Pablo was torn the day Jericho was exiled. Did he walk away from their mate or stand at the side of the male who rarely showed him any respect? The choice was harder than anyone would’ve imagined, and it weighs heavily on the bear shifter… so much so, that he can’t find the will to go after their mate, Bull, until he’s found a way to make amends for what he’s done.
But fate steps in, putting Pablo into Bull’s path when he’s at his lowest. The dominant rhino commands Pablo’s attention and ultimately pits brother bear against brother bear. Is there a way Jericho can find his way back, or will Pablo and Bull have to find a new path without him?
Over a week later, Pablo returned to the spot he’d last seen Jericho. The hand carrying the basket shook as he worried about the exchange ahead. He stopped before the wall and slowly pushed the basket outside the barrier and lowered it to the ground.
Before Pablo had the chance to pull his hand back, Jericho came out of nowhere and snatched Pablo’s hand. He began to pull Pablo through the thin veil separating their worlds.
“Don’t do this,” Pablo spat.
Jericho grinned. The look bordered on evil, and it scared Pablo. He’d never seen his brother bear like this. “You belong out here with me.” His eyes shone silver as he glared down at Pablo.
Pablo pulled away, but Jericho was too strong. His feet dragged through the dirt, leaving a trail as he dug his heels in. Just as he was partially through the barrier, someone grabbed him and dragged him back to safety.
Stunned, he turned to see their mate.
“Let him go, Jericho,” Bull snapped.
Surprise filled Jericho’s eyes. His hand faltered, and it was enough for Bull to pull Pablo back inside the safety of the wall. Pablo glanced at Bull, confused as to how the rhino knew he’d be there.
Fueled by anger, Jericho pounded on the wall. “You abandoned me! You bastard!” Jericho screamed, his eyes glowing full silver.
Pablo stared into those eyes and sensed the danger he represented. The growl… the strength… the glowing eyes… Jericho was changed. Bull drew Pablo into his arms… and the fear lessened some. But it didn’t stop the concern he felt.
“Did you give him a gun, Pablo?”
Pablo glanced up at Bull. “How did you know?”
“Did you or didn’t you?”
“I couldn’t get my hands on one,” Pablo said. “I tried, but I couldn’t.” It was a lie for Jericho’s benefit. He hadn’t planned on getting his brother bear a weapon, but Jericho didn’t need to know that. Now that he sensed the change, he was even happier he hadn’t taken one.
“Idiot!” Jericho screamed, again pounding on the wall.
Bull drew Pablo away a few steps, putting distance between them. “What color were his eyes before he was exiled?” Bull asked.
Pablo lifted his stare, the shakes taking over. “G-green.”
“We need to get to Deacon and let him know.”
“Know what?” Pablo asked, snatching Bull’s arm as he attempted to walk away. Would Deacon send the warriors out to kill Jericho?
“He might’ve been changed.”
Pablo shook his head, refusing to admit what he already feared. “That’s impossible. A bear can’t become a werewolf.”
“Then why are his eyes silver?” Bull demanded.
Pablo’s head turned, and he looked at his brother bear a moment. “It can’t be.”
“The full moon is tomorrow night,” Bull said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Pablo was still shaking as Bull took his arm and dragged him away.
“I did this. It’s my fault.”
Bull didn’t slow down or acknowledge what Pablo said.
“I should go out to him,” Pablo said, trying to force Bull to let him go. “I should’ve been at his side. I should’ve protected him.”
“This isn’t your fault,” Bull said, yanking him closer.
“I’m his brother bear!” Pablo said, trying to ignore the lust now swamping him at Bull’s nearness. He had no right to feel it when his brother bear was in danger.
“If you’d been out there, you’d likely be just like him. How could you help him then?”
Pablo stilled. He’d had the same thought… but something had to be done. “How can we help him now? If he’s truly a were?”
“We’ll find Deacon. Deacon will know what to do.”
Pablo took a few steps with Bull leading the way. “What if Deacon’s plan is to kill him?”
Bull was silent a moment. “I won’t let that happen.”
Pablo felt relief… but then another question came. “Why wouldn’t you let that happen?”
Bull didn’t answer.
Pablo dragged his feet, forcing them to stop. Bull whipped around, his expression fiercely angry.
“Why wouldn’t you let that happen?” Did the rhino feel the bond between them?
“I don’t know,” Bull cried.
“You feel it, don’t you?”
Bull’s face twisted in confusion. “Feel what?”
Pablo’s words died on his lips. He had no right to this male… especially now, when Jericho was in need. “Nothing.”
Bull eyed him a moment longer before he took a step closer. “Feel what?”
Pablo’s gaze lifted. He stared at the male’s menacing expression and sensed there was no true menace behind it. If he was right, Bull knew there was a connection between them. “I spoke out of turn,” he answered. “I meant nothing.”
Bull’s scent filled his nose, making it almost impossible to think straight. His animal demanded what was his… and his body responded to that need. He stood there in the cold night, aching for the rhino shifter before him.
“Hurry up,” Bull demanded.
Pablo followed the rhino out of the woods, watching the male move with a grace he wouldn’t have attributed to the animal he was underneath.
He followed, even though his mind and body were in chaos.
Torn between his two mates, he was completely gutted. He gave one last glance over his shoulder, but he couldn’t see Jericho any longer.