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Omega Mine

Aline Hunter

 

A bond forged in blood. Fealty
given to the one he desires above all others.

Graced with the ability to shift
into any form, Diskant Black is the absolute authority when it comes to New
York shifters, and as the Omega of the city, his word is law. Protecting the
shifter races is more than a job, it’s a predisposition ingrained since birth—nothing
is more important.

Until a chance encounter with a
tiny female sets fire to his blood, brings him to his knees and turns his world
upside down. Ava Brisbane is more than he bargained for in a mate—beautiful,
fragile…
human
. If he wants to keep her by his side, he’ll have to
sacrifice a portion of his soul to establish a bond that can never be broken.

Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t
be worse. Shepherds—hunters of all the shifter races—have arrived in New York.
To protect the woman he can’t live without, Diskant will have to stand against
those who have come to start a war.

 

Ellora’s Cave Publishing

www.ellorascave.com

 

 

 

Omega Mine

 

ISBN 9781419934827

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Omega Mine Copyright © 2011 Aline Hunter

 

Edited by Ann Leveille

Cover design and photography by Syneca

 

Electronic book publication September 2011

 

The terms Romantica® and Quickies® are registered trademarks of
Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

 

With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not
be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written
permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home
Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this
copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or
distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without
the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including
infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is
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(http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print
editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of
copyrighted material. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons,
living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The
characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.

 

The publisher and author(s) acknowledge the trademark status and
trademark ownership of all trademarks, service marks and word marks mentioned
in this book.

 

The publisher does not have any control over, and does not assume
any responsibility for, author or third-party Web sites or their content.

Omega Mine

Aline Hunter

Dedication

 

An enormous amount of gratitude is owed to my mom, my
critique partners—Fallon Blake, Rosalie Stanton and Madelyn Ford—and my editor,
Ann Leveille. Thank you for your continued encouragement, guidance and support.
Each story I create is made better because of you.

 

Chapter One

 

The alley was dark, cold and empty—with no sign of Jonathan
Roberts.

“Damn,” Ava Brisbane cursed under her breath and glanced
from left to right. Nothing but brick, chilly air and asphalt greeted her from
either direction. And just like a bad horror movie, a heavy gray fog was
a-rollin’ in.

Double damn.

Lifting her left hand and shoving aside her jacket, she
glanced at the thick black leather cuff on her wrist. 12:49 a.m. Yep, it was
definitely time to get a move on. The liaison wasn’t coming and being caught
out at this hour—in the godforsaken Bronx—was just plain stupid. All kinds of
things came out when the sun went down. Things that would eat her flesh and
pick their teeth clean with her bones.

The soft humming of the cell phone inside her back pocket
vibrated against her ass, tickling her skin through the thin, stretchy denim.
She knew who was calling because the same person who gifted her with the
electronic device was the only one who knew the number—the annoying, scheming
and blackmailing bastard Craig Newlander.

Rolling her eyes, she pulled the thin piece of metal from
her jeans, flipped it open and placed it to her ear. “He’s not here.”

“I know that.” Craig’s voice was a deceptive device used to
gain favor. He sounded amiable, polite and downright sexy. Too bad he was an
asshole, poser and opportunist. “Jonathan was forced to seek shelter when he
got a tail. Get out of there and go home. I’ll contact you tomorrow.”

“Wait a minute,” she snapped, attempting to remain calm and
keep her voice hushed. “You told me that if I came and exchanged the packages,
you would return the locket for services rendered. That was the deal.”

“I’ll contact you tomorrow.”

A loud click echoed in her ear and the line went dead.

Ava extended her arm, glowered at the cell phone and
snarled, “You dirty rotten pig bastard!”

For a moment she considered chucking the device across the
way and achieving a perverse—but fleeting—satisfaction at its demise. Instead
she returned it to her pocket and seethed inwardly. Craig could kiss her ass
after she wiped the floor with his. Once she had possession of the locket her
useless brother pawned, that’s exactly what she planned do to the arrogant
piece of shit.

Her shoulders suddenly felt heavy, laden with the burden of
obligation.

Sweet baby Jesus, the entire situation was whack. She was a
bartender who peddled drinks for a living, not a hoity-toity Villati who lived
off stocks and mutual funds. And if she knew what was best for a continued life
expectancy, she would keep it that way. The preternatural investigators who
unearthed the existing names and secrets of the supernatural families across
the world didn’t last long. Most of the time their obituaries ran in the paper
at the same time their findings were bound, recorded and placed in the Villati
registry.

Thinking about the circumstances that brought her to this
dangerous location incensed her further and she vented her frustrations via the
fingers that adjusted the strap attached to the leather messenger bag draped
across her chest.

