Marcus was chomping at the bit by the time they reached the meeting point. Eloise had been missing for almost eight hours and he was still nowhere close enough to sense her. The officers they’d met had spare clothes for everyone and soon he was wearing a too tight fitting White Valley Police Department shirt and sweatpants.
“How long do we have to wait here? If what you said is true, we still have another two hours until we will reach his home,” Marcus told Cody. Cody looked down at his watch and grimaced.
“We can move faster as animals, but that leaves us with less equipment to use when we find his home,” Cody explained, Marcus nodded his understanding, but his bear was roaring.
“The last of our squad should be here in five minutes,” Cody added looking down at his phone.
“Marcus, we will get to her in time,” Peter promised, Marcus nodded. Peter was one of his best trackers, whether he was shifted as a wolf or walked around as a human. He and Peter had served two tours in Iraq together, and they had each others back. Peter might be lighthearted when he is joking around, but when they were working, he was serious about his job.
“Thank you,” Marcus told his friend and clapped him on the shoulder.
“Ellie means a lot to all of us. We won’t let anything happen to her,” Troy added and he saw Greyson nod as well.
“They are right. We will get to her in time,” Cody echoed their words. Marcus prayed they were right and tried to keep himself in check. He wouldn’t do anything to compromise the mission or put Eloise in more danger.
“The last of my officers have arrived, We are going to split into three teams. One team will consist of Marcus, Troy, Greyson, Peter and myself…” Marcus began to tune out Cody as he took a look around the woods. He could see tire tracks from a truck leading up a narrow trail. Walking away from the group he crouched to touch the tracks, they were fresh, maybe an hour old. It gave him hope that Eloise was still unharmed. He knew William wouldn’t kill her, he was too set on her being his mate. His biggest fear was William doing something unspeakable to remove his mark on her.
“Those aren’t too old,” Peter remarked looking over his shoulder.
“No, and they lead straight ahead. We need to leave now,” he said standing and turning to look at Cody.
“We need to shift, can your men pack up gear for us to carry? My bear can carry a large load without getting worn out,” he remarked. Cody wisely did not argue and nodded. Marcus stripped out of the clothing he’d been wearing and shifted into his bear. Two men came and strapped a pack to his back, grunting from the weird sensation he turned to see his men and Cody had shifted as well. Turning the same direction as the tracks he took off, Peter and Troy melted into the wings and Cody and Greyson took up the rear. He could hear the other officers moving slower behind them.
About an hour later Marcus trundled up to a large cabin in the woods. He shifted back and dressed, Troy, Peter and Greyson shifted and dressed as well.
“She is here, I can smell her,” he announced. Looking around he saw several mountain lions prowling around the outside of the cabin.
“Same, and those mountain lions are all shifters. If you look at their paws they are too big to be a regular mountain lion,” Troy pointed out.
“What is the plan?” Greyson asked, he was crouched low watching the cabin through a low hedge.
“We need to draw away his guards. I don’t think William will allow anyone inside who could harm Eloise. He wants her as his mate and harming her won’t get him a mate,” Marcus started.
“Don’t underestimate mountain lions, they are cutthroat. Two years ago I investigated the death of a female mountain lion shifter. Everyone involved her very tight lipped and refused to share any information on how she died. It has become a cold case on my desk,” Cody explained, Marcus could see the concerned look in his eyes.
“How do we tempt them away?” Peter asked, Marcus turned to look at the cabin and scanned the area. It was a two-story cabin, he bet Eloise was being kept in one of the rooms at the back of the cabin.
“We offer up me, they know I won’t let Eloise get away. I can draw away the guards and Greyson, you and Troy go in and get her. Cody and his men can give me back up,” Marcus explained, his men were all shaking their heads.
“No, you need to be the one to rescue Ellie. I’ll get the guards away with Cody,” Greyson replied.
“I can’t ask you to do that, it will be more dangerous against the guards,” Marcus argued.
“She is your mate, she will be expecting you to be the one to save her. Besides, you want to get your claws on William, don’t you?” Peter interjected and Marcus groaned. His men were right, he needed to get her and kill the bastard who thought to steal her from him.
“Fine, Greyson you go with Cody and his officers. Peter and Troy, you two come with me, your sense of smell is better than mine.” Marcus turned to see Cody giving his men orders in a hushed tone.
“Give us five minutes to get the guards away and then slip in through the back door,” Cody told him. Marcus nodded and crouching low made his way around the back of the house with Troy and Peter. He couldn’t see what Greyson did, but he could hear the guards shouting that an intruder was on their land. He waited five minutes and all was quiet around the house.
“Let’s go,” he whispered, Peter and Troy nodded. He took the lead and crept up to the back of the house. He peeked into the window and found the kitchen, what he hadn’t expected was to see Eloise being led across the room by Sheila. Eloise was wearing a white gown and holding a bouquet of flowers. The gown did nothing for her, when they married, he knew she would look amazing in the gown she picked out. Ducking back down he turned to look at his men.
“Her boss has her dressed in a wedding dress with flowers. I think he is setting up for a mating ceremony. I don’t know why Sheila is in there, but we take no prisoners. She is a part of kidnapping Eloise, I will spare no mercy. Mating ceremonies cannot be held until sunset, which means William may not be in the house. Our mission is to save Eloise, and if William should happen to come home we kill him,” Marcus explained, Peter and Troy nodded silently and the three men crawled over to the back door. Troy pulled out his lock pick tools and set to work on the door.