Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling 9) - Page 43

She tracked him down in the weight room, where he was sitting on a bench doing arm curls with free weights while reading what looked like stock-market reports on a transparent comm screen on the wall.

“There goes your image as all brawn, no brain,” she said, turning her back to the reports.

Grunting, he put down the weight he’d been using. “Don’t tell anyone. It’s my secret weapon.”

She passed him a towel when he nodded at where it was slung over another machine. Waiting until he’d wiped off his face and put down the towel, she took a seat on the bench opposite. It gave her a good view of his na**d chest, and yes, gleaming with sweat and lightly furred with pale silver-gold, it was a damn nice view, the kind of view that would have made most women drool and beg for a chance to stroke him until he growled and took over.

“Ouch,” Hawke muttered, but the wolf’s laughter was apparent in his gaze. “Here I sit in all my glory, and she’s comparing me to another man.”

Blowing out a breath, Indigo fell back on the bench, staring up at the ceiling. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“The first step toward recovery is admitting that.”

She showed him the middle finger of her left hand for that pithy statement. “Am I a stubborn fool?” As evidenced by the fact that she might just have driven away the only man who’d ever threatened to breach her defenses . . . who’d made her feel vulnerable enough that she’d struck out in self-protective panic.

“Your determination is part of what makes you a good lieutenant.”

Sitting back up, she stared at him as he began to do curls again, the muscles of his upper arm bunching and flexing in all sorts of interesting ways. It was nice eye candy—but she still didn’t want to bite. “Dominant female, equally dominant or more dominant male, that’s the equation. That’s how it always goes.”

Ice blue eyes, shimmering with flickers of color from the screen opposite, met hers. “You already know that’s not how it always works so why are you wasting time repeating the same argument? Just go find Drew and sort it out.”

“It’s annoying, you know, that habit you have of knowing everything.”

“Good thing I’m bigger than you and you can’t beat me to a pulp.” Placing the weight on a rack, he got up and moved to an exercise mat. “Stand on my feet,” he said, lying on his back.

“I’m wearing boots.” But she walked over and pressed down with her palms on his raised knees as he did sit-up after sit-up without so much as his breathing altering. “You know about Adria.”

Hawke curled his lip. “For a smart woman, you’re being amazingly dense.” When she glared, he deigned to explain himself. “You’re not Adria, Indigo.”

No, she thought, she wasn’t. She’d never let a man treat her the way Martin treated Adria—had always treated her. Drew, by contrast . . . no, he wasn’t Martin.

“Why are you still thinking?” Hawke asked, abdomen muscles crunching as he continued to exercise while they spoke. “You need to work this out face-to-face with Drew.”

“Damn it, Hawke. I think I might’ve really messed up.” Tangling with each other, fighting with each other, that was all fine. But she’d crossed a line when she’d brought a third player into the equation—it had been done in that same self-protective panic, but it had changed the equilibrium between them in a sickening way.

“Yeah, I think you might have, too.” Brutally honest words. “But he’s only got about three hours’ head start, so you can catch him if you leave now.”

She looked down into his face as he stopped doing the sit-ups to watch her with those eerily piercing eyes. “Will he welcome me?”

“Nope.” Flowing up into a standing position when she released his knees, he picked up the remote to change the channel from stock reports to a roundup of the day’s sports news. “But you’re not the giving-up type. Of course,” he added as she turned to leave, “that’s your biggest weakness, too.”

Indigo tested the straps of the pack on her back as she stepped out of the den and into the cool night air. She could’ve run up in wolf form, hunted to keep herself fed, but she was already going to be plenty emotionally exposed when she reached Drew. No use being na**d on top of that.

Hawke had no idea which way Drew had gone, and the rain-laced wind had made a mess of the scent trail, so she was going to have to do this the hard way—using her tracking skills. Which would have been easier if the wind hadn’t decide to swirl up and merrily throw around the leaves, erasing any trace of Drew’s passage.

Something rustled to her left just as she bent down to check for more subtle evidence that might indicate a male of his height and weight had passed this way. Jerking up her head, she realized she’d been so deep in thought, she’d left her flank unprotected. Of course, this was SnowDancer land, and the man who walked out was a fellow lieutenant, but still . . . “What’re you doing lurking in the dark?”

Judd came to crouch beside her. “It’s a natural gift.” He was dressed all in black, the quintessential assassin. He’d given up his former career, but she knew he continued to be involved with the Psy—and more particularly, with the Ghost, the most dangerous Psy rebel of them all.

“Off to see your lethal buddy?”

Judd shook his head, dark brown hair gleaming black in the dark. “I’m not here to chat—I’ve got a meeting in an hour.” Unspoken was the fact that the people he met with would be unlikely to wait. “Drew went in that direction.” He pointed straight in front of him and up. “I tracked him for a while to make sure he wasn’t doing anything stupid. Last I saw, he was at the Serpent Pass.”