Bearing the Black Ice (Ice Bear Shifters Book 4)
back here for a night mission. We’re less likely to be discovered if it’s late and most of the Blizzards are sleeping. We’ll just have to be wary of using the flashlight.”
    Hannah agreed. The idea of walking into the Blizzards’ lair still terrified her, but she didn’t have much choice other than to trust Alan. Letting him go by himself wasn’t an option for her. She would never forgive herself if he ran into trouble and had to face the Blizzards alone.
    Which is why, late that evening, Hannah found herself tip-toeing along behind Alan as they headed back to the spot where they had left off earlier. As they continued past that spot, the scent of Blizzard only got stronger. When faint light started appearing in the long tunnel, Hannah almost turned around and ran back. But Alan never wavered or slowed his pace. He just kept steadily moving forward. At one point, he pulled her quickly down a side tunnel and held her pinned against the wall. Breathing heavily, Hannah heard the voices of the two Blizzards Alan had been trying to avoid. She thought the Blizzards would smell them and attack for sure, but they kept walking by. From their loud, obnoxious laughter and slurred words, Hannah recognized that they were drunk. She breathed a sigh of relief at the near miss.
    As they continued on, they reached a point where they could catch a glimpse of a large, arched entrance to what looked like another oversized cavern. Soft torchlight lit up the room and spilled into the hallway, silhouetting a large man pacing slowly back and forth under the arched entrance. He was the only guard at the entrance, as far as Hannah could see, although she had no doubt that others were stationed in the cavern and roaming the tunnel where she and Alan were exploring. Straight across the large room was another arch, this one with a proper door affixed to it. Another large guard leaned lazily against that door. Inside the cavern, dozens of Blizzards were lying around the room on cots, snoozing soundly. Alan had been right. This was their main hideout, and that door on the other side probably led out of the cave.
    Alan poked Hannah’s arm gently, and made a motion that he wanted to head back in the direction they had come from. Hannah had never felt so relieved. Her heart had been pounding nonstop during this whole expedition, and she couldn’t wait to be back in the relative safety of their evening hideout spot.
    When they got back to their base camp, Alan sighed loudly. “Well, it looks like we’re screwed,” he said.
    Hannah made no comment for a moment. She wasn’t willing to come this far and then admit defeat. She had gone from being certain that she was going to die to hoping that her escape was imminent. She couldn’t let go of that hope yet.
    “You don’t know anything for sure, yet,” she finally said. “We still have one tunnel we haven’t explored. There could still be another exit. And we could always go back to the other side of the cave where we came from. There are a lot of exists over there. They’re just really hard to find.”
    “Hannah, the other side of the cave is a mess. It’s a freezing wasteland. Honestly, it’s a miracle we made it through a few days over there. If we go back, we’ll lose our easy source of food and warmth. We could wander in circles for weeks with no sign of an exit. And you know as well as I do that the last tunnel over here is only going to lead us to a dead end. Whatever extra exits might have been on this side of the caverns originally, the Blizzards have closed. They aren’t stupid. They want to keep things as secure as they can without having to station guards all over every tunnel.”
    “Well, we have to at least look. We don’t know for sure until we try.”
    Alan rolled his eyes. “Hannah, come on. You know it’s a waste of time as well as I do.”
    “Do you have a better idea?” Hannah asked. She crossed her arms and stared Alan straight in the eyes. She wasn’t going to

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