Fated mates, sweet, funny, lighter paranormal suspense
Independent Kinsley Jacobs is an unusual predatory marine shifter who is too busy at her new job as an agent for Oceanic Shift to worry about love. She’s helping her work partner accept her overwhelming beast and they’re closing cases at rapid rates. Debriefings on said cases means she has to appear unfazed and professional in front of her dreamy boss, who isn’t her fated mate, right? Surely her beast would know…
Older than he’d like to admit Maclaren “Mac” Atlas has been waiting for his mate for decades. He’s trying to stay strong, but gorgeous Kinsley keeps distracting him. Between hunting bad guys, kidnappings, and an internal spy, Mac doesn’t have time to fall in love. Besides, who he falls in love with depends on his beast, not on his strong attraction to a certain agent who works for him. At least he keeps telling himself that.
The sleek creature glided through the water, intent on her prey. Her long tail and aerodynamic fins propelled her forward at impressive speeds. The great white shark never knew what hit him as she rose stealthily from below, huge jaws open, to better allow her double rows of razored teeth to slice through the predator. She accomplished this task with her usual precision.
She did not gloat. Nor did she eat her kill. Instead, she watched dispassionately as the serial killer floated to the floor of the ocean as his beast. Smaller marine animals congregated on the carcass pieces. Nature took care of her own.
The triumphant predator turned and headed back to the boat several miles away. She swam with the grace of her kind, although few had ever seen her type swimming in these waters. She kept to the depths, only surfacing when she had to breathe.READ MORE
By the time she reached the boat, Kinsley Jacobs made certain no one else was around before breaching the surface. She shifted back to her human form and swam to the ladder off the side of the large boat. Not a yacht but comfortable anyway.
Oceanic Shift didn’t shell out money on extravagance, but they did spend money when needed. And a decent boat had been one of those purchases. She climbed the ladder, dripping water as she went.
Her colleague handed her a towel. “Mission accomplished?”
“Mission accomplished.” She spoke without expression. Making a kill as her beast was easier emotionally. As a human, she would suffer nightmares, but her beast didn’t work that way.
No one on the boat asked her what her beast was. They knew she was a top-of-the-line predator, but etiquette dictated that each person keep that to themselves unless you planned to work with the person. Then you needed to know what the other was, so you didn’t inadvertently eat one another.
Kinsley made it a point to never eat anything while on a mission as her beast. She had no interest in being known as the agent who ate her colleague. A terrible sidenote in her record. Let’s avoid that, thank you.
Her current colleague, Marty Mays, a human cocker spaniel look-a-like with red-gold curls and chocolate brown eyes, was also one of her new best friends. But Kinsley had no idea what creature Marty shifted into. As far as she knew, no one did. If she had to guess, she’d state that Marty was embarrassed by her beast.
Normally, Kinsley would swear her friend shifted into an adorable dog with ruffled ears and the ability to catch food in her mouth. Yet if Marty was here, on the ocean with her, she was a sea shifter.
Kinsley’s own family were the only ones she knew who were capable of shifting into her specific creature. That very reason might be why she had chosen to join Oceanic Shift. In an attempt to see if there might be others like her and her family.
Her mother kept assuring her and her siblings that you marry your mate. If they love you, they’ll accept what you are. Yet the risk seemed high. If word got out of what she was, it could ruin her career. Not to mention she and her family might end up in a lab somewhere or worse. Not my ideal lifestyle.
She finished drying herself and her already drying bathing suit before dressing in the flowing trousers, blouse, and coat she discarded before diving into the ocean. The trip back to the dock shouldn’t take long and she needed to give her report and complete all the required paperwork after weeks on this case.
The only other person on the boat was the captain. A taciturn man no one knew much about. One didn’t speak of Bart’s age or whether Bart was his first or last name. Speculation ran wild whether he was a fellow shifter and what his beast might be if so. Kinsley had her doubts about him being a shifter.
She wondered if anyone she worked with knew. Did her boss, Maclaren Atlas, know? He must have some insider information since he ran Oceanic Shift. But then, maybe he had hired Bart because Bart came with a military background and excellent piloting skills.
She wanted to know. A good thing then that this burning desire didn’t keep her awake at night. The answer must not be too important… Or I’m a yellow-bellied coward.
Kinsley located her water bottle and took a long draw from the container. Then she dropped onto a seat beside Marty.
“Has the adrenaline worn off?” Marty’s curls exploded in the dancing sunlight as they powered over the crystalline waves.
“As soon as I shifted back to myself.”
“That’s good. I usually have to contend with the adrenaline pitfalls for the next hour or so.”
“Ugh.” Kinsley winced. “At least an hour?”
“Usually. My beast isn’t … nice.” Marty’s pause made Kinsley dart a look at her.
“Are you afraid of your beast?”
The air whooshed out of Marty’s lungs.
“Maybe.” She brushed curls off her cheek. “I don’t like her.”
Kinsley’s jaw unhinged. “Really? She’s bad?”
A half shrug from Marty. “She’s fierce and…” Again, Marty hesitated. But Kinsley thought maybe this was because she didn’t have the proper words.
“Mine is also fierce. She’s powerful and an apex predator and she knows it.”
“Yet, you’re comfortable with her.”
“I am. She’s a buddy, even if she is large and in charge.” Kinsley liked her beast.
“See, I have no idea what that’s like. To like your beast.”
