Kiss of Snow Page 39

SURE you’re ready to handle an X, wolf?

The operation against the Councilors and the ensuing time he’d spent helping maintain security, along with his other responsibilities as alpha—in combination with Sienna’s duty schedule—had kept him from following up on her brazen challenge, but Hawke was ready to hunt today. Unfortunately, Judd had other ideas.

The Psy male walked into his office just as he was about to head out. “We need to discuss the Pure Psy camp in South America.” Using the comm panel on the wall, he brought up surveillance footage on one side, a map on the other.

“How recent is this?” Hawke asked from beside him.

“Early this morning. I’ve kept a constant eye on any and all movements since I first became aware of its purpose.”

Hidden deep in the mountains, Hawke knew the small “village” was a training facility for Henry Scott’s increasing army of fanatics.

“As we discussed when I first located it,” Judd continued, “it didn’t make sense to eliminate or disable them at the time.”

“Better to know where the bastards are hiding,” Hawke muttered, zooming in on an aerial photograph taken by a falcon in animal form.

Judd wondered if Hawke had thought that far ahead when negotiating the alliance with WindHaven. Knowing the way the alpha’s mind worked, Judd wouldn’t be surprised. “However,” he added, pulling up an overlay that showed the population inside the camp, “there’s been a significant increase in their numbers in the past three weeks. They’ve also begun to bring in a large number of weapons. Intel about their target remains the same.” The city, den territory.

“Will they be able to teleport out that many people and weapons at a speed that could prove dangerous to our defenses?”

Judd took a moment to do the mental calculations. “If they had an Arrow named Vasic, it would be a problem.” Vasic was a Tk-V, the only true teleporter in the Net. He was also one of the extremely rare Tks who could go to people as well as places. As such, he’d have discovered the Laurens two seconds after they dropped out of the PsyNet if Walker hadn’t used his considerable telepathic skill to create and then teach both Sienna and Judd how to weave a deflective shield around their minds prior to defection.

His brother had handled the children, though Toby, Marlee, and in all probability, Sienna, no longer needed that shield, their appearance having changed enough to deny Vasic a “lock.” “I’ve seen no sign of him in the surveillance footage, however,” he continued, “and there’s no indication that Henry has Arrow support.” Though Judd’s gut said at least some of the squad would find themselves compelled by the idea of Purity, of unadulterated Silence, of the promise of peace from the raging violence of their abilities.

Hawke brought up an older report. “Henry lost several telekinetics in the last skirmish with us.”

“Yes, so even a generous estimate of the number remaining in his unit doesn’t give him anywhere near the capacity to move the camp using Tk. Logic says he’ll want to save their energy for the assault, so the camp will mobilize using more standard means.” Increasing the image size, he pointed out the half-complete runway. “We need to start thinking about how we’re going to disable them when the time comes.”


“It’s not subtle, but I could work at rigging the entire place to blow, focusing on the sections where they’ve stockpiled weapons.” He could teleport in under cover of night, place the charges, and be gone with security unaware of a breach. “If I link the charges to a remote signal, we can detonate when necessary.”

Hawke shifted the images around, bringing up more detailed terrain and aerial maps, the population overlay. “The area is too large for you to handle alone—the teleporting will wipe you out,” the alpha said at last, displaying an understanding of Judd’s abilities that, at one time, would’ve surprised him. That was before he’d learned that Hawke knew the capabilities of each of his lieutenants down to the wire. “Aside from the delay while you recover, a second incursion increases the chances of discovery.”

Judd had to agree. “Alexei and Drew would both be suitable for this kind of an op, but it’s a risk to go in with anyone who can’t teleport out, though I can handle a second individual if the circumstances demand a quick exit.” It was the other issue that was more problematic. “The guards will be on constant alert for non-Psy minds. Even a hint of an intruder, and floodlights will blaze over the entire compound.” Not to mention the number of Pure Psy units who’d respond to mount a search.

Hawke cleared the maps and brought up a list of names. “Psy in the packs. Who has the training to do what you need?”

When the Lauren family had first joined SnowDancer, Hawke would’ve never trusted two Psy with such a critical operation. It humbled Judd, how the changelings had the capacity to accept with such depth and honesty. Once Pack, you had to betray their trust at the basest level to be booted out. It was, he thought, strangely akin to the blood-loyalty that tied the Arrows to one another. An odd correlation.

