SNEAK PEEK

A New Prospect

By Julie Trettel

A New Prospect
Westin Force Delta: Book Four
Copyright ©2021, Julie Trettel. All rights reserved.
This is an excerpt intended as a sneak peek into this book for readers only. Do not copy or use for any other purpose.
This book is still in editing.

Chapter 2 – Tucker 

“Is everything okay?” Michael asked as I hung up the phone. 

“Yeah, fine. I gotta head home in a bit for my lunch break.” 

“I thought you were swinging by Birdie’s for lunch.” 

“Which is why I told Annie I’d be home in an hour. Is it cool if I go ahead and cut out?” 

Ever since Birdie’s drastic attempt at gaining the attention of the new Sheriff, I’d been stopping by to do regular well checks. She was healthy as a horse, but she was also very old and lonely. It was considered part of my routine job at this point and truthfully, I enjoyed our daily chats. 

“Go on. Get out of here,” Michael said. 

“Thanks. I’ll be back after lunch.” 

Maybe I should have driven straight home. I knew Annie and I had a lot of shit to work out. But I hadn’t been this angry with her since she’d confessed to tricking me into mating her. 

Kevin and Autumn were good kids. So what if they could shift into opossum. They hadn’t deserved to be spoken to or about like that in their own home. Annie was wrong. Maybe that was the problem and why I was avoiding her lately. In Annie’s world, she was never wrong. Everyone else was, but never her. 

I understood that about her, and I knew that a lot of it stemmed from her parents and how she was raised. It wasn’t entirely her fault, but she’d gone too far this time, and I needed time to calm down before discussing it with her. 

Annie had a terrible temper and a self-righteous attitude. I knew exactly how bad it could get if I didn’t tread carefully. Lately I just haven’t been caring as much, but also not wanting to face her wrath, I had taken to avoidance. 

I was a chicken. And I hated myself for it 

But I pushed all that aside and put a smile on my face as I parked my car and walked up to the big front porch of Birdie’s house. She was already there waiting for me with tea and these little finger sandwiches she loved to serve. In truth, they were just a tease. I’d get a real meal on my way home because I didn’t trust Annie to have anything ready for me. She rarely ever thought of such things. 

“Hello Tucker. I had a feeling you’d be dropping in to check on me today.” 

I grinned. This had become a daily routine of ours for weeks now. 

“I don’t know what I did to deserve your attention, but if you let me know what it is, I’ll do more of it.” 

I laughed. “How are you today, Birdie?” 

“Better now that you’re here.” 

“You need to be careful my mate doesn’t hear you saying that.” 

She laughed and slapped her knee. 

“When are you going to bring her around to meet me?” 

“Birdie. You know better than that. A man never introduces his mate to the other woman.” I winked at her, and she hooted with laughter once more. 

“You are such a flirt. Sit down, have some tea and a snack.” 

I did as I was told. It was a beautiful day, a bit cool, but our wolves helped to regulate our temperatures in cold weather. I had a long-sleeved T-shirt and Birdie was dressed with only a light sweater on to ward off the chill. 

The sky was sunny, though, and you could see the rays dancing off the pond down the street. 

Birdie lived in the middle of downtown San Marco. Not that it was much of a downtown, but for us it was the hustle and bustle of Pack life. 

Vada and Susan walked by pushing strollers. They were mated to members of Bravo team. I gave them a little wave as they passed. 

While I wasn’t from here, I’d moved to San Marco some time ago to join Westin Force, a special ops program designed to protect shifters around the world. I was originally placed on Bravo team so I knew the guys there well. And while I wasn’t around when they started finding their own mates, I still hung out with them often and knew them well. 

Westin Force was like one big extended family with each team being a closer, smaller family. We all worked together, but each team also specialized in a specific area. 

Bravo team was the most elite team in the Force. They were the truest special operations unit traveling all over the world on the coolest cases. Spots on Bravo were the most coveted. I’d been a part of that until Annie had put her foot down and insisted I leave the Force or transfer units to one closer to home. 

It wasn’t just because I was away on missions all the time. Annie wanted me around when she wanted me and beyond that she really didn’t give a shit what I did. There was some of that conflict though since I couldn’t be at her beckoned call. And that was the excuse I had used to transfer teams. 

The truth was, Annie hated that I was working under a gorilla shifter. Add in the fact that there was not one but two gorillas, a bear, and a fox on the team, and she was absolutely furious. 

“No wolf should answer to the likes of that,” she had said constantly. 

It had pissed me off to the point we’d fought about it, and I rarely fought with her because there were always serious repercussions to my standing up for myself. Because of that, I’d mastered the skills of passive aggression. 

And since we had already moved to San Marco and the only other unit based right here was Delta, I’d convinced her to stay if I transferred units. 

Delta team was responsible for Westin Pack security and the protection of the Alpha, Kyle Westin, the Pack Mother, Kelsey Westin, and their family including two sons and a large extended family. It wasn’t aways as exciting as Bravo’s missions, but it was steady, important work. It mostly kept me home, though lately we’d had several missions along Bravo tracking down Collectors. 

Collectors were humans who collected shifters, but not just any shifters, they captured and kept prisoners only the most special amongst us. We called them witches, but really they were just shifters with extra powers. 

