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    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 12. Chapter 12: Objectionable Orders

The four men stared at the New York Alpha as his eyes burned ablaze. Tierney stood breathing heavily, recuperating from his use of magic. Gods, I missed using my magic. It just gives such a rush of power through my veins!

Vincent could not help but start applauding. The young mage was beyond blown away by the performance. That was so freaking cool! It commanded the attention of the crowd, and it displayed a raw sense of power! "Ty! That was amazing! Just...purely amazing!"

Mason came from behind his mate and held him by the hips. "I agree, Alpha Scott. This was a treat!" He leaned down to Vincent's ear and whispered. "Just think, you agreed to a challenge with him."

All excitement fell from Vincent. Oh, shit. I did! I'm so boned! I didn't know he was a fire mage when the duel was suggested. Part of me wants to back down, but...deep inside...this makes me want to fight him more!

Tierney closed his eyes and let the smoke rise out of his irises. He reopened his emerald eyes and got his breath caught up to speed. “Gods, that was so much fun! I can’t remember the last time I let loose like that.” The Alpha turned his attention to Vincent. “Did that help you in any way, Vincent?”

Nodding, Vincent stepped forward. “I learned a lot from your demonstration. I was reminded that a mage’s dance is a performance, and the mage has to set the mood.”

“Yes. You need to decide how you want the dance to play out. Do you want something powerful or graceful? Slow paced or speedy? There are numerous variables that you need to put into consideration.”

“Like how you kept your dance slow and methodical, but I feel with my affinities, I’m going to need to increase and decrease my tempo a lot. My frost powers demand a more elegant touch, but I’m thinking with my shadow affinity, it demands a more quicker speed.”

The Alpha mage crossed his arms as he pictured Vincent’s dilemma. “I’m certain you will find the best way to interpret your powers, and I can not wait to see how you display them.”

Still holding his mate, Mason pulled Vincent in closer. “Same here, Vinnie. Whatever you throw at us, I know our pack will love it.” He pecked the head of hair on Vincent. “I know we just ate, but I imagine our fire mage here could use a bite to eat after using up all of that energy.”

Well, the Alpha is also a mind reader. “I’m quite starving at the minute.”

Vincent smiled, but knew he couldn’t eat another bite. Plus, I need to seriously get cracking at my energy storing. “You guys go ahead. I could use some more meditation.” He leaned his head up to Mason. “How about you take them to Nini’s? The size of the sandwiches there should make everyone pretty happy.”

The Enforcer’s eyes gleamed as sandwiches were mentioned. “I could go for a rather large sandwich. Is this place good?”

A laugh came from Mason. “I won’t tell Morrine you said that. Next to JD’s, it’s the best place in town for a meal. Footlong subs, hot paninis, and the finest deli cuts. Plus, Morrine is from Chicago. She would be insulted if her restaurant wasn’t up to par.” Dirk nodded knowing that their destination was proven to be worth it.

***

Mason and the New York council arrived on Main Street near Nini’s, and when Dirk and Tierney got out of the vehicle, they could smell the food wafting through the air. “Mason, I believe you now when you said this place is worth it. I just hope they have a meatball sub.”

“Oh, Morrine wouldn’t have a proper menu without one. I usually get the Mona Lisa. It’s a giant overstuffed and oversauced stromboli.”

Tierney’s eyes flashed red. “I’m sold. I’ll have two.” The New York Alpha followed his nose to the shop as the other three were in tow. Opening the door, a little bell on the inside of the door rang as Tierney and Mason were the first two inside.

“Wilson! Back to back visits? I’d compliment ya, but I don’t think I want to embarrass you in front of your new friends!” Morrine had an elbow on her register counter as she was counting down the money after the lunch rush.

Mason laughed and walked up to the owner. “Morr, come on! Cut out the loudmouthin’. We have some pretty serious guests here in Owensville, and they’re hungry.”

The Beta wolf was in complete and utter shock. Did...did that shifter just speak to her Alpha like that? This pack is backwards! He looked to Dirk to see if he had any answers, but the bear was just as baffled. The two followed the Owensville Alpha to the counter to meet the ballsy lady.

My Gods. What a woman! So bold, so forward. Tierney stepped forward, but his first step caused Morrine to look his way. And she’s not too bad to look at. I have to give Mason credit. His pack is full of surprises. “Hello, Miss Morrine, was it?”

Morrine squinted her eyes and brought her full attention to the larger man coming to the counter. Great, now this town has two Alpha wolves? Wilson is already fun to play with, but I don’t think this guy is a bag of jokes. More like a stiff suit. In a very unfamiliar behavior, Morrine bowed at the hip towards Tierney. “Always a pleasure to have an Alpha in my shop. I’m Morrine Schultz, and I am the owner of Nini’s.”

Oh, this just won’t do. This isn’t the same brash lady I just met. “Pardon me, Morrine, but I know I just met you, but I dislike it when shifters act all formal with me.” He leaned on the counter in front of her. “I’d prefer it if I got to meet the real Morrine Schultz.”

