Shades of Steele:Mercury Rising 2(3)

By: Shades of Steele

Nick’s leg bounced harder.

"Are you suggesting we form our own council?" Vane appeared impressed.

"The idea does have merit," Alistair said with a nod.

Nick shook his head. He couldn’t explain it, neither could he understand it, but his gut twisted at the thought of what they were suggesting.

This was a very bad idea. They didn’t police their own town for a good reason. If they did, favoritism, bribes, and underhanded deals would allow the most vicious men to walk free. This plan had disaster written all over it.

* * * *

"You find out as much as you can about the new Master," Matt said to Nick when they were on the street. "I don’t trust him. I need some background on him before our next meeting."

The leaders had decided to set up another meeting in a week, giving them time to see if the Consiglio reared their heads. Something important had also come up and Vane had to haul ass outta there, cutting their meeting short.

Nick pulled his smokes from his leather jacket and lit one up. "I’ll get Tap to help."

"Snoop around but don’t get caught. I’ve got enough on my plate right now. We don’t need to go to war with the vampires again. Something tells me Lucian is far worse an opponent than Magnus ever was."

The alpha stepped off the curb and headed for his Hummer. Nick headed for his Harley. Tap was a whiz when it came to hacking into whatever. Besides, if things went south, Nick wanted Tap at his back. The male was built like a prize bull and had no qualms about putting a bullet in someone.

If the Consiglio really had closed up shop and the preternatural found out they wouldn’t be punished for their crimes, the Wild West would ensue. It would be a do-your-worst free-for-all.

He straddled his bike and then shot out into the street, heading for the agency, where he knew Tap was hanging out. Tap had broken into Council Hall records on more than one occasion, and there had to be a file on Lucian. The Consiglio had a file on every preternatural ever born or turned that included who they were related to, where they lived and worked, who they associated with, their sexual partners, blood type, and so on. It disgusted Nick how invasive they were.

Unfortunately, they didn’t like sharing their files. They gave Mercury Rising warrants, but it was up to the bounty hunters to track their marks down. That was bullshit, but Nick had kept his complaints to himself.

He kept everything to himself. The real shit at least, only showing people what they wanted to see. Smoke and mirrors, ladies and gentlemen. Nothing to see here.

As soon as he got to the agency, Nick parked, toed down his kickstand, and headed inside. Stuart wasn’t behind his desk, and a pang of disappointment twitched inside Nick. He walked to the back where the break room was located, though the Pit was more than that. The men had added on to it and updated it over the years until it looked more like a club room. It had become more like a second home to them with a few bedrooms off to the left of the main room and down a hallway, where some men crashed between warrants. The Pit had a bar, a pool table, a large-screen television, and comfortable furniture.

Tap was kicked back in a recliner, bottle of booze in hand, flipping through channels. Jason was on the couch, snoozing, a fleece blanket covering him. Rio and Landon sat at the bar bullshitting as Stuart stood behind it playing the role of bartender.

As soon as Nick’s gaze landed on the slim human, his cock perked right the fuck up. He stood there for a moment, drinking in Stuart and swallowing him down. Stuart wasn’t what one would call handsome. He was…pretty. Blond hair, blue eyes, and a steal-your-heart smile.

He forgot about Tap as he walked to the bar. Stuart hadn’t noticed him yet. He was too busy talking with Rio. Nick bit back a snarl of jealousy when Stuart smiled. It was a genuine smile, not strained like it was when he smiled at Nick.

Nick dropped down onto a stool next to Rio. "You change careers?"

Stuart jerked as though startled. His pretty blue eyes snapped to Nick and the smile turned into a smirk. "Yep, I’m brushing up on my skills as a slutty bartender, but Rio refuses to be my guinea pig."

Nick’s anger hit the roof, but he kept it from leaking out as Rio spit the swallow of booze across the bar and then gaped at Stuart. The beta looked stunned. "Fuck if I turned you down. You never asked."