Zie Zen nodded. A second later, a Psy male in a black uniform blinked into place. Ashaya glanced at the Tk-Psy but didn't say anything as the man nodded once at Dorian, then teleported both himself and Zie Zen out of the warehouse.
"Don't you care that they know about your pack's part in this?"
"They have no real information to use against us." Dorian shrugged. "And the Council knows we hate their guts."
Ashaya refused to look at him as he moved ever closer. The heat of him seeped through her back and into her bones as he stopped behind her. She waited for him to speak but he said nothing. She'd noticed that about him. Dorian always waited. Knowing the tactic didn't make it any less disconcerting.
A breath whispered past her ear and she knew he was bending down. His lips touched the sensitive skin of her nape. Light, so light, they could've been butterfly wings. But she felt them. They burned. And still she didn't move.
"You lied about Omega being an active project."
Relieved at the topic, she said, "So?"
The next question wasn't so easy. "What was Zie Zen talking about? What haven't you told me?"
She kept her silence even as she felt her body begin to burn from the inside out.
His fingers brushed over her. Gentle, teasing touches along her neck. Invitations to surrender... to sin. "Stop," she whispered.
"Because I can't break open. Not fully." Every time her internal shields dropped, Amara whispered to her. Ashaya was in no doubt that her sister already had a lock on her physical position.
Heat, sweet, teasing heat against the lobe of her ear. The brush of lips that looked so hard when he was angry, but felt velvety soft. It made her shiver. "Dorian, you have to stop. I told you, I can't simply forget Sile - "
He was so close, the lean hardness of him pressed against her like living fire.
She swallowed. "I can't."
"Why?" Insistent. Adamant.
"Because if I do," she said, shattering a silence she'd kept for more years than she could count, "then Amara will find me." She hoped he hadn't noticed her minute hesitation. Because it wasn't for herself that she feared - she would live if Amara found her.
And even that wasn't the true horror of it.
Dorian pulled back. "Explain."
Ashaya wondered where to start. She'd just opened her mouth when Dorian's cell phone began beeping. He kept one hand on her hip as he checked the readout. "It's Jimmy." A pause, followed by a rapid-fire conversation. "Yeah? When? Okay, get the hell away from them. No, that's all I need." Hanging up, he filled her in. "More Psy on the streets - they obviously know you're here but not where."
"Amara." She knew in her gut that the information had come from Amara, but her sister wouldn't have given them the exact location. That wasn't how the game was played. "She - "
Dorian cut her off. "You can explain later. Right now, we need to get you out of the hot zone."
"Why can't we stay here?"
He squeezed her hip and the sensation was an electric current crackling over her body. "Telepathic scans might be illegal, but these aren't boy scouts we're dealing with. All it'll take is for them to scan one person who saw you in the car. Come on." He grabbed her hand.
To her surprise, he didn't lead her toward the parked car. They headed to the back of the structure instead. He pushed open a small door and pulled her through to the bright sunshine of the early summer's day. She was still trying to acclimatize her eyes to the light when they went through the back door of another building and then downstairs.
"Where are we going?" she gasped as they jogged down the narrow corridor and to the door at the end.
"Wait and see." Giving her a sharp grin, he twisted open the lock on the door and began to pull her through.
She had just enough time to see the exposed earth walls, the wooden beams holding up the ceiling, the darkness, before her mind revolted. "No! Dorian, no! Please!" She dragged her feet, but he was too strong and his momentum threatened to carry them through the door and into the pitch-black of the tunnel.
The second he heard Ashaya scream, Dorian came to a complete stop. She slammed into his chest as he turned instinctively to catch her. The air punched out of him but he was more worried about the damage to her. Psy bones were far weaker than changeling or even human. It was the trade-off nature had apparently made for their powerful minds.
He held her to him as he ran his hands over her back, silently calling himself every name in the book. "Jesus, I'm sorry." He couldn't get the absolute terror in that begging "please" out of his mind. He'd made this proud, strong woman beg, and he hated himself for it. "Are you all right?"
He thought she might've nodded against his chest but didn't take any chances, running his hands down her arms to check for injury. "Shaya?"
"I'm fine." She pushed away from him and though she tried to appear unfazed, there was a broken wildness in her eyes that he couldn't bear to see.
"Hold on." He grabbed her hand again, felt her stiffen. And realized he'd lost her nascent trust through his own idiocy. "I'm taking you back upstairs," he said, tugging her up the same flight he'd pulled her down only seconds ago.
Neither of them spoke until they arrived back in the gloomy belly of the warehouse. It was piled up with boxes, but light came in through several narrow windows near the roof. He heard Ashaya release her breath in a rush. "Thank you."
The sincerity of it made his gut clench. "Don't thank me." He reached for his cell phone. "I almost made your mind snap."