The deli owner cracked a grin and slapped her hand on the steel counter surface. Well, don’t ask me twice! Here I come, handsome. Hope you’re ready. “Mace, I like this guy! Where did you dig this Casanova up at? From the sound of him, he’s from upstate New England.” She looked at the Alpha straight in his emerald eyes. “I don’t mind Yorkers in my shop. But this Chicago lady won’t take any nonsense, ya hear?”

Kaplan and Dirk couldn’t open their mouths any wider. What...just happened? Does she know who she is talking to? The Beta was about to step in to let the lady know who she was addressing, but Tierney could smell his intentions and held a hand behind his back to signal to back off.

“I respect your rules, Morrine. I would like to introduce myself. My name is Tierney Scott and I’m-”

“The Alpha of the New York State Pack! Holy crap! A celebrity in my sandwich shop. Wilson! When were you going to tell me you knew this guy?” Morrine looked around her empty dining area and turned to her staff. “Hey! Get your acts together, folks, and prepare to make the finest of your careers!” Returning her attention to the new eye candy. “Now, what can I get for ya, T?

Tierney widened his eyes in shock. Damn...she can be scary. But I kind of like that. “Mason told me about a...Mona Lisa stromboli?”

She shot a side-eye at Mason and nodded. “Yeah, that’s the house special sandwich. Plenty of pepperoni, sauce, cheese, salami, and herbs.”

“Sounds...tasty.” The New Yorker grinned at Morrine, causing the lightest of blushes to come across her face. “I’ll take two of them.”

Morrine cocked her head to the side slightly. Two? “You know those are footlong sandwiches, right? Stuffed to feed the biggest of shifters.” Receiving a nod as her answer, she looked mildly amused but turned and barked the order at the cooking staff. Pulling out a fountain cup from her hidden shelf under the counter, she handed it to Tierney. “Food will be ready in a bit, Casanova.”

A smile flew across the Alpha’s face as he started turning to fill his cup. But not without leaving his new flirt a wink as he spun on his heels. Kaplan ordered one Mona Lisa for himself, while Dirk asked for the largest meatball sub Morrine could make. She squinted her eyes as she sized up the bear shifter. Big bear! Been a long time since I’ve seen one of these guys. “Big Italian Apple! Extra everything! Make all of that food with love!”

The crew working in the different stations yelled across the kitchen. “Make it with love!” The New York crew smirked collectively at the statement, and made their way to the booth that Mason had picked out. Tierney sat down and leaned across the table to his fellow Alpha. “Mason. Who exactly is that lady?”

Mason snickered as he confirmed the affection the two shifters gave each other. “Ty, are you sure you want to go after Morrine? She is a lot to handle.”

Tierney’s eyes flashed blood red. “Challenge accepted. There’s just something about her. I’m not feeling a pull like how a destined bond should feel, but my wolf is very interested in her. How long has she been a part of your pack?” Dirk and Kaplan joined the Alphas at the table and listened to Mason.

“Morrine moved here almost ten years ago, under my father’s term as Alpha. She had co-ownership of a restaurant in Chicago and her business partner used the joint as a front to sell drugs. Their Alpha caught wind of it and exiled them both without a fair trial. Lei was notified by the Executive Council a few months later that she should have been given a trial. My Dad found her nearby and welcomed her with open arms.”

A deeply scorned grimace came across Tierney’s face. That Alpha should know better. Fair trials are required in every case, even if it is an open and shut case. I’m glad that the E.C. caught it and rectified the situation properly. “These are the times where I’m glad that we have a higher governing body.”

“Wake up, you four! Food’s ready! Come and get it!” All four turned their heads to Morrine’s yell. Tierney motioned for Dirk and Kaplan to grab the trays. The two returned with four trays of wrapped sandwiches and fried potato chips galore.

“Alpha Scott, the lady said to check your wrapper.” Tierney examined the outer wrappers of his sandwiches but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. He looked over to Morrine, who smiled and motioned for him to open the wrapper. Getting the clue, the Alpha opened the first sandwich. Oh, you little minx…

Mason watched as Tierney pulled out his phone and began thumbing the screen like a professional teenage texter. A few seconds later, a ding came from a phone in the kitchen. Uh oh. They’ve moved on to texting. He chuckled and opened his sandwich, taking a savory bite. He watched as Dirk opened his meatball sub and took a bite. The bear’s eyes rolled to the back of his skull in pure bliss. “Sweet mother of the Gods! I think I found my favorite place in this territory!”

Kaplan quickly took a bite of his sandwich and seemed pretty impressed with the meal. He looked to his Alpha to see that Tierney had already devoured half of one sandwich. Must have been pretty great. Or Alpha may have been that hungry. I didn’t expect him to go all out in his little performance.

The shifters all quickly downed their food and gave compliments to Morrine and her staff. Tierney walked to the counter and motioned for Morrine to come chat. After talking quietly for a while, several nods and the tiniest blush from the deli owner, Tierney rejoined the group to head on their way. “Alright, Mason. Any other big sights to see around here?”

