of the newly discovered glyphs. Cho is wrong. I know it and you know it.

Dad, I wanted to talk to you about something else, too, something that’s troubling me. I now have four Xs enrolled in my study (Gradients 3 through to 4.2), and from everything the Psy academics tell me, it means I’ve done astonishingly well. The designation is so rare that if there were ten living X-Psy at any given time, it would be considered a miracle.

That isn’t what worries me. Of the four I’ve located, none are over the age of sixteen. There was a fifth known X, one of the boys tells me, a girl he met on the PsyNet. I got the impression he had a crush on her. The heartbreaking thing is, she died just short of her nineteenth birthday when her power consumed her.

I don’t want to see my Xs die.


Chapter 10

HAWKE’S WOLF WASN’T riding him as hard as it had been doing for the past week when he drove down to DarkRiver territory the next morning—to talk to Lucas about the weapons coming into the area, to see if DarkRiver had any news on possible Pure Psy operatives in the city. It didn’t take much thought to figure out that the wildness in him had been temporarily sated by the contact he’d allowed himself with Sienna.

He’d been so angry at her—always pushing his buttons, that girl. But then he’d taken her into his arms, and all that anger had blazed into a darker, hotly possessive need that had urged him to bend his head, bite down on the throbbing pulse in her neck, leave a mark.

God, that shirt. One tug and those snaps would’ve come apart, revealing the gold-kissed cream of her skin. He’d wanted to taste her, stroke her, pet her. Simply holding her, simply dancing with her, had driven his wolf half to madness . . . but he would have shredded anyone who’d dared interrupt that slow dance stolen in the silken shadows of night.

“Your pelt,” a lazy voice drawled as he walked into the clearing around Lucas’s home, “would make a nice coat for my mate.”

Giving Vaughn a desultory finger where the amber-haired sentinel stood in the shade of a large juniper tree, its trunk a rich reddish brown, Hawke said, “I can scent Luc—he inside?” He nodded at the cabin below another large tree, an unoccupied aerie perched in its branches.

“Yep. Don’t even think about going in.”

“Do I look like I’ve had a lobotomy?” Lucas’s mate, Sascha, was heavily pregnant. As a result, the leopard alpha’s protective tendencies had moved into the lethal range. “I’ll wait here. He’ll scent me soon enough.”

Lucas exited the cabin on the heels of that statement. “Sascha’s sleeping,” he said, angling his head toward the forest. “Vaughn.”

“I won’t take my eye off the place.”

“How is she?” Hawke asked as they stepped deeper into the dappled sunshine filtering through the canopy.

“Ready to give birth.” A chuckle. “Unfortunately, the baby is comfortable right where he or she is.”

“You still don’t know the gender?” Hawke wouldn’t have had the selfcontrol to hold out—and yeah, it hurt like a bitch to know he’d never have the chance to test that theory, but that didn’t dim his joy for the leopard alpha. “If I ask Sascha, will she tell me?”

“Try it.” A feral grin that was all teeth. “So, fill me in on these weapons shipments your people have detected.”

Hawke gave him a quick rundown. “My gut says the Scotts—everything points to them—are going to mount an assault this time. Full-out, open.”

“Not surprising, given that they and the others have tried covert ops a number of times and failed.” Lucas halted on the moss-covered verge beside a small, clear stream. “Sascha spoke to her mother—there’s definite Pure Psy activity in the city, but they’re being very careful. They’re well aware that not only are they not welcome, but that the last operative ended up with his brains leaking out his ears after Nikita found him out.”

Hawke didn’t like Nikita Duncan, but he could appreciate the woman’s efficiency in taking care of a threat. “That’ll make them harder to pinpoint.”

“Rats are spread out across the city. Smallest sign of a Pure Psy base and we’ll know.” The leopard alpha glanced at Hawke. “Are you planning on moving your vulnerable out?”

“Not at this stage.” Hawke had already discussed it with his lieutenants. “There’s no overt threat yet, and we’re wolves, Luc.” Evacuating their home on such flimsy grounds would demoralize any predatory changeling, dominant or not. “If and when there is a credible threat, that’s when we’ll evacuate the noncombatants.” The escape plans had been drafted long ago, could be put into motion within an hour, and the entire den cleared of their vulnerable within four. It would take far longer than that for any invader to break through SnowDancer’s first line of defense.

Lucas’s eyes gleamed cat-green in the muted light of the forest. “We made the same decision. I want Mercy to liaise with Riley to coordinate our evacuation plans. Work for you?”

“Do it. I think we should give WindHaven a heads-up, too.” The falcons could provide air support if necessary. “I’ll have Drew talk to them,” he said when Luc nodded.

“I hear your boy’s been out to the Canyon.”

“Falcons love Drew—I think he even had an indecent proposal or three.”

Lucas’s head turned toward the cabin. “Indigo know?”

“I didn’t want bloodshed.” Hawke fell in step with the other alpha as he began to head back. “Sascha awake?”


A pang of envy uncurled in Hawke’s gut. He wondered what it would be like to be connected to a person with such intimacy. Yes, he was alpha, linked to his lieutenants and, to a lesser extent, to the rest of his pack. But it wasn’t the same. None of them were his.

A rush of memory, a sleek feminine body pressed against his own, the scent of wild spice in his every breath as the rapid tattoo of her pulse sang a sirensong to his dominant nature. The wolf whispered that she could be his, only his, until possessive hunger pulsed through him, turning his muscles rigid.

He parted with Lucas at the clearing, digging his claws into his palms to cut through the compulsion. The scent of blood licked into the air, and he let it overwhelm the burn of sexual need for the moment. It wouldn’t last, he was fully aware of that. If he knew what was good for him, for his pack, he’d finish what he’d started a couple of days ago and take a lover. A lover who knew the score, who wouldn’t look at him in the morning with eyes bruised with the knowledge that he’d given her all he could.

There was nothing else left in him.

HAVING done a half-day shift on perimeter security, Sienna was home in plenty of time to work on an academic project and have dinner with Marlee and Toby. “They’re both in bed,” she told Walker when her uncle walked in the door after a later shift.

Walker shrugged off his jacket to reveal solid shoulders covered in a rough denim shirt. “I’ve got it now.”

Instead of leaving, she heated up a meal, put it on the table. Walker, having ducked into his bedroom to kick off his shoes and wash up, came in as she was placing a glass of water beside his plate. Putting his hand on the back of her head, he leaned down to press his lips to her forehead, much as she’d done with Toby and Marlee. “You’re troubled.”

It almost broke her, the tender way he held her. “It’s nothing.” She couldn’t bear to discuss last night with anyone, to share the painful magic of a dance, a touch that might never be repeated and yet that had branded her. She could still feel the rough kiss of Hawke’s jaw against her temple, his hand so big and warm on her lower back, his chest a hard, muscled wall that flexed against her breasts.

Drawing back, Walker looked at her with pale green eyes that saw too much, but he didn’t push. Relief a crashing wave inside of her, she said a quick good-bye and shrugged into her own jacket, deciding to go for a walk under the starlit sky. That same sky had been pure midnight when Hawke took her into his arms, as if the universe itself was conspiring to allow them to steal a single hidden moment.


Startled, she turned to see Maria running her way. “Are you off to do your shift?”

A bounce of loose, silky curls as the other novice nodded. “So, you going to tell me what happened with you and Hawke last night?”

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