Her Perfect Mate(107)

By: Paige Tyler


She smiled. “I thought about you.”

***

Everyone was already back at the lodge by the time she and Landon got there. Ivy was relieved to see no one else had gotten seriously hurt and the hybrids had all been killed. She only got a few minutes to talk to them, however, because Zarina appeared with her clothes and insisted she change out of her bloody shirt. When she came back a few minutes later, Angelo was telling Landon that none of the hybrids would let themselves be taken alive.

Ivy sighed. “I can’t believe what you guys put yourselves through for me.”

Angelo slipped his arm around her shoulders. “You and Landon are together, so that means you’re family now. There isn’t anything the guys and I wouldn’t do for you.”

“Even though you know what I am?”

“What you are is the brave, beautiful woman my best friend is in love with. Like I said before, that makes you family.” Angelo grinned. “And it makes Landon the luckiest guy on earth.”

She laughed despite the tears stinging her eyes. Going up on tiptoe, she kissed him on the cheek. “Thank you.”

He hugged her tightly, then glanced at Landon. “I’ll call you.”

“Hey, Angelo,” Clayne called as the sergeant headed for the door.

Angelo stopped, half turning to look at him.

“You and the rest of the snake eaters did good out there today.”

Ivy looked at Clayne in astonishment.

Angelo grinned. “You didn’t do too bad yourself, shifter.”

Ivy gave Landon a curious look as he put his arm around her. “Snake eater?”

“Slang for a Special Forces operator.” He eyed Clayne. “Tell me again how we wiped out a small army of hybrids and military-trained soldiers of fortune, and somehow end up letting the two doctors who tortured Ivy escape?”

Ivy held her breath, waiting for Clayne to blow up at Landon, but he only frowned. “I told you, I tracked them to the main road. They must have hitched a ride with a tourist or something because there was no sign of them when I got there. No scent, either.”

Zarina worried her bottom lip. “Klaus and Renard have samples of Ivy’s DNA. If they figure out how to manipulate it, they could make hybrid versions of Ivy. One that has the strength of the creatures you fought here today, but with Ivy’s agility and control.”

Landon swore.

“Zarina, there are people in the DCO who’d love to use this whole thing as an excuse to shut down the shifter program and boot Ivy and me out.”

Kendra gave the Russian woman a pointed look. “Which means you can’t tell anyone they have her DNA.”

“I won’t.” Zarina looked at Ivy. “You saved my life. The least I can do in return is keep your secret.”

Kendra visibly relaxed. “Okay. Now for our next problem. How are we going to explain all of this when you two”—she gestured to Ivy and Landon—“were only supposed to be out here doing recon?”

Landon exchanged glances with Ivy. “We’ll say Stutmeir and his people were going to kill Zarina and that we had to move in.”

“Then you’d better make damn sure you convince them you two did it on your own.” Kendra folded her arms. “If you imply you had outside help or that Clayne and I backed you up, Dick will be all over it. He’ll say it was a violation of every rule and regulation the DCO has, and talk the members of the Committee into shutting down the EVA program. Maybe even the entire DCO.”

Clayne’s mouth edged up. “The secret to making a lie believable is to limit the details and stick to the highlights. Don’t give them any information they can use to catch you in an inconsistency. If they press you for details, pull out the old fog of war excuse.”

Meaning she and Landon would be hazy about exactly how they had overcome such an obviously superior force all by themselves.

“You make it sound like you do this on a regular basis,” Kendra said.

His grin broadened. “Practice makes perfect.”

Ivy seriously doubted he lied as much as he claimed.

“The DCO’s going to want you to secure the lodge until the cleanup team arrives,” Clayne said. “I’m going to go pack up the weapons and whatever ammo is left so Kendra and I can drop it off at the storage unit. We have to make it look like most of that equipment was never used.”

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