Story Excerpt

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Sitting cross legged on the middle of the bed, Barclay cuddled the duck close. “I’m sorry, little one. I know I’ve asked much of you, but you can’t shift into your human form, not yet.”

Clay ran his chin over the duck’s downy head. “We both know I wouldn’t be able to stop from mating with you. It’s all I long for, but the scientists said I would transfer the poison to you and our union would cause both of us to die within minutes.” Clay closed his eyes, trying to withstand the constant agony pushing through his insides. “I will die soon anyway, but I will not take you with me.”

Clay smiled as the duck nibbled at the tips of his finger. The bird was the only thing keeping him sane over the last few months. He was the only one Clay could talk to.

“At least my idea to find companions for my brothers has finally paid off.” Clay lightly scratched under the duck’s eye and was rewarded by a dreamy look covering its sweet face. “I had hoped by exposing them to paranormals in the lab rescues that somehow they would find someone to help elevate their heartache when I’m gone. How wonderful it is that they found real mates. At first I was sure it was a trick of the scientists, but they have proved to be true mates of the soul.”

The duck turned his head and took one of Clay’s fingers into his bill before tugging on it. “What is it, little one.”

The moment Clay loosened his embrace, the duck launched into the air and landed by the door. When he began jabbing at the door with his bill, Clay knew what he wanted.

“You’re feeling it too, aren’t you?”

The duck looked at Clay and waited.

“What if it is a trick? Their deceptions know no bounds.” The scientist’s tricks were Clay’s greatest fear. As a child he had fallen for so many while imprisoned in the labs. “What if this urge to go to that lab is a trap to capture us so they can do something despicable to both of us?”

The duck continued to stare at Clay.

Clay rubbed his forehead trying to cope with the constant ache. If it grew any worse he wouldn’t be able to think anymore. Looking back at the duck, he gave in. “Alright, I will go check out this lab and see what’s going on, but you are staying here where it’s safe.”

The duck responded by plopping down on the floor in front of the door.

Clay raised one eyebrow. “I can easily move you out of the way, little one.”

The duck tipped his head to the side and Clay swore it raised both of its nonexistent eyebrows. Without saying a word, the ten pounds of feathers could do something no one else could get away with.

Change Clay’s mind.

Sighing, Clay left the bed and suited up in his tactical gear. Once he was ready, he looked at the duck. “Alright, let’s go, but be extra quiet,” he warned. “We don’t want anyone to know we’re gone.”

As he slipped out of the room, Clay wondered why he couldn’t resist the overpowering need to go to this lab. An unbreakable heavy chain around his soul was drawing him in. He could do nothing about it

What was waiting for him? He only sensed it was big and overwhelming. Somehow he knew that much. Well, so be it. He had nothing to lose in this life but the nonstop, debilitating, excruciating pain. With the duck waddling behind, Clay went to meet his fate.

Getting out of the mansion with a duck in tow was a little easier than he had anticipated. Clay expected one of his brothers to come around the corner at any moment. One of Dario's soldiers at the very least.

He didn't see anyone.

At the front door, Clay leaned down and picked up the duck. From here on out, he would be in too much of a hurry to wait for his feathered mate to follow him with his less than graceful walk. They would need to move as fast as possible if they wanted to avoid being seen.

And they wanted to avoid being seen. Clay didn't think any of his brothers would understand his need to investigate a building he had never told them about. In fact, they would be seriously pissed. Clay didn't have time to deal with them right now, or their mates. The need growing in his gut was getting bigger, and more painful.

Clay knew he didn't have much longer before the pain overwhelmed him. He had done what he had set out to do and found mates for three of his four brothers. He just needed to hang on long enough to help Basil find his mate.

And discover what was drawing him to this new facility. Trepidation made his heart beat a little faster. As much as he was being drawn to the place, he was also afraid to go. What would he find there? Who would he find there?