***

While Mason gave the New York council a tour around the town, Vincent focused on channeling his energy. He took his shady spot back under the tree in Mason’s backyard. He let his shadow affinity run through his veins as the shade from the tree boosted his magic. I’m channeling my anger like I should when using the affinity, but it somehow soothes me. It’s almost as if I feel the shadows dancing around me as I meditate.

He opened his eyes to check his surroundings, but paused when his eyes landed on the shade surrounding him. The..shadows are...they’re dancing! All around the mage, the shade provided by the tree appeared darker than normally, almost entirely black in tint. The edges around the treeline were swirling in spirals and crashing into each other like calm waves washing onto a beach. Can...can I actually control the shadows? And not just manipulate them for my own movement? This is such a breakthrough!

He kept his emotions running to see if that was what was causing the effect. Looks to be that way. So instead of channeling my anger into a point in my feet, I need to let it flow through my body. Vincent waved his arm in the air to the left as he looked directly at the moving shadows. The darkness responded as the shadows stretched unnaturally according to the sun’s direction onto the tree. This is so neat! A new way to use my power! I wonder…

Vincent lifted his arms up to his face, and the shadows corresponded, making a wall of shadow that was darker than a pitch black night. Interesting. Holding his arms in place, the mage walked up to the wall and kicked it. His eyes shot open as his kick hit the wall, and bounced off like rubber. Wait! This is supposed to be an effect of light hitting an object, not a way of creating a nonpermiable force. I mean, I can’t argue with the results because there’s hardly any documented texts of what a shadow mage can actually do.

The mage kept experimenting with his new findings over the next hour. Keeping a detailed mental catalog of what arm movements caused what shadow effects, he became more and more confident in his abilities. Okay, I can now create walls of shadows and extend the shadows as I need to. Just one more theory to test.

He stepped out into the sunlight, away from the shadows. The shadows around him stopped dancing, but that was expected. Instead, he focused on his own body’s shadow created by the sun touching his body. I know I’ve tried before, but that was before realizing how I should have tried it. Vincent began channeling his emotions, and just as he wanted, his own shadow began moving like the tree’s did. Perfect. He played with his own shadow for many minutes, creating all sorts of new tools for his arsenal. Vincent could fling his shadow like a whip, as well as make small weapons and a shield. But the one thing that stood out the most during his exercise was the tool that Vincent believed would be a valuable asset.

Testing it once again, he brought his arms down, pointing his fingers to his shadow. Bringing up his fingers into a claw and moving his biceps like he was lifting a dumbbell, his shadow wrapped around his feet and shot up his body. The shadow wrapped his body like a wetsuit. It was light as a shadow itself, but sturdy like vulcanized rubber. Having some armor might be pretty useful in a pinch. But I wonder…

He twirled his fingers and his armor began morphing into a different shape. The wetsuit grew wider, making the material more loose. Twisting his fingers more, Vincent made the armor to his exact liking. This...is so badass! The tight wetsuit became a loose jet-black robe with slightly oversized hood. I feel like an actual wizard in this! And it still serves as armor.

Satisfied with his new abilities, Vincent made his way back to his shady spot and sat cross-legged. That was worth the distraction, but I really need to get this bracelet filled, I’m now up to four full beads. I can definitely get up to seven before bed time. But no more stepping away! This needs to be done! The mage closed his eyes and channeled his energy once more.

***

The day flew by for everyone who stayed at Mason’s house. Vincent dedicated himself to his meditation, with the exception of eating and using the bathroom, and racked up a total seven full beads of magic. Only four black beads remained on his wrist as he laid in bed with his mate.

Mason held Vincent in his arms. I missed him so much today. Him being away meditating is a pain in my ass, but it can’t be helped. “Get some rest, my little mate. You will need every minute of sleep you can get.”

Vincent looked up to his sexy man and palmed the hairy chest in front of him. “I will. Are the others comfortable with their sleeping arrangements?”

“Yep! They are all comfortable after they tuckered themselves out by running in the forest. Baby, you would have lost your mind if you would have seen Dirk’s bear. That thing was massive!”

Oh, man! I missed seeing his bear! “Damn. I’ll probably have another chance at seeing it before they leave. If not, then I’ll get to in September.”

The wolf leaned on his elbow, placing his hand on his cheek. “So are you and Dirk okay? I know he really rubbed me the wrong way when we met at the airport, but I wanted to see how you were.”

“He’s okay with me, for now. I haven’t had the chance to talk much today, but I’m hoping it will get better with time.” Vincent looked at his man’s eyes. “Is he...is he what you called a human hater?”

Mason nodded. “He’s a decent example. There are some that are much worse, but you kicked his ass in that challenge, and he took the defeat well. Most human hating shifters around here won’t be as courteous, and you may have to back up your challenge victory in a small fight. But I’m sure you can handle it if you can beat Caleb in a spar.” He rubbed his mate’s head, messing up the long light brown hair.

Vincent smiled as he was given affection. “I gotcha.” He pinned his head in between his pillow and Mason. “I missed you today, big guy.”

