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בֿ New ᆖ Silver Silence ᐢ Author Nalini Singh ᕙ

בֿ New ᆖ Silver Silence  ᐢ Author Nalini Singh ᕙ בֿ New ᆖ Silver Silence ᐢ Author Nalini Singh ᕙ This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof Copyright 2017 Nalini SinghAge of TrinityOctober 2082 is a new beginning.Psy, human, and changeling, all three races have agreed to work together to unite their divided world.The Trinity Accord is the fragile foundation of all their hopes and dreams of a future without war, without violence, without shattering loss.It is a noble ambition.But the past is not an old coat that can be discarded and forgotten.It is a scent that clings and clings and clings.That scent is of blood and betrayal and a chilling, emotionless Silence.The psychically gifted Psy seek to feel emotion for the first time in over a hundred years.Changelings with their primal hearts fight their natural instinct to trust only pack, only clan.Humans look to the future with a grim eyed determination to no longer be the weakest race.And others they seek to spread chaos and death and division.Welcome to the Age of Trinity.Part 1Chapter 1To be a Mercant is to be a shadow that moves with will, with intelligence, with pitiless precision Ena Mercant circa 2057 Silver Mercant believed in control It was what made her so good at what she didshe was never caught by surprise She prepared for everything Unfortunately, it was impossible to prepare for the heavily muscled man standing at her apartment door.How did you get in she asked in Russian, making sure to stand front and center in the doorway so he wouldnt forget this was her territory.Bears had a habit of just pushing everything out of their way.This bear shrugged his broad shoulders where he leaned up against the side of her doorjamb I asked nicely, he replied in the same language.I live in the most secure building in central Moscow Silver stared at that square jawed face with its honey dark skin It wasnt a tan Valentin Nikolaev retained the shade in winter, got darker in summer And, she added, building security is made up of former soldiers who dont understand the word nice One of those soldiers was a Mercant No one talked his way past a Mercant.Except for this man This wasnt the first time hed appeared on her doorstep on the thirty fourth floor of this building.I have a special charm, Valentin responded, his big body blocking out the light and his deep smile settling into familiar grooves in his cheeks, his hair an inky black that was so messy she wondered if he even owned a comb That hair appeared as if it might have a silken texture, in stark contrast to the harsh angles of his face.No part of him was tense, his body as lazy limbed as a cats.She knew he was trying to appear harmless, but she wasnt an idiot Despite her offensive and defensive training, the alpha of the StoneWater clan could crush her like a bug, physically speaking He had too much brawn, too much strength for her to beat him without a weapon So it was as well that Silvers mind was a ruthless weapon.Why did you need to see me at seven in the morning she asked, because it was clear he wasnt going to tell her how he kept getting past her security.He extended a hand on which sat a data crystal The clan promised EmNet a breakdown of the small incidents weve handled over the past three months.Those small incidents were times when Psy, humans, or non clan changelings needed assistance in the area controlled by StoneWateror elsewhere, when members of the bear clan were close enough to help As the director of the worldwide Emergency Response Network run under the aegis of the Trinity Accord, Silver was the one who coordinated all available resourcesand in this part of the world, that included the StoneWater bears.Of course, she had no ability to order them to do anythingtrying that on a predatory changeling was an exercise in abject failure But she could ask So far, the bears had always come through The data crystal would tell her how many clan members and or other resources had been required to manage each instance it would help her fine tune her requests in the future.She took the crystal, not bothering to ask why the alpha of the clan had turned up to personally deliver the data.Valentin liked to do things his way.Why does Selenka let you get away with breaching her territory The BlackEdge wolves had control over this part of Moscow when it came to changeling access The city was split evenly between the wolf pack and the bear clan, with the rest of their respective territories heading outward from that central dividing line.This apartment building fell in the wolf half.Valentin smiled, night dark eyes alight in a way she couldnt describe StoneWater and BlackEdge are friends now.If Silver had felt emotion, she may have made a face of sheer disbelief The two most powerful packs in Russia had a working relationship and no longer clashed in violent confrontations, but they were not friends I see, she said, refusing to look away from those onyx eyes.Predatory changelings sometimes took a lack of eye contact as submissive behavior, even when interacting with non changelings Bears definitely took it as submissive behavior They werent exactly subtle about it either In fact, bears were the least subtle of the changelings shed met through her work as Kaleb Krycheks senior aide, and as the head of EmNet.What do you see, Starlight