A Painful Dilemma
by Lorelei Moone
Scottish Werebear #5
Publication Date: May 25, 2016
Genres: Adult, Paranormal Romance, BBW
PURCHASE (#FREE with #KindleUnlimited): AmazonSynopsis: Henry Weston can’t take it anymore. Lately, his job with the Alliance seems to be less about protecting shifters from their enemies, and more about surveilling his own people and making sure they don’t break any Alliance rules. This is not what he signed up for, so it’s time for him to make a change. There’s only one problem: his mate and colleague Margaret isn’t on board at all, in fact they can’t seem to agree on anything lately.
Meanwhile, Alliance leader Adrian Blacke’s new assistant, Gail McPherson is having similar trouble adjusting to her job. The ideals that made her join the Alliance don’t match up with her day-to-day reality and she yearns for something else.
When the two of them meet, sparks fly, and they even start to hear each other’s thoughts, like only true mates can. But Henry already has a mate whom he wants to remain loyal to, despite their disagreements. If Henry and Gail can’t be lovers, at least they can be allies in a new cause: forming a New Alliance. What ensues is a battle between sense and emotion; loyalty and fate.
This paranormal romance novella is the fifth in the Scottish Werebear series. For the best experience, readers are advised to read the series in order.
EXCERPT - A PAINFUL DILEMMAHenry hadn't wanted a fight, but things had a way of escalating between him and Maggie.
"Why don't you trust me anymore?" Maggie folded her arms.
"Come on; it's not like that!" Henry argued, taking a step forward to rest his hand on Maggie's arm.
She pulled away just in time and shook her head. "Well, there's no other explanation. First, you go on the surveillance mission on your own, then you don't even involve me in the interrogation of that prisoner you took. Tell me, what am I supposed to think?"
Henry sighed. In a way, she was right. He hadn't wanted her to come along to Gartcosh to surveil Matt's house the other day. It's not that he didn't trust her, or didn't think she'd do a good job. Actually, he expected she'd do too good a job. She would have followed Blacke's orders to the letter, so they would have ended up with three prisoners, not just one. Caroline Pratt was a given, she was a Son's collaborator after all, but Maggie would have also rounded up Matt and Leah.
He and Maggie had been an item for years; Henry knew how she functioned.
As for the interrogation, he just couldn't risk Caroline cracking and mentioning the pictures she'd taken. Luckily, so far she seemed to hold up quite well and not said a word.
"Blacke gave me the order; it's only natural that I execute it," Henry excused his decision.
He had to come clean to her about what had happened, but with Maggie in the mood she was in right now, it wasn't the right time. She'd always been hot-blooded, and not particularly easy to reason with when she was ticked off.
"Did Blacke tell you not to take your partner along on the job?" Maggie demanded.
Henry remained quiet. Of course, he hadn't.
"I didn't think so."
She was hurt, obviously. And Henry couldn't blame her. But if there was one thing he had to give her credit for, she did take her work very seriously.
"Look, I didn't mean to step on your toes, but I can't have you questioning my operational decisions like this. When we're on the job, I'm in charge. That's just the way things are."
"Fine!" Maggie pressed her lips together. There was nothing agreeable about her body language.
"Now, shall we have breakfast? Wouldn't want to be late for work."
Maggie shrugged and marched out of their bedroom. Although he'd pulled the seniority card on her, this argument was far from over.
Today was going to be a long day.
For much of the day, Maggie made it a point to steer clear of Henry, which was just as well. They weren't hiding their relationship as such, but they made it a point to always stay professional at work.
Henry liked to think of himself as a fair and capable leader. His agents trusted him - most of the time, in the case of Maggie - and he ensured not to give preferential treatment to his mate. Plus, bears weren't the sharing sort. They didn't wear their hearts on their sleeve like wolves seemed to do. In his unit, one's private life was just that: private.
Before lunch, Henry interrogated his latest prisoner - Caroline Pratt - some more. Nothing came out of it, just as he had come to expect from most of the Sons of Domnall members. Especially those that seemed to be authority figures of some sort were especially tight-lipped. Caroline's demeanor, as well as her role in the attempted second kidnapping of Matthew Argyle, made Henry suspect she wasn't just an informant, but perhaps a faction leader.
Then again, she wasn't in the loop on a great many Sons activities at all, or she might have already known who or what Matt was.
Either way, it was time to close the file on her and send her and the other prisoners across to Stirling, where the Alliance Headquarters were located. Henry wrote up a sanitized version of the events leading up to Caroline's capture, whatever little details he gathered during the interrogation, and that was that. Case closed. He'd inform Blacke's people shortly.
Once that was done, he grabbed a fresh sheet of paper and started to brainstorm about something else entirely. He'd had an epiphany outside Matt's house that day, but he hadn't taken the time to really think about it in depth. If he was going to set up a movement to counter Blacke's Alliance, he couldn't just wing it.