The pair of warriors he wanted to see appeared at the far end of the corridor, fresh from their night’s sweep of the city. “Anything to report?”

“Just a typical Friday night in Boston,” Elijah said in his smooth Texas accent. “Which is saying a lot, based on how things have been going around here lately.”

“And my daughter?” Chase pressed.

Jax shook his head, his almond-shaped eyes solemn. “No sign of her at La Notte, sir.”

“Was the cage fighter there?” At the warriors’ nods, Chase let out a sharp curse. “Then so was she. Carys probably hid from you the instant she spotted you inside the place.”

And Chase ought to know his daughter had the skill to evade anyone she had a mind to. The fact that she could bend shadows to her bidding was an extrasensory gift she’d inherited from him, after all. Damn it.

As he considered sending the men back out for another fly-by of the illegal sport club, just to get a visual confirmation that his child was still in the city and still in one piece, he sensed a shift in the air behind him.

Tavia had come out to the hallway now.

She smiled warmly at the two warriors, who greeted their commander’s blood-bonded mate with deferential nods. “Is everything all right out here?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Eli replied.

Jax’s head bobbed in agreement.

“They were just reporting in on the night’s patrol,” Chase said.

“You mean, reporting in on your nightly surveillance of our daughter.”

He didn’t bother to deny it. Tavia knew how concerned he was for Carys living on her own now. Not simply because she was his only daughter, but because of the dangers lurking in Boston and around the world of late. Dangers few but the Order were fully aware of.

Tavia worried too, but she must have been made of stronger stuff than he was. In the weeks since Carys had moved out of the family Darkhaven, Tavia had reconciled with the fact that their daughter was a grown woman who should be allowed to make her own choices.

As much as Chase hated it, there was nothing he could do. She was an adult, and he had to hope that what he’d taught her in life had not only stuck, but taken root.

He glanced at the pair of warriors and cursed. “Maybe I should send them back out to pick her up and bring her home where she belongs.”

Tavia crossed her arms. “And then what? Chain her to the banister? She’d never stand for us dictating her life like that, and you know it. We’d lose her for good.”

“We still might if we don’t keep her where we can protect her.”

“From what I’ve heard about her friend, Rune—”

“Friend?” Chase scoffed. “Gutter-bred, cold-blooded killer, according to his reputation. She can do a hell of a lot better than some cage-fighting bastard looking for another conquest outside of the arena.”

“Carys seems to see something more in him than his reputation,” Tavia gently reminded him. “Nathan and Jordana have spent time with Carys and Rune. They both said he appears to care deeply for her. That he’s protective of her too. It sounds to me like he loves her, Sterling.”

Chase nearly choked on the idea. “He’d better hope nothing happens to our girl—by him or anyone else he might associate with. As for Carys, I still say she belongs with us. Especially now. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten what happened to Cassian Gray last week, or the fact that Carys was nearly swept into that whole ordeal with Jordana.”

No, of course his mate wouldn’t have forgotten. Aside from the fact that Tavia’s unique extrasensory gift was a flawless photographic memory, no one in the Order would forget the circumstances of La Notte’s club owner’s murder by Atlantean soldiers, or the kidnapping of Jordana soon afterward.

Tavia rested her hand on Chase’s forearm. “We raised two very strong-willed, hard-headed children, my love. If we wonder where it came from, we only have to look in the mirror.”

At his grumbled acknowledgment, Tavia leaned toward him and kissed his cheek. “We have guests in the other room. Come back inside and try to be sociable. Leave that scowl out here in the hallway and let’s spend some time with our friends.” She smiled at the pair of warriors. “Eli, Jax.”

“Ma’am,” they replied in unison.

After Tavia had slipped back into the living room, Chase asked, “Have you seen Nathan and Jordana tonight?”

Jax nodded. “They were in the command center operations room with Aric when we came in a minute ago.”

Chase had deliberately kept Carys’s twin brother off the patrols that would take him to the club where Rune fought. Aric shared his father’s opinion that Carys was only going to get hurt. Not long ago, he’d tried to discourage her from seeing Rune and as a result, his children were hardly speaking to each other anymore.

Chase heaved a sigh. “Ask Jordana and Nathan to come see me in about an hour. I have a favor to ask of them.”

With the two warriors dismissed, Chase went back to the room where Tavia was chatting with Mathias Rowan and his Breedmate, Nova, who had arrived a short time ago from London.

Chase had known Mathias from their days together in the Breed’s Enforcement Agency in Boston. That was more than twenty years ago, but the two men had remained close friends and both now served the Order as district commanders of their respective regions.

Chase had never seen his comrade more obviously contended and happy than he was sitting next to Nova. The contrast between the couple was striking—straitlaced Mathias and the tattooed, blue-and-black haired spitfire at his side. Nova’s colorful inked arms were encased in a sheer black blouse tonight that made the unusual beauty look both elegant and rebellious. And Mathias was clearly smitten with her. He’d been holding Nova’s hand all night, hardly able to take his eyes off his mate.

The Darkhaven’s third guest was also from London, and had been visiting Tavia and Chase for the past couple of days. Pretty, sable-haired Brynne Kirkland was an investigator with the Joint Urban Security Taskforce Initiative Squad. While the Order and members of the Breed/human law enforcement group had a prickly relationship at best, Brynne’s trip to Boston hadn’t been in an official JUSTIS capacity.

She had come to spend time with her half-sister, Tavia.

The women had found each other about a decade ago, both Breed females born in a madman’s lab as an experiment in blending various Breedmate DNA with the DNA from the last-surviving Ancient forebear of the Breed. The result had produced the Breed’s first females in existence.

There had been several daywalkers like Tavia and Brynne from that experiment who had survived to adulthood, but all were raised apart from one another in secret and most remained lost. Tavia and Brynne had been working to locate their sisters, and in the process had forged a special bond.

Tonight’s gathering was supposed to be pleasant, casual. Chase’s expression must have resembled a thundercloud.

“Problems in the city?” Mathias asked.

Tavia arched a brow, a smirk dancing at the corner of her mouth. “Some of us are still trying to adjust to parenthood, even after twenty years of practice.”

Mathias and Nova shared a look. His grin widened. “In that case, I guess we’d better start collecting tips and advice now.”


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