Fighting Instinct

Fighting Instinct

L'Ange: Book Two Only a privileged few know L’Ange’s head of security Arman de Soto is a shifter, and even fewer know he’s been systematically killing off a pack of werewolves. The reason for this vengeance is a secret Arman trusts with no one, quite the opposite of his obvious longtime pursuit of the château’s overseer, Linus Hobbes. Despite Arman’s reputation as a loner, the only thing he needs to complete his life is Linus. Predator and prey just don’t mix—but Arman won’t give him up. Linus has lived alone for more than seven years, sheltered at L’Ange under an assumed name and hiding secrets of his own, including his terrifying attraction to the most dangerous man he’s ever met. Arman knows Linus should be afraid of the predator stalking him, but Linus is still drawn to him like a moth to a flame, no matter how much he tries to deny his instincts. It’s not until Linus’s past and Arman’s crusade exposes their secrets and opens L’Ange to attack that Arman realizes waiting any longer is a risk he just can’t take. So he’ll have to take his quest to the source of the threat in a gamble to protect L’Ange, Linus, and any future they might have together.

Chapter One

I HATED the holidays. I would be thrilled when they were over. And not because I was the bah humbug sort, but because the grounds of L’Ange, the estate I lived on, turned into a zoo every year at this time.

People took sleigh rides over the sprawling grounds, walked the lantern-lined paths, and marveled at the stonework of the arches, footbridges, and ornately carved stone benches scattered near the snowed-under gardens. Inside the manor house, people peeked into the brightly lit rooms on the first floor and admired the chandeliers, the painted and gilded plaster, Venetian mirrors, portraits, tapestries, and antique furniture. I, of course, could not have cared less about the “sumptuous surroundings”—as Architectural Digest put it—of the interior of the château. It wasn’t my area. I was not paid to catalog the treasures that resided in the opulent rooms. I was paid to ensure the security for the grounds. I kept everyone who lived on the property safe. The things in the house were of no concern to me; I was responsible only for the people. The day-to-day running of the house fell to Linus Hobbes, the overseer of L’Ange, who I was on my way to interrogate.

Between me and my quarry stood two things: one a report of the recent killings on the preserve; the second, Tucker Flynn, one of the jackal shifters who had come to protect his new alpha, Quade Danas, the husband of my boss and owner of L’Ange, Roman Howell.

“Sarge? Are you listening to me?”

I didn’t answer Jagger Schulz, one of the two members of my team standing with me. I glared at him instead. Altogether, I had four men who worked for me: the two with me at the moment, Schulz and Luke Blaymore; and Hastings Lange and Scott Chau, who were out patrolling on horseback. Normally one team worked days and the other nights, and they switched off weekly so no one became permanently nocturnal. But being as it was New Year’s Eve, everyone would be inside the château this evening—or was supposed to be, per Roman. But we had found the third slaughtered elk in two days, and the rising body count made me uneasy.

“Okay, here, look,” Schulz said, opening up the map on his tablet. “This is where we found the carcasses, right along the—”

“And you’re sure,” I interrupted, “the animals weren’t killed for food?”

“No, sir,” Schulz assured me. “They were attacked and—”

“Attacked is a gentle word for what was done,” Blaymore chimed in pointedly, his gaze meeting mine. “It was savage. They were disemboweled and left bleeding out in the snow.”

Schulz cleared his throat. “An animal wouldn’t…


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