Able Lieder hasn’t seen his mate in six days, but he can’t do anything about it. He knows the guard—Olson—doesn’t understand why he feels drawn to him, bringing him treats and talking sweetly to him. He can’t explain it to him, either, since the scientists are keeping him in cat form. When Able overhears the scientists talking about an experiment that will surely end his life, he figures he should be grateful Olson isn’t around to see his demise.
Except, then Able is rescued. A group of shifters arrives and frees everyone, led by a grizzly shifter named Kontra Belikov. At first, Able fears that they killed his mate in the process, but Olson is nowhere to be found.
With the help of Kontra’s gang, can Able figure out where Olson disappeared to?
So this is the end.
Able Lieder rested his head on his paws as he listened to the scientists plotting his demise. He’d known it would happen sooner or later. He’d been trapped in his leopard form for who knew how long, being poked and prodded by the assholes. This was the third place he remembered being at.
His one wish was that he could have seen his mate just one more time.
Except, Able hadn’t seen the guard—who he knew only as Olson—in six days. The gorgeous black man had said goodbye to him that day, a sad smile curving his full lips when he’d discreetly tossed in a piece of beef jerky to him. Then Olson had left with a bowed head and the scent of sadness lingering in the air.
Olson had been one of the guards in Able’s wing since the day he’d arrived. Able knew that the human didn’t understand their connection. That didn’t stop Olson from bringing Able treats and talking quietly to him, calling him a gorgeous cat, and even apologizing for what the scientists were doing to him.
It’s probably for the best that Olson never knew we were soul mates.
The guard’s loyalties would have ended up divided.
Able wouldn’t have wished that fate on anyone and especially not his mate.
The thud of something heavy slamming into something else caught Able’s attention. That was followed by shouts of surprise from the scientists in the next room—the prep room, they called it. He’d never seen if he’d been taken beyond that place, as the tranquilizer they always used to sedate him so they could move him, knocked him out fully by the time they rolled him into the room on their trolley cart.
Able made out the unmistakable sound of flesh hitting flesh, then a body slamming into the wall. Rising to his feet, he pressed close to the bars. He looked that way just in time to watch a bleeding, screaming scientist push through the swinging door.
The man dashed with a limping gate down the hallway, whimpering as he went. Before he’d reached the door at the other end of the hall, which required a pass-card and a code to open, a hyena slammed open the swinging door. With a series of yips that sounded full of joy, the hyena galloped down the hallway.
As the hyena passed, Able noticed the intelligence gleaming in the male’s eyes. Between that and the scent, he realized he was a shifter. Able sat on his haunches and watched as one of the worst tormentors of his life had his throat ripped out.
A dark wash of pleasure flooded Able—vengeance.
Couldn’t have happened to a nicer asshole.
As the hyena turned and began peering into the cage at the end of the hall, the swinging door opened again. A dirty-blond-haired human dressed in black and carrying a gun appeared.
Able growled in warning to the hyena, which drew the gunman’s attention.
“Hey, Payson,” the human called. “This one feral?”
To Able’s surprise, the hyena shifted. He crossed to Able’s cage, as was usual for shifters, completely comfortable with his nudity. The human kept his gaze—and his gun—focused on Able.
Squatting in front of the cage, the hyena—Payson—grinned at him. “Not sure, Ryan,” he replied, his gray eyes holding a wealth of mischievousness. “If your human half is still in there, rub your head against the cage bars.”
Unable to help himself, Able rolled his eyes, even in cat form.
Ryan snorted and lowered his weapon. “Uh, I think he still understands us just fine.” After placing his sidearm into the holster, he stated, “If you’re going to stay in human form, you want my shirt?”
Scoffing, Payson shook his head. “Naw. Sam wouldn’t like your scent all over me.”
“What’s the count?” a barrel-chested man demanded from where he stood holding the door open.
“Got two in here,” Ryan replied. “A leopard shifter here”—he pointed at Able, then toward the cage Payson had been sniffing—“and a panda bear back there.”
“Holy shit,” the huge man grumbled. “How the hell did they get a panda bear over here?”
Payson shook his head, resting his fists on his hips. “Don’t know, boss, but he’s sedated.” He focused on Able. “This one’s awake.” Cocking his head, Payson asked, “Can you shift?”
Able shook his head as the big male crossed to his cage, allowing him to scent him—a bear shifter of some sort.
“I’m Kontra Belikov,” the man told him, tapping his chest. “This facility has being cleared of all enemies, so if I let you out, you can’t attack anyone. Are we clear?”
Oh, shit! All enemies? My guard! I need to tell them.
Except, try as Able might, he still couldn’t shift. He mewled softly, praying they would let him out. If he was freed, he could search the building and maybe stop these people from killing Olson, too.
“We’ll take that as acceptance,” Kontra stated, turning to the keypad. “Payson, grab the key card from that jerk over there.” He pointed at the downed scientist. “Ryan, head into the lab and grab the rolling trolley for the panda as well as a lab coat for Payson.”
“Yes, Alpha,” Ryan replied before hurrying to do as he’d been ordered.
Payson returned with the card, and Kontra used it to open Able’s cage. As soon as the door was wide enough, Able burst free. He heard Kontra’s order to stop, but he ignored it.
Instead, Able tucked his head and used his shoulder to shove open the swinging door. He peered around the room, spotting Ryan as well as two others in black garb. There were three dead scientists as well…but no guards.