Alpha instinct, p.16
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       Alpha Instinct, p.16

         Part #1 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus
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Page 16

 

  The sheriff averted his steely glare back to him. “Fine. I need to see all your men. Right now. ”

  “Why?”

  “I don’t need a reason. ”

  “Yes. You do. Unless you have a warrant, shifters have rights too. Or have you forgotten that?” Connor’s heart rate sped up.

  The man stepped forward menacingly. “You son of a—”

  “Parker!” The redhead stepped away from the other officer and hurried toward the sheriff.

  The family resemblance was unmistakable. Even though she was a bit shorter and definitely a lot softer, they both had the same bright blue eyes. She must be his sister. And she was sporting a nasty-looking black eye. Fresh too.

  Connor frowned when he saw her, his protective nature kicking in, but before he could speak, Liam stepped past him. “Are you okay?” His voice was low.

  Wide-eyed, the redhead nodded. Her fear was apparent, but at least she didn’t run away screaming from him.

  “What happened?” Liam asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

  “Why don’t you tell me?” the sheriff asked with venom.

  Liam pivoted toward the man. “What the hell does that mean? You think I did this?”

  “Someone broke into her house tonight. Luckily I’d fallen asleep on the couch and stopped him before he could hurt her worse than he did. ”

  Connor didn’t understand how his brother even knew the redhead, but he grabbed his arm and pulled him back. He didn’t want the cops thinking Liam was making any aggressive overtures. Past experience told him they’d use any excuse to hurt a shifter. “And you think someone in our pack hurt her? What possible reason could we have?”

  Before the sheriff could answer, his sister placed a calming hand on her brother’s arm and looked at Liam. “After you left the store today your brother came in and made some nasty comments to me. The person who broke into my house tonight was wearing a mask, but he was the same height and he called me a shifter whore. I don’t know if it was the same person but …” She trailed off uncertainly.

  “Wait. My brother talked to you today?” Liam turned to look at Connor, not accusingly but in shock.

  Connor shook his head at Liam, then cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I think you’re mistaken. I was in town today but I only stopped at the bank. We’ve never met. ”

  Her eyebrows knitted together as she looked back and forth between them. “Not you. He had dirty-blond hair, dark eyes. Almost as tall as you both. Maybe another brother?”

  “We don’t have another brother,” Liam said.

  It had to have been Sean Taggart. Connor wasn’t going to say it aloud because he planned to take care of Taggart on his own, but Ana muttered the vile wolf’s name loud enough for everyone to hear.

  The sheriff turned to his sister. “You told me he was his brother. ”

  Her blue eyes spit fire. “That’s what he told me. It’s not like I asked for ID or anything. I just wanted him out of my store. And I still don’t know if he was the one who attacked me tonight. He wore a freaking mask. I don’t know why you insisted on dragging me out here when I told you—”

  “Go wait in the car,” he said.

  She looked at Connor, then at Liam, and her gaze lingered longer than necessary on him before she did as her brother said.

  Connor held up his hands. “I’m going to reach into my back pocket, so tell your boys to keep their weapons holstered. ” He wasn’t sure if they were trigger-happy or not but he wasn’t taking a chance. Even if they didn’t have silver-coated bullets, regular bullets still burned like a bitch.

  He fished out the business card he’d been hoping he wouldn’t have to use, but this man was going to be a pain in Connor’s ass. That much was obvious. “This is the number for my attorney. You need something from me or anyone else in my pack, call him first or get a fucking warrant before setting foot on this land. He represents every single one of us. ” It was petty, but he felt smug as he shoved the card at the sheriff.

  When the man saw his attorney’s name his eyes widened, but he didn’t comment. Just tucked it into his front pocket and turned on his heel and left. Connor would have much preferred to make peace with the humans living in Fontana, but he wouldn’t stand by while law enforcement harassed his pack. If he let it slide now, it would only get worse with time.

  Once the vehicles turned around and headed back the way they’d come, he looked at his brother. “I take it you know the redhead?”

  “I met her today in town. I should go talk to her …” Liam’s voice had taken on a possessive tone Connor recognized well.

  “Ana, will you go check on your sisters?” Connor asked without looking at her.

  Wordlessly she headed toward one of the groups of women.

  Connor waited until she was out of earshot. “You think getting tangled up with a human now is the best idea. ” It wasn’t a question.

  Liam didn’t respond, just glanced down the drive, even though they’d disappeared from sight. He growled softly in his throat.

