Home > Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(3)

Lion's Quest (A Lion's Pride #12)(3)
Author: Eve Langlais

“She doesn’t know we’re watching her brother?”

“Charlie, his sister, knows we’re lending a hand. She’s aware of the danger, and what we are, but her brother has no idea.”

She frowned. “Charlie? Wait, you mean the human girl who married Lawrence?” Considered the most eligible bachelor, she’d had a few fantasies about the playkitty in her time. She’d skipped the wedding due to previous plans.

“That’s the one. Peter is her brother, and he’s oblivious about what we are.” And it would stay that way unless there were extenuating circumstances. The circle of knowledge about their existence remained tight.

Double whammy. “In other words, I need to play him like I’m a dirty secret. Got it.”

Arik coughed. “Yeah, I don’t think you need to get that close. Surveillance should be enough to start and protection in case someone comes after him.”

Boring. “No problem. Where’s he staying?” She really hoped they could shove him in a suite at the condo complex.

“One of our public Pride Group properties.” The public ones being the buildings that housed humans, making their business portfolio appear more balanced to any observant types.

“If you’re worried about his safety, it would be easier to guard him where we have lots of eyes.” And by eyes she didn’t just mean the security cameras. Shifters had keen hunter senses despite decades of city living. If someone tried anything on their turf, they’d know and act.

“I don’t know if I want those chasing him getting that close to us.”

“They’re that dangerous?” she hotly exclaimed.

“I’m not exaggerating when I say what you’re doing could be of utmost importance. Peter must be watched.”

“I assume you’ve started surveillance?” Nora asked.

“While he was still on the honeymoon cruise with his sister, the Pride subtly arranged to have an apartment leased to him and fitted with security.” Arik slid over a key. “You have a place in the building so you can be close by. This is an in-the-field op. You will have restricted contact with the Pride during it. If you need something, run it by me first.”

“I’m gonna need tech probably.” She knew right away she’d better mention it.

“Already good to go. Melly will work with you on anything you might need.”

“What if I need backup?”

“Already in place. You’ll split surveillance with Zachary Lennox.”

Zachary was a solid bloke. She’d worked with him before.

“I don’t care how you split the hours. Whatever works for you. I’ve already rented you both an apartment in the same building to make it easier. Your cover story will have you as living together, with Zach working from home as a software designer.”

Which would allow them to bring in computer equipment without question. “What about me? What’s my cover job story?”

“You are the new deli counter girl at the charcuterie across the street from the bookstore where Montgomery works.”

She blinked. “You have me slinging meat?”

“Yes. It’s the perfect spot to keep watch while he’s at work.”

“If you’re not available, is there anyone else I can talk to if I hit a pinch?”

“Secrecy is important. No one but myself, the Omega, and the Beta.” Only those in the highest echelon of the Pride would receive her reports. All requests for aid would have to go through the king or his seconds.

“You haven’t said what I’m watching for.”

“Because we’re not one hundred percent sure what we’re looking for. We do know it involves an old book, a key, and humans desperate to find some kind of treasure.”

“Ooh. What kind of treasure?”

“The kind that might entail the destruction of our kind.” An ominous declaration. “Which is why it’s so important you find out what Peter knows.”

She crinkled her nose. “You’re not making sense. You said this Peter fellow doesn’t know about shifters, so how could he pose a danger?”

“What if I told you there was a way to make you human, forever?”

She recoiled. “Ew. No.”

“Right?”

Her jaw dropped. “Wait, you’re serious.”

“Very.”

“But that’s—”

“Impossible?” Arik eyed her intently, and she wilted.

“Fuck.” Because if it existed, in the wrong hands, it could wipe them out.

“We’ve made attempts to extract anything he might know about the hidden treasure; however, he’s claiming amnesia.”

“Convenient.”

“Isn’t it though? Apparently, Mr. Peter Montgomery managed to get lost in the Russian wilderness for six months and, when he was finally found, claimed no memory of anything since he went missing.”

“Six months in the wilds and lived? Bullshit.” She snorted, mostly because she knew how unforgiving that landscape could be, having gone there on a class trip long ago. Nice country, though, if too many bears.

“There are many things about his story that don’t ring true; however, to act against Peter would upset Lawrence’s mate. Nor is it yet warranted. I’d rather try a more subtle approach first.”

“By watching the human and waiting for him to slip up?”

“Yes.”

“Sounds easy enough.”

“Did I mention the part where we’ve already countered two attempts to apprehend Peter since he resurfaced?”

“They tried to kidnap, not kill?” she mused aloud. “Meaning someone is interested in what’s inside his head.”

“And they’re working with humans,” was his ominous reply. Left unsaid but implied: Their secret was at risk.

“How do we know these humans aren’t after him for mundane reasons like a gambling or drug debt?”

Arik shrugged. “Thus far, attempts to question any have failed due to a lack of viable subjects.”

“You haven’t captured any?” A note of incredulity in her voice.

“More like none survived. The first one was shot by a sniper as we were trying to load him into the trunk. The last pair got hit by a semi truck during transport. Luckily, our driver walked away with barely a scratch. No matter where, they end up dying in our grasp. We appear to have a mole in our midst.”

Her mouth rounded. A traitor. The very idea. “No.”

“It’s happened too many times now to be a coincidence.”

“How have those attack parties been armed?”

“With bullets and tranquilizers. It’s our belief they’re working with a female bear, name of Lada.”

“How can anyone be in cahoots with them?” She couldn’t help the repugnance. Humans were the ultimate threat to their survival. To find a shifter betrayed that simple precept…

Arik shrugged. “That’s what we need to find out. All this interest in Peter began over an old key. If you see or hear anything about it, anything at all, let me know at once.”

This job was looking more and more interesting. “Anything else?”

“Be careful. These humans we’ve encountered aren’t messing around.”

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