Excerpt from In His Sights by Laura M. Baird
“Hey, Charity,” Brennon said. “I see you’ve met my cousin, Mason.”
“Not really. We just ran into one another.” Trying not to notice the smile on Mason’s too-handsome face, she focused on Brennon.
“Oh, well then, let me introduce you properly. Charity, this is my cousin, Mason Wegi. Mason, Charity Masters. Mason’s being groomed to become our clan leader.” Brennon smiled broadly.
Clan leader? He seems much too young for that position.
She knew little about the surrounding tribes and their interaction with the government. Looked as if she was about to gain more knowledge in that area.
Mason rolled his eyes at Brennon’s introduction, but his smile became impossibly wider, and more appealing than she should be acknowledging. “A pleasure.” He nodded his head, the swish of his hair swaying in ebony waves around his shoulders. He was dressed casually in another t-shirt, this one hunter green. She envied the caress his nicely faded blue jeans gave his hips and legs. Well-worn cowboy boots peeked out from the hem of his denim.
Keep your head where it belongs—on this project!
Charity nodded in return. Before she could ask about his presence, Brennon spoke out while directing the others into a meeting room. “We should get comfortable. The sooner we get started, the sooner we can begin to accomplish something.” He held out his arm, indicating Charity proceed into the room.
As she entered, heading for a seat, she heard whispers pass between the cousins before they too came in to sit down. She was intrigued about this entire situation, and now even more so with Mason and Brennon in tow. She was the only woman in the group—again— as nine others sat around the table in the meeting room. Introductions were made all around. Brennon sat at the head, Mason flanking him on one side and Christopher on the other. Charity was next to Mason, and she tried not to let him affect her in the least. Not his subtle yet commanding presence, nor that damn enticing scent, nor the fact that even though she tried to focus on Brennon as he spoke, Mason was in her direct line of sight.
“…and that’s why we’ve upped your security clearance to the highest level, Charity.”
Charity blinked several times and turned her attention to Christopher who had spoken.
“I’m sorry, what? Upped my security clearance? My level is Top Secret, as high as it can go. What else is there beyond that? Unless you’re talking about letting me tour Area 51,” she joked. Obviously most didn’t think it was funny as she glanced at several stoic faces around the table. All except for Mason and Brennon who had grins on their adorable faces.
Christopher cleared his throat and began again. “Charity, you’ve been granted TS/SCI by the commanders of NETCOM and AIC for the project you’re about to take part in.”
AIC was the Army Intelligence Center, which she had already been a part of, and NETCOM was where her brother, Jake had worked. TS/SCI meant Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.
So how did civilians such as Mason and Brennon get to be here, privy to this project? Her curiosity just ratchetted up a few more notches.
“Okay,” she started hesitantly. “And I suppose you’re going to tell me what big secrets are in store for me with this SCI?”
“We are indeed,” Brennon said. “Charity, what you’re about to learn does not go beyond these doors. Besides the people present here, very few others on base have knowledge of what you’re about to learn.”
“I’m honored to be included in your club, and I know all-too-well how to keep secrets, so could you end the suspense already and just tell me what the hell is going on?”
Charity didn’t miss the chuckle Mason and Christopher tried to contain. Nor the exasperated looks from the six other men. Nor the full-on smile from Brennon before he spoke out.
“Charity, you’re about to be pulled into the world of shifters.”
As she blinked, trying to let the words sink in, they just didn’t compute. “Is this where you cue the dramatic music right before you all start laughing?” She looked around to assess if this was some kind of joke, but no one was laughing. Or smiling now, for that matter.
“It’s true, Charity,” Brennon said softly.
“I’m sorry, what? Shifters?”