The Alpha’s eyes flashed golden. “I missed you, too, Vinnie. With the New York council here, and your preparation for your dance, I feel that I haven’t spent as much time with you as I should.”

“It’s totally understandable, though. A lot of important events have happened in a short time, and you’re the Alpha, so that means a lot of this falls on you. But just know I’m here for you. After my dance, I’m all yours. I can help with whatever you need from me.”

I’m..I’m touched. He acts as if he is ready to commit to being a Mated Alpha to the pack. Gods, he’s perfect for me. Mason kissed Vincent’s lips lightly. “One thing at a time, my mate. First, we have your dance to worry about. After that, it’s all about getting you rested, then we can go from there.”

Vincent nodded. Plus, we have to complete our bond. Oh, Gods, this is going to be a rough couple of days ahead of us! He leaned his head back down into the pillow and realized how tired he was. All I did was meditate. I feel like I ran a marathon! Looking to his bracelet, he sought for answers. Maybe storing energy is making me tired. Oh well. It will be over soon, and then we can focus on other things.

A message tone came from Vincent’s phone, so he rolled over to grab it off the nightstand. The bright screen illuminated the mage’s face as Vincent read the lengthy text. “Oh...my Gods.”

Mason sat straight up, expecting some terrible news to come out of his mate’s mouth. “What’s going on, Vin?”

I can’t believe this. This is just...bonkers! Why me? Surely there is a better candidate. Vincent snapped his attention to Mason, who practically threw off the entire comforter and got on top of the mage, asking if everything is alright. “Sorry, Mace. Um...I guess it’s good news. Dave just texted me.”

The Alpha squinted his eyes. What does my Beta want at this hour? “What does the message say?”

Getting over his speechlessness, Vincent reread the text, just to make sure it was correct. “So...umm. I just got a promotion at work.”

Mason threw his eyes wide open. “Sweetie, that’s fantastic! I’m a little confused since you haven’t been there in a few days, but I’m proud of you. What’s the new job?”

“That’s the thing. Apparently, the store manager cornered Dave and suggested it since they had to fire someone on dayshift. I start Monday...as Dave’s new assistant grocery department lead.”

Dave, you crafty son of a bitch! You pulled some strings with that, didn’t you? “Vinnie, that’s freaking perfect! Congratulations!” A thought ran through Mason’s head that caused his celebratory mood to deflate. “Does that mean you would work more hours?”

Vincent shook his head. “Dave told the manager I like working part time hours, and he said that would be fine. So I’ll be working three eight-hour shifts a week. And that’s fine with me.”

The wolf landed a kiss on his mate’s forehead. “Good! Because I wouldn’t want you to work your life away when you don’t have to. Hell, if you wanted, you wouldn’t even have to keep a job since I’m pretty well set.”

That would be nice, but I’m pretty sure I’d die of boredom. I need to keep my feet moving. “I appreciate the thought, big guy. But I like to work a little. I can’t be one of those people that don’t do anything productive with their time.”

"I can appreciate that. I still run the office operations at my parents' farm and I already have a lot to do with the pack." He scooted ever so closer to Vincent. "Don't know about you, pup, but I'm about to fall asleep. Turn over and let me hold you." Vincent abided by his mate's request and got settled. Mason whispered in Vincent's ear. "I could hold you like this until the end of time." The wolf kept his eyes barely open until his mind fell to sleep.

Vincent listened to the light but deep sounding snore coming from behind his head. Right there with ya, bud. He closed his eyes and joined his mate.

***

"Shaw! Tell me you got something." Chief Vough sat in his office chair as his lead detective walked in and took a chair.

Detective Terry Shaw stood five foot and ten inches, and wasn't in the best shape, but continued to pass all annual physical department exams. He combed his greasy blonde hair with his fingers as he handed a case file to Henry with his other hand.

"The merc gave all the information he could. It's pretty open and shut in his case for attempted murder and illegal possession of firearms, but there's nothing on leading us to this Gregoro dude. We got the guy on putting out the hit on Bolton, but finding this asshole will be the problem."

Henry nodded as he viewed the file. "That was to be expected with Gregoro. He's low on the FBI's Most Wanted List, and he won't be easy to find. A lot of their findings say that when they get close, he ends up on the other side of the world in a second. I'm still surprised the merc in holding sang like a canary."

Shaw smirked. "Yeah, Wilson must have laid into the dude before Poll and Ingle got there. That guy is one scary fucker. Nice as can be, but scary."

The Chief laughed. Yeah, if only he knew. I keep getting amazed when no one asks what a farm owner is doing hanging around the department like he does. "That's true. But good work, Shaw. I'll consider this case temporarily closed, but I'll keep it on your caseload if more information comes out. For the next month, do follow-up interviews once a week on the merc to make sure he isn't holding back."

With a nod, Shaw got up from his seat and went back to his cubicle. Been here for seven years. I have never seen so much shit hitting the fan. Who is this Bolton kid anyway? He just popped up out of nowhere a month ago, and now he has hit men after him? Something ain't right here. He picked up his phone and dialed a number.

