As a Watcher, Yuri has always known he has to be careful around strangers. So few people understand what Watchers actually do, and most think that they have some kind of mystical abilities. When a ram kidnaps him and throws him into a basement with a raven named Regi, Yuri knows he’s in trouble. The ram is looking for Watchers, and he’s getting desperate. When Yuri realizes that Regi is his mate, he knows that he needs to protect the raven. But with no way out, they’re left with only one choice—to fight their way out of there, or die together in misery.

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Cover Art by Carmen Waters

Yuri brushed snow off of his nose with one of his big paws. As a lynx, the cold didn’t bother him, but the heavy snow falling all around him did tend to get into his eyes. He blinked the thick flakes away and looked out over the Colorado forest he called home. His stomach was growling even before he caught a whiff of the rabbit trying to hide in the bushes no more than twenty yards ahead of him. The smell of the rabbit’s fear at being so close to him was intoxicating, and he hadn’t had a good rabbit stew in months. He was already planning out what spices he would use on the rabbit’s lean meat when the animal darted out from underneath the bushes, taking off in the opposite direction. Whatever spooked the rabbit had ruined his chance at having him for supper and left Yuri sighing into the wintery evening air.

The smell of a bighorn nearby didn’t bother Yuri. He was confident the big animal wouldn’t be a problem to him, so he slinked off, heading toward another section of the forest where he was fairly confident he could find a rabbit. If he hadn’t run into the first rabbit, he’d have just headed home to fix himself a burger, but since his taste buds wanted rabbit, he was determined to find one.

It had been a couple of weeks since he’d been awakened by a Watcher dream, and he had to admit he was happy with the unexpected downtime. In recent times it felt like more and more shifters were getting into tight spots that required a Watcher’s presence. It kept the five North American Watchers on the move. Then there were the issues with Kenai going and mating to a bear shifter. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard of a Watcher mating. Once the call was answered, Watchers normally found themselves so wrapped up in solving other people’s problems they didn’t have time for lives of their own. He felt sorry for Kenai’s new mate. It would be worse than if a human married a doctor, police officer, and fireman, all rolled into one person.

A sharp hoof clipped a rock, and the sound jerked Yuri’s attention away from his thoughts. He didn’t even have time to brace himself when a set of heavy curved horns connected with his head. Darkness swallowed him as he tumbled into the snow.

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