Read Immortal Ops: New & Lengthened 2016 Anniversary Edition Online
Authors: Mandy M. Roth
Missy had been most surprised to find out that she’d gone on multiple dates with Ben. She’d really enjoyed his company, but felt guilty about betraying Kyle and cut it off. The nameless, faceless other dates meant so little to her that she’d lost count of them.
Missy faced forward. “I think Peren is totally ignoring us now.”
Melanie sighed loudly. “I think you’re right. After a few drinks she’ll be better.”
“Isn’t everyone?” questioned Missy, bringing the slightest of smiles to Peren’s lips.
“Do you smell that?” Lukian asked of Roi
who only just managed to stop trying to leave their place of concealment in search of new hotties to bang for the night. Mission be damned if women were involved. At least according to Roi’s outlook on life as of late. He liked to look at it as saving a woman from going unsatisfied. Lukian saw it more as ignoring his duties.
“Smells like teen spirit all right,” Roi said, his tongue running across his lips. He looked a little too eager for Lukian’s liking.
Lukian ignored the comment because he’d known Roi long enough to know what his tastes in women were, and teenage girls weren’t one of them.
His focus drew to a group of young women entering the nightclub they’d been camped out in front of for two hours, watching from an area where they wouldn’t be spotted. Nope, not the ones they were in search of. These girls didn’t look legal, which had prompted Roi’s comment about teen and spirit.
“Tell me again why we’re here?” asked Lukian, scratching the back of his neck, feeling uneasy about this mission just as much now as when Brooks assigned it to them.
“Because we have to be,” Roi said contemptuously. “Plus, if the target is a no-show
there are plenty of hotties in there we could take home with us. Mmm, fun times. Want to double-team any?”
“Stop talking to me,” replied Lukian, staying calm, cool
and collected, despite how much he knew Roi was trying to get him going.
“Okay, but I’m right. We’re here because it’s orders. Orders fucking blow.”
The answer wasn’t the one he wanted to hear, but it was the truth. They did have to be here. Lukian knew what their mission was, probably better than Roi. He was, after all, first in command. Search, gather intel
and then eliminate the target. The target was what he had a problem with. It had been a long time since he’d been forced to take a woman’s life. He didn’t look forward to it now.
Didn’t help matters that he seemed to be having a visceral reaction to the target. Fuck, her photo nearly left him laying claim to her. He wasn’t sure what was going on, or how his head had gotten so screwed up, but he did know this mission wasn’t sitting well with him.
He glanced down at the photo of the auburn-haired girl he’d been carrying in his back pocket. Her large green eyes had haunted him since he’d first been given the assignment. He knew the rules: don’t get attached, don’t put a face to the name. He’d broken them both. He’d been fixated on Peren’s picture since he’d received it. He silently hoped he wouldn’t have to be the one to deliver the killing blow. He’d been doing this kind of work for too long and was too good at it to let this one get to him.
A small sedan pulled into the parking lot, and the hair on the back of Lukian’s neck began to rise, his body going on high alert, his senses wild. He sniffed the air and caught a scent he’d not smelled before, but one he felt he knew—somehow, on some baser level. The fierce need to kill anything he deemed threatening to the scent’s owner came over him. He wanted to kill anyone and anything near the vehicle, assuring the safety of its passengers.
One in particular.
It was her.
He knew it deep in his bones. A low warning growl began to emanate from him, his beast in agreement with his gut reaction.
Protect the woman.
Roi lifted a brow. “Something you want to share, Captain?”
“No,” snapped Lukian, his gaze on the vehicle he knew without a shadow of a doubt held the target. He watched as a tiny woman with ink-black hair and tanned skin opened the car door. He looked at Roi to see how he was holding up, because he knew
was Roi’s type of woman. If things went badly, they’d be forced to take the friends out as well. Their directive had been only the one target, but they were cleared to do whatever was necessary to eliminate her while securing whatever information it was they thought she had. If that meant additional casualties, then that was fine too.