And Kinsley’s heart broke for her friend. Living in harmony with your beast was a must. Otherwise, the discord ate at the person like a cancer until eventually it destroyed the shifter who couldn’t make peace with their animal.
Now she had a dilemma. Did she tell this to Mac, or keep it quiet, since it was Marty’s secret, not hers?
Working with a partner who wasn’t comfortable with their beast could harshly impact everyone on the team, especially your partner.
Ugh, moral dilemmas.
Maclaren “Mac” Atlas waited at his desk for Kinsley Jacobs and Marty Mays to arrive for their debriefing. He didn’t have long to wait before a knock sounded and the two women entered his office. They brought the scent of sunscreen and womanhood with them. He also caught the faint freshness of the sea, probably from Kinsley who’d taken a dip an hour ago. He wanted to breathe deeply but that would be creepy. Don’t be creepy.
The two women’s friendship showed in their body language. He had yet to learn what creature either shifted into. He only knew both were fierce predators in the water and both were capable of taking out a serial killer who enjoyed stalking his kidnapped prey in the water as his beast, a massive great white shark.
Mac studied Kinsley and Marty. Both could be classified as blondes. Marty had red-gold curls and he’d overheard Kinsley once call her a human cocker-spaniel. This descriptor fit so well that he now thought of Marty the same way. So cute you couldn’t help but smile when she walked into the room. Her personality fit too. Bubbly and sweet, but also loyal and protective, Marty was a stellar being.
Kinsley, on the other hand, would never be classified as cute. If he had to label her, he’d lean more toward the popular girl’s doll stereotype. She wore her blonde hair long and her large green eyes only added to the blonde bombshell image. She was model height with that body type.
And the woman used these attributes to her advantage. Few knew that Kinsley boasted incredible cunning. She had the intellect, instincts, and beast to excel at hunting serial killers and other dangerous criminals. If they had a criminal who hunted women, who enjoyed toying with them, his secret weapon was Kinsley. Often with Marty as backup. It boggled the mind at how many men lost their minds in the presence of the proverbial blonde and her cute “sidekick.”
Bad guys loved Marty’s innocence and Kinsley’s beauty. And they longed to possess both. Little did they know that both women’s beasts were far more powerful than their own. I think. He frowned as he stood and invited them to seat themselves.
Most shifters could scent the magic in others. If you shifted into an animal, others could tell. Neither Marty nor Kinsley adhered to this rule. Both women could take another form, yet neither smelled like anything other than human.
He could smell their faint ocean scent, but only because he was unusual himself.
Mac seated himself and continued studying his two employees. Both remained mysteries.
He shoved those thoughts aside and delved into their report of what happened. Marty had been backup in case something untoward happened. Or unforeseen. She had not dived today.
Therefore, he turned his attention to Kinsley. “You made the kill?”
“I did.” She explained how they tracked the killer through the water and caught him toying with his intended prey. A different team had fished the hapless woman out of the water and whisked her to safety. He hoped she had been unaware that she’d been stalked by a killer who transformed into a shark.
If possible, they captured these types of predators with plenty of evidence and handed them over to the authorities. The only time they killed was when said predator was wealthy and influential. Those types did not face the consequences of their heinous actions. In this case, the powerful man had been a serial killer. He had to be taken off the streets.
Kinsley explained that she waited until the team rescued the woman, a young intern, before she shifted and made the kill. Expressionless. Matter-of-fact. Exactly the way she should. This was business as usual. The serial killer she’d taken out would likely circumvent the judicial system and revert to his crimes with a vengeance if they had allowed him to live.
No one enjoyed the killing aspect. If it became evident they did, they were immediately moved to a totally different position. Oceanic Shift was created solely to keep humans safe. As a last resort to protect against those born with no emotions, no sense of right or wrong, who thrived on criminal activity and eventually crossed the line to murder. This man in particular had enjoyed killing. Kinsley and Marty had stumbled onto his predilections while researching another man. Only to discover this particular politician had been far worse than the one they were investigating.
When the man didn’t return to his fancy yacht tonight, the investigating authorities would deem him dead. Lost at sea. That way his family could be notified, and his affairs settled.
Perhaps not the ideal way to bring him to justice, but Mac at least hoped that Kinsley’s other form had struck fear in his heart for a moment before he died. The man’s body would never be found as it seemed better to kill him in his shifter form. That way the oceanic ecosystem would take care of itself, and the nasty man might do some good in his death.
Mac asked questions for his own records and listened to their debriefing. Wondering all the while what they each shifted into. A mystery for certain. Both were fairly new to the center, so he didn’t push. When they were ready to reveal their other selves, they would.
Marty especially seemed reluctant. He suspected Kinsley remained mum on her beast because of fears for her family. She had mentioned all but her father shifted into the same beast. Marty might carry a similar reluctance. Once Marty finished her part of the debriefing, she rose to leave. She was currently working with a different branch and set off to debrief the leader on that side.
When she left, a different quiet settled over his office.
His eyes met Kinsley’s. He tamped hard on the attraction that bubbled inside for this woman. Unprofessional.
Besides, he had waited this long for his mate to appear. He would wait for as long as necessary. Minor attractions to a woman who reported to him needed to be shoved deep and ignored.
At all costs.
“I’m concerned about Marty.”
That simple statement from Kinsley aided him in shoving away all thoughts of attraction. “What’s wrong?”
Kinsley remained silent for a long moment. She swallowed a few times then bit her lip.
Then she blurted, “I think she’s afraid of her own beast.”