Years ago, empath Elijah Long made a bad decision, and he is still paying for it. He’s kept hidden from his abusive werewolf ex for years, but when he wakes in a dark room, cuffed to a wall, he knows he’s out of luck. Elora, his psychic sister, will come for him, he just has to endure long enough to give her a chance to find him.
Captain Kol Jaecar of Rockshade’s Paranormal Investigations Department detests slow times at work, so when Elora wants time off to search for her brother, Kol treats it as if it’s a real case and starts an investigation. What he assumed was a brother not picking up when his sister called turns out to be something else.
Elijah experiences people’s emotions so strongly, it prohibits him from living a normal life. Spending time in the city is out of the question, yet it’s where Elora takes him once she finds him. Elijah does his best to keep his distance, especially from the growling man Elora brought to his rescue. Elijah will never make the mistake of getting close to a shifter again.
The moment Kol smells Elijah, he knows he’s his mate, but how to get close to someone who doesn’t want to be near you? The man who abused Elijah is still on the loose, and Kol calls in the entire team to hunt him down. But how are they to keep Elijah safe when he can’t be around people? And how will Kol stay sane if he can’t touch his mate?
Kol was going insane. His dick was straining in his jeans from the way Elijah smelled. He should’ve realized something was up with the urgency clawing at him, should’ve understood something was out of the ordinary.
He could live with meeting his mate at a crime scene, what he couldn’t live with was him reeking of fear every time Kol got near him. He also smelled of the wolves who’d gotten him from his home. It made Kol’s teeth elongate and had his claws ready to rip through the skin on his fingers.
He needed to be alone with Elijah, somewhere calm, quiet, and safe. Somewhere where he could hold him before he went insane.
A thousand thoughts were spinning in his head, but he tried pushing them away and focus on what he could control.
“Ric is picking Leo up on the way, and they’re coming to the station. I called Thaddeus too, but he didn’t pick up. I left a voice mail. He’s on sick leave, though, so no need for him to come in.” He’d only called him because he wanted to talk to Sandy. Sandy knew about matings, and maybe it wasn’t the same for a panther as it was for a ghost werewolf, but he could guide Kol when it came to being mated to a non-shifter ... maybe. Kol had no idea how to breach the subject, or if he could admit needing help.
When you found your mate, it was supposed to be an instant connection, a mutual connection, but Elijah wanted to be as far away from him as possible. He hadn’t run toward him. He’d yanked his arm to get away.
“Great.” Elora met his gaze in the rear-view mirror. “There’s a highway all the way to Rockshade now when we don’t need to go into Ashork, so it shouldn’t take too long.” She was quiet for a bit. “Eli’s house isn’t in our jurisdiction. How will we get a forensic team there?”
Kol’s gaze slid from Elora’s reflection in the mirror to Elijah’s. Before he could think, he slammed the breaks. The driver in the car behind them honked, but had enough time to steer past them to avoid a collision.
“What’s wrong with him?” Kol wanted to howl. Elijah was unconscious. He wasn’t dead. Kol would know if he was dead, right?
“He’s blocking.” Elora didn’t sound upset.
She sighed. “He’s drowning in emotions, both his own and others, and sometimes it gets too much. Being kidnapped, being crammed into a car with us -- it’s too much. This is his way of protecting himself. He can block emotions, but it deprives him of his other senses. He can’t see, he can’t hear, and he can’t feel.”
“He’s ... dead?”
“No, his mind is working. When I use my ability, I’m completely out. He’s not, he’s still in there, along with his thoughts, breathing.”
Elijah’s dark eyes opened and his muscles tensed. “What’s going on?”
“Nothing.” Elora gave him a smile. “Jaecar and I was discussing the forensic team.”
Elijah nodded and glanced out through the window.
Kol gripped the steering wheel hard. He wanted to rage, to shout, to growl, but he got the car rolling again, and focused on the case.