“You, Max.” Sophia’s eyes turned an intense, incredible night violet. “They were worried you would figure it out—you’re the wild card in this situation, a human whose thought processes they can’t predict.”
“Okay, so a target a Psy wouldn’t immediately think of, coupled with a deadly—” Ice crawled through his veins, right to his heart. “No.”
“Where the hell did I see it?” Reaching into the seat pocket in front of them, he pulled out the entertainment module. “They were flashing the selections on the big screen when we boarded, remember?”
“Yes, but what did you—”
“There!” He stopped on the front page of a national tabloid. The headline was: Scoop! Sascha Duncan Pregnant! Below that was another headline in a slightly smaller font: DarkRiver Alpha Keeps Pregnant Mate Captive!
Max put down the module. “Bastards are afraid the cats really are about to put Sascha into hiding.”
A sick feeling bloomed in the pit of Sophia’s stomach as she remembered the glowing warmth of Sascha’s presence. The E-Psy was something incredibly good, something their race needed to protect, not harm. “Our cell phones won’t work.” As a result of accidents in the twentieth century, all devices were now automatically blocked while an airjet was in the sky.
Max was already rising. “I’ll talk to the steward, get an emergency call out.”
“Wait,” Sophia said. “That’ll take too long. I’ll do it on the PsyNet.” Though she was a very strong telepath, her shields were viciously degraded. If she attempted to send that far without the aid of the Net, they could collapse, killing her before the message reached the intended recipient.
“You do it on the Net, I’ll make the call, cover our bases.”
Nodding, she closed her eyes to ensure total focus and opened her psychic eye. She hadn’t tried to cross her new shields before today, but if they were hers, they should obey her—and they did, wrapping her in distinctive mobile firewalls as she exited out into the PsyNet.
Forcing herself to ignore the battering influx of information that was the endless river of the Net, she arrowed straight to Nikita’s mind. As expected, the Councilor’s shields were beyond impenetrable, but Sophia began to try to break them. It was the easiest way to ensure she’d get Nikita’s attention as fast as possible.
It only took a split second. “Ms. Russo.” Nikita’s icy presence. “People who attempt to hack my shields don’t usually survive.”
Sophia knew full well she’d risked infection from a mental virus if the Councilor had laced her defenses with her own personal brand of poison. “You need to get a message to Sascha. We think she’s the next target.”
“Nothing concrete—but it’ll happen very soon.”
Nikita broke contact.
Dropping out of the Net, Sophia found that she was gripping the armrests so tight, her tendons showed white against her skin.
“Sophie, sweetheart, talk to me.” It was a soft-voiced command, meant to carry to her ears alone as Max returned to slide into his seat.
“I told Nikita.” She swallowed, realizing something too late. “I just hope she was the right person to tell.”
One thing I’ve learned after so many years on the job—no one is simple, no one is one-dimensional. And still, people surprise me.
—From the private case notes of Detective Max Shannon
Sascha’s and Lucas’s phones both started beeping with the pack’s emergency code when they were two streets over from the HQ. Then the car phone started beeping.
“What the hell?” Lucas double-parked beside a bright magenta monstrosity that Sascha had been teasing him about buying.
“I’ll get mine,” Sascha was saying when she felt a telepathic knock on her mind. Firm, familiar. Mother. Her own telepathic reach was small, but Nikita’s was so wide, she’d hear Sascha’s weaker voice.
You may have been chosen as a target by my enemies.
The methods they’ve used thus far suggest they do not have a teleport-capable telekinetic at their disposal.
I’ll make sure I’m careful about my physical surroundings.
Don’t forget about explosives.
I’ll organize protection—
Thank you, Mother, Sascha said, emotion a rock in her throat, but the pack will take care of me. I promise.
Nikita’s mind dropped away, but Sascha didn’t take it for disapproval. Glancing at Lucas, she saw his green eyes had gone cat. “My mother just warned me I might be a target,” she said.
“I thought you were ’pathing to someone.” Starting up the car, he turned back the way they’d come, heading out of the city and toward their cabin. “Faith had a vision—that was your phone. Dorian cornered a sniper on his security rounds—that was my phone. And Clay got a call from Max before his own informants told him about another suspicious man in the apartment building facing the HQ—that was the car phone.”
Sascha blew out a breath. “Darling, you do realize that means the baby and I were never in any danger?”
Lucas squeezed the steering wheel as if he’d like to rip it off. “I’m not going to calm down for a while, so deal with it.”
Reaching out, she rubbed the back of her hand over his cheek. “Since we’re going home, I’ll have lots of privacy to pet you.” A nudge in her stomach, a thump in her heart. “And you can pet me back.”