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Alaskan Tigers Book Sixteen
Needing to know the truth, Amabel Lambert travels across the country to meet with someone who she believes will give her information about her father’s unusual business dealings. Something has changed and now she’s being stalked. Instead, she finds two men who want to whisk her away to Alaska. They claim it’s to protect her but there seems to be more they’re not telling her.
Grandy’s first mission with the Shifter Peace Keepers turns out to be more unsettling than he expected. It was supposed to be a simple mission—locate Amabel and obtain the information she had. Only it becomes more challenging when the trio is formed, connecting them as mates. His first instinct is to protect her and allow her to keep her secret if it brings her that much pain, but he has to think of shifters as a whole as well.
Brought along on the mission because of his previous run-ins with Amabel, Everett isn’t sure what to expect. He’s a solitary shifter, not a team player like Grandy. When it’s revealed he’s supposed to be mated with Amabel and Grandy, he must find a way to move beyond his past and become comfortable surrounded by others.
Minutes ticked by as Grandy watched the computer screen, the rest of the Shifter Peace Keepers team scattered around his suite. Something tugged at his beast, keeping his gaze glued to the woman on the screen. This mission had barely started but something seemed off. He’d been watching her since she got off the plane hours ago and if he’d been asked to describe her in one word, it would have been innocent. She appeared to be too naïve to know anything about the Washington D.C. Tigers. How was a woman who knew what they were capable of walking around completely unaware of her surroundings? It didn’t make sense.
“Grandy, you and Everett will enter the room first. Everett will wake her and if she causes problems, the rest of the team will move in.” Brooklynn glanced to Frost and Tad, her two right-hand men. They divided the position of second-in-command, each assisting in different roles while making the leadership aspect stronger. “Frost is ready with a sedative. If it comes to it, we’ll sedate and transport her somewhere else. Causing a scene here will get back to her father, so we must avoid that at all costs.”
“The plane is ready and standing by. If we can’t go back to the compound, we can go to the Browns’ holiday cabins.” Tad leaned against the wall, looking relaxed, but everyone in the room knew he was as ready for this as everyone else.
“Amabel is levelheaded but she’ll…” Everett’s words trailed off as the others looked at him.
Forcing his gaze from the sleeping woman, Grandy glanced at the other man. He wasn’t part of the team but had joined them on this mission because of his connection to Amabel and her father. As a former lone shifter as well, Grandy understood Everett’s uneasiness with everyone staring at him. “Go on. She’ll what?”
“She’ll talk to us. If she has the information and you can convince her you’ll put an end to them, she’ll give it to you.” Everett’s gaze stayed on Grandy, as if trying to forget the others were in the room with them. “She might recognize me but she doesn’t know me.”
“What does that mean?” Brooklynn asked. “Obviously, she doesn’t know you’re a shifter. But you say that as if there’s more.”
“She doesn’t know he was a hired killer for her father.” Grandy kept his gaze on the other man, watching for any reaction. The slight jerk of his shoulders let Grandy know he was right. “I know all about your past. I’ve been working with Connor—our wolf geek—expanding my computer skills in case we need it on a mission. Yeah, I researched you. You were coming in on this mission because Milo knew your connection to Amabel’s father, but to the rest of us, you’re an unknown.”
“I’ve never hidden the choices I’ve made.” Everett’s gaze dropped from Grandy.
“You weren’t open about them either.” Brooklynn rose from where she’d been sitting on the edge of the bed. “Even after I interviewed you back in Alaska you never mentioned this. Why?”
“I assumed you knew.” Everett’s tone was low. “Milo told your Alpha, so I assumed the information trickled down to you.”
“We don’t have time for this now,” Frost reminded them. “We need to make our move while she’s asleep. It’s the best way to ensure she doesn’t scream when strange men barge into her room.”
“He’s right,” Tad agreed. “We want to be out of here before the sun comes up, otherwise, someone might spot her leaving with us.”
“None of us are in a place to judge him. If we haven’t taken a life yet, we know it’s a possibility of our job. Neither of those he killed were innocent. That’s all that matters now.” As Grandy spoke, he glanced back at the screen and noticed the woman hadn’t moved. He rolled his shoulders and let his hand brush along the gun in his waistband, carefully hidden from view, before he turned his attention to the team’s leader, Brooklynn. “Ready when you give the orders.”
“This conversation isn’t over.” She eyed Grandy before nodding. “Let’s do this. Remember what I said, this needs to be quiet.”
With a nod, Grandy looked to Everett. This was the moment the team had been preparing for. Hours of extra training had been added on to their normal routine to ensure the team was ready for their first official mission. Now here it was and Grandy wasn’t even going in with a team member, but a lone bear shifter. Doesn’t matter, the team is close. They still have my back.
* * *
A hand touched Amabel’s shoulder, jarring her out of a restful sleep. “Aah!” Her eyelids sprang open and she scooted away. It was too dark to see anything more than a figure standing there. She reached for the lamp next to her bed and felt nothing. It took her a moment to realize she wasn’t home and when she did, fear sped her heart rate. “Who’s there? What do you want?”
