Matt’s forty, possibly too late to change his life around, but his age isn’t going to stop him. He has a chance at a new life for himself and his daughter with the Rosewood pack and intends to make the most out of it. Apparently, that includes playing bodyguard during a mission to save a new friend’s brother.
Tyler has been in a cage for years and doubts he’ll ever get out of it permanently. When he’s bought during the auction, he’s not surprised. What does surprise him is when his mate, of all people, is the one who gets him out of that cage and out of the infernal hell his life has been for over a decade.
Tyler is finally free, but he doesn’t know what to do with his life beyond being with his mate. Matt offers him everything he’s ever wanted, but it comes with a complication—Matt’s ex-wife, who is also the woman who’s kept Tyler prisoner.
Pamela is dangerous, but so is Tyler, and he’s not afraid to use his strength and his gargoyle form to defend his new family.
Matt had no idea what he was doing. He really shouldn’t be here, especially since he had a daughter at home, but a part of him needed to do this.
The other part was scared shitless.
“Do I really have to wear this?” Angus asked. He was looking down at himself.
Obviously Angus didn’t like what he was wearing, but Matt knew that wouldn’t stop him from going to the auction to rescue Ryland’s brother, Pembroke.
“I tried to convince Remi to let you wear a t-shirt, but he nixed the idea,” Ryland told him.
Ryland was wearing a suit that looked like it cost more than Matt had ever earned in a month. It probably did, too, especially considering the suit Ryland had bought for Matt. Matt had tried to convince him he didn’t need something that expensive just to play his bodyguard for one night, but Ryland had ignored him. Remi, Ryland’s best friend, would be wearing something similar, and they needed to look alike if they wanted people to believe they were both there to protect Ryland.
So here was Matt, wearing an expensive black suit and a white shirt, about to go to a fucking auction where people were bought and sold and act like Ryland’s bodyguard even though he’d never hurt a fly. Why was he doing this again?
He glanced at Angus, who looked like he wanted to hide. Considering what he was wearing, it was understandable. The pair of loose pants and the vest were close to transparent and didn’t hide much. It made Matt uncomfortable, and he wasn’t even the one who had to wear it.
“Ryland already has bodyguards. That’s not why you’re there,” Remi, Ryland’s friend, said.
“I know we’re hoping people will presume what my role is in Ryland’s life, but do I really have to expose so much skin? I feel ridiculous. I can’t believe the other shifters there will be dressed the same way.”
“Some of them will. Some will wear even less. If this is too hard for you to deal with, you need to tell us now.”
This was why Matt had volunteered to participate. He’d wanted to be there for his son Del and his son’s mate Angus, but he also wanted to help these people being sold. No one should ever be treated that way, and he was appalled to know it was happening so close to the home he’d found with the Rosewood pack. He also wanted to prevent his son from going, because that wouldn’t have ended well. Del wanted to protect his mate, but he was too involved. If anyone looked at Angus the wrong way, Del wouldn’t hesitate to attack, and he’d ruin the work they were doing tonight.
“You don’t have to go if you don’t feel up for it,” Del said from where he was watching Angus.
He didn’t look happy about what Angus was wearing, but probably no-one in the room was. They didn’t want Angus to be vulnerable, but this was the plan, and they needed to stick to it.
Angus looked straight at Del. “I’ll do it.”
Del looked like he’d wanted Angus to change his mind, but Matt could have told him his mate wouldn’t. Angus was convinced of what he was doing and would go through with it.
Matt peered down at the black suit he was wearing. Part of him wanted to take Angus’s place, but another part was happy that he wouldn’t have to wear those ridiculously transparent clothes.
“If everyone is ready, we should head out,” Remi said, breaking the tension rising in Cam’s office.
Matt was relieved but didn’t miss his son’s glare. Del’s heart was in the right place, and he wanted nothing more than to protect his mate, which was one of the reasons he needed to stay back. Having him there with Angus would end in a disaster, and Matt kept that in mind as he told himself he could do this.
He wasn’t sure about that, but now wasn’t the time to change his mind. He’d already volunteered and agreed, and he’d go through with it, even though he’d never done anything like it.
Contrary to everyone around him, he was human. He’d lose if he had to fight a shifter, but that wouldn’t stop him from trying. These people had become his family, even though he’d been with the pack for such a short time, and he’d protect them. He’d especially protect Angus, Del’s mate and future. Angus was why Matt had volunteered and why he nodded at Remi’s suggestion that they leave, then followed him out of the office.
Matt didn’t miss the fact that Angus was the last one to leave the room or that Del was back there with him. He decided they needed a few minutes, so he followed the others outside of the house and toward the car waiting for them.
“You feel ready for this?” Mercer asked.
Mercer was Ryland’s other fake bodyguard, and Matt felt a certain kinship with him, even though he probably shouldn’t. Mercer wasn’t human. To be honest, Matt wasn’t quite sure what he was, even though he suspected Mercer was a shifter. He’d trained Matt for a few days once Matt had volunteered for the job, and he’d kicked Matt’s ass more times than Matt had been able to keep count. He wanted Matt to be ready for whatever might happen during the auction, and even though Matt had hated him a little every time he kicked him down, he was also grateful.
“I don’t think I’ll ever feel ready for anything like this, but I’ll do it,” Matt told him.