Hawke clenched his hand on the back of her chair. “Can you track them on the airjet?” The two were meant to board a flight home in a few hours.
“No.” Brenna pushed her bangs out of her eyes. “We infected the airport computers with a subtle virus. It erased them from the systems, so it’ll be no use hacking into the visual imaging files.” Releasing a steady breath, she reached back to put her hand over his. “They’ll be fine.”
Startled by the confidence in her voice, he looked down into her face as she tipped it up. “So sure?”
“I’m worried. Of course I’m worried,” she admitted, the darkness in her eyes a silent echo of her words. “But Judd’s sending me ‘I’m safe’ vibes through the mating bond.”
Hawke’s wolf scowled, because it couldn’t keep tabs on Sienna that way.
“Plus,” Brenna continued, “my mate is a complete badass. Seriously, your girl couldn’t be in better hands.”
In spite of the wolf pacing within his mind, he felt his lips tug up at the corners. “I’ll have you know, Sienna is a trainee badass.” Accepting that the only thing to do was wait, though such inaction grated, he said, “I’m heading down to talk to the cats about another issue—the instant you hear anything, you call me. Understood?”
“Absolutely.” Rising to her feet, she said, “I could do with a hug.”
He enfolded her in his arms without a word. She was Pack. It soothed something in him to hold her, too. But he knew the wolf would continue to prowl half-mad inside his mind until Sienna was back safe in his territory. “Better?”
He left with a caress to her cheek. Picking up Riley from the cabin the lieutenant shared with Mercy, he drove them both down to the meeting spot, which happened to be the home of the DarkRiver healer.
“It’s a huge indication of trust, isn’t it?” Riley said as they came to a stop in front of the graceful split-level home. “To allow us so close to their healer. We’ve come a long way.”
Hawke had to agree. “Honestly? I never expected an alliance of any kind with the cats when they first began to make their presence felt.” He’d wanted only that they stay out of his way while he rebuilt his shattered pack.
Neither of them made a move to exit the vehicle.
“Hawke,” Riley said into the tense silence, “I can handle this. You don’t want to be here.”
“I need to be doing something. Might as well be this.” He got out, slamming the door.
Riley glanced at him when they met at the front of the vehicle. “Word of advice. Strong women don’t take well to being snarled at.”
“Tough.” She’d be lucky if all he did was snarl at her he thought as he headed into the meeting, his mind on the phone in his pocket.
When a message did come in, it only said, “Still no contact.”
ADEN LOOKED OVER at the Arrow who stood beside him on the sandy beach along the Amalfi Coast. Abbot was a telekinetic, 9.1 on the Gradient, incredibly powerful, incredibly skilled, incredibly cursed. It had come as no surprise to discover that the twenty-six-year-old was drawn to the idea of Purity.
“Have you come to stop me, Aden?” the other Arrow asked. “Ask me not to join Pure Psy?”
Aden shook his head. “I’m not Ming, to force you to follow my own political agenda. But you must know—you cannot be both an Arrow and a member of Pure Psy.”
“So you would exile me.”
“No, Abbot. That isn’t who we are.” The water held an edge of luminescence in the dark of the night that had fallen on this side of the world, and he made a note to do some research, find out what sea organism caused the effect. “But the squad works on unconditional trust.” On the knowledge that the Arrow at his back would never use the position to knife him. “Once you give your allegiance to Pure Psy, you must follow their goals.”
Abbot took his time replying, his ink black hair blowing back in the salt laced wind coming off the Gulf of Salerno. “You’re not a Tk.”
“What does Vasic say?”
Aden thought of the Tk-V who could lift blood out of walls and bodies from within graves. “You should ask him.”
“No games, Aden. You know his mind—he speaks to you.”
Aden looked down at the glowing foam before the sea sucked it back in. “Vasic believes it doesn’t matter the Councilor at the helm, or whether the machinery is called Council or Purity—in the end, we’re nothing but warm bodies to bleed for them.” So many Arrows had died to protect Silence. Their only reward had been more death.
“Yet we give our allegiance to Kaleb Krychek.”
“There are reasons.”
Abbot looked out toward the lingering golden light in the windows of some of the homes that hugged the cliffs, and Aden saw bleak longing in those eyes as blue as the deepest part of the Aegean. A breach of Silence, but an Arrow never betrayed one of his own.
“We are Arrows for a reason,” the other man said at last. “We cannot survive without Silence.”
“Perhaps.” Aden thought of Vasic again, of the price the Tk-V had paid to retain his sanity. “But perhaps the price of survival has become too high.”
TEN HOURS AFTER the meeting on DarkRiver land, Hawke had to fight the urge to simultaneously pull Sienna to his chest and strangle Judd. The two of them walked into the den after having finally checked in by phone when they landed in San Francisco—six hours behind schedule. He did neither.