Kiss of Snow Page 32

“Overwhelmed us with sheer force. It was obvious they meant to leave no survivors.”

“The craft was close to silent,” Barker said, leaning into Rina’s tender touch, “but we caught a hint of it the second before they began to rappel.” He clenched his jaw as Sienna fixed the bandage, the painkiller obviously not strong enough for the bone-deep pain of the wound.

Calculating his body mass and concluding it was safe, Sienna upped the dosage.

That he didn’t object told her how bad he was hurting. “That,” he continued after she put down the pressure injector, “and the fact Reen, Riordan, and I were here tipped the balance—they weren’t expecting the three of us.”

Sienna’s gut went cold with the slowly dawning realization that the attempted murder of five people was only the tip of the iceberg. “If you start to feel worse,” she said to Barker as she finished up, “I want to know right away.”

“I’m fine.” White grooves bracketed his mouth.

“How bad,” she said, “would it suck to have ‘stupid moron died of shock’ on your gravestone?”

A roll of bright hazel eyes. “Definitely trained by Indigo,” he muttered, skin sheened by cold sweat. “If I don’t tell, Rina’ll tattle.”

“That’s my job, doofus.” Rina pretend thumped him on the forehead. Satisfied, Sienna got up and walked to where Lucy sat beside Eli, doing what she could for the now-unconscious soldier. Burns charred the entire left-hand side of his body, glimpses of raw pink flesh beneath. “You sedated him?” Sienna thought of little Sakura, what it would do to her to see her father so hurt. And Eli’s mate, Yuki . . .

“He was in a lot of pain.” Tight words, anger contained. “He needs Lara, but Simran and Riordan were more critical.”

“Will Lara be able to heal him?” Nausea churned within her as she knelt, helpless, beside the soldier . . . because she could burn a living being, too. Worse than any laser.

“Yes, but it’ll take her some time.”

Thank God. “Anything I can do?”

“Help me shove these sticks into the ground so the thermal blanket doesn’t touch his skin when I unfold it over him.”

That task done, Sienna rose to see that Lara had moved from Simran to join Judd at Riordan’s side—the young male had also lost consciousness, his face leached of color. Not far away, Hawke had Simran curled up in his lap, her head tucked under his chin, her sleek black hair cascading over his arm. Noticing the woman was shivering, Sienna ran back to the truck and pulled out two more of the silvery thermal blankets. “Here,” she said, giving one to Rina for Barker, before heading over to cover Simran.

Hawke tugged it around the fallen sentry, careful not to jostle her. “They’re all okay.” The wolf in his eyes, in his voice.

Never had she been more aware of the fierce strength of his love for his pack. “Yes,” she answered, though it hadn’t been a question. “I think Elias is going to end up the worst off—at least, until Lara can get to him.” Sienna wasn’t sure if Judd could heal burns using his Tk-Cell abilities, even if he had the strength after helping Riordan. “We can keep him sedated till then.”

Tucking in the edge of the blanket under Simran’s feet, she looked around, thought back to the supplies she’d hauled for Lara. “I think there are energy drinks in one of the boxes. I’ll get some into everyone who’s conscious.” Healers and injured both needed to keep up their strength, especially given the chill night air.

SO calm, so efficient, Hawke thought, watching Sienna move with grace and speed across the clearing as she bullied and cajoled the drinks into the others. His wolf felt more than a lick of pride, but it was focused on far more painful matters. “Lara?” he asked when the healer drew back from Riordan.

The answer was instant. “Yes, more.”

A single instinctive thought and the strength of his men and women flowed into him through the alpha-lieutenant blood bonds. Indigo’s incredible heart, Riley’s solid loyalty, Matthias’s quiet determination, Riaz’s intensity, Alexei’s barely tempered power, Cooper’s stubborn tenacity, Jem’s wildfire, Kenji’s calm will, Tomás’s energetic wildness. The only thing missing tonight was Judd’s cool touch—the Psy male was focused on healing the last of Riordan’s injury as Lara staggered over to Elias.

Funneling that power to Lara’s form through the bond that every alpha had with his healer, he watched color spill into her cheeks . . . then drain away as she ran her hands over Eli’s ravaged flesh. She cried no tears. Never did Lara cry—not until her people were safe. Only then would she collapse.

Dark rubies glimmered in the light of the field lamps as Sienna ran to meet the truck that had just arrived, helping to snap out the field stretchers. She, too, he thought, wouldn’t break down here, on this bloody spread of ground. Not Sienna. Not the woman who’d survived a Councilor, survived the brutal demands of her own savage gift . . . and almost won a game played against an alpha wolf.

