Noel has spent the past seventeen years focusing first on his studies, then on his job as a lawyer, but the man he had a one-night stand with never left his mind—or his heart. He doesn’t know what it was about Roark, but he’s never been able to forget him, and he’s stopped trying. Instead, he works with the council to help shifters who can’t afford a lawyer. When he receives threats that have to do with the murder case he accepted, he calls Kameron Rhett from the council, who then calls the council’s best-hidden secret—the assassins.
Roark has been a council assassin since he was freed from the lab he spent years in. It’s the only place he fits in, with the other assassins, the people who share a trait with him—all of them have been genetically modified. Roark hates his ability to manipulate minds, and when he realizes the man he’s supposed to protect is the mate he thought long lost, he tries to get out of it.
But Noel is stubborn and headstrong, and he won’t take no for an answer. Between him and Roark’s bear, Roark doesn’t have a choice, and the more time he spends with Noel, the more he falls for him. Will he be able to save his mate from the man after him? And if he does, will he manage to allow himself the happiness he’s been longing for?
Noel had gone over the depositions for what had to be the hundredth time, yet he couldn’t find anything that would help his client. He knew Grady hadn’t killed Becky Lang, but he couldn’t prove it.
Of course, that wouldn’t matter if he was good enough to convince the jury there was at least reasonable doubt, but people were fickle, and the fact that Grady was a shifter wouldn’t play in his favor. No matter how many years had passed since shifters had come out of hiding, a lot of people still didn’t accept them. Considering the nature of the crime—the jury was going to be inclined to believe Grady was guilty, no matter what Noel said.
Noel raked a hand through his hair. Sometimes, he wished he’d chosen another career, something with less stress. But no, he’d decided being a lawyer was the only path for him. And things had gotten even more stressful when he’d decided to specialize in shifters’ defense and started working with the council. He didn’t think he’d slept a full night since then.
Cases with shifters tended to be more complicated, but Grady’s case was the most important one Noel had worked on yet.
Noel slid his reading glasses off and looked at the door. “Yes?”
His new assistant was standing there, looking uncomfortable. He wished he hadn’t had to change assistants, but his old one had gone on maternity leave and had never come back. His new assistant, Milo, was good at his job, but he was still hesitant and awkward. Hopefully, that would fade. Noel needed someone sharp who could stand up to angry clients and demanding reporters. He hoped Milo would be that person, because he didn’t have the time to look for someone new.
“It’s eight o’clock.”
Noel blinked. “In the evening?”
The corner of Milo’s lips twitched, but he managed not to smile. “Yes. In the evening.”
“You should have gone home hours ago, Milo.”
Milo rubbed the back of his neck. “I was working.”
“Go home. Whatever you were doing can wait until tomorrow.”
“Do you want me to order food for you? I know I should have done it hours ago, but you were so focused, I didn’t want to bother you.”
Noel’s stomach chose that moment to growl. He couldn’t remember if he’d eaten lunch, although he was pretty sure Milo had made sure he did. “No, it’s okay. I’ll stop somewhere on my way home.”
“So you’re leaving, too?”
“In a bit.” Noel knew not to push himself too much. The case was too important for him to burn out before they even went to court.
Milo hesitated. “All right. Just…make sure you eat something.”
Noel smiled. “I will.” He wasn’t used to having someone take care of him. His old assistant had done her job, but nothing more. Milo seemed to care, though.
“Okay. Call me if you need anything.”
Noel waited for Milo to leave before slumping back in his chair. God, he was tired. He wanted to close his eyes, but he was afraid he’d fall asleep at the table if he did.
It was time to go home.
His phone pinged just as he was getting up. He snatched it from the table and opened the new email, grimacing when he saw it was another one of those emails. Someone wasn’t happy he’d taken Grady’s case, and they were letting him know through threatening texts and emails. It wasn’t the first time he’d been threatened, but this guy, whoever he was, was insistent. Noel couldn’t shake him.
And since he’d promised Kameron Rhett—one of the shifter council members he’d worked with on more than one occasion—to call if he got another threat, he did just that. He dialed Kameron’s number as he gathered his things and put away the documents he’d been reading. Kameron answered after a few rings, and Noel could hear his kids scream and laugh in the background.
“Noel?” Kameron asked.
Noel cleared his throat and pushed the jealousy away at hearing Kameron’s family. “Uh, hi. Am I bothering you?”
“Of course not. Did something happen?”
“I got another email.”
Noel blinked. “That’s some creative swearing.”
“Zach would kick my butt if I swore in front of the kids. Wait a second. I’m going to my office.”
“You don’t need to do that. I just called to tell you. I’ll forward you the email, but I'm going home, and there’s nothing to talk about.”
“We need to do something about this, Noel.”
“It’s just a few threats, and they’re not even that creative.”
“They’re still threatening to kill you?”
“It says they’re going to make sure I can’t work again, but I suppose it’s pretty much the same.”
“You’re not taking this seriously.”
Noel sighed. “Not really. I don’t like that whoever is behind this managed to get my email address, but it’s my work one, so really, they could have gotten it from anywhere. I don’t like the threats, either, but I can’t do anything about them, and I’m definitely not going to drop Grady just because of them.”
“I know. That doesn’t mean you can’t take precautions.”
Noel rubbed his face. “Can I call you back? I need food and sleep, and I have to be back in the office early tomorrow morning.”
“All right, but I’m coming over tomorrow. We need to talk about this face to face.”
“I’ll email Milo and ask him to find you a hole in my schedule.”
“Call me if anything happens.”
Noel smiled. “Yes, Dad.”
“I am old enough to be your father, or even your grandfather.”
At one hundred years old, he undeniably was. It made Noel feel slightly weirded out that he was attracted to him. The man looked good, even at his age. “I’m going home,” he declared.