Guilt on several male faces, while the women frowned. The men knew damn well what had been building in that bar.
“Next time I get a call like this, I’m instituting a curfew. Understood?”
As everyone dispersed, splitting themselves between Elias’s truck and the one Tai was going to be driving, Hawke realized he was about to spend over an hour alone in a confined space with a female he’d made every effort to avoid ever since she hit eighteen. A female who was almost spilling out of her shirt, allowing him glimpses of red satin against creamy gold skin.
Great, just f**king great.
SIENNA glared out the window as her friends scattered. “Traitor,” she mouthed to Evie when the other woman glanced back.
Evie winked at her. “Give him hell . . . baby,” Evie mouthed back.
Sienna’s cheeks flamed as she remembered Hawke using the endearment in that taut, angry tone, which had raised every hair on her body. It probably meant nothing, except that he saw her as exactly that. A child. It didn’t matter what she did, how mature she acted, he only seemed to pay attention to her at her worst moments.
No, she thought, furious with him—and with herself for continuing to let him affect her this way, that hadn’t been a bad moment. She’d been having fun. Enjoying herself as she had every right to do. He was probably fuming because he’d been pulled out of Rosalie’s bed. Her nails dug into her palms. If she’d had claws, they’d have been out right then, slicing savagely though the seats.
“Not a word,” he snapped as he got into the driver’s seat. “Did you know what you were doing up on that bar?” Not giving her a chance to answer, he continued, “Most of those men were ready to grab you and strip you na**d right there.”
Her simmering temper ignited. “I know how to defend myself, thanks to Indigo. And dancing wasn’t a crime last time I checked.”
“I said, not a damn word.” His hands tightened on the steering wheel as he drove them out of the popular nightlife area.
She snorted, too mad to be thinking about the sanity of challenging a predatory changeling male in the grip of pure raging fury. “How about instead of orders, Mr. Alpha Wolf, you actually stop hiding and talk to me?”
“Don’t push me, little girl.” Quiet, quiet words.
The tone made every muscle in her body go tense, but she’d been trained by a cold-blooded Councilor. Fear was something with which she had intimate familiarity—and it wasn’t hot, not like the emotion that burned through her veins at this moment. “You think I should just keep doing as I’m told?” she asked. “Is that what gets you off?”
“One,” he said with such calm, she knew she was in the vehicle with a predator barely on the leash. “I’ll give you one free pass because you’re drunk—”
“I didn’t have a single alcoholic beverage.” Alcohol had unpredictable effects on Psy abilities, and she couldn’t afford to lose even an ounce of mental control. “I’m angry at you because you get to win all the arguments by using your alpha status to shut me down.”
A dangerous pause. So dangerous that Sienna snapped her mouth closed, swallowing the words that wanted to escape.
Until he brought the truck to a halt deep in an unfamiliar part of den territory. The night was pitch-black, starless, and moonless, the trees murky shadows that seemed to form an impenetrable wall around them. “Why are we stopping?”
“You wanted to talk. We’ll talk.”
Her palms went damp at that smooth, silky tone.
“I’m putting aside my ‘alpha status.’ ”
Oh, he was furious.
“So let’s see if you can win this argument.” Turning in his seat, he leaned his arm along the back of hers. “Now explain to me how you would’ve stopped a massive fistfight in the bar tonight.”
“That’s not on me,” she said, trying to breathe past the sheer power of him. “The women were an excuse—the males were itching to go at each other since the minute we walked in. They’re always playing dominance games.”
“So you knew that, and still you amped up the sexual energy in the room?”
The truck was suddenly too small, too confined, Hawke’s hotly masculine scent seeping into her very pores, touching parts of her no man had ever stroked. “It wasn’t my responsibility.”
“No.” A sudden crash of anger. “I’m not accountable for everyone! Maybe I wanted to have fun for a change. Maybe I wanted to not be in control for a few short minutes! Maybe I just wanted to dance.”
Hawke’s lashes came down. When they lifted back up, his gaze was night-glow, a brilliant ice blue shot with light. She sucked in a breath, realizing she was talking to the wolf now.
“You want to dance?” Husky words that stroked along her skin like the softest fur.
“Then we dance.” Reaching out, he switched on the vehicle’s sound system and input a selection before stepping out.
Her door opened as a slow, smoky ballad began to play. “Come.” An invitation—but mostly a demand.
“My shoes,” she blurted out, anger buried under a wave of nervous anticipation.
“The ground’s dry. They won’t sink in.”
Not sure this wasn’t all a dream, she placed her hand in his and, fighting the wild rush of sensation engendered by his touch and his scent, allowed him to tug her around to the front of the vehicle. Breaking the hold, he put his hands on her h*ps and pulled her forward, his breath a heated caress across her cheek as he bent to speak against her ear. “Arms around my neck.”