Keeping the Peace: Walking into the interrogation room, a council enforcer realizes Fate has decided to throw him a curveball.
Enforcer Delanrue Drudeson is a komodo dragon shifter who’s known as the intense brother, the unapproachable one, but he has his reasons. Keeping his brothers safe from a sadistic alpha while growing up meant he’d had to be a careful, manipulative adult…from a very early age. Specializing in interrogation for the last several decades, Delanrue is happy with his life. Then he walks into a secure room where he’s supposed to question the occupant by any means necessary—Midget Suvergy, a guinea pig shifter.
Except, one sniff tells Delanrue that Midget is his mate—the other half of his soul. Knowing the mate-pull could easily compromise his judgment, he immediately assigns the interrogation duties to another. That doesn’t stop him from walking back into that room to be with him. Midget claims just to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and to Delanrue’s relief, his words scent true.
Then word comes down that Midget is wanted for the murder of a member of his guinea pig muddle. Delanrue isn’t stupid. It’s easy to see that Midget is no killer, no matter what anyone says. Can Delanrue’s connections keep Midget safe long enough to clear him from the conspiracy dogging his steps?
“You’re coming, Del, and that’s the end of it!”
Enforcer Delanrue Drudeson turned his head just enough to arch his left eyebrow as he pinned a side-eyed look on his youngest brother—Dakota.
“Seven,” his brother continued. “And if you want that shit microbrew stuff you like, you can bring it your own damn self.”
Delanrue—Del to his brothers and only his brothers—growled softly under his breath. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to go to his youngest brother’s Christmas party. Actually, Del did.
Instead, Del fought against curling his lip because he spotted Glade Kanston strutting down the corridor toward them. He found the other Shifter Council enforcer to be a piece of entitled, self-absorbed shit. Del had hoped he would be implicated in working with one of the rogue ex-councilmen, just so he could arrest him and never have to deal with him again.
Too bad that hadn’t happened.
Glade was not only straight as an arrow with a stick up his ass, that stick meant he wasn’t going to break any shifter laws, either.
Guess that’s a good thing.
“I mean it,” Dakota pressed, clearly misunderstanding his vocalization. He waved his finger under Del’s nose while adding, “If you’re not there by seven, I’ll send—”
“I’ll be there,” Del stated in a low, gruff voice. “Stop your bitchin’.”
Del couldn’t care less who Dakota thought he could send to get him to comply. If he didn’t want to go somewhere, he wouldn’t. The only time he did something that he would rather not was when he was ordered to by the Shifter Council.
Seeing as Del loved his job as an enforcer and interrogator for the Shifter Council, that didn’t happen too often.
“Good,” Dakota replied, sounding smug. Then he must have spotted who actually held Del’s attention, for he muttered, “Oh.”
Del grunted but left it at that, since by then, Glade had drawn close enough to be within earshot. Trying to avoid true interaction, he met the lion shifter’s gaze and dipped his chin in the barest of nods. Then Del focused his attention down the hall past the man.
From the corner of his eye, Del saw that Dakota did much the same thing. Then his brother returned to their conversation, and Del knew it was a ploy to keep Glade from attempting to engage them. Especially since Del knew Dakota was already aware of that which he spoke.
“Dane said he might be bringing a date,” Dakota stated, a chuckle in his tone. “If he can convince the lady to join him, that is.” With an open laugh, his brother added, “Guess our brother is having trouble convincing her that he’s sincere.”
“Probably because he’s not,” Del replied absently. Shaking his head, he thought about their middle brother’s desire to date a human woman named Linda. “She’s not his mate. I don’t see why Dane’s bothering. He can never reveal what we are to her, and he’ll have to dump her eventually anyway.”
Del had never understood why a shifter would date someone who was not only not a paranormal, but not their fated mate. There was no future there. Besides, even if they did decide to date a paranormal, Fate could place their mate in their path at any second.
Even though Del had warned his brothers of that very thing on many occasions, both of them had been in and out of many relationships over the nearly two centuries they’d lived. Del would sit back and watch, and when their liaison inevitably fell apart, he’d helped his brothers mend their hearts.
“Dane is dating some poor hapless woman?” Glade smirked, stopping to stand in their path. He even crossed his arms over his chest as if that would make him some immovable object. “I bet he hasn’t even let the lady know he’s a dick licker. Maybe I should swing by tonight and let her know.”
Del twisted his lips into a scowl as he glared at Glade. “Watch your mouth, Enforcer Glade,” he ordered. As the council’s lead interrogator, in the intricate hierarchy within those working for the Shifter Council, Del’s position topped the lion shifter’s. “Or someone on the council may hear about your slurs.”
Glade tipped his chin up and attempted to look down his nose at Del and his brother. “I’m sure I wouldn’t have anything to worry about. I work under Councilman Peregrine, after all,” he stated, referring to an elk shifter who disagreed with homosexual matings. “He knows the true value of loyalty.”
Councilman Georgio Peregrine’s views had nearly caused him to lose his position, since he’d been backing other councilmen who were committing crimes against shifter-kind. When those crimes had come to light, the councilman had turned against them. That hadn’t changed what he thought about gay matings, however. It just meant he was more subtle about where and when he voiced those views.
Evidently, he shares them with Glade.
Del knew better than to engage a bigot. Besides, he had places to be. He was in the middle of interrogating the last half dozen shifters who’d been captured when they’d taken down the now-deceased rogue ex-councilman Krakow.
Taking a step to the left and forward, Del began rounding the idiot standing in the middle of the hall. He noticed Dakota doing the same to his right. He peered beyond the man, turning his thoughts to the upcoming interrogation he needed to do.
That morning, Del had picked the brains of two bear shifters and one tiger shifter. Then he’d stopped to have lunch with Dakota. His afternoon would consist of the last three men they’d found.
Finally, the dungeons would be empty…of those people anyway.