“Riley told me that Drew has gained in strength, in dominance, every year since he reached adulthood, and he shows no signs of stopping.”
Indigo had known that, vaguely—but she’d never really thought about the implications. “He could end up more dominant than me.” Her wolf sat stunned.
“Yep.” Mercy played with a pebble. “That bother you?”
Indigo opened her mouth to respond, closed it, thought about what she felt. “I’m no stranger to dealing with dominant men—and Drew’s plenty dominant now.” She’d learn and grow, as he would. “We’ll work out our own balance.”
“So you trust him, trust your relationship”—Mercy’s hair lifted in the breeze as she turned to look at Indigo—“but something’s still holding you back.”
“It’s nothing concrete, just . . .” Indigo squeezed her arms around her knees. “It feels like standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing all it’d take is one step to change everything forever.” Terror and excitement and a wild, wild hunger churned within her.
“The thing is,” Mercy said, “it’s so amazing when you give in and fall. If you can fight the panic, if you can fight your animal’s instinctive need to protect you against that kind of vulnerability, the prize is something—” She shook her head, a catch in her voice. “He’s my forever.”
Indigo felt her own eyes burn at the simple truth in that statement. It was as well that she heard male voices that instant. Riley, Drew, and Hawke all appeared out of the forest a moment later and began to make their way down the incline.
Drew was laughing at something Riley had said, his face tilted toward his brother. It was an ordinary moment, on an ordinary day. He was simply being Drew, with his easy smile and his way of teasing that had his brother scowling and Hawke grinning. And she felt the most insane urge to rise up, press her lips to that jaw, and mark him.
Mine, her wolf murmured for the first time, he’s mine.
Having left Indigo soon after his brother and Mercy’s arrival, to go up and spend several hours in the search area—while Indy briefed the honeymooners—Andrew returned home just as daylight was fading to find Brenna haunting the entrance. “What’s up, baby sis?” Hugging her, he pressed a kiss to her forehead.
She squeezed him tight. “I got a message from Judd to say he was back in the city and heading up.”
Moving aside, he stood with her by the entrance. “He too wiped out to do his ‘thing’? ”
Brenna nodded, leaning close enough to rest her cheek against his arm. “He found out some really disturbing stuff.”
Having seen Judd’s earlier reports, Andrew could well believe that. “I’ll wait with you.”
Brenna threw him a teasing look. “Go on, you’re all but salivating to get your paws on Indigo.”
“Hey, I resent that remark.” Leaning over to tug at her hair, he felt the wind shift to bring him a familiar scent. “Isn’t that—”
But Brenna was already gone, running out toward the scent that announced her mate was nearby. His wolf was happy for its sibling, but it wanted its own mate.
Brenna felt the rumble of the vehicle getting closer and guessed that Judd had picked up one of the cars the pack kept in the city. But she didn’t stop running toward him, knowing he’d sense her approach. And he did. The vehicle pulled off to the side of the track as she came around the corner, and her mate stepped out.
“Judd!” She flew into his arms, locking her own around his neck, her face buried in the warmth of his skin. Her wolf batted at his scent, delighted and drunk on the pleasure of his presence. Woman and wolf, they’d both missed him until they couldn’t breathe, though the mating bond had made things easier.
When he kissed the curve of her neck, his arms steel bands around her, she smiled and echoed the caress before pulling back enough that she could look at his face. “Baby, you look exhausted,” she said, noting the deep shadows under his eyes, the gaunt lines of his face. “Are you close to flaming out?” The last time he’d looked this bad, he’d been kicked into unconsciousness soon afterward, his power reserves wiped out.
“Yes,” Judd said, ducking his head as if he expected a severe talking-to.
“You need rest.” She’d yell at him later for not taking better care of himself. “Get back in the car and let me drive us home.”
She frowned at him when he refused to release her. “Someone has to be or you’ll run yourself into the ground.” Then, unable to resist, she cupped his face in her hands, his unshaven jaw rasping against her palms, and kissed him . . . and kissed him. Phantom fingers stroked intimately between her legs in time to the thrust of his tongue in her mouth and she gasped. “Stop that,” she said. “You’re running on empty as it is.”
He used his telekinesis to caress her once more before the sensation faded. “Unfortunately, you’re right. I can feel my brain shutting down.”
That decided it. She bullied her much bigger and stronger mate into the car and took them home. He insisted on a shower, but she made sure it was a quick one, pulling back the sheets so he could fall facedown on the futon after doing a haphazard job of drying himself. Picking up the towel he’d dropped on the floor, she rubbed it over his hair as he turned his face sideways on the pillow, his strong body sprawled na**d across the bedding.
Her own body shimmered with flame at the temptation of him, and she couldn’t resist running the towel slowly over the sweep of his back and lower, patting him dry with loving motions. “Sleep,” she murmured, kissing the soft skin behind his ear. “I’ve got plans for you when you wake.”