Authors: Crissy Smith
Tags: #Erotic Romance Fiction
A Totally Bound Publication
Birds of Prey
©Copyright Crissy Smith 2014
Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright March 2014
Edited by Faith Bicknell-Brown
Totally Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Totally Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Totally Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2014 by Totally Bound Publishing,
Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN
This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has a
BIRDS OF PREY
Book one in the Shifter Chronicles series
Mystery and love, murder and desire… It’s going to be a rough week for the agents of the Birds of Prey shifter division.
Cody Johnson has returned to his hometown as the division leader of the Birds of Prey for the Shifter Coalition. After the local cast leader is killed, Cody finds himself deeply involved in an investigation he can’t find any reason for. To make things worse, he runs into Aubrey Reynolds, the woman he left behind once before… And never got over. The longer the investigation continues, the more Cody struggles to separate his professional and private life. But Aubrey refuses to stay out of his case and his thoughts.
Aubrey has lost her Cast leader—her uncle—and has just seen the man who broke her heart. Feeling her world shattering around her, she tries to gain control of anything she can. As a security expert, she is determined to find out who is responsible for Gregory’s death and make them pay. If her inquiries put her directly in Cody’s path and piss him off, well, that’s something he’ll have to deal with. She’s shocked by how he handles it and unsure how she ends up back in his arms.
With a murderer running around taking out bird shifters, Cody must solve his case fast, especially once he realizes that Aubrey may be next on the killer’s list. Now that he finds he is still in love with her, he won’t let her go again.
For the Were Chronicles lovers who wanted other shifters and a longer book. Thanks for the past five years!
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
Jeep: Chrysler Group, LLC & Fiat S.p.A.
GPS: The U.S. Department of Defense.
Laundromat: 1943 Westinghouse.
Land Rover: Range Rover Company.
Styrofoam: The Dow Chemical Company
Cody Johnson disconnected the call on his cell phone and started to pace the floor of his new office area. He’d spent the last week setting up the room that would, starting today, belong to him and his team.
He appreciated the call from his contact with the Wolf Shifter Council, Kurt Moore, to wish him luck in his new position. For several months he’d waited while arrangements were made so he could begin work. He was anxious to finally get started.
He breathed deeply. His office and his team’s workplace were exactly as he’d wanted. Four large desks were pushed into the middle of the room, all facing one another. Laptops and other devices, waiting to be used, sat atop the surfaces.
Wide windows covered the north wall of the building and let in plenty of natural light. Every part of him approved of the open view. Inside himself, the falcon part of him loved the fact that he was surrounded by lots of room and space.
Just left of the windows hung several monitors. Any team member would be able to connect with a screen and share its data. Across from that, on the other end of the room, Cody had a state-of-the-art break area. The best appliances and provisions were available for late nights and early mornings. The remaining wall on the south side of the room was covered with white boards and bulletin boards. The double doors to enter were thick and solid.
It had taken time and a lot of money to set up the local branch of the Shifter Coalition, but it had been worth it. The need for the alliance and a branch of law enforcement for shifters had pushed for everyone to move quickly in setting up the brand new Coalition.
The Lake Worth division was located in an old brick building, set in the middle of town and twenty minutes from the lake shore.
The tall structure was three stories and consisted of a reception area, gym, interview rooms and holding cells on the bottom level. The second floor was where Cody’s area was, along with several other shifter species teams. The top storey was reserved for the highest officials and conference rooms for meetings and guests.
The Coalition was organised and motivated.
Nine months after the first of the shifters had announced their presence to the world, the Coalition would now serve to protect and police all shifters. Thanks to the Alpha Wolf Council who’d first come up with the idea of a combined alliance, the Coalition had been born.
Cody was pleased to have been asked to be involved. He’d served ten years with the elite Army Rangers before he’d become a homicide detective in Phoenix for the last seven years.
But it wasn’t his military record or his place on the force that had gained him the attention of the Council. No, he had been involved in the rescue of a friend that had landed him in the path of the wolf shifter who had first come up with the vision of an alliance.
