Shades of Steele:Mercury Rising 2

By: Shades of Steele

Mercury Rising 2

All Stuart wants is Nick, the brooding bounty hunter at the agency Stuart works at. Unfortunately, any time Stuart is around Nick, he becomes sarcastic and sticks his foot in his mouth. He also knows Nick is the last person he needs. Stuart's life is already complicated enough. He was attacked two years ago, leaving his body riddled with scars. He's ashamed of the way he looks, and Stuart refuses to allow anyone to see them.

Nick is a jacked-in-the-head monster. A kill warrant waiting to happen. For the past two years he's had his sights set on the little receptionist, but he's always held back. He doesn't want to ruin Stuart's innocence with his jaded past. After all, who could love someone as broken as Nick?

When a savage leopard goes after Stuart, hell-bent on killing the male, Nick's dark side comes out, especially when he discovers Stuart is his mate.

Chapter One

Nick sat at the table and stared at the collection of men he would rather spit on than be near. He hated alpha-type males with a passion. They were pompous, arrogant, self-serving assholes.

Vane McBride, the alpha for the leopards, sat directly across from Nick in his finely cut suit. Vane's black hair was trimmed low on the sides and kept stylishly longer and messy on top, and a superior smile was on his smug face.

On Vane's left was Alistair Bayne, the king of the lions. Rumors in the preternatural world said he was a direct descendant of some king, from some dynasty, from an era Nick couldn’t care less about. He wasn’t impressed. Arrogance bled from the man. Even the two men with him looked as though everyone in the room should bow down and kiss their asses.

Devin LaSalle, the leader of the bear clan, was seated across from Vane. He wasn’t as bad as the rest, but he did have his moments. Two of his sons, Darius and North, sat on either side of him, all three wearing bored expressions.

Then there was the new guy. Lucian Veneto. Nick didn’t trust the vampire. He’d come solo to the party and sat there studying each man as though trying to figure everyone out.

The only reason Nick didn’t despise Matt was because the male had saved Nick from his destructive life. Every single man who worked at Mercury Rising was damaged goods.

Nick’s father, Titus Steele, had made his life a living hell until puberty hit. When Nick shifted for the first time, he damn near killed his old man. After that, Nick had left home, drifting from one town to the next, surviving the best way he knew how.

It hadn’t been an easy life but it was better than the life he’d left behind. Nick hadn’t been proud of the things he’d done to make it on the streets, and Matt was the only person who knew about his past—the beatings, the molestation, Titus selling Nick at a young age and on a regular basis to pay for his booze and drug habits.

After he’d escaped home, Nick had fought every son of a bitch who looked at him the wrong way, stayed drunk more than sober, and did things only a man hell-bent on killing himself would do.

Nick was certain if Matt hadn’t found him, he’d be dead by now. Maybe that should have been his fate, but apparently life had other plans for him. But one thing was for certain, his father’s cruelty had succored him better than any mother’s milk ever could.

Beaten, betrayed, rented out…yeah, life sure was fucking peachy.

Slouched in his seat, Nick balled his fists in his lap as his left leg bounced. Vane, Alistair, and Lucian reminded him of his father. He hated all three.

Nick had a like-hate thing for Devin. He liked the bear because Devin was cool people. He was easy to talk to and his rich laughter always soothed Nick’s raging emotions. He also liked the fact Devin could keep a secret better than the government. You could tell him something with full confidence that the male wouldn’t repeat it.

He hated the guy because Devin was everything Titus should have been. Devin raised his sons with fairness but firmness. Never once had Nick seen him raise a hand to any of his boys.

Devin also had two daughters, Larissa and Katelyn. They were the most beautiful women Nick had ever laid eyes on, but there was no way in hell he would want to be the guy who tried to date either of them. Not only did they have ten brothers who protected them fiercely, but a father whose bite was worse than his bark, and a mother who kept her boys in line with a single look.