Banded Brothers 03 - To Enchant An Eagle

BOOK: Banded Brothers 03 - To Enchant An Eagle
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When love is on the line, crossing it is the only path to take.

Eaton Franks has had his eye on Marty, the leader of the hawks, for a long time. After he rescues the bad boy, things take a tragic turn and it looks as if the gang leader might never fly again. When Eaton has the chance to use a sorcerer to fix the love of his life, little does he know it will lead to his own abduction.

Marty is beside himself when his eagle shifter is stolen. He knows they are mates and he’s willing to do anything to get him back. However, now he has to decide if he is willing to give up his hawk half in order to save his eagle. Sometimes love makes a man do crazy things.

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

To Enchant An Eagle Copyright © 2013 Amber Kell ISBN: 978-1-77111-523-0 Cover art by Angela Waters

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

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To Enchant An Eagle Banded Brothers Book Three
By
Amber Kell
For RJ Scott who said I couldn’t add a pigeon shifter to a book…so there.
Chapter One
“I

I think you need to recheck your numbers.” “Hmm?” Eaton kept his gaze outside even though his mind was focused on other things. His thoughts bounced around like a ball in one of those old time lotto machines, spinning around in an air-filled dome without rhyme or reason. Concentration vanished as he tried to grasp a small sphere of an idea, but lost it to the spinning masses.

Marty lay in other room while concern and fear nibbled at Eaton in equal measure. Would Marty wake up? Even the doctor didn’t know. Eaton worried his bottom lip with his teeth as concern creased his brow. He pressed his face to the window, letting the cool glass absorb some of his heat and soothe his restless spirit.

“You have an error.”

Eaton sighed. “I probably have several.” He still didn’t turn around. His studies beckoned, but he ignored their call. Instead, he watched the hawks circling Harris’s window. He had a bet going with Carey about long it would take the patient bear to get out his rifle and start picking the birds off one by one. Harris hated it when people messed with his light while he was painting.

“Your conclusion lacks supporting documentation, and you skipped a few steps,” the annoying man continued.

Eaton groaned before turning back to his study partner. Somehow lab work for his advanced physics class failed to grab any of his attention while his life lay in tatters. How could even the beauty of a perfectly balanced equation compete with the love of his life unconscious in the next room? Still, he did owe Gallen an apology.

“Sorry, I guess I’m distracted today,” he told his lab partner.
Gallen Theos narrowed his eyes at his Eaton. “I don’t know why you’re so scattered, Eaton, but you need to pull it together. This test is thirty percent of your grade. If you don’t pass this class, it won’t matter how brilliant your dissertation is— you won’t be able to present it.”
Eaton nodded. He knew that, he did. He just couldn’t seem to care.
“You’re right.” He forced his feet to walk their way back to the table, then sat down. No matter what happened with Marty, he needed to pull his shit together and make sure he didn’t flunk out of college. Eaton’s dissertation only had a bit more to go before he could defend it to his board. First, however, he needed to finish all his classes.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Gallen asked.
Eaton blinked at his lab partner in surprise. Gallen had a reputation for being a cold, uncaring sort of person. With his icy blond hair and silvergreen eyes, Gallen could have men or women eating out of his hand, but he never appeared to notice any of the people watching him. More than one person mentioned Gallen’s standoffishness to Eaton when he’d been assigned Gallen as a lab partner. Eaton never responded to other students’ probing questions. He didn’t gossip, he knew too well how much it hurt different.
Eaton figured either already or he was so focused on being an A student he didn’t allow for any distractions. Eaton had met grad students before who had almost tunnel vision and weren’t interested in anything other than their research. He didn’t know Gallen well enough to decide if that was how he thought or if he was indeed a cold bastard.
Gallen’s focus on studying even outdid Eaton’s own obsession. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t know Gallen’s major or even the subject of his doctoral thesis. His lab partner never even told Eaton his specific field of study.
“My boyfriend is in a coma,” Eaton blurted out. to be pointed out as

Gallen had someone He winced as the words escaped his mouth. Marty would probably molt if he ever heard himself described as Eaton’s boyfriend. Did they even have a relationship? One that consisted of more than Eaton’s unbridled crush on the hawk leader? A sigh slid from Eaton, long and heartfelt. He wished he’d taken the opportunity to let Marty touch him. Now he might never know the feel of the hawk shifter’s hands across his body.

He’d nervously stayed away, hoping Marty’s feelings for him might grow. His desire to be something more than another feather on Marty’s belt had led to him resisting Marty’s advances. Now he worried Marty wouldn’t wake again and Eaton would never forgive himself for the opportunity lost.

