After a long search for the rebel group of wolf shifters located in the eastern Canadian woods, Brandt Malik finally stumbles upon them while hunting one day. But before he can report back to his alphas, Brandt is captured by the rebels, who take one look at his uniform and believe he’s spying on them for the Bureau of Lupine Affairs. The rebels don’t make any attempt to hide their contempt and mistrust of the former agent, and Brandt is sent to be interrogated by the second in command, Zayne Sala, a powerful and dominant alpha.
Zayne, a huge Alaskan wolf, can’t believe what his senses are telling him when he discovers the good looking BLA agent. This man, this traitor to their kind, can’t be his mate, despite all evidence to the contrary. Despite his growing compulsion for the agent, he takes charge of Brandt and tricks him into leading the rebels back to his camp. They capture the entire group and lead them back in chains to their stronghold. Now it’s up to Brandt and the others to convince the rebels that they’re trustworthy and that they only wish to join the rebellion. Zayne has vowed never to truly mate with Brandt, no matter how painful it is for him to stay away from him, but as it becomes obvious that his plan won’t work, he tries instead to teach his mate proper submissive behavior and ignore his painful past.
As their love struggles to take root, Zayne must learn to trust in Brandt and stand together against the forces trying to tear them apart or risk losing everything.
Brandt Malik sighted down the scope of his rifle, watching two men arguing by a campfire in the deep Canadian woods. The men were yelling at each other and seemed ready to come to blows, though the others sitting around the fire nearby weren’t paying them much attention. The younger of the two, wearing camo, was gesturing with sharp, choppy waves of his hand, making Brandt wish he was closer so he could hear what he was saying. It was the other man who fascinated him, though. There was something about him, even beyond the fact that he was most definitely a shifter. He was much calmer than the other man, acting almost bored with the argument. As Brandt watched, he turned his back dismissively and sat down by the fire. Brandt couldn’t quite put his finger on what it was that was so compelling about him, but he was having trouble tearing his gaze away.
Brandt leaned forward slightly, still intent on the man, never hearing the one who came up softly behind him and pressed his rifle barrel against the back of Brandt’s head.
“Move and I’ll blow your damn head off.” The voice was pitched low and mean. Brandt froze as it continued. “Drop your rifle, asshole. Then stand up and keep your hands where I can see ’em.”
Brandt did as he was told, holding his arms out to the side as he rose slowly to his feet. He cursed himself for not hearing the man’s approach. The man had come up on Brandt from downwind, but still, Brandt should have known. Damn it, only six weeks away from his BLA training, and he was already going soft.
“Put your hands behind your head and turn around nice and slow.”
Brandt turned, careful to make no sudden moves—the voice behind him sounded young, and shaky with nerves. Brandt didn’t want to spook him any more than he already had. The young man stepped back a few paces, but kept the rifle disconcertingly close and aimed at Brandt’s chest. He looked to be in his late teens or maybe early twenties, but had enough training to know to keep the rifle just out of Brandt’s reach.
The kid wasn’t overly large for a wolf, maybe a shade under six feet so. His hair was black and cut ruthlessly short with just a hint of waviness left on top. He was dark-haired and handsome, like most of the gray wolves, and Brandt was beginning to realize from his unusual scent that he was a hybrid or a cross, maybe part gray and part Alaskan. Shifters all had a distinctive appearance, larger than humans for the most part, with dark hair and exotically slanted eyes. The grays, though, were generally smaller and less fierce-looking than the huge Alaskan wolf shifters, who were known by the BLA to be prominent members of the rebels and who usually took leadership roles.
Since Brandt had been actively searching for the rebel wolf shifters who were supposed to be in this area for over two weeks now, he was excited to think he might finally have located some of them, so long as the kid in front of him didn’t shoot first and ask questions later. Brandt might never have found the camp at all if he hadn’t stumbled onto it accidentally, following the blood trail of a rabbit that had gotten loose from one of his snares. The young gray with the gun jabbed the barrel in Brandt’s direction. “Who the fuck are you and why are you spying on us?” he demanded. The slight tremor in his hands gave away his nervousness, and the finger trembling rather alarmingly on the trigger caused a low, uneasy whine to start up in Brandt’s throat.
Brandt lifted his shoulders negligently, trying to look as non-threatening as possible. “I was hunting in the area and saw the camp below. I heard voices and was just trying to see who was down there by the fire. I meant no harm.”
“You’re lying. You’re either BLA or a damn mercenary. Which is it?” the man asked disgustedly, gesturing with the barrel of his rifle toward Brandt’s stained and tattered uniform. Without waiting for an answer, he pulled out a portable radio attached to his belt loop and keyed it, speaking into it rapidly. “Michael to Zayne.”
A crackly voice replied. “Zayne, go ahead.”
“I have an intruder. Code red. Repeat, code red.”
A short silence and then the voice on the other end replied, his voice sounding urgent. “What’s your location?”
“On the hill above you. One man, so far as I can tell. I’ve disarmed him, but I might need help.”
“On the way. Be careful, Michael.”
The young man slid the radio back in its holster without taking his gaze away from Brandt. “Don’t move, or I’ll shoot. Get down on your knees.”
A wave of irritation swept over Brandt, both at the boy and at himself for being captured by someone so obviously young and inexperienced. Jaden would give him hell for this. “Well, which is it?” he said. “Don’t move or get on my knees? I can’t do both.”
“You know what I mean, asshole! Get on your damn knees and don’t give me any shit.”
Barely containing an eye roll, Brandt sank down to his knees, keeping his fingers laced together behind his neck. “This really isn’t necessary, you know. I was just hunting, like I said.” As with all of his kind, Brandt had exceptional hearing and could already discern the sounds of men running up the hill toward them, plowing through the underbrush. They’d have company in minutes.
“Look, I’m former BLA, but I managed to escape. I’m with a group of mostly grays and just a few Alaskans, looking for sanctuary. We’ve been searching for the rebel camp for a few weeks now. We heard it was in this area.”
“Shut up!” the boy said. “I thought you said you were just hunting. Which is it?” When Brandt just stared back at him, he jabbed the rifle barrel toward him. “Well, answer me, damn it.”
Brandt was unable to stop the eye roll this time. The kid first told him to shut up and then asked him questions. Either he was really nervous or just plain stupid, and either way, this could go seriously wrong. Brandt wanted badly to take the rifle away from him and shove it up his ass as the boy continued to edge closer, but with the others coming, he needed to cool it. He didn’t want to give them any more reason to think he was a threat.
“I was hunting. But the group is camped nearby. I can take you there, if you don’t believe me.”
Michael gave a short bark of laughter. “Yeah, I’ll bet you could.”
If the other rebels were anything like this kid, Brandt was pretty sure he was screwed. He should probably just shut up like the kid first said, at least until someone with a cooler head was on the scene, or he’d wind up with a bullet in his brain. He settled back on his heels and tried to think what his brother Jaden would do if he were in this situation.
The man wearing camouflage suddenly erupted through the trees, panting for breath and carrying a shotgun. He ran right up on Brandt and before Brandt could move, he’d thrown a punch to his head that snapped it to the side and almost caused him to topple over. He regained his balance and turned on the man with a snarl, lurching to his feet to grapple with the guy for his gun. Brandt was aware of other men bursting on the scene, as he struggled briefly with Camo before laying him out with a hard right hook. Brandt whirled around to face the newcomers when pain exploded in his cheek and the world went bright white and flared out.