He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she'd robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn't an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn't make him feel any better.
There's a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.
In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he's ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.
Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she's glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.
So what's a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who's a police officer?
SWAT (Special Wolf Alpha Team) Series
Hungry Like the Wolf
In the Company of Wolves
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"The action is nonstop and topnotch."-RT Book Reviews
"Hot and wild...Paige Tyler delivers non-stop action and thrilling romance."-Cynthia Eden, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
"The sexy wolves of SWAT are not to be missed!"-J.D. Tyler, national bestselling author of the Alpha Pack series
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In the Company of Wolves
By PAIGE TYLER
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2015 Paige Tyler
All rights reserved.
Dallas, Texas, Present Day
Eyes glued to his binoculars, Officer Eric Becker surveyed the dimly lit warehouse across from the rooftop he was positioned on. It was four o'clock in the morning, and the place was about as quiet as you could expect a major import/export warehouse located outside the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to be.
"Anything yet?" Xander Riggs queried softly through Becker's earpiece.
Becker checked the heavy shadows along the west side of the warehouse before answering his squad leader.
"Nothing yet. But they'll be here. This target is too good to pass up."
"They'd better show," fellow SWAT officer Max Lowry muttered over the internal communications channel. "I have a hundred dollars riding on it."
"Which I'll be more than happy to take off your hands when it turns out Becker is wrong," the team's resident medic-slash-sniper, Alex Trevino, added.
"Cut the chatter and stay alert," Xander growled.
Silence descended over the radio as Becker's teammates went back to watching their assigned sectors. Like him, they were positioned in a loose circle around the main warehouse, either on rooftops or hidden inside trucks or shipping containers. The idea was to let the thieves slip past them and into the warehouse. Then Xander would give the word and they'd move in, trapping the bad guys in their net. Of course, the plan would only work if the thieves made an appearance. But Becker wasn't worried. He'd studied the ring's MO long enough to know they'd show. And soon. It was as quiet as it was going to get down there.
A secure and bonded freight company like World Cargo was open for business 24-7, but there were always lulls in the workload, and the biggest one was right now, after the midnight rush and before the pace picked up again at sunrise. It might have seemed like the warehouse was deserted, but there were four security guards roaming the twelve-foot-high perimeter fence, with another stationed in an armored shack located just inside the gated entrance. Becker couldn't see them from his vantage point, but he knew there were two more guards inside the warehouse. It was risky leaving all the guards in place for this operation, but if they hadn't, the thieves would have known something was up.
Movement out of the corner of Becker's eye caught his attention, and he swung his binoculars to scan the long row of windows that covered the upper level of the warehouse. A moment later, a uniformed security guard walked past. That must have been what he'd seen.
Becker relaxed and swept his binoculars over the rest of his sector as he considered how the death of organized crime boss Walter Hardy had paved the way for these new thieves to move into the city and take over.
Hardy had been a major player in Dallas, but it wasn't until Sergeant Gage Dixon, the commander of the SWAT team, had gone all werewolf on the jackass and ripped out his throat that people really understood what kind of grip Hardy had maintained on almost every criminal enterprise in the city.
Hell, for a few blissful weeks following Hardy's death, violent crime rates had dropped to the lowest levels the city had seen in nearly forty years. Of course, that wasn't the reason Gage had killed the man. He'd ripped Hardy to pieces because the son of a bitch had been dumb enough to kidnap the woman Gage had fallen in love with. Not a smart thing to do. But Hardy's sudden departure from this earth had benefitted the local community in so many ways, Gage's action probably should have counted as a public service.
Unfortunately, nature abhors a vacuum. Within a couple months of Hardy's death, every violent offender with a gun and delusions of grandeur was making a play to take over control of the old man's territory. At first, the scumbags spent most of their time killing each other. Soon enough though, deals started being made, alliances started forming, and it looked like Dallas was heading for a serious turf war.
Then, when it seemed like things couldn't get worse, a group of outsiders showed up and the shit really hit the fan. Within weeks, they'd put a serious dent in the local criminal leadership, wiping out a lot of people in the process. In the last week alone, they'd taken out two jewelry stores, an art gallery, and an electronics store. They were good — and dangerous.
Becker was musing over how easy it had been to create a search algorithm to predict the crew's next target based on the types of places they'd already hit when another shadowy movement through the warehouse's windows caught his attention. He swung his binoculars up, expecting to see the security guard again, but instead, he saw a man dressed head to toe in black and carrying an MP5 submachine gun.
"Shit. They're already inside," he shouted into his mic.
Jumping to his feet, Becker headed for the rappelling rope, coiled and waiting for a quick descent down the backside of the building. He wrapped the rope around the snap link attached to his harness, then tossed the other end over the side.
"How the hell did they get in there without us seeing them?" Xander demanded in his ear.
