“Several of your men are waiting for you back at my place,” Lev said as
they left the airport. “Based on the intel I saw before I came out here to pick
you all up, we should be able to draw up a pretty great battle map of the area.
Josh also said that geneticist you’re targeting left the ranch early this
morning and headed into Amarillo. He currently has a couple of wolves staked
out outside what appears to be his current residence.”
“Good. We should probably expect the first people we recruited to start
arriving in four to five hours,” Maxim said.
“I’ve got the large hunting lodge on the west field ready to
accommodate them,” Lev said. “You all can stay in the main house.” Kylie saw
him grin in the rearview mirror. “Even the jaguar asshole in the back, but only
because he has a lady with him.”
“Thanks,” Hunter said dryly, but he was grinning, too. To Kylie he
added, “Lev’s still sore about losing a friendly fight with me back when I was
“That’s because I never expected you jaguars to be so sneaky!” the
Siberian protested. “I was limping for two days after!”
Hunter snorted. “And whose fault is that?” he shot back, completely
“Really, Lev, give it a rest,” Sasha said from the front seat. Although
she could only see the girl’s profile, Kylie imagined she was rolling her eyes
at her cousin.
“So what kind of game do people hunt on his land?” Kylie asked.
“Deer, wild boars, some emu, nothing too exotic,” Hunter replied.
“Are we talking about human hunters or shifters?”
“Both, but mostly shifters.”
“My hunting packages are quite popular,” Lev cut in. “Maybe when things
aren’t so dire, Hunter can bring you out for a weekend of hunting.”
A surge of excitement washed through her at the thought of chasing down
a deer. It was unsettling as she had never had the desire to hunt, even the
human way. Now that her shifter side had awakened, she still wasn’t sure she
wanted to ever hunt, no matter what her instincts said about the matter. They
hadn’t yet revealed to Lev that she was a Returner, so he naturally assumed she
had been hunting all her life like most shifters.
Sensing her discomfort, Hunter answered in her stead. “It may be way in
the future, but yeah, sounds like something to look forward to.”
They drove west out of the city about ten miles before turning down a
dirt county road, the land dotted by mesquites on either side. Five minutes
later, they stopped in front of a tall gate that blocked the entrance to
another road, this one paved. Lev hopped out of the SUV to unlock and open the
“His estate really is in the middle of nowhere,” Kylie remarked as they
began driving down the paved road and Lev’s estate was still nowhere in sight.
“It’s too remote for my tastes,” Maxim said. “I like a little noise.”
“Me, too,” Sasha piped in.
“That’s because you two are little hellions,” Lev sniffed. “Cooped up
in a building surrounded by hundreds of people night after night— mingling .”
He visibly shuddered. “Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it. I’m all
about the fresh air and the sounds of nature.”
When they crested a small incline, a large, three-story brick finally
came into view in the distance.
“Wow, I wasn’t expecting it to be so big,” Kylie blurted in a little
awe. It was like seeing a resort in the middle of the Texas plains. She had
thought they had been exaggerating when they said they were going to an
“Lev’s younger brother and his mate also live there,” Sasha said.
“Taking into account his two sons and his niece, lots of space is necessary
when it comes to tigers and their surly tempers.”
At the estate, Kylie was briefly introduced to Lev’s mate, Polina,
their teenaged sons, and extended family before her group was shuffled into a
large den with several couches that reminded her a bit of the