Federal Paranormal Agency 6 - Leannan (6 page)

BOOK: Federal Paranormal Agency 6 - Leannan
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He met Duncan in the hallway. The other man was dressed in a very expensive looking suit. Standing next to him, Thomas felt as though he didn’t measure up. How could this gorgeous man be his mate? It almost seemed impossible.

“I need some supplies for the puppy.”

“Are you planning on keeping the little beast?” At Thomas’s raised brow, Duncan rolled his eyes heavenward. “Puppy.”

“What else can I do?” He shrugged. Thomas wasn’t going to abandon the little guy, not when he’d just rescued him. “Do you know anyone that wants a puppy?”

“Assisi Animal Sanctuary. It’s the largest animal welfare center in the area. We can drop him off.”

“No.” Thomas scowled. “He needs a family.”

“So, you’re going to stay and take care of him?”

“I…” he started. Thomas wanted to stay, and it wasn’t just because of the pup, either. He was desperate to be near Duncan. The older man was his mate, but the outcome of the mission was out of his control and their future hung in the balance.

Duncan sighed. “I can see how important this is to you. Why don’t you take him to the pub? I’ll send someone out to buy supplies for the little guy.”

Thomas smiled. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Turning on his heel, Duncan headed down the hallway, and Thomas followed along.

When they reached the bottom of the stairs, Thomas paused. He looked at the spot where the dead body had been the night before. There wasn’t a single drop of blood, and Thomas wondered if it had all been a dream. The only reminder that it hadn’t been a figment of his imagination was the heavy scent of disinfectant hanging in the air. Thomas covered his nose with his free hand, preventing the potent odor from burning his nostrils, as moisture filled his eyes.

“Are you ready?” Duncan asked, holding the front door open.

“Yeah.” Thomas cleared his throat, marching out of the house.

The dreary day didn’t help his mood. Thick gray clouds covered the sky, promising more rain. Would he ever get used to the weather in Ireland after blue skies and
sunshine
in California?

“You’re going to freeze your ass off,” Duncan
tsked
. Taking off his jacket, he draped the thick wool material over his shoulders. “I’ll take you clothes shopping later.”

Thomas started to refuse the
offer
but quickly clamped his mouth shut. Instead of answering, he merely nodded his consent.

“Good.” Duncan kissed the tip of his nose. “Let’s go.” He glanced down at his watch as he strolled toward his SUV. “I’ve got a meeting.”

Thomas didn’t bother responding. He walked around the Range Rover and climbed in. After situating the puppy on his lap, Thomas buckled up.

As Duncan drove them back toward the pub, Thomas’s mind was in turmoil. He needed answers. He had to know if what the other agents said about Duncan was true because he didn’t think fate would match him with a total bastard. It was obvious that Duncan was involved in something that wasn’t completely legal. Why else would a man break into his house intent on killing him? But still, Thomas believed there was some good inside his mate.

“Why are you so quiet?”

“I have a question, but I don’t want you to get mad at me.”

“I won’t get mad at you.”

Taking a deep breath, Thomas built up his courage. He turned his body, facing Duncan in order to see his facial expressions. “Are you a bad guy?”

Duncan chuckled. “Why would you ask that?”

“Someone broke into your house and tried to kill you last night. So, I’m just wondering if you’re a bad guy.”

He was silent for so long that Thomas didn’t think he would actually bother to answer the question. Finally, after several minutes, Duncan glanced at him. “I’m not really sure what to say.”

“Just tell me the truth. Yes or no…are you involved in anything illegal?”

“It’s not that easy.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Thomas mumbled. His shoulders dropped as the small bit of hope he’d been holding on to, disappeared.

“Who has the right to judge me? The police? The government? Some people may not like my methods, but I’ve done a lot for Northern Ireland. This is my home. These are my people. I’m the one keeping the streets safe. If someone needs money, they come to me. And, after a period of time, I ask for it back. I don’t deal drugs or sex. I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve hurt people. But, guess what, people get hurt every day. I wasn’t raised in your world, Thomas. I had to work my ass off. My father beat this life into me every day. He taught me how to be the man I am today. I survived.”

