The growl was so low and deep that she felt it with her body first, her skin shimmering in reaction, the stiff points of her ni**les rubbing against the corset. Only the discipline she’d learned in the Net kept her from giving in. “Stop trying to intimidate me.”
Instead of answering, he returned his attention to the road and began driving. It didn’t take her long to realize they were most definitely heading back to den territory. Recognizing she’d lost that round, she forced herself to regroup, to remember that she wasn’t dealing with the cool, calculating alpha of SnowDancer at this moment, but with the wildness that lived in his heart.
That didn’t mean she was about to surrender. Even if she had no idea what she’d do if he decided to stop stalking her and pounced. “Do you like my top?”
“Is that what it is?”
“Latest style,” she assured him, ignoring the silky menace of his response. “Laces up the side, so it’s easier to take off.”
His hands clenched on the steering wheel as he headed up into the mountains.
“And the boots.” She lifted one leg up to the dash, stroked her hand over her thigh. “They make me—”
The car shuddered to a halt near the perimeter of den territory. Hawke was turning to her when he went motionless in a way she recognized. Predatory. Listening. Snapping to alertness, she brought down her leg and swept out with her telepathic senses . . . to find more than a few Psy minds in the vicinity.
“Psy,” Hawke said under his breath at the same instant. “Stay in the car.” He was gone before she could argue.
Tempting as it was to disobey him, her damn boots would make her a liability. So she gave him a different kind of backup. Keeping him on the periphery of her psychic senses, she expanded her telepathic reach once more. Unsurprisingly, the intruders were shielded. Hawke’s mind was even more impenetrable, his natural shields a solid wall. She’d never know if he was hurt or in trouble.
Frustrated, she slid back her door with utmost care.
The night air raised goose bumps over her body, but she brushed aside that minor concern and focused every one of her senses on listening. With all of her senses—psychic and otherwise. The instant she heard even the slightest indication of a fight, she’d blow out every Psy mind in the vicinity.
This was her home. Her man. No one was allowed to f**k with either of them.
IT took Hawke’s wolf a bare minute to realize that Sienna was too smart, too dangerous, not to have come up with a plan in case things went balls-up. Shit. Pulling out the sat phone from his pocket, he typed in a short, terse message.
Do not act unless I give the signal. A howl from the wolf could carry for miles in the right conditions. Don’t give yourself away. If anyone on the Council learned that she was alive, they’d come after her, no holds barred. Since Hawke had no intention of letting them take her, things would turn brutal fast.
Then don’t get hurt.
The return message made him grin despite the tense circumstances. Slipping the phone back into his pocket, he made his way with wolf-stealth to the area where he’d scented the intruders. His wolf was angry at the trespass, but its anger was a silent, focused thing, both parts of him conscious of the need to uncover the enemy’s agenda. SnowDancer stood in danger of becoming arrogant after their recent successes at foiling the covert operations, but the fact was, the psychic race posed a powerful threat.
Shifting from shadow to shadow without a sound, he brought himself to within five feet of the intruders.
“. . . too many trees.”
“He’s correct. We need a more—” The speaker paused for a few seconds. “We’ll have to continue this later. I’m needed at the base.”
The third Psy put one of his hands on each of the other two men’s shoulders and teleported them out. Hawke could’ve taken down at least one, maybe two, before the teleport, but he let them go. The first order of business was to figure out their game plan, something that’d be far easier to do if whoever was leading this wasn’t tipped off to the fact that SnowDancer was aware of any planned assault.
Checking to confirm the area was secure, he was about to head back to the SUV when he paused. Sienna had been Ming’s protégée, had spent most of her life studying military tactics and strategies utilized by the Council. While the protective side of him wanted to cocoon her in safety, he was also the alpha of SnowDancer—cool, calculated, and willing to use any advantage to protect his pack.
Bringing out his phone, he called her. “Can you get to me?” he asked, stepping a small distance away from the actual site to avoid being seen or heard by any concealed technology—it paid to be extra paranoid after what Henry Scott had almost pulled off last year.
“Yes. I can see you with my telepathic eye.”
He frowned but didn’t say anything until she appeared out of the night, her skin silver in the moonlight where it was bared by that ridiculous strip of fabric she called a top. “Can I be tracked that way by all Psy?” he asked, figuring it’d take a single, precise claw swipe to cut the ties that held the corset so snug to her body.
Sienna shook her head, hair once more tied up with that scarf. “Not you, specifically. I meant I did a telepathic sweep and found a single changeling mind.”
Satisfied, he pointed out the compromised area, told her what he’d overheard. “Anything strike you?”
Scanning the lightly wooded section, Sienna rubbed her hands up and down her upper arms in an absent manner. “Nothing you haven’t already considered, I’m sure—if they need a more open space, I’m thinking staging post.”