“That’s right. I got the competency notice.” The healer nodded, as if making a decision. “Lucy did a double shift, so I’m not waking her up,” she said, naming the young SnowDancer who’d just finished nursing school to take up a full-time position as Lara’s assistant. “You’re drafted.” Her phone beeped at that moment. A quick conversation later, she said, “That was Hawke. We’re going to need more help.”
“Judd isn’t wiped out.” Sienna didn’t know where her uncle had been teleporting, but she’d seen him at dinner with the children, was able to gauge his energy levels. “I don’t think he’ll be able to teleport us down,” she said, aware Lara had been briefed on his Tk, including his ability to heal using telekinesis on the cell level, “but he can help with the injured.”
“Get him,” Lara said, then rubbed her forehead. “I’m going to have to wake poor Lucy up after all.”
Five frantic minutes later, Lara and Sienna reached the garage with a couple of packmates who’d pitched in to carry the gear, to discover that Judd had beaten them there. “Hawke’s already gone,” he told them, strapping the supplies onto the bed of the truck. “I’ll drive you two down. Another team will follow in a bigger truck with stretchers to help ferry the wounded back to the den.”
“Lucy’s coming as well.” Lara turned to look over her shoulder at the entrance to the garage. “She should be—There she is.”
A rumpled, red-eyed Lucy scrambled into the backseat beside Sienna. “What’re we dealing with?”
“Multiple gunshot wounds,” Lara said, “laser burns.”
“Any critical injuries?” Judd pulled out and onto a narrow forest track. “I may be able to get you down there faster, but it’ll wipe me out.”
“It’ll be better if you’re able to help with the healing. Hawke will hold everyone until we get there.”
Judd glanced at the healer, verbalizing the question Sienna had been about to ask. “I realize Hawke can push his strength into those with whom he has a blood bond, but is he able to reach others in the pack as well?”
“Yes.” Lara was checking her phone for updates as she spoke, in touch with the person who had made the original call for help. “It’s not as easy or as effective as the blood bond with the lieutenants, or the bond he has with me, but he can hold them there with the power of his presence.”
“Hierarchy,” Sienna said, realizing the true depth of the foundation that underpinned the pack for the first time. “Wolves will obey their alpha, even in that extremity.”
Sienna turned to Lucy when the nurse reached back to plait her sleepmussed hair. “I can do that if you like.”
“Are you going to be okay with so little sleep?” Lucy reminded Sienna of Riley, though they had no physical similarities. It was, she thought, the calm stability of their natures. From everything she’d heard so far, that solid calm would be much needed tonight.
Lucy nodded. “Got used to it when I did some work for CTX during my breaks from nursing school—the news sleeps for no one.” Her stomach growled on the heels of that statement. “Damn, forgot to grab something to eat. Crashed without dinner.”
“Here.” Judd threw a granola bar over the seat. “Had it in my jacket pocket.”
“I avow my love for you here and now,” Lucy said as she tore open the wrapper.
Sienna wondered if Judd had really had the bar, or if he’d executed a deft telekinetic “fetch.” Having witnessed the price it demanded from him, she knew telekinesis wasn’t an easy ability in any sense of the word, but it was one she wouldn’t have minded in place of the fire and pain that was the X designation.
It was that kind of violence, however, that awaited them on a border section of den territory that backed onto DarkRiver land, an area thick with firs that pierced the glittering beauty of the night sky. Two of the cats were there, one of them performing first aid. The other, she realized, as her vision adapted to the glow of the field lamps stuck into the ground, had been shot through the arm—and yet he was attempting to do what he could for the others, all of whom were more badly injured.
“Oh, God,” Lucy whispered, grabbing a medical kit from the truck. “Riordan must’ve come down early for the shift change.”
Sienna followed the nurse’s gaze to see that the big, playful wolf was bleeding heavily from a wound in his abdomen as he sat propped up against a tree. “He’s hurt bad.” So was Elias. The senior soldier appeared to have been hit with a laser along one side, his burnt flesh no doubt causing him horrible pain, though he’d gritted his teeth against the screams. “Where’s Hawke?”
They both realized the answer at the same instant. Simran, Elias’s partner on watch and the woman whose place on the border Riordan would’ve taken, was down, blood seeping from a wound in her neck. Sienna knew it was a fatal injury—or should’ve been. Hawke knelt beside Simran, his hand clamped over the bloody gash, such intense focus in those wolf-pale eyes that she knew he was holding the sentry to life with his will alone.
It was only when she saw the light gleam over his na**d back that she understood he’d run here, his speed outstripping any vehicle when it came to this place of mountain and forest, rivers and lakes. But to have reached Simran before the sentry slipped away . . . It was unimaginable, the sheer fury of his speed.