Eyes dancing, Mercy walked to sit behind him on a higher step, so he could lean against her chest. “Yes, you did, and yes, you do.”
Sienna realized she was grinning, and when Hawke shot her a wolfish smile, she couldn’t help but obey the silent order to sit with him as Mercy was doing with Riley. Later, the DarkRiver sentinel pulled her aside for a second. “These two are both hardheaded,” the other woman said, the words affectionate, “but after this much celebration, even his Alphaness will have a hangover. Be gentle.”
Sienna certainly didn’t have to be gentle that night—Hawke was in a mood, and oh her body liked it. With energy to burn and then some, he exhausted her into limp incoherence before tucking her possessively against him, nuzzling his face into her neck and falling asleep.
He didn’t move for eight hours.
Showered and dressed after she managed to wriggle out of his embrace by promising him all sorts of lavish things she wasn’t sure he heard, she sat down on the bed with a mug of coffee and brushed back his hair. One eye opened the merest slit. Closed. A groan sounded. “Shut the curtains.”
“They’re not open.” Given the unpredictable effect of alcohol on Psy abilities, she’d never been drunk, but she’d seen her friends in the condition, kept her voice to a whisper. “I have coffee.”
“Grr.” He refused to move.
Laughter bubbled in her chest. “It’s my special blend.” Breathing deep, she took a sip. “And you have a comm-conference in forty-five minutes.” He could do it from here, but he needed to be conscious for it.
“Tell Riley to handle it.” Spoken into his pillow.
“Riley was more drunk than you and is probably still comatose.” Putting the coffee on the bedside table, she snuggled back into bed beside him.
Eyes remaining closed, he flung an arm around her waist and hauled her against him. “I can hear you thinking.” Grumpy.
“What if when we do decide to have children, I only conceive one?”
Another slit of husky blue. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“I just … Is it better to have twins or triplets?” He and Riley had been so delighted by the news. “We could ask the medics to ensure that.” Though, the leopards had been as overjoyed at Naya’s birth and she was a single baby.
Hawke closed his eye. “I love you, but I have a hangover and you’re talking crazy.”
She scowled. “I’m just trying to understand.”
Giving a deep, complaining groan, he opened both eyes. “How many makes no difference—me and Riley, we’d have gotten drunk sooner or later. He’s the first one of us to have a kid. Get it?”
Oh. “Like if it was Evie or Maria or someone else in my group.” She did get it. “It’s a milestone.”
“And it’s f**king hilarious that Riley, without whom the den would fall apart, is half terrified at the fact he’s about to become a father.”
“Only a best friend would find his nerves hilarious.”
“God you’re adorable, even when you’re talking loud enough to wake the dead.”
“I’m whispering,” she pointed out with another scowl, and, rubbing her hand against the bristles on his cheek, got up. “Drink this coffee or I’ll open the curtains.” Energetic and busy as he was, she’d never had to deal with him so surly in the morning—it was fun discovering this unexpected facet of his personality.
“Don’t give me orders. I’m the alpha.”
“I don’t care.”
“Do I look like it’s my first time tangling with a wolf?” Reaching down, she pulled the sheet off him, exposing the nude length of his body, his skin golden even in the dim light.
Really, he had no right to be so gorgeous.
Painful as it was to turn her back on the delicious man in her bed, she went to the curtains. “You now have thirty-five minutes and these curtains are … open.”
She turned to find he had a pillow over his head.
Laughing, she bounced onto the bed and kissed her way down his spine. “Fine,” she said, utterly in harmony with the world, “let’s stay in bed all day.”
“Teasing wench.” He got rid of the pillow. “Who am I comm conferencing with?”
“Selenka Durev in Moscow.” The two packs had an informal arrangement to share information, and this was a “touching base” kind of a chat. “You know how quick-tempered she is—she might take it as an insult if you’re late.” A kiss to his nape. “I’ll turn on the shower.” As she got out of bed and did so, she realized she was smiling. No matter his mood, there was no man she’d rather wake to find next to her.
When he walked into the shower and asked her to remind him of the points he was meant to go over during the comm-conference, she felt the tie between them grow deeper, more nuanced. He hadn’t asked her because she was a novice soldier. He’d asked her because she was his mate, and he needed the reminder. Just as he’d allowed her to see him hungover. A simple thing, a small vulnerability, but it meant everything coming from an alpha wolf.
IT was a terrifyingly happy week after that interlude by the pool that Adria found herself toe-to-toe with Riaz. “Don’t give me an ultimatum.” Martin had thrown too many of those at her during their years together, until even the hint of one made rage erupt in her bloodstream.
“It’s not an ultimatum,” Riaz said, his tone a silky threat. “It’s a warning. I’ve let the issue of shared quarters slide a hell of a lot longer than I should have. You’re mine. You live with me. End of story.”