Cameron knew it was a setup before he and his sister Caitlynn got there. It was supposed to be a hit to take Cattie out. Cam being there was just a bonus. Had they been entirely human, the explosion would have killed them both. With them both being critically injured, they were taken to a private clinic owned by Jake and Forrest. To the world they would appear to be dead, at least until Cattie could put together who was out to get them.
Rick wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be doing here. He’d been asked by his buddy and longtime friend, Forrest, to come by his house—he had a gig for him. Rick hadn’t had a gig of any kind for years now and getting a call from Forrest out of the blue, like it had been, couldn’t have come at a better time.
Cam had many abilities. One he felt was somewhat of a curse. He was so in tune to everyone else, like an empath he felt what they felt, so much so that he couldn’t separate his own feelings from theirs. Because of this, he avoided ever having a relationship.
Being an elite shifter, Rick wasn’t confused. As soon as his fingers brushed Cam’s at the kitchen table, he knew they were mates, and he was about the rock Cam’s world.
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Jake Winslow’s marriage to the money grubbing shrew is over. Cutting off her funds, and the simple use of the word “no” sends her packing. When he comes home from work and finds his house empty of everything, including food, he feels—liberated.
Jake’s grandmother, Jenna, calls her friend and attorney, Forrest Stout, to handle Jake’s messy divorce. She can’t stand Jake’s soon-to-be ex-wife and is leaving nothing to chance. Only the best for her grandson, and the best is Forrest.
Forrest is a Were Tiger, and he knows “who” he is. He is an oddity in his paranormal world because he is gay. His kind mate for life, and after a recent disastrous attempt to find companionship, he has given up hope of ever finding his life mate.
From the moment Forrest meets Jake for the first time, he knows that Jake is his life mate, and he wants to run in the opposite direction because Jake isn’t gay. To claim and lose a mate would spell disaster for him. How can he ask a straight man—that he wants with every fiber of his being—to conform to his way of life? He can’t….
Ex-lovers, and ex-wives can be a dangerous combination. Especially when neither are right in the head…
Henry Myers never kept his gender preferences a secret. His mother supported his choices and stood by his side even when his acting career tanked because of it. Now she was gone, and so was his career. Henry was at a loss.
Patrick Garrett, Paddy, was now in a bad place. He had worked at the precinct since he was in his early twenties, and now he could trust no one. Not his captain nor his partner it seemed. He was shot and bleeding, and it seemed the whole precinct was on the take.
Henry had been able to talk to ghosts since a near death experience he had as a child. They had been following him around ever since. Now it seemed Paddy could see them as well. But when Wally, Henry’s ghostly companion referred to Paddy as Henry’s mate. Neither man was sure how to take that news.
Henry couldn’t deny the attraction to the rugged cop, and if the man didn’t put back on his shirt, he wasn’t so sure he’d be able to control himself.
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Jake sat still and tried to read the paperwork that he’d gotten just this morning about the couple. The man lying on the bed in front of him had been hurt badly, so critically that it had taken the nursing staff and doctors here twelve hours before he had been put back together. His sister hadn’t fared any better, but she was resting comfortably while Cameron wasn’t. He seemed to be jerking uncontrollably and moaning in his pain most of the time.
Caitlynn, Cattie to her friends, was just down the hall in a private room all her own as well. The bullet that had hit her in the back of her head hadn’t been as serious as it could have been. They were still working on that, but the man that had brought them to the private hospital that they were both in said that he thought that Cameron, Cam to his friends, had called out to his sister and that had her ducking. The Hendersons had a great many people looking out for them, and none of them were human. “Where is my sister?” Jake stood up, completely forgetting about the paperwork that he’d been working on as it slid to the floor. “I don’t know you, do I? Where is Cattie, and my mom and dad?” “You’re at a private hospital for now.
Your sister is just down the hall, but I’m afraid she’s not able to come in here to see you as yet. As for your parents, your mother—a wonderful person, by the way—is in the cafeteria having a cup of tea with my mate, and your dad was called away. Something to do with his work.” The man nodded, then grabbed his head and cried out. “Yeah, they said that you might want to take it easy on moving around too much at first.” Jakes watched him struggle with the pain, and the very little that he’d given him in the way of answers to his questions. Jake himself still had plenty of questions, but he could wait.