Her brother, Thomas, was a bona fide loser. He’d piddled all
of the money left by their parents to nourish his gambling addiction and
started hocking their valued belongings when he hit a losing streak. First it
was antique silverware and vintage vases. Then, when she noted their absence,
he went for the throat and hocked the jewels.

If she hadn’t been neck deep in a horrible relationship that
was doomed to sink, yet she felt obligated to repair, she might have noticed
the debt collectors and the phone calls. As it happened, she didn’t get hip to
the deception until all of Thomas’ fortune was gone. They were forced to sell
the home in Greenwich their mother and father had worked so hard for, to save
his wretched ass, along with all of the belongings left following their
unexpected deaths.

But one treasure had remained hers—the Brisbane family
locket, passed down for generations. The platinum piece of jewelry was meant to
continue along as a link to the past and it would have until Thomas, in the
throes of addiction, had paid her a visit a month previous under the guise of
needing a place to sleep for the night. The following morning the locket was
gone and within a week she got a visit at her place of employment from a Mr.
Craig Newlander, the big Villati head kahuna an asshole of epic proportions and
a persistently annoying burr in her ass.

Ava ground her teeth together and exhaled slowly.

She avoided Villatis at every turn, even as they tried to
establish a connection. All of her family—with the notable exception of
Thomas—had been blessed with some form of advanced perception. Be it something
minor, like being able to hear someone else’s thoughts or something
substantial, like being able to control and manipulate the will of others. She
possessed the latter of the two talents, and that made her a prime candidate
for enrollment in their ranks.

Something she absolutely, positively didn’t want to think
about.

Mortal minds were cake but supernatural ones such as those
of vampires, shifters and magic casters were beyond her capacity. She couldn’t
hear them or feel them, and since she couldn’t outsmart, outmatch or outrun
them either, it was like walking into a lion’s den smeared in lamb’s blood with
a flashing “eat me” sign.

“Damn you, big brother,” she muttered and then sighed. “And
damn me too.”

Begrudgingly accepting her fate, she turned, retrieved the
cell phone to call a cab and began a quiet trek toward the end of the alley.
When the first shadow appeared in front of her, she knew she was in trouble.
Then she heard the voice of a second just behind her.

“Well, well, well,” a melodic lilt that only could belong to
a vampire cooed. “What do we have here?”

* * * * *

Diskant Black reveled in the visceral sounds of his Harley
Night Train as the brisk autumn air caressed his face. Making the trip to this
part of the Five Boroughs was something he never enjoyed but when a stray
wandered into his city it meant a proper introduction was in order. The rogue
werepanther wasn’t very bright but he’d got the message. This was Diskant’s
territory, his domain, and as an Omega—the most powerful of all
lycanthropes—his word was law. A lot changed over the centuries but one thing
remained the same. Only an Omega bore the mark of all the races and possessed
the ability to change into any of them. That meant total submission and respect
was bestowed to him among the shifters. In the city that never sleeps he was in
charge, and it wasn’t open to discussion.

Inhaling deeply, he absorbed the combined scents of
concrete, dirt, water, garbage and exhaust fumes into his lungs. The sour tang
of fear enhancing each scent didn’t come as a monumental surprise and wouldn’t
have concerned him if the sticky sweet stench of vampire wasn’t combined with
it. He snorted, removed the stink from his nose and inhaled again. Deeper this
time. It was definitely fear he scented and the sharp, sour smell was pouring
off a human. He gripped the bars of the bike and shook his head. It was the wrong
place at the wrong time for some dumb schmuck. Probably some addict looking to
score or a homeless person who’d picked the wrong stretch of garbage dumpster
to sleep in.

Then a roar of outrage sounded nearby, an undeniable battle
cry, and revealed the gender of the victim. “Fuck you!” a sultry female voice
thundered.

Well, hot damn
. Leaving a male to fend for himself he
could do but never a damsel in distress.

Diskant dredged in another cool lungful of air, searching
for the source of the sour taint of terror and fury. It wasn’t very far…

“Gotcha.” He applied the brake, slung his right leg around
and brought his foot to the road and turned the bike in the proper direction.

He found what he was looking for three alleys over. The
female had obviously tried to fight—the burning tingle in his nostrils told him
that pepper spray had been used—but her lifeless body dangled over the shoulder
of one of the leeches nonetheless.

Lowering the kickstand with a flick of his heel, he cut the
motor and rose from the leather seat. The unencumbered vampire turned while his
companion shifted her small body on his shoulder and began walking in the
opposite direction.

“This doesn’t concern you, shifter.”

