Mishka Fadgen is new to the Stone Ridge wolf pack, and after losing a challenge to earn the beta position, he’s offered a slot as an enforcer instead. His first task comes soon, as the alpha’s daughter, Sara, goes missing from college. Mishka accompanies several others to San Francisco, following a lead to her whereabouts. While his alpha is busy consulting with a detective who’s aware of shifters, Mishka hits the streets and starts searching. What he finds, however, isn’t what he expected—his mate. Mishka discovers a young, crippled human living in an abandoned warehouse. With a lot of coaxing—and the promise of a good meal and a hot shower—Mishka convinces Aramis to join him at the home the shifters have rented. When the detective shows up, an untrusting Aramis disappears. Learning that Aramis may be able to help discover Sara’s whereabouts only heightens his need to find the man once more. If Mishka manages to track Aramis down again, can he convince his mate that his intentions are sincere and not just a means to an end?
Mishka Fadgen stood up straight, his gaze forward, and used his peripherals to take in the activity around the room. Unease slithered up his spine, and the hairs at his nape stood on end. The tension in the room was nearly a palpable thing.
Every enforcer, tracker, and technical guy in the Stone Ridge wolf pack was clustered in the office at the alpha’s house... and the reason for the assembly wasn’t a good one.
While Mishka hadn’t been a part of the pack long, from the sharp lines on nearly everyone’s features and the way the shifters and humans alike exchanged worried glances, this was the first time they’d seen their alpha so near to losing it.
Alpha Declan McIntire, leader of the wolf shifter pack, growled softly as his glare slipped from one tech guy to the other and back again. His hands were clenched into fists, and his body practically vibrated with anger. Declan had good reason for his ire.
Just over thirty minutes before, Declan had received word that his adopted daughter Sara had been kidnapped.
The side effect of Alpha Declan radiating anger and aggression was that it made every other shifter in the room a bit... antsy.
Mishka forced himself to focus on the problem.
Sara was a nineteen-year-old gazelle shifter, and she’d been at college in Denver. Two shifters shared the responsibility of watching out for her. One was Artemis, a wolf shifter who was an enforcer as new to the pack as Mishka was. She had also fought in the beta challenge, just as he had, and had lost. After being granted an enforcer position, Artemis had been assigned to watching Sara at school.
From what Mishka had heard, Artemis and Sara had hit it off. If he had to guess, the friendship aspect had gotten in the way. It had bred a certain laxness in Artemis’s watching of Sara.
According to Artemis—who’d had the unfortunate responsibility of reporting Sara’s disappearance—Sara had received a phone call from a boy she liked. In an effort to gain some privacy from sensitive shifter ears, the young charge had stepped onto the doorstep with her phone pressed to her ear. Five minutes later when Artemis had opened the door to check on her, Sara had been gone.
Mishka could only begin to guess at how that conversation with Alpha Declan had gone.
Glad it wasn’t me.
As it had turned out, the second person who’d been keeping an eye on Sara was gone, too. A young, dominant wolf shifter of the same age as Sara—Stephani Caldwell. Luther, Stephani’s father, had arrived at Declan’s only moments before and was still casting hateful glares Artemis’s way.
Mishka imagined it was only because Luther’s mate—Deke—had his arms wrapped around Luther that the shifter hadn’t yet attacked her.
“I got something,” Raul called, drawing everyone’s attention. The human didn’t even bat an eyelash, too focused as he was on his computer. “There was a camera in the parking lot across the street. It captured this.”
Unable to contain his curiosity, Mishka took a few steps forward. Between his six-foot-three height and standing on his toes, he was able to make out the screen. What he saw only heightened his discomfort.
A wolf shifter Mishka recognized had Sara’s arm in a tight grip—Larson Allimon. Larson had also participated in the Right for Beta challenge... except he’d been disqualified. Mishka rubbed his stomach absently, remembering the way Larson had tried to gut and kill him instead of just asking for his submission.
Vile, sadistic asshole.
Larson reached an old, navy-green colored Bronco and opened the back. The afternoon sunlight hit the vehicle’s interior just right, revealing that it already contained a trussed and hooded form.
“Is that Stephani?” Luther asked gruffly as the video continued, showing how Larson cuffed Sara’s hands behind her back, then yanked a hood over her head.
As they all watched Sara being shoved into the vehicle, Declan’s growls punctuated the room.
“I-I can’t tell,” Lark whispered. Declan’s human mate was tucked close to the wolf alpha, leaning as close to the monitor as the position allowed. “The body type is right.”
“It is. Those neon green running shoes give her away.” At Jared’s comment, everyone’s attention moved to the slender human hacker. He continued, “She bought them six weeks ago to run the jogging paths with Sara. Sara bought the same pair, but they’re neon pink.”
“How do you even know that?” Luther asked, clearly shocked.
Jared finally glanced around, a slight smirk curving his lips. Focusing on Luther, he stated, “It was on our pack’s business account, which I monitor.”
“You monitor our pack accounts?” Lark sounded surprised.
“It’s a hobby,” Jared claimed with a shrug as he returned to his own laptop.
Mishka knew he couldn’t be the only shifter to think that was bullshit, but the human didn’t give off any scent of deceit.
“Aaand that vehicle was listed as stolen... in San Francisco.” Jared finished the comment on a hum, then began typing swiftly. “Let’s see if he’s heading back that way.”
“Find him,” Declan snarled, his voice deep and rough with his aggression. “I want his hide as a skin on my wall.”
Mishka mentally winced at the alpha’s blood-thirsty tone, which was full of his need for vengeance. From all the rumors Mishka had heard about Alpha Declan before petitioning to join the pack, Mishka had thought he was calm and level-headed.
Gods, having a daughter taken would cause even the most relaxed man to become vicious.
Not to mention, shifter instincts ran high in the territorial and protective arena.
“Looks like Larson is heading back toward San Francisco,” Jared told everyone. “The Bronco’s license was picked up by three different traffic cameras.”
“Make that four,” Raul countered, shaking his head. “The guy’s moving like the devil. Guess he knows he won’t have much of a head start.”
“Manon, fuel your chopper,” Declan ordered before glancing around the group. “I have a phone call to make, then we’ll be along.”