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Authors: Lora Leigh

Mercury's War

BOOK: Mercury's War
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Mercury's War

Lora Leigh

    

    

Contents

    

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER 4

CHAPTER 5

CHAPTER 6

CHAPTER 7

CHAPTER 8

CHAPTER 9

CHAPTER 10

CHAPTER 11

CHAPTER 12

CHAPTER 13

CHAPTER 14

CHAPTER 15

CHAPTER 16

CHAPTER 17

CHAPTER 18

CHAPTER 19

CHAPTER 20

CHAPTER 21

CHAPTER 22

CHAPTER 23

CHAPTER 24

CHAPTER 25

CHAPTER 26

CHAPTER 27

EPILOGUE

COYOTE’S MATE

 

    

    

    

        

    

    
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP

    
Published by the Penguin Group

    
Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

    
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

    Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada

    (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

    Penguin Books Ltd., 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

    Penguin Group Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

    Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia

    (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

    Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi-110 017, India

    Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0632, New Zealand

    (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

    Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd., 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196,

    South Africa

    

    Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

    

    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

    

    MERCURY’S WAR

    

    A Berkley Sensation Book / published by arrangement with the author

    

    PRINTING HISTORY

    Berkley Sensation mass-market edition / October 2008

    

    Copyright © 2008 by Christina Simmons.

    

    All rights reserved.

    No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form

    without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in

    violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

    For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

    a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

    375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

    eISBN : 978-1-436-28993-1

    

    BERKLEY® SENSATION

    Berkley Sensation Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

    a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

    375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

    BERKLEY SENSATION and the “B” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

    

    
http://us.penguingroup.com

    

    Praise for HARMONY’S WAY

    Romantic Times

    “Leigh’s engrossing alternate reality combines spicy sensuality, romantic passion and deadly danger. Hot stuff indeed.”

    

    “I stand in awe of Ms. Leigh’s ability to bring to life these wonderful characters as they slowly weave their way into my mind and heart. When it comes to this genre, Lora Leigh is the queen.”
-Romance Junkies

    

    
Praise for
MEGAN’S MARK

    “A fast-paced romantic suspense that will have readers hungering for more. Like all the wonderfully erotic and exciting books in Leigh’s Breeds series,
Megan’s Mark
has at its core characters that you just want to sink your teeth into… Powerful, passionate and explosive.”
-Love Romances & More

    

    “A riveting tale full of love, intrigue and every woman’s fantasy,
Megan’s Mark
is a wonderful contribution to Lora Leigh’s Breeds series… As always, Lora Leigh delivers on all counts;
Megan’s Mark
will certainly not disappoint her many fans!”
-Romance Reviews Today

    

    “Hot, hot, hot-the sex and the setting… You can practically see the steam rising off the pages.”
-Fresh Fiction

    

    “This entertaining romantic science fiction suspense will remind the audience of
Kitty and the Midnight Hour
by Carrie Vaughn and MaryJanice Davidson’s
Derik’s Bane
as this futuristic world filled with ‘Breeds’ seems ‘normal’… [A] delightful thriller.”
-The Best Reviews

    

    “The dialogue is quick, the action is fast and the sex is oh so hot… Don’t miss out on this one.”
-A Romance Review

    

    “Leigh’s action-packed Breeds series makes a refreshing change… Rapid-fire plot development and sex steamy enough to peel wallpaper.”
-Monsters and Critics

    

    “An exceedingly sexy and sizzling new series to enjoy. Hot sex, snappy dialogue and kick-butt action add up to outstanding entertainment.”
-Romantic Times

    

    
Berkley Titles by Lora Leigh

    

MERCURY’S WAR

    

DAWN’S AWAKENING

    

TANNER’S SCHEME

    

HARMONY’S WAY

    

MEGAN’S MARK

    

NAUTI DREAMS

    

NAUTI NIGHTS

    

NAUTI BOY

    

    
Anthologies

    

SHIFTER

    

    (with Angela Knight, Alyssa Day, and Virginia Kantra)

    

BEYOND THE DARK

    

    (with Angela Knight, Emma Holly, and Diane Whiteside)

    

HOT SPELL

    

    (with Emma Holly, Shiloh Walker, and Meljean Brook)

    

    

In loving memory of my father,

    Russell Kanduha, for always believing.

