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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
    astone2292
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Love in the Shadows - 20. Chapter 20: Master Mole

He knows! Oh, Gods! Oh, fuck! He knows I’m a mage! Vincent turned around and watched Detective Shaw get in his car and drive off. Breathing in and out rapidly, the mage knew he had to get Dave but he was having trouble telling his legs to move. He grunted and forced them to walk back towards the Greenthumb.

Dave came rushing out of the entrance once Vincent got under the brick patio awning. “Vincent! Where were…” The wolf could smell the troubled emotions oozing off of his friend. “What happened?”

Vincent’s breath still wavered as he recognized Dave as the Beta stepped up to examine the mage’s face. “I...I thought.” Blinking rapidly, Vincent cleared his mind in order to speak. “I thought Stefan was here.”

“What?!” Dave somehow kept his voice to a dull boom, but his wolf wanted to howl in anger. “What do you mean, Vin?”

“I thought it was him, but it wasn’t. I followed him out here. He looked just like him, but he didn’t have the gray eyes. But on my way back in, Shaw found me. He...he…” Vincent couldn’t stop the tears this time. Letting them out, he began thinking of the nightmares he has caused. Shaw knows of mages! Hell, he might have found out about shifters. Mace is gonna...oh Gods, he’s gonna kill me!

Dave needed to snap Vincent out of his thought bubble. “Vincent.” The Beta dug deep and brought out his commanding voice, forming it into a whisper. It always took a lot out of Dave, but he was able to get a few words out similar to Mason when he used his Alpha Voice. Vincent’s head shot up at the sound of the deep whisper, tears rushing down his cheeks. “I’m sorry to do that to you, but I needed you to listen to me. Let’s head to the truck so we won’t be overheard.” Guiding the distraught human to his truck, Dave dropped the tailgate and took a seat, urging Vincent to do the same. “Now, tell me what happened. Don’t leave out a single detail.”

Vincent hopped himself up to take a seat next to his boss. “I saw a guy. Looked straight up like Stefan. I followed him, keeping my distance, but by the time we got out here, I realized it wasn’t him. But I turned around, and Shaw was there. He came up to me...and...he whispered, ‘I know what you are.’ Gods, Dave! He knows!” A new torrential downpour of tears rushed down Vincent’s eyes. “He knows I’m a mage. And the Gods only know if he knows about you guys, too! What if I did something to cause this?”

“Hey! Vincent. You did nothing. Shaw is a detective, okay? An investigator. I’m honestly surprised it took him this long to figure out.” The smile from the wolf helped Vincent ever so slightly. “Okay? I need you to breathe, man. We will get through this.” I need to call Mason. Now! “Just hang out here for a minute, I need to make a phone call.”

Wiping his sleeve, Vincent nodded but kept his gaze down to the ground. “If you’re calling Mace, tell him I’m sorry.”

“If it helps you, Vin, I will, but like I said, you didn’t do anything wrong.” Dave pulled out his phone and called Mason.

“Dave? What’s up?”

The Beta kept his voice low as he took a few steps from Vincent. “We got a problem. Shaw confronted Vin.”

The anger was palpable through the phone line. “I will kill that motherfucker!”

“Mace! Simmer down! That’s not the big problem!” He hated that he had to use an arguing tone with his Alpha, but it was to be expected. It’s his mate, and he’s very territorial. “Shaw knows of the mages. I don’t know how the Hell he found out, but he knows what Vin is. Don’t know if he’s aware of shifters or the other supernatural factions, but we can not rule anything out.”

A low growl came over the phone line, but Dave wasn’t having any of it. “With all due respect, Alpha, I need you to calm down, and think! Vincent was not harmed, but he is currently a freakin’ wreck right now!”

The line went silent for a moment, but Dave was met with a calmer tone. “I’ll be right there. And Dave...sorry for being an ass.”

“You have every right to be, but as your adviser, you need to be able to handle an emergency phone call from me. Your mate has it in his head that he is the cause of all this. I’m trying to talk some sense into him, but I need you with smiles and a positive attitude. You come pulling in here with a bad one, and Vin’s gonna think you’re pissed at him.”

“Remind me to give you a pay raise. I’ll be there in a few minutes with a grin.”

