Play of Passion (Psy-Changeling 9) - Page 25

Andrew wanted nothing more than to raise himself on his elbow, reach down and stroke his hand over Indigo’s face. He’d hold her with his fingers on her jaw as he took her smiling lips with his own, indulging once more in the taste he hadn’t been able to get out of his mind since the night of the storm.

His body tensed, blood pumping hot and hard. Gritting his teeth, he bent one leg to hide the blunt evidence of his reaction, even as he said, “I couldn’t believe he fell for it.” His brother was in the prime of his life, one of the most powerful wolves in the pack. And he was assuredly in no danger of losing his hair.

“He’s not going to think completely straight for a while,” Indigo said, “but the mating dance is the worst part. Men go a little nuts during that time. I remember when Elias met Yuki. He turned into his evil twin, snarling at anyone who so much as looked her way.”

Andrew couldn’t imagine even-tempered Elias snarling at anyone. But as he himself knew, it was hard to be rational when your whole being was focused on a woman to the extent that the need to touch her skin, to draw the scent of her deep into your lungs, became a fever in your blood. “I think the natives are getting restless.”

“Yeah, I hear them.” Sitting up, she slapped him lightly on the chest. “I’ll go help them clean up, pack up the leftovers for later.”

“I’ll take care of things here.” Rising, he watched her walk away, a tall, strong woman with contentment humming through her stubborn bones—because he’d apologized, because she thought he’d turned the clock back to the way things had always been.

His hand fisted again, but not in anger. In determination.

They made camp late that afternoon. Since the weather was holding and the night sky promised to be beautiful beyond compare, Andrew suggested they lay their sleeping bags out on the ground. “It’s not damp anymore,” he said to Indigo, having tested the earth. “Doesn’t look like it’ll rain any tonight, either. And this area’s only logged the odd snowfall the past few weeks, so we should be good on that score.”

Indigo rolled her eyes. “You’ve clearly never been a teenage girl.”

“Huh?” He looked out at the kids, who’d collapsed against trees or on the earth. “They’re all good kids. And they’re changelings.” No matter what their place in the hierarchy, all wolves could survive in the forest with no amenities whatsoever.

Shaking her head, Indigo said, “I can’t believe I’m having to explain this to the man who knows everyone and has probably had dinner with more people in the pack than me, Hawke, and Riley combined.”

“Don’t rub it in.” He scowled at the teasing—though his wolf was spinning around in untrammeled joy that she was playing with him. “So?”

“Haven’t you noticed the glances passing between male and female?” She raised an eyebrow, nudging his attention toward a certain pairing. “Sure, it’s no big deal to be na**d when you shift—but we’re human, too. No teenage girl is comfortable with her body. Especially with a boy she’s interested in looking on.”

Andrew rubbed his jaw, aware he’d missed the signals passing between the kids because he’d been so focused on Indigo. “Huh. Cute.”

“It might be. But there’ll be no monkey business on my watch.”

He grinned at her stern expression. “I bet you were confident about your body when you were a teen.”

“You’d lose that bet.” Snorting, she cupped her hands around her mouth. “Come on, boys and girls, get the tents up! Then we’ll play a game.”

“What’s the prize?” was the cheeky response from Harley, who at sixteen was still fluctuating so wildly in his control—and resulting dominance—that no one knew where to put him in the hierarchy. Hawke was hoping that two days of concentrated time with the pack’s dominants would decide the matter one way or another.

Indigo grinned. “An extra marshmallow in your hot chocolate—if you’re lucky. Now snap to it.”

Grumbling at her “slave driving,” they began to put up their tents in pairs, as they would all be sharing. Indigo had worried about that with Drew, but now that they were back to normal, they’d do the same. It made her wolf happy. Like most SnowDancers, it preferred sleeping with Pack to a lonely bed. It was only the human half that chose privacy. But tonight with Drew, both sides would be satisfied.

Drew was already bending down to pull out the tent from where it was attached to the bottom of his pack. “I can’t believe it,” he muttered, continuing their earlier conversation. “What did you have to worry about as a teenager?”

“Oh, please.” She helped him spread the groundsheet on a level section of earth facing the other tents and hunted out the high-strength pegs as he unfolded the whisper-thin fabric of the tent itself. “I grew to my full height at fourteen.” Five feet ten in her bare feet, Indigo loved her height. Now.

“But,” she continued as they pegged down the edges, “I didn’t have any curves. None. All I had were clown feet I kept tripping over, and a body that was all right angles. I felt like a giant in the land of little people. A flat-chested giant with elbows of doom.”

Chuckling, Drew fed through one of the flexible struts that snapped the tent upright without the need for a central support pole. “I was short at fourteen. Really short.”

Indigo thought back, tried to remember. But she’d been eighteen, and fourteen-year-old boys hadn’t merited much attention. “That must’ve been tough.”