But the sweet moment was cut short an instant later as Zane ripped off his earpiece, clapped his hand to his ear. “Oh f**k, something bad just happened in the mountains.”
AGONY HAZED THROUGH Hawke’s brain. And he realized that Henry Scott might just have outthought them after all. “Brenna,” he said into the mike, “can you block that?” It was almost impossible to speak.
Brenna’s voice came out garbled, and he went to switch to a better channel . . . when he figured out it was his hearing that had gone, blood dripping down the sides of his face from violently ruptured eardrums. Unable to figure out what she was saying, he scanned the combat zone. A large number of his people were down, hands clasped over their ears. Others remained standing, but it was clear their balance was shot.
The only ones unaffected were the human members of the pack. In front of him, Kieran pushed aside a packmate in the line of fire and took on an attacker in hand-to-hand combat, while a reinjured Sam, his shoulder bearing a field dressing, dragged SnowDancer after fallen SnowDancer to safety. But there weren’t many human packmates. Not enough.
Henry’s men weren’t even bothering to shoot anymore. Instead they were walking up to dazed and bleeding wolves, and smashing them in the backs of their heads. Prisoners, Hawke thought as he shot down as many of the enemy as he could, Scott wanted prisoners. To torture? For experimentation? It didn’t matter. No SnowDancer would ever suffer as Hawke’s father had suffered. He kept on shooting, covering those soldiers darting out to drag in unconscious or hurt packmates. But even with an alpha’s strength, he was no longer as fast or as effective.
His people continued to fall under brutal crunches of bone.
They had one last weapon. His wolf had scented her on the air currents, the autumn and spice of her as vivid to him as the blood that saturated the air. The only problem was, he didn’t want to use her that way.
SIENNA dug her nails into the pine needle–strewn earth. They were falling onto their knees one by one, her friends, her family, Hawke.
Energy rippled through her body, a massive build-up of X-fire that would need to be earthed soon—or used in combat, as it was meant to be used. “Hawke, I’m here,” she whispered, not knowing whether to intervene or to wait for the signal as agreed. If she entered the conflict at the wrong moment, she could ruin everything.
Suddenly afraid that there would be no signal because Hawke was dead, she spread out her telepathic senses in a desperate search. Her mind recoiled from that of another powerful telepath, but Henry Scott had sensed her. She saw his eyes flick open as he searched for the unfamiliar mind.
“Please,” she whispered as the attackers began slamming their weapons down on SnowDancer skulls. “Use me.” Let me do this.
Her breath was a razor in her chest when a howl—broken, the cadence all wrong—lifted into the air. It didn’t sound like it should have, but she understood.
It was time.
Abandoning any attempt at secrecy, she walked out onto the night-cloaked battlefield bathed in the crimson and gold shimmer of cold fire. The enemy might have been Silent, but they went pale at the sight of her. An instant later, they began to shoot. She would’ve taken evasive action . . . except the flames around her repelled everything, melting the bullets down to nothing, reflecting the lasers back at the shooters.
It was then that she realized Judd couldn’t have acted as the failsafe. No bullet would’ve gotten through. That wasn’t the scariest part—her link to the LaurenNet was shielded by cold fire even Sienna wouldn’t be able to breach, the ultimate defensive measure from a martial mind. But that was no longer an issue. She knew what to do now, and she would do it after the battle was done and her pack was safe.
Angry and sickened at the sight of the broken and hurt SnowDancers around her, Sienna spread out her arms, palms facing the sky. And the fire with the cold, cold heart touched the enemy, and they weren’t there anymore. She aimed the most powerful wave at Henry Scott, knowing he’d try to get his men to teleport him out.
The bastard screamed high and shrill before he disappeared. She didn’t know if he was dead, but she did know the attacking force should’ve retreated at the sight of her. Yet bullets continued to fly, now aimed at the fallen changelings.
Something arctic and dark and deadly rose up inside of her as the X-fire emerged in a straight line on either side of her body, cutting the enemy in the way in half and cauterizing the massive wounds with such flawlessness, it appeared the men had fallen into two neat pieces. The rest of them were trapped beyond the wall of voracious flame, but they continued to shoot. And then her mind, a huge, vast endless thing that saw and heard every sigh, every heartbeat, caught the whisper of more of them coming down through the mountains. They’d slipped in past the defenses when the sonic weapon took out the changelings as well as the feral wolves, and now they thought to flank them from behind.
“Traitor!” The word came from the throats of those in front of her and she knew them then. Pure Psy. Zealots. They would not back down.
The cold, dark thing inside of her shoved aside all else . . . and the flames began to feed. Screams filled the air, filled her consciousness, filled the sky. The monster inside of her, she thought with a small part of the endless vastness that was her mind, had seized control.
The problem was . . . the Psy weren’t the only targets in the vicinity.
HAWKE pulled his injured out of range of those Pure Psy operatives who’d been trapped on this side of the divide when Sienna created that bladelike wall of X-fire. It was clear the enemy would not surrender, but trapped as they were, he offered them one final chance. The response was a hail of bullets, so he gave the order. When it was done, he checked on his people. Most were staring shell-shocked at Sienna as she blazed in a storm of crimson and gold, her hair flying in a terrible breeze, her eyes caverns of pure, raw power.