She threw him a glancing look. It was obvious she was still furious. "Driving that Psy brain crazy, isn't it?" Her smugness couldn't have been clearer.
"There was no tracker on the vehicle."
"Not when you checked." She maneuvered the car over the rough terrain with angry female confidence, having disengaged the hover-drive and shifted to tires. "I followed you out of the den and slapped a tracker under the chassis after you got in."
He remembered that shadow he'd seen. "I did a telepathic scan."
She shrugged. "Don't know how that works, but I didn't move out from under until you'd driven off. That reminds me - we'll have to send someone to pick up my car."
Judd knew why the scan hadn't located her. He'd made an elementary mistake and scanned the perimeter alone, rather than pushing outward in ever-increasing circles. To add insult to injury, he'd been so distracted last night that he'd allowed not one, but two pursuits. The wolf had to have followed him to the church, then lain in wait for his return.
Either he was getting careless or the more subtle effects of the dissonance - and of the battle between Silence and emotion in his brain - were already beginning to show. But that wasn't what concerned him the most. "I could've crushed you with the car."
"Not really." She sounded unworried. "You could only drive it in one direction."
"You're just pissed because I managed to trail you out of the den." She gave him a piercing look. "I knew something was up as soon as you got that call during dinner."
"How?" He didn't tell her to change direction when she headed for the underground garage. This vehicle had been seen by too many people in relation to him. He'd have to get a new one for his covert activities.
She brought the all-wheel drive to a halt inside the garage. "Not from your Ice Man expression. Somehow I..." Biting her lower lip, she shrugged. "I can't explain it. I just knew." Opening the car door, she came around as if to open his, but he'd already gotten out. She began to walk across the otherwise empty garage with him at her back. "If you rip open those stitches, don't come crying to me for sympathy."
"Noted." His eyes kept going to the sway of her hips, his control shot to hell. "You shouldn't have followed me."
"Why not?" She threw him an uncomplimentary look over her shoulder. "It's not like you're Mr. Communication."
"There are some things you don't need to know."
"Like what in the hell you were doing in a deserted park in the middle of the night?" She spun around to face him, arms folded. "You keep telling me you're an assassin and then you sneak out. Pretty easy equation, don't you think?"
He refused to listen to the voice that wanted to correct her. "Yes."
"Bull. Shit." With that very precise statement, she spun on her heel and toward the ramp leading up to the main den area. "If you'd been in a killing frame of mind," she threw back as she opened the door, "you'd have executed that wolf on sight."
He stood in the garage for several minutes after she'd gone, trying to think of an answer that would satisfy her. He couldn't, wouldn't, draw her into the gray world of the rebellion he had to fight. Stopping Protocol I was his attempt at finding redemption, if such a thing even existed for a man like him, but she had no need to pay for his crimes. He was her shield. Against the evil...and against his own nightmares.
Finally ready, he walked up and made his way to her rooms. She'd left the door open and he closed it behind himself. "Brenna."
She looked up from making coffee. "Don't lie to me, Judd. Keep your secrets, but don't lie to me." Quiet words but so passionate they felt like blows.
So he gave her no false answers. "I'd like some coffee, too."
She held his gaze for a long time, as if waiting for him to say something else. When he didn't, her spine went stiff and she turned her back to him. He had the violent urge to force her to face him, but fought it. Finally - and just in time - she was keeping her distance. Any longer and he knew he wouldn't have allowed her her freedom...even if she'd pleaded with him to let her go.
Even if she'd screamed.
The bitch had ruined his plans again. He'd been about to tear out the assassin's throat when she'd come racing out. He'd considered chancing it, but the f**king Psy had damaged something in his jaw with that single punch - he hadn't been certain he could maintain the killing hold. And if Brenna had seen him, she'd have known him. Now he had to lie low until the jaw healed. At least that wouldn't take long.
It hadn't been a total loss, he consoled himself. Andrew and Riley were pissed. And he'd heard Brenna and the Psy fighting. It was obvious that the shine was wearing off whatever weird relationship they had. Forget about trying to isolate Brenna, all he had to do was wait until Judd Lauren left and she was alone in that big apartment.
She wouldn't put up much of a fight - Santano Enrique had f**ked her over good. He decided he wouldn't kill her with an overdose after all. His fingers curled, imagining the slender width of her neck under his palms. He wanted to watch the life drain out of those witchy eyes of hers. Maybe, in the instant before she died, she'd remember the last time he'd had his hands around her throat.
After a day full of silences and stilted conversation, Brenna came to stand beside him where he sat going over the files that had been in the data crystal the Ghost had given him. Hidden in his back pants pocket, it had somehow survived the ambush undamaged.
"Why are you still here?" she asked. "It's nine at night."