“Even if you are correct”—tight words, tendons pulled taut along her jaw—“it won’t matter. He’s made up his mind.”
That, Kit agreed, was a problem. Because if there was one thing he knew about the wolf alpha, it was that Hawke’s will was as intractable and immoveable as granite.
HAWKE finished the last of the two hundred crunches he’d set for himself, and sat up. It was three a.m. and his body was still buzzed, in spite of the fact that he’d been in the small indoor gym for over an hour, doing everything he could to exhaust himself. “Hell,” he grunted.
Getting up, he wiped off his face using a towel, then flicked on the entertainment screen on the wall, programming it to show financial reports. Cooper and Jem, in concert with a dedicated team, did the day-to-day caretaking of SnowDancer’s investments, but Hawke made sure he stayed up to date as the two lieutenants often used him as a sounding board.
But today, all he saw was gibberish, his brain hazed by a sexual hunger so raw and wild, he knew he’d have to take care of it or his wolf would begin to fight him, inciting a dangerous level of aggression in all the unmated males in the pack. Right now, they were edgy but the level was still manageable. If Hawke’s wolf slipped the leash . . . Shoving his hands through his hair, he was about to reach for the water bottle when he heard someone enter the training room next door.
Likely one of the night-shift soldiers, he thought. Taking a long drink, he put the bottle on a nearby bench as he pushed through the connecting door into the other room, intending to ask if they’d be up for a sparring session. Riley was the only one in the den who could take on Hawke at full strength and make him hurt, but Hawke often practiced with other packmates—just made sure to rein his strength back a fraction.
He halted three steps into the room, the scent of autumn fire, of some rich exotic spice twining around him, as the door closed with a quiet snick at his back. She hadn’t seen him, the woman dressed in black gi pants and a deep green tank top who moved with such fluid grace in the center of the room. The precise, stylized movements spoke not of combat, but of an attempt to find peace.
She’d pulled her waist-length hair into a neat braid, and the dark rope gleamed with ruby red highlights. It made him feel like a cradle-robbing bastard, but he couldn’t help but imagine those silken strands spread out all over his hands . . . over his pillow. Fuck. He should turn around right this second and walk out. There was a reason he made sure never to be alone with her in this kind of a mood.
But it was too late.
She went motionless, the stance of prey scenting a predator. When she turned, it was with wary cautiousness. Not a word passed her lips, but he knew he was intruding on her allotted free hour for the day to come—because whatever else she did, Sienna never lied, never tried to get out of punishment once she’d broken the rules.
He should’ve left. Instead, he shoved aside the voice of reason and walked to her, aware of her spine going stiff, her shoulders squaring. But it was the sheen of perspiration across her collarbones that fascinated him. The wolf wanted to lick, see if she tasted of the spice so hot and sweet in her scent.
In spite of what might have gone on in the forest earlier, the leopard cub hadn’t managed to imprint his scent into her skin. It was all Sienna. Swallowing his growl of satisfaction, he reined in the primal impulse to taste, to take. “Your arm,” he murmured, moving to stand behind her and stroking his hand down that arm to raise it, “should be straight on that final turn. You’re dropping it.”
Her pulse thudded hard and fast against the delicate skin of her neck, and it was all he could do not to drop his head and bite down on it. Not to hurt. Just a nip. Just enough to leave a mark. “Like this.” He moved his hand along the smooth warmth of her arm until it was straight. “Do you see?”
No sound as she angled her head to one side. He knew she hadn’t meant it to be, but it was an invitation to his wolf, the offering of that vulnerable part of her. He could close his hand around her throat, close his teeth around her jugular, anything he wanted. He was so much stronger than her that he could do that no matter what, but conquering wasn’t the same as surrender. “Do it again,” he whispered. “I want to watch.”
It took every ounce of will he had to drop her arm, to not accept the unintended invitation and take them both to the floor in a tangle of skin and heat. But he couldn’t stop himself from running the knuckles of one hand down her throat as he stepped away, his gut tight, his body so damn hard he might as well have been made of steel. He moved until he was in prime position to watch her, and then he waited. She did nothing for a long, still moment, and he thought she would deny him this.
But then Sienna began to move.
And his wolf stopped pacing.
HUNDREDS OF MILES away, in the barren heart of another continent, an Arrow named Aden scanned his gaze over a desert wasteland that was a rich rust red under sunlight, but now glimmered silver in the glow of the moon. “Why do you always come here?” he asked the fellow member of the squad who’d teleported him to the location.
“There’s clarity here,” Vasic said, looking out at the rolling vista of sand dunes, his eyes a piercing silver that echoed the brilliance of the moon.
“There’s nothing here.”
Vasic merely shook his head. “Pure Psy.”
“A possible problem.” Aden sometimes wondered if he and Vasic hadn’t formed an inadvertent subconscious telepathic connection, they understood each other so effortlessly.