Valentin asked in his deep rumble of a voice that spoke of the animal that lived under his skin.Silver refused to react to the name he insisted on calling her When shed pointed out he was being discourteous by not using her actual name, hed told her to call him her medvezhonok, her teddy bear, that he wouldnt mind It was difficult to have a rational conversation with a man who seemed impossible to insult or freeze out.Bears.Shed heard Selenka Durev say that through tightly clenched teeth on than one occasion While Silvers conditioning under the Silence Protocol remained pristine, her mind clear of all emotion, in the time shed known Valentin, shed come to understand the wolf alphas reaction Thank you for the data, she said to him now Next time, you might wish to consider an invention we in the civilized world call e mail.His laugh was so big it filled the air, filled the entire space of her apartment.The thought made no sense, yet it appeared like clockwork when Valentin laughed in her vicinity Shed told herself multiple times that she worked for the most powerful man in the world Valentin was only a changeling alpha Unfortunately, it appeared changeling alphas had their own potent brand of charisma And this bear alpha had a surfeit of it.Have you thought about my offer he asked, the laughter still in his eyes.The answer remains the same, Silver said as a burn spread through her chest I do not wish to go have ice cream with you.Its really good ice cream Smile disappearing, Valentin suddenly shifted fully upright from his leaning position against the doorjamb, the size and muscle of him dangerously apparent You doing okay Quite fine, Silver said, even as the burn morphed into a jagged spike Something was wrong She had to contactHer brain shorted out She was aware of her body beginning to spasm, her lungs gasping for air as her legs crumpled, but she couldnt get her telepathic muscles to work, couldnt contact her family or Kaleb for an emergency teleport.Moving far faster than most people expected bear changelings to move, Valentin caught Silvers slender body before shed done much than sway on those ice pick heels she liked to wear He knew it wasnt the heels that were toppling her Silver was never in any danger on those heels The woman walked on them like he walked on his bigfoot sized feet, as described by one of his three older sisters.Ive got you, Starlight, he said, scooping her up in his arms and walking into her apartment.Hed been trying to get in for ten long months, ever since he first met Ms Silver Mercant But hed never expected it to be because she was convulsing in his arms Placing her on the dark gray of the sofa, he turned her onto her side and gripped her jaw to keep her head from jerking too hard At least she was breathing, though the sound was ragged.With his other hand, he grabbed his phone, went to call Kaleb Krychek The viciously powerful telekinetic could get her to help far faster than any ambulance But Silvers body was spasming too violently for him to both hold the phone and keep her from hurting herself Swearing under his breath, he dropped the phone and placed his other hand on her hip, holding her in place.Not how I wanted to put my hands on you, moyo solnyshko He kept talking so shed know she wasnt alone, but his blood was chilling with every second that passed It was going on too long.Deciding to risk it, he released her hip and, snatching up his phone, managed to make the call Silvers apartment, he said to the pitiless son of a bitch who was Silvers boss Medical emergency.He dropped the phone as Silver jerked again Hold on, Starlight, he ordered in his most obnoxiously alpha voice, trying to keep her body from wrenching painfully at the same time If Silver was going to respond to anything, it would be to the idea that hed dared give her an order Youre tougher than this.Her eyes, that glorious silver, met his, the pupils huge right before her body went limp.Kaleb appeared in the room at the same instant, the Psy male dressed in a flawless black on black suit What happened he asked, his voice as cold as midnight on the steppes.Get her to a doctor, Valentin growled, the sound coming from the human males vocal cords but carrying the bears rage Tell them it was poison.Kaleb was smart enough not to waste time questioning him He simply teleported out, taking Silver with him Teeth gritted at the fact she was out of his sight, Valentin got up and, going into Silvers kitchen, began to pull out anything that could be food Psy had strange ideas of foodmeal bars and nutrient mixes The only surprise in Silvers cupboard was a block of fine dark chocolate.Wondering if hed discovered a secret about the most fascinating woman hed ever met, a secret he could use to sneak past her defensesno, he had no shame whatsoever when it came to Silver Mercanthe turned over the block and found a small card still attached to it The writing was in English It said Thank you for your assistance, Ms Mercant I hope you enjoy this small taste of our family business Rico CavalierHis bear rumbled inside his chest.This was the kind of gift a man gave a woman he was interested inbut it looked like this Rico had struck out if the chocolate was sitting in the back of what passed for Silvers pantry.Good Otherwise, Id have had to pound the fool into dust.The only one courting Starlight was going to be Valentin.Having collected all possible food items, including some bland