HAVING taken a bare few minutes to shower to wash off Simran’s blood after Lara pronounced that there was no more healing to be done, Hawke returned to the infirmary. “Tell me,” he said to Lara, aware of Sienna moving between patient rooms, keeping an eye on things—the healer had ordered both Lucy and Judd to bed as soon as everyone was stable.

“Riordan and Simran should pull through okay,” Lara said, raising a hand to the wild energy of her curls. Her fingers trembled for a second before she fisted her hand, dropped it to her side. “I heard from Tammy—Barker will be fine, too.”

“Eli,” he asked, conscious she hadn’t mentioned the senior soldier. “I know you have to heal burns in small steps. How bad is it?”

Lara’s eyes drifted to the room where Elias lay under a curved panel that covered his body from neck to toe. “I’ve taken care of the life-threatening damage, but he had to wait so long his body went into shock. I won’t be sure of anything until he wakes.”

“You did everything you could,” Hawke said, knowing the words wouldn’t be enough, not for a healer. About to ask her to go into the office so they could talk privately—so she could drop her stoic front for a therapeutic minute—he saw someone unexpected walk out of Elias’s room.

Yuki flew into the infirmary at the same instant, stopping only long enough to whisper, “Thank you, Walker,” and brush her hand over the Psy male’s, before she entered the room where Elias lay unconscious.

Hawke knew Yuki had left to check that Sakura was fine with her grandparents, hadn’t realized Walker had stepped in to sit with the fallen soldier, though now that he thought about it, it wasn’t a surprise. He’d seen Elias and Walker talking more than once, noticed their girls playing together, realized that the two must have formed a friendship.

“Eli’s got Yuki watching over him,” Walker said to Lara, his intent gaze taking in the shadows under her eyes, the lines around her mouth. “The other injured are in a medicated sleep. You can’t do anything until they wake. Rest.”

Lara’s lips thinned. “I’m fine.” Folding her arms, she turned back to Hawke. “I’ll monitor them through the rest of the night—I need to make sure we didn’t miss any hidden damage.”

Hawke waited to see what Walker would do.

The other man folded his own arms and said, “Hawke, notice how she’s wavering on her feet?” in the most reasonable of tones.

Lara’s eyes flashed fire, but Hawke had to agree. “Take an hour—I’ll keep an eye on everyone,” he ordered, tugging her into an embrace and nuzzling a kiss into her hair. “Don’t be ornery just to piss Walker off.” His wolf didn’t know what was going on between the two, but there was no mistaking the tension.

A scowl marred those fine features. “Ornery?” But she softened in his embrace. “A rest does sound good. Wake me the instant anything changes.”

Hawke didn’t miss the way Walker watched them. Neither did he miss the fact that the tall Psy male followed Lara to her office, where she kept a sofa. Moving out of hearing range, he checked in on the injured, found Sienna sitting at Riordan’s bedside, her hand on his. “His mom started to cry so his dad took her out for a few minutes,” she said in a subvocal murmur, her eyes devoid of stars. “They didn’t want him to hear it in his sleep.”

He waited with her until Riordan’s parents returned. The couple allowed his wolf to give comfort to theirs, but he knew nothing would truly soothe them until their child woke. Leaving them with their hands touching Riordan’s skin in silent support, he intertwined his own fingers with Sienna’s.

Chapter 21

LARA FELT THE back of her neck prickle with awareness as the door shut with a quiet snick. Conscious her tiredness could undermine her resolve where Walker was concerned, she bought time by shrugging off the sweatshirt she’d pulled on over a faded pair of jeans after a two-minute shower to wash off the blood. Her wolf had been unhappy to leave the injured for even that long, but the doctor in her knew the value of cleanliness in a medical surrounding.

“Look,” she said at last. “I know we’re friends”—it physically hurt to say that in spite of the fact that she’d made the decision to accept the friendship, continue on with her life in every other way—“but I really would prefer to be alone.” A painful lie. She was a healer, a wolf. She loved being around her pack. But more, she needed to be around her man. Unfortunately, the man both woman and wolf had chosen was unable to give her what she needed—Silence and a stranger named Yelene had ruined the finest man Lara had ever known . . . and it appeared the damage was irreversible.

Sinking down on the sofa with that truth weighing down her already heavy heart, she bent to unlace her boots.

Dark blond hair threaded with the barest glimmer of silver filled her vision as Walker knelt to do the task. “Don’t,” she whispered, her defenses shattered by the events of the night, until she could no longer hide the ache in her soul, the empty space where he should’ve been.

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