The Green Hill pride is a mess. Their alpha and their beta were arrested for attempted kidnapping, and the pride is leaderless and waiting for the council to decide what their fate will be. When the council calls to tell them they’re sending a temporary alpha, Liam is relieved. He doesn’t want the pride—his home since he was born—to disappear. Most pride members aren’t happy about someone who’s not one of them becoming their alpha, but if that’s what it takes to allow the pride to survive, Liam is all for it.
The Green Hill pride is just business for Galbraith. He’s worked for the council for a decade, and during that time, he’s been sent all over the country to help shifter groups heal and find their way out of trouble. He doesn’t expect the pride to be any different, and mostly, it’s not.
But one thing is.
The last thing both Gal and Liam expected was to realize they’re mates. Gal is here to work, not to be distracted by Liam, and they both know their bond could complicate everything and feed the dislike of the people who don’t want Gal there. But if Gal doesn’t manage to heal the pride and help them find a way to survive, it will disappear, and his relationship with Liam right along with it.
Galbraith already knew this wasn’t going to go well. It never did. But he expected it, and this was his job. He was damn good at it if he said so himself, and this wouldn’t be the first time a group of shifters opposed his presence in their territory. It was never pleasant, but they would have to deal with it, and so would he.
He didn’t enjoy conflict, but this was one of the most exciting parts of the job. It was the day he’d meet his new pride.
The pride would only be Galbraith’s for a short time, though. That was how he worked, and he was eager to find out how things would go. Shifter groups always reacted the same way when Gal was called in. They fought. They pushed him away. They went against him and tried to make him leave.
But he was stronger. He knew what to expect and how things would go, and nothing would surprise him at this point. He’d been to many places, and he’d helped many groups. He’d seen everything.
Gal was relieved when he finally drove into town. He always drove everywhere because he needed his car, but this one had been a long ride. But he’d arrived, and he was five minutes away from meeting his pride.
He cleared his throat and went through what he knew about them one last time. Dominic Nash, the Whitedell pride alpha and a member of the shifter council, had given him all the information he needed. Gal knew that the pride was still hurting because their alpha and their beta had been arrested. They didn’t have anyone at their head right now, and Gal knew it was going to be a mess. The file mentioned a small group of elders, but they probably weren’t enough to keep the peace. Some of the pride members were bound to want to take the alpha’s place, but they’d been warned that the council would send someone.
And here Gal was. It wasn’t the first time he had to deal with a pride whose alpha had been arrested—or for that matter, arrested for trying to kidnap an old pride member. From what the file said, Alpha Carter had been obsessed with keeping his pride members in Green Hill. He wanted them to stay with the pride and make the pride strong and numerous, especially after losing several young members. Gal knew those members were now in Gillham, and they were worried, especially after what had happened to Cooper.
Cooper was a tiger shifter who’d been born in Green Hill, but he’d met his mate—an enforcer—and he’d left. Alpha Carter hadn’t taken it well, and he’d done his best to bring Cooper back into the fold.
He hadn’t succeeded. Instead, both he and his beta were in jail, which was exactly where they belonged. No one should be forced to stay in one place, even if they’d been born there. No one should be kidnapped. The council had done the right thing by locking up Alpha Carter and his beta, but that left the pride without a leader. Of course, being without leader was probably the best thing for the pride right now, considering the kind of alpha they’d had before.
But that was going to change. Gal’s job was to stay with the pride for as long as it took him to find them a permanent alpha, and in this case, beta, too. That was one of the reasons he’d wanted to talk to Cooper before heading to the pride. Cooper had grown up there, and Gal had hoped he’d know who the best person was for the job. The fact that he couldn’t think of anyone was worrying, but then that wasn’t Cooper’s job. It was Gal’s, though. It would be harder than it had been in several other situations, but he could do it.
The town was cute. Gal had been to Gillham and Whitedell a few times because he was friends with the alphas there, and Green Hill looked similar. Hopefully, Green Hill would be as accepting and mixed as the other two towns were. In both Gillham and Whitedell, humans and shifters lived together without a problem. There were people from everywhere in the world, and even though Gal usually preferred living in cities, he’d found himself liking their small-town yet hodgepodge group of people. He was looking forward to exploring, but that would only happen once he knew what he was about to face.
He was relieved when he finally found the turn to the pride. He was hungry, but he hadn’t wanted to stop in Green Hill, not when he was so close.
The driveway wasn’t in great shape. That was one of the first things Gal would have to take care of. He wanted to pride members to be able to come and go as they pleased, and it would be easier if they could use their cars.
If they even had cars.
From what Cooper had said, Carter had made sure none of the pride members left the house. He didn’t want them to have jobs, which was probably one of the reasons the driveway was in such bad shape. Fixing it meant using money, but if no one was working, the pride was probably not doing well. The members would need to go out in the world and find something to do. The council had agreed to give Gal funds to help in the beginning, but they couldn’t prop up the pride forever.