Kiss of Snow Page 29

Chapter 19

THE FINE HAIRS on her arms rose. “To do what?”

“You have to get to the lake before I catch you.” A slow, provoking smile that kicked her straight in the gut. “Let’s see if you’re smart enough to fool the wolf.”

“Why would I want to do that?” Sienna had paid her dues, earned her status. “Is this a test?”


Folding her arms, she spread her feet in a defensive stance. “Then I don’t have to do it.”

“I’m asking you to.” He angled his head to the side, the motion nothing human. “Afraid you’ll lose?”

She set her jaw. “I can beat you with my eyes closed.”

“I’m scared.” The wolf was laughing at her.

If she’d been able to growl, she’d have done it right then. “Are you allowed to circle to the lake and wait for me?” He was faster, would win even with the head start.

But he shook his head, strands of that gorgeous hair sliding over his forehead. “What would be the fun in that?”

She knew he’d manipulated her into accepting the challenge, but her competitive streak had kicked in, wouldn’t allow her to back down. “Fine. Start the clock.”

“Done.” He closed his eyes. “Before you go, I should tell you what you get if you win.”


“A surprise.”

Oh, she very much wanted the ability to growl. “What if I lose?”

“I might throw you in the lake. Maybe.”

Not trusting him an inch when he had that smile flirting with his lips, she took off. He was far, far faster—she’d seen him run, and the sight had brought her heart into her throat. Built like the most beautiful living machine, all fluid sinew and tendon, muscle and strength, he so outclassed her when it came to speed that she didn’t stand a chance.

But there were other ways to tangle with a wolf.

MAN and wolf were both a little disappointed in Sienna. She’d gone in a straight line to the lake, hadn’t even tried to use the nearby waterways to mask her scent. The shining thread of wild spice and autumn leaves spilled out ahead of him, an unmistakable lure to his wolf. He’d have to have a—“Fuck!”

He was upside down, watching the pine-needle strewn earth pass this way and that several feet below him, his right ankle caught securely in a rope. Twisting to stare up at his ankle, he shook his head. Stared again. Started to laugh. Smart, smart girl. It wasn’t a rope at all, but a thick vine that grew everywhere around here. Sienna had to have spent most of her twenty-minute head start laying this trap. A trap he would’ve normally avoided—except that he’d written off her skills on this playing field. That’d teach him to be an arrogant ass.

Contorting his body, he went to slice the vine with a claw.

Only to fall short just shy of his goal.

Swearing, he tried again, and again. By the time he got the damn thing off, he’d painted the air blue, and it didn’t exactly help when he landed hard on his tailbone. The wolf was not amused . . . except that it was because this was a game. Getting rid of the remnants of the vine around his ankle, he stretched to reset his muscles, then restarted following her scent—being far more careful this time.

He saw the vine she’d strung across the path and lifted his feet over it without tripping the snare. Only to find his damn ankle—the same one—stuck in a hole. Growling, he brushed away the leaves to discover the brat had dug three holes on the other side. He’d managed to find the center one.

Clever, his wolf thought, delighted with her, very clever.

Digging out his abused ankle, he spent several minutes undoing the trap so others wouldn’t be caught unawares—as he had a feeling she’d known he would—then changed tack. Instead of moving directly toward her scent, he took a longer route, coming in at an angle. He saw where she’d rested, glimpsed another smart, sneaky trap. It cost him precious minutes to undo it but far fewer than if he’d been caught up in it.

Five minutes later, a long strand of ruby red hair glinted at him from a bush, the area thick with her scent. Certain he’d run her to ground, he went to part the bush . . . and only just snapped his hand back in time. His curvy little brand of trouble had almost led him into a thicket of poison ivy. Oh, now he was mad.

Grinning, he looked down and saw her sweatshirt hidden under the bush, likely pushed there by a stick. “Crafty Psy.” Aware now of the caliber of opponent he had on his hands, he began to track her in earnest, flying over the earth at inhuman speed, every one of his senses on alert.


She was a mere kilometer from the lake, hair tied back, her arms bared by her T-shirt as she knelt on the ground laying another trap for him. Instead of pouncing on her, he moved silently around to watch. Such a quick mind she had, he thought, seeing how she used the springy branch of a tree and another one of the vines to create her latest snare.

