Love & Payne

Love & Payne

THIRDS Universe

English

Austen Payne, THIRDS Squadron Specialist Agent (SSA) for Destructive Delta and TIN operative, has seen the worst the world has to offer, faced lethal killers, and helped bring down dangerous organizations. But nothing terrifies him more than falling in love. After years of undercover work, Austen is a master at defending himself and protecting his heart… until he meets Osmond Zachary.

THIRDS Defense Agent Osmond Zachary has a huge, doting family, yet something is missing in his life. After meeting grumpy, foul-mouthed, jittery cheetah Therian Austen Payne, Zach knows exactly what that something—or someone—is. Unfortunately Austen seems determined to avoid Zach at all costs.

When Zach foils an assassination attempt, he ends up in the killer’s crosshairs, and Austen is Zach’s best chance at staying alive. Zach hopes the crisis will bring them closer, but Austen has every intention of walking away as soon as the danger is over.

Happily ever after isn’t for guys like Austen, but Zach is determined to show him it can be….

** It is not necessary to read the THIRDS series to enjoy Love and Payne. Austen and Zach originally appeared in the THIRDS series, and characters mentioned in Love and Payne are featured in the THIRDS series. If you prefer to read stories in order, you’ll find the THIRDS series reading order below. Zach and Austen do not appear in all the books.


Chapter One

 

“THIS IS not gonna be pleasant, but you’ve all worn the uniform long enough to know what we do rarely is.”

Team Leader Colin Zachary faced the row of THIRDS Defense agents from Alpha Sleuth, which Osmond Zachary was a member of. It was tough having six older brothers who worked for the THIRDS, all as Defense agents. It was tougher when one of them was your Team Leader. Colin was a no-nonsense kind of guy who could scare the shit out of someone just by looking at them. Bear Therians were frightening in size and were often written off as brainless, muscle-bound thugs. Like the rest of his brothers, Colin might be a brick wall of a guy, with a head hard enough to match, but he was quick, sharp, and smart. He was taller than Zach’s seven foot four and had twenty pounds on Zach’s three hundred and ten pounds. Everyone respected the Zachary brothers, and Zach was proud to work alongside them, even if they did like to bust his balls whatever chance they got. Thankfully Finley, Boyd, Bram, Alastair, and Edan, weren’t on Alpha Sleuth.

“I know Mr. Barlow and Mr. Kerner aren’t the most popular guys right now.”

Yeah, no shit. Zach refrained from scoffing, unlike some of his teammates. That was an understatement if he ever…

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