looking cake from the cooler that was probably a nutrient dense protein supplement, he began to go through them Changelings had the sharpest noses of the three races.Bears had the sharpest noses among changelings.Nothing would escape him now that hed pinpointed the poisonous scent from the millions of others in the air at any one time the exemplar had come from Silver, her body screaming a warning to his senses as the poison went active.Hungry, Alpha Nikolaev He didnt start at Krycheks midnight voice, having scented the cardinal telekinetics return to the room Thankfully for his nose, Kaleb didnt have the astringent metallic scent that some Psy did, the ones who were so deep in the emotionless regime they called Silence that Valentin didnt think anything would get them out.It was as if theyd cut out their hearts and souls.Silver was pure ice, but she didnt have that metallic scent either It gave him hope As did the faint touch of fire he kept picking up around her, a hidden sunshine that flickered against his skin Valentin was determined to seduce Silvers hidden wildness out into the light Who better than an uncivilized bear after all How is she he asked, looking Krychek in the eye.The telekinetics gaze was the eerie white stars on black that denoted the strongest among the Psy race, difficult to read even if it hadnt been Kaleb Krycheka man Valentin respected for his relentless will but mostly for his unexpected capacity for loyalty.StoneWater did its research on possible business partners Valentin, a young second to Zoya at the time Krychek first appeared on StoneWaters radar, was the one whod dug into the Psy male And what hed discovered about Krychek was that if you didnt betray him, he wouldnt betray you.Valentin could work with a man like that.Especially since Krychek had had the good sense to employ Silver.The words the telekinetic spoke were toneless The medics are working on stabilizing her.Valentins gut clenched.A deep rumbling building in his chest, he held out a barely used jar of nutrient mix This has the same toxic scent as what I scented on herget it tested Im going to finish checking the other items.Kaleb left at once, no doubt aware that, to treat Silver effectively, the medics needed to know the type of poison shed ingested Because while Valentin could tell something was toxic, he couldnt separate out individual poisonous scentsnot when hed never made it a point to learn those gradations.He saw the half full glass on the counter, realized hed interrupted Silver at breakfast He didnt need to lift the glass to his nose to scent the toxins swirling in the coffee colored liquid If hed been here, he wouldve smashed that glass out of her hand before a drop touched her lips.Jaw grinding, he handed the glass to Krychek when the other man returned The third time Krychek came back, Valentin had found a second contaminated jar of nutrient mix It was the third from the front on the right hand side, he said, knowing the location of the poisoned jars might be important The nutrient bars were clean Hed ruthlessly opened each and every packet, exposing them to the air and to his nose Silvers going to be mad I trashed her kitchen.Kaleb took the jar, examined the label, then teleported out with it When he returned, he said, That was ordinary nutrient mix available at any Psy grocer.You thinking product tampering Its a possibilitythose of my race are not universally liked.That was a vast understatement Many of the Psy might be attempting to regain their emotions after than a hundred years of training themselves to feel nothing, but their previous rulers had done massive damage, killed and tortured and created a deep vein of ill will.Both humans and changelings had long memories.The other option is an assassination attempt Krycheks cardinal eyes took in the mess Valentin had made of the food I trust in your sense of smell, but Ill get everything tested regardless.Valentin felt no insult This wasnt about pride It was about Silvers life Do it Now tell me where she is.Kaleb slipped his hands into the pockets of his pants Silver hasnt mentioned a friendship.Im working on it Had been doing so since the day hed walked scowling into a meeting and come face to face with a woman who made him think of hidden fire and cold, distant, searingly brilliant starlight And, lets be honest skin privileges Naked skin privileges Wild monkey skin privileges He couldnt be around Silver and not have his body react Her own body, it was slender, but with all the right curves And she was tough, tough as a female bear out for blood.Never once had she backed down against his deliberate provocation.His bear liked that A lot.Enough to throw her over his shoulder and carry her off to his lair if only she wouldnt fry his brains for daring He was tempted to chance it anyway He had a hard head, could probably take it so long as she wasnt trying to kill him.That mind of hers Hed never met its like Silver Mercant forgot nothing, and she had a steely presence that made even rowdy bears sit up and take notice Woman like that, shed make one hell of a mate Too bad she refused to even consider the idea Silver wasnt budging on the whole emotionless Silence thing.My people chose Silence for a reason, shed said to him three visits earlier While parts of that reasoning have proven false enough to topple Silence for many, other parts still apply I am and always will be Silent That means I will