Xavier dipped his head in voiceless acknowledgment before saying, “I’ve never spoken of it, but there are a number of Psy among my congregation.”
Judd bit back his surprise. Religion was nonexistent in the PsyNet. Silence did not allow for it. “Do they come to you for guidance?”
A faint smile that did nothing to ease the tension around Xavier’s mouth. “No, they hide in the shadows. But I know they are there, and some have been coming for long enough that I feel they are mine to watch over.”
Judd waited as the priest opened his Bible and withdrew a folded piece of paper.
“A few of them have, over time, trusted me with their contact details.” He passed the paper to Judd. “This woman, Gloria, has attended the service every Thursday night without fail for two years.”
Judd had been an assassin, an Arrow the Council used as a weapon. He connected the dots before Xavier drew them. “She has stopped coming.”
“Just once, tonight,” Xavier said. “But she always contacts me if there’s even a chance she might miss a service. I received no message today, and no one answers when I attempt to call.”
Memorizing the information on the slip of paper—a simple telephone number—Judd passed it back to Xavier. “I’ll see what I can find out.”
Xavier slid the paper back into the Bible, his dark eyes drenched with worry. “Her soul was so lost when she first began coming—she was cold to the point of lifelessness. This past year, though, I could see her coming to life.”
Judd didn’t say anything, but he had a feeling that Gloria’s awakening had brought her the wrong kind of attention—the kind that led to rehabilitation. No one came back from rehabilitation. It erased the personality, wiped the mind, and left only the shambling husk of an empty shell behind.
Indigo didn’t see Drew the next morning as she strode through the corridors, her destination the small office that was her own near the training rooms. She’d glimpsed him leaving Riaz’s party early with Judd the previous night. Now she found herself wondering if he’d stayed with the Psy lieutenant, or hunted up one of his little playmates and gone horizontal.
Gritting her teeth against her mind’s obliging slide show of images that displayed Drew tangled up with some faceless female, she told herself she should’ve taken up one of the offers that had come her way last night as the senior members of the pack let down their hair. A good sweaty workout between the sheets would certainly have wrung the tension out of her body. But she hadn’t—for reasons she couldn’t quite understand—and now she was paying for it, her skin too sensitive, her wolf irritated and out of sorts.
Ordering herself to focus, she switched on her datapad as she walked, bringing up the day’s schedule. She’d been in charge of training the novice soldiers for eight years, four of them as assistant to her father, Abel, the last four on her own, with Abel taking over another role. However, over the past couple of years, she’d also started handling more personal issues related to the young dominants in the pack. They came to her with questions, for advice, to vent, and sometimes just to hang out—because her wolf calmed theirs. “Which you will not be able to do unless you get yourself under control,” she muttered, annoyed with herself for allowing Drew to rattle her in this way.
That was when she ran into the one person who could take one look at her and read her like an open book.
“Baby,” her mother said, her smile so full of love it made Indigo’s heart ache, “give me a hug.”
Indigo was already leaning across to do exactly that, every part of her adoring this woman who was the template from which she’d been cast. Tarah Riviere had the same jet-black hair, though hers bore a few—very few—glimmers of silver now, the same vivid blue eyes shot with streaks that were almost purple, the same long-legged height.
But that was where the similarities ended. Where Indigo’s frame was all supple muscle, her mother was fit but sweetly curved. Where Indigo was a dominant and had been from soon after birth, Tarah was a true submissive, one of the gentlest people in the pack. And where Indigo would never surrender everything to any man—even one she loved—Tarah found incomparable joy in leaning on her mate.
Cupping Indigo’s face in her hands, her mother examined her with those wise eyes. “What’s troubling you, my big girl?”
With every other person in the den, Indigo would’ve stood firm and frozen off any inquiries. In front of her mother’s tender concern, she folded like a leaky balloon. “I’m fighting with Drew,” she said, hoping Tarah would take that at face value. She really didn’t want to explain the genesis of the fight.
Tarah laughed and, dropping her hands from Indigo’s face, slipped her arm through her daughter’s and began to walk toward one of the large common areas in the den. “Have you got time for a morning coffee with your mother?”
“Always.” It was a ritual they had—though it had no rules, no set dates. But at least a couple of times a week, Indigo found herself alone with Tarah. Sometimes they chatted over coffee, sometimes they walked in the forest, and sometimes they made a bowl of popcorn and watched some movie that made them both bawl like babies.
Her father tended to avoid being in those nights.
Grinning, Indigo found herself thinking back over the years. “We’ve been doing this in one form or another since I was, what, ten?” It was, she knew, because of Evangeline.