Prologue: A Dozen Little Faces
(DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOKS ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX & SEVEN) -Her Shifter Bodyguard / Shifter On Ice / The Shifter Bar / Bearing the Shifter / Dreaming of the Shifter / Shifting the Shifter / Pucking the Shifter-
-Two Years Later-
“Joy Kraftman, get your little bottom back here!” Amirah Kraftman hollered as she chased after her two-year-old granddaughter.
“Whoa there, little missy,” Pike Kraftman said with a grin as he appeared in front of his granddaughter.
“Grampa!” Joy excitedly held her arms up to her grandfather.
Pike chuckled as he lifted her into his arms and kissed her on the cheek.
Amirah stopped and watched her mate with their granddaughter. It was hard to believe it’s already been two years since he came back into their lives. And their grandcubs were growing like little weeds.
“You’re it!” one of the twins whooped as he tagged his grandmother on the back of her leg, then took off running.
A fit of giggles came from behind Amirah. She turned around to find Maddy and Rolando’s twins whispering and giggling.
“Where’s the Cunningham litter?” she asked the girls.
Kayden and Kaliya pointed toward the other end of the room. Amirah turned to find all four Cunningham cubs playing on the floor with the blocks—building some kind of castle.
“I think we need to hire a few more sitters.” Pike laughed as he walked up to Amirah, Joy, and one of their twin grandsons in his arms.
“Where’s Jackson?” Amirah asked her mate as she took Joy from his arms.
Joseph grunted as he squirmed to be let down.
It was so much easier before the lot of Fated Mate cubs and pup could walk.
“He’s hiding, I think,” Pike said, looking at his grandson. “Where’s your brother?”
Joseph shrugged his shoulders.
“Nana, I’m hungry,” Josiah and Gerald’s adorable little girl said with a pout as she pulled on Amirah’s shirt.
Amirah smiled down at her. “I’ll fix lunch as soon as we find the rest of the brood.”
Geralyn pouted, and Joy pushed for her grandmother to set her down. Amirah leaned down and set her granddaughter on her feet. Joy took Geralyn by the hand, and the two girls walked to one of the play areas and started playing with the dolls. Amirah watched as Kayden and Kaliya joined the other two girls with the dolls.
“Well, that’s eight out of twelve,” Amirah said as she watched the cubs and pup play.
“Nine,” Pike said as he bounced his grandson in his arms.
She turned to her mate and smiled, then walked up to them and tickled her grandson’s stomach. “Where’s your brother?” she asked with a smile as her grandson giggled.
Joseph pointed to a closet door, and Amirah stopped tickling him, walked over to the door, and opened it. She smiled at her grandson sitting in the middle of the floor.
“You’re it,” she said as she leaned inside the closet and lifted her grandson into her arms.
“Again!” Jackson called out excitedly.
Amirah chuckled. “No, not again.”
“Where’s Ruby and Destiny?” Pike asked his grandsons.
Both boys shrugged their shoulders.
“You two go play with the Cunningham litter,” Amirah said as she set her grandson on his feet.
Spike set Joseph on his feet, and both boys ran to the Cunninghams.
“You don’t think Ruby is doing something with magic again, do you?” Amirah asked her mate.
Pike shrugged. “Knowing Ruby, you never know.”
Amirah shook her head. Their little magical granddaughter was getting stronger and stronger every day. And Pearl teaching her magic wasn’t helping any. Though they know that it’s to prepare them for the future war.
Amirah turned around and sucked in a breath when she saw Destiny floating in a bubble.
“Ruby!” she called out as she rushed to Destiny.
“Don’t touch it, Gramma!” Ruby cried out as she ran toward her grandmother and best friend.
Amirah looked at her granddaughter, then back at Mara and Alec’s little cub.
“She’s safe,” Ruby said as she stood under the bubble that held her best friend.
“You need to let her out, Ruby dear,” Amirah said as she looked down at her youngest yet smartest grandcub.
“Watch.” Ruby snapped her fingers.
The bubble popped, and Destiny squealed with delight as she fell to the floor.
“Ruby,” Amirah said, using her warning voice.
Ruby looked at her grandmother. “She’s okay, Gramma. I won’t hurt her….”
“How many times do you have to be told not to use magic unless your mother is with you?” Amirah asked as she tapped her foot on the floor.
Ruby looked down at the floor and shrugged her shoulders. “But Mama hadn’t taught it to me, Gramma.”
Amirah stared at her granddaughter. Was she already making her own magic?
“Let’s fix lunch,” Pike said as he took hold of her arm. “Don’t do any more magic today, Ruby dear.”
“Okay, Grampa,” Ruby said, looking up at her grandfather.
“Dolls,” Destiny said, pointing to the doll section of the play area where the other girls were still playing with the dolls.
“Yes, you two should join the others,” Pike said as he turned both girls toward the doll area.
“What are we going to do with her?” Amirah asked as she watched the two girls run over to the doll area.
Pike shrugged his shoulders. “She’s a witch, Mafilia. She’s going to dabble in magic, often.” He chuckled.
“I wish she’d gotten her father’s shifting abilities instead,” Amirah grumbled.
Pike grinned. “She just may still shift. We’re still waiting for that to happen with all of them.”
Amirah shook her head. “She has her mother’s green eyes.”
“Who says a mixed breed has to have silver eyes?” Pike asked as he led her into the kitchen so they could prepare lunch.
“You want us to hire helpers to help sit the cubs?” Sharissa asked as she looked up from the paperwork on the desk.
“Yes.” Amirah nodded. “They’re getting too big for me and Pike to handle them alone.”