"They must have come inside with one of the earlier shipments," Becker said as he stepped to the edge of the building and kicked himself backward into space.
The rope slid through his gloved hands as he sailed down from the third-floor roof in a single large bound. He ignored the heat in his hands, waiting until he was only a few feet above the ground before jerking his right hand behind his back and braking hard. His downward momentum immediately stopped. He hit the pavement, then ran toward the warehouse, sliding his M4 off his back at the same time.
"Should we try to warn them?" Khaki Blake, teammate and Xander's significant other, asked across the radio.
Becker could hear the sound of feet pounding on pavement through his earpiece — the rest of the team running for their entry positions.
"Negative," Xander ordered. "The suspects could have the guards' radios."
Becker swore as he raced to the side entrance, where he was supposed to meet up with fellow SWAT officer and explosives expert Landry Cooper. They had no idea how many bad guys were in the warehouse or where they were. If the guards weren't already dead, the suspects now had two hostages they could use as human shields to hide behind on their way out. That made this operation a hell of a lot harder.
He absently heard Xander tell the on-scene commander to keep the rest of the Dallas PD officers at a distance. Xander didn't want their fellow cops running into the building, shooting at everything that moved, including SWAT.
Cooper was already waiting at the heavy metal security door when Becker got there, his gold eyes glinting from behind his ski mask. Becker waited as Cooper punched the code into the cypher lock on the wall, then led the way. They both hesitated as soon as they got inside, waiting for the rest of the squad to signal they were ready to go.
That was when Becker realized there was something really strange going on in the warehouse — so strange that it took him a second to realize what had him pinging all of a sudden.
"Shit," he muttered, finally recognizing the familiar scent in the air. "We might have a problem, team. The guys we're going up against are werewolves. Every one of them."
There was stunned silence on the other end of the radio.
"You sure?" Xander asked.
"He's sure," Cooper answered before Becker could say anything, his North Carolina accent barely discernable. "I smell them too."
Xander's curse was terse over the radio. "Everyone, stay together and watch yourselves."
Becker didn't need to be told twice, and he doubted anyone else did either. The idea of facing criminals who were just as strong, fast, and hard to take down as the SWAT team was more than enough to keep them on their toes.
He and Cooper moved slowly through the warehouse, checking behind every box and pallet as they instinctively covered each other. How the hell had another werewolf pack moved into Dallas without them realizing it?
He was still trying to come up with an answer when gunshots sounded from the far side of the warehouse.
"Contact!" the SWAT team's lead armorer, Trevor McCall, shouted over the radio. "Khaki and I are engaged with two of them, both heavily armed. They're definitely werewolves. I put four rounds into one of them and he's still going."
More gunfire came from somewhere off to the left of Becker, then even more from the right. Bullets ricocheted off the concrete floor and steel shelving units, punching holes in shipping crates and containers, and making it damn near impossible to figure out which direction the bad guys were shooting from.
"I'm pushing the exterior security guards and the rest of the DPD to the outside perimeter," Xander announced. "We can't let regular cops engage with these guys or it'll be a bloodbath. This is all on us."
"Roger that," Becker said.
"Incoming!" Cooper shouted.
Becker turned just in time to see two hulking figures dressed eerily similar to him and Cooper — black garb and tactical vests — and toting automatic weapons, which the bad guys were aiming in their direction.
Becker ducked behind the closest wooden packing crate while Cooper dove for cover behind another as bullets whizzed past them, all six feet five inches of him managing it without getting hit. Using the crate as a shield, Becker stuck the barrel of his M4 out and took aim. He hated the idea of killing fellow werewolves, but he didn't have a choice. This crew would take him and every member of his pack down without hesitation. It was pack against pack, and there was no question about what he had to do.
Becker put two rounds through the thug on the right, just above the top of his tactical vest. The werewolf stumbled back, but then charged forward with a growl, his eyes turning a vivid yellow-gold, his lip curling in a snarl, exposing his fangs.
Becker lifted his weapon a little higher and squeezed the trigger, putting three 5.56mm ball rounds through the werewolf's forehead. That stopped him cold and he immediately went down. On the other side of the aisle, Cooper took out the second werewolf.
That left about a dozen more. They came at him and Cooper from multiple directions at once, using their keen hearing and sense of smell to pinpoint their location. They even attacked from above, climbing on top of shelving units and trying to pin them down in crossfire.
In the two years he'd been with SWAT, Becker had never gone up against anyone who was even close to being a match for him and his pack. These guys were fast and they were strong. But while they fought like berserkers, they didn't fight as a pack. That gave Becker and Cooper the advantage. When they put down yet another werewolf — this one fast and wiry, who'd climbed and hopped around on the shelving units like a frigging monkey — the rest of them turned tail and ran.
