“I thought that Italian restaurant by Wild. I know you love their gelato.”
“You did your homework.” She slid her arm into his, appreciating him though he didn’t make her wolf freeze in quiet, panicked anticipation when he was near, didn’t make her heart skip a beat.
Kieran responded as they rounded the corner, but his words were lost in the crash of white noise inside her head. She saw Walker coming down the corridor, the faded blue of his jeans a contrast to the deep navy of his shirt. Masculine and confident, he walked with the stride of a man at ease with his body . . . a body that was all lean muscle and strength.
She hadn’t seen him since their conversation in the forest, though she knew he’d come looking for her the other night. It was pure luck she hadn’t been in—but even if she had been, she would’ve handled it. The time for avoiding Walker was over, and while she couldn’t see them resuming their friendship, there was no reason they couldn’t maintain a cordial relationship. “Hi,” she said when he stopped.
Those light green eyes skimmed over her and to Kieran, before returning to her. “The temperature’s dropped,” he said. “You should take a coat.”
Kieran laughed, slid his arm around her. “Hey, man, if she has a coat, how am I supposed to use the cold to get her to cuddle close?”
Walker left with a curt nod.
It was only after he was gone that Lara realized she’d stopped breathing.
HAWKE had meant to stay the hell away from Sienna after he returned from visiting Theresa. So he had no idea why he was waiting for her at the car ninety minutes after having dropped her off, anticipation a slow burn in every cell of his body.
It was no surprise to see Lucas walking toward him. “Did you get my message?” the leopard alpha asked as he got closer.
“Yeah. Revised evac plan looks good to me.” On one point he and Lucas were in glorious agreement—it was damn fine to have a sentinel-lieutenant mating. Not that Riley and Mercy particularly enjoyed their glee. “It’ll get everyone out faster.”
Lucas shoved a hand through his shoulder-length hair. “We shouldn’t need to consider an evacuation from our own land, but the bastards have been getting smarter and more focused with each attempt. Learning more about us.”
“So have we. If it does come down to war, it’s going to be a level playing field.” That wasn’t false confidence—Hawke had made certain SnowDancer would never again be a defenseless target. He’d been fifteen when he’d taken control of the pack, but he’d understood the grim reality of Psy power better than anyone, his childhood having ended in a spray of blood and betrayal caused by the cold psychic race.
Then, he’d hated them all. Now he knew it was only the Council and its flunkies that were the enemy. “I was thinking I should go say hello to Sascha darling.” In truth, his mind was on another woman, one with hair of ruby red and a mouth that had a way of saying things that both amused and incensed his wolf.
“Go for it.” Unruffled words, eyes gleaming cat-green.
Hawke smiled, his wolf finding the idea of poking at the leopard alpha an amusing distraction from his compulsion to run a certain Psy to ground. “What if she invites me? I should call out, let her know I’d like to see her.”
A languid shrug. “If you want your teeth in your gullet, go ahead.”
“You sure you want to make Sascha mad?” The wolf laughed husky and low at Lucas’s battle-ready stance. “I am one of her favorite people, after all.”
Instead of snarling, the other alpha started to smile a very feline kind of a smile. “You know, I think maybe I should invite Kit over. He’d love to see Sienna again.”
Hawke growled before he could stop himself. The damn leopard grinned.
“Funny,” Hawke muttered.
“From my perspective, it was hilarious.” Lucas unfolded his arms, sliding his hands into the pockets of the black cargo pants he wore with a T-shirt of a shade that matched his eyes. Hawke knew without asking that Sascha had bought that T-shirt.
“They’re not dating, but he’s very protective of her,” Lucas said as Hawke was about to rib him on his sartorial elegance in retaliation for the other man’s quip, “just so you know.”
Hawke didn’t bother to respond to that—he’d eat the baby cat alpha for breakfast. “What did José say when you talked to him?”
“Guess.” Lucas shook his head. “Come over for a beer tomorrow afternoon. Sascha will be at Tammy’s. We’ll talk.”
It was strange, that he’d become almost-friends with this alpha who’d once been an adversary. “I’ll see if I can swing it. Might have a comm-meeting.”
Lucas nodded the instant before Hawke caught the first hint of an exquisitely familiar scent on the breeze. Autumn leaves and spice and strength. His wolf stretched out at the intoxication of it. Maybe she wasn’t his mate, but the animal wasn’t bothered. It still wanted the man to take her, to claim her. To bite her.
“Did you two have a good visit?” Lucas asked, walking over to touch the back of his hand to Sienna’s cheek in a gentle caress.
The only reason Hawke’s wolf didn’t eviscerate the other male was because Lucas’s mate was walking with Sienna. And Sascha could get even a demon to behave. Mostly. “Hello, Sascha darling,” he murmured, dropping his voice into bedroom territory. “Miss me?”
“Terrible man,” Sascha said, trying to get around her mate. Lucas refused to let her pass. “Both of you.” But she allowed Luc to wrap her in his arms, press his lips to her temple.