Shar smiled at her mate’s mother. “Okay, Amirah. But she or he must be Supernatural. You know what would happen if they’re human.”
Amirah snorted. “Yes, dear, I know. I’ll talk to Josie about putting out some advertisements.”
Shar nodded, then went back to the papers on the desk.
“Why isn’t Dustin doing this?” Amirah asked as she walked up to the desk to look at the papers.
Shar looked up at Amirah again. “Daryl has him on a job. They’ve been getting so much business with all the human attacks and kidnappings of Supernaturals that he was needed at the Security Office.”
Amirah nodded. “How many more Fated Mates have been cockblocked?”
Shar chuckled. It was funny to hear that word from her mother-in-law’s mouth.
“Twelve,” Shar said as she returned to work on the papers.
“Shit,” Amirah grumbled. “How many is that in the past two years?”
“Twenty-five,” Shar whispered.
Amirah pressed her hand to her heart. “Those poor men.”
Shar nodded. “Don’t forget about the women who have been raped and or beaten to death to keep them apart.”
Amirah nodded. “Yes, of course. I pray nothing like that happens to one of ours.”
Shar nodded. “Daryl is still looking out for his and Drezden’s mates.”
Amirah nodded. “I’ll go speak with Josie.” She turned and left the room.
Shar watched the woman leave the office and sighed. Two years ago, they’d taken out a large chunk of the dark witch & wizard covens. But it hadn’t stopped them from coming after the Fated Mates before they found their mate.
Pearl still gets the information on the next mates to be activated, but they’re always too late. They’ve been compromised before their group can reach them. Many of the other halves have killed themselves.
If only they could get to them faster. They haven’t gotten a new Fated Mate couple since Alec and Mara over two years ago.
“Oh, that’s a great idea,” Josie said as she looked up from her computer to smile at her mother-in-law.
Amirah nodded. “Should have done it ages ago, but I hated the thought of sharing the cubs with a stranger. But it’s getting too much of a hassle for me and Pike to take care of them alone. And when other Fated Mates come in, we’ll have new cubs to take care of.”
Josie nodded. “Yeah. I’ll get right on it.” She returned to the project she’d been working on before Amirah found her in the far corner of the bar.
“Hey, Mom. What has you down here?” Dominic asked as he kissed his mother’s cheek, then moved to the table to join his mate.
Amirah smiled at her son, then told him what she’d asked of his mate. He smiled at her and agreed it was a good idea. Amirah nodded, then turned and headed back to the apartment above the bar, where twelve Fated Mate offspring were sleeping.
Dominic watched his mother head up the stairs, then turned to his mate. “Hadn’t realized how bad it was getting up there.”
Josie chuckled. “There’s twelve of them, Dom.”
Dominic chuckled. “So, there is.”
“What are you doing here?” she asked without looking at him.
He snorted. “Nice to see you too, Mafilia.”
She finally looked up at him and smiled. “Hello, Mafilio. What brings you home early? I thought you were helping your brothers.”
He snorted. “I was. Until Daryl yelled at me for something, I didn’t even do.”
Josie frowned. “Is he okay?”
Dominic shrugged. “I think the cockblocking is bothering him more than it has us.”
She smiled as she leaned into him. “That’s because you already have your mate.”
He nodded. “Yeah. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” He leaned over and kissed her.
She moaned against his lips, and he pulled her closer to deepen the kiss.
“So, this is where you’d snuck off to.”
They separated and looked up at Drezden, who was standing beside their table, smiling.
“Sorry.” Dominic moved away from his mate. “I couldn’t take Daryl’s bullshit anymore.”
Drezden nodded. “I think he needs a break….”
“That’s it!” Dominic shouted, interrupting his brother.
“What is?” Josie asked, looking at Dominic.
“A break.” Dominic smiled. “We could all use one. Especially Sharissa. She’s been so busy taking care of business here at the bar while we’ve been trying to stop something that, at the moment, is unstoppable.”
“I wish the Goddesses would just castrate every male that isn’t a Fated Mate,” Josie grumbled, making both men stare at her wide-eyed. She looked between the two men and giggled. “Sorry, just tired of all the cockblocking. I mean, it’s one thing to fuck her if they don’t know. But these men are purposely fucking activated Fated Mates, and some are even killing them.”
“We know.” Dominic leaned over and kissed his mate on the cheek.
“Still a bit harsh, little sister.” Drezden shook his head.
She shrugged her shoulders. “At least you don’t have to worry; since you’re a Fated Mate.”
Drezden snorted. “I don’t know. It’s been over two years, and still no sign of her.”
“Doesn’t mean she doesn’t exist,” Josie said as she returned to her computer. “I need to come up with a good advertisement for help with watching the cubs.”
“Are Mom and Dad needing help with the little ones?” Drezden asked with a chuckle.
“Yeah, you try taking care of eleven cubs and a pup, just you and your mate,” Josie said with a chuckle.
Drezden snorted. “At least she has her mate….”
Dominic looked at his brother. “Drez, you’re getting to be as bad at Daryl. Chill out, will you? You have a mate; the Goddesses have promised us that. Just give her time to be activated….”
“After twenty-five fuck ups, we’ll need a win,” Sharissa said as she joined them.
“Hey, Shar.” Josie looked up at her sister and smiled.
Shar smiled. “Did Amirah contact you?”
Josie nodded. “She did. And I’m working on the advertisement for it right now.”
Shar walked over, sat on the other side of Josie, and watched the woman work.
They discussed what the advertisement should say and finally came up with the perfect advertisement.
Once complete, they put it out into the world wide web.