“I agree with Eli. The isolated sections are the only parts where they would’ve been sure of having an uninterrupted stretch of time.” Letting her wolf rise to the surface, its vision more acute, Indigo focused in the distance—to see a heavily muscled wolf with fur the rich color of silver-birch bark loping up toward her. Her lips curved.
“Do we need to disappear?” Elias asked with a cough that struck her as suspicious.
When Indigo raised an eyebrow at him, he winked. “Drew’s style of courtship seems to involve pulling you into as many shadowy corners as he can.”
She decided to handle the ribbing with grace. “Didn’t you once get caught butt na**d with Yuki?” she asked Elias. “Weren’t you covered in chocolate sauce at the time?”
“Shuddup.” Elias folded his arms. “And for your information, it was honey.”
Riaz was doubled over by now, and though his hilarity was partly at her expense, Indigo’s wolf was glad to see him, if not happy, then at least able to find some joy. Turning to watch as Drew crested the final hill to circle around and stand beside her, she stroked her fingers over that proud head.
Having recovered from his fit of laughter, Riaz pointed to a small valley to the west. “They could’ve hidden something there. We haven’t paid much attention to that area because it’s so flood prone.”
Indigo, her wolf rubbing contentedly inside her skin as Drew leaned his weight against her, nodded. “The four of us are free right now. We can borrow a couple of scanners and go have a preliminary look.” But when she glanced down into Drew’s copper gaze, she saw disagreement. “What?”
He looked up.
“Are you rolling your eyes?” Her wolf was miffed.
A long sigh, and then he looked up again. Pointedly.
Indigo followed his gaze. “Eli, Riaz, am I blind?”
“No.” Riaz’s deep voice. “I see sky and tree branches same as you.”
“I think I spotted a squirrel,” Elias put in.
This time, they all turned to look at Drew.
If a wolf could be said to look exasperated, he did.
About to ask him to shift and explain himself, she saw his head snap toward the sky, his gaze following something.
A goshawk, its wings spread in a wash of blue-gray and white as it swept down to grab its hapless prey in powerful claws before rising.
Into the sky.
“Up,” Indigo breathed. “We’re creatures of the earth—we rarely look up.”
Drew gave a short bark to indicate she’d got it. Going to her knees beside this wolf who was able to see the world through so many different lenses, she clenched her fingers in the fur at the ruff of his neck. “I’ll get the techs to scanning, but I need you to find me some cats.” The leopards were much more arboreal than SnowDancers, could search in a way the wolves couldn’t. “You know who’ll be good at this.”
He hesitated, glancing at Riaz.
She rubbed her cheek against his fur, conscious the mating dance had to be playing havoc with his instincts. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Though it was clear the wolf was in no way pleased, he went. Rising to her feet, she glanced at a silent Riaz. He shook his head. “Damn, but his control must be good.”
Seeing the large silver wolf disappear from sight, she realized Riaz was absolutely right. At that same moment, she understood that Drew had followed her request for one reason only—because he’d promised her he’d never again do anything that would lead anyone to question her rank.
Comprehending as it did the compulsions of the mating dance, her wolf was staggered by the fact that he’d remembered his promise even now.
One more barrier fell.
Bringing in the cats turned out to be a wise decision. Drew had rounded up several of the nimble, curious, and energetic juveniles and young adults. Among them, Kit—who was as gorgeous in leopard form as he was in human.
However, it wasn’t Sienna’s maybe-boyfriend who found it, but a sleek little leopard named Grey. “Mercy’s youngest brother,” Indigo said to Riaz as Grey ran over and, having got their attention, led them back to a gnarled old tree.
It took him one lunge and two seconds to scale it.
Releasing her claws, Indigo followed a little more slowly. Once in the lee of the branches, she watched as Grey jumped up to a higher branch and pointed a paw to the one below. Balancing carefully, she walked over to the spot he’d indicated. For an instant, she saw nothing—and then she did. “Shit.” The camouflage was brilliant, the piece of technology blending so well into the leaves that she was astounded Grey had spotted it.
Looking down, she saw Drew had followed her scent. “Bren,” she said.
He left at once to track down his sister, who’d come up to help sweep the area. When Brenna saw the device, she hissed out a breath. “It’s a camera,” she said, removing the battery at once. “Short-range transmission capacity—more than enough if you had a receiver just beyond the edge of our territory.”
Indigo’s blood ran cold, but she had no time to worry about the devastating impact the surveillance could’ve had. Not right now. “Grey,” she said, jumping onto the ground beside Mercy’s brother, “can you explain to the others how you found it?”
He nodded, eyes a crystal clear blue-green amid the gold and black of his fur.
With the cats helping—more arriving as word spread—and the techs climbing through the trees as best they could, they found fifteen more cameras in the area by nightfall, along with one larger object that Brenna determined acted as a signal booster.