Kiss of Snow Page 2

Hawke snorted at her reference to the leopard pack that was SnowDancer’s most trusted ally. “So you can hang out with your boyfriend? Nice try.”

Sienna’s skin flushed a dull red. “Kit isn’t my boyfriend.”

Hawke wasn’t going to get into that conversation. Not now. Not ever. “You don’t get to have a say in your punishment.” He’d spoiled her. It was his own damn fault it was coming back to bite him in the ass. “One week confined to quarters in the soldiers area, one hour out per day.” Psy were much better at handling isolation than changelings, but he knew Sienna had changed since defecting from the PsyNet, become far more intertwined in the bonds of family, of Pack. “Second week spent working with the babies in the nursery, since that’s the age you’ve been acting recently. No duty rotations until you can be trusted to stick to your task.”

“I—” She snapped her mouth shut when he raised an eyebrow.

“Three weeks,” he said softly. “Third week you’ll spend in the kitchens as a dish hand.”

Her cheeks burned a hotter shade, but she didn’t interrupt again.


It was only after she’d gone—the autumn and spice of her scent lingering in the air in a silent rebellion she would’ve undoubtedly enjoyed had she known about it—that he loosened his hold on the wolf who was his more feral half.

It lunged for her scent.

Sucking in a harsh breath, Hawke fought the primal urge to go after her. He’d been battling the instinct for months, ever since the wolf decided that she was now an adult and, therefore, fair prey. The human half of him wasn’t having much success in changing the wolf’s mind, not when he had to fight the hunger to claim the most intimate of skin privileges every time she was in his presence.

“Christ.” Picking up the sleek new sat phone the techs had issued him four weeks ago, he put through a call to DarkRiver’s alpha.

Lucas answered on the second ring. “What is it?”

“Sienna won’t be heading down to spend time with you cats for a while.” Aside from the distance Sienna apparently needed from the den, from him, she’d been working with Lucas’s Psy mate, Sascha, to understand and gain control of her abilities. But—“I can’t let it go. Not this time.”

“Understood.” The answer of a fellow alpha.

Hawke sat on the edge of his desk, shoving a hand through his hair. “Can she handle it?” He knew she wouldn’t break—Sienna was too strong for that, a strength that acted like a drug on his wolf—but the power that lived within her was so vast, it had to be treated as the wildest of beasts.

“Last time she was down,” Lucas responded, “Sascha said she displayed an exceptional level of stability, nothing like when they first began to work together. They’re not having regular meetings anymore, so that’s not an issue.”

Mind at rest on that score at least, Hawke said, “I’ll make sure Judd keeps a psychic eye on her just in case.” Sienna wouldn’t appreciate the oversight, but fact was fact—she was dangerous, and he had to consider the safety of the pack as a whole. As for the ferocity of his protective instincts when it came to her, he wasn’t about to lie and pretend they didn’t exist.

“Can I ask what happened?” Lucas’s tone was curious.

Hawke gave the cat a quick rundown. “She’s been worse this past month.” Prior to that, her newfound stability had been noticed—and approved of—by all the senior members of the pack. “I’ve got to start coming down hard on her or it’ll cause discontent in the den.” Hierarchy was the glue that held a wolf pack together. As alpha, Hawke was at the top of that hierarchy. He could not, would not, accept rebellion from a subordinate.

“Yeah, I get it,” Lucas replied. “Surprises me though. She’s the perfect soldier down here, doesn’t ever give me lip. Got a mind as sharp as a razor.”

Hawke flexed and unflexed his claws. “Yeah, well, she’s not yours.”

A long, quiet pause. “I heard you were seeing someone.”

“You want to gossip?” Hawke made no attempt to hide his irritation.

“Kit and the other novices saw you with some drop-dead gorgeous blonde a few weeks ago. At a restaurant down by Pier 39.”

He thought back. “She’s a media consultant with CTX.” SnowDancer and DarkRiver held majority shares in the communications company, an investment that was paying off big-time as even Psy began to search for news reports free of the crushing influence of their dictatorial ruling Council. “Wanted to talk to me about doing an interview.”

“When’s it going to be on?”

