Seamus has been living with the Steele family since they rescued him from his uncle’s basement. He’s in love with Alex, but he’s sure Alex only sees him as a third brother. Besides, even if he doesn’t, Alex is the heir to the cete’s leadership, and Seamus can’t imagine he’d want him by his side once he becomes alpha.
Alex’s world was easy, or at least relatively easy, until the council that governs the shifters in the Allegheny forest passed a new law—all the carriers, no matter their age, have to be handed over to them. Alex’s father makes the decision to renovate the Bishop house, a house deep in cete territory, where the carriers will be safe. The first to move there is of course Seamus, the man Alex loves.
More needs to be done, though. While everyone is working on finding dirt on the council members, keeping the carriers free and safe, and finding the two teenage carriers who’ve been taken, Alex and Seamus try working out their relationship. Things aren’t easy. Seamus won’t be safe until the council is on their side again, and no one knows when that will happen.
But Alex will make sure it does, even if he has to kill for that to happen.
Seamus stopped reading when he heard the sound of Alex’s phone ringing. He put down his book and got up, moving toward his bedroom door. He’d left it slightly open in an invitation that had yet to be taken by Alex, so it was easy to listen to Alex’s side of the conversation, since Alex, too, was in his room.
It was weird for Seamus to have his own bedroom again. He’d spent the past several years locked in a basement, having been put there by his uncle, the alpha of the mischief of rodents who lived in the forest.
But Seamus wasn’t there anymore, even though he still had to remind himself of that almost daily. He had nightmares, and he still was wary of most people, but not of Alex and his family. No, they’d taken him in when they didn’t have to, when most people would have abandoned him on the side of the road and washed their hands of him. Instead, the cete had welcomed him, and he was one of them now, even though he wasn’t a badger.
Alex’s tone was sharp, bringing Seamus’ attention back to him. Something had happened, but Seamus couldn’t tell what—the only thing he could hear was Alex.
“Do we know where they are? Who took them?”
Seamus’ stomach churned. Someone had been taken. He wasn’t surprised—the forest wasn’t half as peaceful as most people thought, and he knew that first hand. He’d seen with his own eyes what some alphas were ready to do to obtain power and keep their people under control.
Of course, all that was hidden to everyone else because no one could enter an alpha’s territory without authorization, not unless they wanted the council to step in and punish them. Seamus had been lucky Thomas, the badgers’ alpha, had killed his uncle and that his beta, who’d taken his place, was a better man. Of course, the fact that the beta hadn’t contacted the council was probably because Alpha Gruber hadn’t had children. Seamus was technically the alpha now, with his uncle’s beta working as proxy until he was ready to take his rightful place—something that would never happen, and they both knew it. Seamus was a carrier, and carriers didn’t become alphas.
Alex sighed heavily. “Yeah, I’ll make sure he knows not to go around on his own. He’s not going to be happy, though. You know him.”
Seamus had no doubt they were talking about him now. Only a handful of people in the cete knew he was a carrier. Alex’s family was part of that group, and they did their best to keep Seamus safe. He was only twenty, too young to have to register with the council, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for the council to take matters into their own hands and do what they wanted with him, especially with what had happened to his uncle. They wouldn’t care that he finally had a family, people who cared for him and wanted him to be safe and happy. No, the only thing that would matter to them was that he was a carrier and that as such, they could sell him off to the highest offer.
Seamus jerked back from the door. Alex was much closer now, and Seamus hadn’t even noticed he’d left his bedroom. Seamus cleared his throat and fully opened his door. “Yes?”
Alex looked worried.
Seamus wasn’t surprised, since he’d already realized something had happened. It looked like he was about to find out what.
“I need to talk to you.”
Yep, it wasn’t going to be good. “Come in.” Seamus gestured at the bed, wondering if Alex was going to sit there next to him. He wanted him to, but he knew better than to hope. He was a third brother to Alex, a brother Alex needed to protect. Not a man, not someone Alex might see himself having a future with. Seamus had accepted that idea a while back, after he’d realized his crush on Alex was one-sided.
Besides, Alex deserved better. Seamus might be a carrier, but that was the only good there was to him. He didn’t have a family or a home. He didn’t have a mischief. The only thing he had to offer was his ability to make babies, and Alex could find that in other guys, guys who would be better suited to being an alpha mate once Alex took his father’s place at the head of the cete. Hell, maybe his father would find him a suitable woman. Thomas would never force any of his sons to get married, but Alex was the heir, and as such, he needed to have children. He was already twenty-nine, and he wouldn’t be able to wait much longer.
Alex chose the chair at the desk to sit down. Seamus sighed, but he did his best to keep his expression under control. “What happened? Are Joel and Levi okay?”
“They’re fine. But the council made their move. They passed a new law. All the carriers, no matter their age, have to be handed over to them unless they’re married.”
Seamus swallowed. He wasn’t surprised by the new law. No, what surprised him was that it had taken the council so long to vote it in. He knew the council was split in half, with some members who just wanted to profit from their position and others who really wanted to work for the shifters in the forest. Their number was uneven, and clearly, the bad guys had won this time. “When are they sending someone to pick me up?”
Alex’s eyes widened. “What the fuck, Seamus? You think I'm going to let them take you away?”