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he asked, turning to leave the unit, the compound, the city, the state and go after the ass**le and kill him.

“It was a shifter, Chris. Our human cover was blown,”

his father said, stopping him dead in his tracks.

“What the hell are you talking about, Dad?” he asked unnecessarily. If one shifter could find them then so could others. They’d prepared for this day, dreaded it, but here it was and during a war to make it just that much more perfect.

“We’ve abandoned our old lives, Chris. We didn’t have a choice,” his father explained.

“Are we changing our last name?” he asked, praying like hell that his father said no. He liked being Chris Williams, but more importantly, that would hopefully be the last name Izzy gave his daughter. He needed to hold onto that hope and why the f**k was he allowing himself to get attached to a child that he would never see, never mind didn’t want a few hours ago?

“There’s no point in doing that yet,” his father said and Chris nodded, deciding he’d worry about that later.

Right now he had bigger problems to worry about.

“Where are they?”

“We’ve taken over this wing. As long as we’re here, this our wing of the compound,” Ephraim said, walking over to the first apartment and scanned his hand.

“Joshua and Jill have taken over those two,” he said, gesturing towards the left. “So that leaves you with the choice of the three across hall.”

He didn’t want to pick a suite. He wanted, need to go home and force his mind on his job, but he knew that would never happen. Wherever his family was, he was.

The door was barely open before Ephraim was shoved out of the way and he had a seriously pissed off female Pyte in his face. Yup, it just kept getting better and better, he thought, wondering if she’d do him a favor and just knock him the f**k out so he wouldn’t have to miss his mate.

“I am not speaking to you,” she announced, her eyes bright red as she glared up at him.

“But you are.”

“I’m not.”

“Are you sure?”


“It sure feels like you’re talking to me,” he teased, drawing comfort from their friendship.

Her lips twitched, and just like that all the anger was gone and she was pulling him down for a hug. He wasn’t too surprised when she hit him upside his head for good measure.

“Don’t ever do anything that stupid again. You scared the hell out of your father,” she whispered in his ear before pulling away and going to Ephraim’s side.

He stepped past his father and found his sister Jill asleep on the couch with a book on her chest. “Where’s Grandma and Marc?” he asked, desperately needing to see his brother and make sure that he was okay.

“Your grandmother refused to leave the house,” his father explained and he couldn’t say that he was surprised or even blame her. It had been her home all her life. Besides, he also knew she didn’t want to hold them back in they had to make a run for it. If he didn’t already know that his father wouldn’t leave her there unprotected he’d be tempted to go get her and drag her here.

“Marc’s across the hall with Izzy. I was just about to-“

Whatever she said he didn’t hear or care. He was across the hall in less than a second pounding on the door.

When his brother answered the door wearing nothing more than a pair of jeans, he shoved the bastard aside and stormed into the large suite.

He looked around the open living room and kitchen space and nearly growled when he didn’t see his mate.

She better not be here. Madison better have made a mistake, because if Izzy was here he was going to personally drag her ass to the airport and put her on a plane.

She needed to be safe. Fuck that, he needed her to be safe.

“Where the hell is Izzy?” he demanded.

Joshua gestured towards one of the closed bedroom doors on the other side of the room. “She’s in there and I’m going back to bed,” Joshua grumbled as he yawned loudly and walked towards the bedroom behind them.

He had his brother by the arm before he set so much as one foot in the room. “You have your own suite. Why the hell are you sleeping here?” he demanded, not liking the idea of his brother sharing a living space with Izzy, even though she wasn’t staying here another minute.

“I don’t need a whole suite for myself and I don’t think Izzy wants to be alone yet,” he said, shrugging out of Chris’ grip and continued back to his room, but he wasn’t having that.

“She’s not alone, she has me,” he pointed out as he dragged his brother to the front door and shoved him out into the hall.

“Hey! Wait a minute, I-“

Chris slammed the door in his face.

“You bastard!”

“Get your own mate!” he snapped back.

“I don’t have to! I have yours!” his brother pointed out, laughing and Chris just barely resisted the urge to go after his brother and strangle him, but he had other matters to attend to at the moment.

He stormed towards the bedroom door and shoved the door open, not bothering to knock. His rage went up a notch when he spotted her sitting on the carpet with her back towards him in the surprisingly empty room since every room in the compound, even the ones barely used like the suites in this wing, were all furnished. For a moment he could only watch as his mate, little brother and Eric sat in a loose circle surrounded by several boxes of pizza, soda, and junk food while they played what appeared to be “Go Fish.”

“Do you have any sevens?” Marc asked Eric who was ignoring his hand as he stared down intently at a small notebook in his hands.

“No,” Eric said without looking.

“Yes, you do!” Marc said.

“No, I don’t.”

“You do!”

“How would you know?” Eric asked, taking his eyes away from the notebook to glare down at the little boy.

“Because I looked when you went to get more Cokes,”

Marc said proudly.

“Little sneak,” Eric said fondly as he quickly went through his cards and tossed the seven to Marc before the notebook once again drew his attention.

“Why can’t I have the IT boys set up the servers?”

Izzy let out a long suffering sigh as she turned around to search through the pizza boxes. If she spotted him she didn’t show it. “Do we really have to go through this again? Really?”

“It would be faster,” Eric mumbled pathetically as he accepted a slice of green pepper and onion pizza from Izzy.

“Would it make you feel better if I told you that I plan on making them do all the physical labor?” she asked, getting a slice of mushroom and meatball pizza for Marc and one for herself.

“Yes, yes it would,” Eric said, sounding relieved.

“I don’t know why you’re so worried. I told you that I wouldn’t take the old server down until I was ready to go.”

“You’re ready to go now,” Chris bit out, not sure who he wanted to throttle first. His mate who acted like she didn’t hear him or the bastard acknowledging him with a simple nod, who he trusted to get his mate to safety.

“Chris!” Marc yelled excitedly as he jumped to his feet and came running full blast into his arms.