On the downside, that meant he and Cooper had to split up. It was dangerous, and Xander would have their asses for it, but it was worth the risk if they could take down this crew.
"I found the two guards," Khaki reported over the radio. "They're alive but unconscious."
Xander said something in reply, but Becker didn't hear what it was because he was too busy trying to figure out the new scent his nose had just picked up. It was unmistakably werewolf, but unlike any werewolf he'd ever smelled before. It reminded him a little of Khaki but sweeter.
He took a breath, then another and another, until he was almost hyperventilating. Shit. He could barely hold up his weapon.
Becker shook his head, trying to clear it as he rounded the corner, and came face-to-face with a female werewolf so beautiful that all he could do was stop and stare. She stared back, her blue eyes as wide as saucers. Her heart beat a hundred miles an hour and there was blood splattered on the tactical vest she wore. Becker's heart lurched at the thought of her being hurt. But one sniff confirmed the blood wasn't hers. It belonged to one of the other werewolves with her.
He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she'd robbed him of the ability to speak. But he had to get the weapon away from her. If she pulled the trigger, he'd be dead. Shooting her wasn't an option though, and the idea of arresting her didn't make him feel any better.
Becker didn't consider whether what he was about to do was smart but simply lowered his weapon and took his finger off the trigger, letting his M4 hang loosely against his chest by the strap over his shoulder. Then he slowly lifted both hands as if in surrender.
He'd done it to put her at ease, but her heart pounded even harder. Her eyes darted left and right, her ponytail swinging from side to side. And while she kept her weapon trained on him, at least her finger wasn't wrapped around the trigger now.
Becker pulled up the black ski mask hiding his face, then switched off his mic. When he finally managed to find his voice, he didn't want his teammates listening in.
"Relax and put down the gun," he said, keeping his voice soft and calm even though gunfire echoed in the rest of the warehouse. "We can work this out. No one else has to get hurt."
She didn't say anything or lower her weapon. She didn't run either. That was progress, he supposed.
He was wondering if he should try a different tack when Xander's voice came across loud and clear over the radio in his ear. "They're bolting, so be careful. The few left are going to fight like caged rats."
Becker didn't have to ask if the woman heard what Xander said. She was a werewolf like him, which meant she had the same exceptional hearing. If he needed further confirmation, the look of terror on her face would have been it. He couldn't blame her; her pack had just abandoned her.
Off to the right, the sounds of gunfire increased, and so did the howls. Boots thudded on the concrete floor, heading in their direction.
She looked around again, trying to see every direction at once. Her grip on her weapon tightened, and she swung it at whoever was coming their way.
Oh hell, she's going to start shooting.
Swearing under his breath, Becker closed the distance between them and ripped the MP5 out of her hands, tossing it aside. She bared her fangs in a snarl, but before she could get the sound out, he slapped a hand over her mouth.
"Trust me," he said in her ear.
Wrapping his free arm around her, he picked her up and half carried, half dragged her over to the nearest crate. Ignoring her struggles, he ripped the top off the crate, praying there'd be enough room inside. It was empty except for a rolled up painting.
"Thank you, Lord," he breathed.
Taking his hand away from her mouth, he swung her up in his arms and dumped her inside as gently as he could. She hit the bottom of the crate with an oomph, then immediately sat up.
"What are you doing?" she demanded in a voice so soft and silky it almost brought him to his knees.
He shook off the hold her voice had on him and reached for the top to the crate. "Stay here until it's safe to leave."
Ignoring her startled look, he pushed her down with one hand and pulled the lid into place with the other.
Shit, that was close.
Blowing out a breath, he turned to find Cooper standing there staring at him like he'd lost his ever-loving mind.
Cooper switched off his mic with a flick of his thumb before shoving up his ski mask, a scowl on his face. "What the fuck are you doing?"
Becker's mind whirled like an out-of-control windmill. How the hell could he explain what Cooper had seen?
He couldn't. He only hoped his friend would give him the benefit of the doubt. "Trust me. I have to do this."
Cooper opened his mouth, then closed it again. His dark eyes went to the crate, his jaw flexing. Becker tensed, ready to stop his friend if it looked like he was going to rip off the lid. But instead, Cooper gave him a long, thoughtful look, then turned and walked over to another stack of boxes.
Becker frowned as Cooper picked up one of the cardboard boxes and carried it back over to the crate where the female werewolf was hiding. Cooper ripped open the box and pulled out a big fancy decanter of what looked like whiskey. Taking off the top, he dumped the whole thing over the crate before reaching for another and doing the same thing. Becker couldn't miss the overpowering smell of jasmine and buttercups.
Not whiskey. Perfume.
Cooper was covering her scent. Why the hell hadn't he thought of that?
Excerpted from In the Company of Wolves by PAIGE TYLER. Copyright © 2015 Paige Tyler. Excerpted by permission of Sourcebooks, Inc..
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