    And my aunt and uncle, Sue and Sid, for

    wounderful childhood memories.

    You are dearly missed.

    

    

    

        

PROLOGUE

    

    BUFFALO GAP, VIRGINIA BREED COMPOUND, SANCTUARY

    

    
He was a beast, an animal. He was a creation, the blending of man and lion, and the beast was caged within him. Powerful, strong. The ability to run, to hunt, to scent the enemy on the wind and taste it in the breeze was chained in the dimmest part of the man’s subconscious.

    
How was it fair that it was locked away? it roared. The man was given leave to walk the land, and yet the beast was forced to hide. It stared out of the man’s eyes, it pumped the blood in the man’s body, and forever it was leashed, restrained.

    
But it was growing stronger. The drugs that had kept it leashed had worn off; the years of freedom that the man had known, the false sense of security that the man had developed, would aid the creature hiding inside him.

    
The beast waited. It prowled. It roared out in nightmares as it bided its time. The man was certain of his control. Certain that the drugs the scientists had given him in those labs, and his own control, had killed the animal that fought with such ferocity to survive. But it wasn’t dead. It had never left. For a time, it had slept. A forced sleep. A sleep that built the anger growing inside it, and now it was awake. It was awake and clawing to be free.

    
But it was patient, or so the animal thought. It could hold on until the man let it free. It was part of the man, part of who he was, what he was. The man would release the animal soon. As soon as the animal was strong enough. It was tired. The attempts to kill it had nearly succeeded. Only by slipping so deep within the man’s primal unconsciousness that even the most vital parts of it were hidden, had it managed to survive.

    
But when it slipped back, the drugs had built an unbreakable fortress of bars around it. They pressed into the animal. Drove spikes through its soul and filled it with pain. And weakened it. Weakened it as surely as a fatal wound would have killed the man. And the man stayed diligent. The man had no reason to give rein to his heart, or to open his soul. For the man believed his soul lost. Only the animal knew better. And the animal waited . . . Waited for the man to find his soul.

    

    “Have you finished the tests?” Jonas stepped into the small lab, as Jackal trailed behind him. Damned security personnel. Callan had given the order that with Jonas’s own force of men now protecting Vanderale’s glorified clerk, Jonas had to have a bodyguard. A human bodyguard at that.

    It was a damned good thing he could at least get along with the other man.

    He stared at Elyiana Morrey’s back as she tensed, her hand lifting to rub the back of her neck. The muscles stiffened beneath her white lab coat as the scent of her irritation began to bloom around her.

    She was doing that a lot lately. As soon as he found the time, he would remind her who was the boss here. He didn’t have time to engage in power plays with her.

    “I finished the tests.” She picked up a folder, turned and strode to the counter beside him before slapping it down and returning to whatever she was working on before. Completely ignoring both him and his bodyguard, Jackal.

    Silence filled the lab as Jonas stared at the file, quirking his brow at her obvious ill temper. Breed females didn’t have PMS, so he couldn’t explain her mood swings as well as he could those of the few non-Breed females in the compound.

    He had decided months ago that Ely was just contrary. He liked that about her though. Sometimes. He understood it and could deal with it. But she was being unusually contrary and that didn’t set well with him.

    “Would you like to explain the tests you ran?” he finally asked her.

    “It’s in the file.”

    “I don’t want to read your scientific gibberish.” He allowed a primal growl to vibrate in his throat. “Tell me what I need to know.”

    She turned back to him slowly, and he saw the anger burning in her eyes. “Your games are out of hand,” she hissed, her gaze flickering nervously to Jackal. “Your manipulations and conniving machinations are going to get someone killed. And this conversation is none of his business.” She pointed her finger at the bodyguard as her gaze snapped with ire.

    Jonas stared at her in surprise. Hell, he thought she liked Jackal. He rubbed at his chin thoughtfully as he tried to figure out what had her so incensed. He could only come up with one thing.

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