Price Litner has been in and out of the military more times than he cares to remember. Every decade it becomes harder and harder to keep his vampire nature hidden. When a silly mistake drags his nature into question, Price knows he needs to find a safe place to lie low. He turns to the one man he can trust—ex-team member Graham Canton.
Even though Price is aware Graham lives at a marine park with a bunch of shifters, he knows he has no choice. He has to put his life in the hands of other paranormals—something he hasn’t done in over one hundred fifty years. Price trusts Graham, so he takes the chance.
One of the men who accompanies the shifter pod alpha when he comes to question Price—after all, he could be bringing trouble their way—is none other than his beloved—a giant octopus shifter named Dare Winterwall. Can Price help the shifters save not only him but their anonymity, too? Oh, and will he be able to work past his queasiness of all things…tentacled?
Crouching on the roof of the apartment building across from where he’d been living for the past twelve years, Price Litner watched two vehicles marked military police pull up before his own structure. He would bet his fangs that there were more military police monitoring the back door, too. Price was certain they’d come prepared.
Just thirty minutes before, Price had been tipped off to their impending arrival. When he’d spotted Britt’s message from a burner number, he’d frozen in disbelief…for all of two seconds. Then Price had pulled his head out of his ass and responded with a code meant to confirm Britt’s identity.
As soon as Price had done that, Britt had called him. Without even a hello, he’d stated, “The military police are on their way to you. Get out.”
Price hadn’t asked the hows or whys—he’d just obeyed, grabbing his emergency go-bag and clearing from the apartment. Having known Britt for almost three decades, he had complete faith in the human. While the man didn’t know he was a vampire, he’d always been a trustworthy friend.
Watching the four men in military uniforms pour from the vehicles, Price was damn grateful for his network of friends. He hadn’t had a coven to depend on in over a hundred and fifty years—not since a lying donor had caused his master to banish him and name him rogue. That stigma had made it impossible to be accepted into another coven, so he’d gone it alone.
And I’d been doing just fine…until now. So what the hell happened?
Three of the men headed into the apartment. One waited outside. That one kept his hand on the butt of his service weapon as he peered all around the area. When the man began to tip his head back, Price ducked behind the wall and headed toward a fire escape on the far side.
Upon reaching it, Price peeked over the side and confirmed the coast was clear. He quickly scaled the ladder. Once his feet hit the ground, he used vampiric speed to take him down the alley, across a side street, and into a busy district full of cafes and shops.
Price spent fifteen minutes in that area, confirming that he didn’t have a tail. Once he’d made certain his escape hadn’t been noticed, he found a taxi. He asked to be taken to a downtown hotel.
After getting a hotel room under a false identity, Price called Britt.
“I assume you got away,” Britt stated in lieu of a greeting.
“Yes. Thank you,” Price replied. Unable to contain his curiosity any longer, he asked, “How’d you know they were coming for me, and do you know why?”
As a vampire, Price could have used mental manipulation to send the humans on their way. If he hadn’t had a heads up, he would have, too. Except, with getting a heads up, he had a head start, since leaving with just his go-bag meant it looked like he would be home soon.
“You know I’ve never asked why it looks like you aren’t aging,” Britt began slowly.
Price grimaced. It seemed he’d forgotten just how long he’d been known as Price Litner. He should probably have used the last bad mission to fake his death. Except, if he’d done that, his entire team would have been lost instead of only two of them.
Three since the second human he’d saved, Mick, had lost his mind and attempted to murder their final team member, Graham, which ended up with Mick’s death.
That had happened almost six months before, and Price still missed his old team. They’d been aware of his nature, and they hadn’t cared. In fact, on a few occasions, a couple of them had allowed Price to feed from them when their mission hadn’t allowed him access to a donor.
“And according to the military database, your file has been flagged after your last drug screening.”
The sound of Britt’s voice through the line pulled Price out of his thoughts.
“Damn,” Price muttered. “Why?”
“An anomaly in your blood,” Britt told him. “Your last blood draw put you at O-negative, and for some reason, now it’s reading at O-positive.”
“Gods, I can’t believe I did that.” Price wanted to smack himself upside the head. “Such a rookie mistake.”
“Uhhhh, something you want to explain?” Britt asked. “Because I know it’s not possible to change that.” Scoffing, he quickly continued, “You faked your blood draw, didn’t you?”
“I always fake my blood draw,” Price admitted. With a deep sigh, he told Britt, “Otherwise, I wouldn’t be accepted into the military.”
“Because you’re not human, right?”
Price resisted the urge to roll his eyes even as he grunted agreement.
Britt scoffed softly. “That does explain a lot. Look, you don’t have to tell me what you are. I don’t care,” he claimed. “I judge by the behavior of a person. You know that. And you’re a good man.”
Smirking, Price murmured, “If we were having this conversation face to face, I would tell you.”
Britt’s chuckle came through the line as he stated, “Maybe someday then.”
“Fair enough.” Price doubted he would ever see Britt again, but he didn’t say that. “Thank you for the heads up. I owe you one.”
“Yeah, you do,” Britt quipped. “And don’t think I won’t collect one day.”
Okay. Maybe I’ll see him again after all.
“Anytime,” Price vowed.
“So, what are you going to do?”
Price opened his mouth, then closed it again.
What am I going to do?
“You know what, maybe you shouldn’t tell me,” Britt cut in. “Just in case they decide to ask all your friends where you might go. That way, I don’t have to lie to them.”
Grunting, Price nodded even though he knew Britt wouldn’t be able to see it. “Fair enough.” With a smile, he added, “Not like I don’t think you could find me when you need that favor returned.”