Dark Angel


Judd felt the tension in the den as soon as he stepped inside. He may have been Psy, and therefore immune to emotion, but the currents of unrest were unmistakable. Something had happened. Something important. Something horrible.

As he made his way to the Lauren family unit to find Walker, he noticed open hostility on some of the wolves' faces. Judd suspected only fear of retribution from their alpha Hawke – who'd opened the den to five wayward Psy despite his innate hatred of them – stopped some of the wolves from challenging him directly.

His step quickened, but not for fear of what would happen to him. He was a former Arrow and was well able to defend himself against attackers. Had already done so many times against other males in the den looking for a dominance challenge. Judd moved faster because he had an unnatural need to make sure his family was safe. It went against everything he'd been taught. The Silence Protocol had wiped out any trace of emotion. His training as an Arrow had made even more inhuman.

And yet, Judd felt.

Not in the same way as a changeling, or even a human. Not in any way that should have even been possible given the way he'd been programmed. But deep inside the secret core of him, the same core that had protected his secret relationship with his family and kept it safe, there were hints of emotion. Not enough to set off the dissonance, but enough for him to not be as ice cold as most people suspected.

When he stepped into the family unit where his brother Walker, his nephew Toby, and his nieces Sienna and Marlee lived, he found all of them seated around their dining table. A whisper of relief seeped through that secret core of him. His family remained safe however all had wary looks on their faces, as if listening to the mental turmoil going on around them in the den.

"What happened?" Judd asked, looking to Walker for an explanation.

"A changeling girl has gone missing," his brother answered right away, his tone flat as if he found the information of no import. Only Judd knew that of them both, Walker was the one most in touch with his emotional core. His brother had walked in Silence for almost 40 years, but Judd still remembered Walker's embrace when he'd been a broken teen looking for comfort. He could see Walker's love for the children – both his and their sister Kristine's – within the LaurenNet. He may not have shown any emotion outwardly, but Walker could also feel.

"Are they sure she's missing?" was Judd's next question. Sometimes wolves went roaming for days at a time. It would have been odd for the girl not to inform someone in the den before leaving, but not impossible.

"Yes. She didn't show up for her class at the college," Walker answered.

For some reason Judd felt his stomach contract slightly. "Who?"

"Brenna Kincaid."


Judd was back in his own quarters. Sweat poured off of his upper body as he executed one-armed chin-ups in quick succession. He'd left his family soon after finding out that it had been Brenna Kincaid who'd gone missing, afraid of what he'd see in his brother's green gaze. Afraid it would probe too deep to places Judd tried hard to suppress.

In truth, he didn't really know Brenna. Like many of the young women in the den, she went out of her way to give him a wide berth when he walked past. He knew what was whispered about him, that he was the Ice Man. Judd had always cultivated that impression knowing that weakness would only call more attention to himself. It wouldn't bother him if every male in the den challenged him for dominance, it was simply that he cared not at all to spare them any humiliation when he beat them with no effort on his part. Eventually, something like that would be noticed and his carefully constructed TP persona would soon be questioned. Judd couldn't afford to have Hawke find out the true extent of his powers. So to keep up the charade, it was easier to scare away the males who found him intimidating, and allow those who challenged him the opportunity to find out he was exactly what he seemed. A cold-blooded assassin.

Judd finished with his exercises and sat back on his bed. In his mind he saw the image of a young laughing girl with big brown eyes reminiscent of a doe. She'd caught his attention in an unlikely way. He'd stumbled upon her in the Sierra forest just outside of the White Zone where the young would play. It was on his return back to the den when a colourful word carried on the wind. Interest piqued, he doubled back to where he heard more mumbling. She sat on a log in a shaft of sunlight that caught the highlights in the long blonde hair that tumbled down her back. Judd had never really paid attention to any of the women in the den, but he felt the odd impulse to reach out and see her hair felt as soft as it looked.

The girl was bent over a device, carefully examining it; a miniature tool kit was open beside her. The mumbling and murmuring continued as she switched one tool for another and continued to puzzle out the issue. Judd used his TK to blur himself and began to step closer. He stayed in the shade of the trees, knowing if the girl happened to glance up she'd mistake him for one of the shadows surrounding her. There should have been no reason why he couldn't come up to her on his own, but he knew instinctively that she would shy away from him, and he didn't want to scare her. Judd told himself he just wanted to get a better look at what she was working on.

