He broke the kiss, gasped in a jagged breath. Two long, hard thrusts and he felt his spine lock. Gritting his teeth, he tilted her so that his pubic bone would press against her clitoris, and then he thrust again.
Tiny muscles spasming anew around his cock, a molten fist.
His mind went black.
THOUGH VASIC TELEPORTED directly into Anthony Kyriakus’s office, the Councilor’s patrician face didn’t display any hint of surprise. Leaning back in his chair, the silver threads in his hair glimmering in the sunlight pouring through the window behind him, he met Vasic’s eyes. “It’s been a while.”
“Yes.” His goals had once aligned with Anthony’s, but Vasic’s loyalty would always be to the Arrows. “The Council is fractured.”
“It’s not yet common knowledge,” Anthony said, putting down the laser pen he’d been using to make notes on a datapad.
“No—but rumors are beginning to spread.” He studied the comm screen on the wall to his right, currently displaying the logos of a number of companies, some well known, others discreet powerhouses. “Satisfied clients?” Anthony controlled the largest network of foreseers in the world. Corporations paid millions to get predictions from a NightStar F-Psy before making decisions on everything from investments to product development.
“Very.” Anthony didn’t rise. “Do the Arrows require a prediction?”
Vasic had always wondered if Anthony had a touch of the F ability, though he was listed in the official records as a high-Gradient telepath with a minor illusion ability. An ability he’d apparently passed on to his daughter, Faith. “Pure Psy has moved on from licking its wounds—indications are it has an operation in progress.”
“I see.” Rising from his chair, Anthony turned to walk to the window.
Vasic joined him, his eyes on the landscaped park below, the grass jewel green, the trees lush with foliage. “An unusual view.” Psy corporations preferred to be in city centers, in high-rises created from glass and steel. The internal NightStar compound, by contrast, was all low, earth-toned buildings designed to flow into the environment.
“Events have led NightStar to question the need for isolation in order to guard the mental health of even our most powerful F-Psy, but foreseers do have unique requirements in comparison to the other designations.” Anthony nodded at a sturdy-looking man who’d walked out of the opposite building to take a seat beneath the spreading branches of a large oak. “He’s obviously had a strong prediction, and it’s drained him. I find my Fs function better—thus increasing our profits—if they have not merely soothing surroundings, but the freedom and space to recover.”
Vasic could understand that need better than Anthony would ever know. He often teleported to deserts cloaked in moonlight, because it was only there, surrounded by an endless nothingness that was strangely alive, that he could truly think. “Some would say such a need is an emotional response and should be conditioned out of your foreseers.”
“No,” Anthony said without looking away from the recovering F-Psy. “Nobody would dare—my people are too necessary to the continuing success of the businesses run by the most powerful. Something I make certain no one ever forgets.”
And that was why Vasic had first agreed to work with Anthony—the man was ruthless, but he had the same kind of loyalty to his foreseers that Vasic had to the Arrows. “Do your F-Psy know anything about the Pure Psy situation?”
“A number have foreseen what they call a cataclysmic change in the Net,” Anthony replied. “The visions are so violent the medics have had to intervene in three cases to bring the foreseers safely out. If they hadn’t been under supervision”—the slightest pause—“we’d have lost them.”
Vasic wondered if the pause had been an unconscious reference to Anthony’s daughter. Faith NightStar was the most powerful F-Psy in or out of the Net, the reason the squad had kept a covert eye on her since her defection to DarkRiver. Her Silence broken, there was a strong likelihood she’d been one of the foreseers Anthony had referenced. While Faith was no longer under M-Psy supervision, she was connected to her jaguar-changeling mate by a type of psychic bond Vasic didn’t understand. Perhaps that bond protected her in some way. “No details?”
Anthony shook his head. “But it’s worse than anything they saw prior to the battle with the changelings. The scale of the deaths will be catastrophic.”
FEELING MORE HIMSELF than he had in months, Riaz was out looking for a wind-fallen tree he could mine for a hunk of wood when something caught the sunlight—and his eye. He bent down, picked up a twisted piece of metal. Seeing the scorched and broken tree trunks around him, he realized he was at the spot where one of Henry Scott’s stealth craft had crashed prior to the final confrontation. It wasn’t surprising the small piece had been missed, the debris had been spread over such a large area.
Placing it into one of the pockets in his cargo pants, he decided to do a quick grid search to see if there were any other fragments. It didn’t take long under the bright Sierra sunshine. The techs and novices had done an excellent job—but for the damage to the environment, the area was pristine. That damage, too, would heal. SnowDancer would make sure of it.
Satisfied, he took a quick glance at his watch, saw it was four. Since he’d already found a small chunk of the type of wood he needed, he was about to head back to the den to complete his review of SnowDancer’s international business plan, when he caught a vague hint of a scent that shouldn’t have been there.