"Mated pair." The words came from Drew, who'd just walked up. "China Doll's a nickname. She doesn't mind - use it if you like."
"And get a knife in my back," Judd said, his Psy brain comparing D'Arn's behavior with Sing-Liu to his own with Brenna. It didn't take a genius to tell him he wasn't giving his wolf anything close to what she needed. "I think I'll pass."
"I had to try." Drew shrugged. "On to the games." His smile was distinctly savage.
Judd was more than ready, the tension in him wound to a fever pitch. "Let's play."
Brenna had been looking for Judd for twenty minutes without success. Sascha had just left after several hours of talk. The empath hadn't been able to give Brenna any answers but had convinced her that she didn't "smell" insane. Now she wanted to share her relief with Judd, wanted to tell him that the violent woman who'd shredded his skin yesterday had been an aberration...even if she didn't quite believe it herself.
"Lucy" - she stopped her friend in the corridor near Hawke's office - "you seen tall, dark, and silent?"
"Which one?" the other woman deadpanned. "Your one's playing war games with Andrew and some others."
Bren felt her face pale. "What?"
"Don't worry," Lucy called out as she headed off. "He's a big boy."
But Drew was bloodthirsty, especially with men who dared be involved with his baby sister. And after the way Judd had faced him down yesterday..."Calm, be calm," she told herself. "He's Psy. A very strong Psy." Oh, God. What if Judd killed Drew?
She thrust a hand through her hair. Inspiration struck. She could either go mad worrying or...Turning on her heel, she ran after Lucy. Her friend smiled and opened her mouth to speak.
Something crashed in Hawke's office. They both looked up as the door was wrenched open and Sienna Lauren came striding out. The door slammed shut after her, as if it had been kicked. The seventeen-year-old didn't see them - she was heading in the opposite direction, head down, fists clenched.
Lucy raised an eyebrow. "That one doesn't act Psy, does she?"
"No." Brenna thought about going after the clearly upset girl, but Sienna didn't know her and would probably not welcome the interference.
"Not like your one. That man is pure ice. Sexy ice but still ice."
Brenna had a moment's pause. "How do you know we're involved?"
Lucy's laugh was open and honest. "Did you hit your head or something, Bren? You smell like him, silly."
"Oh." But she shouldn't, not that deep. A scent layer only grew ingrained - unable to be washed off - between lovers. Something she'd never become with Judd if he got himself executed for killi - Stop! "Lucy, I need a favor. Can you get access to a vehicle?"
"Sure. So can you."
"Not without Riley finding out. Um, I'm kind of under den arrest." She was going to break the rules, but she wasn't going to be stupid about it.
"Riley's got some burr under his bonnet," Lucy muttered. "He chewed me out yesterday for nothing. I'll sneak you out and it'll be my pleasure. Where are we going?"
"Miss Leozandra's Beauty Parlor." Smack bang in the middle of Chinatown.
He was going to take care of unfinished business this morning. The den grapevine had confirmed that the bitch was finally alone and unprotected. All he had to do was lure her to one of the dim corners of the garage.
She'd come. If she had remembered his face, she would have squealed by now. It didn't matter. She had to die - he couldn't take the chance of her memory returning. They'd rip open his stomach and pull out his guts while he was still alive if they learned what he'd done. The drugs and Timothy's murder were nothing compared to his first crime.
He bit down the fear. She'd come. She trusted him. He was one of the good guys.
Once in the garage, he'd overdose her with the Rush already loaded into the pressure injector, shove her into the trunk of one of the Pack cars, and drive out. No one would ever figure out where she'd gone. Or they'd blame Judd Lauren. Yes, that would work. He'd make it look like Judd had killed her, maybe leave a knife coated with her blood in the Psy's room.
He smirked, fear buried under sick excitement.
His first surprise came when he got to her apartment. The door was covered with the cool, dangerous scent of the Psy she was undoubtedly f**king. He backed off without touching anything. The scent could be there because Judd had spent time inside, but he was certain the Psy had done something, set up some kind of weird psychic trap.
"Hey, you looking for Bren?" A smiling face, a packmate. "She's gone off with Lucy. Saw them leave."
"No." He couldn't have her finding out he'd been looking for her. It might serve to trigger her memory. "Drew actually."
"I heard something about war games."
"Thanks." His gut churned as he walked away. He could do nothing now, would have to wait until the grinning fool who'd interrupted him forgot he'd ever seen him outside that door. But he couldn't wait forever. Brenna might remember.
To Brenna's surprise, they made it out of den territory without a problem. She crawled out of the backseat and asked Lucy to stop once they were no longer in any danger of being spotted by scouts. "I can take it from here."
"Sure?" A friendly question, nothing more.
"I need to drive."
"Have at it. I'll run back and pretend ignorance if Riley grills me."
Brenna returned her mischievous smile. "Thanks, Lucy."
"Anytime." She got out and Brenna moved into the driver's seat. Waving, she watched her friend disappear into the woods. Then she took a deep breath and the wheel. Her lips stretched into a huge smile. This felt like freedom.