Daniel lay on his back, bouncing a ball off the wall of his apartment. To say he was bored would be an understatement. He’d finished his work for the day, said goodnight to his family, and now, alone in his three-bedroom home overlooking New York City, he was slowly going out of his mind.

 

He probably could have called one of his brothers up for cards or something, but Gareth was busy with Genevieve. Daniel didn’t want to take any time away from them. They were so newly mated they had hearts and flowers around them wherever they went.

 

Then there was Zach. He still had a lot of ass-kissing to do to make things right between himself and his baby brother, and interrupting Zach’s night with his mate, Jo, was not the way to do it.

 

That left Chris, but last he saw his brother he was still trying to figure out if he was moving to New York or not. He was with their parents and his mate, Lana, hashing that out.

 

If only his mate where there, things would be perfect.

 

Daniel bounced the ball against the wall a few more times as he considered going out for the evening. His wolf hadn’t been on a run since they got to New York, not a good, long one like he used to do back home. And walking on a leash did not count. The least Gen could have done was gotten rid of the damn dog tag Zach picked. Who named their dog Wiggles? It was even worse than the one Zach had picked for Gareth. He’d rather have been Pookie than Wiggles.

 

When his cell phone rang he answered, grateful for any distraction he could get. “’Lo?”

 

“Hello to you too, handsome.”

 

The ball bounced off the wall and hit Daniel squarely in the crotch. “Oof.” He rolled over, cupping his groin and trying to breathe through the pain.

 

“Daniel? You there?”

 

“Yup,” He gritted through his teeth.

 

“Still as pleasant as always.”

 

That sexy voice was shooting right through him. If his balls weren’t smashed he might have gotten hard. “What do you want?”

 

Kerry Andrews, the bane of his existence—and his future mate—sighed. “I’m bored.”

 

“Call Lana.” He’d willingly throw Chris under the bus for this one. He couldn’t handle dealing with Kerry, not now. Possibly not ever.

 

“She didn’t answer. Neither did Gen or Jo.”

 

“So I’m an afterthought?” Damn it, he hadn’t meant to say that, but her first thought should have been of him.

 

“Aren’t I?”

 

Nope. Not even a little bit. Daniel didn’t sleep without dreaming of her. The urge to cast the mate spell was strong, but bringing Kerry back to New York might very well end in her death. The Godwin brothers seemed to have a thing for Daniel’s mate, and until Arthur Godwin was dead it wasn’t safe for Kerry to be anywhere near Daniel. “Maybe.” He rolled back over now that his balls had decided they weren’t broken. “Why don’t you go paint your nails or shove needles in some unsuspecting people?”

 

“Nah. I already did that today.” She yawned. “Just got off an eighteen hour shift, actually.”

 

Daniel sat right up. “Why aren’t you in bed?” She should be resting, not talking to him or anyone else. Wasn’t she taking care of herself? Annabelle Evans, Lana’s grandmother, had promised him that she’d keep an eye on Kerry, but if Kerry wasn’t taking proper care of herself then Daniel was going to have to make some phone calls.

 

“Aw, you do care.”

 

“Kerry. Why don’t you go to bed?” The picture of her sliding between her sheets, her blonde hair all around her face, made him want to howl.

 

“All alone? In the dark?”

 

She was driving him insane. “I’m hanging up now.”

 

“Wait!”

 

Something in her tone, the desperation, made him pause. “What?”

 

She blew out a quick breath. “When are you casting the mate spell?”

 

“When my ass quacks like a duck.”

 

“Ooh, sounds serious. Maybe I should take a look at that.”

 

“Why?” he whined, unable to believe she’d said that.

 

“Just curious.” The innocent tone didn’t fool him one bit. “By the way, when you do cast it, you know who will come, don’t you?”

 

You will. He’d known for some time that Kerry was his, but he’d done his level best to push her away until he knew without a doubt it was safe to call her home. So he did his best to sound bored when he replied, “Christina Hendricks?”

 

“Who?” He could practically hear her shake her head. “No, asshole. Me. I’ll be there, not some big-breasted bimbo from—”

 

“Hey, now, no dissing Yo-Saff-Bridge. She was married every single time.” If being snarly didn’t get her to back off, maybe being a big nerd would.

 

“Oh please. None of them were legal except the first one, the trashy bigamist. Captain Mal deserved better.”

 

He was so surprised he nearly dropped the phone. “You’re a Browncoat?”

 

“Let’s put it this way. I cried when Morena Baccarin cut off all her hair. And when Walsh died—”

 

“I am a leaf in the wind,” Daniel said quietly, lowering his head in respect for his favorite character.

 

There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line.

 

“Now go to bed.” Daniel hung up the phone, his hand clenching on it when it began to ring a few seconds later. He flopped back onto the floor, his head hitting the hardwood with a hollow sound. Sort of like his life at the moment. They had no clue where Arthur was, Kerry was in Philadelphia, he was in New York, and their mating might never come to pass.

 

Daniel picked up the ball again and contemplated throwing it up in the air until it landed on his head. Maybe then he could forget all about warlocks, demons, sexy nurses and a simple spell that might end up killing everyone he held dear.

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Dana Marie Bell.

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