Diskant swung his right leg up, over and dismounted the
bike. He took long, deliberate steps, making a steady and unhurried trek down
the alley. The vampire in his path wasn’t much of an obstacle but he wasn’t
supposed to be. Diskant recognized the game. It was a classic strategy he’d
used with his pack on several occasions—the old bait and switch. One distracts
the threat while the other gets away with the bounty. No fuss, no muss. Having
a discussion with the vampire approaching would see that female long gone and,
more than likely, dead.

He waited until he was nearly upon the vampire before he
broke into a sprint, his long leather coat forming wispy tails behind him.
Issuing a muffled plea for forgiveness, he plowed into the back of the vampire
carrying the female and sent her tiny body soaring into the air. She didn’t make
a sound when she landed on the unforgiving cushion of concrete and grime and he
almost gave in to the temptation to see how badly she was injured.

Almost.

The vampires attacked him as one, delivering blows and kicks
that were too fast to counter. A fist caught his chin just as a foot got too
damn close to his balls for reproductive comfort. Another fist skimmed the
surface of his stomach while another came at his nose. Dodging to the right, he
met an unforgiving set of knuckles that made his teeth rattle. That was
followed by a blow to his chest.

Goddamn vampire speed
. Blood drinkers were superior
in that regard but it didn’t really matter.

Shifters were stronger.

Diskant rotated his shoulders, threw the leeches clear of
his body and called on the bear within. He smiled as the woodsy scent of
grizzly oozed from his skin—fragrant, potent,
feral
. Lethal claws
extended past his fingers while his teeth elongated, becoming cone shaped, the
tips as sharp as razors.

While he wouldn’t win any beauty contests, the physical
changes had the intended effect. Two swipes of his hands in either direction
ravaged skin and drew blood, rending tissue in half as flesh peeled from bone.
The stench of fear tickled like wet paint in his nose, burning his nostrils,
and the expressions of the vampires when they got hip to who they were fucking
with was priceless.

With a throaty roar, he issued challenge.

Supper time, motherfuckers.

It didn’t take a crystal ball to know what would happen
next. The blows stopped, speedy footsteps echoed off the ground to the brick
walls of the surrounding buildings and the cowards fled like the hardcore
pussies and bottom feeders they were. The feral portion of him raged, wanting
to track the lost prey but the man countered the desire, forcing his feet to
remain exactly where they were.

He willed the grizzly to settle as he approached the small,
motionless form facedown on the ground. No need to terrify the poor kid any
further. A betting man would put money on a very valuable lesson learned
tonight without his assistance. Claws retracted and his teeth returned to
normal but the adrenaline remained. Nothing he could do about that. Only time
would slow his heart and ice his temper.

At first he thought the dark strands in the short, spiky
blonde hair were blood. However, when he took a knee and peered down he
realized they were chunks of dark pink. She was smaller than he’d initially
perceived, the size of an imp or a pubescent girl.

“Let’s see what we’ve got here.”

Grasping the denim jacket covering her shoulders, he flipped
her over carefully and got the shock of his life. Though tiny, she was
undeniably a woman and, like her frame, her features were delicate. A small
upturned nose, lush berry-hued lips and thin mahogany eyebrows that arched over
heavily lashed lids graced her face. Her blonde hair was cropped short in the
back but left layered slightly on top. Never one to be attracted to short hair
on a woman, he found the style enhanced her beautiful, pixie-like attributes.

He lowered his head and inhaled deeply, until his chest
burned. The scent of vanilla bean, milk, cinnamon, sugar and pure female
overwhelmed him. Damn if she didn’t smell good. Shifters could detect the
alcohol in sprays or the disinfectant used in soaps.

But this…

This was the kind of scent a man could lose himself
in—clean, fresh, tantalizing and arousing. His cock swelled and pulsed when he
imagined peeling her clothes off, tasting her silken skin and then disappearing
between her legs for hours to devour her cunt. He would part her seam, lick
from bottom to top, tease her clit and lap her cream up like warm honey until
she screamed his name over and over again.

She would taste incredible. He was certain of it.

He shook his head in an attempt to cool the powerful arousal
coursing through his body like molten fire. Where the fuck had that come from?
Fucking a human was asking for trouble. They were too weak to take what
shifters wanted sexually and this one looked to be as fragile as fine china.
Not to mention the fangs, claws and domination between the sheets weren’t very
appealing to females who didn’t have a beast of their own beneath the skin.
Likely she’d run screaming the minute he flashed his cock, told her to get on
her knees and instructed her to take him between her plump little lips and
suck.

Get a fucking grip.

He assessed her injuries, rotating her head from side to
side. Aside from a purple bruise along her jaw and a nasty cut above her left
eye, she appeared fine. There were no puncture wounds or signs she’d been
bitten.

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