"Ingle? Detective Shaw. Can you pick up a 'Vincent Bolton?' I'd like to speak with him in the morning and get an account for his story on that car wreck a couple days ago. Thanks, bud." Hanging up the phone, he leaned back and sat in thought. My gut is acting like a washing machine with this kid. And I'm gonna find out why.

***

Hell! Mason is gonna rip my head off. My instincts are telling me Shaw is up to no good again. Officer Ingle cruised down Main Street as he continued his patrol. Sitting in the passenger of the car, Poll could tell her partner was having a mental shouting match with himself. "What's up, bud? Your brow is almost hitting your nose."

Ingle snorted out of the humorous comment. "Pack drama. Shaw is digging his nose where it doesn't belong, and Mason Wilson is going to go ballistic when I call him in the morning."

"Why is that?" The ginger officer crossed her arms.

"Shaw wants Vincent Bolton, the kid from that car crash. Long story short, Vincent just came in this area last month, and with all that happened that night, I'd investigate into him myself if I was detective."

Pondering the scenario, she nodded. "Yeah, makes sense. Kid comes into town a month ago and hit men appear. Seems sketch to me. But the kid seems so sweet."

Smirking, Ingle turned down a side street. "He is. Had a chance to meet him. But I wouldn't want to get on his bad side though. From what Mason told me, Vincent is a pretty powerful mage, and has a sad backstory. Connects him and a bad, bad dude from Italy or something."

"So wait. Was that Vincent who covered the black truck in ice?" Ingle nodded. "Dang, that kid is something else. So Shaw is now investigating Vincent? Why? He was told to go after the guy we arrested."

"That's what my wolf is tellin' me. And that's what detectives do: they turn over every rock they can, even if it's the one that turns the good guy into the suspect."

Poll's thoughts conflicted with themselves. "What do you plan on doing? You need to pick up the kid, but he seems pretty innocent and Shaw is looking at him like he's the bad guy in all this."

Ingle thumbed the steering wheel in frustration. "My first loyalty is to the pack. I love this badge and making sure the streets are safe, but I won't allow Shaw to try to frame Vincent. He's destined to be the pack's Mated Alpha, and Mason would throw everything away for him. So that's my intention as well. I'll shoot him a text to call me ASAP, but I'll keep doing my job in the meantime."

The human sidekick sat in silence as she felt for her partner. Ingle would throw away his career for these two? Talk about loyalty! "Ings, just letting you know something. I know I have no business meddling with your pack, but I got your back on this. Whatever you need, I got you."

Surprised at his partner's decision, he pulled over to the curb and turned in his seat to face Officer Poll. For a human, she's pretty dedicated. "Sarah, that means a lot to me and my wolf. First thing, we gotta keep this on the DL with the department. Mace will talk with the Chief, probably in efforts to slow Shaw down. Knowing Shaw though, he'll work on this off hours. Second, we're just officers and I've been ordered to bring Vincent in tomorrow morning, so that's unavoidable. Best thing to do in all this is to act nonchalant about it, but keep our ears to the ground. Anything that can help Mason and Vincent is my priority. I don't want you to get canned over this. I'm taking full responsibility if we get in trouble, you got that?"

Poll nodded, even though she disagreed with his chivalry. Men. Willing to fall on their sword for silly reasons. "I gotcha, partner. You better send that text while you're pulled over." Ingle pulled out his phone and shot Mason a text, warning of his orders.

"A'ight. That's done. Let's finish this route and grab a coffee."

***

Mason sleepily opened his eyes and went to grab his mate, but shot his gaze wide open when he only grabbed sheets and pillows. Vin? Where'd he go? A wafting scent filled his nose and got his answer. Well, well! Cooking breakfast? Hope he remembers that this house is full of shifters and not humans. He rolled out of bed and threw on his navy blue robe that hung on the bathroom door.

Making his way into the kitchen, many scents filled the Alpha's nose. Is he cooking everything he can find? Passing the living room, he noticed that Dirk was snoring heavily on the couch. Yep, that's a bear. Poking his head in the kitchen doorway, he saw his mate and Kaplan scurrying about, stirring every pot and pan in sight. "What is happening in here?"

Kaplan looked up and bared his neck to Mason. "Alpha Wilson, good morning. Your mate was cooking breakfast and I decided to help, if that is okay."

"That's perfectly fine, Kap. And it's Mason, remember? You guys seem pretty busy in here."

Vincent stepped to the side of the oven and kissed Mason, quickly returning to his station. "Yeah, we got eggs, sausage, bacon, hashbrowns, and biscuits with gravy. And don't worry, big guy, there'll definitely be enough for everyone. Although, we probably need to go to the grocery store after this to stock back up. We kinda wiped out the fridge for this.

"Oh! And I didn't mean to be nosey, but I saw you have a text from Officer Ingle and one from Lei." Mason nodded and made his way back to the bedroom to grab his phone and slowly walked his way to the front porch. Opening his Dad's message first, he skimmed. Just him saying that Mom wants Vinnie to meditate. We got it under control, Mom. He then opened a long text from Ingle. This doesn't look good.

