The haunting eyes in the picture capture Caleb Belikov’s attention, and he knows he has to confirm whether the white buffalo is really just an animal, or a shifter trapped at a zoo near Albuquerque. Caleb talks his alpha and a few friends into accompanying him and discovers not only is the buffalo a shifter, but he’s his mate. But rescuing Emmett will put the lives of innocents in danger, creating a whole new set of problems. Can Caleb and his friends figure out how to keep everyone safe from a blackmailing alpha?
“Hey, check this out, ” Sam called, drawing Caleb’s attention. The bull shifter held up a paper for Kontra’s perusal. “Look at the eyes, ” he added, pointing. “Don’t they look like they’re more than just an animal’s?”
“Hmm, you may be right, ” Kontra replied, staring at the page.
Interested, Caleb wandered across the dining room. He wasn’t the only one. By the time he got to the table, five others of their motorcycle gang were already crowded around the pair and leaning over staring at the picture. Being one of the slightest in their group, Caleb waited impatiently for someone to move so he could squeeze in. Standing five foot ten, he knew he wasn’t small by human standards, but considering most of the other guys stood well over six feet, he was definitely short by comparison.
Eli, a tall slender python shifter grunted and moved away. “Looks like it could definitely be more than just an animal, ” he said, adding his two cents.
The man’s move opened a small space for Caleb to slip between a couple of the guys, allowing him to see what they were talking about. He cocked his head and stared at the picture of a white buffalo in a fake zoo habitat. The headline of the story read Rare White Buffalo: showing for one week only at the local zoological park!
Ignoring the information in the article, Caleb stared at the eyes of the animal in the photo. He’d heard that the eyes were the windows to the soul, and in this case, it was accurate. Beneath the relaxed look of the dark eyes was so much pain and despair, it nearly knocked the air out of Caleb’s lungs.
“Oh, gods, ” he whispered, reaching out to touch the thin paper. “We need to help him.”
Kontra straightened, blowing out a breath. “We’ll need to confirm that he’s really a shifter, ” he stated, “which means a trip to this…place.” It looked like Caleb wasn’t the only one uncomfortable with heading into a zoo. Kontra’s resigned tone and lip curl said it all. The big alpha glanced at the men around them. “Any volunteers?”
“I’ll go, ” Caleb immediately replied, his quick response surprising even himself.
Sam sighed. “I’ll go, too.”
Kontra nodded. “Looks like some of us are taking a trip south, ” he said. “Not all of you need to come. It’s only an hour or so away.” He crossed his arms over his chest and looked around at the group of men.
Terence grimaced and ran a hand through his honey brown locks. “I guess I don’t mind a trip to the zoo. When does this exhibit open?”
“This paper’s a week old, ” Sam admitted. “I pulled it out for the crossword.”
“So he may not even still be there?” Caleb wasn’t certain why that news disturbed him so much, but he felt his heart speed up at the possibility of not checking on this guy.
Kontra must have noticed his tension for he settled a hand on Caleb’s shoulder and squeezed lightly. “No, it looks like today is his final day. If we hurry, we can get there before noon. Hopefully, that’ll give us time to find a way to get close enough to figure out if he’s a shifter or not, ” he assured.