Over fifty years before, Vincentius Goldstein agreed to join the Shifter Council with the express intention of bringing their technology into the future. After all, he'd had fun hacking into it and knew it wasn't secure. He's done that, and now finds the almost daily meetings and constant infighting trying his patience. Vincentius prefers the seclusion of his computer room. When he discovers someone hacking into his system, his excitement is stirred for the first time in decades. After figuring out where the hacker is located, Vincentius sends a council investigator after him. To his shock, when the investigator returns with the hacker, a small guinea fowl shifter named Cho, Vincentius recognizes the man as his mate. Even with the mate-pull, Cho fears him. After all, Vincentius had ordered Cho kidnapped and taken away from the safety of his flock mates. Can Vincentius figure out how to win the favor of his captive, or will he lose the best thing to happen to him in over three hundred years?