Home > Israel (The Adlers Book 8)

Israel (The Adlers Book 8)
Author: Avery Gale

Chapter One

 

 

It’s her.

She’s here.

Finally.

Israel couldn’t believe he’d finally found his mate. Well, found wasn’t entirely accurate, but she was nearby. That had to count for something. Watching his younger siblings find their mates was past the point of discouraging. If you’d asked him two years ago, he’d have said he didn’t plan to settle down before he was thirty, but with his brothers and sisters finding their mates, finding his own seemed more and more appealing. And to be honest, he was pushing closer to the age milestone than he wanted to admit.

“Did you say something? What’s wrong?” As the oldest of ten, Austin Adler was usually tuned in to his younger brothers and sisters, and today was no exception. Even though Israel hadn’t said anything out loud, it wasn’t a surprise his brother heard him. As shifters, they communicated telepathically, and the habit often slipped into their everyday lives without any of them taking notice.

“My mate. She’s here. I don’t know where, but she’s close.” Turning his head in an attempt to follow the scent, Israel zeroed in on a nearby group of women who were busy setting out enough food to feed an army. The invitation to Kensington and Denali’s wedding had been limited to a select group of family and friends, but the reception was going to be much larger.

“At the rate people are streaming into this place, you’d better get a move on before she gets lost in the damned crowd. I need to head out, anyway. I want to find my own lovely mate, and she’d better be sitting down with her feet up, or it’s not going to go well for her. Did you know babies could get their days and nights confused? How does that happen when they are supposed to sleep all the damned time? Holy hell, you won’t believe the paraphernalia they require, and if our sisters don’t stop sending Charlotte ‘you must have this gadget’ suggestions, I’m going to go postal.”

Israel was only half-listening to his brother’s crazed ranting. With a rapidly growing number of nieces and nephews, he’d learned new parents tended to occasionally tip over the edge of sanity. He didn’t have any children of his own, so it was a mystery to Israel why they all seemed to think he could help, so he usually turned a deaf ear to the chatter. He planned to play the hell out of the uncle card once the kiddos were old enough to spoil properly, without any remote chance, he’d be roped into anything involving diapers.

“Who is the woman on the right?” Israel didn’t take his eyes off her. He wasn’t close enough to confirm she was his one, but there was something about her…

“The blonde? Dr. Bristol Banks. She is Charlotte’s obstetrician. Well, not just hers, she’s the OB for our pack and many of the club members as well.” Knowing she was the preferred doctor for those two groups told Israel a lot, but not enough. “I’m surprised you didn’t scent her when you took Charlotte for her appointment.”

Early in her pregnancy, Israel intercepted Austin’s wayward wife when she’d tried to sneak out of the building without an escort. Unfortunately for Charlotte, when any of the Adlers were in danger or experiencing a health crisis, they were immediately subject to extra security protections. By the time Israel was alerted the little minx had left the penthouse, she was already in the elevator on her way to the garage. He’d had to hustle but managed to be waiting for her.

“Are you kidding? I didn’t go in with her. I escorted her to the door and waited in my car. Way too much estrogen in there for me—although in hindsight, that might have been a bad call.” Without waiting for Austin to respond, Israel started across the slate-lined pavilion between the small Forum Shops. He saw the moment she realized he was headed her way—her body stiffened, her bright blue eyes going impossibly wide.

Oh, fuck me six ways to… No. No. Just frick-fracking, No. I don’t have time for this shit.

Well, well. It doesn’t seem my fated mate is thrilled with my appearance. Interesting. The wind was in his favor, the breeze bringing her tantalizing scent to him in fragrant waves of temptation, but it hadn’t kept her from recognizing him. In the few seconds it took him to close the distance between them, Israel realized two things. First, Bristol Banks was his mate. Second, she was not pleased. Whether it was him personally or being mated in general, remained to be seen.

 

Dr. Bristol Banks was enjoying the break in her regular routine. Two years ago, she’d vowed to scale back her workload, fearing fate would saddle her with a mate before she’d had enough time to enjoy the life she’d worked so hard to establish. It took her over a year to find a physician she felt confident bringing into her specialized practice.

With fewer medical professionals opting for obstetrics and gynecology, due to the astronomical liability insurance costs, the options were limited. Further narrowing the field to a shifter who understood kink made finding a partner almost impossible. It hadn’t been easy, but she didn’t have a choice. Bristol had been forced to admit, operating the clinic was more than she could handle alone.

Shaking off her concerns about work, Bristol set the doctor side of her life aside. Today was all about having fun and celebrating love. It was particularly wonderful since she wasn’t the one who was now tied down to one man for the rest of her life. It wasn’t as though Bristol enjoyed a plethora of men and a kick-ass sex life, but if the tide turned, she wanted to be ready.

Since shifters mated for life, Bristol planned to delay mating as long as possible. The extended lifespan of magicals was a mixed blessing, in her opinion. Shit, what if she ended up mated to an asshole? She wouldn’t even be able to throw his hairy ass off a bridge… damn that pesky Hippocratic Oath, anyway! Rolling her eyes at the bizarre direction her thoughts had taken, Bristol carried out the last tray of sandwiches from the makeshift kitchen. Laughing with the other club submissives who’d been asked to help with the reception was good for her soul.

“Damn, I’m so excited. I was honored when Master Kyle called. It’s always nice to be trusted… I didn’t care who was getting married. Nope, it didn’t matter because Tobi’s parties are always the best.” Anna Griffin was practically dancing in place.

“True, but holy freaking hippos on holiday… we got to attend Kensington Adler’s wedding reception. That is pretty amazing.” Bristol had to agree, Tobi was a ton of fun, but being able to attend a movie star’s wedding was beyond cool.

“I’m putting it on my resume. Not the details—hell, just attending a star-studded event is enough to set me apart from the others.” They all laughed, but Bristol thought there was a strong possibility the young coed was serious. Lindy Timish was in her final semester of graduate law school and was supposed to take the bar exam in a few months. Everyone was taking bets on whether Cameron Barnes found some way to stop her from moving out.

“You’re assuming Master Barnes lets you out of the house to take the bar.” Kim Salter, a senior in economics, planned to stay in Austin. The Wests had helped her secure a job with one of the biggest banks in Texas. From what Bristol had seen, Kim was as brilliant as she was beautiful.

“He’ll let me out for the test, but I’m not sure he’ll let me move out if I pass and find a job anywhere other than Austin—at least until his Chloe and Phillip leave for college.” The slender beauty rolled her green eyes and laughed, “I swear CeCe is going to miss me more than the kids. For the most part, I’ve transitioned to household manager and chauffeur. Let’s face it, the kids don’t really need a nanny, but adult supervision is a plus anytime Kodi is home.”

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