A devoted loner before meeting Daniel, Brand is plagued by others intruding into their lives. Shannon and Collin and Philip and Samuel may never stop bringing them their troubles. Alpha Silver chasing after Cruz, after Brand warned him away, aggravates Brand even more. While Daniel struggles to keep the peace between all the fractions, his own nerves are stretched tight from waiting for the birth of his child, his fear of another child being too much for Brand’s tolerance, and dealing with the complexities of their unconventional mating.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, another attempt at killing them comes from an unexpected source. Is it connected to previous attempts as Brand believes? Will Brand and Daniel discover who wants them dead and why? Will the surprises they find in their search for answers add to the stress of too much by too many to push them apart?
Silver stood at the open car door, one hand hitting the horn, the other holding a handkerchief to his bleeding nose. One quick look around, spotting Cruz standing at the barn door, uninjured, assured them Silver had kept his word.
“I did warn you,” Brand said, actually sounding a bit sympathetic.
His voice muffled, Silver told him, “I did nothing more than catch him by the arm. He never said a word. He just turned and punched me.”
“He doesn’t speak to anyone but me.”
Silver set his jaw and without any words, pretty much displayed his reluctance and dislike of what he said next. “You would speak to him on my behalf?”
Brand relaxed a little more, moving closer. “I don’t know that it would do any good,” he said softly. “Without trespassing on his privacy, I can’t tell you anything more than he has good reason to distrust and be repelled by men.”
“I don’t touch him,” Brand said, ignoring the jealousy in Silver’s tone.
Daniel added, “Brand’s the one who saved him.”
Brand answered quickly. “An unpleasant existence.”
Horrifying was more like it, though Daniel made no corrections. Cruz’s privacy was more important than soothing Silver’s ego. Still, Silver was perceptive. His eyes flickered, shifting from Brand to Daniel and back, before he nodded.
“You feel I’m wasting my time,” he stated.
“His past, time, and distance are all against you.”
“I could make arrangements to stay for a while.”
One of those priceless moments happened when Brand’s reaction to that idea hit his expression. Silver took one look at his face and burst out laughing. Swinging into the driver’s seat, he told Brand, “I didn’t drive all this way to turn around the same day I arrived. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
Doctor Elk Horn asked, “Do you think your doctor will be available then for consulting?”
Brand pointed at Philip and Samuel, walking hand in hand, coming their way.
“It would seem they have ironed out their difficulties,” Elk Horn said with a smile.
“I hope to hell they have.”
“It is regrettable the other couple cannot say the same. Though it is not my concern, as we are going to Denver, she could go with us and relieve you of the necessity of making the trip to take her.”
Elk Horn nodded, knowing what that entailed. However, he said, “Miserable apart and miserable together. At least apart the anger and more hurt would stop.”
Reaching them, Philip asked, “Are you talking about Shannon?”
“She could go home with us, if she’d like,” Silver put in, pouring water from a bottle on a cloth to clean his face.
“You think with what he believes, he wouldn’t think to look for her there?” Brand asked.
“I think he would be sorry if he did.”
Before Brand could say what he thought of a break in wolf protocol, one alpha not only interfering in another’s mating, and one alpha challenging the decisions of another pack, Robert spoke up. “If you have no further need for us, Paul and I will return home.”
“Stay for a while and visit,” Brand told him. “None of us here have the same prejudice Silver has.”
Daniel groaned inwardly. To refer to him without the respectful Alpha title was another breach in protocol. The two men were determined to challenge each other. Robert didn’t miss the insult either. His eyes flickered from Silver’s direction to Brand’s several times before he nodded.
“Moon, Horn, get in the car,” Silver ordered.
“I thought I might confer with—” Elk Horn started.
“Now, before I lose my temper,” Silver retorted, followed by slamming his door and starting the engine.
Daniel mumbled, “Sounds to me like he already has.”
“If he doesn’t like being treated the same way he treats others, tough shit,” Brand returned, loud enough for everyone to hear, hearing enhancement not needed.
While Moon scrambled to get into the car and not be left behind, Elk Horn commented, “He hates being told he’s wrong.”
“Is he vindictive?” Daniel asked quickly, watching Elk Horn hurry into the backseat.
Elk Horn shook his head as the door and tinted windows cut him out of sight. Daniel hoped he was right, not knowing what Silver could do to get even. The two men would never like each other. That was obvious. From all Daniel had seen, it was difficult for two alphas to be in each other’s company for any length of time without conflict, anyway. Too much testosterone floating around. Even still, Silver seemed worse than any other, as if he had some personal reason for disliking and challenging Brand.
“What now?” Philip asked as the SUV sped away.
“It’d be really nice if we could have a quiet evening without any more drama,” Brand grumbled.
“Perhaps another time,” Robert suggested.
“You plan on having a fight with your mate or aggravating the hell out of me?”
“Good Lord, no.” He relaxed enough to smile slightly. “It’s been a long time though since I’ve spend time with other wolves. I might forget rules.”
“I haven’t lived with the clan for over ten years because I hate their fucking rules. It’s the disrespect I got angry over. Call your mate and come in. We’ll start with a good strong drink to wash the bad taste out of our mouths.”