Branded by Fire (Psy-Changeling 6) - Page 4

She moved with him, kissing him back, running her hands over his body and nipping at him just because. He kept her pinned to the earth as he took her, as if he knew just how damn much she needed a good, hard ride. When she orgasmed, it was with a sharp cry, a lush clenching around the thick heat of him, and a burst of starlight behind her eyes.

Lights that continued to flicker even after she came back down to earth. Riley was still hot and aroused in her, moving with unapologetically powerful thrusts that pushed her to another peak in moments. She bit his neck in the wolf way this time, and it finally pushed him over the edge with her.

Chapter 2

Early the next morning, a willowy Psy female walked into a breakfast and dinner - no lunch - restaurant just south of San Diego, and sat down, placing her briefcase beside her. She was dressed in a dark gray suit, with a jacket that cinched at the waist, and tailored pants in the same material. Her shirt collar was crisp and white, her nails manicured so they were short and clean.

The waitress smiled, but didn't expect a response. All Psy - well, except the ones who had defected recently - were emotionless robots. She'd heard rumors that they weren't born that way, that they trained the emotion out of themselves. Damn fool thing if you asked her. What was life without love, without laughter? Yeah, there were a few tears along the way, but hey, that was life. To be lived.

But she said none of what was on her mind - Psy were emotionless, but they tipped exactly on the correct percentage. Which was better than some cheapskates who ran her off her feet then left a quarter behind. She'd serve a Psy ahead of them any day. "What'll it be?" she asked, holding up the old-fashioned order pad. That was how this place stayed in business - folks came for the "ambience," as the boss called it.

She laughed at him - the old flirt was her husband, she had to keep him on his toes - but he was right. People liked the checkered tablecloths over wooden tables, the real-people service as opposed to order pads built into tables, even the crackling old jukebox they cranked up at night. That's why they got a lot of human and changeling traffic.

The few Psy who came in were mostly strays on their way to a meeting in the city. This one looked the type. Pretty, too, with those bright green eyes against skin that was a nice, pale bronze. Psy really were striking a lot of the time - probably messed with their genes in the womb, the waitress thought. "Honey?" she prompted when the woman didn't respond.

The Psy female blinked, staring at her.

And the waitress could've sworn she saw desperation in those eyes.

Then the briefcase exploded.

Chapter 3

Riley woke to find his brother, Andrew, sitting at the foot of his bed, mug of coffee in hand and a shit-eating grin on his face. "Nice trick, bro," he said. "Showering before you went to bed. Probably dunked yourself in a stream before you came home, too."

Riley just waited. Drew was really good at getting people to spill their guts with sly hints that he knew everything anyway. He blamed it on being the middle child. Riley blamed it on him being a smart-ass.

"But you forgot to empty the laundry hamper."

"Sniffing the laundry now?" He raised an eyebrow, knowing Drew had nothing. His clothes had been destroyed - he'd come home in wolf form. And he had dunked his ass in a freezing lake before he returned. "You really need to get laid."

"Oh, we're not talking about my sex life." Another smug smile. "Yours is much more interesting."

Riley remained on his back, feeling a soft ache in his shoulder. "Why are you here? You're supposed to be in Los Angeles this week." Drew had recently been promoted - to a role that necessitated him roving around all the different cities under SnowDancer control and reporting back directly to the SnowDancer alpha, Hawke.

It was a needed responsibility.

Because as SnowDancer had learned in the snow-white chill of the previous winter, not every wolf was good. Not every wolf protected. The lesson had struck the pack deep in the heart, and they were still bleeding from it. But that pain hadn't stopped them from fixing it so it couldn't happen again.

Hence, Andrew's new position as Hawke's eyes and ears among those who might otherwise be overlooked. He led a small team of men and women who were known to be absolutely loyal to SnowDancer, people who would cut out their hearts rather than harm the innocent. They were all also quick to smile, easily made friends.

Drew, in particular, could get anyone to talk to him about anything. Which was why Riley had learned to be very wary of his younger brother's apparently guileless questions.

"I swapped with Kieran," Drew now said. "He wanted to avoid somebody in the den."

Riley knew precisely who the other soldier wanted to avoid. "He broke up with his latest girlfriend." The fact that Kieran was technically human, having been adopted into SnowDancer as a child, didn't seem to stop him from acting the part of a wolf on the prowl. "Woman's out for blood, from what I hear."

"I figured." The glint returned to his eye. "So, who was she?"

"I thought you knew?"

Drew scowled. "I know you got laid. It's only a matter of time before I sniff out the truth."

"Knock yourself out." He began to get up, then realized why his shoulder ached. Mercy had scratched him hard. It might've given a human male pause. It made Riley's wolf smile. Wearing her claw marks was a badge of honor - because it meant he'd driven her to such pleasure that she'd forgotten herself. If she'd been his lover in truth, he'd be showing them off.

But he didn't know what she was to him. Except the woman who made him hotter and angrier faster than any other. So he remained on his back, brutally aware that once would never be enough. Not even close. His gut tightened. "Go away, Drew. I'll get up in a little while."

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