Sienna’s lips twitched. “My uncle would never be so common as to kiss a woman in a dark corner.”
“No, must be someone tall, blond, and silent who looks exactly like him.”
Sienna was still laughing at that dry statement when she went to join the children after a quick shower to wash off the sweat. However, she hadn’t been at the family apartment long before she got a call from Riley.
“Sienna, I know you’re meant to have the afternoon off, but can you accompany Mariska and three of her techs up to check on the hydro station?” he said, referring to the “green” system that used the natural power of the water crashing over the mountains to supply the den’s power. “The plant is secure, and I’ve got Drew heading up with the team, but he should have backup, just in case.”
“Of course, but I’m with Marlee and Toby. Can you—”
“It’s not even a question, sweetheart. Bring them over—they can hang out in the senior soldiers’ break room off my office.”
Knowing the kids loved spending time in the hub, which saw a constant rotation of the pack’s dominants—with more than one willing to pull up a chair to chat to a couple of “pups”—she said, “We’ll be there in fifteen.” It actually took closer to twenty to get everything sorted, but she left her brother and cousin competing with each other to tell Riley their latest news.
Drew was waiting for the team at the exit—or more accurately, he was kissing Indigo and smiling all the while. They’d been laughing before they kissed, Sienna thought, remembering Hawke teasing her as they lay in bed. She’d felt it when he smiled as he kissed her. It had been more wonderful than she could’ve imagined. “Ahem,” she said, lips curving at the memory. “At least find a dark corner.”
Indigo shot her a laughing look. “Touché.” Another kiss before she headed down the corridor, a woman with long, long legs and a body that moved with lithe muscular grace. “Don’t get shot,” were her parting words to her mate.
“Too scared of you to dare!” Drew called out, then grabbed some of the techs’ gear. “Let’s go, boys and girls.”
HAVING spent the day with Matthias’s and Alexei’s teams to make sure they were comfortable with the terrain and aware what their duties would be in a combat situation, Hawke was more than ready to take some time for himself. Thanks to his people, he could.
Waylaying Sienna as she headed to her quarters after returning from the hydro station, he tugged her down to the garage. It was tempting to lick up the taste of her, but if he put his mouth on those lush lips, they wouldn’t make it any farther than his bedroom.
“Where are you taking me?” she asked once they were on the road, the light diffuse as the first whisper of night touched the Sierra. “Am I being Psynapped?”
His wolf laughed. “We’re going to play.”
It should’ve sounded silly, Sienna thought, when there were so many other things to worry about, but there was no denying that the constant state of battle-readiness was an unrelenting tension at the back of her mind. Last night had been a sensual respite, one that had left her more alert and aware today. “Play isn’t a waste of time, is it?” she said out loud, having never quite understood that until this moment.
“The wolf has decided that that question doesn’t deserve an answer.”
It made her laugh. “What’s the game?”
“Wait and see.”
Half an hour later, he brought the vehicle to a stop deep in den territory, the area so dense with trees that he’d had to punch up the hover drive and get creative in his driving. As he set it down, she peered out at the small cabin hidden amongst the firs. “It looks new.” So new the area was still littered with wood chips.
“The lieutenants in the den banded together with the senior soldiers and started to throw it up.” He shook his head. “Apparently the other soldiers got wind of it and wanted in. It took them twelve straight hours with a revolving crew and by the end . . . seems almost every able-bodied adult in the den had something to do with either building the cabin or making sure it was furnished.”
She heard the stunned joy in his voice, felt her heart clench. “They love you.” Just like me.
“Yeah.” Shaking his head, he got out and jogged around to open her door. “I’d have torn into them for spending time on this when we’re so close to war, but Drew tells me the project boosted morale back to normal levels, so . . .” He pulled her from her seat. “This is ours,” he said, leaning down to rub his nose against hers. “The area’s off-limits to the pack when either of us is in the vicinity.”
Sienna stood on tiptoe, her hands on his shoulders. “Just us?”
The bright slash of his smile echoed her own. “Just us.”
It was an incredible gift. She loved SnowDancer with every beat of her heart, would die to protect the people who’d become her own, but being able to be truly alone with Hawke for even a few hours, a few minutes—she had no words for the force of her joy. “Let’s go explore.”
Laughing, he followed at her heels as she ran up the two small steps and crossed the porch to push open the door, flick the manual light switch. “Oh, it’s wonderful,” she said as the cabin was bathed in a soft glow. The entire place was a single large room, except for an alcove at the back fitted with a wooden sliding door.
There was a kitchenette off to the left, with a table and two chairs tucked in neatly under the window. To the right was a fireplace set with an eco-friendly laz-fire, in front of which lay a fluffy white rug Sienna could already feel plush and decadent against her skin. The rest of the available space was dominated by a huge bed with a wrought-iron headboard. Her eyes widened.