Wolf shifter Connor Maxim is a law-abiding citizen. His motto: Keep the peace. Protect the Pack. His firm, Maxim Securities, had been created for this purpose. His honor will be tested when he’s called to deliver on his vows.
The homicide rate escalates to an all-time high on Pack territory, and all evidence points to two prevalent wolf Packs: the Caedmon and the Arnou. The Feds give the leaders of both Packs an ultimatum, and a three-day deadline. They must find the source of the murders before the Feds intervene.
When a police raid goes awry, Connor’s world collides with that of Antonia Trudeau’s. Under the guise of a striking spitfire of a woman—who happens to be his mate—is a criminal with a healthy rap sheet. He must decide if love is worth more than duty and honor.
Antonia circumvents more than just the laws…she captures Connor’s heart.
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“Connor, what the heck is going on out there?” Conner Maxim, Sr.’s gruff voice boomed throughout the small office. “Murdered remains of men and women are showing up all over the country with higher than normal occurrences right here in Virginia! My boss is all over my ass about handing over any leads and connections to the Packs.”
“What leads do you have?” Connor asked, raising his gaze to meet his dad’s and giving him a knowing look.
“Most of the bodies were shifters. Both Caedmon and Arnou. If we can’t handle our cleanups and messes, we’ll have the humans all up in our shit. I can’t hold them off any longer.”
“Dammit.” Unable to keep his rising frustration at bay, Connor clenched his fist on the desk. His fellow kind were being murdered like utter vermin and left to rot in city dumpsters and desolate streets. “I thought the order between the Packs were restored. Why are we being murdered still?”
“Maybe another group has retaliated. I don’t know.” Maxim, Sr. sighed deeply.
Rising from his chair, Connor moved to stand next to the large windows and looked down twelve stories at the busy streets below. Even at this late evening hour, cars, buses, and pedestrians still crowded the well-known business district. Connor’s office was on the thirteenth floor of a fifteen story office building. A national bank and a popular law firm also called the building home.
Closing time for most of the businesses had happened less than an hour ago, so most people were out fighting traffic and maneuvering through parking garages trying to leave work for the day. The cleaning crew hadn’t made nightly rounds yet, but they’d be here soon.
Just like any other workday, Connor remained behind after hours working through his case load and answering inquiries. The rest of the inquiries would have to wait until later. This matter was imperative. By the tone and urgency of his dad’s voice, they were running out of time to gain control of the issue.
Connor rubbed the tension at the back of his neck, ground his teeth together and turned around to face his father. “What you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. The main perpetrator responsible for stripping wolf shifters of their souls was executed months ago following the union of both Packs.”
Maxim, Sr. plopped down in the high-back leather chair in front of his desk. “If it’s not the witch, who could be behind this?”
“The witch had followers,” Connor said in a low voice, clutching the edge of the desk. “If this is the case, if they’re the ones behind it, the situation is being handled. This is Pack business and not the humans’ concern.”
“Pack members were found slaughtered in wolf form. Not stripped, but intentionally shot and killed,” Maxim, Sr. said.
Connor paused. There had been no known accounts of wolf shifters being stripped while in their real form. Last he had heard, that wasn’t possible. And unless gears had shifted after the witch’s death, the focus had always been on taking the souls of wolves, not ending their lives.
This wasn’t good. This wasn’t good at all.
“I’ll need time to investigate. I—”
“Like I said, I won’t be able to hold the Feds off from intervening for long. The incidents are becoming too frequent, and news reporters are beginning to get suspicious. They are quick to blow a story out of proportion.” Maxim, Sr. narrowed his gaze, his thick grey eyebrows coming together just above his nose. “Do you want to risk discovery to the general public? People aren’t ready for that. Not now. Have a meeting with the Caedmon Alpha.” He threw his hands up. “Fuck! Have a meeting with Tristan Arnou for all I care. I don’t think either of the Alphas wants human authorities up their ass at this point. Come to think of it, I don’t think they want the authorities in their business at all.”
Conner’s father was more than thirty years his senior. Although, he was a human, he was the man who’d raised him and structured his lucrative and low profile career as one of the few liaisons between the government and the wolf shifter Packs. Conner’s purpose was simple: he had a duty to keep the peace and protect the Packs. It was his honor to ensure continuity of the shifter race, no matter where his allegiance rested. In future years to come, he wanted to raise a generation of children who would covet the same values.
“Look, Dad…” Connor finally sat down in the chair behind his desk. Maxim Sr. had been on edge the moment he’d barged through the doorway, which had sent Connor straight to attention since his father hardly ever came out in person anymore. “Hold them off as long as you can. What we’re dealing with right now are two Alphas who are bloodthirsty and will immediately kill anyone who crosses them. Both leaders have been burned by traitors, and now is not the time to test their limits. Keep the human authorities at bay as long as you can.”
Maxim Sr. straightened in his chair. “You know how the Feds work. There’s a deadline. After three days, I won’t be able to convince them that the Pack leaders have everything under control any longer.”
Connor scrubbed his palm down his face. “Alpha Devin is away on Pack business at the moment. It could be a few days before I can reach him.”
“You need to reach him now. What about his Council?”
“I’d much rather report to and receive orders from the Alpha himself, but if I must, I’ll consult with his Second.” Connor linked and unlinked his fingers on the desktop. “We’ve earned this right to live in secrecy and within the rules of our society. Don’t make any rash decisions, Dad. Not until I give the word.”
Maxim Sr. grumbled under his breath. “You’re patient, son, but I am not. In three days time, I need some answers.”
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