Cam had been out for several days now, and it had been touch-and-go for both of them since Jake had been called away from his home to help them. Whatever favors had been pulled to keep these two alive had been more than a simple thing, like saving their lives. It had to be so much more than that, he thought, especially since Cam had been critical and Cattie in grave condition when they’d been brought to him. Now they were both on the mend, and it hadn’t been that long ago since their first diagnoses had been given to them. “What did you mean that Cattie isn’t able to come see me? They were supposed to keep her alive.” Jake told the man that the people who had brought her in had done all that they could. “If they’d done what I told them to do, then she’d be up and around and I’d be wherever she is. Where is Howard, anyway?” “The man that brought you to me?” Careful this time, Cam nodded. “He told us when we were notified to come and be with you and your sister that he had to take care of some loose ends. I didn’t think he was the sort of man who shared well, so I didn’t ask. Would you like to go and see your sister? Like I said, she’s doing better, but not as well as everyone hoped she would.”
“Yes. Can I be moved yet?” Jake told him that it was up to him, but he’d take a wheelchair until he was stronger. “All right. You said my mom was close? And with your mate? Is she capable of keeping my mom safe?” “He. And yes, he’s a tiger.” Cam said that he was sorry. “No need to be. It’s something that everyone does. Forrest, my mate, he said that they’re coming up now. And I’m to understand that you have the ability to talk to people, far reaching. I’ve been told to advise you to hold off on that for a while. They need to see who they can trust here.” “All right.”
The wheelchair was brought in and his mom and Forrest came in as well. Once they had Cam in the chair, which was not nearly as easy as it sounded, he was taken down the long hall to his sister’s room. The other couple came out of the room just as they got there. “Cam, these are friends of mine, Henry and Paddy. They’ve been keeping an eye on Cattie for you. Henry is a wolf.” Cam was rolled right up to the bed when they entered the room. No one said anything to him, but Jake had a feeling that the man was giving a bit of himself to his sister. Howard, the man that had brought them here, had said that Cam was very strong, and stubborn too. Just let him do what he felt that he needed. Jake looked at Forrest when he came to stand by him. He asked if he’d heard anything more. “Nothing as yet. I have been reading over the reports on the grocery store.” Cam turned to him and asked him what he’d heard.
“Just bits and pieces. And your friend Howard, he’s been giving us what he can. I’m not sure, but I think that he wanted to get permission from you before he told us too much.” “More than likely. What did he tell you about me?” Jake told him that there really hadn’t been much. He was an FBI agent, his sister was a cop. “Nothing about what I am? What I can do?” “No. Just enough to tell you not to reach out to people if you can help it. And that you are very powerful.” Jake watched him carefully. He didn’t want him to weaken himself more by being out of bed. But Howard had told them that if they took him right away to see her, he might rest easier. “What are you, if I can ask?” “I’m nothing that you’ve encountered before. I’m a little of everything. And some of that is pretty nasty shit. About twenty or so years ago, I was hit by a car. Completely my fault. The closest hospital was a clinic for shifters.
They sort of pumped me up with everything they had in their arsenal to save my life.” He didn’t say any more, just kept looking at his sister. “I’ve been on medical leave from the bureau for some time now. They’re trying to convince me to come back, but I just don’t have it in me anymore. It’s overwhelming, being what I am.” “My son is a good boy.” Cam smiled at his mom when she spoke. “Both my children are good people. And this thing that brought them here, I’m only just hearing about it. What would you like to know? I can tell you what I’ve heard from your father, but after that, he’ll have to tell you. The store that you were in, it was a set up. Not for you—you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But they wanted Cattie gone.”