Good! About time he listens to me. I bet Lei had a talk with him at some point. “Okay. We’ll be out by the truck. I’m calling Quinn to let him know we’re dealing with pack issues. He’ll understand.” Dave ended the call and shot a quick text to Quinn, explaining the situation using a vague excuse. Turning his attention back to Vincent, he noticed that the mage had not moved his head at all away. Gods, he can be a sad sack when he feels like it! He’s putting off anxiety and sadness like an industrial fan.

Dave plopped himself on the tailgate next to Vincent. "Gonna say it again, little man. This isn't your fault. Mace, Caleb, and I will figure it out. And cheer up a bit. Don't want your mate to see you all sad, do ya?"

Vincent snorted and let a crumbling smile on his face. No, I don't. I just really want a hug from Mace. That always makes me feel better. "You're right. But...how could have he found out about me? Could he have been staking out Mace's house?"

"He could have, but he would have had to be pretty far away for Mace not to smell him. But we will figure it out. We'll get him properly read in and make sure he understands you're not a threat."

Mason's black truck pulled in next to Dave's and got out. The mage looked up to see that smiling grin on his mate's face. He's...not mad? "Hey, pup." The wolf kissed his man and pulled him into a tight hug. "Just want you to know that every thing will be alright."

Vincent rested his head on the shoulder in front of him. "I know, but I can't help but think it's somehow my fault."

"Come on, now. That's no way to think. Just let me take care of it, pup. And I promise, I won't do anything rash." Not yet, anyway.

The two shared a stare and Mason got a nod from Vincent. "Good. And besides, I need you happy for when I come pick you up. I got a little surprise for you when we get home."

A surprise? Oh, boy. What did he do now? "Okay. I can do that." Mason gave his man a loving kiss and turned to face Dave.

"Keep an eye on him, would ya?"

"Yes, dear." Dave laughed as Mason gave him a light punch on the arm and watched as his Alpha got back to the black truck. "Alright, bud. Time to head back in. I got the pallet of sugar out in front of the end cap." Vincent nodded and the two hopped off the truck and made their way inside.

Mason sat and watched his mate and Beta head to the store. He sighed and dialed a number on his phone before bringing it up to his ear. "Tina. Is Henry available? I'm on my way to speak with him. It's urgent."

***

"He did what?!" Henry's face got beet red in anger, almost letting his blood boil to the top of his bald head. "That's it! His ass is grass!"

Mason felt the same way, but knew this wasn't the answer to their problem. "Hold on, Henry! Simmer down. We can use Shaw to our advantage."

"Oh, yeah? We don't even know how much he knows!"

"Exactly. I say we get him in here and figure it out. My wolf doubts he has evil intention, so let's get information from him. I at least need to read him in on the supernatural before he goes blabbing. I gotta do my duty as Alpha, remember?"

Henry grumbled but agreed. "That's true. I'll get him in here." He dialed Shaw's desk from his office phone and told him to come in. Moments later, Detective Shaw stepped in with his beige trenchcoat and dress clothes. He and Mason locked eyes before turning to the Chief.

"What's go-"

"Close the door and sit." Shaw anticipated being questioned, but was unsure of why the farmer was here. He shut the office door and took a chair in front of the agitated police chief. "You're very lucky, Terry. I want to throw the book at you and hand you the pink slip, but Mason here is demanding I do anything but." Shaw furrowed his brow and shot a confused look at the giant man in the room.

Chief is taking orders from this guy? "I'm a little lost here. What's going on?"

Mason stepped around to take the other chair. "Detective, I'm Mason Wilson, Vincent's boyfriend. I understand you confronted him just a while ago. I'm not angry, like Henry here, but I'm merely here as a formality. It's come to my attention you have been exposed to the mages and their existence. There's no use in denying it. Your information is correct. Vincent is a mage."

Shaw's eyes widened with the news of confirmation. Yes! I was right! The kid was hiding something! But the detective was also concerned with the other part of the farmer's miniature speech. Did the kid tell him about having those freaky powers?

"Just a-"

"I wasn't done, yet." The deep voice from Mason caused Shaw to dart his eyes away unnaturally. What...in the fuck was that? I didn't mean to turn my eyes. They just did that on their own! “I apologize, Mr. Shaw, but I need to finish speaking to you before I answer your questions. I’m a representative to the mages that live in the area, and I felt it was my duty to speak with you. You can assume that the existence of magical beings is to be kept a secret from the world. It's my job to make sure it stays that way.

