Hand fisting in her hair, he pressed his forehead to her own, his eyes night-glow in the dark. “I will love you until the day they put me in the earth.”
Tears lodged in her throat at the fierceness of his vow. She felt suddenly brittle, as if she was made of the same glass as the tiny figurines Riaz had brought her from Venice. But when she parted her lips to say something—she didn’t know what—he covered them with his own. It was no ravaging, possessive brand, but a slow, sweet seduction, a persuasion.
Arrogance, force, dominance, she might’ve withstood, but this tenderness…
“Adria. Adria. Adria.” His voice a rough murmur, he kissed a path down her neck, back up to her mouth. “My Adria.”
She was only a woman. A woman who loved this man with the heart of the wolf within. She’d fought so hard, walked away even when it threatened to forever break her, had given him a choice. That he’d chosen her … no, she wasn’t superhuman enough to resist that, even though deep inside, she knew the choice she was about to make might one day savage her. “I love you,” she said against his mouth.
“Promise me you won’t ever walk away from me again.” A demand, his callused hand cupping her face, one of his thumbs brushing possessively over her lips.
“I promise.” She kissed him when he would’ve returned the promise, loved him until he forgot what he’d been about to say.
SIENNA SURVIVED ANOTHER meeting of the maternals to crawl into bed under the fluffy sky blue comforter she’d bought online. Patterned with white snowflakes, it felt so soft around her body that she felt as if she were floating on a cloud. Until it was tugged away sometime later, to be replaced by a far heavier, hotter blanket. “You’re late,” she murmured sleepily.
Nuzzling kisses along her neck, strong hands caressing the curve of her waist. “According to my many spies, you went to bed at eight thirty.” A kiss pressed to her breastbone. “Maternals make your head hurt?”
“A fraction less this time.” Pushing her fingers through the thick glory of his hair, she tugged him up for one of those long, lazy, sexy kisses she adored from her wolf. “What did Lucas say?” With anchor detail having wound down as Nikita and Anthony began to shift the anchors into permanent safe houses in earnest, Hawke had gone down to DarkRiver territory with Riley for a meeting to finalize the inter-pack dating rules.
“That we should just shoot ourselves in the head now.” Parting her thighs, he settled in between. “I like finding you na**d in bed, all sleep-warm and silky.”
Lips tugging upward at the satisfied statement, she wrapped one leg around his waist. “My friends gave me some very pretty lingerie as a mating gift.” The intimate present had caused her to blush—making Evie, Maria, and the rest of her lunatic friends howl with laughter. “I’m scared to wear any of it,” she told the wolf in bed with her, “in case you tear the satin and lace to pieces.”
Nipping at her lower lip, he ran one hand up to pet and fondle her breast. “You can do a fashion parade later—after I’m suitably sated.”
“Arrogant man.” She nibbled on his jaw. “You woke me up from a very nice dream.”
A gleam in the wolf blue. “I’ll make it up to you.”
He did. Twice.
Lying happily exhausted across his chest, she stroked the muscled heat of him and spoke of something that had been on her mind since the confrontation in the forest. “Ming’s not going to let it go.”
“I know.” Hawke didn’t sound worried—his voice was that of a predator in hunting mode. Cold. Focused. Without mercy. “Which is why I’m going to kill him.”
Pushing up on his chest, she looked down into his face, her hair creating a ruby red curtain around them. “Excuse me. I think you must’ve accidentally used the wrong pronoun.”
The growl that rumbled up out of his chest was loud enough to rattle the water glass on the bedside table. “Fine, you can stand in the corner and cheer while I kill him.”
She burst out laughing, and it was the last thing she’d have ever thought she’d do while talking about Councilor Ming LeBon, telepath and a monster who had turned her childhood into a torture chamber. Unlike the man in bed with her, the one who’d taught her to play, and who treated her like she was a gift he’d been waiting a lifetime to open.
“If you’re imagining me with pom-poms,” she said, glimpsing the renewed gleam in his eye, “stop right now.” The effect of her order was somewhat diluted by the laughter that continued to dance in her blood.
“Or what?” Unrepentant, he tumbled her over onto her back, but in spite of the wickedness in his expression, his next words were deadly serious. “He’s going to die, Sienna. No one threatens my mate and gets away with it.”
Ming had been her private nightmare for a long time. That was before she’d been claimed by an alpha wolf who had a ruthless will when it came to protecting those who were his own. Sienna understood that part of him—because it lived in her, too. Anyone who dared hurt Hawke would beg for mercy by the time Sienna was done with them.
“We have to have a plan,” she said, speaking to the wintry-eyed predator that watched her out of the man’s face. “One so good, Ming’s abilities won’t save him.” The Psy male was a telepath specializing in mental combat, could slice through minds as if he had blades in his hands. “You and I will have to work as a team and trust certain others to assist—the most critical problem we have to solve is how to dispose of him without impacting the innocent in the Net.”