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Chapter 1

Calla took the shirt off the rack and turned around so her back was to the sales associates. “How much longer am I supposed to wander around this mall?” She whispered.

“A woman that doesn’t like shopping?”

“Shut up, Beck, not all women like shopping.” Eaton’s voice came through the earpiece.

Calla smiled. “I like shopping. But I’ve been here for three hours now.”

“We’ll switch you out with Quinn when she gets here, Calla. You’re doing great.”

Calla turned around and put the shirt back on the rack and picked up the two bags. They’d suggested she buy some things to make it less suspicious. If anyone was watching her, she probably looked very suspicious because she spent more time looking around instead of at stuff for sale.

“Go down to the food court level and see if you can spot anyone out of place,” Beck told her.

Beck, Eaton, and a few others were outside watching the entrances of the mall while she wandered through it watching for a man who was a traitor to all of them. He was part of the reason Asher and Journee had lost their families. He was the reason Zain didn’t have one, and Illias was scarred. He was the reason she had volunteered to help find him.

She smiled at an excited little boy who was racing ahead of his mother. It had taken two months to track down the area he was in. In that time, the new US Alliance Headquarters was up and almost running. She’d gone down to visit with Zain and Oaklyn after the holidays and been allowed to help the reno team break down some walls. There was a training center set up on the second floor, with rooms for trainees or trainers to sleep in. The third floor was all offices, and Zain and Oaklyn turned the top floor into their home. She was so happy for them. After she’d heard about Zain’s life, she’d cried and then gotten so mad that something like that had happened. She’d asked Jesse if she could have a more active part in the fight to find and stop all involved in the ring that now spanned most of the globe. Now, here she was doing just that by wandering around a shopping mall.

She went down the escalator and scanned every direction as she did. “What am I supposed to do if I do see him?” She hadn’t even asked that.

“If I were there, I’d pull his spine out through his mouth.” Devin Addison growled.

Calla looked at her feet and tried not to smile. She didn’t blame him, but she’d never heard him like that before.

“We need him alive, son. That’s why you’re not there.” Shepard Addison said.

Calla stepped off the escalator and moved over to the left of it, trying to decide a direction. Sighing, she went over and sat on a bench and looked around. How was she supposed to know who was out of place? Had any of them ever been in a shopping mall before? Everyone looked, dressed, and acted differently. She looked down the hall that she figured was likely for a janitor’s room or supplies. She should have played the part of a cleaner moving freely through the building. No one would look twice at her then.

When she turned to check out the other direction, she saw two men walking quickly with a shorter man between them. Her heart jumped into her throat. She’d studied the picture enough to know she was looking at the man they were looking for.

“I see him.” She looked at the nearest entrance. It was from the parking level. “I think they came up from the parking garage.”

“Do not take your eyes off him,” Devin ordered.

Calla stood up and picked up her bags and then pulled her phone out of her pocket. The best way to blend in was walking while staring at your phone, she thought. “They’re going down past the food court area, to the hallway at the—” She looked around for the entrance signs. “—North parking lot.” She kept walking, trying to decide if she should follow them.

“What’s in that hall?” Eaton asked.

“Checking layout,” Dane answered.

Calla kept going. Did she go down the hall or just hang around at the end of it? What if there was another exit not marked?

“Three doors. One to the outer hall to the North Exit. One is storage, and the last one is staff area.” Dane informed them.

Calla stopped at the end of the hall and looked down it as they went into a door. She counted the doors. “There are four doors in this hallway. They just went in the second one on the left.”

“My schematics has three,” Dane said.

“Sir. It’s Nate. Sorry to break into this line, but we finally tracked down who owns that mall. It’s hidden with dummy corporations and was tied to Tomas…”


Calla looked behind her and then back down the hall. “I’m going to go see if I can figure out what’s behind that door.”

“Calla—Luka, and Quinn are on their way in now. Just go see if it’s locked and wait for them.” Eaton told her.

Calla nodded and quickly walked down the hall. She was sweating now, adrenalin coursing through her. She wanted her help to count for something. She was tired of being in the shadows. Pulling the scarf out of her jacket, she set it on the floor with the bags and went the last few feet to the door. She wasn’t lucky enough for there to be a window to look in. Reaching over, she gripped the doorknob, and it turned in her hand. “Unlocked.” She whispered. It couldn’t be some top-secret room if it were unlocked. She looked over her shoulder, hoping to see Luka and Quinn, but no one was there. Turning the knob completely, she pushed it open an inch and leaned to look through the space. There were crates and boxes stacked. That’s all she could see from this view. “It looks like storage of some kind.”

“Stay there. Don’t go inside.”

She nodded but opened the door a little further and leaned to look in. It was lit very well, but she could still see it was rows of crates stacked on top of each other. She could hear voices and leaned more of her body inside to listen. 

Glancing back down the hall, she still saw no one. “I hear people. I’m going to slip inside and take a look.” Holding her breath, she stepped inside the door and kept her hand in the opening so it didn’t close completely.

“A quick one, and then get your butt back out of there, Calla.” It was Zain. She had no idea he was on the call as well. That made her feel better. He would know she was helping find the one that was responsible for his losses. She didn’t answer because she didn’t want to be heard.

It sounded like someone was arguing. She decided to see if she could see who. The team outside would want to know what was going on. She tapped into her animal and made sure her steps were smooth and silent.  

When she reached the end of the row, she crouched down and leaned to see if she could see anyone. She was calmer than she thought she’d be doing this, but then again, her animal was a hunter, so it wasn’t too surprising.

The man they’d been searching for was standing there shaking his head and waving a hand around. “I don’t believe it. There’s no way.”

“I’m telling you, we went and checked it out. He’s gone.”

Calla kept her breathing slow and steady so she could hear them. Who was gone? More traitors?

Someone grabbed her from behind and lifted her up. Steel arms held her by the waist.

“And who are you?” A man said in her ear.

Calla struggled against his hold and in doing so, sucked in the scent of bear clan. Any other clan than that, and she could have broken his hold and got the hell out of here.

“Calla?” It was Eaton on the mic.

She leaned away from him so he wouldn’t see the earbud. “Put me down.” She growled loud enough that Eaton and anyone else on the call would hear her.

“Shit. Calla, get the earbud out of your ear. We’ll be there in sixty seconds.” Another woman said into it.

Calla slapped at the man’s arms and then reached up and quickly removed the piece from her ear.

“And what do we have here?” The traitorous wolf smiled at her.

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