As he moved, he used his power again to cover his tracks so as to be unnoticeable. Soon he'd merged into the shadow of the tree that stood directly behind the girl and saw she was working an older model scanner. Her fingers moved deftly over the machine, and she reached down to exchange the tools without even looking, as if they were an extension of her body. She was so completely engrossed that Judd chanced moving even closer, enchanted by the intelligence of the girl, rebuilding the scanner piece by piece. He wondered why she was trying to fix it when he knew for a fact that the SnowDancers had a supply chest stocked with the most up to date technical equipment. When Judd moved toward the girl's side to get a better look, the smug smile on her face told him everything he needed to know.

She enjoyed a challenge.

Judd knew the look of deep satisfaction on a person's face, even if he'd never felt such a thing himself. The girl flipped the switch on the device and gave a happy squeal when it turned on with no problems. He wanted to move closer still, kneel in front of the girl, see if perhaps her warmth could melt the frost that kept him encased in the ice of Silence.

As if picking up the vibes he was emitting, the girl's face turned suddenly to where he stood. Judd knew she couldn't really see him because of the TK, but he shifted slightly to blend with the shadows. He hadn't realised just how much he'd come away from the trees, how close he'd gotten to her. She squinted at the shadows, head tilted, then closed her eyes and inhaled very carefully. Judd knew that even with her keen sense of smell she wouldn't be able to tell he was there. The girl stood up carefully and took a step toward where he stood. She took another deep breath and then shuddered slightly.

"Hello?" she said in a tentative voice, her eyes scanning the area carefully. One step closer.

"Okay, this isn't funny," she said, pitching her voice low. "Who's there?"

Judd was getting ready to teleport out of the area before she got too close when a male's voice called out, "Brenna?" She swivelled toward the SnowDancer who came into the clearing.

"Drew! You jerk!" she said in loving exasperation.

"What?" he asked, looking confused.

"You freaked me out. But how'd you get over there so fast?"

The male continued to look bemused. "I've always been here…?"

"Ha ha. Very funny," she replied sarcastically, but shot a look back to where Judd had been standing. He'd used the distraction to move away from the two wolves, because he recognized Andrew Kincaid and was uncertain if Drew would pick up what the girl had not.

"What are you doing here, kid?" Drew asked while ruffling her hair in a familiar gesture. Judd watched, fascinated by the byplay when she ducked and then shook out her hair in mock annoyance. The smile on her face told the true story, however. He could see her laughter contained beneath the irritation.

"Oh," she said, suddenly remembering the scanner left on the log. Now she came back to close the tool kit and pick up the device. As she collected her things, she looked up and stared straight into Judd's eyes. Her movements stilled, and if he hadn't known better, he'd have thought she saw him. A quick shake of her head as if clearing a random thought, she turned to her companion and showed him the scanner. The male made the appropriate enthusiastic noises and then slung his arm over her shoulders as they left the clearing.

Judd maintained his state for a few minutes more before stepping out into the sunny patch that was quickly fading to dusk.

"Brenna," he repeated out loud and knew, if he hadn't been Silent, that her name would have resonated somewhere deep inside of him.


A loud noise outside his room pulled Judd out of his memories. Then someone started pounding on his door in earnest. Judd got off his bed and yanked open the door, to find a very pissed off wolf on his doorstep. He was pushed back into his room by a violent shove to his chest and before Judd had a chance to react, Andrew Kincaid had him against the wall with a forearm to the throat.

"Where is she, you Psy bastard!"

"I don't know," Judd replied with icy calmness.

"She was taken by someone like you!" Riley Kincaid growled as he strode in after his brother. They called Riley The Wall, and Judd knew why. The man was implacable once he got something into his head.

"Someone like me," Judd said evenly. "But not me. I wouldn't know where she is." If he had known, Brenna would have already been back in the den, safe and sound. Judd couldn't admit that aloud, instead he clenched his fists tightly and fought the urge to drop Andrew Kincaid where he stood.

"Drew!" A harsh voice from the doorway as Hawke entered the room, his voice suffused with alpha strength, "let him go."

"Not until he tells me where that sick bastard took my sister!"

"If he knew," Hawke said in a steely tone "so would we."

"You think he'd give up one of his people for us?" Drew snarled. "Psy stick together."

"Enough." Drew turned to stare at Hawke but after a few tense moments submitted under his alpha's gaze and stepped away from Judd.

"Leave us," Hawke demanded in a tone that brooked no argument.

