Synopsis: It has only been a few months since humanity has found out about the shifters that live in their midst. When the New Alliance leadership asks Eric King to join Alpha Squad, a joint taskforce supposed to promote cooperation between the shifters and human authorities, his loyalty to the cause doesn’t give him any choice but to agree. But is the squad actually supposed to be relevant, or is it just an eyewash, set up by the new Secretary for Shifter Affairs to make himself look good? And how is he going to concentrate on his training, when his inner bear is insisting that the squad leader is his true mate?
Major Janine Williams is not at all pleased when she is ordered to set up Alpha Squad. The initiative is just a gimmick, meant to pacify the shifter community, plus none of her male colleagues had wanted the job. But when she starts getting to know her team, especially tough East London bear shifter, Eric, she starts to wonder if perhaps it will be possible to make this task force a success, so long as everyone works together. And so long as she can manage to keep her relationship with Eric strictly professional...
Eric took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He should have just stayed behind at that service station, perhaps tried to strike up more of a conversation with the mysterious woman who had caught his eye there. Or ideally, he should have risked Henry's disapproval and refused to join the task force. Anything was better than this.Back to the mystery woman. And what a woman she was. A regal beauty, with a voice that had set his heart alight. His inner bear had tried its best to claw to the surface; he'd hardly been able to control the urge to shift right there in front of her.How would she have reacted if she'd seen his true form? Things had changed since the New Alliance's little stunt, coming out to the entire world media, but they hadn't changed that much for everyone. Humans were still apprehensive, and why wouldn't they be? Most of their kind were pretty damn scary looking.Would she have screamed and run away? Or would she have been intrigued?He would never find out of course, because he'd let that opportunity pass him by when Adam had dragged him back to the restaurant for lunch.Where was she now? And was she thinking about their little encounter as much as he was?So many questions he'd never get the answer to…Instead, he was stuck here in this decrepit old building with a bunch of people, none of whom seemed to want to be here. Except Blackwood the wolf, maybe. He had seemed like the most cheerful person here after Adam.The sound of the door disturbed his gloomy thoughts, but he tried to ignore the intrusion."Attention!" Private Callahan's voice filled the dorm.Eric opened his eyes and sat up straight on his bed. The top of his head almost touched the springs underneath Adam's mattress above.The private stepped aside and another woman marched into the room.Was he still daydreaming? He could not believe who had entered—the woman he'd just been fantasizing about."Major Williams would like to say a few words," Private Callahan said.Major Williams. Eric was speechless. He had expected a grey-haired man, gruff like the SAS guy across the room, but perhaps more polished. Their commander was a woman. His woman.Major Williams scanned the room, slowly, pausing on each of the other trainees for a moment, then moving on to the next. Until she spotted Eric. She looked away instantly. Of course, she'd recognized him as well, and she did not look pleased to find him here."I am Major Janine Williams, your team leader. Welcome and thank you for joining Alpha Squad. Starting tomorrow, I will conduct your training, evaluate you, and report on the progress of this task force with the relevant higher authorities. The first phase of training starts in the morning and will last two weeks, at the end of which you will all be graded on various aspects of your performance. Anyone who is deemed unfit to continue will be asked to leave at that point, before phase two begins. Any questions?"Questions? Eric had so many of those. He did not speak, though."What do you mean, unfit? I was told I was being transferred here permanently," Ben, the younger of the two humans complained."You shall address me as Major Williams or Ma'am, first of all. Secondly, this task force is not a joke. Only those who are worthy will make the cut." The major glared at him from across the room. Eric couldn't help but be impressed by her show of authority.Cooper folded his arms and pressed his lips together."Do you understand? What's your name?""Ben Cooper, Ma'am. Yes, I understand."Eric had trouble suppressing a smile. She wasn't going to take any crap from anyone, that much was obvious. It would only be a matter of time before Adam and the major would clash similarly. Amusingly, he found himself rooting not for his brother, but for the woman. Training under her command could get interesting.She glanced at him for a split second, during which he did his best to hide his reaction. He would play along, fall in line, and do his best to fit into the squad. He owed it to Henry, but that was not the only reason. Fate had handed him a second chance after he recklessly failed to get her details earlier today. No matter what, Eric was not going to waste the opportunity. He'd prove his worth to her one way or another before training was over."All right then, at ease, everyone," the major said, "You have a big day ahead of you and I suggest you take rest."Eric nodded, mostly to himself, and lay back on his cot again. Perhaps this whole Alpha Squad nonsense had a couple of silver linings after all.
ABOUT LORELEI MOONE
Lorelei Moone is an up-and-coming author of paranormal romance based in London. A lover of all things sweet, and caffeinated, when she’s not writing about sexy bear shifters and their strong-willed curvaceous love interests, Lorelei can be found baking cookies or cakes for her family.