by V.S. Morgan
Contemporary Erotic I/R M/M Paranormal Romance
Artist Casey Smith lives a quiet life, under the radar of his enemies, until one fateful night he loses control and the astonishing image of a wolf racing down a suburban street splashes all over social media.
Hunter’s bullet never misses its target. The assassin seeks out and kills his prey with a clear conscience by following two simple rules: 1) Don’t kill innocents 2) Don’t kill shifters.
Realizing his latest assignment violates those rules, the hunter activates Princess Protocol and the assassin becomes the protector. Red hot attraction flares between the hit man and his former target. Can Hunter resist the sweet shifter in his care?
Enjoy an Extended Excerpt from Hunter’s Mark by V.S. Morgan:
Hunter rubbed his temples. Too many damned people here. The heavy scent of burning incense overpowered his nose, and his wolf whined for more food. Eight shish kabobs and a big-ass burrito had barely put a dent in his hunger. He gave in and bought the Pad Thai that had received rave online reviews but longed for a huge, rare steak. Fish, veggies, tofu…belch. How did these people survive?
His wolf satisfied, he continued observing. Casey finished lunch and returned to his booth. He smiled and talked with customers as a gentle breeze ruffled his gleaming hair. Damn, that almost sounded poetic. Hunter grimaced. He needed to fucking chill that shit out. He called Rex to check in.
“Yo, dawg, what gives? You pop him already?”
“Negative, too many civilians, and something’s not adding up. Target’s young, and none of his actions have justified icing him.”
“Maybe he’s a banger. They grow ’em young,” Rex said.
“Haven’t seen many bangers with little froufrou dogs, working in some tiny-ass booth, happy as can be. Shit, even his hair is happy.”
“Even his hair is…? You haven’t been eating those ‘special brownies’ they make there in Eugene, have you?”
“Step off, dickhead. You know I don’t do that kind of shit.”
“Just fucking with you. Can you smell him?”
“No, too many scents mixing together. I’ll need to get closer.”
Evil didn’t have a smell exactly, but he could pick up hints of it from humans; the stench of fear and violence clung to them long after their crimes were committed.
Glenn left the booth, leaving the mark alone. Excellent. Activating the video feed in his sunglasses so his handler could see as well, Hunter ambled over to the neighboring booth, which happened to have the trippy tie-dyed TP.
“I’m buying some for you,” he said to Rex.
“Rage on, dude. You totally need to get one of those vamp mugs from the next table for Den Mother. He’ll shit a brick!”
He stepped closer to Casey’s stall but stumbled over something small and furry. The toe of one Birkenstock caught on a clump of grass as he attempted not to trample the little beast, and he ass-planted with said beast jumping onto his chest to give him a broad doggie smile.
His buddy laughed piss-your-pants-hard in his ear. Fuck a duck.
The target he’d worked so hard to observe remotely sank to the ground between his sprawled-out legs, peeling the tiny hairball off his chest and setting it on the ground.
“I’m so sorry! Are you okay?”
Big blue eyes fringed with long, pale lashes scanned his body while strong yet gentle hands moved over his ankles and legs, searching for an injury. Oh, a toucher. His wolf basked in the tactile attention. His breath hitched as those hands glided past his knees and skimmed his thighs.
His dick went from zero to sixty in two seconds. Damn, he needed to get laid after this assignment.
“Oh, my, what a li’l sweetie. Look at those freckles! I wonder if he’s got them everywhere. I’d like to lick them,” Rex crowed in his ear.
The other man chortled. “Possessive, much?”
He inhaled deeply, only to be slammed with the force of a Mack truck. Strawberries on a warm summer’s day and fresh-cut grass—shit, his target smelled delicious. He took another breath, and his brain reeled. He’s a wolf shifter, too? Fuck.
Casey’s brows furrowed. “Where are you hurt?”
He forced a smile. “I’m fine. No worries.”
His mark returned the smile, his wide and high beam combined with sparkling eyes. Hunter stared, warmth wrapping around him like a blanket. He had no ammo against such a happy, open expression. The guy fucking glowed.
“Here, let me help you up.” His prey stood and reached out a hand.
A spark of energy surged up his arm as their hands clasped. His wolf whined in longing. Down, boy.