Riley grabbed hold of his younger brother's arm and half-dragged him out of the room, Drew staring daggers and growling low in his throat the entire time. When the door closed behind them, Hawke turned back to Judd, the icy blue of his gaze sweeping over the Psy. Judd wasn't sure what the alpha was looking for but he met the male's gaze head on.

"You know they're ready to tear you apart," Hawke said after a few moments.

"I can take care of myself," Judd answered, knowing full well he sounded arrogant. But the truth was the truth.

Hawke exhaled slowly. "The only reason I called them off was because I believe what I said. But I still need to ask. Can you track Brenna?"

"No," Judd admitted. "Had I still been in the net, I could have found her, but outside of the net it's impossible."

"Damn it." Hawke turned away from Judd, anger and frustration radiating from him; the male's body was literally thrumming with the intensity of his emotions. Judd wondered what it would feel like to be able to let your entire being be ruled like that. For the former Arrow, it would mean death to all those around him which was why despite being outside of the net, he maintained a strict hold on his Silence.

"I'll speak with Walker," Judd said after a moment. "We might be able to come up with an idea."

Hawke turned back to Judd and assessed him carefully, his face a neutral blank. He nodded once and then strode out of Judd's quarters. When he left, Judd stopped a moment to examine why he'd told Hawke he'd help in the search for Brenna. He tried to tell himself it was because the wolves had earned his loyalty. It would have been simple for Hawke to have ordered the destruction of the Lauren family, instead, he had decided to adopt them into the SnowDancer pack. For that alone Judd would have helped. But there was another reason as well. No matter how deep he was in Silence, the thought of sweet, pretty Brenna in the hands of a sadistic Psy killer threatened the very protocol that kept him from turning into a serial killer himself.


Days had passed since Brenna's disappearance and Judd and Walker hadn't come any closer to finding a solution on how to help the wolves bring her home. Time was running out and if he couldn't figure something out, Brenna would be found dead. The closer they got to the end of the week the more she was on Judd's mind. He'd heard what had happened to the DarkRiver girl who'd been abducted and couldn't stop seeing Brenna in his mind being tortured, crying out.

These images crept into his dreams. Psy weren't supposed to dream, but Judd always had. Of course he never would have admitted to this particular human weakness. Woken from one of these dreams, Judd found himself getting out of bed and pulling on his clothing. Very carefully, he exited his room and left the den. Sleep wasn't something he was interested in courting at the moment. Instead, he made his way to the car he'd commandeered from the den and drove into the city.

Even the drive did nothing to settle the pricks of unease that made their way through the protocol. He ended up in front of Father Perez's church but everything was closed up tight, the man having gone to sleep since there wasn't a designated meet between Judd and The Ghost. The parking lot was dark and abandoned so Judd simply leaned his head back against the headrest and let his mind wander. Of course it went to Brenna.

After that first time seeing her in the clearing, Judd had tried to steer clear of the only woman who'd ever pierced through his defences. Psy weren't sensual beings. Perhaps they had been once, before Silence came to be, but now those instincts were buried under decades of conditioning. Psy didn't view one another – or any other species – with any sort of sexual heat. Even now, it wasn't something sexual Judd felt whenever he saw Brenna in the den. It was something different. Almost a need to shelter and protect, even though as a predatory changeling, she would have been more than able to defend herself. Even still, despite the fierceness he could sense from her, there was also a delicacy that struck a primal nerve.

Despite his vow, it was odd that all of the sudden he found himself turning corners only to find Brenna walking toward him. Or going into one of the meal rooms and finding her there with friends. Several times he saw her in the garage working with her brother as he was making his way through. None of these chance meetings were purposeful on his part, it seemed as if now that he knew of her existence he was drawn to her, like an arrow to true north.

And no matter how many times he ordered himself to turn away, he couldn't. Instead, he would watch her surreptitiously as she interacted with those around her. She had a beautiful, full laugh that was heard often. A smile that brightened her delicate face. Golden hair that cascaded down her body, not shielding it from view, but somehow enhancing the curves that commanded attention. She seemed caring and giving and very loved by those in her inner circle. Not surprising, she was wolf, but with Brenna it was more. And it was that something more that had always kept his attention.

And now she was gone. In the hands of a murderer. And not just any murderer, but one of his own people.

