Everly is a runner. In his case it’s a necessity, since he’s a griffin shifter, and selling him on the black market could earn someone a pretty penny. But Everly doesn’t fancy being sold, so he heads to Rosewood when someone tries to catch him again.
Kyle is a protector, not a lawyer or a doctor like his mother wants him to be. That’s why he signed up for the new security team his alpha put together. It’s just his luck that he’s the one who finds Everly when the man walks into pack territory.
It’s not until later that they realize they’re mates.
Everly wants Rosewood to become his home, but he’s never had one, and there are still people after him. He’s been dealing with this for the past ten years, and he doesn’t need anyone to protect him.
Or maybe he does. Kyle wants Everly to stay, and Everly wants the same. Will they be able to make Rosewood safe for Everly and all the other rare shifters out there, or will they fail and lose each other?
Everly threw a pair of jeans into his backpack. A noise just outside his door made him freeze, and he waited, praying they hadn’t found him yet. He knew they were coming, but he didn’t know when. He had to get out of his apartment before they got to it, and he was nearly packed. He just needed a few more minutes.
When nothing happened, he went back to packing. Just in case, he opened his laptop and pulled up the surveillance program. He’d placed cameras everywhere he could without anyone noticing just for this kind of situation.
He kept an eye on the screen as he finished pushing clothes into his backpack, then gathered anything he couldn’t leave behind. It wasn’t much, but then, since he’d expected something like this to happen, he’d planned.
He’d never had a lot of things, and they’d dwindled over the years. Now, it only took him a couple of backpacks to get out, and one of them was full of computer equipment. It wasn’t much to call his, but he’d never needed much, and when you were a rare shifter, it was almost impossible to find a safe place to put down roots and call home.
An alarm started blaring on his computer. He jumped but didn’t pause to check what was happening. He already knew. They’d found him, and his time was over.
He looked around one last time, making sure he wouldn’t leave anything crucial or anything that would help the hunters find him. Once he was sure he’d taken everything, he grabbed his laptop, pushed it into his backpack, and hauled both of the bags onto his shoulders.
He was too late.
His front door slammed open, startling him. Since he already knew he wouldn’t get out without fighting, he dropped his bags and shifted. He was going to miss that shirt, dammit.
The torn bits of clothes weren’t even on the floor yet before he attacked the two men coming through. He flapped his wings, trying to make as little noise as possible so the neighbors wouldn’t realize something was happening. There wasn’t a lot of space in the apartment, but it was enough for him to be able to rear up on his back legs and hit the first man coming in with his front legs. His claws dug into the man’s chest, making him scream.
So much for not making noise for the neighbors.
The first man dropped to the floor, but the second was already there, trying to get to Everly. The man didn’t shift, so either he was human, or there was a reason for him not to. Everly didn’t care. He snapped his beak forward, but he didn’t catch the man, who danced out of the way. How did he think he was going to capture Everly like this? As long as Everly was in his griffin form, neither of these men would touch him.
But they couldn’t be alone, which meant more men were coming, and that could become dangerous. Everly had to get out of here as soon as possible.
He was ready to bet this man wasn’t used to fighting against griffins. Not many people were, considering how rare griffins were. If he was smart, he’d have studied Everly’s animal form, but that didn’t mean he was ready for it. Everly had to take advantage of that.
He twisted around, slamming his tail against the man, who stumbled and hit the wall. Everly was already turning around and snapping his beak. He caught the man’s arm, and the man started screaming. Blood spurted in Everly’s mouth, making him grimace. This was why he didn’t like fighting.
He shook his head, wincing at the tearing sound. It would be a miracle if this man was able to use his arm after Everly was done with him. As always, Everly felt guilty, but it was either defending himself or allowing this guy to take him, and that wasn’t something he was willing to let happen. He didn’t want to be locked up and never see the light of day again. He might not know why these guys wanted him, but it couldn’t be anything good.
It never was.
The man slumped against the wall and slid down. Everly took advantage of that, snatching both his backpacks in his beak, and launched himself toward the window. He should have thought about opening it, but since he hadn’t, he threw himself through it, knowing the broken glass wouldn’t hurt him. His fur was too thick.
As soon as he was out, he opened his wings and prayed no one would see him. Some humans knew about shifters, but he doubted his neighbors did, and he didn’t want anyone to notice him.
He circled his building, looking down and trying to understand whether there were more people looking for him. He was ready to bet that was the case, and he wasn’t planning to linger but he was curious. He needed his truck, which, thankfully, he’d parked far enough away that he could get there from the sky. Hopefully that would give him enough time to get away before those guys found him again. He had no doubt they would. They always did, which was why he was always on the run.
He didn’t see anyone else in front of his building, but that didn’t mean anything. After a few moments, he turned and headed toward his truck. He’d found the perfect place to park it, in an alley hardly anyone ever visited. That gave him privacy to land in the back of the truck, drop his bags, shift, and quickly take clothes out of one of the bags to put them on. Once he was done, he looked around, but just like he’d expected, no one had noticed anything. The alley was still deserted, and apart from the rats scurrying around, he couldn’t hear a sound.