Never lead a lone wolf to his true mate...
...then tell him he can't have her.
High stakes cases and dangerous retrieval operations were my specialty until I took retaliation into my own hands. Now solving this cold murder is my ticket back to the action-packed life I’ve embraced since losing my family.
There’s only one problem. I’ve met my true mate. And Mya is unintentionally mixed up with a criminal who’d rather see her dead than with me.
So I’m once again forced to choose between the law and what’s right. My feelings aren’t supposed to matter. Neither are hers.
That leaves me one choice, and I don’t know if I’ll still be breathing once it’s made.
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"You're mine. Our goddesses have deemed it so." Rick steps so close to me, my breasts press into his hard chest with every breath I take. "That means everything that belongs to you is mine. Your heart. Your soul. Your body. Your children."
Rick turns my face toward his. The rawness in his gaze makes him look wild, like a primitive male ruled by his instincts. "And I am yours. No female will come before you. Not in this lifetime. Not in the next. Not in the one after that. I'll chase your soul through the centuries. Follow you anywhere. Nothing will keep me from you, and I'll never stop fighting for you. For us. This is my vow, Mya Ammon."
"I've remained in this world for you, Mya. For this moment." I speak the truth against her soft lips. "Every glimpse of what happiness could be if I'd only managed to get things right, every painful reminder of what it feels like to lose everything I care about, every lonely moment when I questioned why I keep breathing."
Hunched over the table I claimed in the back of the Black Widow, the only neutral, shifter-friendly bar in West Virginia, I reach for my current fix. My hands shake, but I wrangle the neck of the heavy, stout bourbon bottle over my shot glass. A few drops of the reddish liquid slosh into the bottom. It's not even a mouthful.
I slam the bottle down and scan the nearby tables. The human waiter who'd reluctantly left the partial bottle meets my gaze. His expression pinches as if he'd rather serve anyone else. Can't say I blame him. I look like a felon with my bloodshot eyes, tattoos, and scars. That's what I've been told, anyway. What do I care? I've got nobody to impress.
I raise the bottle. "Another."
Without waiting to see if he complies, I drain my glass and close my eyes. After a few minutes, my faster shifter metabolism erodes my alcohol-induced stupor. Memories push at me, waiting for me to give them life. I clench my jaw. Screw that. The waiter will bring my bourbon soon. That shit's strong enough to kill a few brain cells along with thoughts of the past. Tastes amazing too.
Licking my lips, I savor the remnants of the bourbon's spicy cinnamon flavor. "Sweet Fire."
"It's Death's Fire, actually. And if you drink a whole bottle, you're going to draw the wrong kind of attention."
A slow, lazy, and incredibly sexy smile spreads over his rugged face. "You're absolutely beautiful with your guard down."
"Rick." I say his name, but my voice doesn't sound like me. It's huskier or something. I almost sound sexy. Must be the naughty thoughts whirling around in my head.
Rick pushes to his feet. His muscles flex. The tight gray T-shirt stretched over his chest clings to his body. Jeans cover his legs. Not tight, not loose, his pants fit him perfectly, drawing my gaze to his strong thighs, his narrow hips, his...
Oh goddesses... I yank my gaze to his face, but it's too late. The image of the impressive bulge in his jeans is seared into my mind.
Shifter Affairs told me I wouldn't miss my new partner, despite not having met Uriel before. Apparently, this is why. Wearing an orange beanie, black sweatpants, an unbuttoned white dress shirt, and a purse slung over his body, Uriel stands out. It has nothing to do with his mismatched outfit, however. Or the fact that Uriel's a Royal, an immortal shifter with three big cats sharing his soul compared to the single wolf housed by my mortal body.
Uriel's dont-mess-with-me vibe creates a natural bubble around him few people likely get past. I'll have to find a way. For the foreseeable future, he'll be my sidekick. Not sure if I'm happy about this partnership. I've never worked with a non-wolf shifter. I don't get a say, however. The overpaid pencil pushers handle assignments. After abruptly resigning, I'm lucky Shifter Affairs is even giving me another chance.
Uriel stops at my table. "Rick Lyall?" At my nod, Uriel yanks out a chair and drops his ass on it. "I'm Uriel Alexander. My friends call me Uri. You will too."
A thick Scottish accent accompanies the order. Even dressed as oddly as he is, Uri probably has women falling at his feet the moment they hear that lulling brogue. His dark, brooding looks likely help too. If anything, hanging around Uri will improve my sex life.
"Uri it is." I pour the bourbon into the glasses and slide one to my new partner. "Have a drink, then we can talk about the case."