If you were given a second chance at life, what would you do with it?
Alastaire McBain-Vale—born into the McBain clan of the Scottish Highlands a little over a century ago—has endured much in his long life. After losing his parents at a young age and his mate two years ago at the hands of the same man, Alastaire finds solitude in Vale Valley with the family he hasn’t let himself get to know. But with solitude also comes time to think—and Alastaire’s thoughts return time and time to revenge.
Crevan “Fox” Hannigan, born omega, is a wild card of sorts. Despite having a heart defect, he’s determined to live his life his way no matter what—like getting pregnant by artificial insemination. After an accident, Fox wakes up with scattered knowledge of the person he was before. He’s determined to care for a baby he doesn’t remember having but fell in love with at first sight.
When Fox and Alistaire meet, sparks ignite. However, where one is wary of moving forward with a relationship, the other wants to jump in heart first—knowing it was their time to love.
Life. Love. Forgiveness. Immortality.
His Time to Love is book Fifteen in the Vale Valley Season Five Series. It’s filled with misunderstandings, love, and most of all...forgiveness.
Disclaimer: This book contains violence.
"I fucking hate Halloween," patrol officer Fox said to his partner Alistaire Vale.
They were walking, patrolling the French Quarter, which was a feat in and of itself during the Halloween Parade. It was chaotic and loud, which were a couple of his pet peeves. He and Vale were looking out for any suspicious activities, but that was near impossible in a large crowd of people who were inebriated and dressed in costumes from head to toe.
Vale chuckled. "How can you hate Halloween? It's the perfect day to dress up and be who you want to be."
"I'm already who I want to be. What you see is what you get."
Vale turned his gaze to him. "I don't believe that. I think you're hiding a part of yourself you don't want anyone else to see."
"And you think dressing up in a costume is going to help bring out that hidden part of me?"
"It might." Vale shrugged. "You need to learn how to have fun."
"What makes you think I don't know how to have fun?"
"You never smile unless you're arresting a perp. I have to force you to hang out with me. And you always order the same thing whenever we go out to eat after work."
"Seriously, why the hell would that matter? You never force me to hang out. I just think we need to keep things professional between us."
"You make it sound like we're sleeping together." Vale stopped and eyed him up and down. "Unless..."
"Stop right there, rookie. I don't fuck where I eat."
"Who says you can't do both?" He waggled his eyebrows, smirking at him.
Fox sighed, shaking his head. Did he want to fuck Vale? Of course, with every fucking fiber in his body.
Vale was good-looking—no, make that fucking gorgeous—and happened to be his type. Fox remembered two years ago when he'd met Vale in the precinct; he’d almost swallowed his tongue as he checked him out. Tall, around six foot three to his five-ten height, broad shoulders, and muscles bursting out of his uniform—making men and women alike want to run their tongue along every veined muscle of his olive skin. Fox looked into the man's green eyes, which seemed to grow lighter or darker depending on the time of day, and felt as if he was drowning and invigorated with life at the same time.
Countless times Fox had wanted to reach up and card his fingers through Vale's soft reddish-brown hair to see if the red highlights were as natural as he claimed or a color he added for effect. If it weren’t for his rules and morals about sleeping with co-workers, as well as not sleeping with men younger than him, Fox would have jumped Vale's bones the second they met.
"Stop playing around. We’re working."
Vale stepped closer, invading his personal space. He leaned down and whispered in his ear. "So, does that mean we can play around after work?"
Fox closed his eyes, swallowing his moan at having the man's deep voice and breath so close to him. Vale always smelled good. He wasn't sure what cologne the man used, but Fox could tell it was expensive. He knew Vale came from money but never flaunted it, living a very modest life, which added to the younger man's attractiveness.
"Gods, stop being annoying." Fox stepped back and around Vale and started walking again, trying to regain his stoic composure. He was the older, experienced cop and couldn't let his attraction for his partner distract him from his job.
"So, now you believe in the gods?"
Fox didn't believe in gods or a higher power like most people did. He and his partner had many conversations over the two years they'd been working together about the mystifying and unbelievable things in the world. Where Vale believed vampires, ghosts, and anything you read about in fairy tales exist, Fox didn't. Shit like that was the imagination of men. He was about to say that very thing to his partner when a woman dressed up as widely known voodoo priestess Marie Laveau walked up to him, making him stop. She stared at him for a couple of seconds, then touched his cheeks.