"Now, how did you find out Vincent was a mage?"

Shaw's mind wanted to fly with questions, but kept himself constrained. "I have a source."

"I'm going to need more than that. If another mage is spreading the word around, I need to find them." Mason watched as the human kept looking between different lower corners of the room and the Chief. Is it someone the Chief knows as well? "We are behind closed doors. Only the Chief and I are here."

"I get that. But I can't give up my source." Mason smelt a trickle of fear. Or the source is scaring the piss out of him. He keeps looking at the corners. What's there? The wolf scanned the room in the places Shaw had been looking at, then got up. Walking around, he examined every square inch of the room.

Oh. That...that is a problem. Mason caught something, but turned back around to face Henry and combed through his hair. "I understand, Detective. That's all I needed from you. Now to what I wish to offer. As a representative, I would like to spend some time over the next week to slowly integrate you into the community. Owensville is one of the few known safe havens for mages, and some like to help out with people new to the culture. I'd like to invite you to the park so we can speak further. Henry can give you my number. I ask that you stop by in an hour, as a sign of good faith."

Mason stepped forward and placed himself in front of the detective. Placing his hand on the man's shoulder, the wolf could only hope Shaw understood the message. "You have allies here. We can get through this...together."

Shaw stared at the farmer and nodded slowly. I understand, Wilson. "I'll be there." The detective got up and scooted past Mason. Before he opened the door, Shaw took a moment for himself, then turned to Henry. "And sir? Remember, you still owe me that Starburst from last week."

Henry nodded and shoo'ed the detective out. "Well...that went better than expected."

Turning his head slightly sideways, Mason gave a curious face to the Chief. "I thought you wanted to grill him?"

"Changed my mind. I have a meeting soon, Mason. I'll text you in a bit."

Mason nodded. He saw Henry pulling out his phone and began typing as the wolf left through the open door. As Mason reached Tina's desk, his phone dinged. A message from Henry? He unlocked his phone and read the text.

'Starburst is his duress word.'

Typing back, Mason's fingers flew. 'Figured. There was a fourth person in there. Take your pick of people.' He opened his contacts remand sent a separate message to Caleb. 'Pick up Vincent at 4 at GT. Take to mom.'

One more message. He scrolled through his contacts and found Ingle's number. 'Keep an eye on Shaw on any free time.'

He received two 'Yes, Alpha' texts and opened his truck to head to the park.

***

Waiting out in the open field of the park, Mason sat with his eyes closed. He felt ridiculous just standing around so he decided to start meditating, just like his mate. I forgot how great this felt! Need to do this with Vinnie again. A familiar scent wafted across his nose. Shaw's here.

He opened his eyes and looked around. Mason knew exactly where the detective was, but it would have seemed odd to the human to pinpoint him from afar. After acting like he was scanning the area, his eyes fell on Shaw and waved him over. Shaw must have had some time to himself since he was no longer in dress clothes, but a t-shirt and jeans.

"Mr. Wilson. Having fun down there?"

Mason smiled, showing a genuine positive attitude. "Yes, actually. Vincent taught me how to meditate and it's very soothing. Have a seat, join me." Shaw looked very skeptical, but Mason knew why he was hesitating. "Look around, detective. Where is the closest shadow?"

Blinking several times, Shaw was floored at the blatant statement of his newfound fear. He looked, and saw that the nearest shadow was easily thirty yards away. I see now. He chose this spot specifically. The human sat down next to the farmer and watched as Mason continued breathing in deep. "So...what now?"

Mason opened his eyes and directed his attention to Shaw. "Now...I'm going to explain some things. First and foremost, I haven't been exactly truthful with you, and for that, I am sorry." He felt Shaw's gaze on him but continued. "I am not a representative for mages in the area. And I'm not even a mage, period. But I am not a normal human."

Not...a normal human? What...is there more than just mages then? "Continue, Mr. Wilson. I'm all ears."

The wolf nodded. "Normally, it is against some laws of my culture to reveal our existence like this. But I want to earn your trust, Detective Shaw. I only hope you can allow me the chance to. Before I do anything, I will ask this. How much of the supernatural world do you want to know?"

Shaw stared at the grass in deep thought. Part of me wants to say fuck it and ask for all the info. But what would be the cost? I could learn of something that may haunt me for the rest of my life. He turned to the one thing that has led him for most of his life: his gut. Yep. That's what I thought, too.