“Don’t scream, Amabel.” A deep voice came through the darkness as someone leaned down. She wasn’t sure if it was toward the bed to get closer to her or not, but as the light clicked on, she realized his intention.
With light filling the room, she remembered the bedside lamp was mounted to the wall, not on the stand like in her room at home. If she hadn’t been terrified, she’d have remembered it sooner. But with a strange man in her hotel room, her thoughts hadn’t gotten to that yet.
As if remembering what was happening, she focused on him. His large imposing figure stood too close, but he didn’t move toward her. Her gaze traveled up his toned chest toward his face, and her mouth opened in surprise. She’d recognize those dark brown eyes anywhere. The way he looked at her as if he was peering into her soul brought every cell in her body alive.
“Everett?” Clutching the sheet to her chest, she stared up at him. “What are you doing here? Did my father send you? How did you get in here?”
“You really should latch your door.” Another voice drew her attention away from Everett.
“Who are you? What do you want?” Seeing the other man sparked a fresh wave of fear through her. She didn’t know much about Everett but her father had warned her he was dangerous. Now she was alone, across the country from her father, with Everett standing in her room in the middle of the night with another man who appeared just as dangerous if not more so. Whatever was going on only spelled trouble for her. “Please…I…”
“That’s Grandy and we’re not here to hurt you,” Everett clarified. “Your dad doesn’t know I’m here. Trust me when I say he wouldn’t want me anywhere near his precious daughter. But damn, Amabel, what the fuck are you thinking coming out here by yourself?”
“You have no right!” Her voice rose as she scooted further away from him. “No right to question my decision and you certainly have no right to enter my hotel room in the middle of the night while I’m sleeping.”
“We wouldn’t have if there was another option,” Grandy spoke and she turned to look at him standing near the foot of her bed.
“What do you mean? You obviously knew I was here. You could have called the room or hell, even waited for me to leave.” In her experience, anger was always better than fear, so she embraced the rage roaring within her.
“We couldn’t do this in public and contact over the phone would have left a trail for someone to follow.”
“A trail?” Her throat tightened as she wondered if they were there to kill her. Why else would they be worried about a trail or being seen in public with her?
“We’re not the ones you need to be afraid of.” Grandy’s gaze centered on her as she stared up at him. “You have information we need, that’s all. No one is here to hurt you.”
“I don’t believe you.” She scooted closer to the far edge of the bed, toward the only weapon in sight—a heavy statue. She only hoped it wasn’t attached to the nightstand. “You could have knocked on my door rather than breaking in during the middle of the night.”
“Don’t.” Everett’s voice deepened, forcing her to look toward him again.
“You need to leave. Now!” Taking her gaze from him, she reached back and wrapped her fingers around the base of the statue, quickly bringing it closer to her.
A hand wrapped around her wrist, stopping her as she tried to raise the weapon. Her gaze shot to the man, finding Grandy standing before her. She couldn’t figure out how he’d made it around the bed as quickly as he had, but she wasn’t going down without a fight. She pulled her other arm back, ready to punch him. As she did, Everett knelt on the bed, quickly coming to her other side, his fingers wrapping around her wrist, stopping her before she could take the swing.
“Aah!” A moan tore from her lips as electricity shot through her. For a moment, she wondered if the shock was coming from the statue, but it seemed to come from within her, not centered around her hand. Still, she dropped the statue, letting it bang against the edge of the bed before falling onto the floor.
“Fuck!” Everett’s deep voice snarled as he sank down next to her.
“It burns…” Not understanding what was happening, she fought against their touch.
“Amabel.” Whispering her name, Grandy let go of her wrist but his gaze stayed on hers.
“What happened? Get away from me.” She pulled back, forcing Everett to let go of her wrist. She wanted to move away from them, but they were too close, blocking her in against the headboard. “What was that? Electrocuted, but how?”
Movement came from the door as more entered. Before she could take in what was happening, Grandy spoke. “Out! Now!” His tone was deep, as if warning them but it only sparked more panic in her.
A hiss came out of his throat, cutting off the only woman who entered. With wide eyes, Amabel stared at him, yet she didn’t try to move away. Something told her she was safer there between them rather than across the room.
“Give us time.” Everett glanced at the others. “We have it under control.”
“It didn’t look like it.” Another man spoke as the woman tipped her head toward the door, signaling them to leave.
“Who are they?” she asked as the door clicked shut behind them. Suddenly, she was more afraid of the people outside than those surrounding her.
“My team.” Grandy’s voice softened as he reached out to touch her but stopped before making contact. “They’re not going to hurt you. I promise.”
The fear she had moments before seemed to vanish. As strange as it was, she wasn’t afraid of him, at least not at that moment. Rather, she believed him when he said they wouldn’t hurt her. “I still don’t understand. What do you want from me? Why is there a team here after me?”
“So much more now, Amabel, so much more—”
Grandy shot Everett a glare, silencing him before he could continue.
