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Midnight Heat (MM)

Mercury Rising 1

Siren-BookStrand, Inc.

Heat Rating: SCORCHING
Word Count: 34,397
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[Siren Publishing: The Lynn Hagen ManLove Collection: Erotic Alternative Paranormal Romance, M/M, shape-shifter, vampires, HEA]

Jason has no idea that the sleepy town of Mercury holds so many dark secrets. But those secrets are revealed as Jason is plunged into a world he never knew existed. The men he works for are bear shifters. The guy he's lusted after for months is a wolf. And now Jason finds himself running from a demon hell-bent on using him as leverage to kill Jason's mate. To make matters worse, Jason is carrying Matt's child.

Matt never thought fate would give him a mate. Not after his mother died in childbirth and his father had cursed him. After his last relationship left a bad taste in his mouth, Matt decides to date the waiter, a Grizzly, unaware that Jason is his mate. But when things go sideways and Matt has to save one of his own, Jason's life is put at risk and Matt must do everything in his power to keep Jason safe.

 

Lynn Hagen is a Siren-exclusive author.

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Excerpt

 

STORY EXCERPT

 

"Ready to go bust a few doors down?" Colton leaned his shoulder into the doorframe of Matt’s office as he held up the papers.

"Who are they for?" Matt Romero set aside the files he’d been reading and leaned back in his chair. To humans, Mercury Rising was nothing more than a pathetically underbudgeted private investigation agency that took on missing person cases. On the books, their success rate for finding missing people was less than twenty percent. They liked it that way. It kept humans from trying to hire them for a job they technically didn’t do.

Off the books, their success in capturing or killing those with a warrant was over ninety percent. They were paid top dollar to track down the most vicious preternatural. Matt and his men were the best at what they did.

 "The first one is for a leopard shifter named Zack Taylor. He took down three college kids and fled after killing a campus security guard. The humans believe the leopard escaped from the zoo and are still searching for him. The other one is for Eric Dunham, a vampire who thinks an all-you-can-eat buffet includes humans." Colton tucked the papers into his back pocket. "The Consiglio issued a kill warrant for Zack, but Eric is to be captured and returned to his coven where Magnus will deal with him."

"Are you fucking serious?"

"About Eric?" Colton nodded. "’Fraid so."

Matt pushed from his desk and grabbed his Berretta 92A1 from his locked filing cabinet. He would need it for the leopard shifter. The bullets had a hollow tip that was filled with highly potent liquid silver. It was the only way to take down a powerful beast—either that or they could waste time wrestling and fighting the leopard. Since that could draw even more attention than the leopard already had, Matt wanted this done fast and clean.

He shoved the gun into the holster strapped around his shoulders then grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair. "We’ll get Zack first since the vampire won’t be out until full dark."

Matt spotted Nick at the reception desk. The bounty hunters usually worked solo, but there were times when teaming up was necessary. Zack had gone feral and would be ten times as strong and hard as hell to take down by oneself.

He rolled up on Nick flirting with the receptionist while the receptionist completely ignored Nick. When Matt stopped by the desk, Stuart glanced up, his fingers continuing to fly across the keyboard. He always wondered how the human could split his attention like that.

Stuart had been mauled by a lion shifter who’d gone feral. Matt and Colton had been tracking the beast, but had arrived after the fact. Matt had gotten Stuart to the hospital and then split, but somehow the guy managed to track him down. Stuart kept coming around until Matt had finally hired him.

"I need you to—"

"Transfer any important calls to Rio while you’re out," Stuart said as he continued to type.

The guy was slim, with blue eyes and sandy-blond hair, and sometimes Matt swore Stuart could read his mind. He would also be lost without Stuart. The man ran the agency like a finely tuned machine. If he up and left, Matt wouldn’t have the first clue how to keep the place going.

Matt worked in the field. That was what he did best. Stuart worked in the office. That was what he did best. It was a harmonious balance Matt thoroughly appreciated.

"Can you guess what I’m thinking?" Nick winked at Stuart with a glint of lust in his eyes. He clearly wanted Stuart, and Matt just hoped he didn’t have to put Nick down if he ever hurt the secretary. And Matt would. Yes, he would.

"I can’t." Stuart smiled sweetly at Nick. "You’d need a brain before I could try."

Matt gave an easy laugh as Stuart turned back to what he’d been doing—only this time, he put in his earbuds.

Nick fell into step beside Matt. "He likes me. He’s just playing hard to get.”

Colton chuckled as they left the building and headed toward Matt’s ride.

"Yuk it up," Nick groused. His eyes held a hint of darkness before he smirked and the darkness was gone. When he turned to Colton, the smirk was gone and his mouth was tight in anger. "From what I hear, you haven’t gotten laid in over a month."

"So glad you’re keeping tabs on my sex life," Colton said. "It’s kinda creepy, though. Maybe you should consider another hobby, like the fine art of stalking. You’ve got a pretty good head start with Stuart."

Nick bared his canines.

Colton rolled his eyes.

Matt slid into the Hummer and waited for them to get in before he pulled from the parking lot.

"You still datin’ that hot little number who works at The Lion’s Den?" Nick asked casually from the backseat. Nick’s expression was serious when their eyes locked in the rearview mirror, but Matt didn’t want to talk about Miles. He never wanted to hear that name again.

"Your sensitivity simply astonishes me," Colton said over his shoulder.

"Really?" Nick asked. "Could’ve sworn I was born without it."