“I didn’t know you had a boyfriend. Is he an eagle, too?”
Eaton blinked to focus. He frowned as Gallen’s words sank in. “You know I’m an eagle shifter?”
Gallen nodded.
Eaton scraped his memory, but couldn’t recall telling Gallen he was any kind of paranormal at all. “How?”
Gallen laughed. “I’ve known a lot of shifters. I grew up in a shifter town. Besides, Eaton, you’re probably the only person who hasn’t asked me about my eyes, which immediately pegs you as a paranormal. I creep out most of our classmates.”
“I figured if you wanted me to know, you’d tell me.” Eaton shrugged. He didn’t care what a person was as long as they treated other people well. If they were jerks, he kicked their ass and moved on. He might not look like a tough guy, but Aden Gage, his best friend’s dad, had taught him how to fight dirty and handle a gun. No one messed with him more than once.
When Gallen had been paired up with him as a lab partner, it hadn’t occurred to Eaton to protest. He had wondered about Gallen’s unusual silvery eyes, but not everyone enjoyed discussing their true nature. Eaton rarely told anyone what he was unless he knew for a fact they were friendly to paras. Paranormals might be the worst kept secret in Seattle, but as long as no one confirmed there were things that went bump in the day and night, humans could live in their happy bubble of denial.
“I’m a sorcerer,” Gallen confessed.
“Oh.” Eaton tilted his head as he regarded his fellow student. He’d never met a sorcerer before. At least not that he knew of. “Why are you studying physics?”
“Physics and magic have a lot of the same properties. There are rules that both must follow. A natural guideline, if you will. If you wander outside either of those boundaries there are consequences.” Gallen’s gaze slid up and down Eaton’s body before he looked away. “What’s wrong with your boyfriend?” he asked abruptly.
Remembering Marty’s broken body brought anger rushing through him and his fingertips transformed into talons. It took several long, slow breaths before he could speak and even then he could feel the bird trying to come out. If he hadn’t already killed the hawk that had hurt Marty, he’d go back and rip him apart, slowly. A bullet to the head was too fast for the bastard.
“He’s in a coma recovering from an attack. I’m worried he won’t ever be able to shift and use his wings again.” Pain ripped through Eaton at the thought of a grounded hawk. His hawk. Nothing felt better than the breeze sliding across his animal form, and he didn’t know a single bird shifter who felt differently. To be denied that pleasure would rip out Marty’s soul. Eaton stood up and began to move back and forth across the room, unable to sit still while Marty lay so still. As if compelled into action for both of them.
Gallen tilted his head as he watched Eaton pace. “He’s an eagle, too?”
Eaton shook his head. “No, a hawk.”
“That explains the flock circling your house. I wondered about that,” Gallen said, amusement lighting his silvery eyes.
When Carey had returned to town, he’d settled the hawks into the third floor, cleaning out the rest of the attic rooms that had been abandoned long ago. Every few hours, one of the hawk shifters located their balls and dared to peek in on Marty, but none of them stayed for long, not after Eaton glared them down. They hadn’t protected Marty when he needed it, they didn’t deserve to watch over him now. Eaton didn’t allow any of them too close to his hawk. They knew better than to defy him after he put a bullet through the arm of the first hawk shifter who got mouthy.
They feared him now.
Eaton couldn’t stop the smile of satisfaction. He’d never considered himself violent before, but after what they’d allowed Marty to suffer through, he’d quite happily pluck them all bald. Marty had protected and led them for years, and they had turned their back on him the first time he wanted something for himself.
Eaton had told them they were all free to go and find new nests. He refused to do anything except board them until Marty woke up. He wasn’t going to be a leader of hawks. He wanted their true leader to wake up and kick their collective feathered asses himself. However, they were Marty’s hawks until a new leader was chosen. Eaton didn’t have the right to kick them to the curb until Marty gave him the go-ahead.
The sound of heavy footsteps heralded the arrival of Harris before he lumbered into the room.
“How’s Marty doing?” he asked.
Being a bear shifter, Harris always held a commanding presence when he walked into any room. The fact that he was in fact a gentle-hearted artist with a beautiful soul often took most people by surprise.
“No change,” Eaton offered Harris a half-smile. He couldn’t quite ramp up the energy for believable fake happiness. “He’s healing slowly.”
It might be better that Marty remained asleep for a bit. He couldn’t transform until his bones fused back together. Lance, the sadistic fucker, had shattered Marty’s arms and legs.
