After being woken by a phone call in the middle of the night by his alpha, Leopold Caldwell heads to San Francisco. Alpha Declan requests his services in creating an identity for a rescued human whore. What Leo finds when he gets there is a scared young human who is completely overwhelmed by his new reality. Oh, and he happens to be Leo’s mate. Even as he’s ecstatic to meet Jerry, the other half of his soul, Leo recognizes the hurdles they’re facing. Not only is Jerry struggling to accept the existence of shifters, but there are also still people after him…people who seem bent on establishing possession of Jerry. After a close call where Jerry is nearly kidnapped, Leo decides it’s time for a change of scenery. He takes him back to Stone Ridge and a secluded cabin owned by his family line. Unfortunately, trouble follows. Can Leo use his quick wit swiftly enough to save not only Jerry but his own future as well?
Leopold Caldwell didn’t know when he’d managed to fall into an uneasy sleep. When the trill of his cell phone yanked him back to wakefulness, he hissed as pain spiked through his neck. He really shouldn’t have fallen asleep in that chair.
“Ow,” he grumbled under his breath as he rubbed the back of his neck.
Then the sound of his phone caught his attention again, and he recalled why he’d been sitting in the uncomfortable chair to begin with. His cousin’s daughter, Stephani, had been kidnapped, along with his alpha’s daughter, Sara. His cousin and his partner—Luther and Deke—had traveled to San Francisco with Alpha Declan and a myriad of others from the pack in order to track them down and rescue them.
Leo had wanted to go, but there hadn’t been room in the helicopter. Instead, he’d been left behind, his wolf chuffing with annoyance in the back of his mind, while he waited impatiently for information. Hence falling asleep on the uncomfortable piece of furniture as he’d been waiting for word.
“This is Leo,” he barked into the phone as soon as he connected the call, not even bothering to check the caller ID.
“I’ve sent Manon to get you,” Alpha Declan stated, the alpha wolf shifter’s voice coming through the line. “I have a young man here who needs a new identity once he’s rational enough to decide on what he wants…and that shifters exist.”
“He knows about shifters?” The words were out of Leo’s mouth before he could stop himself. While he was curious, it wasn’t the most pressing issue. “How are Stephani and Sara? Are they okay?”
Alpha Declan’s deep, tired sigh came through the line loud and clear. The simple action betrayed that their pack leader wasn’t invincible after all. The man had to be exhausted after everything he must have gone through—not only had it been his daughter kidnapped, but he would have had to console his mate while keeping it together enough to plan the rescue.
So glad I’m not in his shoes.
“Sara is a little banged up, but she’ll be fine, in time”—a growl entered Declan’s tone as he added—“as long as her mate gets his head out of his ass, anyway.”
Leo’s jaw sagged open, and he knew his eyes widened. Before he could question the alpha on that statement, however, his alpha continued.
“I’m sorry to say that Stephani came out a little worse for wear. She was injured protecting Sara, and she’s still unconscious.”
Upon hearing that, Leo felt his heart rate spike.
His sweet, feisty, dominant cousin was injured.
Leo guessed he must have made some noise betraying his distress, for Alpha Declan rumbled, “Take a few slow deep breaths, Leopold. Lark is with her and feels that she’ll wake up soon. She may even be mostly well by the time ye get here.”
Doing as he’d been bidden, Leo took a few slow, deep breaths. The spots that he hadn’t even realized had been dancing before his eyes disappeared.
Yeah, breathing is a good thing.
“Right, right,” Leo mumbled when he had the breath. He cleared his throat before adding, “So, when should I be at Manon’s private helipad?”
Leo figured some of the documents for the wolf enforcer to build a private landing pad at his place in the woods had probably been forged, but he wasn’t one to judge. As one of the pack’s lawyers, he helped by forging personal documents all the time. Since paranormals lived for centuries and needed to hide from the general human populace, coupled with the advancement of technology, shifters had to have their identities reinvented every few decades.
Having always been technologically inclined, Leo helped with that.
“Ye have three hours,” Alpha Declan told him. “That’ll give ye time to pull any information ye can find on Jerry De Mara’s past. Family, friends, as much as ye can. He claims not to have anyone looking for him. Jerry doesn’t smell as if he’s lying, but after the scare Luther put in him, well…I’d like to be sure.”
Leo’s brows shot up. “Luther scared him? How?” His cousin was usually a fairly relaxed wolf. Of course, finding his daughter injured could most certainly change that.
“Jerry led us to the room where our girls were, and we rushed inside. Jerry followed, but he was closest to the door.” Declan scoffed softly, and Leo imagined his wry smile. “We were checking the girls when Jerry squeaked, drawing our attention. A gorilla of a man was standing in the doorway pointing a gun at Stephani, maybe because she was already injured. When the asshole stated, lie on the floor, or I’ll finish what my buddy started, Luther understandably lost it. He shifted faster than I’d ever seen him and tore the man apart.”
Wincing, Leo nodded absently. He could totally see his cousin doing that. Hell, if Leo had been there instead, he would have done the same.
“So…” Leo drew the word out. “How did he take it?”
“Well, Jerry didn’t piss himself, so I’ll give him props for that,” Declan replied dryly. “He seemed a bit catatonic after that, though. Lark hasn’t been able to see to him, yet, but I’m sure I’ll have more for ye by the time ye arrive.”
Checking his watch, Leo nodded absently. “Yes, Alpha. I’ll see what I can find out about Jerry, then be at Manon’s at quarter after midnight.”
“Good. I’ll see ye soon, then.”
When Alpha Declan disconnected the call without another word, Leo didn’t feel offended. He knew his alpha had to have a lot on his plate right about then. Instead, Leo shoved to his feet, strode out of the living area, and headed to his bedroom.