The magic of the day clung to Todd’s skin making it feel unusually weird. He was putting that down to why he couldn’t settle to anything. He roamed around his apartment, listening to the quiet of the middle of the night. Everyone had gone back to their apartments after Danik and Alexi were settled with the babies sleeping. For how long, was anyone’s guess.  

In all the research he’d done around birthing krakens, there’d been nothing to help. Alexi had no memory of his brothers’ births. Being the eldest, Todd had hoped he’d be able to unearth a memory, or his kraken. There’d been nothing that they could tell Todd that was helpful. However it was over five hundred years since Todd’s birth, so he understood it was a long time to think back to. 

He’d been surprised when Zale had shifted in the water from kraken to baby. Had Todd been the same? Had his brothers? It was fascinating. Though Todd wasn’t sure he liked the idea of being pregnant. Danik’s body had gone through a lot. The healing they’d done after the birthing gave each of them some of the pain to carry for a brief time.  

Todd shivered at the thought of having all the pain. Being the omega, he wasn’t a hundred percent sure that if he found his mate, he’d be the one getting pregnant. 

He ran his hands through his already messy hair and tugged. What was it with him tonight? He didn’t have a mate, and yet here he was worried about who would carry babies. 

Was it the odd sense of waiting that was coming from his kraken, setting him off? Or was it just being part of Danik and Alexi’s babies’ birth? He wasn’t like his brothers in that he didn’t feel the need often to let his kraken out. Today had been wholly different. The second Alexi had called out to him, his kraken had been wild to be set free. That was a first for Todd, and he’d barely made it to the pool where he’d been greeted by Kelvin. Markov was absent and his kraken hadn’t liked that at all. The pull had been impossible to resist. Todd had no clue how Markov coped alone with those raging kraken feelings.  

Back to pacing, Todd worked to figure out what was setting off his kraken. Was being in his kraken form for so long after months of not letting his animal spirit out the issue? Today his kraken had made sure to remind Todd of the simple pleasure of letting go. Of being one with his animal spirit.  

Being the only omega, Todd had always felt like the odd man out or maybe odd kraken out was more accurate. He was the smallest, and his shape was slightly different to his brothers. His body was symmetrical, whereas his brothers weren’t. He’d had years to notice the differences and no amount of research he’d done suggested he should be different. Krakens were all supposed to be the same regardless of whether they were alpha or omega. Nothing explained why with him that had changed. He was an anomaly, and he wasn’t sure after nearly five hundred years whether he liked it or not.  

You’ll give me a headache if you start with that again. Why do you have to constantly pull everything apart and put it into an ordered pattern? 

Seriously. You are me, and I am you. We are the same! 

I beg to differ. If we were the same, we’d be in the pool more often or taking trips to the sea like your brothers. When was the last time we swam in the ocean?  

That’s right, throw that at me. You know how hard I work.  

All work is not good for you or me. 

You aren’t going to start insisting I take a holiday again? We have a huge amount of data to go through to figure out who started the fun little kidnapping and selling rings.  

I understand your need to avenge those taken. Azim suffered, and those responsible should pay. That doesn’t mean you can’t take more than a few minutes to breathe, to stop, to rejuvenate yourself.  

Todd huffed out a breath and went back to pacing in front of the window staring occasionally out into the darkness. 

For an intelligent human, you have no common sense.  

Todd stopped pacing. “What’s that supposed to mean?” he said aloud angrily. Todd blamed the tiredness of the last few weeks for his crankiness with his kraken. 

He’d worked non-stop with barely an hour of sleep here and there to help figure out what and who was taking the paranormals and selling them. So, he supposed some of what his kraken was getting at was right. But his blood boiled at the total disregard of those who’d been taken after being ordered up like a takeout meal. 

You know. The sulky tone was one Todd recognized, and he resisted hunching.  

Todd twisted around towards the door when there was the sound of the bell from the main front entrance to the building coming from his security monitor by his front door. They weren’t expecting anyone. He walked silently over to the monitor, one he’d rigged up, so at night he was the one disturbed due to his nocturnal habits. 

He stared at the screen, his innards twisting until the earlier feeling of being unsettled returned full force. Two pairs of dark eyes stared at him from the tiny screen. They couldn’t see him, but it sure as hell felt like they were watching him. 