"Tell me everything. Mr. Wilson...I'm not sure what to expect, but I already have the feeling that I'm gonna have to trust you. I'm sorry if I pre-painted a picture of you before getting to have a talk. You seem like an alright guy now that I've spoken with ya."

Mason smiled and nodded. "Okay, then. How much of the mage's world do you know? Have you been told of the different affinities?"

"Affina-whats?"

A hearty laugh came from Mason. "Not much, I take it? Affinities. Anyone has the slim chance of being blessed with a magical power of a certain type. Take Vincent, for example. He's an extremely rare case where someone is gifted with three affinities. He is equipped with the frost affinity, which causes him to summon ice in a variety of shapes, the clairvoyancy affinity which is the ability to see very far, and the shadow affinity. I'm sure you know some about that one."

"Oh! Like how S-" The human widened his eyes, almost revealing his source's identity.

"Like how Stefan has the fire and shadow affinities, yes." Mason kept a game face on, even though he wanted to growl at the thought of the bastard.

"...So...you know?"

Nodding, Mason let out a deep breath. "Yes. I saw the shadow wisps in Henry's office near the air vent. Did you know he was there?"

Shaw turned in disbelief. Wait! He was there? Holy shit! "I hope him telling me information doesn't harm our new relationship."

"Can't lie. I'm pretty pissed, but only slightly at you. You shouldn't have come at Vinnie like that. But I understand human bravado and pride. I'm not sure if he has something on you, but I only hope you know what side to choose between this rivalry."

"Do I look that stupid? Stefan is a murderer. Besides, I got his verbal confession to killing Bolton's parents."

It was Mason's turn to showcase his disbelief. "What? He...he said it?"

"Yes. He said he would face the proper sentencing for it, but I don't trust that for a second."

"Good. Not too bad, detective."

Shaw stared at the man next to him. "So...not to get sidetracked from talking about magic...but...you're not human? What are ya, an alien from space or something?"

Mason curled his lips, attempting to hide his amusement. "No, no. Nothing like that. I'm happy to say aliens don't exist to our knowledge. But are you sure you want to know?" Shaw shot his new friend a determined glare and nodded. "Okay, then. Have you seen the 'Twilight' movie?"

The human put a discouraging face on. "Don't tell me you're a sparkling vampire."

More laughter came from the wolf and he fell to his back while holding his sides. "Oh, Hell no! I'd jump off a cliff if I was! No, I'm the other one."

The other one? The...Oh! "You're a werewolf?"

Twinging at the slur, Mason nodded. "Specifically, a wolf shapeshifter. Werewolf is kind of a derogatory term for our species. But yeah, I can shift into a wolf whenever I please."

"That's...actually pretty damn cool. So you don't go around, biting people, do you?"

"No. In fact, we have strict laws set by our lycan government. Only when we find our true love, or if a human is on the verge of dying."

Shaw let the new information sit on his mind for a while. "How many...shapeshifters are there in town?"

"About two hundred or so. Owensville County is one of the stronger, but smaller packs in the United States. I'm their leader, an Alpha. That designates me as the strongest in the area."

The...strongest? Oh, damn! And this guy wants to be my friend? I'll take that! "So, do I need to call you by title or something?"

Shaking his head, Mason answered. "No. You are a human, not a shifter. And you aren't in my pack. You get to call me Mason, or Mace. That does lead me to another point I wanted to talk with you about. You may not be pack, Terry...but you live in my territory, and serve the people on my lands. Regardless of if you need the help or not...I, and every one of my pack members are here to protect you. You seem pretty capable with a gun, but we are still here for you. As the Alpha, I make that promise to you."

Touched, Shaw slumped his shoulders and nodded. "That's very kind of you, Mason. I'm taking that you're actually one of the head honchos around town, so I'll take the help." The detective turned his body to face Mason and gave his undivided attention.

"So...how do we get this bastard?" Mason grinned as he recognized his new ally.

***

Caleb waited on the hood of his sedan as Vincent walked out of the grocery store. He waved down the mage. "Little B!"

Seeing his friend, Vincent waved and cantered over to the lion with Dave dragging along. "G-man! What's up? Where's Mace?"

"He texted me and told me to pick you up. Didn't say why, though."

