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Book: Tethers by Claire Farrell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claire Farrell
Tags: Fantasy
of them were injured in some way. Many of the stories seemed to involve a kind of madness, as though the shifters degenerated without a pack to support them. But I couldn’t imagine Esther ever ending up that way. Despite her injury, she had no trouble living amongst humans. And Val had spent years alone with Leah, keeping them both safe. The untethered agenda was a blatant fabrication.
    But a nagging feeling in my gut made me wonder if it wasn’t right for a shifter to be alone. Maybe Esther would eventually succumb to madness without her brother to keep her safe. And then there was the fact that Esther’s heritage came from a different continent. Was her existence an upset to the balance? And if I was actual balance, did that put me at odds with her?
    For the first time, I felt a pang of fear that I would end up facing the kind of ultimatum that I imagined Phoenix would be forced to fulfil. If it came to balance versus any of my friends, I worried the Eleven would expect me to reset the balance at the cost of my friend’s life. Or worse, they might deal with the imbalance themselves and come for her in the dead of night, without warning.
    My stomach bottomed out. The very things that protected us might one day be the thing that separated us forever.

Chapter Six

    A couple of days later, Willow called to inform me that Mac still hadn’t reappeared, and the Senate were starting to show concern. “I’m sure the silly sod is just hiding out, but we’re already down so many seats right now that it’s worrying.”
    “Nobody’s heard from Phoenix or Elathan, either,” I reminded her.
    “It’s likely a panic over nothing. I just thought you should know.”
    But it played on my mind until Peter called me later that afternoon.
    “Got some news. Thought you might wanna know,” he said.
    “What is it?” I asked. “Has Mac shown his face yet?”
    “Not to me. Val got an address out of those shifters. They were a bit cold to her when she approached them, but this morning, one of them contacted her.”
    “Why the sudden change of heart?”
    I could hear his amusement over the phone. “He said Daimhín confirmed Val’s story. Apparently, she confirmed that the hellhound has been looking for a way to escape you for ages.”
    “Escape me? What, like moving onto fae territory?”
    “Whatever Daimhín’s game is, it worked,” he said. “She helped us, whether she meant to or not.”
    “She doesn’t help for free, which is something we should probably worry about.”
    “Worry tomorrow. Wanna come with? We’re checking out a farm in Meath. It’s supposed to be a favoured hangout for new pack members, but Val didn’t like the vibe she got from Daimhín’s bodyguards, so it could be trouble.”
    “Sounds interesting. Yeah, I definitely want to see this for myself. No luck on any of the other leads?”
    “Turns out there are no other leads. Nobody’s seen any of the free shifters, or those closest to them, for quite a while.”
    That took me aback. “They’re all missing?”
    “Not necessarily. From what I hear, all of their belongings are gone, too, so they could have decided to run. I’m sure we’ll find out what’s really going on soon enough. We’ll pick you up in an hour. Be ready.”
    I changed while I was waiting. I was curious about the farm. Was it a hideout or a meeting place, what had made the shifters decide to help Val, and why the hell had Daimhín suddenly decided to pitch in? Likely her perverseness kicking in. I couldn’t get in touch with her until night, anyway. Her current assistant was a volunteer, and I didn’t trust the man’s word. Humans could be manipulated—and unfortunately, they weren’t the only ones.
    When Val and Peter arrived to pick me up, I sensed the anticipation in the car. The scar on Peter’s chin deepened as he spoke, and his hazel eyes glistened with excitement. He’d rolled up his sleeves, displaying muscular, hairy forearms and the occasional flash of the

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