No, his beast roared within him. It nearly broke free. Sweat beaded on his brow and Lukian reached out, touching Roi’s arm lightly. He needed something to ground him. Something to keep him from doing the unthinkable and losing control and shifting.
He knew it then. He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t do as he’d been directed. Not this time. And he wouldn’t let anyone else harm the target either.
She was his.
Gathering something close to control, Lukian watched his friend lick his lips again. He knew that Roi was picturing his mouth running all along the little one’s body. He squeezed Roi’s arm, feeling a bit more like himself and finally able to speak again. “It is best not to think too hard about that one. Trust me, I know. I’m having the same pull to the target. My gut is telling me this whole thing is shit. Brother, I want to protect her, not end her.”
“I’m with your gut,” said Roi softly. “I want to protect them too.”
Lukian watched as the black-haired woman stepped back from the car, pulling the target with her. He slid his fingers over the photo in his hand. Peren, yes, there she was—average height, around five six or so, with anything but an average build. His gaze fell over her white blouse. Its V-neck was low cut and showed the swelling mounds of her breasts. Her tiny waist only made her chest look larger from his vantage point. He wanted to suck on her nipples as he rammed his cock deep within her.
What the hell’s your problem? You don’t think about targets as sexual objects.
Well, he didn’t used to think of targets as sex objects. This one was breaking all his rules. Lukian shifted uncomfortably, trying to get rid of the growing problem between his legs.
Missy grabbed Peren’s arm and led her into the club. The bouncer at the door spent more time flirting with the girls than he did checking their IDs. Melanie stopped and reciprocated his advances as Peren stood silently on the sidelines, the odd feeling of being watched settling over her. She glanced over her shoulder, out the still open door and into the darkness. There was no one there that she could see. Yet she still felt the heavy weight of someone’s stare upon her.
When her attention returned to the bouncer, she found him watching her. He wasn’t the person who tripped her inner alarms. That much she was sure of. Though, he did keep ogling her, probably hoping he’d somehow manage to get all three of the women to paw him as the women in front of them had.
Not much of a chance of that.
She had little interest in hooking up with a man who probably found a new piece of ass to slip
into on a nightly basis. “Pass-around-penis”—the pet name they’d given men who got around—didn’t do a thing for her.
This night is going to blow.
Her own lack of interest in her birthday did startle her a bit. It was especially bittersweet for her because it was to be the day that she and Kyle married. It’d been eight months ago that they’d made that decision. He’d proposed to her in the most romantic way. He’d set up a blanket under the stars and had a picnic laid out for them. They’d spent the evening making love and discussing their future. Kyle slipped under her radar and finally swept her off her feet. It had been the day after he’d proposed that he’d gone missing. Eight months hadn’t even begun to heal her wounds. No, she still mourned the loss of him daily. Everyone kept telling her that he’d turn up—that he’d gotten cold feet about the wedding and run off to sow his wild oats. Whatever the hell that meant. She knew better. Kyle wasn’t like that.
“His grant was approved, he’s got you…” She could still hear the police and Kyle’s parents defiantly listing the reasons why he’d resurface again. She knew better, though. Kyle would never leave to begin with, not of his own free will. He was too jazzed about his research project for one, and he wouldn’t quit talking about marrying her.
“I don’t understand why we can’t tell everyone that we’re engaged right now.” The hurt in his voice still echoed in her ear.
“Because you’re my professor. Two, my father runs the science department here, remember? You could lose your job over this, Kyle, and you know it. Just give it a few more months, that’s all, okay? I’ll graduate, your research will be well under way, and no one will be able to stand in our way.”
Maybe he wouldn’t have stormed off that night if she’d just agreed to his simple demands. Maybe if she’d given in and told the world about their affair, maybe he’d be there with her now. She didn’t need someone to tell her he was dead. There was no way that he’d just not come back to her. As much as she hated to admit it, Kyle was dead.
