Parker Troch is tired of being a third wheel. The hyper hummingbird shifter is ready for some action. When he finds out about a nearby shifter in trouble, and with his friends Tanner and Van out of pocket, he takes the opportunity to go find the shifter and save him, even though he has no clue who he’s looking for, what kind of shifter they are, or even what sex they are. He travels to Grand Junction to begin his search and hope he’s in time before the hunters close in for the kill.
Roger Preston runs a candy store in Grand Junction. For several weeks he’s been looking over his shoulder at the least little thing. He’s convinced someone is stalking him. With all the news of shifters being killed by human hunters, he posts to the shifter forums for advice. His fears are confirmed and the sugar glider shifter finds himself on the run with Parker who he can’t take his eyes off of. Can these two find the strength to let their emotions run free while avoiding the hunters’ gun sights?
Parker Troch set down his large soda and drummed on the desk, wishing something would happen. He was having one of the rare quiet days he’d had since Tanner Groff came to town, bringing news of hunters with their sights aimed on shifters. Ever since then Hardwood Valley had been abuzz, everyone running here and there making what preparations they could in case the hunters found them, even with the magic Parker’s father and the other mages wove about the valley, deep in the Colorado Rockies, to keep it hidden from humans. There had also been refugees rescued and more than the normal number of stragglers staggering into Hardwood Valley. Keeping up with the increased population was proving to be a bit of a challenge, since the town didn’t have easy access to just order more supplies from the big box store on the corner. They didn’t have a big box store, they had a small mercantile.
The door to the sheriff’s office slammed opened, and Shamus, the local computer geek and one of three elk shifters in town, stormed in. “Where’s Tanner?”
When the door opened, Parker jumped out of his chair, then sighed. “Out.” He eased himself back into it.
“Okay.” Shamus rushed up to the desk, a look of excitement on his pale face. “Is Van around?”
Parker shook his head. He was amazed Shamus had even asked. Most everyone in town knew since Van and Tanner had mated, they weren’t often apart. “He’s with Tanner.”
“Are they going to be back soon?” Shamus started pacing.
“In a couple of days.” Parker frowned and wished Shamus would get to the point. “They went to Vegas to see if they could track down that cougar shifter Tanner found out about before he ran across us. What’s going on?”
Shamus closed his eyes and sighed. “A couple of days might be too late.”
Parker stood again and leaned against the desk, giving Shamus is best, no-nonsense stare. “Too late for what? Come on, Shamus, you’re killing me here.” Parker hated not knowing things. It was all he could do to not be the town busybody—that title was his mother’s, and he didn’t want to usurp her. As a hummingbird shifter, he was high energy, and just sitting in the sheriff’s office waiting for something to happen was getting on his nerves. He wanted to be out helping other shifters like Tanner and Van were doing, but they kept treating him like he was too fragile to go out with them. Just because it was winter didn’t mean he’d get too cold and go into a stupor. He knew how to stay warm.
Shamus stopped pacing and glared down at Parker. “I don’t know if it’s something you can help with. I think I found a shifter in trouble.”
“Where?” Parker’s pulse raced at the idea of finally being able to go do something instead of just sitting around like a neglected side-kick.
“Grand Junction,” Shamus replied. “I don’t know much. The internet spiders I’ve got out watching the forums, blogs and boards came back with a ping a few minutes ago. I don’t even know what kind of shifter he is... Well... ”—he pursed his lips—”it might be a she. I don’t know that either. But it sounded like a him... He.”
“So you actually talked to someone?” Parker yanked open the top desk drawer and pulled out a pen and small yellow pad.
Shamus shook his head. “No, if you’re not doing voice chat, or video chat for that matter, you can’t really talk to someone online. You know that.”
Parker wanted to reach across the desk and slap Shamus, but resisted. “Right. So what do you know?”
“He’s in Grand Junction... I’m almost positive he’s a he... Or it’s a he—”
“Stop.” Parker held out his hand. “Take a deep breath. You’re almost positive it’s a he and he’s in Grand Junction. What else? It wouldn’t be as hard as looking for a guy in Denver, but Grand Junction is a lot bigger than Hardwood Valley.”
“Candy?” Parker frowned. Candy wasn’t much more to go on.