The smaller man gasped, his heated gaze roaming over his body. Hunter’s nostrils flared at the scent of Casey’s arousal and stifled a groan. Not helping.
He just needed to play it cool. After brushing the seat of his shorts, he leaned down and grabbed his bag. Giving him a slight wave, he strolled a short distance away.
What a complete clusterfuck. They didn’t hunt shifters. It was bad juju getting involved with pack business.
“Rex, he’s a shifter.”
“Confirm, did you say shifter?”
“Contacting Den Mother,” his handler replied, all business now.
The dog started barking, and he turned. A car jumped the curb, barreling toward the back of the pottery stand.
He darted over and shoved the little wolf out of the way moments before the car plowed through it. The peaceful vibe of the place shattered with the sounds of pottery smashing and people screaming. The scent of fear overpowered even the strongest incense.
Hunter shielded him with his body as the car careened through a few more stands and back onto the street before speeding off. Fucking A.
The dog who had been right at his feet barked. Scooping it up, he stuffed the mutt into Casey’s arms and dragged him out of the area.
This couldn’t have been an accident, too much of a coincidence. Someone hadn’t honored the forty-eight hour contract and was gunning for the young wolf now. He refused to let that happen.
“Rex, I’m initiating princess protocol.”
“Fuck, yeah. Drive to Portland. I’ll meet you there.”
“Come on, it’s time to go.” He slung his arm around his mark’s shoulder and hauled him to his car.
“Wait, what? I don’t know you. Where’s Glenn?” His blue eyes darkened with fear, and he twisted his body, attempting to escape. Regret tugged at Hunter for scaring him, but he tightened his hold. He needed to keep the pup alive.
“It’s not safe for you here.” He reached into the car for his emergency kit.
While the smaller man craned his head around, Hunter stuck him with a hypo, and he went out like a light.
He got both man and his mutt into the backseat without issue then drove toward the river and parked in an abandoned lot. Peering over his shoulder, he saw the dog lick his owner’s still cheek.
“Want a treat?” He offered it a piece of Slim Jim. The pooch gave him a “fuck you” look and growled. Not so friendly now.
He raised his shades and allowed his eyes to shift, his wolf staring down the puff ball. It quivered but didn’t yield. He growled long and low, and the dog barked at him before flashing tiny white teeth. Ballsy little thing. His wolf decided to take a different tack and whined. The pooch moved and let him search the smaller man’s clothing.
As he rummaged in his target’s pockets, the waistband of his shorts gaped. His eyebrows shot up at the yellow smiley faces on Casey’s boxers. Un-freaking-believable.
No ID, but he found a couple of bucks and a cheap phone, one of those burner types that couldn’t be traced. He tossed it out the window and ran over it anyway.
As he headed to Portland, he reported in.
“Den Mother, what the hell is going on? Who is this guy?”
“Very good question. It appears Casey Smith doesn’t exist. No birth certificate, Social Security number, driver’s license, school records, medical records, library card…nothing.”
He frowned. “He’s been off the grid his entire life? How is that possible? What about the house?”
“It’s a rental with no contract on file. Probably pays in cash.”
“Any info on the car?”
“Flagged as stolen and found abandoned a few miles out of town. Garrett and Ryland said it smelled of human. They’re interrogating his friend now. I’ve sent out rumors to the media of Casey’s death to buy us some time.”
Hunter yanked the beanie off his head and flung it onto the passenger seat. “So, what are we going to do with him?”
“The fact he’s a shifter complicates things. We’ll have to be careful digging around, or the Pack Council will be alerted. Talk to him and see what you learn.”
“I drugged and kidnapped him. How likely is he going to be to talk to me?”
“You saved his life, a life he can’t return to. He doesn’t have much of a choice.”
V.S. Morgan has lived all over the US but calls Minnesota her home now. Her family includes her hubby, son, and a menagerie of pets.
She’s been writing stories since she could hold a pencil and dreams of happily ever afters – even for two hot men – because love knows no boundaries. V.S. writes MC/IR contemporary, paranormal, and suspense m/m and m/f with heart. She plans to branch into fantasy and sci fi romance, as well.
V.S. is a GLBT ally and a lifetime contributor of The Trevor Project.
Facebook and Goodreads: V.S. Morgan
Rafflecopter giveaway through November 7, 2014