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Authors: Marissa Dobson

Forever's Fight

BOOK: Forever's Fight
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Sunshine Press
Martinsburg, West Virginia

 

Forever’s Fight

Copyright ©2015, Marissa Dobson

Edited by Rosa Sophia

Proofed by Laura Hampton

ISBN: 978-1-939978-64-6

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to actual person—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Sunshine Press. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

www.marissadosbon.com

Forever’s Fight

 

 

Forever Creek Shifters

Book One

 

 

Marissa Dobson

 

Dedication

 

To my readers, who have loved the Alaskan Tigers series. I hope you enjoy the Forever Creek Shifters.

To my husband, who took Pup Cameron out of my office and played with him when I needed to work. For Pup Cameron who eventually realized Mommy couldn’t play all the time.

Thank you, Teresa Riley, for your feedback on
Forever’s Fight
and for all the work you’ve done so I could focus on this book. To Allyson Brann, for putting together amazing release parties and everything else you do behind the scenes. I would also like to thank Rosa Sophia and Laura Hampton. Without all these amazing people behind me, I’d never have gotten this far.

 

Fighting for love and family.

Patrick O’Reilly left behind his medical practice when he and his siblings were forced into hiding. Determined to live through the war against their species, they vow to serve their kind. Patrick will risk it all to ensure none of them end up as experiments in a government lab.

Clarissa Greenwood worked all her life to become a scientist and to get the position at Hathaway Medical where she thought she would be able to find cures for diseases. Instead, she is witness to experiments on shifters. Disgusted by the truth, she gathers as much information as she can, and flees. She wants no part of the experiments—even if the cost is her life.

Shifters Underground was created to serve their species, not to help a human who had worked for one of the organizations that was hunting them. A message from a trusted shifter leaves them with no other option but to search for a woman who might be able to help them. A treacherous journey brings two destined mates together. Now Patrick and Clarissa must work together to protect not only each other, but all the shifters who fight for their lives, for love, and for family.

Chapter One

 

The law said shifters were lesser beings.

They were to be captured and imprisoned in one of the camps scattered across the country. Resistance meant death. American citizens could kill anyone who showed signs of being a shifter, and it
wasn’t
considered a crime.

The past year had been rife with change, and the ones affected most of all were shifters. The whole world knew about them now, and they were being hunted down like the animals they shifted into. Mobs used it as an excuse to hunt, and murderers were turning to shifters to get their thrills—
if
they could catch them.

Patrick O’Reilly stood by the window and remembered what had brought them to the abandoned ski resort deep in the words. Though the new home was beautiful and safe, it was nothing like the world they’d left behind. Forever Creek Resort wasn’t just any ski resort, it was a
castle
. It even had a moat, though half the time it was frozen over. Since they were so high in the mountains, the moat had once been used as a place for guests to ice skate. He could almost picture people skating around the castle while others gathered at one of the fire pits now hidden under all the snow. From the window, the shadow of the five floors of the castle was spread across the ground before him. There was plenty of room for them to train, or bring others into their fold to keep them safe. There would come a time when they would have to recruit the best of the best in order to survive.

He stepped away from the window and back to his desk, looking at the computer screen to check on his siblings. Once they’d taken up residence in the castle, one of the first things he’d done was enhance the security system. Whatever areas were lacking, they updated, and now he could make sure they were safe. There on the screen, he could see each of his sibling going about their normal routines. Despite this, he couldn’t stop the rush of memories from before they had gone into hiding.

He pulled the door to his small medical practice shut and stepped out into the freezing temperatures. He should have been home hours before, but a string of last minute patients had kept him late. A clatter caught his attention. It was coming from the alley next to his building. His beast sniffed the air and was met with the rancid odor of blood. Lots of it. The sane part of him told him to turn and continue on his way, to not enter the alley, but he couldn’t stop his feet from moving forward toward the noise.

He had just stepped into the entrance, and not more than twenty feet before him were two police officers. Blood seeped from a man lying against the alley wall. “Shifter. I won’t let you contaminate our world any longer. We’ll kill every one of you. Gun you down and bathe in your blood.”

That night, he’d realized how dangerous things were. It had been the final straw that sent them into hiding.
We’re safe now.
He could take some comfort in the fact that even if someone were looking for the castle, it was difficult to find, so there was little chance anyone could stumble upon them. It wasn’t the way they had lived before, but at least they were together and alive. None of them were stuck in some camp, or worse, being used for experiments.