“I figured as much.” Jake looked at Cam when he asked him why he’d thought that. “I’ve been reading over reports of the incident. Most of what I have, its things that not even your police have. A lot of it is from friends I have that can move in and out of places that no one else can. Or so I think. Anyway, Quincey, a vampire, has been looking around as well. He said that your sister, Cattie, knows him.” As soon as he said her name, she looked at him. She had the most beautiful eyes, the color of very old emeralds. Jake could see her pain—she wore it as if it were a second skin, one that she’d gladly strip out of. When she looked at Cam, he could see the resemblance and the love they had for each other. Trust too. Then something occurred to him. “You’re twins.” Cam nodded, and Cattie did as well. “You have a bond, too, that others in your situation don’t have, don’t you? This arsenal you talked about, some of it is in her as well.” “Yes. You’re very good. But yes, when I was on the bike, a regular bicycle, she was with me when I was hit. I went up and over the car that hit me and landed on my head. Cattie wasn’t hurt, but she didn’t leave my side. And because of the bond that we had before, she shared some, but not all of what I got.” Cam pushed his chair around so that he could face them.
Jake could see that he was mending quickly now, and so was Cattie. “By the time my parents were notified, I had been hurt for several hours. When they got to my side, the damage was already done. As in they had already changed me because of how close I was to dying. I’ve been laying low since I turned twenty-five. That was when the shit really kicked in.” “Cameron.” He apologized to his mom. “You should want to make a good first impression. There is no telling what might have happened to you had these people not stepped in to hide you. But as I was saying, from what we’ve been able to piece together, they were there to take out Cattie. For what, we just don’t know at the moment. But when Cam walked into the store, something that he hasn’t done in a while, they decided to take them both out—as far as we can understand, anyway. The robbery was just a ruse to get your sister to the scene.”
“I was specially called to hit the store. I was just going off duty when the call came in and my boss told me to go with them. That he’d cover the overtime.” Cattie looked at Jake, and he knew that she understood what he’d done. Jake had already seen and talked to the captain of the station through Henry, and his ability to talk to the dead. Shaking her head, she asked him to confirm what he was sure she already knew. “He’s dead, isn’t he?” “Yes. Quincey. He said that you’d understand.” Cattie nodded. She might understand, but he didn’t. “May I ask why they wanted either or both of you dead? I mean, I’ve been reading over some of the paperwork that was taken from the captain’s desk, and he seemed to think you were an all right person. He did have pressure from the higher ups, but that didn’t call for killing either of you. I can only assume, and I have a feeling that I’m right, they didn’t care for the number of cases that you close. With the help of Cam, I’m betting.”
“Yes, that’s right. But that was what you were supposed to find.” Quincey came in and kissed Cattie on the forehead and shook the hand of Cam. They were both getting better—the cuts on her face were nearly gone, and Cam was standing up now. Quincey handed him another thick file as he continued. “That is curtesy of his home. There is a room that no one found when they were searching his place after he was killed.
And to the public, so that you know, he committed suicide. But he’s been dirty since before he got out of the police academy. And more than likely before then.” “Why?” Everyone turned to Paddy when he asked the question. “I know a great deal about how a house is run and have even been in on a dirty one or two in my career. But this one, it seemed to be on the up and up without anyone on the take. And believe me when I tell you, I looked hard to find it. There just didn’t seem to be anything there.” “For the most part, most of the cops were on the up and up, as you called it. There were only a few, the captain for one, that were dirty. His dirt was going to take down the entire place, sadly. And we think, just from what we’ve found out recently, that he needed Cattie dead to get her out of the way of something coming soon. Or at least that’s what I’ve surmised so far.” Cattie got out of the bed and started stretching and moving round the room while Quincey continued. “But as to why they wanted her dead, I’ve not been able to find out much more than that she was the target in all this. Sadly, a lot of people lost their lives when the building blew. But their families are being well compensated.”
“So, let me get this straight, because this is just too much at once for me.” Jake smiled at Forrest when he winked at him. “So, this super cop, Cattie, is a target for some reason. These people, I’m assuming the ones that wanted her dead, are robbing a store to bring her on the scene. I’m assuming that they were going to kill her off, and make it look like she was shot in the line of duty. Then her brother shows up, another super person, and it all goes to shit. But, as far as the public is aware, both of them are dead as well. Correct so far?” “Yes, but you’re missing one important element. No one—no one on her force or the people that I worked with—is aware that I’m anything more than a man who had to take some time off to heal from a job gone south.” Jake could see the pain on Cam’s face. “I shot and killed a kid. Not that it was an accident—it was him or me, quite literally. When he pointed the gun at me and fired, I returned fire, and he was dead, and I was shot too. I’ve been healing since then. It’s been about eight months now. I have no intentions of going back.”
