Peter Silverman found out about paranormals the prior year when one of his best friends—Waylon—bonded with a seahorse shifter. For the most part, he doesn’t think much of the fact that other beings exist right alongside humans as it doesn’t affect his job as a paramedic. That all changes when he begins running across injured people with holes in their necks. To Peter, they look suspiciously like a vampire’s bite.
Bringing his suspicions to Waylon’s shifter lover, Peter is introduced to Pisces, who’s supposed to be one of the shifter pod’s best trackers. The bottlenose dolphin shifter immediately claims that Peter is his mate. Peter knows that means he’s supposed to be the other half of Pisces’s soul, but he insists on a date.
The scent of a shifter on Peter has the unexpected repercussion of drawing the attention of the rogue vampire. Can Peter evade the rogue’s clutches while accepting a reality that has changed yet again?
“Ma’am? Can you tell me your name?”
Peter Silverman stared into the glassy eyes of the woman lying on the pavement. He didn’t think he would get a response to his question, but he had to try. It was part of his job, after all.
While his partner paramedic—Ryley Cauldwell—checked the woman’s vitals, Peter tried to get the woman to focus and engage. They swapped roles depending on the situation. Having worked together for nearly six years—Peter had been paired with Ryley right out of training, with Ryley being an older and experienced paramedic—they had their system down and could often anticipate what the other person would do in any situation.
“Blood pressure is way too damn low,” Ryley muttered, before shining a pen light in the woman’s eyes. All she did was blink. “Pupil response nearly nonexistent.”
Sweeping his gaze over the prone woman once more, Peter racked his brain for some sign of injury. He’d just focused on her face again when something snagged his attention. Curling the tips of his fingers around the top of her blouse at her shoulder, Peter carefully tugged it aside.
The sight of the twin holes in the flesh where her neck met her shoulder caused his stomach to churn.
“Ryley,” Peter murmured, lifting his gaze to his partner. “We got another one.”
“Shit,” Ryley snarled, drawing the word out. “That’s four in two weeks.” Turning his attention to Peter, he shook his head. “What the hell is going on, Petey?”
Even though Peter would prefer to be called his given name while working, he didn’t correct Ryley. He’d been called that by his mother since before he could remember. His friends had picked it up, and it had trickled down from there into his work associates.
“I’ll get the gurney,” Peter declared, rising to his feet.
Peter hustled back to the ambulance. It wasn’t as if he could explain to Ryley that he suspected a rogue vampire was haunting the streets of Sacramento. Over a year before, Peter had learned that the paranormal actually existed and lived and worked right alongside humans, hiding in plain sight. One of his best buddies—Waylon—had ended up bonding with a seahorse shifter named Colton, of all things.
As Peter rolled the gurney to Ryley’s side where he still checked on the woman, an idea formed. If there really was a rogue vampire on the streets, then he should report it to Colton and the guy’s leader.
Uh, alpha. Right. The leader of the marine life shifter pod is called an alpha.
Peter worked on auto-pilot as he helped Ryley get the breathing and apparently awake but unresponsive woman onto the gurney and into the ambulance. He set up an IV as Ryley closed the doors and rushed around to the front. He’d just finished attaching the O-negative blood bag to her port when he heard the driver’s side door close.
“Ready?” Ryley asked.
“Yep,” Peter responded while double-checking the straps holding the woman to the rolling bed. “You didn’t see a purse or anything, did you?” he asked, suddenly realizing he’d forgotten to look around the alley where she’d been reported by some anonymous person.
“No, nothing but trash in that alley,” Ryley grumbled as he started the ambulance moving. “As if they were dumping her with the other garbage.” Letting out a low growl, Ryley snarled, “People can be such shitheads.”
Peter scoffed. “Yeah.”
Once Peter’s shift was finished, he waved goodbye to a tired-looking Ryley and hurried home. He showered in record time before tugging on a pair of jean shorts and a polo shirt. After donning his sandals, Peter grabbed his keys, wallet, and shades and headed back out the door.
The kind of discussion he needed to have with Waylon and Colton needed to be done in person.
As Peter began driving north out of the city, he figured he should at least give Waylon a heads up that he was coming. He certainly didn’t want to show up unannounced and interrupt something. Their mutual friend Jake had done that once, and the guys still razzed him about it.
Placing his phone in the holder on the dash, Peter hit a couple of buttons and attached it to the Bluetooth speaker in his newer model Jeep Grand Cherokee. The phone rang so many times that he feared he would need to leave a message. Just as he was sure voicemail would pick up, Peter heard a breathless Waylon answer.
“Hey, man. Give me just a sec.”
Peter cringed, thinking maybe he’d interrupted something after all. Glancing at the time, he frowned. It was just after four in the afternoon. Peter and Ryley had been on the early shift for the last couple of weeks, although that was due to change.
“No prob, Way.” Peter waited patiently as he drove toward World of Aquatica, the marine park owned and operated by shifters who could turn into a variety of marine life. Peter had learned that was the only reason the park could put on a tiger shark show. The tiger sharks used in the show were actually shifters, so they could think and reason even in their shark forms. Peter had seen the show a number of times, and he still found it fascinating.
“Sorry about that,” Waylon told him, returning to the line. “I’m at the bar, and there was a rush, but I figured if you’re calling me right after your shift, it’s probably important.” Waylon’s deep voice took on a concerned note. “You usually spend at least half an hour in your sauna after your shift, considering it can be so physically demanding.”
“You’re right, but this is sort of important.” Before Waylon could question him further, Peter told him, “And I’m not comfortable talking about it over the phone.” Peter hesitated a second, then added, “And I was hoping to talk to both you and Colton.”