Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Catherine Lievens
Word Count :37193
Publication Date :2018-06-22
Series : Council Enforcers#15
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-2026-0
How can you trust anyone when you don’t trust yourself?
Xander has been told he’s too big all his life, first by his mother before she left when he was nine, then by everyone else. At six feet eight, he knows that’s true, and it makes for a lonely life when most of the guys he likes are afraid he’ll hurt them. He doesn’t need love, though, and he’s focused on his friends and his job as a council enforcer.
Muirgeh is the leader of the Chardon tribe, and he wants out. He never wanted to rule, but he had no choice when his parents died. He’s retiring, though, or at least he would if he could find someone to take his place. Several tribe members are jockeying for the job, and some of them are going too far, threatening him until he has no choice but to call in the council.
Neither man expected to meet his mate, and they have so much to deal with that their relationship stays on the back burner, at least in the beginning. Between the threats against Muirgeh, his need to find an heir, and Xander’s mother coming back into his life, they’ll have to rely on each other—or lose their chance at a relationship.
Xander hated press conferences. He hated having any kind of attention on himself, but there was no way for him to escape it this time. His team had been chosen along with another one to keep the council members safe as they answered questions and made declarations, or whatever it was they needed to do. It was Xander’s job, and he was doing it, no matter how much he hated the fact that his face would be plastered all over the news for at least a few days. He wasn’t sure why Kameron had wanted him of all people to stand behind him during the press conference, and he wished the alpha had picked any other of his team members, but there he was.
Kameron looked completely at ease when he asked, “Any other questions? I’ll take a few.”
The journalists started clamoring for his attention. Xander almost rolled his eyes when he noticed one of the women in the first row lean forward to expose more of her cleavage. She was barking up the wrong tree if she thought that would be a good way to get Kameron’s attention. Even if he weren’t gay, he was so in love with his mate that it hurt Xander’s heart to watch them together.
And that wasn’t a path he wanted to go down, not right now, possibly not ever. He cleared his throat and listened to Kameron explain that yes, the council was worried about how quickly human law enforcement had decided a shifter was the murderer rather than investigate thoroughly, but that the council was working on it with them.
Xander thought that was bullshit, but of course, he didn’t say it. He’d been living with shifters long enough, had been an enforcer long enough, to know that some humans would always think shifters didn’t belong. Nothing would change their mind, which was one of the reasons the enforcers were so important.
Kameron finally got up. Xander moved to let him pass, then followed him out of the room. They both ignored the noise behind them and the voices that were still calling out questions.
Kameron’s shoulders slumped as soon as they were out of the room, and he reached for his tie, pulling on it as he walked. “I’m so glad I can go home.”
Xander grinned. “You and me both.”
Kameron looked at him. “Not a fan of press conferences?”
Xander’s grimace was apparently enough for Kameron to get an answer, because he laughed. “I understand. To be honest, I’m not a fan either. I’ve been doing them for years, but that still hasn’t changed. I’ll be glad to leave that part of the job behind when I retire.”
Xander’s step faltered. “Retire? Are you thinking about that, Sir?”
Kameron rolled his eyes. “Sir? Really?”
“We’re on the job.”
“All right, but I consider the job over as soon as we’re back in Gillham.”
“And to answer your question, yes, I’m thinking about it. It’s time. It’s taken me away from my family long enough. I want to be there for the twins before they’re so old they don’t need me anymore.”
“I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.” God knew Xander still needed his father, even though he was thirty-five. He’d always need his dad, although that might have more to do with having grown up with only him than anything else.
He shook his head. That was something else he didn’t want to think about. “Ready to go home, Sir?” he asked.
“Yeah. I hate it when you guys call me sir.”
Xander had learned that when he’d first become an enforcer, right after the shifters had been outed by that video. As soon as the opportunity had come up, he’d volunteered. There hadn’t been a lot of volunteers back then because most humans had been terrified and confused. Xander had been ecstatic, though. He’d never been afraid of shifters. They were just humans with an added perk, and he found them fascinating. Kameron was more than just a council member or even the Gillham pack alpha. He’d become a friend over the years, which was one of the reasons Xander didn’t mind being assigned to carting him around to press conferences and standing behind him, even though it put him right where he didn’t want to be.
“I have another one of these tomorrow,” Kameron said as they reached the room from which he’d be shimmered back to Gillham.
Kameron laughed again. “So much enthusiasm. I can ask Bran if he has another team to assign to me, if you want.”
Xander shook his head. “I don’t mind. I can’t say I like it, but it’s my job. Besides, there isn’t another team available. All the enforcers based in Gillham are out right now.”
A few of Xander’s team members were already waiting in the room when he and Kameron got there. It didn’t take long for the others, who’d been watching the press conference from other points of view and making sure no one tried to hurt Kameron, to arrive. Then they were off.
Xander only relaxed when they shimmered to Gillham. He could feel all of them had, the banter and laughter that had been missing during the mission emerging again. The people around Xander were more than his team members. They were his family.