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Jared (River Pack Wolves 3)(10)

By:Alisa Woods

“You were going to what?” That was Jaxson, Jared’s younger brother.

“What the actual fuck, Jared?” Jace, his youngest brother, was well and truly pissed.

“You can’t just assassinate a sitting Senator!” Jaxson acted as though this would never occur to him—which it probably wouldn’t. He was a good man.

“You were—” Jace gestured to him with inarticulate rage, then turned to Jaxson. “He was trying to get himself killed.”

“I was trying to get Senator Krepky killed,” Jared clarified. What happened to him didn’t matter so much… and, for the record, he didn’t actually have a death wish. You had to be alive to want to die, and Jared hadn’t had a spark of anything he’d call life for a long time. Except for that moment in the meadow…

Jaxson was reduced to running his hands through his hair and cursing under his breath. Except for the three of them, hovering in the kitchen, everyone in the safehouse was still sleeping, even though dawn had broken hours ago. But Jared could hear rustlings—some of the many shifters who called the River family estate their temporary home were starting to stir. Soft footfalls sounded on the stairs, but his brothers didn’t seem to notice. Too busy having some kind of silent conversation between themselves that they thought he couldn’t interpret. But he knew them too well—he’d knew what their reactions would be long before they had them.

It was just that none of it mattered. He would do what needed to be done.

Piper—Jace’s newly-claimed mate—padded into the kitchen, barefoot and rosy with the sex she’d no doubt been having with his brother all night. Jace and Jaxson stilled their frantic gestures at the sight of her. She screeched to a halt with her bare feet just inside the kitchen door.

“Okay,” she said, drawing the word out. “Somebody want to tell me why it’s Defcon1 in here?” She looked warily between each of the three of them.

Jared liked Piper.

Jace gestured angrily at him. “My idiot brother almost shot Senator Krepky last night.”

Piper gave him a slightly impressed look, then a small nod to her mate. Jared almost smiled, but he didn’t do that sort of thing anymore. He wasn’t sure his face still knew how.

But now he liked Piper even more.

“What?” Jace’s face turned even more red. “You knew about this?” He threw the accusation at Piper.

Hang on. Jared didn’t want to make trouble between the new mates, although truth be told, Piper and Jace seemed to make trouble on their own just fine.

Before he could come to her defense, she spoke up. “Did I know? As in, do I pay attention to what’s going on around here and have some clue about your brother’s death wish? Yes.” She gave a hard look to Jace, then Jaxson, both of whom were rubbing the backs of their necks and looking uncomfortable. And not looking at him.

But Piper did. “So what stopped you?”

“A girl.”

Her eyebrows raised. “Well.” She said it like the word was full of meaning. “That’s interesting.”

“It’s not like that,” Jared said. Only it was. Maybe. He couldn’t decide why, and he sure as hell couldn’t put it into words, but Grace had reached across that ravine and touched him in some way that was still stirring things around inside him. Things that hadn’t been stirred in a long time.

“If it’s not like that,” Piper said, “then how is it?”

“She’s a shifter.” Jared took in the surprised looks on their faces, one at a time. He knew what they were thinking, and he’d had a couple more hours to think about it. Plus he’d finally researched Grace—not to mention talked to her and got naked with her in a field in the middle of the forest. That image of her, first wolf then bare-skinned human… his mind kept conjuring it in an endless loop. Far more often than he would’ve guessed, even as pretty as she was in both forms.

“The Senator’s daughter is a shifter.” Jace said it with an open look of surprise that seemed stuck on his face.

“She’s kept it a secret.” Jared eased up from his chair, working the stiffness from his muscles. He had hauled ass back for his rifle, just in case the girl had decided to turn him in after all. But she hadn’t. Once he was there, he could have pulled the trigger—the Senator was still in the living room, none the wiser—but he didn’t. Because now there was a chance of a better way.

“How do you know she’s kept it a secret?” Jaxson asked, a shocked look still on his face. “In fact, how do you even know she’s a shifter?”