Taze (Rise of the Pride #11) - Theresa Hissong

Chapter One

Taze Malone kicked his muddy boots off before entering his cabin. The sun was starting to peek over the horizon on what was the coldest day of January. Spring couldn’t get here fast enough.

Working for the government was beginning to wear on him. They’d found two more females at midnight, detained them, and sent them on their way to Colorado. The male they’d found was already deceased from what he assumed was the Khat in his pocket. They’d know more after a toxicology report. It didn’t matter what the report said, Taze knew what had happened to the male the moment he’d found the drug on him.

He tossed his dirty shirt into the already overflowing laundry basket in his closet before heading back to his kitchen to grab a beer. It might’ve been morning for most people, but for him, it was his evening.

He stopped as he walked by his living room window that was angled enough to see Calla’s tiny home. He would never in a million years admit that he’d made sure the blueprints were correct when he’d designed his home on the pride’s land.

She stepped out in a business suit and flipped the keyring around her fingers as she approached her car. She froze for a second and looked over her shoulder as if she’d sensed him watching her. He was going to lose his mind over that female one day. He just knew it. With a shake of her head, she got into her car and backed out, driving down the road to head to work.

He’d been watching her office through the cameras he’d set up three weeks earlier. The war with the Gadaí was getting worse, and he didn’t see any signs of stopping. They’d caught several rogues already, but they wouldn’t reveal the name of the man supplying the drug or the location of the alpha who had changed them.

Calla working out in the human world scared him to death. Just thinking about it now had his heart rate at its max. The cameras hadn’t caught anything out of the ordinary, and thank fuck for that.

She’d given up on so much after fighting her way out of her trauma. Now, she was studying to become a lawyer, hoping she could do something for her species. While he appreciated that, Taze wanted her back at the pride where it was safe.

He hadn’t touched her since she’d turned twenty, and all of the time he’d spent training her was met with mixed emotions. God, that woman drove him wild with lust, but he had to restrain his feelings because of her asshole brother. She’d made the decision to stop fighting right before her birthday and had never looked back, giving the excuse of her brother and his short fucking temper.

Okay, so, Taze really couldn’t put all the blame on Malaki. They both had their fair share of hatred toward each other, but Taze felt his was warranted. Malaki was too damn protective of her, and if he didn’t stop with his attitude, she would never mate. No one was good enough for Calla in his eyes.

Since she’d stopped training, they’d come to an unspoken agreement. They were cordial to each other, but other than that, they steered clear unless they were forced to communicate. Taze had pushed those boundaries with her, and she’d pushed him right back. As far as Calla was concerned, Taze was as no-good as her brother had claimed him to be.

A message alerted him to a meeting with the alpha. Noah and Taze had worked with Storm the night before, and he was sure the alpha wanted to fill everyone in on the dead human they had found during the late-night hours.

He had twenty minutes to shower and eat something before he needed to be at the main house. The hot water cascading over his tired body felt amazing, but he was more tense and anxious in his mind. Calla always popped up when he was at his weakest, and his panther liked to remind him that maybe, just maybe, she was his mate.

Like clockwork, his mating scent mingled with the steam of the shower, weighing it down enough to drive him mad. His cock had a mind of its own when it came to her, and he tightened his abs to fight off the need.

It didn’t work.

He’d relieved himself too many times to count when it came to that female. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her…if she’d let him.