When Kenneth and Thorn learn the planned coup by the Iris is imminent, they have no time to lose. They head to the capital city of Arktaine to find a way to foil the Iris’ plans. Since people have become aware of them as Enforcers, they are forced to hide in plain sight as a pair of talentless—no mean feat for Kenneth, accustomed as he is to presenting himself as a mage. He has long ago come to terms with Thorn’s dominance in their relationship, but now some of his most private secrets are laid bare in an unexpected way.
Bad becomes worse with the discovery that Elesten has captured one of the Triumvirate, the leaders of the government. Kenneth and Thorn cannot rely on the other Enforcers, who are in as much danger as they are, so they turn to new allies—the talentless themselves.
Both Kenneth and Thorn hope that talentless and mage can learn to fight together to eliminate the threat to all their lives. If they can, then maybe Thorn’s dreams of winning equality for the talentless will come to pass. And Kenneth and Thorn may finally get their happily ever after.
“I said punish him, not kill him.”
Enforcer Darnell, head enforcer for the Courtier lynx pride, didn’t respond to Alpha Paxton’s grumbled comment. Instead, he finished swinging the whip, landing another stripe to the young male’s backside. The big shifter grinned upon hearing the cries of the man he whipped.
“Don’t worry,” Darnell commented, turning away from the blond strapped between a pair of posts. “He’ll still be able to suck your cock later.”
Returning his focus to the tied up male, he leaned close. Darnell gripped the smaller man’s chin between his thumb and forefinger, using the hold to force the guy’s head up and back. Even then, the man kept his lids at half-mast so he didn’t meet Darnell’s gaze.
“You’re still okay to suck the alpha’s cock, aren’t you, Blane, and with much more enthusiasm, too,” Darnell crooned cruelly. “Right?”
“Yes, Enforcer,” Blane whispered.
“And I didn’t mar his ass, Alpha,” he continued, rubbing the guy’s jean-shorts-covered butt. “Just in case you decide you want to fuck him.”
Alpha Paxton rolled his eyes as he shoved his hands into his pockets. “I don’t fuck men,” he stated, his tone cool. “I have plenty of women for that.”
Enforcer Darnell released Blane, stepping away from him while grinning at the alpha. “You don’t know what you’re missing,” he said with a laugh. His gaze returned to Blane, his focus on the young man’s ass. Darnell rubbed his crotch, fingering his dick through the cargo shorts he wore. His erection was clearly outlined by the fabric. “The squeeze, the pressure, so tight and silky,” he murmured huskily.
“You know the rules,” Alpha Paxton stated, his eyes narrowing with apparent annoyance. “Their mouth when they turn sixteen is fine, but don’t take their virginity until they hit eighteen.”
“Yes, Alpha.” While Enforcer Darnell’s words were right, his tone wasn’t.
Evidently, Alpha Paxton picked up on that. The black-haired man growled low in his throat before snarling, “If I discover anyone breaking that rule, he will be tied to that whipping post.” Without waiting for an answer, he turned on his heel and began stalking away, calling over his shoulder, “Have Lorelei clean up his wounds, then take him back to his room at my cabin.”
“Yes, Alpha,” Darnell repeated, sounding a bit more subservient. After the alpha had disappeared down the trail, the enforcer turned back to Blane. He stepped closer to the young male again. “Soon,” he crooned, placing his hands on the young man’s hips. Darnell slid one around to palm the slender, bleeding shifter’s crotch while using his other hand to squeeze his ass. “Very soon I’m gonna enjoy playin’ with you, Blane.”
To the young man’s credit, he didn’t move or respond at all. Darnell groped the man for another few seconds, then released him and strode down the path. With his whip slung over his shoulder, he whistled a jaunty tune.
Once the enforcer was out of sight, a whimper escaped Blane.
Watching from a tree twenty feet away, Lachlan Addair swallowed back a mouthful of bile. The actions of the lynx pride’s inner circle went beyond despicable. He dug his claws into the tree branch, staying his desire to go rescue the young man.
Lachlan knew all that would do was raise the suspicions of those that ruled the pride. It would also probably get Lorelei into trouble, since she’d be the one having to report Blane missing.
After watching the actions of Alpha Paxton, Beta Gentrus, Enforcer Darnell, and Enforcer Creasis, Lachlan decided the pride needed to be disbanded. The actions of the leaders were beyond reprehensible. The inner circle would be put down for their crimes against their own kind, a few others—the hangers-on—would be tried on a case by case basis, and the rest of the shifters would be placed in a new pride.
Lachlan spotted Lorelei coming through the trees. The female lynx was the pride healer and midwife. From what Lachlan had seen of the older woman, she was good at her job and just as much under the alpha’s thumb as everyone else.
Prisoners in their own pride.
Once Lachlan had seen Lorelei begin murmuring assurances to Blane, he crept backward on the branch. His butt rubbed against the trunk, then he turned and leaped to another branch. Using the trees, keeping off the ground to mask his scent, Lachlan made his way out of Courtier pride territory.
Lachlan moved swiftly, set on his agenda. Having worked for over a century as an enforcer for the Shifter Council, he could have snuck into each of the homes of the inner circle and assassinated them. He wouldn’t have even felt bad about it, either.
Except, that was no longer his job description.
Over a year before, the council had decided to create a new team of shifters. The group would be made up of those highly trained in espionage, since they would need to infiltrate and monitor a shifter territory without detection. After reviewing a group’s movements, the investigator would then report to the council.
Lachlan had been the first to volunteer. He’d been ready for a change. Plus, the idea of sneaking in and out of places and figuring out the dynamics of a pack appealed to him—he was a Scottish wildcat shifter, after all.
Being curious was in his nature.
As much as Lachlan would enjoy slaughtering the inner circle in their beds, he had procedures to follow. He had to report his findings back to the council and gain permission…and resources. Destroying the inner circle would leave the pride in chaos.
Not to mention the excessive amount of reports I’d have to write.
The council needed to prepare resources to help injured pride members and disseminate the shifters into different prides. There was also the possibility that the council had a new alpha in mind. Then they’d help that shifter settle in, bringing stability and safety to the group.