never be ready to run off and experience shenanigans with you.No matter Valentin had a plan.Because she damn well was going to survive Dont even try to stop me from seeing her, Krychek, he said to the cardinal, who still hadnt spilled Silvers location Im bigger and meaner than you.Krychek raised an eyebrow Bigger, yes Meaner Lets leave that an open question However, since shes alive because of you, I think you can be trusted with her whereabouts He told Valentin the name of the hospital.It happened to be a short ten minute run from here Normally, Valentin wouldve covered that distance without hesitationhis bear wouldve barely stretched out by the time he reached the hospital He could do vehicles, but he didnt really like them They were all too damn small as far as he was concerned But this wasnt a normal day Can I hitch a ride The other man didnt say anything, but less than a second later, Valentin found himself standing in an antiseptic white corridor, the floor beneath his feet a chilly gray blue The chairs on one side were attached to the wall, the seat cushions darkest navy On the right of the chairs was a door inset with a small square of glass.Beyond that glass lay an operating theatre where white garbed doctors and nurses worked with frantic efficiency to stabilize Silver He couldnt see her, but regardless of the powerful hospital smells in the air, sharp and biting, he could scent the ice cold starlight and secret fire of her.I thought youd take her to a private clinic This public hospital was an excellent one, but Silver was critical to the fragile balance of their fractured worldand Krychek could teleport anywhere in the blink of an eye.The lead doctor working on her is one of the worlds foremost specialists in toxins and poisons and their impact on the Psy body.You download that information from the psychic network youre all part of Krychek nodded.Useful Valentin couldnt imagine a life in which his mind was connected to a limitless vastness that included millions of strangers, but as a bear whose clan was his heartbeat, he could understand it You didnt leave her here alone Krychek had been delayed returning to him the first time around Long enough to bring in someone to watch over Silver.No, he didnt The woman whod spoken had just walked over from where shed been getting a glass of water not far down the corridor Her language of choice was English, and she had a scent that was almost no scent But to a bear, everyone had a scent, and she hadnt quite managed to erase every thread of hers The subtle memory of soap, the natural body scent that was uniquely hers, a touch of roses.He didnt have to ask her identity this woman was Silver in fifty years Her hair pure white and her eyes the same as his Starlights, her facial bones fine, she was clearly a Mercant And, if the rumors Valentins third eldest sister had heard were true, then she was probably the Mercant.He took a chance Grandmother Mercant, he said in the same language shed used, inclining his head slightly in acknowledgment of another alpha.Silvers grandmother didnt display any surprise at his greeting, so regal, she clearly took it as her due that shed be recognizedthis despite the fact the head of the Mercant family preferred to stay firmly out of the limelight Yes, the Mercant women were as tough as steel.More than tough enough to handle bears.You have me at a disadvantage, was her polite but in no way warm response.Valentin Nikolaev, he said Alpha of the StoneWater clan.He was with Silver when she collapsed.Grandmother Mercants eyes bored into Valentins on the heels of Krycheks words If my granddaughter survives, itll be because of your quick actions She shifted her attention to the cardinal who was the third point in their triangle Any response from the lab No, Krychek said, then paused I have the report Im sending it through.Beyond the square of glass, Valentin saw a doctor lift up her head She nodded once toward the window to acknowledge the telepathic message before beginning to issue orders to her staff.Minutes turned to an hour, .Still, they waited.The Human PatriotHe didnt consider himself a bad man He wasnt in any way like the other self centered bastards in the Consortium They wanted to sow division and foster chaos because it would be better for their bottom line He was disgusted by their greed, had accepted the Consortiums overture only because he intended to use the group to achieve his aims, aims formed of conscience and hope and love for his people.To him, the Consortium was a tool to help him mount a righteous revolution Yes, he made ruthless decisions when called for, but that was in business In life, in politics, he acted on the conviction of his heart, and that heart was telling him the Trinity Accord would lead to the destruction of all that he held dear.His beloved children, his accomplished and beautiful wife, theyd all be destroyed by this proto Federation agreement being touted as a force for unity Psy, humans, changelings, people of all three races would be equal, all have a say in the direction of the world.Bullshit.He closed his hand into a tight fist on the aged cherrywood of his desk, the top inlaid with fine gold and semiprecious stones It was a status symbol, this desk Worth hundreds of times the yearly income of the common man on the street, it reminded him every day of what hed achieved through determined intelligence and the genetic luck of the