  “Stay away from her. ”

  Liam glared at him. “She’s my mate. ”

  A headache was starting at the base of Connor’s skull. “She’s human. ”

  “You say it like I have a choice. ”

  His brother’s words took a moment to sink in. Mate? “You’re sure?”

  Liam nodded, his expression grim.

  Shit, shit, shit. “You’ve got to stay away from her. Especially now. ”

  “What if someone told you to stay away from Ana?”

  “I’ve stayed away from her for the past fifty years!” If anyone knew about sacrifice it was him, and he wasn’t going to take shit from his brother.

  Liam shrugged casually and that pissed him off even more. “That was your choice. ”

  “And you would have done differently in my shoes?” He took a step toward his brother, hot rage filling his veins. He loved Liam more than anything, but he’d still kick his ass.

  “You did what you thought was best. ” His answer was monotone and that only infuriated Connor more.

  He hadn’t done what he’d thought was best. He’d done what was best. For Ana. Leaving hadn’t been about him or his needs. It had been for her. Something Liam couldn’t understand. He might know December was his mate on a primal level, but he didn’t know the woman. Didn’t care for her the way Connor did for Ana, and his brother’s attitude pissed him off. “You don’t know shit, little brother. ”

  Liam muttered a few choice words in Gaelic, then turned and jogged down the drive. Connor knew that once he was out of sight he’d lose his clothes and shift. He was going to track her, then watch over the redheaded woman until he was certain she was safe. Connor knew what Liam was doing, because he’d do the same thing in his position.

  As Alpha, Connor could force him to stay, but that wasn’t a battle he wanted to get into. Not now. Not ever. Coming between a wolf and his mate was bad news. Especially since that wolf was his brother. It seemed impossible that Liam’s mate was a human, but Mother Nature could be a nasty bitch when she wanted.

  * * *

  Taggart looked up from his desk as Vince, his second-in-command entered. “They gone yet?”

  “Yeah. Local assholes. I don’t know why you won’t let me do something about them. ”

  Taggart slammed his fist against the desk. “Because we don’t want any problems with them, idiot. ” They needed to keep their noses clean. At least as far as the outside world was concerned. The local cops were harassing his pack and apparently the Cordonas too from the sound of it. As if he’d be messing with some humans right now. They had more important things to worry about.

  Under Taggart’s intense scrutiny Vince looked at the floor. “I couldn’t get to Ana’s grazing field like you wanted. Connor has his guys patrolling the property pretty regularly. I was thinking, you could just off
er to buy some of her property or something,” he muttered.

  Taggart gritted his teeth. “You think Armstrong will let me buy any of that bitch’s land? He’d tell me no out of spite. ”

  “If someone else made the offer, it might work,” Vince said quietly.

  Vince had a soft spot for one of the Cordona women. Taggart just didn’t know which one. It might explain his resistance lately to vandalism.

  Maybe he should have just offered to purchase the land two months ago when Ana had been in mourning, instead of trying to unite their packs. But he’d wanted Ana in his bed. He still did. The bitches in his pack were nothing compared to her. Pretty yes, but they were all weak. He needed a strong and smart mate. Ana might have an acerbic tongue, but she had a good head for business. And he needed that right now. Especially if he wanted to get the second part of his operation off the ground.

  Selling meth was lucrative at the moment, but in the long run marijuana would make him more profit and his clients would have longer life spans. Not to mention the law didn’t have much of a problem with pot. Meth, coke, heroin—that kind of shit always brought trouble sooner or later. The Feds could get involved and that would be a nightmare. Dealers—human or shifter—couldn’t be trusted. No, he had to be smart this time around. He’d nearly gotten busted in California years ago, so he’d relocated.

  And Ana had the perfect spread of property for his future endeavors.

  The curvature of her mountain would protect them from prying government satellites and, more important, she had fertile, rich soil. He could grow during the spring, summer and early fall. “Forget making any offer. We kill Connor and Liam, then take what we should have two months ago. ”

  “What about the rest of his pack?”

  Taggart shrugged. He didn’t know much about them yet, but from what he’d seen the other night, the new males were warriors. Didn’t matter. He had his own share of warriors and he relished the challenge. “If they’re resistant, we’ll kill them too. I don’t think we’ll have to, though. Everyone needs an Alpha. ” Whether alpha, beta, or warrior, most wolves yearned for a strong Alpha to lead them. It was in their blood.
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