Every other opponent he’d had in this game had tried to mask his or her scent, to confuse and disorient. She was the single one who’d thought to use her time to set traps—and the wolf appreciated her cunning. It was only her lack of speed that had allowed him to catch her. But caught her he had . . . and he had a few tricks of his own.

SIENNA went motionless as her nape prickled in warning. Nothing. No sound, definitely no shout like the one that had gone up when Hawke had walked into the first trap. She’d been less than ten meters away, having had barely enough time to pull it together. Oh, he’d been pissed.

But then he’d laughed.

She’d never expected that, and it had made her understand. A game. They were playing a game. Except for with Toby and Marlee, she’d never played a game before that wasn’t connected to learning military tactics. Even with her brother and cousin, she was focused on their enjoyment, more a coordinator than a participant.

This—it was play for play’s sake.

The efficient X-Psy inside of her said she was wasting time, but she shushed that voice. Because she’d never felt as light, as young as she did at this moment, sneaking through an ancient forest, trying to outwit a wolf with pale blue eyes and hair of silver-go—“?!#”

The sound that erupted from her throat was unintelligible as she found herself dangling by one ankle at least five feet off the ground. “No,” she muttered, staring around in disbelief. But of course the answer was right there in her current predicament. “You win!” she finally called out in a fit of temper.

He appeared out of the forest, looking at her with quizzical eyes. “What are you doing up there, baby?”

“Rrrr.” She slapped her hands over her mouth to still the feral sound.

Hawke’s cheeks creased into a delighted smile. “Do that again.”

Never. “Get me down.”

He rocked back on his heels. “What do I get in exchange?”

“I won’t fry you to a crisp.”

“You wouldn’t anyway,” he said with such insouciant confidence it was pure provocation.

She shot a bolt of fire past his hair, but he’d already shifted sideways. “Tut, tut. That’s cheating.”

“Urgh!” Twisting her body with serious effort from her abdominal muscles, she went to aim her hand at the vine, sure she could sever it with her abilities.

“It’ll hurt like hell when you fall.”

She paused. He’d set his trap so she dangled higher than he had. It would hurt. Dropping back down, she blew out a breath. “What do you want?” It was a snarl; she’d never snarled before.

Walking close enough that he could put one hand under her nape, the other on her lower back, tilting her head up into a more comfortable position, he leaned in so close that all she could see was translucent ice blue. “A kiss for the big, bad wolf.”

Her throat locked, the words stuck in her throat.

But he didn’t close the distance between them. “Yes?”

Swallowing, she nodded.

“You have to say it.”

“Yes,” she managed to force out, gripping his shoulder with one hand.

“Yes what?”

Some of her frustration reignited, returning her voice. “You know what? I don’t think I care how far I fall!”

Laughing lips descended on hers, one big hand cupping her cheek as his other held up her neck.

It was—

It was . . . She had no words for it, this shock of sensation that speared through her, raw and primal, swelling her breasts, melting the place between her thighs. All because those firm lips were tasting hers with a playful gentleness interspersed with more than a few nips and licks. She moaned into his mouth, got a nip on her lower lip as her reward.

Then he licked his tongue across her own.

Oh, God.

Wanting more, she dared reach out with her own tongue. He made a low, deep sound in his throat and returned the caress with interest, his fingers massaging her nape. The merest pause for breath before her upper lip was being sucked, her lower lip captured between strong masculine teeth for a teasing bite.

When it felt as if he’d lift his head, she arched toward him. He opened his mouth over her own, danced his tongue against hers, before breaking the kiss with a nuzzling slowness. “I’d have given you another kiss,” he murmured, nipping at her pulse with his teeth, “but you made me mad.”

Dazed, she said, “I did?”

“Did you really think I’d let you fall?” A bite lower down on her neck. Harder this time.

She jerked, hand clenching on that shoulder heavy with muscle. “You can’t go around biting me whenever you feel like it.” It was very alpha male behavior, and he hardly needed any more encouragement.

He licked his tongue over the mark. “Cut the vine.”

This time, she didn’t question him, using a targeted laser of cold fire to sever the trap. He caught her so fast she didn’t even experience the sensation of falling for an instant. Lowering her to her feet, he held her against him as she got her balance back, one of his hands on her lower back, the other playing with strands of her hair.

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