Hawke glanced at Indigo’s unconscious body and then at Drew. He said nothing, knowing Lara was well aware she could pull Pack energy from his body. It was something every healer could do, but only when it came to her own pack, her own alpha. He felt it when she began to pull, opened himself up to give more and more. He’d give the last drop of his blood for his pack.
Except this time, he wasn’t sure if it would be enough to save two lives. Because if they lost Andrew, Indigo would go with him, stubbornly holding on to the very end. “Lara?”
“He’s stable enough to move,” the healer said, lines of strain flaring at the corners of her eyes. “But there’s so much damage. The bullet shards ripped through most of his major organs.”
Hawke said nothing as he carried Drew, with Riaz at his heels with Indigo. He simply concentrated on gathering strength from his blood bond with his lieutenants. It flowed in from Riley, from Riaz, from all of them across the state, strong and pure and given freely. He even felt Judd’s cool energy as the Psy male responded in spite of his unconscious state. “We can’t lose them, Lara.”
Andrew was one of the “heart” pieces of the pack, those wolves who connected them all to each other in a way that was difficult to explain, but integral to the functioning of a healthy pack. Losing him would cut that heart wide open, leave them all bleeding . . . and losing Indigo would crush what hope remained. She was one of SnowDancer’s strongest support pillars, the woman everyone—even Hawke—went to for advice.
“We won’t,” Lara said as they reached the infirmary, and she began to work, using both her healing gifts and her skill as a medical practitioner. Her assistant, Lucy, chased out everyone except Hawke, who stayed with one hand on Lara’s shoulder to ease her access to the Pack energy inside him—and of course Indigo, who had woken long enough to collapse into a chair at the top of the bed, her hand on Drew’s head.
It took hours.
Indigo came to consciousness again toward the end. He met her namesake eyes, saw that they were devoid of tears. He understood. Now was not the time to cry. Now was the time to fight. Finally, deep in the early hours of morning, he felt Lara stop drawing from him, from his lieutenants.
Her normally tan-brown skin holding a tinge of gray, she nodded at Indigo. “Tell him to stay in wolf form for the time being.”
Indigo didn’t argue, just said the words, and Hawke knew she’d be sending the force of her command down the mating bond as well. “Don’t you dare shift until I say it’s okay.” Her voice was taut, her will absolute. “Lara?”
“I think I got the major damage,” the healer said, her body trembling from the exertion.
Hawke tugged Lara to the warmth of his body. “He finally got Indigo to accept the mating bond,” he said. “Do you really think the damn stubborn wolf will give that up?”
That made Lara’s lips curve a little and she rested against him as Lucy started to clean up. But she only allowed herself a short break. “I don’t think we should move him, but we need to change this sheet. I have just about enough energy left for that.”
“Hold on.” Releasing her after a small squeeze, he moved around to slide his arms under the body of the large silver wolf as Indigo did the same for his head. “Lucy?”
The trainee nurse, her eyes red with unshed tears, nodded. “Ready.”
As they lifted, she whipped out the bloodied sheet and slipped in a new one, with Lara helping from the other side. It only took a few seconds, and Drew didn’t stir once.
Shoshanna put down the incident report. “Your unit failed.”
“Yes.” The only positive news was that the highly intelligent man who’d organized the operation had made it out alive. “We won’t get another chance. They’re continuing to dismantle the surveillance and they’ve further strengthened their security.”
“You should have hit the wolf alpha in the city.”
Henry wondered if his wife thought she was in charge of their “partnership” again. But he said nothing on that point. Let Shoshanna lull herself into a false sense of superiority. It would, in the end, make her easier to kill. “Such an operation would not have fit in with our long-range plan.”
As that plan included taking the city and its resources as cleanly as possible, Shoshanna had to agree with her husband. “The others?”
“My men were ordered to eliminate the DarkRiver alpha, but as our surveillance efforts were focused on the wolves, they could not get to him. It appears he spends most of his time away from the city at present.”
“Protecting his unborn child,” Shoshanna said. “A child that should not exist.”
“Be that as it may, we’ve tipped our hand and they are now all on high alert.” Henry’s head gleamed mahogany dark under the lights as he rose to his feet. “It may be time to change the long-range plan.”
Shoshanna wasn’t Henry’s wife except in the legal sense, but she’d worked with him long enough to comprehend his meaning. “You want to sacrifice San Francisco.”
Henry turned from the window. “It will cause economic chaos on a mass scale, but that can be managed once we remove the roots of the trouble.”
Shoshanna considered their options. An all-out war would have a serious impact on the world, including on the businesses that had backed the Scotts to date, but by the same token, a clean strike would eliminate ninety percent of the problem. “How strong is your army?”