He didn’t understand why that mattered, but it did.

“You made it warm.” She stayed curled up against him despite her words, the radiance from the kitchen light pouring past them to the porch.

He moved them fully inside by doing a minute teleport and shut the door. Ivy was open about many things, but she also had a private side, and this . . . it was private.

Hand flexing on his chest, a movement he saw but didn’t feel, she said, “Did you just ’port us?”


She looked up with a wobbly smile. “Do you ever think about how amazing it is that you can do that?”

“No.” For him, it was the reason he’d spent his childhood in excruciating pain.

“You can go anywhere you want to, anytime you want.” Putting her head back down against his chest, she said, “Can we go somewhere tonight?” A tremor ran through her frame. “Just for a little while?”

Vasic evaluated the security situation, connected with his Arrows—to receive the same report. Each and every one of his men and women was awake, even those meant to be off shift. “Not tonight,” he said. “I’ll take you another day.”

“Why not today?” Lifting her hand to her temple, she rubbed. “No, wait, I can feel it now . . . the empaths, we’re leaking fear . . .” Her eyes, those big, penetrating eyes, stared up at him, the rim of gold vivid against the copper. “All of us had nightmares?”

“The majority.” He forced himself to release her now that she was stable. “Isaiah, Brigitte, and Penn appear to have been immune to the precipitating event but were woken by the reactions of the others.”

Shoving her hands through her hair, Ivy said, “Okay, okay, let me think.” A decisive nod. “I need to be in the PsyNet.”

Following her, he saw the same thing she did.

Chapter 21

“PENN, BRIGITTE, AND Isaiah,” he said when they dropped back out, “are the most distant from the infection in terms of their location in the compound.” While Ivy and Jaya were on the leading edge.

“I’m going to touch base with the others.” Closing her eyes, she did so telepathically, and he took the chance to just look at her. Her skin was delicate, her collarbones fine, but there was a lushness to Ivy that was diametrically opposed to his own body. No hard edges, only soft curves. Everything about her promised the opposite of pain.

When a strap slid off one shoulder as she thrust her hand through her hair again, he didn’t slide it back up, fascinated by the smooth line of her shoulder, the creamy plumpness of the exposed upper slope of her breast. It would, he calculated, take the barest telekinetic nudge to push the silky fine fabric farther down, exposing her fully.

Embers low down in his body flared to glowing life . . . and Ivy’s skin flushed a deep peach.

Tugging the strap up with a trembling finger, she said, “Jaya was the most shaken. Having Abbot around seems to have calmed her.” Her breath came fast and shallow. “He’s playing cards with her.”

As far as Vasic knew, the younger Arrow didn’t know how to play cards. “Is he losing?” he asked, conscious he’d crossed a line in looking at Ivy as he had.

“Badly,” she said rather than asking him to leave, “but Jaya says he’s catching on fast. We’re corrupting all your Arrows.”

He thought of the warmth of her scalp against his palm, the featherlight caress of her curls, the sweet curves that would flow like honey under his hand. She was the softest, most beautiful creature he’d ever touched, and he wanted to experience her again, wanted to indulge in this tactile contact that had nothing to do with pain or training or a cold medical checkup.

“Perhaps,” he said, watching her color deepen as he continued to look at her in a way he knew was sexual. He should’ve apologized. He didn’t. “But,” he said instead, “the corruption doesn’t appear to be doing harm.” A lie. Ivy was breaking things down in him that couldn’t be broken down for his own sanity. Even now he found himself wondering about the texture of her skin at the dip of her breastbone, his fingers curling into his hand.

It was the hand attached to the arm on which the gauntlet was grafted. A gauntlet that could function on many levels. One of which was to control weapons that could annihilate hundreds in a single strike. The hands he wanted to put on Ivy were of a killer.

Ice doused the glowing embers. “I need to check the compound.”

Ivy grabbed a thick orange cardigan she must’ve forgotten on a chair when she went to bed, and shrugged into it. “I’ll come with you.”

“You should remain safe in the cabin.”

She stepped up to him, jaw set. “If there’s a threat outside, you can ’port me out before I so much as see the threat. I don’t want to be alone.” A glance down at Rabbit. “Not that you’re not wonderful,” she reassured her pet.

He saw the quiver of her lip before she bit down on it and realized the level to which she’d sublimated her own fear to check on the others. “It’s a cold night. You should wear this.” Bringing in a heavy jacket he used when he had to go into bitterly cold environments and didn’t want to waste energy maintaining his body temperature, he helped her into it. It swallowed her up, the zipped-up collar coming past her mouth and the sleeves swamping her arms until he folded them up.

That done, he nudged her to the kitchen counter. “Make your favorite tea.” He knew the taste gave her comfort. “I can wait.”

readonlinefreebook.com Copyright 2016 - 2024