Jackal shifter Jake has always had an affinity for the sciences, but Trevor’s toxic mixture is way beyond anything he’s had to deal with in the past. How can just one jackal find the answer? Stranger things had happened...a lone jackal living in a coven of vampires, for one.
After a long struggle, Jake has finally done it—he’s figured out the solution to the blood poisoning and the drugging smoke Trevor used to dose both sides of the Blood Moon Pack Alliance. Excited, he calls the three mated pairs he knows who will appreciate the find most, starting with the two vampire elders that took him in when he was lost and gave him a home.
But things aren’t always rosy. Just because others are getting their happy endings—or beginnings—doesn’t mean he is any closer to his own. In fact, he may be further away than ever before.
On the other hand, Elders Lavi and Van take great advantage of the new cure and take Jacko on a flight to remember, while Ashlock and Zeke get creative in a tattoo studio. Remy and Skylar take a very expensive shopping trip, and Micah and Rylan deal with the repercussions of the intense power spike from the alpha pair completing the bond.
Jake checked the results for the hundredth time, but they came back the same every time. The truth stared back at him as he looked at the evidence so long his eyes started to water.
“Oh my God. I did it,” he whispered.
No one could hear him. He was alone in his lab, and the guards the alliance had given him were waiting outside. It seemed if a guy had one toxic gas accident that stopped anyone who breathed it in from getting it up for a week, he was labelled a danger. At least the incident had gotten his shadows, Lurch and Buzz Lightyear, off his back. Having a massive shifter and an equally large vampire hovering over him every second of his waking day had been beginning to get old. Guarding the alliance territory borders would be a much better use of their time. He didn’t like people in his lab cluttering up the space and touching things. It made him twitchy.
Jake clutched at the vial of serum in his hand and set the synthesiser machine to begin creating more. The sample he had now would be enough for two doses. He grinned. He knew exactly who to give them to.
He picked up his phone from on top of his pile of notebooks and dialled the elders’ private number. The call connected and he waited nervously until someone picked it up on the third ring. “Is everything okay, Jake?”
“Everything is...fine, better than fine actually.” He was almost vibrating as he spoke, trying put into words his discovery. It was what he’d been tasked with figuring out for months, and in that time he’d gone through what must be thousands of different mixtures…which all failed. Now that he had one that worked, his animal was anxious for it to be out of his hands in case something happened to it.
“You mean…” Elder Lavi’s usually formal tone slipped into genuine surprise.
“I did it. All the tests have come back positive. I ran it over and over just to be sure. The machines are already making more, but I have enough made up now for two doses. I figured I’d give Jacko his birthday present early,” he added, feeling bold.
“We’ll be right there,” Elder Lavi said. A second later, the dial tone sounded in his ear.
When a vampire, especially an elder, said he’d be right there, they meant literally. Vampires could move so fast they were only a blur even to shifter eyes. It had been disconcerting at first, but he was used to it now, for the most part.
Living with vampires was odd for a shifter, but he’d made it work. After all, anything was better than his old pack, where the alpha’s idea of ruling involved keeping a sex pet chained to his side. Literally. When the old pet died from a mysterious illness the same time certain herbs had gone missing from his store at the pack lab, he knew the poor woman had ended her life. All because she’d become too familiar for the alpha’s tastes. After ten years at his side, she must have thought the bastard would mate her. Her death had meant the position as pet became vacant. Some pack members had volunteered, but none of them met the alpha’s standards until Jake had accidentally caught the man’s eye at a pack run. There was no way Jake was going to become a pet used for sex and kept on a chain until the alpha was done with him. So he’d run—left all his things and just run. Unfortunately, it hadn’t been fast enough.
A knock at the lab door shoved him off his path down memory lane not a moment too soon. He hated thinking about the past.
He twisted to see out of the little round window of the door and saw Elder Van leaning down to peer through it. Show time. Jake pulled off his gloves and popped the lid of the trashcan with his foot, throwing the things inside.
Walking over to the door, he tried to go at a reasonable pace and not run like there was someone chasing him. The only demons on his tail were the ones in his head. He needed to believe that if he was going to remain sane and continue his work undeterred by fear.
As soon as he reached the door, he unlocked it at the keypad and pressed the release button that controlled the panel. It opened with a puff of air from the pressure seal, allowing the two elders entry.
“Is it true, have you really done it?” Elder Van stopped right in front of him, putting big hands on his shoulders while leaning down to look him in the eye.