draw.Without the natural shield that protected his mind, he would long ago have become another casualty of Psy arrogance, another human psychically raped and violated by the emotionless, soulless bastards, his ideas and his freedom stolen.His eyes went to the photo of his wife on his desk So much light in her eyes That had been before She still laughed, she still loved, but she hadnt been the same since that horrific day when shed come up with an invention a Psy coveted The monster had stripped her clean before the man who loved her to the core of his being could find a way to protect her.She no longer created, knowing it could be taken from her at any instant.But they were supposed to believe the Psy were turning over a new leaf, that theyd suddenly begun to respect the sanctity of the human mind Throwing down the pen hed picked up to sign a contract, he rose to his feet and, stepping out onto the balcony attached to his home study, looked down at the cool paradise of their white tiled courtyard with its fountain in the center His childrens laughter drifted up from below, their small bodies hidden by the black plum trees that hung heavy with fruit.Papa Papa His boy ran out from under the trees, held up a toy truck Come play He smiled, his heart so full he could hardly bear it In a moment, he called down Let Papa finish his work first Well play afterward.Happy with the promise, the boy returned to his play while a little girl jumped into the fountain in laughing delight Wild, his daughter was, and the apple of his eye How could it be otherwise when she was so like her mother And his son, oh, he loved his son, too.So much.Enough to fight for a future where they wouldnt be used and discarded Because if his informant was right, the Psy race desperately needed to harness human minds for some reason the informant hadnt yet been able to unearth And whenever the Psy needed something from humans, the powerful psychic race just took it.No .If that meant he had to become a monster himself, had to circumvent loyalties and buy betrayal, even order the death of a brilliant woman whoon the surfaceappeared to have no bias in sending aid to various humanitarian crises around the world, so be it.Silver Mercant and EmNet were one of the foundation stones on which Trinity was built But that foundation stone was set to break, alongside several others.Soon.Chapter 2Betrayal is a rusted sword that wounds long before the first cut is made.Lord Deryn Mercant circa 1502 The doctoran M Psyemerged two hours after Krychek had sent through the telepathic message about the details of the poison Valentin was pacing the hallway, his bear shoving at the inside of his skin, its fur thick and heavy.Shell make a full recovery No complications foreseen.Valentins lungs filled with air again, his chest expanding.Did you have to remove any of her organs The question came from Grandmother Mercant.No The short dark haired doctor took a whisper thin organizer from a nurse whod just come through the doors at the other end of the corridor We pumped out her stomach, gave her the antidote, but because of the complexity of the poison, we had to monitor her responses and calibrate the antidote drop by drop.A glance up from the medical file on the organizer She was lucky The nutrients werent close to digested, and she didnt get the full dose.Valentin thought again of that half full glass and of how long it had taken him to climb up to an open window on a lower floor of Silvers building From there, it had been relatively easy to avoid the security cameras and get to Silvers floor If hed been just a minute too late When can we see her The doctor didnt question his right to be thereapparently, being with the head of the Mercant family and Kaleb Krychek gave him instant credibility, even if he was dressed in ripped jeans and an old white shirt with the sleeves rolled up That shirt had a drip of blue paint on one shoulder Hed thoughtonceabout dressing up for Silver, but he figured if he was going to coax her to the bear side, he should go full bear mode.No point in false advertising.He couldnt wait for those cool eyes of hers to give him their usual critical once over Last visit, shed offered to supply him with the name of a good seamstress who could patch up the holes in his jeans The visit before that, shed pointed out that most people stopped wearing their T shirts long before the color faded to a shade that can be best described as rag gray.According to these updated readings, the doctor said, her eyes on the organizer, she should be conscious in ninety minutes to two hours Well be moving her into a recovery room shortly.The three of them waited in silence while Silver was ensconced in a private room Valentin watched her grandmother go inside to sit with her, made himself stay outside, though bear and man both wanted to thunder inside He didnt even look through the partially open blinds on the window beside the door, as he hadnt looked when she was moved from the operating theatre to the recovery room.Silver would not thank him for seeing her when she was so vulnerable.Except he already had.He groaned, the bass sound coming from deep within She is never going to forgive me for having witnessed her collapse.Beside him, Krychek glanced at his watch, the cardinal Psys dark hair gleaming in the overhead light Given the current time and the fact Silver keeps to a firm schedule unless she needs to adapt