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Authors: SA Welsh

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Shadow Of A Mate

BOOK: Shadow Of A Mate
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Kyle’s world is falling apart. His mate saved his long lost brother at the expense of his life and every hour Jay slips a little further away. He can’t stand to do nothing and simply wait for the end, so he goes after the witch that hurt his mate. If there’s a chance, just the slightest chance he can bring Jay ba
ck to him, he’ll take it. No matter what the cost.

Forcing his alpha powers to manifest is dangerous and his jaguar becomes unstable without their mate to ground them. Kyle is losing the ability to tell friend from foe.

Jay speaks to him in his dreams and that small contact lends him the strength to take on Katrianna and all her stolen evil power. He’ll do anything it takes to save Jay, even burn the world to ashes.

 

The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Shadow of a Mate

Copyright © 2015 SA Welsh

ISBN: 978-1-4874-0278-5

Cover art by Scott Carpenter

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by eXtasy Books Inc or

Devine Destinies, an imprint of eXtasy Books Inc

Look for us online at:

www.eXtasybooks.com or www.devinedestinies.com

 

 

 

 

 

Shadow of a Mate

 

 

By

 

 

SA Welsh

 

 

 

Dedication

 

 

For Kyle and Jay who demanded that I do this story justice.

 

Chapter One

 

 

So it had come to this. Kyle didn’t know what the hell was going on, only that things had turned to shit. Utterly and completely
Fubar.

When his father had come to get them saying Nikko was dying and the doctor had suggested they say their goodbyes he’d been so shell shocked that he’d shut down and gone numb. The only thing Kyle had been thinking about was getting to his brother as fast as he could.

Without bothering to pull on more clothes, he’d just run through the house in his boxers. While nudity wasn’t a big thing for shifters, he usually tried to respect Jay’s wishes for others not to see him naked. It wasn’t until he’d reached the medical hall that he realised Jay wasn’t with him.

He couldn’t feel Jay through their bond either, but that wasn’t unusual these days. With all the crap that had been thrown at them he didn’t blame Jay for shutting him out.

It hurt, but he understood.

At first Kyle wanted to go back and check that Jay was alright. He was about to give in and turn back to get his mate when he spotted Mam weeping over Nikko’s bedside and he stopped thinking altogether and ran over to his mother and brother.

Brother.

The medical bed Nikko lay in had bars on the side that were folded down and there were more machines than there had been earlier, all attached to Nikko by a labyrinth of thin wires.

The heart monitor still beeped and registered a heartbeat, but it was sluggish and getting slower even as he stood there. Mam cried quietly and he put a hand on her shoulder in support and comfort.

Kyle was just sort of numb.

After
everything,
they’d still been too late. Nikko was going to die and he couldn’t stop it. How useless was he? He was an Alpha. He should be able to protect his family.

Instead, anything he did seemed to be one step forward two steps back. And now he was losing his brother and his mate was pulling away from him, too. Their mate bond was so quiet it almost felt as if he were alone like before he and Jay had reconnected. It was lonely and cold. His jaguar wanted to roar at the injustice.

When did things start going to hell?

“Come on, Nikko. You have to wake up. I’ve always wanted a brother to run and explore the forest with. You need to wake up and meet Mam, Papa and my mate. We came as soon as we knew about you, I swear we did.” He kept talking, staring down at Nikko’s pale, gaunt face and it was as if he was speaking to an empty shell. He couldn’t even pick up any scent of jaguar on the man lying in the bed. “Please wake up.”

If Nikko’s cat was gone then there was no hope at all. Nikko was just too frail and weak to fight any longer.

“Kyle,” Papa called, snapping him out of the misery. His father was standing next to the chair where Mam was sitting in a daze. Papa hadn’t been exaggerating when he said she’d been sedated. His father held out a shirt and a pair of jeans for him.

“We’re losing him, aren’t we?” He pulled on the clothes and looked to his father for answers even though he was scared to hear them.

“Yes. We got him out as soon as we could but what they did to him, the condition he was in...it was just too much damage and trauma for him to take after being kept in such conditions,” Papa said quietly looking down at his mate with deep sorrow and pain.

Mam was going to lose it.

“What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know, son. I just don’t know,” Papa answered hoarsely, holding out his hand for Kyle to take.

Kyle took the offered hand and let his father pull him in close. The three of them stayed that way as the beeps continued to slow.

Over the past few days more shifters had turned up at their door, tired, hungry and needing sanctuary and heeling. Every pack they could contact had hit at least one of the hunter hold-outs, but not all of them had the means to support the extra shifters in need of a lot of help.

So the rescued shifters were being divided between Pack Valley, Moonlight Mountain and a few of the smaller packs that had a lot of territory.

The state of some of the shifters was truly shocking. None of them had been there quite as long as Nikko from what they could tell but some of them were as young as eight years old. Several couples and families in the pack had come forward to see if any of the children wanted to come home with them and most had found the right fit. However there were one or two older children that refused to go anywhere else and were staying here.

One little boy, Kane, was nine years old and remembered his parents being killed in front of him when he was about four. He could even recount the screams and the smell of burning flesh as he watched the hunters burn his house to the ground.

