Raine Cosworth is becoming jaded. One of the top interrogators in the business, he begins to wonder if he’s losing what humanity he still possesses. Has he become blind to the suffering he causes, or doesn’t he care anymore? His new assignment is to interrogate captured assassin Thorne Wilder. Just another job, right? Until Raine gets a whiff of the man and realizes that Wilder is his mate. What’s a harpy shifter to do?
Thorne Wilder is big, black, and beautiful… and utterly fearless. He didn’t choose to become what he is, but he’s not going to cry in his beer about it either. He’ll do what it takes to get the job done. And he’ll drink anyone’s blood with great gusto. So why does the discovery that he has a mate… and that mate is none other than the interrogator sent to ferret out his secrets… take him aback? All he has to do is grab the shifter and run, right?
Sometimes you have to give up everything in order to gain it all…
Raine drummed his fingers on his slack-clad thigh. Shifting his ass on the annoyingly squeaky sofa, he tried not to show his displeasure. His harpy wasn’t too thrilled about cushions smelling intrusively like wet dog. On the other hand, his restlessness might have something to do with the constant exhaustion he’d felt since…forever.
Raine pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to battle an oncoming headache. He did his best to ignore the two glaring coyote shifters who stood left and right of the living room door. With their similar features, they had to be brothers. Both were buff, had brown eyes, black hair, and deeply tanned skin. One sported a beard and a cool mohawk, while the other was smoothly shaved. The latter kept staring at Armand, who sat beside Raine.
A woman with black hair styled into a cute bob sat opposite them. She’d led them inside and introduced herself as First Enforcer Gillian Heston. Gillian met Raine’s gaze with unapologetic curiosity. Of course she’d known about their visit because Xander—Alpha of the Wildcat Hills Pride—had informed Alpha Donavan. Raine didn’t fault the woman for being wary of them, though.
“Are you all right?” Armand asked quietly.
Raine shot his boss a smile that had to have been less than convincing, considering Armand’s raised eyebrow. “Headache.”
A blond human carrying a tray was a welcoming distraction. He had a bright smile on his handsome face. His floppy hair flew around his head, and he wore the weirdest combination of clothes Raine had ever seen—a purple Hawaiian shirt with huge yellow flowers and white skinny jeans.
From the subtle cough beside him, Raine knew Armand was amused. The human had to be London Fishman, Donavan’s mate, since he was the only human currently living with the pack.
“Heya. I’m London. And you guys look terribly uncomfortable.” London set the tray on the coffee table and placed his hands on his hips. “I told Donny we should get rid of this thing he calls a sofa. The leather and chrome are a right pain in the ass, pun intended. I brought tea, since Xander mentioned you’re from France. You drink tea, right? Or is it the Brits who drink tea? Sorry, I must come across as the biggest ignorant hillbilly.” He brushed his hair behind his ear. “Would the neck-less guys sitting in the SUV appreciate a cup of tea as well? Or snacks? I’m sure Joseph can fix something really quick. He’s a gem.”
Raine shot Armand a look.
Armand blinked. “Um…tea is fine, Mr. Fishman. And no, my bodyguards will be fine without tea and snacks.”
“London, please. I’m trying to teach these old bores to relax and not be so formal.” London jerked his thumb over his shoulder at the two men manning the door. “The glowering dude is Cortez Montega, the one with the cool hair is his brother Raul. They’re Donny’s betas, in case nobody took the time to introduce them. Donny’s getting dressed. He’ll be with us shortly.”
Raine checked his watch, saw that it was nine-thirty. He looked up when London huffed.
“Don’t judge, dude.” London flicked his hand. “When you meet your mate, you’ll understand not wanting to leave your bed. I guess you haven’t found her or him yet, or you wouldn’t be on this job. I can’t imagine spending a day without my Donny. And I know he feels the same.” London busied himself pouring tea before focusing on Armand. “I understand you’re royalty?”
Armand chuckled as he accepted the cup from London. “Not really. I’m Armand Dubois, the president of the European Shifter Council, ESC for short. At least I am for a couple more months.” He gave London one of his typical warm smiles that explained his landslide election results—and the many single men and women vying for his attention.
London whistled. “Awesome. Although I have to be honest, I’ve never trusted politicians. Sorry.” He handed Raine a cup. “They’re a bit on the shady side. My grandfather’s in local politics and the man hasn’t an honest bone in his whole body. Same as my fire-and-brimstone preaching grandma.”
Taking the cup, Raine eyed the brew suspiciously. He sniffed it. “What is it?”
“Ylang ylang with lavender.”
Armand made a weird choking noise and shot London a forced-looking smile. “Thank you. Sounds lovely.”
Raine placed the untouched cup on the coffee table while holding London’s gaze. Armand might be the poster boy for diplomacy, but Raine wasn’t. He refused to drink something that sounded like an ingredient of laundry detergent.
Some would go as far as calling Raine a bastard. Like Jules and Romeo. So what? He was fucking tired of diplomacy and putting up a front. Two years of undercover work in the American Shifter Council, and he barely recognized himself.
I need a vacation. For ten years or so. Raine had tried to uncover illegal activities in the leadership ranks, following reports of several missing shifters who’d moved to the States. Their families back home in Europe had reported their relatives missing when they couldn’t contact them. According to Raine’s investigation, most of them had been assassinated at President Richard Thoreau’s command.
London arched a brow and looked pointedly at Raine’s cup. “All right. So you stayed with my Wildcat Hills family for a while? How is everyone? Of course I talk with Viggo and Jax on the phone several times a week, but it’s not the same as living with them. We had so much fun! Pulled a ton of pranks. Asa mentioned he needs a spa day, and I’d love to accompany him. We can indulge in some cucumber masks while we get our nails done and gossip about everyone.”
“I told you I have no problem with you joining Asa, as long as you take Gillian or Carol with you as protection.”
Raine immediately recognized the entering man from the Council file he’d read.