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Fated for Forever

By:Alanea Alder

Prologue



The gentleman sat at his desk, a dreamy smile on his lips. Throughout the entire estate he could hear the

anguished screams of the hyenas being tortured in the basement below. It had been centuries since he had

enjoyed the sounds of absolute human despair, modern day had no appreciation for the soul-shattering

desolation man experienced at the hands of a well-trained, methodical pain expert.

Humming, the gentleman stood and walked to his expansive bookcase. It would be criminal not to take

this time to relax and read, especially as he had such soothing sounds in the background. The gentleman

selected his favorite recently discovered novel, The Velveteen Rabbit. Smiling, he made his way over to his

chaise lounge and settled in for an enjoyable night.

Chapter 1



Ashby checked the clock for the thousandth time that afternoon. Gabriel would be calling him soon.

Ashby had come to look forward to their evening conversations. At first he thought the gorgeous nightclub

owner simply felt guilty for what had happened when he and Rebecca had been kidnapped by the hyena

clan. But lately Gabriel had really started courting him. Last week he had received high-end cake pans. This

reinforced that Gabriel listened when they spoke on the phone. He had made an offhand comment that he

needed better bake ware because the cakes he had been baking for his ice-cream cakes kept sticking to the

pans. The next day a set of non-stick cake pans, better than the ones he had saved on his wish list had been

delivered using a shifter courier so that it arrived directly to his shop. He couldn’t wait to bake Rebecca’s

Coconut Dream cake. He wanted to make it as an add-in for his newest ice cream concoction, Piña Coco-

Colada.

This week he had gotten a dozen Rush Daffodils. He thought daffodils an odd choice until he Googled

the meaning. Return my Affection. He sighed smiling and glanced over to where the flowers were proudly

on display on the shelf above the ice cream case. He looked around his shop and began to hum happily as

he started to put his bowls away in preparation for the after-dinner rush. He had come a long way from the

scared young man he had been when Ma had found him in the alley beside the diner years ago.

When he first came to Arkadia he had been on the run, trying to escape an abusive boyfriend. He knew

that Arkadia would be a safe place to hide. It was against the law to harm any shifter within its boundaries.

It had taken every penny to get him halfway to the shifter-only town. He then shifted and made the rest of

the way on foot. When he arrived he simply collapsed next to the building that had drawn him in with the

scent of food. He didn’t have any money and he had lost the clothes he had been carrying when he had to

run from a natural bear in the woods.

Ma simply picked him up and carried him to her office. He had shifted and stood there shaking and

naked. Connor had pulled the shirt from his back and offered it up to Ashby to get him warm. Ma gave him

a job as busboy and offered to let him live on the ranch. He declined the offer and simply asked if he could

sleep in her office at the diner.

After a few weeks, Ma had presented him with a check. It had been for nearly fifty thousand dollars.

She had gone to the council and presented his case for their review. The council did an investigation and his

wolf shifter ex-boyfriend had a long list of missing boyfriends. Ashby’s testimony allowed the council to

get the warrant they needed and upon searching his ex-boyfriend’s home they discovered no less than a

dozen bodies buried in the back yard. His ex, in an attempt to run, shot at one of the Sentinels sent to search

his house and he was killed by the man’s partner. His ex-boyfriend’s house and possessions were then sold

and the monies split between Ashby as the sole survivor and the family members of the other victims. If not

for Ma he never would have stood up for himself before the council and he never would have gotten the

money he needed to start his life over.

He had taken that fifty thousand dollars and bought the small run-down gym across the street and a

block down from the alley where Ma had found him and with the help from the Arkadion brothers he

turned it into a small, cozy ice cream parlor. It was small enough to feel homey, but large enough to handle

most good-sized birthday parties. He harbored a secret love of birthday parties. He loved the idea of cake,

presents, balloons and of course ice cream all rolled into a friends-and-family event.

He glanced at the clock again and sighed. Time was moving so slow. It was only four thirty—still

another thirty minutes before Gabriel would call. He was about to check his topping supply when he heard

the tinkling of the bell over his door. It was Marcus Evans, a lynx shifter who worked in the bank. He was

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