Mercy’s grandparents, he thought, might just get their wish sooner rather than later. “Brenna’s out with Judd,” he said aloud, “but you should be able to get her on her cell. I know she wants to catch up with you.” Having effectively raised both Andrew and Brenna, Riley was, for want of a better word, the patriarch of the Kincaid family. Even Brenna’s assassin of a mate treated Riley with quiet respect. They all missed him—and his rock-solid advice—when he wasn’t in the den.
“I’ll give her a quick call.” A rustle. “Mercy says to tell you she hopes you’re behaving.”
Smiling at the thought of Riley’s fiery mate, Andrew said, “Not a bit.”
Mercy came on the line an instant later. “Did I hear you say something about Indigo?”
“Mercy,” Andrew began.
“No, no, I’m not going to meddle. But I am going to give you a little advice in return for something important you said to me once, so listen up.”
Not having been born stupid, no matter his recent actions, Andrew did just that.
“Don’t be anyone but who you are,” the leopard sentinel told him. “It’ll give you the element of surprise when you pounce.”
On the surface, it was a lighthearted comment, but Andrew saw it for the truth it was. How had Mercy known? he thought. How had she guessed that his confidence had been badly dented by the knowledge that he was so much not what Indigo had in mind for her mate? However she’d known, he was grateful for the boost. “Thanks, Mercy.”
“What can I say—you remind me of the fiends I call brothers.” An affectionate comment. “’Bye, Drew.”
Hanging up after replying in kind, he took a deep breath and fired off a quick e-mail to Hawke with his notes on what Teijan had shared. And though the temptation to track down Indigo was a fever in his gut, he set his jaw and went to the weight room, funneling his need into the physical. Because when he, as Mercy had put it, “pounced,” he wanted Indy all to himself, no avenues of escape, no buffer of pack.
In spite of her earlier run with Hawke, Indigo couldn’t quite find her balance at that afternoon’s lieutenant meeting. She told herself it had nothing to do with the fact that she’d seen Drew only minutes ago, his hair damp with sweat and his arm around Lucy as the sunny-natured young female hugged him affectionately.
Women loved Drew. No wonder he’d thought he could get Indigo into bed with so little trouble—and then pick up right where they’d left off, as if he hadn’t fundamentally altered the nature of the relationship between them. Her wolf bared its fangs at the idea of being lumped in with his little playmates until she had to consciously fight for control. It was as well that she was sitting in a special comm room surrounded by SnowDancer lieutenants.
Because of the breadth of SnowDancer territory, it was rare for all the lieutenants to meet in person. However, they had monthly meetings by comm-conference and each lieutenant passed through the den at least once every two months, which ensured the pack continued to function as a cohesive unit. Hawke, too, made trips to each part of their territory on a regular basis. Then there was Drew, who, with the support of his small and tight-knit team, roamed across the state on an as-needed basis.
Gritting her teeth as the damn wolf intruded into her thoughts once again, she looked up and focused on the screens set up in a semicircle around the room. The computronic setup allowed all of them to interact with each other at such an effective level that they often forgot they weren’t actually in the same physical location.
Jem—real name Garnet—had logged in from Los Angeles and was currently trading barbs with the startlingly green-eyed Kenji, something the two of them did so often, there was a running pool on exactly when they’d rip each other’s clothes off and just get it over with.
Alexei and Matthias were watching, quiet as always. Those two only moved when necessary, and they spoke even less most of the time. Of the two, Alexei, with his sun gold hair and movie star looks, was probably the more talkative—which meant he spoke maybe two words an hour instead of one.
Cooper, as one of the more senior sentinels—his place in the hierarchy similar to Riaz’s—looked on with open amusement, his skin gleaming a rich dark bronze in the sunlight pouring in through what Indigo knew to be a huge window to the left of his office, the jagged scar along his left cheek adding a rough accent to his features.
Women tended to look at him and shiver in a mix of fear and anticipation.
That was the closest they’d ever come to him, because Coop was crazy in love with—and courting—a woman so sweet, it had the whole pack abuzz. No one had expected mad, bad, and dangerous Coop to fall head over heels for the submissive wolf, least of all the wolf herself. Indigo bit back a grin as she thought of how bewildered Coop’s beloved had looked when it had dawned on her that she was being pursued by one of the most lethal men in the pack. That hadn’t lasted long. Because she might’ve been sweet, might’ve been submissive, but as Coop was learning, that didn’t mean she didn’t have a mind—and a will—of her own.
Then there was Tomás, who happened to be one of Drew’s closest friends—and consequently, seemed to take nothing seriously and had a way of smiling with those chocolate-dark eyes that made most women melt into puddles of goo.
Indigo gave Tomás a quelling stare when he glanced at Jem and Kenji and winked. But she couldn’t help her wolf’s answering grin. Because seriously . . . “You two need to get a room.”