Fun loving wolf-shifter Colton Albright’s usual concern…his next meal, has been replaced by haunted dreams. The nightly visions of the sad, anxious face of his mate have this jovial jokester withdrawing from his fellow Alpha Unit members.
Rheia Bradley is a dedicated professional that lives to help others, but has long forgotten how to help herself. When she arrives in Lycaonia seeking the protection of the warrior units, Colton is ecstatic to discover that she’s his mate. His relief is quickly eclipsed by one small problem, a tiny, solemn four-year-old girl who happens to be his mate’s adopted daughter. Which means… he is now a father!
While Rheia settles into her new job, Colton and all his fellow warriors are about to get a crash course on little girls. The men quickly learn that not one ounce of their centuries-long training has prepared any them for this precocious child.
When Rheia uncovers something about their enemy that puts her name next to her daughter’s on their hit list, Colton is willing to do anything to keep his new family safe. But will it be enough?
Colton leaned against the SUV and sighed. He looked down the long, dark dirt road that circled the outskirts of Lycaonia, still no sign of their unexpected visitor. When Aiden had knocked on his door the night prior to ask him to take this early morning lookout, he had jumped at the chance, anything to avoid another sleepless night. He had to admit even if only to himself, that the odds that this was his mate on her way to him was slim, but waiting out here in frigid temperatures was preferable to watching his mate be killed in his dreams.
In the distance he could see a faint glow. As it moved closer he realized that it was a car coming towards him. He stood and walked until he was in the middle of the road. The sun was coming up providing enough light that he wasn’t worried about being run over. Slowly the car rolled to a stop a good distance away, seconds later the driver’s side door opened and a small figure got out.
“Hello there!” he called. “My name is Colton Albright, I’m your escort into Lycaonia.”
“How do I know that?” a female voice yelled.
“Do you have any ID?” she asked.
He scowled. “Do you mean the official Lycaonia ID that states that I am a wolf-shifter from a secret paranormal city? No, I left that in my other pair of pants.”
“You don’t have to be snarky about it,” she admonished.
He squinted, trying to see if she was kidding. He could see the outline of her body, but not much else. “You’re going to have to trust me. I’m going to get in my car and drive to the Alpha estate where you will meet with the Unit Commander. He’s in charge of placing you in a safe house. I suggest following closely, the turn off is well hidden.” Without waiting for a reply he turned and got into the car. Grumbling he fastened his seatbelt. “Pain in the ass woman.”
When he began to pull away he noticed that she was right on his ass. He thought about tapping his brakes but didn’t feel like explaining to Aiden why the SUV needed repair work, not when Aiden’s own car was still in the shop from Meryn torching it, smiling at that memory he cranked up his iPod. His compilation of songs from Supernatural blared inside the SUV. As soon as they got to the estate he would drop the crazy woman in Aiden’s lap and go watch Supernatural reruns until he passed out. He was always surprised at how much they got right.
When they got to the estate he couldn’t help himself, he slammed on the brakes bringing the SUV to a screeching stop. Sure enough, the car behind him hit the back of his car.
Shouldn’t have been following so closely.
Smirking he grabbed his iPod and got out of the car. He was making his way to the front door when he heard an angry woman’s voice behind him.
“What in the hell was that?” she demanded.
Turning he watched as the woman fought with her seatbelt that was still wrapped around one arm. In a fit of anger she threw it to one side and slammed the car door. She marched towards him, and as she got closer Colton felt his stomach drop. He knew her. She had the same heart shaped face framed by sun kissed light brown hair as the woman in his dreams. Her eyes were a perfect mixture of blue and grey. He had only ever seen those eyes anxious, sympathetic or afraid, but never pissed. She was just as beautiful in life as she had been in his dreams.
She stomped up the porch stairs and began poking him in the chest.
“What kind of immature stunt was that? I have had one of the worst nights of my life and you pull this shit? You’re lucky my brothers aren’t here they would …”
He watched as she stopped and realized what she said. Tears filled her eyes, though her expression remained defiant. With a shaking hand he reached out and cupped her face.
