**Okay, so it turns out I accidentally lied about Gareth and Owen’s story being over. Sorry about that. Hope you can forgive me. Check out the blog for the other chapters. Enjoy!**
Owen’s family were open, warm, and supportive the moment we set foot in their territory. It was honestly pretty overwhelming. I knew that there were families like that out in the world, but having never experienced it myself, it was jarring. And since Aeron had stayed behind to deal with my house—since I had to be gone within a time frame and he didn’t—I had to deal with it on my own.
I had Owen of course, but he didn’t know anything different than a physically affectionate and caring family. But we settled in fine, and by the time Aeron joined us a few weeks later, I was coming to accept it. It was cramped in Owen’s parents house though, with all of us and Remy, and both Aeron and I were ready for space.
The little house Owen found was smaller than my previous one, but infinitely more charming. It had a whole cabin in the woods vibe without any creep or horror factor. Wood burning fireplaces in every room except the bathroom, a small workroom I could use to work on my witchcraft, and butted up to a national forest so Owen could shift and run whenever he wanted. Best of all, it wasn’t far from pack territory, and Owen was still able to visit with them at the drop of a hat.
Aeron’s apartment was even smaller, but he and Remy were happy. I was too. I set about making the cottage a new home, and as I found places for all our things—Aeron had come in a U-Haul with both his and my things, and Owen had more pack members with pickup trucks than I could count. We’d been moved in within the span of a day. All in all, I didn’t regret a single thing.
But Owen was still on edge, never leaving me for longer than a few minutes unless someone he trusted was visiting. He was convinced that the whole ordeal with my family and my former coven wasn’t over, no matter how much I tried to assure him it was. I figured it would take time before he was settled.
Not that I minded the constant attention. It usually resulted in hugs, cuddles, and much more. Owen couldn’t keep his hands off me, which suited me fine, because I was the same.
We were having a quiet night in for a change, no visits or pack gatherings, and Aeron was off doing his own thing. The fire was crackling behind the grate, I had a cup of hibiscus tea—which Owen jokingly said looked like blood—and we were snuggled together under a handknitted throw Owen’s grandmother had made for us. I couldn’t stop running my fingers over the rich texture and soft yarn. It was gorgeous.
Owen gave me a kiss on the head and got up to go to the bathroom. I stretched out to soak up the warmth he left behind, and hoped he’d get ideas when he got back. But before I could really settle, I heard a car pull up the gravel drive. I stood and stretched, ready to receive whoever decided to show up now. I was halfway to the door in response to the knock when Owen came barreling into the room.
“Back up. I’ll get it.”
I rolled my eyes. “I’m sure it’s not—”
“Please.” His voice was soft and I nodded. “I don’t recognize the scent.”
A moment later, he pulled open the door, keeping it and himself between me and whoever was on the other side.
“Gareth Evans?” The deep voice was unfamiliar.
Owen narrowed his eyes. “Who’s asking?”
“Agent Delaney Willis. This is my partner Agent Fiona Mathers. We’re with the MBI.”
My breath caught. Magical Bureau of Investigation? That was serious. They only got involved in the most egregious of cases. They were almost a legend within the preternatural community. The boogeyman. Heard of, stories told, but never seen.
Except they were here. Asking for me. And I couldn’t imagine why? Panic tripped through my veins, and Owen growled, ready to defend me and keep me safe. But it wasn’t like we could turn MBI agents away. If they had tracked me down here, they could track me anywhere.
“Let them in, honey,” I whispered. I’d tried for a stronger tone, but it hadn’t worked. I was nervous. Okay, I was more than nervous. But I had to keep it together or my familiar and mate would start a riot.
Owen did as I asked, but he wasn’t happy about it. Agent Willis was tall, broad, and clearly a magic user. His aura was so strong anyone would have recognized it. That was if the orange tabby at his feet hadn’t given it away. Agent Mathers was just as tall, but willowy, and almost certainly a shifter.
“Is it all right if my familiar, Oscar, enters as well?”
I appreciated that he asked, but he had to know I wouldn’t disagree. I nodded, putting a hand on Owen’s shoulder and gently guiding him back so the Agents could enter. Owen stepped back, almost knocking me over, but he was determined to keep his body between me and them. I almost wanted to protest, but I didn’t want to raise Owen’s hackles more than they were. And to be quite honest, I wanted to stay safe.
“Thank you.” The agents entered, and turned toward the dining area where we had a small table with a few chairs. Once we were all seated, Agent Willis offered me a smile. It changed his whole face, and made him seem far more approachable.
“May I introduce Oscar to your familiar?”
I couldn’t contain the smirk as I pointed to Owen. It took the agents a couple of seconds to catch on, but when they did, Mathers’s eyes went to her hairline and Willis coughed. Owen preened and I couldn’t help the affectionate smile that graced my lips.
“That’s…unexpected.” Willis did his best to hide his surprise, but wasn’t entirely successful.
“What can we do for you?” Owen’s tone bordered on rude, and I slid my hand onto his thigh to try and soothe him. I was worried too, but there was no point in antagonizing them.
This time, Mathers spoke up. “Mr. Evans, we’re here to speak with you about Bianca and Lawson Evans.”
This time, it was my eyebrows that shot up. I knew the surprise was evident on my face. “My parents? What about them?”
Willis and Mathers exchanged a look. Mathers said, “What can you tell us about them?”
“Uh.” An uncomfortable feeling swirled in my gut, though whether it was because I couldn’t tell them anything or because I didn’t know what was going on, I wasn’t sure. “Not much. I’ll be frank, Agents, my parents haven’t had much to do with me for the past several years. You’d be better off speaking with my brother.”
“Agents are currently speaking with Aeron Evans as well,” Willis confirmed.
And that was the point that Owen’s patience broke. “I don’t mean to be rude, except I really want to know what the hellfire is going on?”
The agents ignored his outburst, but did answer his question. “Mr. Evans, your parents are currently being detained by the MBI for investigation pertaining to their use of black magic.”
I heard the words. But they didn’t make sense. My parents were assholes, but had always prided themselves on being upstanding magical citizens. “I’m sorry, what?”
Mathers narrowed her eyes. “Are you saying you had no idea your parents were involved in blood magic and necromancy?”
I just stared, my mouth open, not being able to process the words.
Beside me, Owen snorted. “Shit, babe, your parents are even worse than I thought.”
I shook my head. “I…I don’t understand.”
Willis sat back in his chair, and his cat jumped up into his lap. “Mr. Evans, we have a lot to discuss.”