"Rest assured, you were, and if I were you, I’d leave Matt alone right now. He just might kill you instead of the leopard and call it a day."

Matt was thankful when Nick took Colton’s advice. With the mood he was in, he just might shoot the wolf. Of course, he would regret it later—at least until Nick opened his mouth again.

He’d dated Miles for three months before he’d decided to tell the guy he was a wolf. Matt thought the human could handle it. He’d been wrong. Miles had told anyone who would listen that everyone employed at Mercury Rising were animals that could turn into humans.

Keeping their existence secret was number-one priority among the nonhumans. The Consiglio had stepped in and Miles disappeared. The whole situation left a bad taste in Matt’s mouth. Never again would he reveal what he was, no matter how much he was into a guy.

 

ADULT EXCERPT

 

The glass slipped from Jason’s hand and shattered against the floor as Jason grabbed Matt’s shirt and yanked him in. Shit, Matt hadn't expected the guy to take charge, but he didn’t mind as their lips collided and Matt’s tongue tangled with Jason’s before he bit Jason’s lower lip and pulled back slightly.

Matt’s wolf drew close to the surface, but he forced it back, stopping the animal from trying to take over. Jason knew nothing of his world, and Matt wasn’t going to make the same mistake he’d made with Miles.

Grabbing the hem of Jason’s shirt, Matt drew the material over the male’s head, tossing it aside. Jason’s chest rose and fell in quick pants, his breathing shallow.

He picked the man up, and Jason wrapped his legs around Matt’s waist as he walked to the living room, then dropped Jason to his back on the couch. Matt’s body was hard and tight as he bit, licked, and sucked at Jason’s mouth before latching on to his shoulder.

He had a strong urge to bite and had to once again force his wolf to heel. It had never acted this way with a male before.

But then again, Jason was different from the men Matt was used to being with. He hadn’t demanded Matt buy him an expensive gift or a new wardrobe in order to get laid. Jason was willingly giving himself without asking anything in return.

It was a refreshing change that turned Matt on. Most thought he dated strippers because of their beauty, but Matt had dated them to fill a void. He was an alpha, a business owner, and so damn lonely that some days he wanted to walk away from it all.

For three hundred years, he’d been looking for that one male who could take the place of the loneliness that was his constant companion.

Matt slowed, taking his time as he kissed a path over Jason’s shoulder and then down his slim chest, where he sucked a nipple between his teeth. Jason’s hands were everywhere, and his subtle touch was driving Matt insane.

Jason gasped, arching his back as he ran his hands through Matt’s hair. Matt reached between them, unsnapped Jason’s pants, and parted the material. He snaked his hand beneath Jason’s underwear and wrapped his fist around his lover’s erection.

"Oh God," Jason said on a soft moan. His hips jerked as Matt slowly stroked him, rolling the hard nipple between his teeth. His own cock strained and throbbed against his slacks, desperate to be freed.

He thrust his hips, and the slight friction made a low growl vibrate in his chest. He wanted inside Jason badly. His wolf howled in agreement.

In one fluid motion, Matt flipped them both until he was seated and Jason was straddling his lap. He cupped Jason’s face and drew it down so he could kiss him.

"What do you need me to do to please you?" Jason asked into Matt’s mouth.

The question blindsided Matt. No one had ever asked him that before. He was caught off guard, unable to think for a moment. He pulled back, gazing at Jason and saw the truth in his green eyes. Jason was not only uncertain, but nervous.

"Be the one who fits."

Faint wrinkles formed between Jason’s eyes. "I’m not sure I understand."

"Just being with you pleases me," Matt said and then winked. "But taking the rest of your clothes off would be nice."

Jason stood and undressed. Matt pulled off his dress shirt before unbuckling his pants and sliding them down. He tossed his shoes and socks by the edge of the couch, then pulled his pants off.

He hid his smile when Jason’s gaze went right to his groin. "I’ll get the lube."

Matt watched Jason’s ass as the man strode away. His cock jerked, anxious to feel Jason’s body wrapped around him. Werewolves had their own natural lubricant, but since he was trying to hide what he was, he didn’t stop Jason from exiting the room.

He leaned his head back and stared at the ceiling, letting out a deep sigh. For once he would love to be himself with a lover without worrying if that lover would turn on him and try to expose what Matt was to the world.

When Jason returned, he stopped at the end of the couch. "Do you want me back on your lap?"

Tenderness blossomed inside Matt as he stared at Jason’s nervous stance. His lover's gaze darted around, never landing on Matt.

Opening his arms, Matt nodded. "Come here, babe."

Jason straddled his lap, and Matt wrapped his arms around him. He held Jason as he kissed him, unhurried this time, allowing the simmering heat to build into a roaring fire.

As he continued to help Jason relax, Matt slipped the lube from Jason’s hand. He flicked the cap open and poured a generous amount over his length. Setting the bottle aside, he gathered some of the lube and circled his fingers around Jason’s opening.

Jason hissed before he buried his face against Matt’s shoulder. His breath came out in gasps as Matt slid two fingers inside the tight heat. His canines threatened to lengthen as he worked to loosen the muscles.

"Fuck me, Matt," Jason whispered into his ear.

Withdrawing his hand, Matt grabbed his cock, and guided it to Jason’s entrance. His fist damn near strangled his erection. "Take me into your body, Jason."

He gritted his teeth as Jason slowly worked Matt inside him. They both groaned when the head of his cock breached Jason. His hips instinctively jerked. Matt locked his muscles into place, allowing Jason to adjust to his length as smooth wetness surrounded his cock.

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