Dave lit a cigarette and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Enforcer. "We had a little scare. Mace texted me after he met with Shaw."

The lion showed a look of concern. "Uh-oh. What'd that prick do now?"

"Found out Vin is a mage. But don't worry. Mace got it squared away. We're having a council meeting at Lei's as soon as we get there."

Nodding to the Beta, Caleb understood his orders. Protect and escort. "Ready, little man?" Vincent nodded and Caleb unlocked the doors with his key fob.

On the way to Lei and Elaine's, Vincent filled Caleb in on the day's events. The lion was shocked to hear that the detective was able to unmask the mage community so quickly. Must have had an informant. I’m going to need to talk to Dave and Mace. I know I’m new to the role, but I need to be kept in the loop on stuff like this, especially if I’m going to be protecting Vin. Caleb brushed the irritation aside and pulled into the driveway of the Cape Cod home.

Upon closing the car doors, Elaine stepped out onto the porch in a faded yellow sundress. “Caleb, Vincent? What’s going on?”

“Wish we knew more, Miss Elaine, but Dave and Mace have more answers than I do. I’m just bringing Vincent here as I was instructed. Detective Shaw seems to have discovered the world of mages.”

Holding a hand to her mouth, Elaine sucked in air. “Oh, dear! This could spell trouble.” Dave’s white truck parked behind Caleb’s car and the Beta stepped out. “Dave. What is going on?”

“Sorry, Lady Elaine, but we needed a safe place for an impromptu council meeting. Mace says to meet in the backyard, away from any trees.”

Elaine’s face ran white as she got the clue. “Oh. Oh, my! I’ll get Lei.” As she went in the house, Mason’s truck came in. Caleb spotted their new guest before Dave and Vincent.

“There’s someone else in the truck.”

Dave turned his head, saw the passenger, and fumbled for a cigarette. Oh, Hell! C’mon, Mace!

Mason stepped out of his vehicle and darted for his mate, sweeping Vincent off his feet with a pepper of kisses. “Gods, I missed you, darling! A lot is about to happen, but I’ll be right here with you.”

Vincent let his head go limp in the big man’s arms and smiled. “Whatever you have done, I’m sure it was the right move, big guy.” The mage’s head jolted in shock as the passenger door to Mason’s truck opened. When it closed, Vincent understood. Shaw.

Shaw kept his hands in his pockets and his head down. Gods be damned, their eyes are piercing! I think I’d rather be shot! “Dave. Caleb. Stand down. He is not an enemy. Terry has something he wants to tell Vincent.” The detective felt the knife-like stares peel off of him. He glanced up and laid eyes on the smaller man.

“Hey...Vincent. Mason and I had a real...real long talk. I asked him if it would be alright to give you an apology.” He saw the kid’s eyes brighten from their dark gaze. Okay, good to see he doesn’t want to kick my ass any more. “I shouldn’t have said the things I did. Both today and earlier this week. I should have met you before throwing myself into my job. Just wanted to say how sorry I am. I was unprofessional and let my pride get in the way.”

Vincent examined the detective. Shaw’s face showed a deep regret, genuine sadness, and, from what the mage could feel, was an adamant ambition to make things right. He’s telling the truth. “I forgive you, Mr. Shaw. I just hope you won’t see me any different, now that you know I’m a mage.”

“I sure won’t. Mason filled me in on all sorts of things. Gotta say, my eyes are open.”

Dave crossed his arms and looked at his Alpha. “Mace? What all have you told him?”

Mason held a firm face, but let the tiniest of grins curl on the edges of his lips. “I’ll go over all of this during our little meeting. There's a lot to discuss.”

The three shifters and Vincent made their way to the backyard through the side fence with Shaw dragging along. Once in the yard, Mason went to the center, away from any shadows. Can’t be too careful. I can spot the shadowy wisps from a distance, but if he can move at the speed of light, that will be tricky to keep up with. His parents stepped out from under the porch and into the sunlight.

Shaw turned and saw his former police chief. “Chief Wilson.”

“Terry! How’s it going, kiddo?” Lei walked up to the detective and shook his hand. “I can just tell from the look on your face...you have had one Hell of a day. I take it you’ve stumbled upon something you shouldn’t be able to explain.”

“Heh, you can say that again. I think your son is about to explain enough for all of us.” Lei nodded and held his mate’s hand as they journeyed to join their son.

