Alpha wolf shifter Detective Dax Steel is hip deep in homicide cases, all bear shifters who seemingly died of natural causes in their prime. To make matters worse, the murders throw him back in contact with his ex-lover, Adin.
Adin shares the same genetics as the victims and a healthy appetite for the sexy and addictive Dax. A two week blazing hot affair between them fell apart almost as quickly as it started, leaving Adin longing but hesitant to risk his heart once more.
Can Dax track down the killer before Adin lands in his crosshairs? Will they come together as a team and find love is lasting after all?
"No signs of trauma or violence, sir. Just like the other two." The rookie cop pointed out the obvious. Dax squatted down beside the inert body of the latest homicide victim in the city, his nose telling him more than the new police academy graduate would ever know. This wasn't just the third victim in as many days, but also the third bear shape-shifter. A wave of relief washed over him when he didn't recognize the face or the individual scent of the newly expired. The silver lining, in his opinion. Glancing up, he surveyed the surroundings, finding nothing out of sort. The body had been found behind a bar, in the narrow alley around midday when the barkeep had reported in for work. For all intents and purposes, the deceased looked like he'd simply fallen over dead. Something that shifters didn't do. With a healthy extended lifespan, most shifters could expect to reach one thousand or more, barring stupidity or challenges to stronger, more alpha members of their species. Dax should know--being a wolf shifter, an alpha at that. With a deep sigh, he stood and looked over the body once more, using his advanced senses to detect anything out of the ordinary. A tiny scent caught his attention but proved too fleeting and elusive to give him more than a gut reaction. Certainly not much to go on. However, the other two victims carried the same flowery smell. "Good job, officer. I'm finished here. Keep the area sealed off until the forensics team and coroner arrive." "Yes, sir." The young man nodded. Dax strode back to his car, climbed in the driver's seat, and pulled out his phone. Punching in a number, he waited for an answer. "Speak." "Very funny, Mitchell." Dax rolled his eyes. The lab supervisor and hyena shifter's sense of humor proved lacking most days. "We've got another one." "Bear?" "Yes. Same MO. No blood or violence. Carries that nagging aroma like the others, too small for me to trace." "We're working on that now. Isolating toxins in the blood samples of the other two. Theory is it's a highly developed poison, something toxic to shifters, bears in particular." "Any chance of an antidote?" "Soon?" He snorted through the phone line. "First we have to isolate the particular substance, discover what it is, then we can start looking at ways to reverse the effects. That takes time, buddy." "I know." Dax watched as the forensics van pulled up and three people climbed out, all heading toward their latest crime scene. One he recognized as carrying fox genetics, another shifter immersed in human society without the humans being any wiser. If they ever found out, he feared the panic and mob mentality outbursts that would follow. Thus, the highly secretive balancing act he and others played each day. Good thing the only forensics lab in the city happened to be shifter run and controlled. They took every case, human or otherwise, but had the luxury of watching closely for any shape-shifters, find a trend, pick out a pattern. Just like with these latest deaths. "Got a name on this one?" "Yeah. I'll try to track down and notify family today. You know how bears are. Solitary at best." Dax's gut clenched at the scientist's words. "Call if you find anything." "Will do, Trigger." "That was the horse, dumbass." He clicked off before Mitchell could toss out more insults at his canine nature. His mind wrestled with this latest case. Bears weren't thick around here and normally weren't too rowdy, preferring to keep to themselves most of the time except for social gatherings or looking for someone to cozy up to during the night. In all honesty, the shifter community as a whole didn't have problems with bears. Coyotes and lions were another story. Violence surrounded their deaths. Bears were a horse of a different color altogether. Until two days ago when the first body was discovered, he'd only heard of one other bear shifter homicide, which happened to revolve around the young black bear pursuing a lion's mate. The bear just wouldn't take no for an answer. Unfortunate, but understandable. You didn't mess with another man's mate and expect to live long. No. This case was different. Someone had a deep-seated and calculated coldness for bear shifters and was smart enough to come up with a way to kill them off with little evidence left behind. Maybe not the spur of the moment rage, but deep-seated fury if he went after non-related members of the same species. Which meant he not only knew about shifters in general, he could single out bears. Scary. Damn scary. He needed to speak to someone in the bear society, find out if there's something going on that hadn't been reported to the governing council yet. Pick their brains for any tidbit of information. Anything that could help solve this case and save lives. He only knew one bear. His former lover. Adin. Blowing out a breath, he slipped the keys in the ignition and headed north.