Just hearing the story had Kyle’s jaguar up and roaring at the injustice and cruelty of such a sweet little boy having his childhood stolen from him.

Kane had been found by one of the other teams present on the Nikko mission and the little puma was one of the few who knew Nikko personally. The cub was already weaving his way into Kyle’s heart with his hesitant smiles and stony glares at the medical staff. He wouldn’t be surprised if Kane became a permanent member of their family.

“He kept some of the meaner hunter doctors away from me but then they took him away and kept us separate,” Kane said, trembling and trying not to cry. Kyle didn’t bother to say that Kane shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t see this. Kane had already seen much worse in his young life.

Instead, Kyle lifted one arm and offered the boy a hug. Kane only hesitated a moment before shuffling over and wrapping his arms around Kyle’s thighs.

The only comfort Kyle could give Kane and the other shifters was that the hunters that had caged them were dead. They still had the fallout to deal with, but they had delivered a very clear message to the hunters. A message that was probably still smouldering in the remains of the facilities.

Leave us alone or we’ll end you.

Kyle was under no illusion that the hunters would actually leave them alone, but blowing up almost fifty nests, rescuing hundreds of shifters and killing every hunter in sight was a powerful thing.

It would make the hunters hesitate long enough to buy them some time at least.

The Smiths had been farmed out to nearby packs and were training the betas in human fighting and security strategies. The alphas had all agreed to step up their pack security.

But even after organising all that they still couldn’t do anything to help Nikko. It all came back to that.

Mam cried softly and cradled Nikko’s hand, the one that wasn’t wired with a drip. Papa stood behind her while Kyle hugged Kane tighter to him as the boy gave in to the need to cry as well.

Shaking as his own eyes filled and stung with tears, he swallowed his grief the best he could. He needed to be strong for Mam and Kane. Even though all he wanted to do was curl up in Jay’s arms and sob.

Kyle glanced toward the door but deflated when he saw the doorway was empty. Jay still hadn’t come down to join them.

He always made sure to give Jay leeway. Because let’s face it, being with him, living in this world of shifters, magic and violence, it was not too much to ask. Especially because of Jay’s past experience with violence.

Every day there seemed to be more reasons for Jay not to be with him.

And every damn day his jaguar was stuck between wanting to tie Jay down to fuck him into submission until his mate agreed never to do anything dangerous or ever leave his side again and crawling after him like a stray dog begging for any scraps of attention he could get.

He was so fucking torn.

Kyle wanted to be pissed and rage at people, and tell Jay that he should be here with the rest of them, that they were in this together. For better or for worse. This may be firmly in the worse category, but he needed Jay’s support right now.

As an alpha, he had been raised to trust his instincts, but he was pretty sure his parents weren’t training him for full out war. When he’d run drills, checking weapons and passing assault courses Papa had built in the forest behind the house, he hadn’t actually thought he would see combat like when they went for Nikko.

He’d killed before, been forced to defend himself and others. Nothing like that, though. What made it worse was that he’d had to keep it together and lead, stamp down his own fear and act like everything was perfectly fine.

When really...the only thing he’d wanted to do was come home and hold Jay in his arms until the danger passed
.

So much for being a big bad alpha.

One of the nurses came forward, checked Nikko’s pulse rate and pupil response. She put the small torch back in her breast pocket and glanced Kyle’s way. She wouldn’t meet his gaze.

So it was that close to the end then.

Where are you, Jay?

Another nurse came to stand by the first and they chatted quietly. The first nurse shook her head at the second and they shared a look Kyle guessed was regret. The medical team Papa and his betas, Cash and Damian, had brought in were great at their job and if they said there was nothing they could do then Kyle believed them.

If he couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening at least he could make sure his brother knew he was loved before he left and moved on to whatever came next.

Kyle moved away from Kane, making sure the boy was close to Mam and Papa. They barely even noticed. He walked over to the group of medical staff lingering a few beds away. The nurses looked torn between talking to him and running in the opposite direction.

He didn’t blame them, at most they were around five-five and he towered over them. Since most of the medical staff were human this happened quite a bit. Perhaps they needed to see if they had any pack members that would want to train as a doctor or nurse. Most packs had their own medics, but the last one in Pack Valley had moved away a few years ago and the pack had made do with the human hospital when they needed care.

“I was wondering if you had a hair brush I could borrow, please?” Kyle tried not to blush at how silly the question must sound.

The first nurse raised a plucked brow, but nodded, scurrying off to the small desk area some pack members had set up in the corner of the hall. He watched as she grabbed a handbag and riffled through it. She held the brush up like a trophy when she found it. Kyle even managed to smile a little.

She came back and passed him the brush.

“Thank you.”

“No problem. I’ve seen you with your brother and I’ve heard from little Kane what kind of person he was. I’m sorry for your loss...because it seems if anyone deserved to get better it was him,” she said softly, touching his arm lightly.

Kyle appreciated what she was saying, but... “He’s not gone yet.”

BOOK: Shadow Of A Mate
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