Dasha has met his mate, and it’s a disaster. The man was present when the assassins and the enforcers raided the lab, and he was wearing a lab coat. Dasha has been living with the knowledge that the man he’s supposed to spend the rest of his life with is a monster ever since, but it’s eating at him, and he doesn’t know what to do.
Oxford was arrested while he was in that lab looking for his brother. He’s tried to tell the enforcers he had nothing to do with the scientists who worked there, but so far, no one has listened. He managed to escape his cell in the council jail, but he was caught again.
And this enforcer finally believes him.
When Dasha realizes Ox didn’t have anything to do with the lab, he and the other assassins agree to help him find his brother. They have no idea where to start, though, and they might be too late.
Dasha didn’t know what to do. He didn’t even know how to feel.
What was one supposed to do when they found out their mate was one of the scientists who experimented on shifters? Who destroyed lives and hurt people?
Dasha had been thinking about that since the raid, but he still didn’t have an answer, and he wasn’t sure he’d ever get one, or rather if he’d get one that was different from what he already knew.
He had to let go.
That was the only thing that made sense—the only thing he could do.
There was no way he’d tell anyone what was going on. He didn’t want to see the looks of pity, maybe even anger, on his friends’ faces. He already felt more than enough of that himself. He didn’t need anyone to be angry on his behalf because fate had dealt him such a shitty hand.
But damn, he wished he could talk to someone.
He knew his best friend, Ulric, wouldn’t be angry at him, even though his mate had been found in that lab. Sky had been human, but he wasn’t anymore, not entirely, and Dasha couldn’t help but wonder if his own mate had anything to do with it. Had he been the one to torture Sky and change him? Had he been the one who had forced Sky to become what he now was?
Dasha startled at the sound of Ulric’s voice. It was close, too close for Ulric to be able to come this close without Dasha noticing him, even if he’d used his super speed.
But he had. Dasha had been hiding upstairs on one of the couches in the recent addition to the warehouse. So many people were moving in that they’d had to add rooms, but most of them were empty for now. Win had wanted to be sure they wouldn’t have to do this again, but he’d overestimated. It gave Dasha a good place to hide, though, as long as Payne stuck to downstairs.
But Ulric had found him. Of course he had. Dasha had been safe from him as long as he and Sky were out camping so Sky could learn to control his ability to catch fire, but he knew how now, so they were back. That meant that Ulric had noticed that Dasha was keeping everyone away, and now that he didn’t have to worry about Sky, he could worry about Dasha.
Just what Dasha needed. Not.
“What’s going on?” Ulric asked as he flopped onto the couch next to Dasha.
Dasha moved automatically to give Ulric more space. He was used to this. It felt familiar, and for whatever reason, it was soothing. Dasha still didn’t know what to do, but he felt better. Whatever happened, he’d always have Ulric. The rest of the assassins, too, but he and Ulric had always been close, ever since Dasha had been pulled into this. He was the only one who didn’t have a superpower and who wasn’t an assassin. He was here to shimmer the assassins in and out, and that was okay with him. He didn’t want to lose all this, and he hated feeling like he had to choose.
But he did.
Ulric knocked their shoulders together. “You know you can tell me anything, right? I know I have Sky now, but it won’t change our friendship.”
Dasha sighed. He should have known Ulric would think that. “I know.”
“I mean, Sky and I are mated, but I’m still your friend. Your best friend. Right?”
Dasha couldn’t resist the smile that curled his lips. He patted Ulric’s knee, not wanting Ulric to think he didn’t want him in his life because of Sky. Dasha was happy that Ulric had found his mate. He was happy that his best friend was happy.
But he wished he could have the same thing.
“Dasha?” Ulric murmured.
Dasha sighed heavily. There was no better person to tell about his mate than Ulric, and maybe talking to him would help Dasha come to terms with the decision he needed to make. “I met my mate. And when I say met, I mean I saw him from afar. I didn’t talk to him.”
Dasha was relieved when Ulric didn’t congratulate him. Anyone else would have, but Ulric clearly got that something was wrong, and he was waiting for Dasha to explain what and why.
Dasha didn’t want to.
He did anyway.
“He was in the lab where we found Sky. He wasn’t one of the prisoners.”
“Shit,” Ulric muttered.
Dasha snorted. “Yeah, pretty much.”
“And you haven’t told anyone? That’s a heavy load to carry on your own.”
“But it’s mine to carry.”
Ulric squeezed Dasha’s hand. “Maybe so, but you’re not alone. What do you know about him?”
“Nothing. When I realized he wasn’t a prisoner, I stayed away. I don’t want to find out who he is or why he did what he did.” He didn’t want to give his mate an excuse for hurting people. Did it really matter if his mate was doing it for science or because he needed the money? If he’d been forced to do it? He’d hurt people, and Dasha didn’t think he could deal with it.
“I’m sorry you felt like you couldn’t talk to me about this.”
“That’s not how it went, Ulric. I know I could have told you. That I should have told you. But you needed to focus on Sky, and that’s what you did. He needed you.”
“So did you.”
“Yeah, but even though I needed to talk to you, it’s not like you can do anything to help. What is there to say? I saw my mate, he’s an asshole, and he’s going to pay for it. I don’t want to meet him.”
“Maybe you should.”
Dasha blinked. That wasn’t the answer he’d expected. “Did you hear what I just said?”