Some, Riaz thought, not all.
CLOSING the door to her office after completing the day’s session with the kids, Adria wiped her hands on her jeans, took a deep breath, and put through the call. It was answered on the second ring, her mother’s vivid blue eyes filling the computer screen, the honey brown of her hair tumbling over her shoulders—it was Cullan Morgan who had given his daughters the ebony of their hair, but Tarah’s and Adria’s eyes came from Felicity.
“Adria.” Heartfelt smile on her face, her mom reached toward the screen as if to touch Adria, then dropped her hand with a rueful smile. “How are you, my baby girl?”
Adria’s heart clenched at the love that sang in her mother’s every word. She’d kept her distance from her parents for too long, driven by a caustic mix of shame and anger, and her wolf ached to feel the fierceness of her mother’s embrace, the rough affection of her father’s touch. “Good. I went to Venice.”
“Oh, how lovely. I know you always wanted to.” Felicity beamed, glanced over her shoulder. “Cullan, come here! Your pumpkin’s on the comm.”
Adria laughed, knowing that regardless of her age or rank, she’d always be their surprise baby. “Hi, Dad,” she said when her father’s handsome face filled the screen.
“I should spank you, Adria Morgan,” was his growling response, his beard sprinkled liberally with silver. “When are you planning to visit your parents?”
“Soon as I can get three or four days of leave in a row.” Her parents were based in Los Angeles as a result of her mother’s position at the university, her father in charge of SnowDancer’s construction arm in the city. “Riley’s in a very good mood, so I might be able to swing it in the next few weeks.”
“Oh, I heard,” her mother said with a delighted grin. “He’ll make a wonderful father.”
“That he will,” Cullan agreed. “Always had a steady head on his shoulders—even when he was making trouble with Hawke, Cooper, Riaz, and the others when they were younger.”
Adria had decided to keep her silence on her deepening relationship with Riaz. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to share her family with him, didn’t want her parents to meet the intelligent, passionate lone wolf who was twining ever stronger bonds around her heart, but that she had to be dead certain. Never again did she want her mother and father to worry and hurt as they had when she’d been with Martin.
No, the next time she introduced a man to her family, it would be because she knew he loved her with his heart and soul, his devotion unflinching.
SIENNA’S NERVES WERE shot by the time she shoved into Hawke’s empty office and sprawled in his chair late that afternoon. The scent of him surrounded her, but it wasn’t enough. Scowling because she wanted to sulk with him, she got up, deciding to track him down like he so often did her.
It didn’t take long—because she knew who to ask.
“I saw him, Sinna!” Ben volunteered when she interrogated the kids in the White Zone. “He’s fixing a car.”
“Thanks, Ben.” She kissed his cheek—and the cheeks of all the other pups who’d gathered around—then made her way down to the garage.
Hawke wasn’t, in fact, “fixing a car.” He was discussing a rugged all-wheel-drive vehicle that looked like it had been taken apart piece by piece, with the head mechanic. Staying out of sight, she didn’t interrupt what seemed to be an important conversation, but she knew he was aware of her, his wolf rubbing against the mating bond in a primal hello.
She didn’t know how she knew which part of him she was talking to at any given time. She just did. And she’d learned to stroke the wolf through the bond, did so now. When Hawke finished his conversation and walked across to her, he just tapped her on the cheek and said, “My office,” having clearly sensed her mood.
The instant they entered it, he raised an eyebrow. “Someone’s been sitting in my chair.”
She slumped in it again. “The maternal females hate me.”
Pale, pale blue eyes suspiciously bland, Hawke leaned back against his desk in front of her and looked down to meet her no-doubt temper-foul gaze. “I’m guessing shadowing Ava didn’t work out.”
“Her baby was fussy today, so she arranged for me to shadow Nell instead.” Cocking her fingers, she pretended to shoot herself in the head. “Do you know how many times I was pulled up in front of Nell as a juvenile? Well, she does. Has a memory like a steel trap.”
“Stop laughing,” Sienna muttered, glaring at her mate though he hadn’t made a sound. “This is serious.”
An infuriating chuckle before he used his foot to push the chair away, then pull it back in so she ended up between his legs. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
“I showed up to meet Nell in the nursery, and we spent an hour with the pups. That was nice.” She loved the innocence of the babies, the way the toddlers shrieked in delight, their joy guileless and forthright. “It was when we left that Nell decided to wander down memory lane. Her ‘favorite’”—she hooked her fingers to create air quotes—“one about me is from that time my class was camping in the mountains, and I convinced the girls to steal and hide every single stitch of clothing owned by the boys. She said she was impressed by the precision timing involved in the raid.”
Hawke remembered the incident, and the punishment he’d meted out to all those involved—fighting the urge to congratulate the girls on the sheer audacity of the stunt the entire time. “Nell probably was impressed.” He sure as hell had been.