'Alpha. Sorry for the late text, but Shaw has orders for me to bring Vincent in for questioning. Doubt it is genuine, gut is telling me somethings up. Will be at house by 9. I'll let u kno if I find more.'

Mason's eyes turned amber orange as he tried processing what Shaw would want with Vincent. He already gave a statement! They have the merc in custody. Typing furiously, he asked for more details from the officer.

A minute later, a response came. 'Suspecting he finds Vincent coming in town a month ago then attacked by hitmen suspicious.' That makes a lot of sense! You have a guy who comes to town, rents a weekly apartment, grabs an overnight job. Then gets slammed by mercs who were paid to kill him. I'd think would be pretty odd from a detective's point of view as well. Damn, this is a tight situation. Vinnie can't go in and say, 'Yep, that's exactly what happened.' I need to call Henry.

The Alpha stepped out the front door and called Henry's office number. "Chief Vough."

"Henry, it's Mason. I got a problem. What's the deal with Shaw wanting to question Vincent?"

A small pause went over the line before Mason got a response. "What do you mean? I told Shaw the case was temporarily closed. The hitman confessed, but nothing led to Stefan."

The wolf became impatient. "Henry, cut the crap. Ingle texted me last night that he's on orders to pick Vincent up for questioning. If your detective tries to pin any bullshit on my mate, I'll have his head."

"Mason, calm down. I didn't authorize this. With a closed case, any action to reopen or continue the case has to go through me. If Ingle comes, just have Vincent come and answer the questions. I'll watch over it from the viewing room besides the interrogation room."

A growl vibrated in Mason's chest. "Interrogation? Do I need to get my pack lawyer involved in this?"

Henry sighed over the line. "No, that won't be necessary. I'll stop the interview myself if Shaw draws any lines. I know of Vincent's background, and I'm sure Shaw doesn't. This is simply a misunderstanding."

"This better be. My mate has his own agenda that needs to be dealt with today. And I swear, if this is one of his ridiculous conspiracy theories, he's done for!"

"Mason, I promise you. He will be back at your place before noon. I'll let you know immediately the outcome of all this."

Still wanting to growl, Mason cooled his nerves. "I'll expect your call." The wolf ended the call and paced his porch. If Shaw says one thing wrong to my mate, I'll shove his badge so far up his-

The sound of the front door opening caused Mason to turn immediately with his orange eyes staring at who ever walked through. He calmed down ever so slightly when Tierney walked onto the porch. "Easy, bud. Just me. Was walking to the kitchen when I heard your growl. Something must have pissed in your Cheerio's."

Mason let a long sigh out. "I have a pesky detective who was working on the case from when Vincent and I were attacked. Something has him distracted and he's sending an officer to pick Vinnie up for questioning."

Tierney crossed his arms, getting a small idea of the predicament. "Let me guess, he's a little curious how a scrawny guy gets hitmen sicced on him?" Mason nodded. "Then allow me to repay you for hosting us to your territory."

An eyebrow raised on Mason's head. "What do you have in mind?"Tierney let a sly grin crawl on his face. "Have Kaplan go with Vincent. He will be of great help." Kaplan? The quiet Beta who hasn't said much of what he does? "I'm sorry, Ty, but I don't follow."

"Kaplan isn't just my Beta, Mason. He also the New York State Pack's attorney."

Mason's jaw dropped. "You're joking. That little twenty-something year old is your lawyer?"

Tierney chuckled at his fellow Alpha. "He's actually thirty-two. Older than he looks, but put him in a suit and in a courtroom...and he is the scariest man I've ever met."

I doubt this. I sincerely do. There is no way I can be convinced that this Beta can scare the New York Alpha. "We are talking about the same wolf, right?"

"Yep. When is the officer picking up your mate?"

"In an hour. Just enough time for breakfast. I'll let Vinnie know of the plans. I greatly appreciate lending Kaplan's services, but does he know Kentucky laws?"

Tierney nodded. "Anytime Kaplan comes with me on a trip, he brushes up on laws of the state we're visiting. Kap has a photographic memory, so he's ready to go in about thirteen states. He read several books on the flight here and the day before."

Simply put, Mason was impressed. Alright. He's a damn good Beta wolf. "Well, let's break the news to them."

Tierney and Mason walked back inside and smelled that the food was ready to eat. Vincent poked his head from the kitchen doorframe. "Hey, you two! Wake Dirk up and come get your plate."

Tierney looked at Mason and shook his head. "Remember the old saying. Never wake a sleeping bear. I got him. Go inform your mate and Kaplan of their new itineraries." Mason left the wolf to deal with the bear and went to make his plate. Looking at the kitchen, the Alpha seemed quite pleased with the spread of food. Wow, they did cook enough. There has to be enough to feed at least six grown shifters!

Mason leaned and kissed his mate. "This looks great, Vinnie. Good job, you two. But I'm afraid something has come up that requires your expertise, Kap."

Kaplan cocked his head. "What do you mean, Mason?"