to fit a developing situation, you interrupted her at breakfast, thus saving her life.You think shell see it that way Valentin asked on an excited burst of hope.The other man didnt even pause to consider it No Youre out of luck.Valentin narrowed his eyes, wondering if Krychek was laughing at him.The cardinal was the coldest man he knewbut unlike Valentin, Kaleb Krychek had a woman who adored him Sahara Kyriakus made no effort to hide her love for her mate Valentin had seen her kissing Krychek right in the center of Red Square, her joy a bright light Krychek hadnt so much as cracked a faint smile the entire timebut a man had to have a heart to win that of a woman who wore hers on her sleeve.So, yes, his bear decided, it was quite possible Kaleb Krychek was laughing at him under that frigid exterior Thank you for nothing, he grumbled to the other man, before propping himself up against the nearest wall.Do you want a return teleport No, Ill wait Just until Starlight was awake He needed to see her chest rise and fall, hear the frosty control of her voice, feel the laser focus of her intelligence.Dont let Silver spot you, or any hope you have of her choosing to forget this incident will go up in smoke.Now Valentin was certain Krychek was laughing at him Go count your fleas, you mangy wolf, he said on a deep rumble of sound emanating from his bearish side, the latter words the worst possible insult among StoneWater bears.Krychek teleported out so fast, Valentin wasnt sure hed heard It probably hadnt been the most diplomatic thing to say to a cardinal of such brutal power, but Valentin wasnt the least sorry about itwhich was why he tended to leave the Krychek contacts to Anastasia His eldest sister and second in command was much, much better at this type of thing.Valentin was a big, deranged grizzly, while Stasya was an intelligent and thoughtful panda.That description had come from his second eldest sister, Nova Forget that he, Stasya, Nova, and Nikahis third eldest sister, were all Kamchatka brown bears, and pandas were so thoughtful they often took an hour to reply to a question Apparently it was a metaphor At least Nova hadnt called him an actual snearzhnyi chelovek An alpha had to have some standardshis included not being called a yeti.Or a wolf.His impolitic nature was the reason why it had taken him so long to meet Silver Hed just never gone to any Moscow meetings Now, he went to every one where he knew she would be present Stasya had thrown up her hands when he dug in his feet on the matterthen shed given him duct tape To put over his mouth whenever he felt like being his lumbering beary self End quote.Valentin didnt lumber Not unless hed downed a few beers.And none of those thoughts were keeping his mind off the woman in the room beyond the closed door.When that door opened at long last, he found himself the focus of a steely gaze My name, Silvers grandmother said, is Ena But you may call me Grandmother.Valentin was well aware hed been granted a privilege When hed first greeted her that way, it had been because it was the most respectful address that came to mind This, however, was permission to take a familial intimacy While he didnt know anything of Ena beyond the fact she was the head of a powerful family, he knew enough of Silver to know this was serious business.Women like Ena and Silver did not offer such things lightly.Hows our girl doing, Grandmother Ena Mercant stared at him for long minutes Youre extremely brash Nothing like the leopard alpha whos representing so many changeling groups in the Trinity Accord.Theres a reason Lucas is our public face It hadnt been a hard decision to trust Lucas Hunter to look after StoneWaters interests in the fledgling accord that sought to unite their divided world.The other man had reason than anyone to fight for the tenets of Trinity His daughter was both Psy and changeling, the first such child born in a century and, he, like Valentin, had a number of humans in his pack Can you imagine me negotiating with the kretiny Lucas deals with on a daily basis Making a gun of his thumb and forefingers, he pressed it to his temple, set it off with a bhoof of sound.Not responding to that, Ena Mercant sat down in one of the visitor chairs against the wall Next to her, he stayed upright, alert No other windows into Silvers room No Im running a telepathic scan so Ill know the instant anyone teleports in.So would Valentin, his sense of smell hyper focused No one was going to hurt his Starlight So, Grandmother, you think it was product tampering Enas response was indirect Silver always has six jars in the cupboard She starts on the left, pulls the second jar on the left forward once shes finished the first and so on Its interesting you found a second tainted jar in the position you did.Valentins claws, long, curved, and deadly, threatened to erupt from his skin Interesting is not the word Id use If the poisoner was uncertain of Silvers system, that person would have doctored a jar on each side Not the first one, so itd be harder to pin down exactly when the jars had been tampered with, but the second in each row She was targeted.Ena stayed silent for long enough that he managed to talk his bear out of surging to the surface Now was not the time to rampage in fury Because deranged grizzly tendencies or not, Valentin was also an alpha to the core of his soul he had the capacity to control his primal urges.Medical calls