This thought had Judd exiting his car. He walked down the deserted streets in long strides, one would think he was angry if not for the fact that he pulled his icy shields around him so that he was emotionally unavailable. The area became seedier as he walked but it didn't matter, in fact, Judd would have almost welcomed some sort of altercation. He was feeling dangerous at the moment and had no mercy for anyone daring to cross his path.

Right then a man stumbled out of an alley, cutting Judd off and practically falling into his arms.

"Heyyy," the man slurred, looking at Judd with bleary eyes. "Can you spare some change?"

"You're Psy," Judd said. He'd originally thought the man human but there was no mistaking the mental signature of one of his own. This man's shields were basically non-existent and he was tracking emotion. How was that possible when all Psy were under the Silence Protocol.

"Come on, can you help a fellow Psy down on his luck?" the man wheedled, his voice taking on an annoying bray.

Judd couldn't resist probing the man's mind for more information. He linked into his thoughts and could see right away what the issue was. This man was a junkie strung out on Jax and the drug had already caused irreversible damage to the man's brain. After a quick look over his shoulder to make sure no one was around, Judd pressed down on a nerve in the man's neck causing him to collapse in a faint. He dragged the drug-addled body into the alleyway and propped the man against the wall. When he'd probed the man's mind, an idea came to him. One that was dark and unethical but driven by a desperation he'd never admit to, the seeds of darkness bloomed.

Reaching into the man's mind again, he was able to commandeer it in such a way as to allow him to wear the mantle of the drug addict in front of him. In simpler terms, he became the Jax junkie. Judd closed his eyes and for the first time since his family had defected, he opened his mind's eye and stepped out into the PsyNet. The dark night skies greeted him as if he'd never left and he was struck with the eerie beauty of it, almost to the point of pain. The junkie was weak, even without the influence of the drugs he was just over a gradient 4. Not strong enough for Judd to use any of the tricks he'd learned in order to track the man who had taken Brenna. But perhaps he could be used in another way.

The junkie started to regain consciousness and began to fight against the invading presence in his mind. Judd withdrew quickly and then crouched down in front of him. When the man opened his eyes, there was a look of fear on his face. It quickly turned to greed when he saw that Judd held a twenty-dollar bill between his fingers. The junkie went to grab at it but Judd snatched it back at the last instant.

"This is for tonight," Judd said in a quiet, precise tone. "There will be more if you cooperate. Yes?"

"Yes," the man agreed, nodding his head.

Judd lowered the money once more and allowed the man to pull it from his grasp. It disappeared in his grubby clothing in seconds and Judd had no doubt that money would be spent less than five minutes after his departure.

"I'll find you here tomorrow," Judd told his new friend as he made a mental fingerprint of the man's brain. He didn't trust the junkie and needed to make sure he was easy to locate. The man just nodded his head so Judd got up and headed back to his car.

Walker was a light sleeper so it took nothing at all for Judd to wake him and tell him what he'd discovered tonight. They spoke in low-pitched voices so as not to wake the children.

"Do you think you can find Brenna's abductor using the net?" Walker asked.

"I'm not sure, but I'm willing to try."

"You do realise there is the chance of exposure?"

Judd didn't answer. He did know this and was unsure why he was willing to risk himself, risk his family, for a young wolf with golden hair. All he knew was that he was willing to risk it. But couldn't do so without Walker's blessing. His brother was the patriarch of the family and he was the children's guardian. Judd cared nothing for himself, if he was discovered he could fight. But if the Council found out he was alive then they'd know that all of the Laurens had survived the SnowDancer pack and a search would be mounted.

"I won't get caught," he answered instead.

"Go tell Hawke," Walker said with no hesitation.

Standing up to leave, Judd looked down at the table, voice pitched low he said "thank you" and then turned to find the alpha.

Never one to sleep, Hawke was in one of the exercise rooms. He turned right away when Judd walked in and looked at him warily. Judd stopped where he was and stared at the SnowDancer alpha.

"I may able to help save Brenna," he said without hesitation. Hawke's eyes grew piercingly sharp right away.

"Why didn't you tell me this before," he barked out, hands fisting at his sides.

"I didn't know until tonight," Judd answered and then told him about his discovery as well as his plan.

"We only have a few days left. If this Psy is as weak as you say, that might not be enough time."

"No," Judd replied. "I may be too late. But it's the best I can do."

Hawke walked away from Judd and ran a hand through his silver gold mane of hair. Judd remained quiet, waiting to see what the man would say.

"Could you use him in a different way?" the alpha finally said.

"In what way?"

