Rachel dreamed of the perfect wedding, with the perfect man, but now is fighting an internal battle of emotions. Days before her fantasy wedding, she discovers her entire life is a lie.
A year has passed as Lee patiently gives her space to adapt to the reality of her new life. Lee is her trainer, but also her mate. He is sexy and the sweetest man Rachel has ever met. The chemistry between them is undeniable.
Unfortunately, the life Rachel has been plunged into is unimaginable for a woman who has always believed she was human.
The humast are shifters who protect those creatures who can’t protect themselves. Lee has taken Rachel on assignments before, but she has always been in the background as a watcher. Now the time has come for her take a place as a central participant as they try to expose a puppy mill run by a heartless and possibly deranged individual.
Will Rachel give into her latent feeling of love and attraction for Lee? Can she give up her human values and become the woman fate has prompted her to become? As the assignment unfolds, will their newfound emotions prove to be the downfall of a future that has only just begun?
Rachel sat on the porch swing, slowly rocking the seat with her foot. The trees below on the mountain were turning brilliant shades of red and orange. Some of the leaves had begun to fall, and she had almost a clear view of the lake far below. Rachel’s mind began to drift as she watched the flight of an eagle in the blueness of the afternoon sky.
Rob stood in her mind’s eye, his long graduation gown flowing around him as he triumphantly held up his law degree. They had moved in together shortly after graduation, and their wedding plans had been going along well.
That was a year before, the chill in the air reminding Rachel of the time that had passed. “I miss you, Rob. We had so many dreams for our future together, but now they can’t be.”
Lee sat on the rocky ledge beside her and draped his arm over her shoulder. “What can’t be?”
“I was just remembering. It still hurts on occasion.”
“Sorry, I didn’t plan this. You are what you are, and this is how things must be. Am I so horrible to be with?”
“No, Lee. From what Dee says, you’re the best possible catch. I think you should be paired with her.”
“No can do,” said Lee with a lofty smile. “Good old chemistry. I find you far more attractive than her anyway. I keep hoping one of these days you’ll stop sending me to take a cold shower. You make me insane. Do I have any chance of being with you?”
“I’m right here.”
“Yeah, and I enjoy your company, but you know what I mean. I want things to be closer between us. We’re paired for life, so unless I do you the favor of dying, you’re stuck with me.”
She had no idea what she would do if anything happened to him. Her feelings had grown gradually stronger, although she had yet to admit the truth to him. “Don’t say that. I don’t want you dead, and you know it.”
“I wonder sometimes. I lie in the bed I’m supposed to share with you and have no idea what goes on in your head. Are you lying alone thinking of me, or Rob? What do you think would happen if you went back to him? Tell him the truth. Lay it all on the table, Rachel. Would he still want you for his wife?”
She could almost feel her eyes darkening, her nostrils flaring as she turned to glare at him. “Fuck you! Maybe if you weren’t so damn cynical and sarcastic, I might be a bit more willing.”
Rachel stood, then briskly stepped around him. Lee was beside her a moment later, his speed and agility remarkable as he swept her off her feet and carried her into the house. He dropped her on the sofa, stepping over her and sitting down on her knees to keep her there. “Maybe I wouldn’t be so damn sarcastic if you would at least give me a smile once in a while. I adore you. I live to be with you. I’ve known since the moment I first caught scent of you running in the woods. I’m sorry I didn’t get to you before your fickle little heart became attached to a human. He’s gone, Rachel, and you need to face a future without him. I spent four months wondering if you were going to bolt in the middle of a case and leave me stranded. We’re about to go back to the city, and I’m not doing it again. I need some kind of commitment from you, Rachel. I didn’t make you who you are, your father did. I’ve done everything I could to teach you and make you happy. So why do you feel only contempt for me?”
Rachel closed her eyes, tears dripping from the corners. “I don’t hate you. I want to, but I can’t. I don’t know what to feel anymore.” That wasn’t the truth. “I don’t know who or what I am. We are vigilantes, fighting for the rights of our own. You’ve trained me to be a killer, and if you want the honest truth, after reading the files, it feels good to set the score right. That doesn’t change the fact it’s murder.” She opened her eyes, her vision blurry with oncoming tears. “My father only contributed his genes. I didn’t even know what he was, and I wouldn’t be as I am if Blain hadn’t attacked me. That day is engraved in my memory forever. I was making wedding plans in my head as I was running. I was on a high, my adrenaline level peaked. Everything around me was perfect. The sun was not too hot, the breeze just enough to cool my skin without chilling me. I remember the trees seeming magnificently green as I drifted into a state of euphoria. I was dreaming of Rob’s face, and the excitement of our marriage was fueling my physical reactions. Suddenly, Blain was there in the form of a mountain lion, his teeth barred as he leaped. Then I woke up.” Rachel hesitated, knowing what she was about to admit would change her life forever. It would be the final step, no looking back.