Vy Aleknos is the leader of a hawk shifter flock. Openly gay since he was a teen, Vy is proud and self-assured on the outside, while secretly worrying he’ll be forced to spend his life alone because two males can’t be mates. When bear shifter Robert Cimino appears in Vy’s small town, Vy realizes his concerns were unfounded — he has a male mate, and a sexy, dominant one to boot.
Robert is a bear shifter who refuses to shift. Immediately attracted to Vy, he deviates from his normal pattern and seeks more than a one off with the powerful, bristly hawk. But Robert’s affections are rooted in his human form, and when Vy discovers Robert doesn't recognize him as his mate, he pulls away. If Robert wants to stay with Vy, he must convince a man deeply ruled by his animal instincts to give their relationship as humans a chance.
MRS. CHOI didn’t bother looking up when I walked in the store again, even though the bells over the door jangled like mad. The shopkeeper, who had gone to school with my father, was purposely ignoring me. I couldn’t very well blame her. I had been in and out a total of six times in the last seven, maybe nine, minutes.
Walking right by her, I strode quickly to the back of the store, which I had been in more than a thousand times in my life. It was the local hardware store, and being in construction—demolition—it was a place I frequented often. So it was crazy that I had flushed hot and cold within seconds and then had to grit my teeth through a surge of adrenaline only to feel an absolute sense of peace roll through me in the very next moment.
What the hell is going on?
“What are you doing?”
I snapped my head up and looked at Louisa Maberti, the ahir of the kettle of hawks, or the second of the flock, that I lead. The fact that she was also one of my best friends—so I trusted her not only with the ket but also my sanity—was a big fat bonus. At the moment, though, watching her lift one of her thick, dark eyebrows as she crossed her arms, I knew she was very concerned about what I was doing. I knew she’d have questions when I passed her for the sixth time in my back-and-forth madness.
“It’s like watching a pinball from my cruiser,” she said snidely. “What can you possibly need in here, Vy?”
I always thought of myself as short, but compared to the five-foot-four deputy sheriff, at five foot nine, I was huge.
“Vy?” she pressed.
Inhaling deeply, filling my lungs with the rich, smoky scent that was hovering around me, I closed my eyes a second and breathed it in.
“This is where you do that thing called speaking and don’t make me dig,” she said.
What to say?
“I hate digging. You know that,” she said.
“Vy,” she said, her voice rising shrilly. “I have a taser, and I’m not afraid to use it.”
As hawks, if we weren’t careful, sometimes we got a little screechy.
Clearing my throat, I looked her straight in the eyes and said, “I think I smell my mate.”
Her mouth dropped open, but no sound came out. She looked good and stunned.
“Crap,” I grunted.
She huffed out a breath, obviously trying to pull herself together. “I…. Your mate?”
“I think so,” I said forlornly, feeling worse than I sounded.
She rushed up to…