Mason looked at everyone in attendance and encouraged everyone to gather close. “Alright, so I’m calling this emergency pack council meeting for a couple reasons. First, Terry is here to help elaborate. He has come into knowledge of the mage’s existence. After speaking with him for a while at both the park and Chief Henry’s office, I deemed it necessary to expose him to the shifter community.”

The shifters and Vincent nodded in agreement with their Alpha’s decision. “Second. I am placing Terry into pack protection.”

Caleb and Lei cocked their heads simultaneously, but Lei spoke first. “Mace? What has happened?”

Mason was going to speak, but Shaw lifted his arm to get his new friend’s attention. “Mason, if I may?” The Alpha nodded and let the human speak. “I was approached by someone last night at my apartment. Not gonna lie, it was one of the scariest nights of my life. Before I go further, I just want to thank Mason. He told me how important this...pack stuff is around here, and how deep the roots go for support. I want to say that I’m on y'all’s side in this. Vincent...once again, I’m so freaking sorry about how I treated you, and...I’m gonna need your help on this one.”

Vincent smiled and stepped up to give the detective a handshake. “I gotcha, Terry. Whatever you have to throw at me, I’ll catch it.”

Shaw gave a smile on one side of his lips. “Good.” Taking in a deep breath, Shaw let out a big sigh. “Because Stefan came to me last night.”

A collective chill went through everyone’s spines. Except Lei. Pure anger and fury flowed through the air. Vincent and Shaw felt the heat of emotion pierce their skin and fell to their knees. They both looked up and saw the lit up tan irises on the mustached Alpha.

“Dad!” Mason clasped his hands on Lei’s shoulders. “Calm. You’re hurting my mate.” Lei darted his eyes to Mason, then to his son-in-bond on the ground. Not all of the anger could leave the middle-aged wolf, but he was able to curb it and place it in the back of his mind. As Vincent and Shaw began catching their breath, Lei began controlling his thoughts. That...fucking bastard...is back? In my former lands? I will renew my promise. His blood will drip from my claws! “My apologies, Vincent. You too, Shaw.”

Shaw stumbled back to his feet. “Okay...what was that? Because that was real frightening.”

Mason returned to his spot in the group. “That was a sample of an Alpha’s power. We can take our frustration and anger, manifest it, and let it out to instill fear into our enemies. Sometimes, when we are emotionally driven, we can’t control it initially.”

“So that’s what happened that morning?” Vincent pressed onto his chest over his heart as he remembered the day he learned of his bond to Mason. “I knew that feeling was familiar. Good to know that I shouldn’t piss either of you two off.” Mason and Lei snickered, but Lei wasn’t in much of a joking mood anymore.

“Shaw, sorry I interrupted. Please continue.” Terry nodded at his former Chief.

“It’s okay, Chief. He came up to the apartment when I was outside smoking. It was a really weird confrontation. He found out I was investigating him and Vincent, but he said he wanted to talk. I got him inside and held him at gunpoint, but he started talking about magic. I thought he was off his meds, but he burned a piece of paper with his fingers, then he disappeared and got out of the cuffs I put him in.”

Wait...he can get out of cuffs? Vincent couldn’t help but pay attention to the other shadow mage’s ability. I’ll have to look into that. The mage brought himself back into Shaw’s story. “He explained a few basics about magic, but he laid out who Vincent is...or at least who he envisioned as Vincent for me to depict.”

Dave nodded but still wasn’t satisfied with the provided facts. “I gotcha. Pardon if I seem like an ass, but this caused you to get in Vincent’s face?”

“Dave!” The Beta turned to the Mated Alpha. “He said he was sorry. I accepted the apology. Move it along.” Taking a drag from his cigarette, Dave was shocked at the little guy. Dang! I forgot how scary he can get when he’s mad. The memory of the human holding an icy dagger at his throat over a week ago still burned his mind.

“My bad. Sorry, Shaw.”

“It’s okay. My actions have consequences, and I need to learn to face them.”

Dave nodded. “But, Mace, what was the purpose of exposing the shifters to him?”