“Walker is an exceptionally strong telepath,” he said, “but he’s had no training in handling explosives.” No, his brother had been trained in something far more subtle. “Ashaya isn’t military. Neither are Faith or Sascha—quite aside from Sascha’s current physical status.”

He brought up a separate screen. The woman on it wasn’t Pack, but she was linked to a group that had proven friendly. “Katya Haas has had some military instruction, from what I’ve been able to discover, but not enough to make her suitable.”

“I don’t think Santos would go for the idea anyway.” Hawke rubbed his jaw as he named Katya’s husband—the head of the Shine Foundation. “You trust any of your other contacts?”

Judd thought of the Ghost and his enigmatic priorities. “No.” Then he added another name to the list of Psy who were Pack. “She has both the training and the psychic skill to escape detection.”

“No.” Flat. No room for compromise. “I can’t believe you’d even suggest it.”

“Ignoring who and what she is,” Judd said, fighting his own instinctive need to protect the girl who looked so much like his lost sister, “is more dangerous than taking her into an operation.” Sienna wasn’t only powerful, she was disciplined and knew how to obey orders in a tactical situation. “There’s a reason Maria felt compelled to challenge her. You know it and so do I.”

Hawke had been called a cold-hearted bastard more than once. But never when it came to those who were his—he valued the life of each and every member of his pack, would lay down his own for them without blinking. “I don’t send novices into situations that could be lethal.”

“That’s not what this is about.”

Hawke’s wolf bristled at the quiet challenge. “I wouldn’t send Maria or Riordan, even Tai, into that situation.”

“None of those three spent ten years living with Ming LeBon.” Judd kept speaking as Hawke’s vision went wolf-bright. “She was taught to handle explosives when she was nine years old.”

Hawke snapped his head around to face the former Arrow. “Not even in the Net would they do that to a child.”

“Yes, they would.” Judd stared at the stone walls with piercing intensity. “What better way to teach a child control than to put her in a room designed to blow up with her inside if she got something wrong.”

Hawke’s wolf wanted to savage the bastards who’d tortured Sienna, its rage turning his voice almost unintelligible as he growled, “Damn it, Judd. You were an Arrow!”

Judd flinched. It was such a slight reaction Hawke only caught it because his wolf was watching the other man with a predator’s gaze. “We couldn’t risk defection when Marlee and Toby were babies.” Words so precise, they were coated in frost. “There was a high probability the severance of the PsyNet link—and we always knew we’d have to do that to truly escape—would’ve killed them outright.”

A metal letter opener flew off Hawke’s desk and slammed into the stone wall, the handle quivering from the force of the impact. Judd closed his eyes, fisted his hands. It took him over two minutes to speak again. “We had to wait.” The bleakness in those words betrayed the cost paid for that wait.

With a wolf, Hawke would’ve clamped him on the shoulder, dragged him into a hug. But Judd wasn’t wolf. Grabbing the handle of the letter opener, he pulled it out with a grunt and handed it to the Psy male. “Get it out.”

The letter opener began to twist methodically into a complicated shape before being crushed into an unrecognizable ball of metal, which Judd began to slam into the wall again and again using his telekinesis. Stone chips flew to the floor.

“Did Sienna know she was going to be getting out?” Hawke asked when he judged the Psy male was able to speak again. Know she hadn’t been abandoned?

“No. Not for a long time.” Judd caught the distorted ball, held it in his hand. “She was too young, and she spent the majority of her time with Ming. We could only trust her with the plan once her shields were strong enough to hide her thoughts from him.”

Hawke imagined Sienna as a small girl with eyes of cardinal starlight and hair of darkest red; thought, too, of the fear that must’ve stolen her breath, squeezed her chest as she was locked inside rooms full of explosives. “One slip of her gift . . .”

“It was a lie at first,” Judd said. “Ming wouldn’t have risked a cardinal X in such an accident. When she did make a mistake, they triggered explosions calibrated to knock her unconscious and injure her enough that she’d remember to be more careful next time.”

Hawke’s claws sliced out. “And later?”

“She asked to be put in those rooms.” The metal ball spun at rapid speed in the air. “She had to know she’d be safe enough to defect with us.”

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