Thomas blinked. He leaned his head back and swallowed the ball of emotion clogging his throat. He couldn’t believe they actually had something in common. The timing was completely fucked up, but perhaps fate wasn’t wrong.

“I only met you last night, Thomas. I found you outside in the rain. I brought you into my pub and fed you. I took you into my home and gave you a warm bed. I also gave you a job. Would a bad guy do that?”

Thomas shook his head, still unable to speak.

“If you don’t think you can trust me, I’ll drop you off at the next corner. The choice is yours.”

“I want to stay with you.” He didn’t realize how true those words were until he spoke them aloud.

Duncan pulled up along the curb in front of The Temple pub. “Niall’s inside waiting for you.”

He unbuckled Thomas’s seat belt, but before Thomas could open the passenger side door, Duncan grabbed hold of the front of his shirt and pulled Thomas in close. He planted a fierce kiss on his lips, stealing his breath and making Thomas’s toes curl.

“Have a good day at work, baby.”

Chapter Six

Thomas spent the morning cleaning the pub—wiping tables, mopping the floor, and scrubbing the bathrooms. It wasn’t a
glamorous
job, but it was his first day working at The Temple. His mind was filled with thoughts and images of Duncan.

Waking up wrapped in the man’s strong arms and their rendezvous in the shower had affected him more than he cared to admit. Everything about Duncan called to him, waking the fox within and tempting the little bugger to come out and play. He wasn’t overly surprised by his reaction to the other man. How could he be when Duncan belonged to him?

As time ticked by, Thomas completed each task Niall assigned. He wasn’t sure what to make of the bartender at first, but Niall turned out to be a decent guy. He even picked up a few supplies for the puppy and set up a portable
playpen
so that Thomas wouldn’t have to chase the little guy around the pub.

Humming to himself, Thomas tucked the cleaning supplies away inside the hallway closet. He was strolling out when the front door crashed open, stopping him in his tracks. He leaned back a little bit, watching the scene play out.

“Bastards,” Duncan growled, stomping into the pub.

“What?” Niall stopped stocking the liquor bottles and came out from around the bar.

“Our shipment was seized by the authorities.”

“I was guaranteed—” Niall
started
.

Duncan lifted a hand, stopping Niall from finishing his sentence. “I want you to find out who’s responsible. We have enough police officers on the payroll that this shouldn’t have happened.”

“Yes, sir,” Niall said, moving toward the front door.

“Niall,” Duncan called out, and the man stopped immediately. “Make sure you send a strong message. Nobody
fucks
with us.”

“My pleasure.” He nodded.

Thomas’s
heart hammered wildly, threatening to break free. He took a few steps back, hiding in the dark hallway while he caught his breath. Leaning against the wall, Thomas put his hands on his knees and tucked his chin against his chest.
Shit. It’s my fault.
He didn’t need confirmation. The text he’d sent last night before climbing into bed. The message led the other agents to the dockyard, and they’d confiscated Duncan’s shipment. He should be elated. This was the reason he was in Belfast, but truthfully, Thomas felt like a traitor.

A strong hand gripped his shoulder, and Thomas jerked upward, a fearful little cry slipping from his lips. He came face to face with Duncan. In an instant, anger drained out of Duncan’s eyes, replaced by concern.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” Thomas nodded rapidly. “I’m fine.”

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m a little tired…uh…I think it might be jetlag. The time difference is finally catching up with me.”

Duncan studied Thomas, staring deep into his eyes. If Duncan had been
paranormal,
Thomas was sure the other man would’ve been able to read every single thought based on his scent alone. Thomas took a calming breath, taking control of his emotions. After several minutes, Duncan took a step back, giving Thomas some
much-needed
space.

“How was your first day?”

Thomas shrugged. “It’s only been a few hours, but I really like it here. Niall’s been great. He even went out and bought some supplies for the puppy.”

“If you’re planning on keeping him, you should probably give the little guy a name.”

“Yeah, that’s probably a good idea. Do you have any suggestions? I’ve never named an animal before.”

