Scientist Joshua Ames committed the unforgivable sin. He fell in love with his research subjects, shapeshifters Cameron and Sara. Despite the taboo against humans mingling with shifters, Josh left his life behind and moved into theirs without regret.
Then Sara disappeared.
When Josh and Cam finally find her, she is unconscious, emaciated, and shackled. They thought the hard part was living without her. But as soon as Sara wakes, they realize putting their lives back together is even more difficult.
Sara barely remembers life with Cam and Josh. Conditioned to fear her own abilities, she struggles to start over. The key to her recovery is solving the mystery behind the kidnapping, but whoever destroyed their relationship is hunting her, intent on getting her back.
The truth could bring the three lovers peace ... or send them spiraling apart.
Josh was pulled from his own mind by Sara shifting positions, a small moan escaping her throat. He tensed, his gaze darting to Cam, but the sleeping man was still dead to the world. She moved again, slowly swimming out of sleep. He took her hand, holding it lightly, wanting to tell her without words that he was there.
She turned towards him, her lashes fluttering open. Josh caught his breath as he looked into her dark brown eyes for the first time in two years.
For a moment, there was no response. She didn't even blink.
Then a small line appeared between her brows.
"No ..." It was barely a word, barely a breath, and her voice was rough from disuse. Her tongue darted out to moisten her dry lips, but it swept over the fullness as if in slow motion. "Please. Don't do this."
"Sara?" He said her name like he was testing it. "Don't do what?"
His question seemed to alert her even more to her surroundings. She glanced down to look at their clasped hands, which brought Cameron's arm around her waist fully into view, and she tilted her head as her gaze followed it over her body.
Josh saw her tense the moment before she jerked as if electrocuted, catching her as she tore away from Cam's embrace with strength he didn't realize she had.
But he never anticipated her scream.
It was the sound of an animal in serious pain, or a terrified child. It was the sort of scream that echoed in his mind long after it faded from his ears. Acting without thought, Josh scrambled to his feet, wrapped his arms around her, and lifted her from the bed. He didn't know what was wrong with her; he only knew he had to get her away from whatever had prompted that horrible sound.
She didn't struggle against him or try to break away, but she didn't stop screaming either.
Until somewhere amidst the cries he caught her litany of denial, more of the don't and please he didn't understand. The back of his knees hit the other bed, and he sat heavily onto it, Sara still in his arms.
Cam had jumped from the bed, the sheets tangling around his legs, nearly sending him sprawling to the floor. He lurched towards them, and the closer he got, the more piercing Sara's denials became. Cameron looked worried, reaching out to touch her. The second his fingers landed on her shoulder, she became frantic. Josh nearly dropped her as she thrashed in his arms, her feet connecting with his shins, her fists landing on him and Cameron in turn.
"Get out of here," Josh shouted, recognizing the source of her anxiety even if he didn't understand why.
"I'm not leaving her," Cam growled. He tried to grab her wrist, but this time, her wild swing connected with his jaw, and the blow rang throughout the room.
"Don't touch me!"
Sara's hysterical tone drove Cam away. He stared at both of them in growing horror. "It's me -- he began, but when she buried her face in Josh's neck, he stopped, his throat working as if he was choking on the words.
Josh rubbed her back, trying to comfort her, but he knew only one thing would quiet her. Cam looked at him helplessly, and Josh wished he could say something, but he had nothing.
"Go," Josh said softly. "Go get her something to eat."
With a shaking hand, Cam picked up his wallet from where he'd dropped it on the desk. He didn't take his eyes off either of them as he backed out of the room.
As soon as the door clicked, she relaxed against him, but the fear still rolled off her in waves. "Shh. Sara. It's okay. Nobody is going to hurt you."
"Lies. Always lies. He always hurts me."
An icy hand gripped his heart. "No. No, Sara. Cameron would never ..." She tensed again, arching away from him, and he realized he was going down the wrong path. "Okay, he's gone. We're alone now. Nobody is going to hurt you."
Her eyes were haunted when she finally lifted her head and looked at him. "That's what they always say. Why should I believe you now?"
Josh cupped her cheek. "Sara, it's me. It's me, Josh." She tried to turn away but he wouldn't let her. "No, please look at me. You're safe."
"There is no such thing as safe." It sounded like she'd been forced to memorize it. Her gaze slid sideways, and he knew she was contemplating something, but as long as she wasn't fighting him anymore, he didn't care how much thinking she did.