Now that she had the cuddly thing in her hand, she couldn’t stop from reaching for the envelope. Holding the toy by her side, she slit open the flap and withdrew a card embossed with a rose that someone had embellished with hand-drawn thorns—big ones. “Cute,” she said, her wolf flexing its claws inside her mind.
Opening the flap, she found herself looking at fine handwriting that couldn’t be Drew’s. Written in gold ink, it was an invitation to dinner that night at one of San Francisco’s swankiest restaurants, for the occasion of . . . Indigo blinked, read the line again.
. . . for the occasion of Andrew Kincaid’s good-bye party. Indigo narrowed her eyes, her wolf motionless with suspicion. What was he up to now? Because no way did she believe that he was giving up. Predatory changeling men didn’t have the word “surrender” in their vocabularies.
Or maybe, part of her whispered, she just didn’t want to believe that. Because if he gave up, then this was it. Over and done with. Forever. Her wolf would never in a million years accept a quitter.
“Argh!” she said, shaking her head. He’d done it again, got her thinking as if they were still courting. When, in spite of his persistence, they were not. But, she thought, glaring at the thorny rose, she would be accepting the invitation.
It was time she and Drew had this out face-to-face.
Andrew gave a sigh of relief when the pack rumor mill informed him that Indigo had taken the toy inside, and not only that, she’d looked pissed. “Good,” he said to Brenna as he sat bothering her while she tried to work. Putting his feet up on the table opposite him, he leaned his back against the console next to his sister’s.
She glanced up from where she was doing something on the touch screen. “Good? You’re happy because the strongest, most lethal woman in the den wants to turn you into a shish kebab?”
“She does the ice thing,” he said to his sister, his wolf growling at the mere thought of it. “I hate the ice thing.”
Brenna paused, threw him a startled glance. “Yeah, me, too.” Stopping in her task for a second, she rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Judd can’t get away with the ice thing anymore.”
Andrew remembered how cold the Psy male had been before his mating to Brenna. “How’d you manage that?” Maybe he could learn something.
“Nothing I’d like to share with my brother,” Brenna said with a saucy smile.
Her smirk made his wolf laugh. “How’re you doing with Judd still away?”
“He came back a few nights ago.” She scowled. “I swore I’d strip his hide if he did it again. Teleporting that far really wipes him out, even if he does it in stages. He was all but unconscious for hours.”
Andrew knew without asking that Judd had left as quietly as he’d arrived. The Psy male had sent them dispatches from various South American countries where he was following the scent of a Pure Psy operation. He was now certain that the group, with Henry’s backing, was behind the transmitters on SnowDancer land.
“You know,” Andrew said, turning his mind away from that situation for now, “that you can come to me for anything while he’s away, right?”
“As if I’d have to,” she muttered, “when somebody in the pack would rat me out to you the instant I even vaguely looked like I might be in trouble.” But she leaned over and brushed a kiss on his jaw before beginning to work on the screen again, erasing and redrawing points of what appeared to be parts of a complex computronic design.
“Is that your teleportation machine?” The FAST project was, he knew, her most important long-term undertaking. If she could one day invent a way to send anyone—not just Tks—place to place with such speed, it would change the world.
“Uh-huh.” Tiny frown lines between her brows. “Now that you’ve got the lieutenant’s attention,” she said, returning to their earlier subject, “what’re you planning on doing next?”
“Never you mind.” Shooting her a smug look when she gave a disgruntled scowl, he swung his legs off the table. “I need to go have a comm-conference with my team, make sure there’s nothing that needs to be brought to Hawke’s attention around the territory.”
“You can use the room through there,” Brenna said, pointing to her right. “No one’s booked it for now.” A pause, laughing eyes looking up at him. “And it’ll let you hide from Indigo until you’re ready to spring the ambush.”
Leaning down, Andrew kissed the top of his sister’s head. “I love you.” It was a smiling statement, but no less true for it.
“I love you, too,” Brenna said, “even if you are driving Indigo so insane, she’s starting to snap at everyone in the den. Did you really steal her phone and record your voice howling her name as the ringtone?”
“Maybe.” Deeply satisfied by the current state of affairs, Andrew strolled into the conference room, shut the door, and initiated the calls. He trusted Bren, but other techs could come in at any moment, and the information his team gathered was quite often sensitive. Having brought them all into the call, he sat back and listened, making notes as necessary.
Thankfully, things were very steady at present, partly as a result of Riley and Mercy’s mating. A strong mated couple wasn’t essential at the top of the hierarchy, but it did help steady the pack as a whole. “What about that group of old ones?” he asked one of the women on his team. “The ones you were worried were stewing over something?”