Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling 6) - Page 14

Wolf and leopard?

Yeah, right.

Having somehow survived Mercy's driving, Riley nodded hellos at the DarkRiver soldiers Nate had pulled to watch the Baker home and asked one of them to check under the house. "See if you can spot anything that could've been used to pipe gas into the house. Don't touch it. Just check."

The man's eyes flicked to Mercy. She gave him a nod and he headed off. It irritated Riley that the male hadn't immediately followed his order, but the lieutenant in him was impressed. These men didn't yet know that Riley and Mercy were heading this together - if the soldier had obeyed him, it would've betrayed a lack of discipline.

"Owen," Mercy said to the remaining soldier now, "Riley's on this with me."

Owen gave a military-perfect nod, but as Mercy turned away, Riley glimpsed disappointment. Why? Then Owen's nostrils flared and he knew. Boy had been hoping to be the one Mercy would choose to break her sexual fast. Inside him, the wolf's lips curled up to display razor-sharp canines, and his next words came from a part of him Mercy alone seemed to awaken. "Ready, kitty?" He kept his tone low . . . private.

Her eyes dipped to his crotch. She licked her lips. And he came to raging, painful hardness in a second. "Why, yes, Riley. Let's go inside." She walked off ahead of him, her h*ps swaying in a way that was all sorts of provocation.

The wolf couldn't decide whether to snarl or open its mouth in a savage smile, the smile of a predator that knew it had been bested. Deciding to think on it, he followed her into the house, the noxious smell of the perfume the abductors had sprayed heavy in his nose.

It should've drowned out the sweet musk of Mercy's arousal.

Of course it didn't. Because Mercy was a she-devil who delighted in irritating him. Alright, he allowed reluctantly, perhaps the scent wasn't on purpose, but Christ Almighty, did she have to smell so damn good? He wanted to do what he'd done last night - bury his face in her neck from behind and take a long, deep taste.

His mind taunted him with the image of her panting and angry below him, wildfire barely contained. To deal with her, to be with her, he'd had to unleash the wolf. He didn't like being out of control. But neither did he plan on letting Mercy ignore the inferno between them.

The object of his thoughts met him in the middle of the house, having apparently gone straight through to the back and worked her way forward. "You pick up anything?" She was all business now.

He shook his head, telling himself to get a grip. Teasing was fine - she'd play with him, cat that she was. But if she got even a hint of just how badly he wanted her, she wouldn't let him within touching distance - just on principle. So he'd have to play this cat-and-wolf game until she gave in to the hunger between them.

Then he'd gorge on her. Until she was out of his f**king system.

Because no way in hell was Riley Kincaid about to be enslaved by a lust that seemed to know no boundaries - exactly like the woman who inspired that lust.

"Riley," she snapped. "Stop checking out my boobs and pay attention."

"I've seen them already," he said, reacting in a way he only ever did with this cat. "They're nothing to moon over." What they were, were ripe, succulent, perfect for biting. Her skin was the rich cream of a true redhead, dusted with a luscious hint of gold. It showed every kiss, every bite mark. He could still see the one he'd made last night - it took everything he had not to lean in, place his mouth over that mark, and suck.

"Yeah, same." Her eyes dropped meaningfully before lifting. "Now that we've both got that out of our systems, can we get to work?" Sarcastic words, but her scent was a stroke against his senses, cutting through the perfume as if it didn't exist.

His skin stretched tight over his body. But he was a lieutenant - and little Willow was relying on them to find her brother. "You take that side, I'll do this one."

With a nod, she walked away. He watched her move for a second before heading to do his own part of the job. He was used to working with a strong female - Indigo was his right hand in the pack. But where Indigo was calm and collected, a perfect complement to his practical personality, Mercy was red-hot passion.

He never argued with Indigo, not about anything personal. So the fact that Mercy was a powerful, dominant female had nothing to do with why he couldn't be around her for more than two minutes without losing the cool that was as much a part of him as his status as Hawke's most senior lieutenant.

Something scratched across his senses. Crouching down, he tried to follow the scent hidden in the miasma of fading perfume. It was there, a shiny thread but worn through, thin, so very, very thin. There, he caught it.


His first thought was of the Psy. A lot of the ones in the PsyNet had a metallic edge to their natural scent that repelled changelings. This was similar but . . . too metallic. There was no life to it. And the Psy, for all their coldness, were still sentient, living beings. Following it across the room, he saw something lying on the floor below an end table. "Mercy," he said softly, knowing she'd hear him.

"You got something." She was beside him moments later.


She crawled lower, her body brushing along his side. The wolf growled. And it wasn't in rejection. Then she whistled. "I've seen one of those before. It's the same as that chip thing the Alliance soldiers had in the backs of their necks when they tried to kidnap Ashaya."

"I figured as much - I haven't seen one but Bren described it to me." His sister was a highly qualified tech, part of the team working with Ashaya Aleine to figure out the chips. This one, he saw, was still attached to a bloody hunk of flesh. "Ripped out. Nash?"