Felix Kilpatrick survived years of hell in a mad Alpha’s cage and has finally made it to the safety of Arkadia. To make things even better, his best friend Sebastian has also found his way to Arkadia and offered to let him live with the Arkadian lion’s pride. He is living it up when he meets his mate. One overly neat, OCD, fastidious doctor.
Dr. Maddox Claybourne is content with his life in Arkadia. He tends to the occasional broken bone or contusion that is commonplace in a shifter only town. He is not prepared for a redheaded mate that wrecks his clinic, ignores his orders, and tries to serve him microwavable pizza!
It will take every ounce of skill between Felix and Claybourne to combat a mysterious illness that threatens to steal away the lives of those most precious in Arkadia. No one is safe when people begin to fall ill. Can Felix and Claybourne discover a cure in time? And when they can’t, can they live with the deaths this virus will leave in its wake?
“Let’s start asking questions while they’re awake for lunch. Maybe we can figure out what is causing this,” Felix said.
“Good idea,” Claybourne said.
He and Felix walked around and spoke to the patients who were awake enough to answer questions. Felix watched the gentle way that Claybourne would speak to and handle the patients, especially the children and wondered if he would want one of his own one day. Felix shook his head and walked to the next cot. Felix made faces at the man who grinned up at them. It was Rex, the one who made him feel welcome his first night at the pride house by flirting with him outrageously. Claybourne asked him questions while Felix kept him entertained.
“Thank you, Rex. Try to get some more broth down, Believe it or not, it will make you feel better,” Claybourne insisted.
Rex smiled weakly. “How about your hot mate gives me a sponge bath?” he whispered, his lips dry. Claybourne chuckled.
“You’re lucky you’re sick,” his mate said. Rex grinned.
“Why do you think I said it?” Rex blew kisses at Felix who blew them back.
“Doc! Hurry!” A voice yelled out and Claybourne and Felix ran over to where Ms.Tully sat with Ms.Brayburn. The older woman had gone into convulsions again.
“Let’s move her!” Claybourne yelled.
They wheeled Brayburn into the adjoining smaller gym set up for the sickest of patients. He wheeled her to one of the stations and began to administer more Tylenol. The machines continued to beep wildly around them. When her breathing became labored Claybourne intubated her to get air into her lungs. When the convulsions stopped her heart beat was barely there and the respirator was breathing for her.
“Ms.Tully, I can try giving her an injection of epinephrine. It will induce a fight or flight reaction, which I am hoping will trigger a shift. I have been hesitant due to her age, but considering how much she has deteriorated…” Claybourne left the statement hanging.
Ms.Tully nodded. “Do it. We both know that she probably won’t make if we do nothing. If there is a slight probability it may work, we have to try,” she concluded. Claybourne immediately turned to the small table and pulled out a syringe. He injected the drug, stood back and waited. He watched the monitors as the seconds turned into minutes his frown got deeper.
“There should have been some reaction. I gave her a high enough dosage to affect her animal, much higher than a human dosage. There’s no reaction. Nothing.” He sounded bewildered.
Ms.Tully patted his arm. “You’ve done everything you can,” she said wiping her eyes.
Claybourne checked on Brayburn’s vitals. He turned and without saying another word walked out of the room. Felix followed him to the men’s bathroom. His mate stood bent over the sink, his hands braced on either side. When he looked up to Felix his eyes were full to overflowing with tears.
“I can’t save her. I have no idea what is causing this. We don’t have the personnel we need. That poor woman is going to die because of me.”
Felix had his arms wrapped around his mate within seconds. “You are not God, Claybourne. None of this is your fault. You are doing everything you can to keep these people alive while we investigate what’s causing this. There’s nothing more you can do,” Felix said holding his mate tightly. Claybourne turned and pulled Felix in his arms, burying his face in his neck. Felix squeezed tighter.
“You’re right. I have always complained that I’m simply a bone setter, not a real doctor practicing here in a shifter town. But I think I’ve taken it for granted that my patients don’t get sick and die. I’m not used to losing people, Felix, not like this.” Claybourne stood straight and kissed Felix on the forehead.
“We’ll get through this,” Felix said.