Our Pack Mother was a witch and when a Collector came for her, Delta had been there to stop him. Because of that, we’d earned our right to be involved in any case concerning a Collector.  

Annie was furious about it. More than once lately I’d heard her mention packing us up and moving back home. But to me, this was home. 

“You look a million miles away right now,” Birdie said. “Is everything okay?” 

I shrugged. “Nothing I can’t handle.” 

“Family issues?” 

“Huh?” 

“It’s always family. They are the ones close enough to truly hurt you hardest.” 

“You sound like you’re speaking from experience,” I said, trying to get the focus off of me because she was dangerously close to correct. 

“Of course I am. You don’t get to live as long as I have and not bare the scars of family.” 

“I didn’t think you had any family, Birdie.” 

“Oh please. I’ve lived several lifetimes it feels like, but I was young once and in love.” 

“You had a mate?” 

“I did, my true mate. He was my entire world. We hadn’t fully bonded though when he left me.” 

“He left you?” 

“Dead, dear, keep up. My Richard died in a boating accident out on Lake Tahoe. What the hell was a wolf doing on water? It was ridiculous. Fancied himself a fisherman. Left me a widow with a young daughter.” 

My brow furrowed. “I didn’t know. Who’s your daughter?” 

“Oh, no one you know. She’s been gone a very long time. Always had a fascination with the human world. So much so that she packed up and moved to the city, found a man, fell in love. He was human of course. I kept in touch as best as I could, but she turned her back on her wolf spirit and wanted nothing to do with our kind. I guess it worked for her. To the best of my knowledge, she never shifted again. It just breaks my heart to think about it.” 

“What happened to her? Where is she now?” 

“Dead. Her husband,” she spat the word like it left a sour taste in her mouth, “died young. Guess she and I had that in common. She had a daughter and I kept up with her much of her life, even after my daughter passed on. My granddaughter had a daughter as well. Then a few years back, I was notified that the two of them died together in a car crash. T-boned by a drunk driver. They said both of them were killed instantly.” 

“Wait, you had a great-granddaughter too?” 

“Oh yes. I also have a great-great-granddaughter still alive.” 

“Do you see her often?” 

“Never. I didn’t even know she existed until a bank called regarding a trust account I had open in my granddaughter’s name, well, not me, but my lawyer who oversees my accounts. Humans get a little skeptical dealing with someone my age. In their world, I shouldn’t even be alive right now. So they contacted my lawyer over at Westin Foundation regarding the account. They were told to move it to my great-granddaughter’s name.” 

“And that’s when you found out she had died as well?” 

“Yes. But there was a surviving heir, Abigail, my great-great-granddaughter. I didn’t even know she existed.” 

“When was the last time you saw your granddaughter and great-granddaughter?” 

“Oh, it’s been years and years, Tucker. My granddaughter never received a wolf spirit. I loosely stayed in touch until my great-granddaughter came of age. There was no wolf for her either. My lineage was dead, and my daughter asked me to disappear before questions arose. So, I did.” 

It broke my heart hearing her story. 

“But now that you know about Abigail, what will you do?” 

“Absolutely nothing.” 

“Are you sure?” 

She cut her eyes in my direction. 

“What are you up to, Birdie?” 

“Well, I was just curious, you know. So I talked to Nonna about it and she had Susan and Tarron run a background check on her.” 

“And…” 

“She’s a writer, Tucker.” 

She held up a book with Abigail Matroni listed as the author. 

I raised an eyebrow as I read the title. 

“A Werewolves Heart. What kind of nonsense does she write?” 

“Oh, it’s wonderful. Well, I’ve only read the first three chapters, but it’s off to a good start. It’s basically a romance where a werewolf finds true love with human and turns her to be with him for always.” 

I laughed. “Turns her into a werewolf? That’s Hollywood nonsense.” 

“I know, but remember, she doesn’t know about our kind, yet she chose wolves to write about. It has to be a sign.” 

“A sign of what?” 

“That she’s one of us.” 

“Birdie, her mother was human, so unless her father was a shifter, then I don’t see how that’s possible. She’s not like us. You said it yourself, your bloodline died with your daughter.” 

“A girl can hope,” she said. 

Birdie always did have a flare for the dramatic. 

My phone rang and a winced when I saw it was Annie. I ignored it. 

“I have to run.” 

“Wait,” she said, reaching out to grab my arm. 

“What?” 

“Promise me, Tucker, if anything happens to me, you’ll take care of my Abigail. You and Colin. Promise me.” 

“Birdie…” 

“Promise me.” 

“Okay, but how would we even find her?” 

She smiled with a twinkle in her eye. “She is now the sole heir to my estate. I would think it shouldn’t be too hard.” 

“Sure, okay.” 

“Promise?” 

“I promise. Not that I even need to. You’re gonna outlive us all, Birdie.” 

“Lord, I hope not.” 

Just as I was leaving, her friends, Nonna and Tabitha, strolled up to the front porch. 

“Tucker!” Nonna beamed. 

“Nope, I’m late. Gotta go.” 

I gave Birdie a kiss on her wrinkled and weathered old cheek, and took off before the three of them sucked me into an afternoon down memory lane. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. Those three together were nothing but trouble. 

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