Scowling at the thought, she wrenched open her door and stalked out.
The first packmate who came upon her stared at the mark until she had to growl at him. Raising his hands, he walked off . . . but not before she’d caught the startled look on his face. She saw that same look everywhere, until it began to make her skin itch. Yeah, she could understand a bit of surprise, but usually it’d have been teamed with catcalls and teasing suggestions for revenge.
She cornered Hawke in his room before he’d even had his first cup of coffee, his jeans hanging perilously low on lean hips. When he blinked drowsily at her, she pushed past him, folded her arms, and started to rant about the over-the-top reaction. “He didn’t hurt me, so I don’t know why they’re—”
Shaking his head as if snapping himself awake, Hawke pressed a finger to her lips. “The mark is very precise,” he said, his eyes on the flesh of her neck. “No rips, no tears. Means you didn’t struggle.”
“So?” she asked, knowing she sounded belligerent but too annoyed to care.
“So you’re Indigo,” Hawke murmured. “For you to have allowed this means something, and the pack understands that.”
Scowling because she still didn’t think it was a big deal, she unfolded her arms and said, “As long as they don’t hassle Drew about it.”
A look in his eyes she didn’t trust—it was too sneaky. “I wouldn’t worry about Drew.” A pause. “I’d worry about how he’s planning to win the mating dance.”
“Hmph.” Indigo knew Drew very well by now. She was ready for his tricks. Raising her hand, she straightened Hawke’s thick hair with the familiarity of a long and deep friendship. “You need to go have sex.”
Hawke blinked, then stared at her. “What?”
She rolled her eyes. “I can sense your wolf straining at the reins, almost feel its hunger. It’s going to become obvious to the less dominant wolves sooner rather than later.” Ignoring the fact that he was growling low in his throat, she stepped closer. “And because you’re alpha, your craziness will affect the rest of the pack.”
She was right; Hawke knew she was right. That didn’t mean he wanted to listen to her. “There’s the door. Use it.”
Blowing out a breath, she turned and headed away. “She hasn’t slept with him, you know.”
Hawke froze, his eyes on his lieutenant’s retreating back.
Indigo put her hand on the knob and shot him a look over her shoulder. “A woman can tell,” she said, answering his unasked question. “Don’t leave it too late, Hawke, or you might just lose her.”
Nikita met Anthony’s eyes as they sat at the Tahoe cabin again, having agreed on physical meetings as much as possible. Words spoken on the PsyNet had too high a risk of being heard by other ears. “Henry’s army is getting bigger day by day.”
“There are enough people in the population disturbed by the problems in the Net that he has a wide pool to choose from.”
“Yes.” The Psy race had become used to the illusion of safety provided by Silence, would continue to cling to it as long as they possibly could—even when it was clear the illusion was slowly turning dark, rotting away until the Net was riddled with sickness.
“We have the strength to hold the Scotts off for a period of time, but neither of us is a military powerhouse,” Anthony pointed out with perfect calm. “We need to consider our options.”
“I have strong support in the city’s population base,” Nikita said, “and that strength will continue to grow.” Henry had made a critical mistake in the murders. In truth, there were very, very few “perfect” Psy in the Net, and now they all knew, thanks to Nikita’s careful whispers, that Henry found them dispensable. “The populace has reacted unfavorably to his attempts at intimidating them away from this region.”
“And Kaleb?” Anthony asked. “There is a high chance he’ll seize control of the Arrows.”
One Arrow was worth dozens of ordinary soldiers, but—“Asking Kaleb for assistance has to be a last-case scenario.” Because it was highly likely he’d walk in and capture the city himself. “There is one more option.” If they took it, it would shift the balance of power in the world forever.
Two days after the beginning of the mating dance, Indigo found herself standing on a ridge along the northern edge of their territory thanks to a report from Judd. The other lieutenant had somehow managed to “listen in” on a meeting between two high-level people in Pure Psy, and had come out with a disturbing account of their confidence in being able to take SnowDancer whenever they chose.
“There’s something else on the land that we haven’t found,” he’d said in his last message, “something they’re certain will give them an insurmountable tactical advantage.”
Hawke had immediately prioritized the task, placing Indigo in charge.
“We’ve swept this area, and other outlying areas, several times since the transmitters were originally discovered,” Indigo now said to Riaz and Elias, both of whom stood with her, “and got nothing. So what are we missing?” Even now, the techs spread out below them like an army of ants, but she could tell they were discouraged.
“Chance the Psy penetrated deeper into regions we haven’t checked?” Riaz asked.
Elias was the one who answered. “Ask me, zero percent. We’re too unpredictable in those areas. An adult wolf could decide to go for a run at any time, night or day.”