"You have been forgiven."
This is why I hate fucking Halloween, crazy-ass people saying shit that doesn't make any damn sense.
Fox turned to look at Vale, who'd walked up to stand beside him. "Did you hear that?"
"What she just said?"
"What who said?"
Both he and Vale turned to look at the woman who'd just spoken to him, but she wasn't there.
"Fuck, forget it. This is why I hate Halloween," he repeated his thoughts and started walking. He tried to find the woman in the crowd but gave up after a few minutes. He wasn't sure why her words should matter. "People and their superstitions and weird crap. Maybe I should move out of New Orleans when I get my bar exam results."
Fox enjoyed his job, but he was ready for a change or rather his health caused him to need a change. He was young and healthy, but a couple of years ago on a routine check-up his doctor found he had a septal defect— a hole in his heart. He was born with it and when he was a baby his parents had it fixed, but a couple of years ago it opened up again. The doctor had repaired the damage but had warned Fox that since the hole had opened before it might do so again, He’d suggested he change his career. Four years ago, he started attending law school at night and on weekends with the thought of opening his own practice as a criminal lawyer.
Vale chuckled, shaking his head. "Why would you want to move out of New Orleans? I love it here."
"You just like it for all of the superstitious shit that happens here."
Vale turned and looked at him. "That's part of it."
What's the other? Fox wanted to ask but held off, not sure if he wanted to know the answer.
"Well," he said, clearing his throat. "You can stay here with all this stuff while I find another town."
"What if I told you there was a town like this, but it's surrounded by magic?"
"Seriously, Vale. Magic?" Fox scoffed, shaking his head.
"Yes," Vale answered. "Magic is everywhere. It’s just stronger in some places."
"If magic exists, then you're telling me witches are real?" In the two years they'd worked together, Vale had said a few things that had made Fox scratch his head, but magic was a new one.
"They are very real," Vale said with certainty.
"You're trying to tell me that wand carrying, spell casting, and potion making women with crooked teeth and large moles on their faces, who dress in all black and pointy hats are real?"
"The wands and pointed hats aren't a thing, neither are the crooked teeth and moles. That's just something humans made up. The witches I know and have met are not only women but men. They’re all drop-dead gorgeous, as well.”
Fox shook his head at their nonsensical conversation, wondering if he should have the captain order Vale to have a psych evaluation done.
"I feel like we've had this conversation before where you tried to convince me werewolves and vampires exist too. I mean, you seriously think President Armand Boroson-Dracul is a vampire? I get his name sounds weird but come on, a vampire?"
Vale grinned. "You’ll never believe me, will you?"
"No, I won't."
"What if I tell you men could get pregnant," Vale said seriously.
His words made Fox stumbled a step, but he played it off or tried to by coughing.
That's it, this dude might be gorgeous as hell, but he is getting a psych evaluation as soon as we get back to the precinct.
"I can tell what you're thinking."
Fox looked at his partner, wondering if he should respond. The man was younger than him; Vale’s thoughts were a bit immature even if he didn't act that way. Fox thought his partner might be playing a prank on him to see how he’d react.
Don't play into his hand, Fox.
"Men can't get pregnant. Now stop this crazy talk, and let’s focus on our job."
"I'm focused on my job, but there's nothing wrong with us talking while we work."
That is true.
"Then let's talk about something else. You’re freaking me out with all your crazy talk."
"Okay, what do you want to talk about?"
In the time they'd been working together, they had talked about a few things but nothing too personal. Fox knew Vale came from a wealthy family, yet there was some distance between them not only in status but in emotions. He knew Vale had been adopted when he was a kid, and it made Fox wonder if he'd tried to find his birth parents.
"You said you were born in Scotland, right?"
"How come you don't have an accent?"
"I haven't lost my accent," Vale said in thick Scottish Gaelic.
Fuck, that is sexy. Fox cleared his throat, not wanting to show how affected he was. "Do you ever go back?"
"I have." Vale stopped walking and stood in front of him. "Why are you suddenly interested in my background?"
