Rachel Broen's world is shattered when her daughter is kidnapped and injected with an unknown substance, and the only man who can protect them both is the one she wants to avoid: her mate. Jonas Wyatt has been working as the Director for the Bureau of Breed Affairs for over a decade. As a lion Breed, one of the many creations of the Genetics Council using a combination of animal and human DNA, Jonas has fought an uphill battle ever since his escape from the French laboratories. Jonas knows the only way for his brethren to survive and thrive is to stay one step ahead of the governments and societies that want to see the Breeds dead or put back in the labs that created them. Doing so takes finesse and not a small amount of manipulation, with his fellow Breeds as well. Unfortunately the decisions Jonas has to make and the secrets he keeps has made him seem untrustworthy, manipulative, and as most like to call him, a downright bastard. Little do they know that the Breeds' survival and happiness are foremost in Jonas's mind when he makes these decisions, but those he cares for still hate him for doing his job.
Rachel Broen thinks she can handle Jonas. Having been appointed as his newest secretary in a long line of those he has managed to drive crazy and run off, Rachel is determined to do her job and do it well. Being the best friend of Merinus Lyons, mate to the lion pride leader Callan Lyons, definitely has its perks, or so she thinks. Rachel is several months along in her pregnancy when she begins working for Jonas. Her baby's father, Devon Marshal, has wanted nothing to do with Rachel or her baby since she conceived. They were in a foreign country and had a whirlwind romance, but when Rachel became pregnant Devon's father refused to allow them to marry, claiming the Marshal name would not be ruined by Rachel and her child. Devon made it clear to Rachel that she was to abort their baby, and when she did they could be together again. When Rachel refused, Devon attempted harsher tactics by causing her to lose her job, stealing her money and her passport, and using his family's connections to chase her out of any subsequent job she lined up after that. Desperate Rachel attempts to contact her sister Diana, but unable to reach her Rachel finally dials Kane Tyler, Merinus's brother.
The Tyler family loves Rachel like a sister and immediately set out to help her. They brought Rachel back to America, and set her up with the job as Wyatt's personal assistant/secretary. Jonas balks at the idea, especially when he realizes Rachel is his mate, but Merinus does not back down and Jonas ends up stuck with her. He is careful to not overwhelm or upset Rachel too badly as he can sense that the unborn baby girl projects what Rachel is feeling, but Jonas stakes a mental claim on the two girls as his own. When Rachel finally has Amber, life is good for a short while until Philip Brandenmore, the head of a pharmaceutical company that works with the Genetics Council, kidnaps Amber in order to get information from Jonas. Rachel runs to Jonas for help and immediately he and the other Breed enforcers rescue the baby. Brandenmore escapes, but not before Jonas and Rachel realize that he injected Amber with something unknown but mixed with a sedative.
Jonas takes Rachel and Amber back to Sanctuary, the Feline Breed compound in Virginia, and the doctors and scientists begin testing to find out what Amber was injected with. Unable to find anything other than the sedative, they wait and watch for any unusual symptoms or changes. Now that Brandenmore has his sights on Rachel's baby Jonas is not letting either of them out of his sight. They move their office to Sanctuary and begin working out of the cabin Jonas, Rachel and Amber share. When they arrive at Sanctuary, Jonas and Rachel have to submit to tests as well, and Rachel figures out that she is Jonas's mate. She is adamant in her refusal to accept Jonas on that level, especially because of the rumors spreading of mating heat with Breeds and the information Merinus gives her. Rachel and Jonas deal with a lot of tension rising as they live in close quarters, both frustration and sexual, but neither act on their desires. Jonas is attempting to give Rachel time to come to love him instead of being forced together by the hormones he is secreting that will push her into an incredibly aroused state for him, just as he is constantly for her.
Jonas has other things to deal with on top of his mate, however, including the first Leo showing up at Sanctuary lately. The first Leo, also known today as Leo Vanderale, owner of the powerful Vanderale Industries, was the first known Breed to be created. Over a century in age, Leo escaped confinement with the help of his mate Elizabeth, and they have since had many children and rescued just as many from the labs. Jonas and Leo butt heads constantly, which makes sense since Leo is Jonas's father. The Council used the remaining eggs and sperm they had taken from Leo and Elizabeth to create more Breeds, and Jonas just happens to be one of them. No one else is aware of that fact though, instead believing he was a product of Leo's sperm and the human female surrogate that gave birth to Jonas.