It was so final that no one said anything. Jake could understand it better than most, not wanting to go back to the same thing day after day. Going into partnership, both business and personally, with Forrest had given him a much better outlook on his whole life. And he loved Forrest for it. ~*~ Cam walked the halls of the place they were staying. He’d come to figure out that it wasn’t a hospital, at least not now it wasn’t. The place had been closed down years ago, but still operated quietly when it was needed. He’d have to ask Howard if they needed
any funding to keep it afloat. He knew that without this place, he and his sister would be dead. There were no other patients in the place but him and Cattie. The staff that was there—very few now—was all in some way involved with keeping the public in the dark about what sort of place it was. Quincey, he knew, now owned not only the building, but also about five hundred acres that surrounded it. Cam came to the conclusion that not only was it not known to the people that were nearby, but they didn’t know that there was even a building within the electrified fencing.
“I’ve been thinking.” He smiled at his sister when she came out of the room she’d been in. “Don’t say it. I’m really confused about what is going on with my job. I mean, who would want to go to this much trouble to see me dead?” “You mean besides me?” She punched him in the arm. “I’ve been thinking on that too. You said that your boss, Captain James, told you to go on this mission, even though you were supposed to be getting off. I wish I could have a long conversation with the bastard to see just how much money he made off of this. And see if hell takes that kind of currency.” “I think we can get that. But you’re right. It seemed strange to me, even when the call came in. I mean, we’re not cops, not the kind that goes out on this sort of thing. We’re the ones that go after the scum of the earth. Drug dealers, as well as prostitution and counterfeit shit.” She looked around to see if their mom was close. Even though they were both in their early thirties, they were terrified of their mom—with good reason. She was their mom, but she had a mean streak in her when they didn’t live up to her expectations. “Why did he think that I wouldn’t have questioned him about it?” “Did you?” She said that she had tried, but he was practically shoving her out the door. “I’ve been thinking on why I was there too. You know as well I do that I don’t go out unless it’s dire. I mean, being out of lettuce? I haven’t any idea why it was so urgent that I go out then. I was thinking that your nervousness of this, it called out to me in some way, and that’s how I ended up there. Even though you didn’t contact me, I still felt the need to be with you. I wasn’t even surprised that I’d walked into something. Understand?”
“Yes. And so you know, I did think about you while I was waiting on things to be set inside. I was worried about what you’d think of me being there.” He nodded and took the turn at the next left. He needed to regain his strength, and this was helping him. “So, this thing that we can do—I guess we can add being able to contact each other without contacting each other.” “I’ll put that on our to do list.” He moved down the hall, her beside him every step of the way. “Cattie, what do you think of the people that are here? The couples. Why them? I mean, it’s not like they’re anyone we’ve dealt with before. I’ve been wondering why Quincey, or even Howard for that matter, had them come to help us.” “Have you talked to Howard yet?” He said that he’d not. “Me either. I did remember seeing him there, when we were taken away. But not much before or after that. Quincey, he’s been telling me for a while now that I need to beef up my own security. I guess he was right.”
“Yes, I’d say that he was. By the way, you had a lovely funeral.
Did you see it on the television?” Cattie said that she’d purposely missed it. “The mayor had so many good things to say about you. He sort of glossed over me being killed too. I think that the bureau had asked him to do that. I’ve not tried reaching out to him yet. Have you contacted anyone?” “No. I’m trying to lay low.” They were picking up speed as they came down the next hallway, almost at a jog. “Cam, I have to say, I’m a little worried about Mom and Dad—especially Dad. Did you hear that he got called away last night? Why? The man has been retired for years. Why are they calling him out on jobs after all this time? I have a feeling that it’s not work, and he’s in trouble again.” He knew, but he didn’t want to tell Cattie just yet. Cam, too, had been laying low, but he was much better at searching minds than she was, so he had been picking brains for the last several hours. Cam turned the next corner and came to a sudden stop. There stood Howard. Cam hadn’t seen the man in weeks before he’d called to him to come for Cattie. He looked worried, overworked, and closer to his age.