Fox shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. I just realized we don't know much about each other."
Fox felt a bit shy the way Vale was gazing down at him.
"I see. So, does that mean I can ask you anything?"
Fox bit his bottom lip then looked out in the crowd hoping to avoid the man's green eyes and question.
"Look at me, Fox," Vale's deep voice commanded. Fox couldn't seem to fight his order and instantly looked at the other man. The crowd and the music seemed to fade away when Vale reached up and lightly brushed one of Fox's cheeks. "There are so many things I want to tell you, but you're not ready to hear them."
"Do you have a crush on me or something?" Fox wasn't sure if his partner was crazy with all his talk of magic or liked playing pranks just to see him get flustered.
"I wouldn't call it a crush," Vale responded, smiling. "But one day you'll figure it out."
I doubt it. "Stop playing games, Vale."
"When it comes to you, I never play games."
Fox wanted to believe there was some truth to Vale's words. Even if there was, nothing could happen between them, not when they still worked together. Shaking his head, everything came back into focus, and it gave him the chance to change the subject.
"Have you ever tried finding your birth parents?" Fox stepped to the side and started walking again.
Fuck, why did I ask that question?
"They were killed when I was five."
"Why are you, sorry? You weren't the one that killed them."
"I don't know. It’s what people say in comfort," Fox snapped.
"Then I guess I should say sorry to you for your parents’ deaths."
Fox had lost his parents when he was ten years old. Their house had burned down in the middle of the night while they were sleeping. No one knew how the fire started, but he was the only survivor, which was a wonder in and of itself. He'd been found protected under a mountain of blankets as if someone had been watching out and protecting him. After his parents’ death, he went to live with his aunt and uncle, who hadn’t cared if he lived or died.
It wasn't the first time he'd escaped death, either. When he was in Kuwait and his team had been ambushed by insurgents, he was one of two survivors. The other guy lost both of his legs. Fox came out of the situation unscathed except for the memories of what had happened; it was as if the bullets completely missed him.
"I guess you're right, sorry isn't needed when you had nothing to do with it. The funny thing is, they died so long ago I can't even remember what my parents looked like."
"I've never forgotten," Vale whispered. "I remember every smile, every laugh, every freckle, every kiss, touch..." He turned his gaze to Fox. "Their deaths are forever ingrained in my memory." Vale grimaced, looking away from him. "And even when I try to forget, something happens to make me remember."
Fox felt pity for the younger man. He was about to speak when Vale stopped walking and frowned, peering into the crowd. Fox followed his line of sight, not seeing or sensing anything that sent off his “danger is near” senses. The crowd had thinned out a bit since the parade was winding down, but everything seemed fine. Fox was about to ask what was going on when his radio beeped, and the dispatcher spoke in his ear, informing them of a security alarm going off at the East Street warehouse. They weren't far from the location, so Fox told the operator they'd take the call.
"Come on, we gotta go," Fox grabbed Vale's shoulder, getting the larger man's attention. "We gotta go, a call."
Vale nodded, and they both hurried to the warehouse. Fox looked at his partner and noticed he was distracted. "Hey, are you okay?"
Vale turned his bright green gaze on his. "Yeah, I thought I saw someone I knew."
"Oh, not a friend, I take it."
"Not in the fucking least," Vale growled.
Fox was a bit taken back by the anger coming off Vale, who was always playful. He didn't ask any more questions because Vale didn't seem to want to provide any more information. The closer they got to the warehouse and away from the parade’s music, Fox could hear the alarm going off. When they got to the building, the heavy chains were still secured on the gate showing no intrusion.
"They must have hopped over the fence," Vale mumbled.
"Or maybe it's nothing." It wasn't unheard of a critter getting inside a few buildings and tripping the alarm accidentally. "Let's check it out any—” The words died on Fox's lips when Vale climbed and hopped over the fence with ease, not taking into account his large frame.
"Hey, what the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"My job," Vale reasoned, giving Fox a look that said he'd asked a dumbass question. "You go and find another way in while I go take care of this." With that, he jogged off, leaving Fox with no recourse than to follow his lead.
"Fuck, he can be reckless sometimes."