“Next time you see a pig flying past the window.” Hawke didn’t play for the cameras, and he’d made damn sure Ms. Consultant understood that SnowDancer wasn’t planning to change its mean and carnivorous image to pretty and fluffy anytime soon. She could work with that or find another posi—A sudden thought sliced clean through his remembered annoyance, had his hand tightening on the phone. “Was Sienna with the novices?”


It was Hawke who paused this time, his wolf taking a watchful stance, caught between two competing needs. “There’s nothing I can do about that, Luc,” he said at last, every muscle in his body taut to the point of pain.

“That was what Nate said.”

The leopard sentinel was now happily mated with two cubs.

“Not the same.” It wasn’t simply a question of age—the brutal fact was that Hawke’s mate was dead. Had died as a child. Sienna didn’t understand what that meant, how little he had to give her, give any woman. If he was selfish enough to succumb to the unnamed but powerful pull between them, he knew full well he’d destroy her.

“Doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. Think about it.” Luc hung up.

She hasn’t slept with him, you know . . . Don’t leave it too late, Hawke, or you might just lose her.

Indigo’s words two months ago, speaking about Sienna and that cub who was stuck to her like glue whenever Hawke turned around. Aside from the fact the boy was a leopard, there was nothing wrong with Kit. He’d make the perfect ma—

A crunching sound.

His new sat phone bore a jagged crack through the screen.


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

TO: Dad <[email protected] /* */ >

DATE: September 26th, 1970 at 11:43pm


Hi Dad,

I have the most exciting news. While I’m currently completing my thesis on E-Psy, I’ve just gained funding to do a second study on the rare X designation! The grant committee referenced my two papers last year and said that my outsider’s view on Psy abilities had given rise to some unique conclusions—I suppose they’re right. I’m not Psy after all. My Es never made me feel like an outsider, but that’s their gift, isn’t it?

George, who will soon be a colleague rather than my supervisor, says I’m setting myself up for failure with this project since the Psy Council has been getting harder to deal with of late. Plus, so little is known about the Xs. But that’s the point of it, I tell him. I might not be an archaeologist like you, Dad, but I’m exploring my own strange lands.

Speaking of George, he’s working on a paper about the development of the Internet. He’s adamant it wouldn’t have developed as fast as it did had we not had the PsyNet as an example and impetus, and I have to agree—funding alone came thick and fast in the early days because businesses wanted informational parity. He wants another anthropologist’s take on it, so I said I would forward it to Mom (will you tell her?).

I hope the sands of Egypt are being kind to you both.



Chapter 2

HER CALM FACADE shattering like so much glass the instant she was behind closed doors, Sienna kicked the back wall of the quarters she’d been assigned in the area of the den set aside for unmated soldiers. She rarely used this room, preferring to live with her brother, Toby; uncle Walker; and cousin, Marlee. But now she was stuck in this small, sterile space for the next week.

Sienna, I’ve given you a long leash since you came into the pack, but that ends today.

She flinched at the echo of memory. There’d been nothing but the most cutting anger in those eyes of a blue so very pale, they were those of a husky given human form. Paired with that mane of silver-gold and, most of all, that alpha personality, Hawke was a man who invited female attention without effort.

Her hand fisted. Because today, he hadn’t seen a woman in front of him, but an unreliable member of the pack, one who’d put SnowDancer in danger with her actions. No punishment he could’ve given her could compare to her own self-recrimination. The ice-cold knot of shame in her gut was a chill reminder of just how badly she’d messed up. All this time and work, and when it came down to it, she’d allowed her temper to overrule her rational mind.

“Damn it, Sienna.” Thrusting her hands into her hair, she grimaced at the dried mud that flaked down her face, and began to strip. It took her less than a minute to bare herself to the skin. Stalking into the tiny shower, deeply grateful that the pack-minded wolves had set it up so everyone had private facilities, she washed the dirt, grass, and blood off her body before beginning to untangle the long, mud-stiff strands of her hair.

It took a long time.

Through it all, frustration—at herself, at her inability to let go of something that was tearing her apart piece by painful piece—raged like a caged tiger within her. If the changelings had a beast inside of them, then so did she, and it was a far more vicious thing, far colder in its ability to destroy. Right now, that beast was focused inward, raking at her with searing claws. Lowering the water temperature, she shampooed her hair twice, then ran the conditioner through it, bringing it forward over her shoulder to make sure she got the ends. It was only when she was almost finished that she realized what she was seeing.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies