Zeke is an enforcer for his pack but since being back from visiting his little brother Remy, he's been noticing strange things. Never in his life did he imagine his alpha and inner circle would betray him, though.
Zeke loses everything—his house, his business, his savings, but escapes with his sisters, nieces and nephew thanks to Remy coming to the rescue with a little vampire help. Zeke knows firsthand that vampires can't be trusted. Even meeting Remy's mate hadn't dissuaded him of that certainty. But the second he meets Ashlock everything changes.
Ashlock is hot enough to make Zeke dream of claiming the vampire as his own. Fate isn’t supposed to be wrong and his wolf is certain that the vampire is his mate. However, Zeke's fears run deep and for good reason. How can he claim Ashlock when the thought of letting the vampire bite him leaves him cold with dread?
Zeke slammed the door of his green pick up, growling as the move added yet another dent in the frame. He really needed to get another car but that would have to wait until his bespoke wood furniture business picked up again. Usually he was inundated with orders from the pack, requesting anything from towel rails that looked like tree branches to intricately carved conference tables.
Weird things were going on since he and his sisters had returned home after visiting Remy. Alpha Remy now. It was still odd to think of his little brother being an alpha at all, never mind a kick ass one that scared the begeezus out of Trevor, the old asshole pack alpha. That guy had been such a dick, it was why he'd left his home pack in the first place, taking Rosemary and Saffron with him. Trevor had looked at them like he was trolling prey right after they hit their sixteenth birthday.
The power that emanated off his brother was amazing and he'd felt it lapping at his skin like a wave. His wolf had all but rolled over and bared its belly when Remy had first looked at him with the alpha, wolf eyes. His own alpha couldn’t make him submit that quickly, even when the man was angry. Lately, his alpha was angry a lot.
He walked down the street toward his store and tried not to eavesdrop on the couple that owned the bakery and the older man that ran the grocery store standing on the other side of the street talking animatedly. Zeke caught a few snippets of the conversation but not enough to make sense of it.
"You know what Alpha Richard said…we have to…for the good of the pack…before…"
No matter how much he wanted to stand there and listen he couldn't just stand in front of the door to his store without them noticing. He was an enforcer and because of that he was big. People noticed him.
His keys jingled as he unlocked the door and the noise attracted the attention of the party across the street. They spun to look at him and he held up a hand to wave. The bakery couple bumped into each other trying to run away and the grocer all but ran them over as he scuttled into the grocery store and slammed the door, putting a closed sign in the window.
"This is getting too weird…even for Pleasantville," he said to himself as he entered his own store and flicked on the lights.
Usually his pack mates came over to talk to him all the time and he hardly ever had a moments peace, but since he'd come back two weeks ago he could count the number of people who'd started any social interaction with him on one hand. Something was definitely going on and one way or another Zeke was going to find out what.
The appointment book for today was empty, another unusual thing. As shifters, they tended to be a little hard on furniture so he was usually fully booked, apart from walk in appointments, for at least a week in advance. He walked over to the cash desk and pulled out his appointment book, flipping backward through the pages. Several shifters in the pack had cancelled on him and no one had phoned to make an appointment in a couple of days. If things carried on like this he would be seriously hurting for work in a few weeks if the only source of income was his in store pieces ordered over the phone.
Speaking of which…one of the regular customers hadn't come in to pick up the finished carved, dinner table. He grabbed his phone off the desk where he'd tossed it and punched in the number from memory. Simon never missed a pick up date. Half the time the wolf just came down for a chat and a catch up, but he hadn't seen his best friend for a few days. That was unusual, too.
The man answered on the first ring which made Zeke think that maybe Simon was waiting for his call. This couldn’t be a good sign. Simon hated his phone, said the thing made it too easy for people to contact him.
"Simon, hi. Your table is ready for you to swing by and take her home."
Silence. "Uh…I'm really sorry, Zeke, but I can't take the table. I'll still pay for it, though. I'm so sorry."
Closing his eyes, Zeke tried to reign in the building anger. He knew that tone. It was the same one he'd heard from people cancelling orders, appointments and plans with him for over a week.
"Simon. What's going on?"