Seever Kerns has spent the last fifty plus years as his best friend’s subordinate, even though his lion is far more powerful. When he meets Reese Nelson, he realizes the human is his mate and thinks Fate is rewarding his patience. Unfortunately, even though Seever can scent that Reese is attracted to him, the human resists, hiding behind a belligerent façade. Trouble with a rogue shifter soon interrupts his attempts to woo his standoffish mate, and Seever makes a grave mistake. He had assumed that Reese—who was there visiting his cousin, Rocky, a human bonded to a shifter—was aware of shifters and the paranormal world. Reese freaks out, refusing to believe what is right before his eyes. Even Rocky’s influence does little to calm him. Can Seever convince Reese that they belong together, or will Reese cut his losses and flee, which would put his human in even more danger?
“The last of the perimeter cameras have been installed,” Seever Kerns told his best friend and boss, Councilman Vincentius Goldstein. Leaning against the closed door behind him, he crossed his arms over his chest as he grinned broadly. “I told you I could get it done in three days.”
Vincentius chuckled as he lifted his hands in surrender. “You were right.” Then his smile turned wry as he swept his gaze over him. “You look like shit, though. Go to bed.”
Seever would have laughed, but he was too busy fighting back a yawn. His fellow lion shifter was right. He was damn exhausted, hardly able to stay on his feet. Still, the extra effort was worth it.
I made the damn place safer for the little fliers.
Several months before, Vincentius’s systems had been hacked, prompting the councilman to order the hacker tracked down and brought to the estate for questioning. It had been discovered that the man had been a guinea fowl shifter named Cho…and he’d turned out to be Vincentius’s mate. Seever guessed he’d had to do a bit of groveling at some point, since the little man had forgiven him, and they’d bonded.
Cho wasn’t the only one they’d added to their household that day, though. A few days later, the shifter’s whole flock and their mates—or those who had them—had arrived. That had been nearly another dozen people.
Good thing this estate is massive.
Many of the new arrivals brought out the protective instincts of the people in security—Seever included. As the head of the household’s security, the safety of everyone was his primary concern. Sadly, with the escape of a couple of ex-councilmen and several enforcers going rogue with them, his job had become even more difficult.
Shaking his head, Vincentius offered him a bemused smile. “I really am grateful for everything you do for me, See. Thank you.”
“I’m on my way to bed soon. Shower first, though,” Seever told Vincentius, pushing off the door. “And you never have to thank me. This is our home and our family.”
“I’m glad to hear you say that.” Vincentius’s brows furrowed as he peered up at him from where he sat. “I occasionally worry, since we both know your lion is quite a bit more dominant than mine, but to outward appearances, you answer to me.”
Seever snorted, his lips curving into a wry smirk. “What other people think is irrelevant,” he stated, resting his hand on the doorknob. While he really wanted to get out of there so he could enjoy that shower he’d mentioned, he wouldn’t walk away from his friend in the middle of the conversation. “We have a system that works, and that’s between us.”
Vincentius nodded. “I’ll start incorporating the cameras into the system right now then.”
The abrupt subject change didn’t concern Seever. He and the councilman didn’t make a habit of sharing their feelings. On occasion, they would talk about their problems over a drink, but that had been before Vincentius had bonded with Cho.
Now I get to shoot the shit with almost a dozen guys as I avoid Prescott’s come-ons.
Seever mentally laughed at his thought as he twisted the knob and opened the office door. Gods, I must be tired. Smirking, he began exiting the room.
“Oh, hey, Seever,” Vincentius called, causing Seever to turn back around. “This afternoon, I heard from Rocky that his cousin is visiting next week.”
“His cousin?” Pausing tiredly, Seever rested his forearm on the doorframe. He leaned his temple on it as he eyed his boss, forcing his sluggish brain to focus. “Okay. Uh…I’m assuming Rocky gave you his name and shit, so you could run a background check? Get a picture?”
As the head of security to the estate of a man on the Shifter Council, he liked to know who would be wandering around the area. Knowing a person beforehand often headed off problems before they might arise. Plus, if some random dude appeared at the gate that they weren’t expecting, it was Seever’s job to verify who they were and if it was safe to allow them on the property.
Vincentius obviously recognized Seever’s fatigue, for he concisely stated, “Yeah, Rocky said his name is Reese Nelson. I’ll forward his picture and information to you.” His eyes narrowed as he warned, “Do not start it now. Go get your shower and pass out.”
Nodding, Seever silently agreed. “No way I could stay awake right now anyway.” Even though he hated to admit to weakness, even to his buddy, he had to share the truth. Pulling his phone off the clip at his belt, Seever checked the time. A little after two in the afternoon. “I can’t imagine that I’m gonna wake again today. I’ll look at it in the morning.”
Giving Seever a thumbs up, Vincentius stated, “The info will be in your inbox when you wake.” Then he gave Seever a knowing look as he added, “And I won’t be sending it for at least an hour, so you won’t be tempted.”
Seever scoffed. “You know me too well.”
With a wave of his hand, Vincentius turned back to his computer systems.
Closing the door, Seever headed down the hall and stopped at a door a short way from the councilman’s computer room. He occupied an apartment-like suite on the front side of the home. His boss’s—and recently Cho’s—set of rooms were on the other side of the hall facing the gorgeous rear expanse of lawns. People who also occupied the other sets of rooms in their wing were Alpha Ashton—the leader of Cho’s flock—and his mate, Ranger. Then across from them on the backside was his beta, Gilbert, and his mate, Hess.