"To cause a diversion in the net?" Hawke answered, turning the full force of his gaze on Judd. The intensity in his eyes made Judd fully aware it was the wolf at the fore, not the man.

"A diversion? What purpose would that serve?"

Hawke stared at Judd for a long while before speaking. "Psy. I'm trusting you now. If you betray that trust I will rip you apart myself."

Had Judd been changeling or human, it would have been natural to be insulted by the insinuation. But he was Psy so he simply nodded his understanding.

"Does the name Sascha Duncan sound familiar to you?"

"Yes, she's Councillor Nikita Duncan's daughter."

"She's also mated to DarkRiver's alpha and is about to defect from the net."

If not for the protocol, Judd would have been shocked at this information. Even still, it was a lot to absorb and Hawke gave him a moment to digest it all. Seeing as the alpha had no reason to lie about something of this magnitude, Judd didn't bother to ask him if he was sure. A councillor's daughter defecting from the PsyNet would cause huge ripples throughout the net. But since Judd was no longer part of that world, he let it slide.

"As of right now," Hawke continued, "she is still linked to the net and is going to use herself as bait in order to get the killer to reveal himself. She needs a diversion in the net. We haven't been able to think of any way to do this…until now."

It was a question. And Judd answered in the affirmative. "Yes, I can do it."


Later that morning, the Lauren family met with Sascha Duncan and her mate Lucas, alpha of the DarkRiver leopard pack. Judd had to admit, meeting a cardinal empath had been fascinating. He'd felt a twinge of regret that they couldn't offer her sanctuary within their familial net especially since she'd been so understanding and compassionate. The danger to the Lauren children had simply been too great to take the chance.

The next morning Hawke, Riley and Andrew made their way to DarkRiver while Sienna and Judd drove into the city to find the drug addled Psy. Judd left Sienna in Father Perez's keeping while he scanned for the junkie's mental signature. Sienna had to stay out of sight, her cardinal eyes and distinctive hair colour were too noticeable and they couldn't risk exposure.

Judd finally tracked down the Psy and went to pick him up. The man made no demure when Judd handed him a fifty-dollar bill and promised another fifty when they were done. He was just pulling up to the church when Hawke gave him the order to start the distraction in five minutes. Knowing it would make their job easier, Judd knocked the man out and carried him into the back of the church.

Father Perez hustled him into his private chambers where Judd lay the junkie on the bed. He looked to where Sienna was seated, "ready?" After the girl's quick nod, Judd began his uplink into the Psy man's mind. He felt when Sienna also linked in. Using that link they used their combined telepathic powers to begin scrambling the major lines of communication in the net. It took less than a minute, which was all that they could afford before someone figured out a way to track the disturbance back the unconscious Psy.

Judd turned to Sienna. "Take the car and go straight back to the den. We can't afford anyone seeing you." The girl nodded and walked out of the Father's rooms. Judd waited until she was gone before facing Father Perez. He held out a fifty-dollar bill.

"Give this to him when he wakes," Judd instructed. "I don't know if you can do anything to help him."

Father Xavier Perez nodded and then looked down at the man on the bed. "I'll do what I can."

"Thank you, Father."

Judd left the church and walked away to await further instructions. Not long after, he received a call from Hawke with an address for Councillor Santano Enrique's apartment. Judd teleported to the location and fought the urge to break in by himself and find Brenna. Just when he was at his breaking point, 2 vehicles pulled up and lieutenants and sentinels from both packs made their way to the building.

The group separated and converged again outside of Enrique's apartment. Judd used his powers to trap the Councillor while the changelings got into the apartment itself. Hawke, Riley and Andrew were in the lead to find Brenna while Dorian and Vaughan went after Enrique. Judd remained in the entranceway of the apartment concentrating on making sure Enrique was helpless as the changelings attacked. He sent out another probe searching, seeking and brushed up against another mind that was at once familiar and alien.

"Brenna," he whispered. She was here and she was hurting, the pain pushed at him. So much agony and terror. He would have tried to reassure her but he felt her mind try and scramble away from his telepathic probe and he withdrew, not wanting to cause her more pain.

Judd couldn't stop the flow of power that sizzled out of him – his own version of the fury he couldn't allow himself to feel. A jolt drove straight into Santano Enrique's brain. He magnified his power and could feel the man's brain in his grasp as he squeezed, driving the Councillor to madness. Judd knew the changelings would destroy the man, no one would notice that Enrique's brain was leaking from his ears as Judd punished him on the cerebral level for what he'd done to the SnowDancer. The girl with sunshine in her hair and smile.