He was dead and gone, and she was stuck trying to plaster a happy face on when all she wanted to do was go home and curl up in bed. Barely past the threshold to the bar, Peren paused, the hair on the back of her neck standing on end, the sense that something was off hitting her hard. She turned, only just catching a glimpse outside as the heavy bar door swung shut. Something was brewing. She knew enough to trust her instincts
and they were telling her that the night was going to totally and utterly blow.
“Damn, they are…
,” Roi said, a cross between a whistle and a growl, his eyes showing signs of shifting colors as he stared across the bar, his focus on the women who had arrived with the target.
Lukian turned to him, regretting bringing him into the damn dump of a bar. He should have left Roi outside sitting in the bushes. His normally even temper was suddenly on the verge of going out of control. He didn’t need any of his men making a stupid mistake because they’d let their dicks interfere with their better judgment. There was simply too much at stake now. The women needed to be protected.
Lukian let his voice drop, his wolf poking up slightly, reminding Roi who was in charge. “Control your beast. We don’t want to have to blow the place up to cover our asses here.”
There would be no way to put the horse back in the barn if Roi lost control and shifted forms for all to see. It wasn’t as if the I-Ops kept a Fae on speed dial in the event humans needed their memories tweaked. And that skill wasn’t something every Fae could even do. If a clean-up team needed called in because Roi turned into a wolf in a bar full of humans, the humans would more than likely meet with untimely, “accidental” deaths. At least that was what the headlines in the papers would read. Lukian’s guess would be on a gas line breaking and exploding or some other excuse the government liked to use.
“The only ass I want to cover is hers,” Roi said, still fixated on the black-haired girl. Desire rolled off the man and for a second Lukian thought he actually caught the faint scent of mating energy coming from Roi. That couldn’t be. Roi wasn’t the type of guy who settled down with anyone.
Lukian wondered if she was the woman he’d communicated back and forth with on the computer. She’d seemed nice enough and very intent on seeing Peren happy. A stab of guilt hit him again. Why was this mission getting to him so bad? Why was he ready to throw away everything he’d worked so hard for on a woman he didn’t even know?
, his inner voice pushed once more. If he didn’t get a grip, it would be Roi having to restrain him to avoid Lukian shifting in front of a bar full of humans.
He watched the girls find a table. Peren’s expression made him want to go to her and hold her. For a split second he’d witnessed pure sadness overcoming her and he hated it. Hated knowing she was upset.
“I need a drink,” said Roi, clenching his fists, the cords in his neck popping as he clearly struggled to gain control of himself and his wolf.
Lukian would have offered reassuring words, but he was in the same boat. He nodded, a drink sounded perfect. “Better make mine a double.”
He had to force himself to look only in the direction of the bar and not at Peren. As they reached the bar, Lukian caught the eye of the bartender. The middle-aged man did a double-take and then tossed his hand towel over his shoulder as he approached. He nodded his head to Lukian. “What can I get you and your buddy?”
“Whiskey,” answered Roi, putting his palms on the top of the bar and stretching his fingers. “The whole bottle and a bottle for
The bartender stared at them from unsure eyes before shrugging and grabbing them each a bottle of whiskey. Roi slid more than enough money to cover the tab across the bar top and then grabbed a bottle for himself. He faced Lukian and began to chug.
Lukian took his bottle, nodded a thanks to the bartender, and did the same. The liquid tickled the back of his throat on the way down, helping him to gain something close to control over his beast once more. As shifters, the men had metabolisms that were vastly different from a human’s. A bottle of whiskey wouldn’t get them drunk. It would take the edge off their moods, but it wouldn’t get them shit-faced by any means.
Roi clutched his bottle. “This is so fucked up, isn’t it?”
Lukian wanted to disagree, but knew better than to try. Roi was right. This mission was all kinds of fucked up. The plan had been a simple one. Lure the women to them at the bar, slip into the girls’ world undetected
and eliminate the target and then vanish, never to be seen by any of these people again. Peren would hardly be the first person the government had sent him to eliminate. Yes, she was the first female, but that didn’t explain the feelings he was having for her. And it didn’t explain away why every ounce of his being wanted to scratch the mission and wrap her in his arms.