Swallowing the renewed knot in her throat, she said, “A lot of the first responders were taken out by psychic strikes during the outbreaks, even with Krychek’s team doing everything it can to round up Psy capable of shielding others.”

“I’ve been reading my own book in an effort to jog my memory.” Alice ran her gloved fingers over icicles dripping from a branch above. “I see why it may make you want to tear out your hair. I assumed so much general knowledge.”

“It was probably reasonable at the time,” Sascha said diplomatically, though she’d been known to want to throw said book across the room.

“I don’t know.” Alice wrapped her arms around herself, but her expression remained open. “It was my first book. I probably didn’t distill my original thesis down as neatly as I could have.” She went as if to run her hand through her hair, paused. “Drat. I keep forgetting my hair’s got to grow back. I feel like a damn skinny hedgehog.”

Sascha had the sense she was seeing a glimpse of the real Alice Eldridge for the first time. A smart woman with a self-deprecating sense of humor that invited the listener to laugh with her. “You’re lovely.” Too thin, yes, but with incredible bones and lush lips against skin once more kissed by a golden sheen. “Watch out for the wolf males. They’ll probably start doing sneaky things like bringing you food, and you’ll be in a courtship before you know it.”

When Alice’s eyes narrowed, Sascha found the sorrow cloaking the world hadn’t stolen her ability to laugh, to live this life she’d been given. “It’s started already?”

“I was wondering at the sudden surge of interest in my favorite meals.” The other woman’s exasperated smile faded into raw grief. “For me,” she whispered, “it wasn’t over a hundred years ago. It was yesterday. And yesterday I had parents and friends and a career. Yesterday, I loved a powerful, tormented man who’d been my childhood playmate and who broke my heart to splinters.”

“Alice.” Sascha closed her hand over the other woman’s shoulder in silent comfort.

The scientist didn’t shrug it off. “I’ve had flashes where I think I can remember my research”—husky voice, careful words—“but nothing concrete yet.” She turned to face Sascha. “I’d like to go to New York.”

Sascha stopped walking. “Are you sure?” This was one response for which she hadn’t been prepared. “It’s bound to be dangerous.”

“I’m not worried about danger, Sascha. I’m not even worried about dying. I’m worried I’ll never live again if I don’t start soon.”

Chapter 46

They call it Haven.

Zie Zen to Vasic

VASIC WOKE THE instant Ivy did. Snuggled up warm against him, she stretched sleepily and rubbed her face against his chest. He caressed his fingers over her hip in turn, luxuriating in the pleasure of waking with his empath.

“Good morning,” she murmured in a husky voice.

It was a caress over his body. Turning on his side, he stroked his hand into her hair as she lay drowsy eyed below him. “Good morning.”

A lazy, affectionate smile that caught at his heart and refused to let go. “I flaked, huh?”

“You needed rest,” Vasic answered. And then he kissed her.

Ivy responded with the lush generosity that had already made him an addict. Sliding her arms around his neck and bending one leg at the knee to cradle him between her thighs, she surrendered her mouth to his desires. And he took, devoured. He hadn’t understood how starved he was of touch until he met Ivy. Now, she was the only one who could ease the piercing ache of his need.

Licking his tongue against hers in the way he’d discovered she liked, he closed his hand over the plump mound of her breast.

She jerked.

He halted but didn’t remove his hand. “No?” It gave him excruciating sexual pleasure to touch that part of her, but he’d do nothing that caused Ivy hurt.


Tugging him down with a grip in his hair on the heels of that breathy whisper, she initiated another kiss. It was deeper, hotter, wilder than the previous one, Vasic’s hand squeezing and petting Ivy’s breast as they kissed and her body rocked against his own—which was probably why they ended up first in the desert, then in a remote part of the Rockies. He grit his jaw, clenched his teeth, and got them back home.

“I need to talk to Judd,” he said, forcing his hands off her. “He has to have figured out a solution by now.”

Ivy’s chest rose and fell in a ragged rhythm. “Yes.” Clenching her hands on the sheets, she said, “I don’t want to stop again.”

Neither did Vasic. His penis was so hard it was a rod of iron, the damp heat between Ivy’s thighs tempting him even through the layers of their clothing. He wanted to touch her there skin to skin, wanted to taste, wanted to take. Shoving off her before he teleported them somewhere inhospitable, he sat on the edge of the bed with his back to her. Seeing her all sleep mussed and well kissed wasn’t exactly conducive to control.

Rustling sounds behind him. “The infection . . . how bad are things?” A quiet, worried question.

“Bad, but it’s been calm for the past three hours.” He ran both hands through his hair, knowing that even if the world had been going to hell right that second, he’d still have done what he was about to do. If he didn’t, Ivy would be left alone in the dark, and that was unacceptable.

Angling his body, he reached out to take her hand. “We have an appointment after breakfast.”

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