Home > Wolf's Mate (Shifter Rogues #1)

Wolf's Mate (Shifter Rogues #1)
Author: Celia Kyle

Chapter One


A few minutes past eight and Declan Reed couldn’t take his eyes off the windows in the building across the street.

“You remember our shift ended two hours ago, right?” Cole drawled. The pain-in-the-ass tiger shifter was his partner for this operation. Eh, the dick was his partner in most operations. Declan ignored the man.

Their shift had ended at six, and the other men on Shifter Operations Command Team One, Ethan and Grant, had taken over, but Declan couldn’t force himself to leave. He couldn’t force his wolf to leave.

Not while she still occupied the building.

Abby Marie Carter. Twenty-eight years old and five feet eight inches of tempting cougar shifter. She had long golden hair with a hint of a curl at the ends, bright blue eyes, and curves that made his palms tingle with the need to stroke every one of them.

“Not that I’m against keeping my eyes on a nice ass,” Cole continued. “But since neither of us is getting in her panties, I don’t see the point.”

The tiger was a good ally in a tight spot and handy with a block of explosives. Declan would trust him at his back on any assignment. But having faith in the man didn’t mean his wolf was okay with Cole thinking about Abby or her panties.

“Fuck off, Cole.”

“We’ve been watching this place for four days and you’ve barely slept. Do you want to go through another psych evaluation? Because ‘obsessive behavior’”—Cole formed air quotes with his fingers—“is a sure-as-shit way to end up on the doc’s couch.”

“Do you feel like being thrown out a window?” Declan pulled his attention from the building across the street and leveled a glare on the tiger shifter. “Because ‘dickish behavior’”—he formed air quotes, mimicking Cole—“is a sure-as-shit way to end up hitting the pavement headfirst.”

“Play nice, kids.” A third voice joined their conversation—their team alpha—his order transmitted through the com device each member of the team wore in their ear. “Tighten up.”

Declan glowered at Cole and his partner did the same to him, but they kept their mouths shut. Birch was a hard-ass bear shifter, and when he spoke, they all did their damnedest to listen. Sometimes it happened. Sometimes it didn’t.

The men of SHOC Team One weren’t known for their respect for authority, and they sure as hell hadn’t been recruited because they played well with others.

“Aw, Birch. He started it…” Cole whined in his best impression of a five-year-old. Declan rolled his eyes, tuning out his partner’s voice while he refocused on Abby.

Technically, their target was FosCo, the multinational company headquartered across the street. Except from the moment Abby walked into FosCo’s lobby four days ago, he’d had a hard time tearing his attention from her. Staring at the cougar shifter was a lot more fun than watching the other staffers.

No one else popped in earbuds while they worked. They didn’t get up from their chairs to stretch and add a little shake of their ass. They definitely didn’t kick off their shoes and dance when the building emptied and no one was watching.

Abby did. She appeared professional when she walked into the office building every morning. Her blond hair was usually twisted in some girly knot that he wanted to run his claws through, and she wore a tight skirt suit with a pair of low heels. She fit right in with all the others in FosCo’s headquarters.

Even if she wasn’t a FosCo employee…or even human.

According to the file they’d compiled, she’d been employed by the accounting firm Ogilve, Piers, and Patterson for six years, landing the job straight out of college after earning her bachelor’s degree. She still worked toward her master’s as she studied for the CPA exam. Smart. Dedicated. A hard worker if her schedule was anything to go by. In at seven thirty every morning and out at nine thirty every night. In bed by eleven. His knowledge of her sleeping habits wasn’t something he shared with the others.

“Obsessive behavior” and all that shit.

The team still wasn’t sure what she was doing at FosCo, but Declan found he cared less and less about the reason as each hour passed. He just liked looking at her.

“Declan, you listening?” Cole’s deep growl pulled his attention from Abby again.

The asshole wanted to lose his tongue before Declan threw him out the window.

“What?” he snapped.

“Guys.” Cole groaned. “He’s already pussy whipped even though he’s never gonna get any.”

Declan would tell the man to fuck off—again—but he figured more was called for at this point. He didn’t let his attention stray as he reached to his left and wrapped his fingers around an unopened can of soda. His next action was a blur—a single fluid move—as he whipped it at Cole’s head.

Unfortunately, Cole’s reflexes rivaled Declan’s, and he snatched the can from the air. The tiger popped the top and guzzled the soda down in a couple swallows before crushing the container in one hand and tossing it over his shoulder.

“Thanks, man. I was thirsty.” Cole grinned, but there was something else in the tiger’s gaze. The man’s body language said he was at ease, but the flicker of yellow in Cole’s eyes revealed the feral beast just under the surface.

“Cole…” Birch growled over the com.

“I’d like the record to show that Cole is the one causing shit today.” Grant, the other werewolf on the team, broke in. “It ain’t me.”

The crunch of chips and the smack of Grant’s lips followed his words. The wolf was eating again. The man’s stomach was a bottomless pit. Grant claimed junk food kept his mind sharp, which was a necessity as the team’s tech operative.

“Or me.” Ethan, lion shifter and genius with transportation, spoke up as well. Then he popped his gum, which had Birch growling some more. Ethan had what the doc called an “oral fixation.” Declan knew better. Ethan just liked annoying Birch, and someone popping his gum while talking over the com pissed him off.

The alpha bear liked them to at least pretend to be professional like the goody-goody council Trackers, but that wasn’t SHOC Team One. Declan wasn’t sure why the bear shifter even bothered. Their backgrounds were varied, but they all shared a few traits—they were loners, reveled in pissing people off, and had a penchant for breaking the law.

All right, laws.

Violate enough of ’em and the council would send their Trackers after a shifter. Break those guys well enough and a shifter was given the choice between council punishment or “using their evil powers for good” with SHOC.

Declan’s team was the best of the bad.

“Can someone remind me when I get to shoot someone?” Declan broke into their bickering.

“Or blow something up?” Cole added hopefully.

Birch sighed, and Declan pictured the big bear shifter closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. “Does no one remember the mission objective?”

Declan grunted and repeated the words from memory. “Observe. Confirm rumors. Eliminate the threat.”

They were supposed to report in to SHOC headquarters, too, but in their tight group, they tended to get things done first and tell higher-ups about it later.

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