During the war, humans and shifters worked together. Now there is no obvious motive for them to hold on to alliance and situation is heating up.
Rio left his pack years ago to join the Legion so he has a healthy dose of respect for Legion. However, when he returned to his home, local Legion officers were terrorizing shifters. His reaction was to form the Patrol, a shifters-only group which finally managed to oust prejudiced Legionnaires. After that, he is drafted as second in command to new Legion commander, who happens to be Nathaniel, a man whom Rio is immediately attracted to.
As events play out, Rio is often torn between two sides. There are things he must do and things he wants to do. Not even he and Nathaniel are always on the same page, despite their relationship growing stronger with each day.
Nathaniel on the other side is Legion man through and through. His life is upended when Legion choses him to replace corrupt Legion commander and he soon finds himself in political hot water. Nathaniel is sympathetic to shifters to some degree, but his first loyalty is to the Legion.
Naturally, this doesn't make it easy for him and Rio.
I had fun writing their relationship. Rio is more easy going of the two and accepts changes faster. Nathaniel on the other hand is unprepared to have an occasional hook up transform into relationship. It doesn't help that Nathaniel distrusts packs and Rio belongs to one.
They both play the game: how much are they willing to lose to get what they want?
Not even Legion, the force which helped expel aliens who invaded their world decades ago is immune to rift between humans and shifters. When hostilities between two factions escalate to unattainable point in Legion station Boer, Legion decides to put a stop to mutual mistrust. They send in new station commander and name a shifter as his deputy.
Neither Nathaniel nor Rio are supporters of this plan, but both know it has to be done. They aren't expecting attraction that flares between them and soon they are involved in relationship. All around them tensions are mounting as friends and enemies alike pursue their own agenda.
Between violent attacks and sly political maneuvering, it's hard to stay together. Then Nathaniel's past rears its ugly head threatening to destroy everything Nathaniel holds dear. When cunning enemy makes his move, they have to stand united or lose everything.
It was almost noon when Nathaniel showed up at Legion station, waving absently at the Legionnaires in the foyer, some of whom lead the prisoners in. He deftly found his way up to the second floor, where his unit was located. The room was almost empty, as most of his colleagues had gone to lunch or were out in the field. Nathaniel nodded to the ones who were present and headed straight for his desk.
“You had a call, Nathaniel,” Brannon said, frowning at him even as he took a call on his own desk. Brannon didn’t like Nathaniel and made no secret of the way he felt.
Nathaniel wondered why he was now relying messages when otherwise he’d have done his best to ignore Nathaniel. There were two possibilities. Either it was something important, or something Brannon thought was embarrassing. Brannon wouldn’t hesitate at all if he thought he could humiliate Nathaniel in front of their coworkers. Luckily for Nathaniel, his and Brannon’s views on what was embarrassing often differed. He regarded the man as a pest. Their dislike was known in the unit so they mostly didn’t have to work together.
“What was it?” he asked absently, shrugging out of his jacket. He’d spent almost all morning outside the building and hadn’t received any messages on his Legion-issued communicator, even though he had it on him all the time. In fact, it was via communicator he’d been called to North 11, one of smaller stations in the city.
“Don’t know. Colonel Harris just asked to see you,” Harris answered resentfully.
Nathaniel raised an eyebrow. “I see.”
It certainly explained the man’s bad mood. The station commander, Colonel Harris, was Nate’s mentor. They’d served together and despite his higher rank, Harris considered them friends. He made no secret of that and often dropped by to either talk to Nathaniel or give him specialized tasks. Brannon wasn’t the only one who envied their close relationship and disliked Harris’s attitude.
“True. He seemed disappointed you weren’t already here.” Cade, another, younger Legionnaire butted in, pushing the papers he was working on away on his desk.
Brannon shrugged negligently. “His shift had already started,” he explained, watching Nathaniel intently. “You know you were supposed to be here hours ago.”
Brannon must have delighted in informing Harris of that.
“I was off at North 11 station,” Nathaniel answered.
Brannon narrowed his eyes at him.
“I thought you were done with it.”
“Something came up. Did Colonel say what he wanted?”
“No,” Brannon said sharply. Cade grinned.
“He didn’t. He just said to come see him when you’re back. I assume he has another assignment for you.”
Could be. Harris was, after all, his superior. Nathaniel wondered idly what Harris had in mind. He could have just as easily ordered Cade or Brannon or any of others to do as he wanted, but he’d asked for Nathaniel. Brannon looked miffed, probably insulted that Harris hadn’t asked for him instead, once he said Nathaniel wasn’t as yet present. Brannon was in his forties and had almost 10 years more experience than Nathaniel. He disliked the influence Nathaniel had among their fellow Legionnaires and felt it was a clear case of favoritism on the colonel’s part.
The communicator on his desk blinked innocuously, informing Nathaniel he had messages. Those were ones that either weren’t important enough to be routed to his personal com or deemed too important to be transferred via open network. Legionnaires had their own security measures inside the building. Nathaniel riffled through papers on his desk, concluded that everything could wait, and reached for his jacket, preparing to leave again.
“Hey, Nathaniel, can you—” Another one of his colleagues approached him, brandishing stack of papers. Nathaniel raised both hands. “Sorry. Ask me when I get back,” he said apologetically.
Jeremy frowned. “You just got back,” he pointed out accusingly. Nathaniel almost rolled his eyes. Jeremy was a recent graduate from Legion Academy and had started to pick up some of Brannon’s more annoying characteristics. He would have to do something about it or the kid would end up being insufferable.
“I need to go out again,” he explained patiently.
“Wish I could come and go at will from my job as well,” Brannon said darkly, tapping impatiently at his communicator.
The machines at the Station were supposed to last and be secure, which meant that they were basic. There were now more modern ones, with more options, but most Legion personnel even privately stuck to basic ones. Nathaniel did. Brannon didn’t, and the attitude was why he was never going to advance.
“Colonel asked for me,” he added for Jeremy’s benefit. “I’ll help you when I get back.”
“The Colonel?” Jeremy asked, eyes wide as saucers. Cade leaned back in his chair, obviously enjoying the gossip. “Yes, the colonel. He came down personally, didn’t call on communicator, didn’t send someone.”
Nathaniel stifled a laugh. Harris was a paranoid bastard and proud of it. He wasn't going to leave message on communicator anyone in Nathaniel's unit could use, or even worse, give it to one of young recruits appointed as his assistants. That's how rumors got started.