They had put their skills together and started Shifters Underground. It had started out as an online forum letting others know of safe places they could seek refuge and places to avoid at all costs. Now, it had expanded. The siblings went out to rescue those who were in dangerous situations. Any shifter could send a cry for help, and the O’Reilly family would do what they could. They planned rescue missions, mapped out a safe route of travel with safe houses, reunited families, and whatever else they could to keep shifters safe, under the radar and out of the camps. Each of them were putting their skills to good use, trying to do what they could to save their species.

There would be a day shifters would take no more, and they’d stand together and fight back, but that wasn’t the case
yet
. There were little bands that had tried to fight back but for the most part, the government swept into action, making examples out of them. Torturing shifters before finally killing them. Many were killed in public for others to see. It had started on the streets where the townsfolk would gather, and recently it was being broadcasted on television. For those who weren’t killed, their fate was worse for their rebellion. They were sent to labs for the scientists to experiment on as they searched for a way to control shifters, to make them less of a threat
.
There had been some shifters spread around the country willing to help the O’Reillys on a large scale, but for the most part shifters were trying to stay under the radar. They’d hide someone in their homes, but that was as big of a risk as they were willing to take.

It sickened him to think of what happened to shifters, and through it all he had little doubt that things would only get worse before they were better. If they ever got better. There had already been rumors of experimental tracking chips being placed in shifters in order to control their movements and to possibly control their ability to shift. To take away the capability to shift was worse than locking them away in cells like animals in a zoo. The beast would fight within the body, trying to free itself until eventually the mind collapsed. Shifters wouldn’t last if that were their fate.

Instead of standing there staring out at the woods that surrounded their home, his lion clawed within him, demanding something be done before it was too late. Shifters were dying as he stood there watching the trees blow in the wind, and there was nothing he could do about it
yet
. He needed to gather other shifters to stand together and fight against what was happening to them. To petition the government to leave them in peace.

It was one thing to kill rogue shifters, those who went on a rampage and started this disaster, but it was another to kill their entire species because of the actions of a few. That was like eliminating humans because of murderers. This was no different, and it made the government no better than the rogues.

“Patrick.” Jade, the youngest, and only sister of the O’Reilly siblings, stepped into his office appearing pensive, her arms wrapped around her body as if she was hugging herself. “I emailed you a document. You should take a look at it now.”

He stepped away from the window and back to his desk. “What’s it concerning?”

“The government is rolling out an injection that hospitals and emergency personnel can use to test for shifters. It can be administered by a needle or through a dart gun. If the person is a shifter, it will force them to shift. If they’re human, they’re saying the only side effect is nausea. It should be in their hands by the beginning of the week and all hospital staff, emergency workers, military, and government employees will be forced to undergo the test in order to keep their jobs.”

“Shit.” He leaned over his office chair and pressed a few buttons until her email displayed on the screen.

“As if that’s not bad enough, within three months’ time they’re expected to make it available to the general public. It will be uncontrollable then, and it’ll be even harder for us.” She rubbed her hands on the outside of her arms.

“We’ll overcome.” He quickly scanned the announcement and found no further information than what she had already told him. He caught the name of the drug—Lycan Ultra Neuro Acid, also referred to as LUNA—and committed it to memory, in case he caught that word anywhere else in his research. “There’s got to be something we can do to counteract it. If I could just get a sample of the compound they’re using to bring forth the beast, I might be able to find a way to bypass the reaction.”

Austin, the next oldest O’Reilly stepped around the corner with only his workout shorts slung low on his hips and a towel in hand. “I can help with that.” When they both turned to look at him, as if wondering where he had come from, he held up his hand. “When Jade passed the gym, she looked agitated so I followed to see what happened.”

“What do you mean you can help with getting a sample of the compound?” Patrick took a seat behind the desk and pushed the chair back to recline slightly.

“If they’re going to distribute it to every hospital, police station, and firehouse, they’re going to go through the military. I still have friends in the service. I’ll call them and see if they can get me a couple vials.”