“Thank the gods,” he whispered. He couldn’t keep the tremor out of his voice.
She looked puzzled at first and then her eyes widened.
“You’re the voice from my dream, aren’t you? They said that the voice might belong to my mate,” she said, and stood stock still.
He nodded before pulling her close, he simply held her against him.
She pushed against his chest and stepped back. “You weren’t an asshole in my dreams,” she said bluntly.
He grinned. She was spunky. “And you weren’t a prickly bitch in my dreams either.”
Her mouth dropped and she just stared at him. Seconds went by before she began to smile. “I can’t believe you said that. Aren’t you going to try to woo me or sweep me off my feet?”
He shrugged. “Something tells me you’re not the type of woman that wants to be swept off her feet. In fact, I’m willing to put money on the fact that you’re the type of woman that likes to be in charge.”
She winced. “Actually, yeah.” She squinted up at him. “And you’re okay with that? Most men like meek women.”
He gave her his most wolfish grin. He was pleased when he saw her eyes lighten in amusement. “I don’t have to be in charge, but that doesn’t mean I’m not dominant.” He leaned in and buried his nose where her neck and shoulder met. He inhaled deeply, shuddering at her scent. He bit down lightly and heard her gasp. Almost instantly he could smell her arousal. “Just because I’m not always in charge, doesn’t mean I’m not an Alpha,” he whispered, letting his lips dance on her skin.
Rheia chuckled at the memory of Colton’s mother telling her the story. “Colton’s father is an international business guru, he can turn dirt into profits. Anyway, he was overseas a few weeks before Colton was due, despite Alice begging him to stay home. After being home alone for so long, Alice got tired of being bored. So she got in her carriage and went to visit Adelaide for tea. She was just getting ready to leave when her water broke. In the end Marius delivered Colton and much to Robert’s chagrin, she gave Colton, Marius as a middle name.”
“It’s why he feeds me. My father always hated visiting the McKenzies, Marius would spoil me rotten. My mother unwittingly created quite a scandal naming me after House McKenzie’s squire.” Colton chuckled as he swaggered down the hallway. He held out his finger pouting. “I have a boo boo.”
Beth and Meryn went ‘awwww’ and Rheia rolled her eyes. Careful of their cups Colton laid out on the floor between the three women and soaked up their attention. Beth dropped small chocolates in his mouth and Meryn offered him her tea. Rheia kissed his finger and shook her head at his antics.
Aiden came around the corner covered in flecks of paint.
“Colton! Get your mangy ass away from my mate and get back to your station. We’re almost done. I’d like to be able to air out the room before Meryn has to sleep in here tonight,” Aiden roared.
Colton hopped up and gave the women a salute. “Coming, fearless leader. Keep your fur on, because according to Meryn, you are fugly without it.”
“Colton!” Aiden barked.
Rheia turned to Meryn. “Is it true that you hit Aiden over the head with the back of his toilet?”
Meryn nodded. Beth stared at her wide eyed. “I K’O’d his ass the first day I met him.”
Rheia laughed. “Didn’t you hurt him?”
Meryn shook her head and lowered her voice. “He liked it. Secretly he’s a… a… mannequin… a machinist… Beth what word am I trying to say?”
Beth was laughing too hard to answer.
“Meryn! Quit telling them I’m a masochist and come check out this paint color for the nursery.” Aiden yelled from down the hall.
Rheia laughed along with Beth, Meryn was absolutely crazy, but that was part of her charm. Meryn got up and then whispered down at them. “Whoo Cha.” She pulled her hand back and made a whipping motion.
“Meryn!” Aiden yelled again.
Meryn stood up straight. “That is Mistress to you, slave.”
Colton’s head popped around the corner, with the biggest grin Rheia had ever seen on his face. “Hey babe, Aiden is turning purple, that can’t be healthy.”
Meryn walked past him. “He’ll be fine. He’s such a drama bear.”