“You’ve never had a pet?”

“Nope.” Thomas shook his head. His upbringing wasn’t normal by anyone’s standards. He’d grown up in a mansion surrounded by trained FPA agents, most of which were shifters.

“Give it some thought. You don’t have to name him today.”

“Okay.”

“I’ve got a few things to take care of in my office. When I’m done, I’ll take you home.”

Before Thomas could respond, his cell phone started ringing. Shoving his hand into his back pocket, he withdrew the device and stared at the screen.
Dad
flashed in bright, bold letters.

“Are you going to answer it?” Duncan inquired.

“Uh…yeah, I guess.” Thomas hit the talk button and lifted it to his ear. “Hey, Dad, how are you?” he asked, staring at Duncan.

“Can you talk?”
Lionel Palmer immediately answered.

“Hold on a minute.” Thomas pressed the phone against his chest before turning his attention back to Duncan.

“Take the call. I’ll find you when I’m done.”

“Okay.”

Duncan turned on his heel, leaving Thomas in the hallway alone. After almost a full minute, Thomas lifted the phone to his ear.

“What’s going on, Dad?” Thomas questioned as he headed toward the exit leading to the alleyway. He pushed the door open and stepped outside.

“Interpol confiscated the container.”

“That’s good news.” He kicked a large shard of glass, and it hit the brick wall, breaking in half.

As far as the mission went, it was great. But Thomas wasn’t really sure if he should be happy or not. He felt numb. The knowledge that he’d betrayed his own mate weighed heavily on his heart, but what choice did he have?

“It was filled with firearms, including
automatic weapons and military AR-15s arriving from South Africa.”

Thomas closed his eyes and shook his head, disappointment choking him. Why did Duncan have to be a
weapons
dealer? Why couldn’t he just be a normal businessman? All things considered, Thomas was slightly relieved to know that Duncan didn’t deal with drugs or human trafficking.

It took Thomas a minute to find the right words, but eventually he asked, “Are you telling me to come home?”

“No, not yet. We want you to gather more intel. The paperwork on the container leads to a dummy corporation. There’s nothing specifically linking it to
Duncan Ó Branagáin at this time. We’ve got a forensic accountant working on it.

Thomas let out a relieved breath.
Thank goodness.
He wasn’t ready to leave Duncan, not yet. Their days were already numbered.

“If you hear anything about another shipment, send me a text. We’ve got the dockyards covered, and we’re checking all the containers, both inbound and out. But we’re spread thin, and we don’t have enough
manpower
.”

Why weren’t you doing that before assigning me to this mission?
It seemed so damned obvious, but he didn’t say anything aloud.

“You got it.”

“Is there any way you can get inside Duncan’s office? Can you check his computer and cell phone?”

“I’ll see what I can do.” Thomas didn’t have a lot of experience hacking into computers. If Duncan’s things were password protected—which he assumed they were—he wouldn’t get very far.

“Stay vigilant.”

“Yup.” Thomas ended the call without another word.

Shoving the phone into his pocket, Thomas dragged his feet as he made his way back inside the pub.

* * * *

After the brief conversation with his father, Thomas seemed distant. He held the puppy tightly against his chest and stared out the passenger side window. With his brows drawn together and a frown gracing his lips, the young man looked more lost than usual. Duncan tapped his finger against the steering wheel, feeling far more frustrated than he should.

“Do you get along with your father?” Duncan asked, breaking the silence.

“I guess,” Thomas muttered, shrugging his thin shoulders.

“Does he know you’re gay?”

Thomas scoffed. “Oh yeah, he definitely knows I’m gay.”

“Does your family accept you?”

“It’s complicated.”

Duncan was completely out of his element. He could do many things, but being an emotional confidant wasn’t his forte. He’d never had a meaningful relationship.
Duncan wasn’t the type to fall in love, but he couldn’t deny that he was already starting to have feelings for Thomas. With his expressive eyes and innocent demeanor, the young man was needling his way past Duncan’s defenses.

BOOK: Federal Paranormal Agency 6 - Leannan
10.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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