“Good, then I can go through the compounds and figure out what we can do to make the playing field even.” It wasn’t what he went to medical school for but at least he could put his skills to use. Since they’d been forced to give up everything and move to the woods, he lost his position as the town’s doctor. Now, his medical training was being wasted. “If any of your friends are shifters, you’d better tell them to get the hell out before testing begins.”

Austin nodded distractedly, confirming he’d already been thinking the same thing. Like Patrick, Austin had to give up his career. As a former Army Ranger, turned police officer, it was hard for him to not have the daily activity. “Just my buddy, Nolan. I’m going to try to convince him that Shifters Underground needs him. He’s a good soldier and we could use men like him when things get worse.”

Patrick quirked his eyebrow upward. “We should begin recruiting our troops
before
things get more menacing. We’re going to need the best if we’re going to stand a fighting chance.”

“Wait a minute, both of you. Are we talking about going to war?” She stared at them both, her eyes wide, letting them know she was appalled by the idea.

“Jade—” Austin started before Patrick cleared his throat.

“We won’t have much choice.” He tried to soothe the youngest of the pride because he knew just how much she hated the idea. “One day things are going to get so bad we’re not going to have any other options. It will be time for us to take arms and stand together against this, or we’ll all die.”

“Not just in some distant future,” Austin said. “It’s going to be soon. Can’t you feel it?” When no one answered, he continued, “With every step the government makes to crush our species, we’re starting to rise up. Right now, there are just small groups like us but eventually we’ll all stand together. You can see the changes on the Shifters Underground website.”

“We understand the thought of going to battle against them scares you, but we’ll do whatever we can to protect you.” Patrick watched as his sister hugged herself tighter. If anyone understood what the government was capable of, it was her. Things got nasty when the government caught a shifter. Jade had personal experience; she
knew
. He did his best to set those thoughts aside. There was no need to relive the nightmare now that she was safe in their forest retreat.

“That’s the thing.” Her voice trembled. “You
can’t
stop these people. No one can. We should run, leave the country. We should go home to Ireland.” Her fear permeated the room like a toxic gas.

“Don’t be stupid,” Austin snapped.

“Austin!” Patrick scolded him.

“Come on, she needs to wake up and realize this is going to go worldwide before long. There will be nowhere to hide.”

“You’re right, but she doesn’t need that right now.” He tried to calm the situation, but she had already stormed out the office. “Damn it, Austin.”

“Patrick, it’s time she realizes what we’re up against.”

“Don’t you think she understands? The scars she has from those experiments they did on her before we could get to her, are daily reminders of what the future might hold. How can you be so heartless? She’s terrified, damn it, and comments like that aren’t helping anything.”

Austin slung the towel over his shoulder and nodded. “You’re right. I’ll go apologize.”

“Later. I’ll smooth things over for now.” Knowing she had most likely taken refuge outside, he grabbed the jacket he’d tossed over the back of his office chair and came around the desk. “Before her capture she was a take-no-shit type of girl, but what they did to her broke something deep within her. She’s just beginning to find her way back to the person she was, and she needs our support. She’s safe here, for now, but that might not always be the case. We need to get her back to the person she was, so she’ll take arms and fight alongside us.”

“What did they do to her?” Austin asked, sounding hesitant, as if uncertain he wanted to know. “In the middle of the night when she has a nightmare, you’re the one who goes to her. Has she told you anything?”

“Only bits and pieces. For the most part, she doesn’t want to talk about it.” He slipped the jacket on and tried not to picture her huddled in that tiny cage, the electrodes and machines attached to her. She had been so drugged when he found her, she’d fought him even as he tried to rescue her.

To discover his baby sister in that condition still haunted him every time he closed his eyes. Worse was the knowledge that others were suffering the same fate and there was nothing they could do about it
yet
. They needed to locate the labs conducting the experiments in order to attack and close them down. The longer they were operating, the longer people suffered inside them. From what he could gather, they were worse than the camps.

He strolled from his office, leaving Austin in his wake to go back to his daily workout routine. In the distance, he could hear Luke and Blake in a heated discussion about something, and Chase’s lion purrs as he tried to add his opinion to the conversation. He didn’t want to get involved with whatever they were bickering about, so he snuck out the side door. He’d go around the castle, back to the creek that ran a little distance from the building. Jade would have sought her refuge there, letting the sounds of water tinkling over the river rocks soothe her.

BOOK: Forever's Fight
11.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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