"Let's grab our food and we can talk." Tierney came from behind Mason and grabbed a single piece of bacon from the platter. He walked back to the living room with the gang following. Mason smiled, figuring out the Alpha's plan of waking the bear. That...is genius.

Tierney waved the bacon slice under Dirk's nose for a few seconds. Dirk's eyelids slowly opened and immediately found their target. "Bacon…" Vincent couldn't help but snicker at the scene.

"C'mon, Dirk. Your new favorite human cooked breakfast for us." Tierney took the bacon and nibbled on the end. "And it tastes great, by the way. Thank you, Vincent."

Vincent blushed at the compliment. "Thank you, Ty." The group went back to the kitchen with Dirk still rubbing his eyes. Once their plates were loaded, they sat at the dining table. Vincent looked to his mate and picked up their previous conversation. "Mace, what were you talking about before?"

Mason set his fork down and looked between Kaplan and Vincent. "The detective that is on the case from our hitmen incident wants to bring you in for questioning, and Ingle will be by shortly to take you. Ty has offered Kap to be your attorney for the interview. Ingle messaged me, saying he has a gut feeling on Detective Shaw's intentions. He's looking at you in suspicion since you just moved to town and were attacked by mercenaries."

The mage dropped his eyes to his plate. I get the thought process. "I'll give him my honest answers, Mace. I would have preferred a heads up from the detective, though."

Kaplan spoke between bites. "Vincent, that's what a detective wants. They want to disturb your daily process in order to throw you off in hopes of getting you to say something you shouldn't. Mason, is this detective good at his job?"

"He gets results, but he can be a little conniving. Tends to be a bit of a conspiracy theorist."

"I gotcha. Good thing I brought my suit. I'm almost hesitant to agree to go with you, Vincent, in all honesty. With you showing up with a lawyer to a questioning interview, it will give the detective an impression that you have something to hide."

Vincent furrowed his brow. "Does Detective Shaw know about the supernatural?"

Mason shook his head. "And I'd prefer to keep it that way. He's a bit of a blabbermouth."

Dirk, after swallowing a mouthful of food. "Not really my area of skill, but wouldn't it be smart to send Vincent in without Kaplan? Presents a better impression. And, no offense to you, small one, but with your natural naivete, Shaw would be a fool to think you have evil intentions."

The mage nodded. "No offense taken, Dirk. Kaplan?"

After staying silent in thought, the Beta reluctantly agreed. "I want to be there to prevent you from being asked indecent questions, but me showing up will cause Shaw to push further buttons." Sipping his water, he pointed a question at Mason. "Do you have friends in high places?"

Grinning, Mason chuckled to lighten the mood. "It helps to have the police chief in your pocket. I called him when I read the text. He's not the happiest with Shaw over this. Henry will be in the viewing room overseeing the interview."

"Good. That will help tremendously. Just know this, Vincent. Answer his questions honestly."

Vincent smiled. "I can handle that." The mage returned to his food and the shifters joined. There goes my plans of getting in some meditation this morning. The doorbell rang, and part of Vincent's heart fell to his stomach. He's already here?

Mason got up and answered the door. Gods, let this day go by quick. Officers Ingle and Poll were standing on the porch, both with emotionless faces. Ingle bared his neck to Mason. "Alpha. Is Vincent ready?"

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

I hope that Shaw doesn't cause too many issues, as I am not sure how well he would survive the resolution.  Love that the visiting Alpha finds someone so interesting, especially such an outspoken individual.  

Can't wait for the next update, great job...

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4 minutes ago, centexhairysub said:

I hope that Shaw doesn't cause too many issues, as I am not sure how well he would survive the resolution.  Love that the visiting Alpha finds someone so interesting, especially such an outspoken individual.  

Can't wait for the next update, great job...

Thank you for the comment, sir! Morrine is low-key, my favorite character I have developed, and I wanted her to have a little boy-toy! I just hope Tierney can keep up with her!

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“He leaned his head back down into the pillow and realized how tired he was. All I did was meditate. I feel like I ran a marathon! Looking to his bracelet, he sought for answers. Maybe storing energy is making me tired. Oh well. It will be over soon, and then we can focus on other things.”

I bet it was the shadowplay that made him extra tired. We’ll see what happens with that.

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3 hours ago, astone2292 said:

Thank you for the comment, sir! Morrine is low-key, my favorite character I have developed, and I wanted her to have a little boy-toy! I just hope Tierney can keep up with her!

I love that the Alpha of the largest Pack in North America is gonna be Morr's 'little boy-toy'. Not exactly the term I'd use to describe Alpha Tierney.

Love, love, love that Vin is learning how to manipulate/use shadows. That it is not just a transport tool. That will be so very important later on.

I wonder what Shaw is bringing to this story? Time and effort was spent introducing this possible storyline. Hmmm...

So very excited for, is it the next chapter? The Pack Meeting, the official annoucement re Caleb, possibly meeting our first real Human Hater, the presence of Alpha Tierney at their Meeting, the formal intro of Vin to the Pack and the Dance. Thats a helluva chapter. Kia Kaha!