Mason crossed his arms and smiled. “To build trust. It may not have been the best reason, but I needed Terry to know that we had his back. Stefan isn’t going to just make him a puppet. I won’t allow that to happen, and I hope everyone here feels the same.” The Alpha saw that everyone was in agreement from their head movements. “Good. Now it is time to discuss the plans for the future. It seems Stefan is on the prowl. He sat in on our meeting with Henry, so that is why we are staying away from the shadows. If you see that there are smoking shadows, more than likely, he is there. The only other way to find out is for Vinnie to check.”

Vincent nodded. Right, I should check real fast! He stepped closer to Mason and disappeared into the shadow of his mate. Looking around in the gray world, he didn’t see anyone other than the present group. Not sure how useful it would be for me to look in the shadows. Stefan could appear and disappear within a fraction of a second. It’d be best to just stay away from the shadows for now. He reappeared into the normal world. “He’s not here. But it wouldn’t be much use for me to check. A shadow mage can be almost anywhere in a fast pace. Unless I check on a periodic minute-by-minute basis, it’s almost useless.”

“Alright, then.” The wolf wrapped his arms around his man and pulled him tight. “This is a precarious position we are in. We have an enemy that can appear at any moment and can put up a mean fight. I encourage everyone to travel in groups from here on out, preferably with Elaine and Vinnie being kept separate. While I have no doubt we can put up a decent defense, our mages are the key here. Mom has fought him before, and Vinnie has the best shot of actually taking him down. The rest of you, make sure you are carrying some sort of weapon on you. I suggest a pistol. He may be a powerful mage...but he’s still human.

“Dave and Caleb, I’m sticking you two in charge of Vincent. Protect my mate at all costs. Mom, Dad. Obviously you two are a team.” Mason drew his eyes to Shaw. “Terry. You are a key here, and I hate to put you in such a position, but I’m going to ask you remain undercover. Play the role of Stefan’s ally. You now have my number, and I’m going to send you everyone’s contacts in case you need to get a hold of one of us.”

Shaw smiled as he nodded to the Alpha. “You got it. I was going to suggest it anyway. I’ll do my best. Haven’t been undercover like this in ages.”

“You got this. Never doubt your instincts. Let’s keep this matter between us, and if we must speak with each other, we will do so via text group.” Caleb kept his brow furrowed and Mason smelt the dissatisfaction from the lion. “Caleb? Got a problem?”

Snorting his breath for his nose, Caleb spoke his mind. “With all due respect, Alpha, your plan is great. But it only works if we have effective communication. I know you just handed me this position, but if Dave and I are to be your mate’s protectors, I’d like to be kept in the loop. You told me to grab Vincent and head here. No additional information, no warning of the most wanted man in this pack being involved, and no heads up on Shaw being brought in. Forgive me for speaking my mind, but I’m not some toddler. I am the Pack Enforcer, and you held all the information. You didn’t even tell your Beta, your most trusted advisor. All I ask is for more confidence in our ability to help you lead.”

Mason couldn’t move. He kept blinking and let himself stew in his own thoughts. Wow! When he puts it like that, I really endangered my council, and my parents. And my mate. Gods, I thought I was doing the right thing by just having this meeting, but I need to start talking to my Beta and Enforcer when shit starts flying. “Caleb. Dave. I’m sorry. You are right, and I need to place more trust in you two. I’ll start a text group for us.” Keeping his arms crossed and shoulders slumped, the Alpha closed his eyes. “Let’s get this fucker. I want this man dead. Even if you see him in the streets, take this man down!”

Everyone collectively muttered. “Yes, Alpha.”

***

Taking his mate home, Mason’s hand never left Vincent’s. “How are you holding up, Vinnie?”

“I’m okay. I just didn’t expect Stefan to make a bold move like this. He normally plays one Hell of a waiting game, only doing small things one month at a time. Or sends mercs every six months.”

Mason began to understand how Stefan worked. Not an impatient man. He probably enjoys the finer things in life, and doesn’t want to get bogged down by the same issue. “Well, let’s put him in the back of our minds for a bit.” As the wolf parked the truck in his driveway, he leaned toward the smaller man, rubbed his hand on Vincent’s thigh and whispered in his ear. “I want you. So bad.”

Vincent melted and kissed his mate. “Oh, Gods. I want you too, Mace!”

The wolf wanted to maul his mate into submission, but he knew he needed to do one thing before he took Vincent to the bedroom. Growling into the human’s neck, he reached behind him and pressed the garage door button on the driver-side visor. “Got something for you, pup. And I know you’re gonna like it. Just promise you won’t castrate me. I’m gonna need that to make love to you.”