“I hope he wakes soon. The hawks are starting to swoop in formations around the mansion. I’m gonna start practicing my shooting soon if they don’t stop blocking my light,” Harris grumbled.
Eaton bit his lip to hold back the laughter. It amused him sometimes how well he knew his friends. It took a lot to upset Harris, but no one messed with his lighting when he was trying to paint.
“I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who finds them annoying,” he commiserated with Harris.
“I’m also tired of fishing them out of the fountain when they crash,” Harris said, a frown marring his handsome features.
“Next time leave them there. Maybe after a few of them drown, they’ll stop,” Eaton advised. He didn’t even try to hide his derision of the hawks.
“Eaton!” Harris protested.
“What? They didn’t even try to save Marty! Not a one of them had the guts to stand up for themselves. They’re lucky I don’t bury the lot of them under the house.”
He heard Gallen chuckle behind him.
Harris shook his head. “Fear does strange things to people. Give them a chance.”
Eaton folded his arms across his chest. “They had their chance and they proved to be worthless. If they cared about him at all, they would’ve protected him. Any of them could’ve challenged Lance, but not a single hawk tried.”
He wouldn’t cave on this. The hawks had let their leader down. Eaton didn’t trust any of them to watch over Marty now. What if one of them hoped to finish Marty off and take the hawk leadership for himself? It didn’t matter that Marty had tried to leave the group. They wouldn’t accept his resignation. Now since Eaton killed Lance, they tried to make him their leader but he refused.
“Just give them another chance,” Harris said. “They might be annoying, but I think they really care about him.”
“Friends don’t let friends get buried in the cellar,” Eaton said pointedly.
“Hi, I’m Gallen,” Gallen interrupted their conversation to offer his hand to Harris. Eaton jolted. He’d almost forgotten about his fellow student’s presence.
“Hi, Gallen.” Harris returned his gaze to Eaton. “You didn’t tell me you knew a sorcerer.”
Gallen laughed. “See? I told you everyone else could tell.”
“How did you know he’s a sorcerer?” Eaton asked.
“The eyes. All sorcerers have the same look,” Harris explained.
“What look?”
“Suppressed magic. Their eyes have a silver glow because they have trapped magic inside.”
“Huh. How did I never know that?”
Harris’s gentle smile scolded Eaton louder than words. “Because you only focus on things important to you. You don’t care about sorcerers so you never learned about them.”
Eaton didn’t know if he should be offended that his daydreaming bear shifter friend apparently had a better grasp on reality than him or not. “I guess I’d better start paying attention.”
A nod was his only reply.
For the first time, Eaton noticed the bear shifter had on his good pair of jeans and one of his few shirts without paint on it. “Where are you going?”
Harris blushed. “I got a call from a client of Denton and mine, named Anderson. I sent him the design he asked for and pictures of my latest works. He loved my art so much he’s recommended me to a vampire friend of his on Capitol Hill. They want me to put in a bid to paint a mural for the entryway of their new club. I’m heading over there to check out the space.”
“You’re not going by yourself,” Eaton protested. No way would he send his gentle shifter friend into a location where he could be bled dry before he even knew what was happening. Harris had the misfortune of believing the best of everyone. A nasty habit Eaton had tried to talk him out of in the past.
“Why not? It’s business. They aren’t going to jump me for a quick snack when I’m there to do work for them,” Harris said as if he couldn’t contemplate a world where a vampire would bite an unsuspecting shifter.
Silly old bear.
Eaton narrowed his eyes at Harris’s pink cheeks. “Which one do you like?”
“Which one what? I’m just going there to do a job.” Harris pushed his hands into his pockets, but wouldn’t meet Eaton’s eyes.
“Uh huh. Which vampire do you have your furry little heart set on?” It had never occurred to Eaton that Harris might have a love life. In the past several years, he’d only seen Harris on a handful of dates. Flesh and blood people couldn’t usually compete with Harris’s first love—his art.
Harris tapped the tip of his right shoe against the wooden floor. “Nothing will come of it.”
Crap, Harris really did have a crush! Eaton had only been kidding before. He did the only thing he could at that point. “Carey!” he shouted.
“Eaton!” Harris hissed at him, his eyes wide with alarm. “What are you doing?”
A few minutes passed, then Carey rushed into the room. “What happened? Did Marty wake up?”