The one nearest the door’s lips moved and he grinned at the monitor with a devilish grin that set fire to Todd’s body in a way he’d never experienced. He rubbed at his hot forehead. Was he getting sick? 

The bell sounded again. 

Blushing at standing like an idiot, Todd pressed the button so he could speak into the intercom. “Can I help you?” 

“Hope so,” said a deep husky voice, “we’re looking for the Shadow Commander. This was the address he gave us.” 

A memory of the first day that the Cassius had arrived flittered through Todd’s mind. Two of the team had been delayed, hadn’t that been what Cassius had said? Shit, had Cassius forgotten to tell them they were finished here? “Sorry, Cassius left a few days ago.” 

“Fuck, we’ve been on radio silence.” The one at the back said, his voice gruff. 

Quakes ran through Todd, ones he wasn’t sure he liked, not when his kraken started to push at him to open the door and go down to greet the strangers. 

“We’ve been traveling for several days. Any chance we can come in and get something to eat? The town doesn’t appear to do anything twenty-four-seven here.” This came from the first guy whose grin had returned. 

Dithering, something Todd never did, he wasn’t sure what held him back. He wasn’t defenseless but his warning bells were firing off in ten different directions. And his kraken was doing something very bizarre, preening of all things. 

The first guy’s grin widened, and the light from the camera caught a flicker of amusement before he asked, “You still there?” 

More heat crept up Todd’s neck and he was glad he was alone so his brothers couldn’t witness his dorky behavior. “Oh yeah, sorry. Give me a minute and I’ll be down.”  

Todd glanced down at the old sweatpants he’d thrown on and the scruffy T-shirt that had seen better days and shrugged. His kraken, on the other hand, was grumbling repeatedly about him needing to change. 

What is it with you today? If being in the water makes you like this, I don’t think I’ll bother again for a year.  

The threat was met with a snort, one that spoke to how his kraken would and could change regardless of whether Todd went to the pool or not. He’d changed once before in the shower. Todd had learned his lesson after that. His brothers had laughed at how he’d got wedged, and they’d had to take out the wall to get him out when his kraken refused to turn back into his human form. 

The elevator glided silently to the lobby, and the lights switched on automatically as he stepped out. The brightness made it impossible to fully see the two imposing figures who were standing in the dark shadows. They had both stepped back out of the range of the camera. A slither of unease slid down Todd’s back, and he debated if he should reach out to one of his brothers.  

The men he could see now were as tall as his brothers and as wide. All the times his brothers had taken over and not given him credit for taking care of himself sprang through his mind. Todd rolled his shoulders back and made use of every inch of his height. He swallowed the sigh at the reality both men towered over him by a good foot.  

He pressed his palm to the biometer lock to open the door and then quickly stepped back. There were two loud grumbly roars of “mine” as the scent of limes and chocolate assaulted Todd’s senses. Before he registered his kraken’s reaction, Todd was swept up into the arms of the closest man… not man but something else. Large biceps lifted him easily against the dark combat clothing that was scented with limes. Todd’s mouth watered for a taste, and he struggled to swallow while his brain seemed to have gone on the blink.  

The other was there a moment later, and Todd was squashed between two sexy and strong chests. The scent of dark chocolate added to the issue with his mouth and getting it to swallow. Even as his kraken sang and his lips puckered longing for a kiss that was sure to come, Todd was suddenly aware that there was kissing, but it wasn’t him. The men were kissing each other, fondling each other, groping each other, leaving him like a squashed sandwich in the middle of them both. A nudge here, an elbow there, getting free wasn’t as difficult as Todd thought it might be, but then the two men were so damned focused on each other they probably wouldn’t notice if the building was on fire.  

They said ‘mine’, his memory and kraken persisted, and Todd was pleased he hadn’t dreamed that part of things. But the two men, who smelled so amazing, only had eyes, hands, and lips for each other. Clothing was getting ripped, and the rutting was enough to make Todd fan himself. It was seriously hot, or it would be if Todd didn’t feel so excluded. I’m sure I’m meant to be in there somewhere. Todd started looking, judging angles, trying to find a gap where he could insert himself between the two again – maybe he could get a kiss or two?  

“What the hell!” A deadly voice came from behind Todd. “Are you two porn stars or something? Who the hell are you to be making out in front of my little brother?” And that’s when all hell broke loose.