She shook her head at that thought and stepped into the Jeep.
“Get hold of me first,” she told him as she started the engine and reversed the vehicle from its parking slot. “We might have to forgo food for dessert if things are too busy.”
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“Will do.” She could hear the anticipation, the smile that filled his voice. “Be careful, kitty-mine. See you soon.”
“Soon,” she whispered in reply as the connection broke and the receiver automatically switched back to the primary channel.
She headed the Jeep to the back of the property and the high gate that guarded the back entrance. The day was looking brighter than ever.
“Sherra, I have my team ready to tackle these caves. When do you intend to give the go-ahead?”
Sherra hid her smile as Jonas Wyatt stalked through the clearing outside the caves in question, his dark face tightened into lines of impatient male arrogance, his light gray eyes flashing in demand. He was going to be a hard one to handle. He had been in Sanctuary only a few months and already he was moving through the Alpha ranks. He had already fought or connived his way to team leader several times over until his rank was only just below that of the main Pride members and Kane’s main team. He was quick, efficient, and cold as ice.
“Sorry I’m late, Jonas.” She hid her smile as she faced him, refusing to be drawn into a confrontation with him. The alpha genes that raged in that man’s blood were like a virus eating him up. He wouldn’t stop until he ruled his own little corner of the world. She just wished he would hurry up and stake that corner out and get off her back.
It was obvious it grated on his male pride, answering to a woman. Had it been Callan, or even Kane, he would have accepted it easier, but his natural male aggressions seemed to be assuring him that he had no place below her. She found him amusing. He found her irritating.
“Late is an understatement,” he murmured as he came upon her, facing her with narrowed eyes and thin lips. “The day is going to be gone before we get the main tunnels covered. The last thing we need are more of those bastards slipping through.”
She stopped, propping her hands on her h*ps and stared around the clearing, evaluating the team members, equipment, and quickly assessing and prioritizing what needed to be done.
“Let’s get started.” She breathed in deeply. “Watch for…”
“Wires, sound sensors and heat activators,” he growled. “I know my job.”
“Then do it,” she griped in return. “Damn, Jonas, it’s not like I’m trying to take your place here. You’re team leader, big boy, go for it.”
Surprise flashed in the narrowed eyes.
“I have two of my teams in there already,” he grunted, surprising her now. “I was tired of waiting.”
Sherra shook her head, a smile twitching her lips. “I’m going to begin suspecting you and Kane Tyler of being separated at birth.”
“I might have to fight you over that insult,” he growled. “Are you going in or supervising? I need to know before the rest of the teams move in.”
“I’m going in. I’m trained in explosives detection and deactivation. We’ll keep to the main tunnels for now and re-access in six hours. If there are as many tunnels as initial analysis is showing then we’re going to have a hell of a job in front of us.”
“More possibly.” He nodded sharply. “Gear up. We’re using Alpha Six channel but the tunnels are hampering reception without amplifiers in place. Be sure you pack a few.”
She nodded quickly. “Let’s head in then.”
* * * * *
“Dammit, Sherra, I told you to keep your people out of these damned caves.” Kane was furious as he confronted her in the main cavern of the cave system. As with the cave the assassin had used to slip onto the mountain, this one, too, had an extensive, mazelike tunnel system that burrowed beneath the mountain. And it had obviously been used, more than once, and in the last few days. Human scent filled it, even to the deepest portions of the tunnels that they had managed to access so far. Whatever intel they had received hadn’t come close to the underground maze they had found here. And they had yet to find the exit on the other side.
Sherra rose from where she had been investigating the prints found in the tunnel she had taken. They were fresh, too damned fresh to suit her concerning the fact that here, the scent of intrusion was barely perceptible.
“And I told you to chill out,” she grunted as he rounded the curve behind her, the scent of his arousal and his anger nearly causing her to stagger as it wrapped around her, reminding her of the craving that tormented her as well.
“Wrong answer,” he barked furiously as he drew beside her and gripped her hip to stop her advance into one of the narrow tunnels. “Are you insane? Do you have any idea just how well these caves could be booby-trapped?”
She frowned, staring up into his furious face through the glow of the flashlight that was directed at the floor.
“Oh, I don’t know, Kane,” she responded with false sweetness. “Do you think the two explosives we dismantled an hour ago might have let me in on that little problem?”
So far, the two main tunnels they had found had been wired with enough explosives to bring the mountain itself down. They were expertly hidden and almost undetectable. Thankfully, Sherra, as well as several of the other Breeds, had been trained to detect explosives that some Breeds might miss. It wasn’t so much as detecting the scent of the explosive itself as it was detecting the variance of the scents in the area of it.
When anything new was introduced into an area, even if its scent wasn’t detectable to sensitive noses, the differences in the smells around them changed. This was how the two explosives had been found so far. Attempts had been made to camouflage the smell of the high-tech ingredients of the compound itself, which proved they had been set as a strike against the Breeds. Whether they were set before the Council evacuated or after, was anyone’s guess at this point.
“Sherra, get the hell out of here.” He stopped her again as she started to continue down the dirt path that led through the stone. “We’ll get another explosives team out here…”
“What the hell do you think I am?” she asked him incredulously. “You’ve read my file, you know my training. I’m more than qualified to be here.”