When it was all over, Judd stood aside, as Brenna's unconscious body was gently carried out by her brothers. While the other changelings were occupied he stepped into the room where she'd been kept prisoner and felt his breath seep out of him. There was a blood soaked bed with restraints built into it. It was obvious from the blood pattern on the bed that she'd been tied to it spread-eagle. On a tray there were various implements designed for torture. There was also blood on the walls. Judd didn't even want to consider what had been done to Brenna while held here captive.

"It's time to go," said a soft voice from behind him. Judd turned to see the sentinel Vaughan standing in the doorway, a look of undisguised disgust on his face. Judd understood how the sentinel felt despite the fact it went against Silence.

Brenna was safe, but Judd knew it would take much before she was recovered.


"Can you help me?"

Judd stared into Sascha's cardinal eyes as she begged him for assistance.

"I need someone to help shore up my powers so I don't weaken as quickly," she continued.

"I don't think Brenna would want to be so close to a male Psy right now," Judd answered. "Perhaps Sienna—"

"No," Sascha said with a shake of the head. "I don't want your niece seeing Brenna like this. She's not strong enough."

Judd nodded his head. What he couldn't admit to this empath was that he wasn't strong enough either, for reasons he could never disclose. He hadn't seen Brenna since her return to the den but had heard about her state. Judd wasn't sure if he could bear to see the smiling, young woman who'd been reduced to the feral thing that had returned from Enrique's torture chamber.

But without his help, she would never again be the Brenna he knew from before.

"I'll help," he answered finally and was rewarded with a warm smile from the empath who would be integral to Brenna's healing and survival.

"Come with me."

Judd followed Sascha to the infirmary. She had him sit in the corner, furthest away from the group of changelings in the room. Brenna looked small and fragile surrounded by her brothers and Hawke who gave her touch, which she needed so badly. He closed his eyes, found Sascha and gave her all of his strength. There was a small gasp from the healer as she felt the magnitude of his force but she said nothing.

The sessions went on like this, Brenna surrounded by pack with Judd feeding his power into Sascha as she helped take away the burden that Enrique had left behind. After a while, when Brenna started to respond to the healing she ordered all of the changelings out of the room wanting to deal only with Sascha. Judd could see that this request hurt her brothers but they left without argument.

"Brenna, you need touch," Sascha said softly during a particularly difficult part of the healing.

"No," Brenna snarled in return.

"I'll go get her brothers," Judd said and made a move to get up.

"I said no!" Brenna's claws came out and she looked on the verge of attack.

"Judd, you need to do it," Sascha said urgently. "Hold her."

He wanted to refuse, wanted to give an absolute no and then go in search of her family. He was Psy. Cold. Unfeeling. He was not the person to give Brenna what she needed to heal. And in the deepest core of himself, he knew that he had to fight this temptation to give in and hold her close. To offer succour. To protect and shelter her.

Instead of saying no, Judd walked to the bed. Ignoring the fact she could eviscerate him with her claws, he bent and scooped the girl up in his arms. She struggled half-heartedly and with a final sob, slumped against his chest. Her claws retracted and she buried her face in his neck. Despite the warning bells going off in his head, Judd wrapped his arms around the fragile girl and pressed his cheek against the choppy blonde hair – her long locks having been hacked off by Enrique.

Brenna let her breath out in a shuddery sigh and all but burrowed into Judd. More alarm bells sounded in his mind and he ignored them all in favour of allowing himself to feel all these tactile sensations. He'd never held a woman in his arms before and even though Brenna was all but wasted away, he could still feel the softness of her body. He could smell the shampoo from her hair and as well as a distinctly feminine scent that was Brenna's alone.

At the end of the session, Brenna lifted her head and looked him in the eye. It was the first time he'd been close enough to notice the extraordinary change she'd undergone. Her eyes were no longer the brown of a doe, now an arctic flare surrounded the pupils, giving them a shattered look. It held Judd spellbound, and he wondered again exactly what had happened to her during the days she'd been kept in captivity.

"Thank you," she said softly, her face solemn, lips trembling slightly.

"You're welcome," Judd replied, knowing he sounded cold and arrogant.

The perfect Psy.

Only he knew the truth. That this moment was the closest he'd come to humanity in almost twenty years. That this young woman had given him a gift to be cherished within the secret core of him. And he would hold it in his heart always.