“You have information we need,” Grandy explained. “Information on a group in the D.C. area. They wear black leather jackets with a huge tiger stitched on the back.”
Every muscle in her body tightened and she pressed herself back against the headboard, trying to make herself disappear. “I don’t know anything. Please…”
“Shh, sweets.” Grandy reached out to her again but as she cowered back from him, he dropped his hand without touching her. “You don’t need to fear us. We’re not here to hurt you.”
“Amabel, we’ll protect you.” As Everett spoke, she glanced toward him.
With his large frame next to her, she couldn’t help but compare him to a mountain. He appeared unmovable, dedicated. His dark brown hair and hazel eyes that seemed to look deeper into her made him appear more dangerous. She should be terrified, but there was a softness in his eyes now, making her wonder what she was missing.
“Dad warned me about you.” The words were out of her mouth before she thought them through. It wasn’t until his gaze dropped away from hers that she realized the impact her statement had on him. “I’m sorry.” She reached out to him but before she could touch him, he scooted out of reach.
“Don’t. Don’t apologize.”
“Amabel.” Grandy leaned forward, drawing her attention back to him. “I don’t know what your father told you, but Everett isn’t going to hurt you, neither of us are.”
“Funny, you breaking into my hotel room in the middle of the night doesn’t give me the same confidence.” She looked down at herself before meeting his gaze again. “Let me get dressed and we can talk about whatever brought you here.”
She had on an oversize T-shirt with her panties underneath, but she felt too naked. More than that, she wanted space away from them to get her thoughts in order and to stop them from hovering around her on the bed. It seemed too intimate for strangers who’d invaded her space in the middle of the night.
“It’s your father you should be afraid of. He warned you about me but stayed silent about the fact he’s involved with some very dangerous men. He’s going to get you hurt or worse if he’s not careful.” Everett shook his head and moved away from her. “You don’t mess with these people.”
“Everett,” Grandy snapped.
“No.” She scooted across the bed, moving closer to him. “What are you talking about? Who is he involved with? My dad might do many things, but he wouldn’t put me in danger and not tell me about it.”
“The group Grandy mentioned before, he’s on the take—”
“No!” After shooting off the bed, she rose to stand in front of him. Without thinking, she reached out, pressed her hands against his chest, and pushed against him. He was like a mountain, unmovable, but she continued to shove against his chest. “Get out! You have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Sweets.” Suddenly, Grandy was standing next to them. “If you need proof to trust us, we have it. Go ahead and get dressed. When you’re done, we’ll show you.”
“Trust you? Why should I? How does breaking into my hotel room establish any sort of trust?” she snapped, not taking her gaze away from Everett.
“Damn it, Amabel.” Everett stepped toward her, forcing her to back up. As her legs brushed against the edge of the bed, she turned, moving in the only direction she could, but it left her with her back against the wall. Even with nowhere left to go, he didn’t stop advancing on her. When he was directly in front of her, he placed his hands on the wall on either side of her, blocking her in. “Your father is feeding them information. Do you realize how dangerous this is for you? He’s your father, he’s supposed to protect you. Instead, you stand here protecting him when you know he’s in trouble. When you’re both in danger.”
“I…” Her words caught in her throat. Not so much out of fear but out of loyalty. She didn’t want to admit she believed him or that her father could do the things she suspected he’d done.
“Sweets, you don’t understand what these people are or how dangerous they are.” Grandy came up to her side. “I don’t think your dad realized the dangers he was getting both of you into. We can’t help either of you if you don’t give us the information you have.”
“Look at me.” Everett growled before taking a deep breath and letting it out again. “Amabel, you know me. We might not have been close, but we’ve spoken when I’ve visited your father. A few weeks ago, when he was late, you brought me a cup of coffee and kept me company while I waited for him. Did I make a move to hurt you then?”
The softness in his voice had her turning back to him. As their gazes locked, she found sadness in his eyes, making her want to reach out to cup the side of his face. What am I thinking? I don’t know him any more than I know this other guy.
“No,” she admitted. “Still, I don’t understand what you want from me.”
“We need you to trust us.” Everett’s voice was soft, not matching the hard man standing before her.
“Trust you? Are you serious? Why should I when—”
“Don’t even say we broke into your room again.” Grandy shook his head. “We explained that. We did it to protect you. If someone saw you talking to us and it got back to those in Washington D.C., it would put you in danger. We didn’t want that.”
“Maybe if you would have let me finish,” she snapped. “I was going to say you won’t even tell me what happened before. It was like I was electrocuted, but that can’t be right. By no means am I an electrician but the lights didn’t even flicker, yet the surge of energy that coursed through me was…”
“Sweets.” Grandy glanced at Everett and tipped his head toward her as he brought his hand back to her arm. “You mean this?”
As their fingers brushed along her skin, the sizzle of heat returned, making the hairs on her arms stand on end. The warmth seemed to come from their touch and expanded along her body almost like she’d just stepped in front of a heater while the air around them seemed to crackle as if charged.
This isn’t normal. What’s happening to me?