Picking up the glass on the table with cold-blooded precision, she threw it at the door. It made a very satisfying crashing noise. She hoped Dev wasn't wearing shoes the next time he walked into the apartment. In fact, she thought, picking up a vase from the coffee table, she hoped he shredded his feet. Another crash, the porcelain shards mixing with crystal.
As she searched for another breakable object, a drop of water fell on her hand. She glanced down, confused. Where had it come from? The ceiling was dry, and the water, when she raised it to her mouth, tasted of salt.
She was crying. Lifting trembling fingers to her cheeks, she brushed wonderingly at the dampness. She'd cried before; she knew that. In that dark room where Ming had buried her, she'd cried so many tears. But none had been like these. Clean. Angry. Determined. This time, she didn't feel a victim. She felt very much a woman who'd been wronged and who was going to get her vengeance.
Devraj Santos didn't know who he was messing with.
Dev was still riding the red edge of fury an hour later when he coded in a call to Ashaya.
The M-Psy answered almost at once. "Is Katya alright?" were her first words.
"Did you know how powerful a telepath she is?"
Ashaya's eyes went wide. "Yes, but she'd never use it to do harm."
"The woman you knew might not have," Dev snapped. "You have no f**king idea what she might do now."
Dorian's face replaced Ashaya's. "That's enough." It was a snarl. "You f**ked up in not asking the question. Don't put it on my mate."
Dev's anger whiplashed back on him. He knew Dorian was right, had known before he called. Taking a deep breath, he said, "I apologize."
Dorian waved it off. "Did she hurt anyone?"
"Not this time." Pure, blind luck that Tag had been on-site. "I need to talk to Sascha."
"She can't do much about a telepath."
"We've got a kid with shielding problems." And according to the info DarkRiver had allowed Talin to share, Sascha was one of the best shield builders in or out of the Net.
"Call Lucas," Dorian said. "Not worth my life to give you Sascha's cell number."
"Just call Luc. Here's the code." A pause. "And the next time you yell at my mate, I'll rip your throat out. We clear?" Leopard eyes looking out of a human face.
Dev stared into those eyes, knowing a show of dominance when he saw it. "Crystal - but don't consider me easy prey." When talking with predatory changelings, appearing weak could be fatal.
Dorian's eyes gleamed. "Long as you don't pull that shit again, we won't have to find out which one of us is more deadly."
Temper now on a leash, Dev input Lucas's number on the main comm panel. The DarkRiver alpha's face appeared on the screen an instant later. "Santos," Lucas said, cat green eyes curious. "This about Noor and Jon?"
"No." Dev shook his head at the mention of the two Forgotten children Talin had adopted. "I need a favor."
"You do realize we keep track?"
"Yeah." DarkRiver hadn't become one of the strongest packs in the country by being soft touches. "We'll owe you."
"I need Sascha's help."
Lucas's gaze went quiet, intent. But all he said was "Explain."
Dev gave him a bare-bones outline. "I'm hoping Sascha can teach him to build some shields of his own. I don't know if it's possible, but if she's as good as Talin says - "
"She's the best," Lucas interrupted, pride in every word. "But you're telling me this kid is damaged - if the damage is in the brain itself, Sascha won't be able to do anything."
"All our scans show that his brain is functioning at a hundred percent. He took the hit on the psychic plane."
"Psychic injuries can be as brutal as physical ones."
"But," Dev said, "there's a slightly better chance of recovery."
Lucas nodded. "I'll ask Sascha."
"Don't thank me yet." Lucas's eyes stayed human, but Dev knew it was the panther who was speaking. "Even if she says yes, and knowing my mate's heart, she will, she's not stepping one foot out of DarkRiver territory."
Dorian's earlier words suddenly made sense. "Sascha's pregnant, isn't she?"
A small nod. "Keep it to yourself. We don't want the Council turning eyes in her direction."
"You're saying I'm going to have to travel to you if I want Sascha's help."
"I feel for the kid," Lucas said, "but Sascha comes first. As it is, I'll probably have to hog-tie her to make sure she doesn't get on an airjet and head to you."
"But you'll tell her?" Dev asked.
"When you get hitched, try lying to your mate and see where it gets you. I'll call back after I talk to Sascha."
Knowing he'd done all he could on that front, Dev stepped out to talk to Maggie. "Tell me which fires I need to put out and which ones can wait."
His secretary, an elegant forty-eight-year-old with naturally silver hair that she'd turned into a fashion statement, raised an eyebrow. "Well, where do I begin? Jack and the others want another meeting."
Dev only just stopped himself from gritting his teeth. "When?" Avoidance would get none of them anywhere - and this way, at least he could keep an eye on the problem.
"They're in the city."
"Slot them in this afternoon." Head aching, he nodded at her to go on. "Next?"
"Glen says he'll ensure Patient X will have high-calorie foods delivered to her." There was no curiosity in her tone. Maggie likely knew every single detail about Patient X - there was a reason he'd hired her over the shiny new graduates who'd applied for the position.