She blinked, not sure what had just happened. But five minutes later and his breathing was easy, even. Putting the precious fossil in the side pocket of her pack—after wrapping it in the soft fabric of an old tee—she finally lay back down and pulled the top flap of her sleeping bag over her uncomfortable body. Her ni**les rubbed against the fabric of her T-shirt, taut and aching. Her panties suddenly felt far too constricting, and her wolf—she was pissed at being denied.
Not Drew, she told her wolf again. I couldn’t bear to hurt him. And she would. Because a relationship between a dominant female and a lower-ranking dominant male was never going to end in anything but disaster.
Andrew released his fisted hand what felt like hours later, when he sensed Indigo drop off into real sleep at long last. Turning over carefully onto his back, conscious she’d wake to the slightest awareness of a threat, he allowed himself to run his gaze over the line of her body as she lay with her back to him. She’d kicked off the top of her sleeping bag and the long lines of her legs were bare below the white of her T-shirt, her skin smooth and oh-so-touchable.
Desire spiked again, but intertwined with it was an almost overwhelming tenderness. He wanted to curve his body around hers, wrap his arm over her waist, and tug her close. Just hold her. She might’ve let him earlier, but after that kiss . . . His gut went tight, his wolf pawing at the ground for another taste of her.
She’d wanted him. He’d seen the flare of shocked need in her eyes, glimpsed the hunger of the wolf. But as he’d already learned, when it came to Indigo, hunger alone would never be enough. A less stubborn man might’ve given up, but Andrew was playing for keeps.
She shivered a little.
Moving at once to pull across the top flap of her sleeping bag, he froze, close enough to feel the warmth of her body. What would she do if he snuggled into her? She might let it go, thinking he was doing it in his sleep—or she might kick his ass. The wickedness in him pricked its ears, game to take the risk.
Relaxing his body as much as possible, he spooned himself around her, stroking his arm over her waist. She woke the instant he touched her—but she didn’t shove him away. Nuzzling his face into her hair, he let his eyes close. It was no longer pretense, not with her warm and luscious against him. Sleep began to whisper in his ear, and he decided to let it sweep him into dreams where Indigo didn’t just let him hold her, but so much more.
He had to be asleep, Indigo thought, lying quiescent in the heat of Drew’s embrace. There was no way he’d have done this if he’d been awake—not after the response she’d accidentally incited in both of them. Of course, he was also half demon, so he could be tormenting her to get some of his own back.
Still, when his fingers laced with her own, she relaxed. He was blazingly hot against the mountain chill, Pack she trusted to the deepest core of her soul. Settling herself more comfortably against him, she drifted off to sleep, having no awareness that she’d be jackknifing to dangerous wakefulness less than an hour later.
Miles away, on the outskirts of a sleeping San Francisco, Judd took a seat beside Father Xavier Perez on the back steps of Xavier’s church.
“I’m sorry, Xavier,” he said, knowing the priest would prefer the truth at once. “Gloria is gone, murdered.” He’d gotten the confirmation without having to tap his contacts. Brenna had hacked through a records database, found the death certificate. It had listed “sudden cardiac failure” as the cause of death, but her spotless apartment had told a different story.
Xavier let out a long, slow breath before dipping his head and murmuring a quiet, heartfelt prayer. Judd waited in silence until the other man raised his head. “She dared to reach for something beyond what was permitted,” Xavier said. “And they killed her for it.”
“Perhaps.” He told Xavier something Drew had shared with him, having heard it from the Rat alpha. “There are rumors of other dead Psy in the city. Do you know anything about that?”
Xavier shook his head. “Our mutual friend may know more.”
“Yes.” So would another man. A man, Judd thought, that his outwardly careless younger brother-in-law called if not friend, then at least a friendly acquaintance. He’d ask Drew to follow up on the issue with that contact once he returned from the mountains.
Now, he listened to the insects going about their business in the back garden and waited.
The stir in the darkness came not long afterward.
Judd focused. “You’re late tonight.”
The Ghost leaned against an old oak tree, his face swathed in shadow as always. “I was delayed by an unexpected guest.”
“Dead Psy in the city,” Judd said, asking the most important question, “do you know anything about it?”
“No,” the Ghost murmured. “I’ve been busy with other matters. What has occurred?”
Judd had an inkling about the nature of the Ghost’s “other matters”—and if he was right, then the most dangerous rebel in the Net was about to become even more lethal. “I’ve got nothing but rumors at present.”
“If I discover anything, I’ll share it with you.” The Ghost moved deeper into the shadows as the clouds parted to expose the moon’s pearly light. “But San Francisco doesn’t hold much interest for me at present.”
Judd heard something in that statement, something that made his instincts snap to wakefulness. “What are you planning?”
“The three of us came together because we believe the Council is destroying the Psy race and taking the rest of the world along,” the Ghost said. “The Councilors now have their knives out for each other. Any resulting war will devastate the Net, kill millions—Psy, human, and changeling.”