Kurt Moore had helped hand-pick some of the division leaders. Cody, Zak and Jamie had all been offered contracts with the Coalition. All three men had accepted.
The added bonus of the Coalition setting up in his home town of Lake Worth, Arizona, had been too good to pass up. He was home. After too many years away, it was good to be back.
He’d gladly accepted his new position—team leader of the Birds of Prey division.
As a falcon shifter, Cody used his changing ability as often as he could. He loved to transform, but that wasn’t the only reason. Bird shifters had sharper eyesight in and out of their animal form.
Each shifter species had enhanced senses, although not all enhancement was the same. While wolves possessed heightened scent, birds relied a lot on their vision.
Before the shifters had become public, Cody hadn’t had the same freedom to shift as he did now.
Shifters were larger and stronger than their natural bird cousins. If anyone had seen Cody in his other form, the chance of someone finding out what he truly was would have been worrisome. There was no way that anyone would have believed that shifter birds were natural. As his animal, he was more than twice the size, very strong and hard to injure.
Bird shifters weren’t the only team that were a part of the Coalition, though. There were wolves, felines, bears, coyotes, and so many more shifters in the world. Already he’d met several other team leaders and found them to be just as dedicated to the security goals as he.
Dossiers on his team members had been provided, and judging from the extensive reports he’d been reviewing, he was impressed. While he still hadn’t met any of his squad, that situation would change shortly. He’d only spoken to each one on the phone as the final preparations had been made for their unit to begin work.
He strolled across the room to pour a cup of coffee from the pot he’d started earlier. He was keyed up to begin working and had to call on all his training to remain calm. Even with the years of experience, it was difficult.
Cody settled himself at the desk he’d commandeered for himself and pulled out the files for his new team.
Ryder Evans—red-tailed falcon. Ryder’s picture showed a lean, athletic, tall man with light-brown hair, almost blond in some streaks, and light-coloured eyes. He smiled easily at the camera, showing off a dimple in his left cheek. He was an instructor for the US Marine Corps Special Forces teams. His speciality was hand-to-hand combat and other fighting forms.
The next member was Byron Ward. Byron was a golden eagle, which was the most popular bird of prey but also the most unique shifter. While golden eagles in nature outnumbered all the other bird species, in shifters they were very rare. No one seemed to know why.
Byron had transferred to them from the Las Vegas Metro Police after ten years on the force. Byron’s picture was of a big guy with lots of muscles. His dark-brown hair and deep, dark eyes stared into the camera without a hint of a smile. His superiors described him as intense and focused. Cody hoped that remained true.
He closed Byron’s file and picked up the last one.
Chloe Diaz. Chloe was only five foot five and very slim. She had been an analyst with the FBI for over twelve years. Chloe’s animal was a burrowing owl.
After Cody had received her information, he’d had to dig into the shifter database about that class of birds. He’d never come across one before. The burrowing owl shifters were almost non-existent and even with Cody’s high security clearance, he couldn’t find much on the species.
Her expertise in analysing intel would really benefit the team. He had high hopes that she would fit in with the others.
A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. He shuffled all the folders inside a desk drawer and leant back in his chair.
“Come in,” he called out.
The two men who entered were easily recognised.
Cody stood and held out his hand. “Cody Johnson.”
“Ryder Evans,” Ryder replied and gave his hand a firm shake.
“Byron,” the second man announced in a deep, rumbling voice.
“Welcome, gentlemen.” Cody waved them forward.
The door was still open when he glimpsed movement behind Byron and Ryder.
“Please come in,” he invited Chloe.
He greeted her then took a look at his squad. Yes, he believed the four of them would accomplish a lot.
He motioned towards the desks. “Let’s get started.”
Six months later
The call came at five in the morning.
Cody fumbled on the nightstand beside his bed and knocked something onto the ground as he reached for his cell phone. “Hello?”