came and went over the intercom, and a nurse rushed by in response to an alert, but inside Silvers room, it stayed quiet.What do you know of my family Ena asked at last.He noted the possessive Yes, this woman was an alpha, too A matriarch like the bear Valentin had succeeded in StoneWater eight months earlier Zoya was as toughthough far less reserved in her responses That just made his former alpha a bear and Ena a Psy It said nothing about either womans power.Not much, he admitted in response to her question about the Mercants My sister Janika knows a lot of peoplehalf of Russia it sometimes felt likeso weve picked up things here and there, but weve made no effort to dig into Psy politics They had no Psy in their clan and thus no reason or ability to have a direct line of information Of course, that would change once he convinced Silver to throw in her lot with him Hed need the information to make sure she was safe.As she hadnt been in her own apartment.Inside him, his bear rose up on its back paws, a massive creature enraged that Silvers home had been violated Home was safety, was where they raised their cubs and nurtured the bonds of family Home was warmth and love and play It was never an acceptable target, no matter what the war.I dont need anyone to tell me that you personally are a power, he said, his voice dropping into a deeper register as his bear continued to pace inside him You wear it like a second skin Its so obvious even a snow blind polar bear couldnt miss it Added to that, Krychek respects you.While StoneWater and Krychek had had a rocky road to a wary trust that was still a work in progress, Valentin had never doubted the other mans smarts He knew youd be able to protect Silver.A glance up, Enas expression impossible to read Brash and astute An unexpected combination.Valentin shrugged Element of surprise Many people took the bearish approach to life as evidence that bears were dense and unintelligent Bears made no effort whatsoever to dissuade the idiots.As Stasya had put it Why should we school the stupid out of them when it means we have a huge advantage in almost any negotiation Too bad Selenkas wolves had long ago figured out the truth.My family is powerful, Grandmother Mercant said, her eyes on the wall in front of her We are the primary shadow players in the Net, the family everyone wants to court to gain intelligence, have our machinery at their back while they climb to power.Surprised at her candor, Valentin listened in alert silence One of the things Nika had picked up through her ability to make all kinds of friendsit was as if shed been adopted from a pony herd or somethingwas that the Mercants kept their mouths sealed shut when it came to the family.Killing Silver would cripple us for at least a decade, Ena added, the reminder of the attempt to end Silvers starlight making Valentin see red all over again, his shoulder muscles bunching tight as he crossed his arms.Ena continued to speak We would withdraw, regroup, become strong again But we wouldve lost the person I trust to lead the Mercants into the future.Her voice never altered, her tone flat, but Valentin knew without a single doubt that Ena Mercant would kill to protect her granddaughter, her love a fierce thing Ena wouldnt call it love Neither would Silver Didnt change the fact that the loyalty tying them together was a bond of the heart any bear would recognize.Shes also the only one who knows EmNet inside and out, he said, drawing in fine traces of Silvers scent through all the antiseptics and medicines that hung so heavy in the air.His bear clawed at him, wanting out, wanting to nuzzle her, cuddle her close Valentin had some trouble getting it under control since he wanted the same thing Even if we take her link to Krychek out of the equation, he said, Silver is a target on multiple fronts The Consortiuma greedy, dishonorable group that Lucas Hunter had warned him aboutis anti peace and EmNet is the flag bearer for Trinity For the hope of a permanent worldwide peace.Yes Again, Ena said nothing else for so long that he thought the conversation was over But then she stirred Someone got into the most secure apartment building in Moscow Then they got into her apartment All without tripping security.Its not that hard to get into her building, Valentin told her, furious at the security people I climbed in through an open window on the third floor He couldnt climb for shit in his animal form, his bear too big, but in his human form with his claws out He hadnt found a wall he couldnt scale.Not that the alpha of StoneWater made a habit of climbing up apartment buildings He only did that for his icy Starlight.Most people, Ena responded, including most changelings, dont have the kind of claws sported by bears Youre also heavily muscled and, Im guessing, extremely strong.Teleporters dont need claws or physical strength.No, but Silver has worked with a cardinal telekinetic for years She had scent filters put in, motion sensors Kaleb tested the precautions to make sure theyd work against someone with his ability She shouldve known the instant an intruder entered, but its clear she registered no such intrusion.Valentins bear froze You think the poison was added by someone she let in Easy if the guest was a person Silver trusted, a person she wouldve left alone in the living area while she went to fetch something from another room or maybe excused herself to take a private