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Awesome chapter, Vinnie is gaining power and strength, I am glad he found out how to manipulate the shadows, it just adds to his arsenal, Shaw I think is in for a bit of a shock and surprise, I hope that he can handle it

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4 hours ago, Buz said:

I love that the Alpha of the largest Pack in North America is gonna be Morr's 'little boy-toy'. Not exactly the term I'd use to describe Alpha Tierney.

Love, love, love that Vin is learning how to manipulate/use shadows. That it is not just a transport tool. That will be so very important later on.

I wonder what Shaw is bringing to this story? Time and effort was spent introducing this possible storyline. Hmmm...

So very excited for, is it the next chapter? The Pack Meeting, the official annoucement re Caleb, possibly meeting our first real Human Hater, the presence of Alpha Tierney at their Meeting, the formal intro of Vin to the Pack and the Dance. Thats a helluva chapter. Kia Kaha!

Ha! Morrine loves to tease Mason every chance she gets. I imagine she'll call Tierney much worse than 'boy-toy.' (She called Mason a mangy mutt back in Ch. 7.).

I brought Shaw in because...well, I left a hole in the story involving the merc who was arrested. Whoopsies! The merc was sent to be interrogated and I just called it a day with no intention of coming back. Happy little accidents!

The next several chapters are going to be filled with so stinkin' much! Vincent has sort of dealt with his first mini-human hater, but the real one will come around eventually. Thanks for the comment, Buz!!!

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1 hour ago, mikedup said:

Awesome chapter, Vinnie is gaining power and strength, I am glad he found out how to manipulate the shadows, it just adds to his arsenal, Shaw I think is in for a bit of a shock and surprise, I hope that he can handle it

Love your comments, mikedup! 

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The spider web is growing and without much attention; the management, the detective,... Which are threats, which are not? Are these growing threats aware of the network they support or did they just sell to any bidder?
 

I’m loving the suspense of impending threats and the thrill of mounting alliances and fighting capabilities. Another great chapter and eagerly awaiting more!

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20 minutes ago, Philippe said:

The spider web is growing and without much attention; the management, the detective,... Which are threats, which are not? Are these growing threats aware of the network they support or did they just sell to any bidder?
 

I’m loving the suspense of impending threats and the thrill of mounting alliances and fighting capabilities. Another great chapter and eagerly awaiting more!

Mwahahaha! So many conspiracies! I'm loving this! I also love how you described this as a spider's web! Some strands of the web are connected to the center, but others are just support. 

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yeah, I almost asked the previous chapter what were the shadow powers, if he could control them or just be them. It seems Vincent is still discover them, but them, they don't know anyone that can help him. I am already imagining shadow dirks and shurikens 😃 Hope Vincent will also be the first to discover how to control is shadow affinity through purpose, not emotions, as emotions can be had to controls in a fight or stressful situations.

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18 minutes ago, Sweetlion said:

yeah, I almost asked the previous chapter what were the shadow powers, if he could control them or just be them. It seems Vincent is still discover them, but them, they don't know anyone that can help him. I am already imagining shadow dirks and shurikens 😃 Hope Vincent will also be the first to discover how to control is shadow affinity through purpose, not emotions, as emotions can be had to controls in a fight or stressful situations.

Oh, Vincent has lots to discover about his powers altogether. He is pretty adept in his abilities, but there's always more to learn. I agree with controlling his emotions in battle, but I think our little hero will manage just fine!

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The build up to the dance continues!!!  Loving it!  I love how the other characters (their development) are at the forefront of the chapter but the dance is still the main event, for now.....  Amazing work as always... You just keep getting better and better with your "storytelling"!!!!   Top notch!!! 🏆 🥰:worship:❤️:read::heart:🏆

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21 minutes ago, Patch1 said:

The build up to the dance continues!!!  Loving it!  I love how the other characters (their development) are at the forefront of the chapter but the dance is still the main event, for now.....  Amazing work as always... You just keep getting better and better with your "storytelling"!!!!   Top notch!!! 🏆 🥰:worship:❤️:read::heart:🏆

Thank you, Patch1! Always a treat to see you comment. I'm off today/tonight, so plenty of work is being put in for Chapter 13! And I'm so happy that you think my storytelling is gr getting better!!! What a comment to receive as I get ready for bed! ❤️

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Well, I got to read it before they started to do the software upgrade. But as soon as I tried to click love on this chapter, I had to wait. Oh I love the new upgrade.

I really don't like Shaw at all and hope they don't keep Vincent from being ale to store his energy for the dance. He needs the energy. Shaw is there to protect people not cause problems, but he seems to be a problem causer in my opinion.  

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Vinnie's shadow power becomes much more than simple rapid transport with defensive and offensive capabilities.

Detective Shaw. It's bad enough when they have an outside threat, but having this guy poking his nose in smelly places is too much. Time to play up the innocent kid act. Vinnie.

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54 minutes ago, drpaladin said:

Time to play up the innocent kid act. Vinnie.

Just woke up, and this made me laugh so hard! Thank you for commenting!!

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