While Jonas is busy keeping Leo and Elizabeth at a distance he is also juggling his mate's refusal, the government's attempted interference in Breed funding, and this new threat from Brandenmore on Amber. Over time most of the Breeds can smell the fact that Amber's scent is changing subtly. This is not uncommon for babies to change as they grow, but it usually takes place over several months to a couple of years, not within a week. To make matters worse, Devon Marshal has figured out where Rachel and Amber are, and is now attempting to assert his rights as the biological father and take Amber from Rachel. Devon shows up at Sanctuary with the Mayor of the local town, a couple of lawyers and a woman from CPS who is to take Amber until a hearing can commence on parental rights. Luckily Cassie Sinclair, a 19-year-old hybrid Breed of both coyote and wolf DNA, is a genius. Well-versed in Breed laws as well as U.S. law, she shows up to the meeting more than prepared. She points out the legal documents showing Devon signed away any rights at Amber's birth, as well as the documents showing that Jonas has listed Amber under Breed protection since Rachel is his mate, claiming Amber as his own child. Rachel agrees in order to keep Amber and Devon is sent packing with no ground to stand on.
Eventually Rachel and Jonas have to travel out of state to attend a hearing that has been concocted by a couple of Senators to cause the Breeds to lose their funding. En route to the hearing Rachel and Jonas are kidnapped by one of Brandenmore's men. They are taken to one of Brandenmore's properties where he is waiting for them with Devon. They attempt to cajole Rachel and Jonas into giving Amber to Brandenmore for research, and he claims that he has injected the baby with a drug that will alter her life forever, but refuses to tell them exactly what it is. They do not get the answers they need to help Amber, but Jonas's enforcers rescue the couple, taking Brandenmore captive and killing Devon. Brandenmore refuses to tell them what he did to Amber, so Jonas and Rachel know they have to wait until more changes occur to figure it out, but they vow to do so together.
After Leo and his son Dane aid in Jonas and Rachel's rescue, Leo finally confronts Jonas on his refusal to accept that Leo is his father and Elizabeth his mother. Jonas informs him that if Leo wants forgiveness for leaving Jonas and his brethren in the labs in France while they rescued others, then he has it. Leo explains that is not what he's after, that he is sorry for what happened to Jonas, and is tired of Jonas punishing Elizabeth for Leo's mistakes. Jonas realizes Elizabeth has known all along that she is his mother and it has devastated her that Jonas hates them. The ice around Wyatt's heart crumbles a little and he walks into the labs where Elizabeth works and subtly claims her as his mother and Leo as his father, then walks out to go find Rachel.
In the end, Rachel and Jonas are finally able to be together. She realizes how much she loves him and appreciates his care of her and Amber, and Jonas is finally able to have his mate, the one woman he loves more than anything. As they exit the room where Amber sleeps to go to bed themselves, they don't hear the soft purr coming from Amber that is only displayed by Breed children or mated Breed adults.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved this story as it shows the history and softer side of Jonas Wyatt that you learn to hate through a good chunk of the Breed series. He is strong, manipulative and arrogant, but there is a reason behind his actions that gets explained a lot better in this story. He is also the first in the series to control his baser impulses to seduce his mate, rather than push the decision on her.
Best scene in story:
The scene in the Sanctuary labs is one of my favorites. When they are all trying to figure out the change in Amber and what may be happening, all of the Breed males keep holding the baby and trying to scent her better, but in the process they are making goo-goo eyes and noises at her to get her be happy while they hold her. It's absolutely adorable reading these strong alpha males make themselves "cutesy" for Amber's delight. I love how this scene among others shows how protective and loving the Breeds are, though they have to be hard asses the rest of the time.
Opinion about the main character:
I like Jonas's integrity. Throughout the series he is a hard man to like, but in his own story you get to learn why he is the cold bastard that he is portrayed to be, and how much he cares for the Breeds as a people, as well as his own blood relations.