He tugged her flush against his body and tumbled to his back on the snow with her sprawled over him. The wild wolves immediately flowed to sit around them, their fur brushing against his skin.

“And,” Sienna added after shoving her hair out of her face and nuzzling playfully at him, “Ming isn’t going to have time to come after me if he’s busy in Europe.”

“Yeah, but he’s never going to forget the threat you pose.” Sienna had bested the ex-Councilor in their last confrontation, and arrogance such as Ming’s would never forgive that—even if the other man hadn’t already decided that if he couldn’t control Sienna and her breathtaking psychic ability, then she wouldn’t be permitted to live.

Running her fingers through Hawke’s hair when a snarl erupted from his throat, Sienna said, “We wait and we watch. Ming might not always be evil, but his core is rotten. He’ll revert to it soon enough, and when he does, we’ll be prepared to strike.” There was a battle-ready light in her eyes, this woman who’d survived a monster when she’d been only a child.

He growled in pride, and gripping her nape, hauled her down for a kiss that had her moaning. He nipped and licked and played with her until she pushed at his shoulders, her breathing choppy and her lips plump, wet. “I’m on sentry duty,” she admonished with a mock scowl, before escaping his hold to stand up again. “I can’t have people saying I’m getting special favors because I’m the alpha’s mate.”

Having rolled to his feet when she did, Hawke slid his hand down to the curve of her butt, dipping his head to kiss her throat at the same time. “You can have all sorts of favors.” He coaxed her into another long, deep kiss.

“We wait and we watch,” he said afterward.

Ming LeBon was still marked for execution; only the date had been changed.

Chapter 33

In this chapter, I intend to focus not on the empaths, but on those who are in long-term relationships with them. As noted in the statistical breakdown on page 237, these individuals are from all walks of life. Some are in professional occupations, others in trade or in the arts. Yet my observation of these men and women leads me to state with categorical certainty that they all share a single common trait—that of being highly tactile.

Excerpted from The Mysterious E Designation: Empathic Gifts & Shadows by Alice Eldridge

THE FRENETIC BUZZ of Manhattan was strange after the quiet that had been Ivy’s life ever since her family’s move to a rural existence in North Dakota. It took a short twenty-eight hours for her mind to reanchor, likely because she hadn’t been in the compound for that long . . . or because the PsyNet knew she needed to be here. The psychic network, as they were all learning, was a living organism, albeit one none of them would ever truly understand.

Her and Vasic’s apartment was on the top floor of a five-story building, the view from the windows of a busy street. Fully furnished in a clean, modern style, it had a large living area, a neat little kitchen, and two bedrooms separated by the living area. Each bedroom had its own en suite facilities.

Jaya and Abbot were in an identical apartment across the corridor, except their view was of a small park utilized by the residents in this section of the city.

The Arrows, of course, had arranged for the rest of the floor to be devoid of tenants. As for the elevator, Vasic and Abbot had rigged it so no one could accidentally or otherwise come to this floor, while the stairwell doors could only be opened via palm print.

Ivy had left her bedroom door open since they’d arrived, but Vasic hadn’t touched her once after that frustrating, wonderful night in the desert when he’d taught her that her neck was an erogenous zone. At first, she’d put it down to the fact he was preoccupied with making sure the security was airtight here—she was accustomed to his protectiveness by now. It didn’t annoy her; it was simply a part of Vasic.

“He can’t shield me from the infection,” she said to Rabbit as they stood in the living area, looking out through the window at the people passing below, scared but unaware of the insanity and death many already carried in their veins, “but he’ll damn well shield me from everything else.”

That protective urge, however, didn’t explain the stiff distance he’d kept between them since the morning following the desert. Ivy might not know anything about intimacy except what she’d explored with Vasic—didn’t want to learn with anyone else—but she trusted her instincts. Something was wrong, and her Arrow was holding it inside. He was so good at walling up his emotions behind icy control, but she was an empath.

It was anger she’d sensed in him the last time he’d come close. A ferocious contained storm so dark and black that it had made her stagger . . . but it didn’t shock. She was angry, too.

The man she adored was dying, and there was nothing she could do.

Shoving away the jagged pain of it because she’d made a promise to herself that she wouldn’t waste the time she had with Vasic on regret, she pulled on her ankle boots in preparation for their upcoming walk. The anguish wasn’t so easy to exile, of course, the tight ball of it pulsing in her chest.


Swallowing past the pain with a determined smile, she rubbed Rabbit’s head. “Come on, we’re going to explore.” But for a short visit to the park behind the building so Rabbit could stretch his legs, she and Jaya had spent the previous day in psychic exploration. Now she needed to test whether she could sense the infected on the streets.

“And”—she scowled—“I think it’s time I reminded my Arrow how to talk.”

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