Carey might be the only human among the friends, but he was the one they all looked to for problem solving. No one was better in a crisis than Carey, except maybe his father.
Without a hint of guilt, Eaton spilled the beans. “Harris has a crush on a vampire and is going to visit the coven alone!” Okay, he felt a tiny bit guilty for being a snitch, but only a smidgen. Harris’s safety came first.
“Is this true, Harris?” Carey asked in that quiet, dangerous tone that always indicated impending doom. Chills ran up Eaton’s spine and he began to really feel bad.
Harris nodded.
“Which vampire?”
Of course, Harris offered up the name right away. You didn’t hold things back from Carey. “Rohan.”
Eaton gasped. “The leader of the coven?”
Harris nodded. “I know. It’s stupid, but he completely does it for me. He’s gorgeous.” Harris sighed.
Carey let out a piercing whistle.
Three hawks tumbled into the room, stumbling over each other to get inside. Eaton didn’t remember their names, but he glared at them anyway. Idiots.
“You three go with Harris. I want him protected at all times,” Carey ordered.
“Yes, sir,” they said in unison.
Harris sighed. “Do I have to take them?” A slight whine pitched his tone like a sulky teen.
“Yes,” Carey said. No room for contradiction or wiggling out of it existed in his voice. Harris would be taking the trio of hawks with him. “I know you don’t think Rohan will harm you and you might be right, but we have no idea how the rest of his coven feels. Make sure you take your cell phone and check in with me every hour. Understand?”
“Yes, Carey, but I’m sure I’ll be fine,” Harris rallied. Eaton shook his head. He could already anticipate how this would end.
“Better safe than dead.” Carey patted Harris on the back and sent him on his way with the trio of hawks.
Yep. There he went. A large bear shifter and his three stooges. Maybe Eaton would get lucky and Harris would lose them along the way, leaving three less hawks to worry about.
Eaton frowned at Carey. “Keeping them in your back pocket now?” He didn’t know why, but a stab of resentment pierced his chest at the idea of Carey taking over the flock.
Carey shrugged. “They needed something to do. If they dive-bombed my office one more time, I was going to thin the hawk shifter population. Marty might not appreciate having a third of his flock slaughtered while he sleeps.”
Tears prickled the back of Eaton’s eyes. “I don’t know if he’s ever going to wake up to care.”
“He will.” Carey squeezed Eaton’s shoulder. “He has a lot to return for.”
“Lance did a number on his back. I’m hoping it won’t cripple his wings when he heals,” Eaton said worriedly. He bit his lip as he shared his anxiety with the one person he trusted most on this earth. Like the other three of the quartet, Eaton expected Carey to fix everything. He’d hate for Marty to be the first problem Carey couldn’t solve.
“When Marty wakes up—if he still can’t shift, we’ll find someone to help him heal.” Carey’s confidence unraveled the knot twisting Eaton’s insides. Carey never let Eaton down. If there was any way to save Marty’s wings, Carey would find it.
“Thanks. Sorry to interrupt whatever you were doing,” Eaton said.
Carey laughed. “I was putting off working in the garden. I thought maybe I’d recruit the winged team and have them to do something besides take up space.”
“Good plan. You should also give them kitchen duty. I mean, they don’t do anything, but fly around and sulk that they aren’t on their motorcycles,” Eaton replied. The lack of motivation from the hawks to do anything useful irritated him.
“Don’t worry. I’ve got all kinds of things for them to do.” Carey’s grin almost had Eaton concerned for his feathered comrades.
Carey nodded at Gallen, but didn’t shake hands. “I’ll let you two get back to work.”
“Thanks.” Eaton really needed to wrap up his paper. He reluctantly followed Gallen back to the large table that had their laptops and papers strewn across in a tangle of words and equations. Physics was Eaton’s only love besides Marty and he doubted either returned his affection. The past few months, his dissertation work had slowed to a trickle. Between the wolf shifters attacking Carey’s mate and the saltwater crocs attacking Denton, moments of peace lately had been few and far between.
“Good luck with that. I’m going to rally the garden crew.” Carey paused halfway out the door. “You don’t have to forgive the hawks, but if Marty wakes up and takes them back, it’ll put you in an awkward position. If you can’t accept them, maybe you should let Marty go.”
“Maybe,” Eaton agreed. He wouldn’t promise to forgive the bastards who let a psycho harm Marty. He hadn’t killed them yet, they should be grateful, not whining to Carey.
“Think about it,” Carey advised.
He watched Carey leave, then turned back to his work. He needed to focus on his research, but his mind kept drifting back to the man unconscious in the other room.

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