Eyes gritty, Ivy held him close, kissing his temple, his cheek, as she stroked his hair. “I’m so sorry.” She knew he’d carry the images with him forever. That was who he was—a man who cared, who remembered. It made her heart hurt for him, for her Arrow who would not cry but who felt more deeply than anyone she’d ever before known.

“The little girl you helped me save?” she said, in an effort to ease a little of his pain. “Her name is Harriet, and she’s safe and sound.” Touching his mind, she ’pathed him an image Harriet’s mother had sent to her phone after Ivy called the woman to ask how Harriet was doing. “See, she’s warm and snuggled up in bed, her favorite toy beside her.”

Allowing Ivy to hold him, comfort him, for another minute, Vasic raised his head and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. “Thank you for being mine, Ivy Jane.”

“Always,” she said, voice wet, then followed him out to the closet, where she crouched down to look into the tiny space within.

The thin man inside had to be in his late twenties, his teak-colored skin soaked in sweat. Having shoved himself totally to the back of the closet that appeared to hold neatly ironed shirts and pants, he whimpered at the sight of her. She wanted to absorb his fear, his hurt, but aware of Vasic barely leashed behind her, she controlled the instinct. As evidenced by the headache that hadn’t decreased in intensity over the past hour, her senses were too battered to take more . . . and she had no desire to end up in the orchard.

Because her Arrow would carry out his threat, of that she had not a single doubt.

“Hi.” She took a nonaggressive cross-legged position on the floor. “I’m Ivy.”

No answer.

She didn’t move, kept her face calm and reassuring until he gave a jerky nod. “Miguel.”

“Nice to meet you, Miguel.” She tilted her head slightly to the side. “I’ve never said that to anyone in a closet before.”

His lips curved shakily, then fell, his handsome face crumpling in on itself. “What’s happening?” It was a plea, his eyes wet.

“I don’t know, but your survival might be our first clue as to how to stop it.”

Miguel began to cry, the great gulping sobs shaking his entire frame. “I’m the most broken person I know,” he said between the sobs. “My Silence is so flawed, my family unit disinherited me.”

Ivy bit back a pulse of anger . . . and saw the bright glimmer of an answer on its heels, but her abused mind suddenly ran up against a wall. Enough, it said, stop.

• • •

VASIC caught Ivy before she would’ve fallen forward, smashing her head against the open door of the closet. Lifting her in his arms, her face tucked against his neck, he hauled Miguel out using his telekinesis. “Running will get you nothing—you don’t want to be hunted by an Arrow.”

The young male trembled so hard his bones had to be banging against one another, but Vasic had no mercy in him with Ivy so motionless in his arms. “Stay in this apartment—give your details to the Enforcement officers and tell them I’ve authorized you to remain here. Do not run.”

“I-I w-won’t.”

Leaving the man with his teeth chattering and his eyes glassy, Vasic teleported Ivy not to their bedroom, but directly to Sascha Duncan, using the other woman’s face as the lock. He’d expected to find himself in a night-dark home, but the empath and her mate were up.

Dressed in a short blue nightgown, Sascha was rocking her baby. Her gasp had barely cleared her mouth when Lucas Hunter’s claws were at Vasic’s throat.

“Ivy!” Sascha’s cardinal gaze flew to Vasic’s precious cargo. “What happened?”

Lucas withdrew his claws from Vasic’s throat, but Vasic felt the thin lines of blood beading on his skin, a silent warning from the predator whose lair he’d invaded. Striding over to his mate, the leopard alpha took the baby from her arms, cradling the child to his bare chest in a way that ensured Vasic couldn’t see the infant’s face.

Sascha had instinctively done the same. Protecting their child, making sure Vasic couldn’t get an image to use as a facial lock. He understood the instinct; he wouldn’t trust himself, either.

Placing Ivy carefully on a table that was the closest flat surface, he told Sascha what Ivy had done today, watched the cardinal empath place her hand on Ivy’s forehead, tiny lines flaring out from the corners of her night-sky eyes.

Lucas, having stepped into another room, returned without their child and with a robe for his mate, his green eyes feral as he helped her into it. “Never, ever,” he said quietly when he reached Vasic, “do that again, or I will rip out your throat.”

Aware now of exactly how fast the leopard alpha could move, Vasic knew that was a real risk. But—“I’ll chance it if Ivy’s life is in danger.”

Lucas’s gaze didn’t become any less feral, but folding his arms, he shook his head. “Can’t deny you have balls.” His eyes went to Ivy’s supine body. “I understand about taking care of what matters, but you have to understand I have a child as well as a mate to protect.”

“I have no intention of ever causing either harm.”

“Use my face as the lock next time, is that clear?”

Again, Vasic thought about it. “You’re not always with Sascha.”

“Jesus, you’re either f**king crazy or in love.” The words were a growl. “Yeah, I might not always be with Sascha, but I’ll know where she is, and the slight delay won’t matter—having your jugular split open, on the other hand, will leave Ivy with no shield.”

readonlinefreebook.com Copyright 2016 - 2024