The man was ancient, but you’d never know it to see him. The magic of being a vampire had kept him looking much younger than he really was. “I’ve some news for you both, but I’d rather wait until the troops are here to listen in too. Jake and Forrest, they’ve been taking good care of the two of you?” They both said that they had and asked when they were going to get out of there. “Not for a while yet. I like you both being presumed dead. I think in the long run it will keep you alive longer. What did the doc say about your noodle, Cam? Anything come up?” “Nope, just as brainy as ever.” He had hit his head in the bike accident, and it had been why the people at the clinic had poured all they had into him. His brain—unlike most people, Cam used every part of it. That was the magic that he’d gotten when he’d been hit by the car. “I do have a couple of questions for you concerning the others here. Not anything bad, but I would like to know why them. Why now?” “I can answer that one for you. You remember Jenna Winslow?” They both said that they did. “She was the long-lost daughter of Quincey. And Jake, he’s the grandchild of Jenna, and great-grandson of Quincey. The child that they’re raising is half-sister to Jake. The line of familiarity is why he trusts them more than he does even me. And we go back further than anyone I know. Forrest was her attorney and is the mate to Jake. The other two are good friends to them both. That’s the connection to all four of them.” “So, Quincey has them come here, taking care of us and making sure that—what? We’re not killed. Doesn’t that put them in harm’s way? I’d hate to see them hurt because of this crap.” He agreed with his sister, but Howard had more.
“They’re immortal? Because of their connection to Quincey? I guess that makes sense.” “Quincey told me that up until a few weeks ago, he’d been protecting his grandson, Jake. He kept him in the dark, and those around him, about the fact that he’s more vampire than human with some of his magic. As soon as Quincey removed the protection, right after Jenna was killed, he talked to him about it and then took the protection away. Jake has become good with the magic—a great deal of it, I guess—that
he inherited from Quincey, but he’s still getting used to it. Jake and Forrest both took it fairly well. And the baby sister, she’s not all human either.” Cam said that was a lot for anyone to take in. “You don’t know the half of it, I’m afraid. Jenna, if you recall, had been murdered by her son, father to Jake. Jacob has been sentenced to five life terms for his part in not just his mother’s death, but a few other things that had been unearthed by his son. It’s a long and terrible story, but you can see where the connection is now.” “Sounds too messy not to be true.
” Howard nodded at him. “All right. That explains that. But how much longer are we going to have to be hidden away? While I like it here because there aren’t a lot of people, I’m going just a little stir crazy. I know that Cattie is as well.” “We need to keep you dead, as I said, for just a little longer. But you’ll be happy to know that as of yesterday, there is a track that Quincey had put in for the two of you to run on. And there is equipment that you can use to get some of your strength back in the lower levels.” Cam thanked Howard. “Don’t thank me, it was Jake. He said that he knew that you two were getting antsy.” By the time Jake and Forrest got there, he and his sister had ordered their lunch. The kitchen here was five-star, Howard told them, and to order whatever they wanted. The magic again, he was told, would get them just about anything they wanted. Cam took them up on that offer and ordered a thick steak and all the trimmings. Cattie did the same, but she ordered pie too. His sister loved pie. He thought that she might like it better than she did him at times.
They were sitting at one of the large tables in the dining room when Howard came in to have a talk with them all. He had news, none of it good, but it was things that they had to hear. His dad showed up about an hour after the meeting started, and he looked broken. Instead of asking him what had happened, he touched his mind to see what else their father was hiding from them. His dad had been in trouble before—a great deal of it. While he loved the man very much, he didn’t really trust him, and hadn’t for a long time. It was just after Cam’s last day of work, all those months ago, that he’d begun to see his father in a different light.
And had it not been for Cam’s intervention, they would have lost their family home, Mom would have been out on the streets, and Dad would have been in prison. When Dad looked at him, Cam let him. He didn’t hide the fact that he didn’t want his father around him. He knew that he should have talked to Cattie about him, let her know what he was up to now. But he’d been putting it off for some time now. Cam supposed that he hoped that his father would change. He had, but not in a good way. Orval Henderson was in way over his head, and it was going to get him killed if he didn’t get his shit together. And Cam knew that it was going to be next to impossible for him to pay off the debts that he’d racked up, gambling on everything this time— including his children’s lives. His dad figured that Cam had gotten him out of it once, and that he’d continue to do so. But he wouldn’t. Not again.