I'm seriously going to have his head checked when we get back to the precinct.
Once he was over the fence, he quickly caught up to Vale walking into the warehouse. Fox grabbed the man's arm, stopping him when the alarm suddenly stopped. Fox knew it wasn't the warehouse owner. Dispatch would have informed him if they showed up. The hairs on the back of Fox's neck stood on end—something felt off, but he couldn't put his finger on it. Vale gave him the signal that they should split up, and Fox wasn’t going to object, figuring he was probably overreacting.
With his weapon and flashlight in front of him, Fox slowly entered the building and went to the right while Vale went to the left. He walked around the shelves paying close attention to his surroundings, ignoring the life-like statues and figures made of ceramic and clay. The warehouse was dark, enormous, and silent, which added to the creepiness of the place.
Hearing a noise behind him, Fox whirled around, aiming his gun and flashlight at where he figured the sound came from. His shoulders relaxed just a bit when he spotted a black cat with glowing blue eyes that hissed at him then dashed across his foot, disappearing into the dark.
Fox was about to start moving again when a gloved hand covered his mouth and a muscular chest pressed into his back. The gun and the flashlight fell from his hands as he wiggled his body, trying to dislodge and get away from his attacker, but his attempt failed. He sent a hard elbow in what he hoped was the person's stomach and was disappointed that it didn't have any effect. The hand tightened around his mouth, stopping him from making a sound or trying to bite. Fox felt immobilized and wondered if there was some kind of chemical laced in the gloves his attacker was wearing.
He raised his leg to stomp the person's foot but froze when he felt a pain in his side. A sharp object was tearing into his flesh, and he could feel his rib bones break as the object exited through the other end. Fox mentally howled, unable to voice the agony in his sides. In all the times he'd been in dire situations, he'd never felt such pain or thought he was going to die until that very moment. His knees buckled, yet Fox didn't fall. His vision blurred from tears as his life flashed before his eyes making him realize he wasn't ready to die.
He hadn't accomplished all he'd set out to do.
I guess my luck has finally run out of time. I'm too young to die.
Fox wanted to adopt a couple of kids. Whether he got married or not wasn't a factor, but he wanted to fall in love at least once.
Maybe I should have given Vale a shot.
He wanted to open his law practice and earn a shit ton of money.
I regret never taking risks and going for what I wanted.
The hand over his mouth was removed as well as the sharp object that had sliced through his body. Blood pooled in Fox's mouth, making him gasp for whatever breath he could muster.
"No hard feelings," a gruff voice whispered in his ear. "You're simply a causality of war. You shouldn't have been so important to him. He grew careless in our little game which is why I must take all he holds dear."
Who am I important to? Fox thought as his body slowly fell to the ground, and his world went black.
Fox screamed, snapping his eyes open but unable to see anything since his vision was blurred. He whimpered as pain wracked his entire body. He couldn't speak, think, or move. He felt as if his life was draining out of him.
"It’s going to be okay." Fox heard someone say but couldn't distinguish the voice in the sea of pain that overtook his senses.
Take care of her.
Fox heard as he closed his eyes, slipping back into the world of darkness.
Fox groaned, hearing the beeping noise and wishing someone would shut the damn alarm off. He was too fucking tired and didn't feel like going to work that day, not after the dream he’d had.
Who wants to dream of being killed?
"Did you hear that? I think he's waking up." Fox heard a soft feminine voice coming from somewhere in his room.
Who the fuck is in my house? As a cop, he was trained to assess then react to the situation. He didn't sense any danger from the voice, so he decided to wait and see before reaching for the gun he had hidden under his pillow.
"Are you sure?" asked a deep voice.
"I think he's waking up," another voice added. "Maybe we should go get the doctor."
Doctor! What the fuck?
"No, let’s wait a bit. Mom and Dad should be back soon. They went to check on the baby," the deep voice instructed.
Fox couldn't take it anymore. He was more curious than scared of the people in his house. "How the fuck is someone supposed to sleep with all this damn talking?"
Everyone in the room gasped, and Fox slowly pried his eyes open. He was greeted with brown, green, and blue eyes looking down at him and faces he didn't recognize.
"Who the fuck are you people?"
Coming Jan 31st
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