The mage giggled as he enjoyed the scratchy stubble scraping across his neck and face. “I’m sure I’ll love it, Mace. What is…” Vincent turned his eyes to the opening garage door and left his thoughts at the door. He stared at his present with words abandoned. Is...I...I can’t believe!

“So? What do you think, Vinnie?”

Tears began welling up in the mage’s eyes and pushed his body into Mason’s. “You...Mace! You got me a car?”

“Well, yeah! My baby needs a set of wheels to get around, doesn’t he?” Through his blurry and tear-filled eyes, Vincent looked at the vehicle again and opened the truck door to get a better view. Mason hurried out to hold his mate as they examined the new addition to the vehicular family.

The two stared at a Caribbean Blue 2015 Kia Soul. When Mason saw it on a used cars website, he knew it was just right for his mate. A perfect car for my little frost mage! Fun in size with plenty of spunk. I couldn’t have picked anything better! “This is yours. For all the birthdays and holidays I’ve missed. I want you to know that you are the most important person in my life, and that...will never change.”

Vincent lost it. Tears poured like buckets of water from his eyes and dug his head into the big man’s chest. “M-Mace. I love it. I really do. But this...this is too much!”

“Mmm. I don’t think so. My mate deserves the world, and I think a car would be a good start. Now you can get around town a little bit better.” Fishing around in his pocket, Mason unveiled a single car key and fob. “I think this belongs to you. We’ll get all the licensing and insurance figured out later, but for now, I’m going to really show you how much I love you.” The wolf easily picked up his mate, letting the legs wrap around his waist, and carried Vincent away to the bedroom to make love with his mate.

***

While the county slept in their beds and the streets were bare, two men met in a dark parking lot. “Are you in?”

“Yes. They don’t suspect a thing.”

“Good. We just need to play the waiting game.”

“Why not go after them now?”

“Because, my friend, they are expecting it. Well...all except one. Little Vinnie knows me all too well. He knows my games.”

“So, are we looking at a week? A month?”

“Only time will tell. But for now, play the game. Stay alert and play along, for their sake.”

“You got it.”

Copyright © 2020 astone2292; All Rights Reserved.
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All the comments are so what I would say....this story is so good, and well written.  Can not wait for the next chapter.................

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I don't know anything about cars. I like the Caribbean Blue colour. The car itself is not boxy? The best thing about it is why Mace chose it.

As for the "Agent" at the end - it is too easy to think it is Shaw. Then again, Shaw seemed to swap sides to easily. Plus Stefan is not an idiot. He can't do the things he does and have lasted as long as he has otherwise. But then if it is not Shaw, the only other people at their meeting was Lei, Elaine, Mace, Vin, Caleb, and Dave right?

Yeah. It's gotta be Shaw cause he is now 'on the inside', so to speak. It cannot be Caleb.

It would be so disheartening if it was one of the New York lot. It could be. Why else would an Alpha give up a Pack/Pack lands. Especially the biggest most powerful Pack in the Americas. But then it would have to be Ty. I can't imagine Kap or Dirk being able to convince Ty to give up being a Pack Leader just to further their plot to be closer to Vin, etc. Sorry Kap, but if it is someone from NY then my money is on Kap.

I really hope it is Shaw.

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While the county slept in their beds and the streets were bare, two men met in a dark parking lot. “Are you in?

“Yes. They don’t suspect a thing.”

“Good. We just need to play the waiting game.”

“Why not go after them now?”

“Because, my friend, they are expecting it. Well...all except one. Little Vinnie knows me all too well. He knows my games.”

“So, are we looking at a week? A month?”

“Only time will tell. But for now, play the game. Stay alert and play along, for their sake.”

“You got it.”

 

With all that was said at the end of the chapter, we all know the 2 people who were talking to one another. I don't like what, that no good for nothing traitor, "Shaw" is up to with the murderer, Stefan! But if I know our author, then he will get what is coming to him and to Shaw! I don't like traitors at all and that is what Shaw is when he goes against his town like that to side with a stranger that has tried to harm their citizens before. 

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God, I hate double crossing moles with a passion. I really can't see Shaw being both clever enough to deceive everyone and  willing to meet with scary Stefan alone so soon.

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