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Chapter One


Taggart watched the hall his partner was to come from. A woman. They sent a woman to help him keep watch of the island and get what they needed set up for the other Alliance warriors that were coming here. He had nothing against the gentler sex. In fact, he was very pleased with them in many ways. 


He looked down to see that the paper with the false name on it was upside down. Turning it around, he looked for this woman again. What did she look like, he wondered. He knew what tough women from his part of the world looked like, so he thought he would know it was her for sure. Checking the big clock, he realized he still had a few minutes before he would be meeting her. 


Turning, he scanned the area and looked for anyone that was watching him. It was probably not needed, but after twenty years of looking over his shoulder, he had to do it as much as he had to breathe to stay alive. Each day he was here on this continent, he was reminded that his decision was the right one to make. Not only was his sister now safe from the evil in their country, but the people here were like nowhere else. The other men that he worked with, the ones who had dared to defy all laws all these years, were also very happy with the decision to help the Shifter Alliance and carve new lifes for themselves. 


He smirked at nothing. The words in his head were so strange still, but he would continue to force himself to think in this English language because he was done speaking the tongue of the country that had allowed his clan to almost become—extinct; he believed was the word to use. 


Many peoples were walking down the hallway now. He straightened and watched all of the lady ones to see if he could find her before she saw his little piece of paper with her not real name on it. The first ones were old or too little to be Alliance fighter, so he looked some more. 


A beauty was walking out now. She had long brown hair and lips that asked for a man to taste them. He gave his head a quick shake. There was no time for loving the ladies now, even one so beautiful as her. He told his eyes to not look, but they still did. She came out and stopped and stood there, looking around. She was wearing a pretty blue dress with enough leg to see that his attention was having a hard time being somewhere else. At the bottom of those legs were white sandals shoes that left her delicate feet bare.  He moved slowly back to look at her face and was not unhappy to see she was looking at him—too bad, beauty. I have work to do.


Glancing in the window as she moved along the hall, Deva paused. Had she ever dressed like this? She looked like an office exec going on holiday, complete with ridiculous white sandals and a hat to match. She looked ridiculous and missed her boots—and her gun. Tucking the hat under her arm, she adjusted her carry-on bag.  Zain promised she’d have gear waiting for her here. He had better be right.


She walked out into the large area and looked around. She was still in shock about what had happened. One minute she’s on her way to meet one of the international team members, and then next, she’s meeting Foster, picking up her fake ID plane ticket, and shopping for clothes to take with her. Jesse told her she would get more details when she got here, and she hoped those came soon because she was freaking out a bit inside. Something big must have happened for the Alliance to fly her on a commercial flight to get here. 


She scanned the crowd of people hugging and greeting relatives, and then she spotted a man watching her. He was standing there, holding a piece of paper. There were too many bodies in here and too much space for her to try to scent if he was a shifter or not. She glanced at the paper again. It said, Parker.  She sighed. It was her fake last name. At least they sent someone to meet her.


He was not an errand boy, that much she knew. He was dangerous. There was no question about that. He had dark hair that looked like it was trained to stay neat, a few stray rebellious parts notwithstanding, and intense dark eyes.  She walked slowly in his direction. He was a large man, but not in a bulky way. She had no doubt he could handle himself in a fight. He wasn’t dressed like the tourists, with no light or bright clothes for him. He wore a black high-collared shirt under a black leather jacket, and pants and boots were also black.


He wasn’t going to take her seriously the way she looked right now. That annoyed her. Flipping her hair over her shoulder, she walked right up to him. “I guess that’s me.” She motioned to the paper he held. When he continued to just stare at her, she grinned. “And you are?”


He blinked. “I am Taggart. I will escort you to the house.” He gave an abrupt nod, pulled the bag right off her shoulder, and motioned to the door.


Deva started for the door. “We’re set up at a house?”


Taggart looked around. “We should not speak of this out in open.” He gave her a quick look.


A chill went down her spine, and she looked around slowly. Did he think someone knew they were here? Dammit, she missed her gun. She understood she couldn’t bring any weapons with her on the plane, but right now, she’d be happy with anything.


He led her to a small car and then opened the back door. She raised a brow and looked at him. “I’m sitting in the back?”


“To—ah, look as I am your driver.”


“Oh.” She smiled. “Okay, then.” She got in and watched him go around and get in the driver’s door. “My real name is Deva, by the way.”


He looked at her in the mirror. “Hello, Deva.”


When he continued to give her an intense look, she cocked her head to the side. “Is something wrong?”


He blinked, the intense look disappearing. “Wrong. No. I was to work with Sloane,” he pronounced the name slowly. “But he had to go to somewhere.”


Deva grinned, “she was needed for another op.”


“Sloane is a lady?” He pulled out into the traffic.


“Yes, she is.” Deva glanced behind them. “Was someone watching us back there?”


“Is better to be safe, ja?”


She blew out a breath. His accent was sexy, and that was bad for her. She liked the dangerous-looking men. Add an accent, and she might be in trouble. “Yes.” She finally answered. “So, we have a safe house we’re all staying at?”


“It is safe, sure.” His dark eyes connected with hers in the mirror. “I don’t know who we is to be, I have not meet anyone else.”


“Met, you haven’t met anyone else.” She clicked her teeth together. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to correct you. Bad habit.”


“Bad habit? Is good habit. My English needs all the helps.”


He smiled at her, and she cursed inside her head. His smile was a knockout level of sexy.


“I can not stop looking at you, beauty, Deva.” He paused until she looked at the mirror again. “I thought for me would never happen.” He smiled again. “I can not be happier it is you, Deva.”


She sat there for a minute. “You’re happy that I’m your partner for this op?” She shrugged. She didn’t care who she worked with as long as it was a success.


“That too, ja.” He turned down a street and started up a steep hill. “But I was speaking about my mate. My other—” He shook his head, “I do not know English word for it.”


Deva leaned forward, thinking she hadn’t heard him right. “I’m sorry, what?”


“My kass knew it when I smell your sweetness.”


“Your kass?”


He nodded. “My animal inside. It is—hold on, I know this one.” She watched the muscle in his jaw twitch. “Cat. Lynx.”


The way he said lynx was sexier than it should have been, and that bothered her. “Wait, you’re saying you think I’m your mate?” She shook her head. That was impossible.


“Ja. I no think. I know.”


She scowled at his reflection in the mirror for a moment, undid her seat belt, and slid to the edge of the seat. Leaning forward, she inhaled slowly and brought his scent into her body. Her cat was immediately right there. She looked at her arm, and she had goosebumps. Fantastic. Just what she wasn’t looking for.


“You see.” He smiled at her again. “You beauty, Deva, are for me.”


Deva sat back and then looked out the window. When she was a teen, she only dreamt about finding her fated mate. When she started working for the Alliance, she discovered that the world was cruel and no longer thought about fantasies like a perfect man for a mate. She glanced to see he was focusing on the road. Never once in all her dreams had her mate been a tall, dark, dangerous, sexy European man. Now what?


“We will be to house after. First, we stop to see Asher and—Journee. I have location for them.” He shrugged. “Such funny names here. I learn that journey was a trip, and now it is a name.”


Deva snorted. “Wait until you meet Tripp, then.”


The confused look on his face made her feel slightly better that fate had just tossed the biggest wrench she could find into this very important, game-changing op.

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