call The kitchen was only steps away.Ena inclined her head If this individual was smart, he or she wouldnt have dosed the jar Silver was using at the time.Thats what I figured His bear head butting him in a stubborn refusal to sit down and behave until it had seen Silver, Valentin thought back to her kitchen cupboards and to the second tainted jar How long does a jar last One month if used nonstop, which Silver doesnt do Two to three months if interspersed with other sources of nutrients like the bars and protein supplements.We need to go through all the visitors shes had in the time since she began using the jar before this one Even though Silver had just opened this jar, theyd have to go back at least four months to be on the safe side.No, Valentin, Ena said, interrupting him midthought That is not your responsibility.Valentins bear roared in outrage.He clenched his jaw, frustratingly conscious that he had no rights here Silver wasnt his, hadnt even let him through her front door yet Today didnt count, and even his bear wouldnt argue that it set a precedent Starlight had to invite him in for it to count.Your job, Ena said, is to give her safe harbor.The bear stopped midroar, stunned into silence.Id like nothing better, Valentin said through his surprise, but Silver wont accept a bodyguard And he was alpha, his time bound to the clan, a truth Ena had to understand What she couldnt know was just how badly his clan needed him right now His short visits to annoy and court Starlight had been the only breaks hed taken since becoming alpha eight months earlier.I know, Ena replied I also know she wont go far from her center of work But she cant continue to live in a place where anyone can walk in and poison her.Valentins fur ruffled inside him, his bears attention caught The poison is important His next question was pure instinct Is it a Mercant weapon Shadow players would strike with stealth rather than in open aggression.Enas response was telling I cant offer her any of our safe houses Theyre keyed to all Mercants.Biting back a harsh word in his native tongue, quite certain both Babushka Caroline and Babushka Anzhela would clip him on the ear if they heard hed uttered that particular word in the presence of an elder, he ran a hand through his hair You think one of your own went after Silver.Our entire family is built on trust.Like a bear clan Betrayal was a dagger to the heart, and it hurt Valentin knew Hed felt it stab him to the core, was still bleeding and bruised because of it, his bear dejected by the unexpected blow.Why not ask Krychek for a place Valentin forced himself to ask he wanted to haul Silver deep into his territory where no one could hurt her, but these were the same questions shed askbetter he and Ena have her boxed in before she woke.The bear inside him snorted at the idea of playing fair when it was Starlights life at stake.Since Silver wont abandon her work by moving to a totally different region, the only possibilities Kaleb can offer her will be in central Moscow Shed remain accessible to her enemies.Valentin unfolded his arms, a smile starting to tug at his lips Are you asking me to kidnap your granddaughter Lets call it an enforced move out of the field of danger.He was fluent in English, thanks to his Canadian polar bear maternal grandmother, but it still took him a second to work out that yes, Ena was in favor of Valentin kidnapping Silver.Praise for Allegiance of Honor An epic delightRomance, family, and loyalty are celebrated even as the dangers of a brave new world without war are explored Publishers Weekly starred review The fact that the fifteenth book in this long running series will only make readers desperate for is a testament to Singhs genius for storytelling RT Book Reviews 4 1 2 stars, Top Pick A brilliantly plotted, action packed, and completely satisfying celebration of the series Kirkus Reviews starred review Praise for Nalini Singh and her Psy Changeling Novels The alpha author of paranormal romance Booklist Nalini Singh is a master storyteller.Maya Banks, 1 New York Times USA Today bestselling author Nalini is brilliant USA Today Complex psychological changes are balanced by deep loveOutstanding Publishers Weekly Nalini Singh author Wikipedia Early life Of Indian descent, Nalini was born in Fiji, and moved to New Zealand as a childShe attended Mount Roskill Grammar School Writing In , placed third the Romance Writers is York Times USA Today Bestselling of Psy Changeling, Guild Hunter, Rock Kiss series She lives but travels much possible travel bug bit hard from when she escaped working lawyer run away teach English Japan Books NYT bestselling author Join receive exclusive updates free short stories that won t be posted online for at least six months Click link your confirmation email Welcome will arrive automatically Rock Addiction Book Kindle edition by Download it once read on device, PC, phones or tablets Use features like bookmarks, note taking highlighting while reading im Inselstaat Fidschi ist eine fidschianische AutorinSie schreibt bevorzugt romantische Fantasy Geschichten Kiss Snow Changeling Singh has ratings reviews Dina said First off, let me say I m completely biased comes Hawke, so don expect th Silver Silence

 

    • Silver Silence
    • 3.1
    • 243
    • Format Kindle
    • 456 pages
    • Nalini Singh
    • Anglais
    • 24 August 2016

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