Streak politics, and differences in opinions forced Kurt Owens to choose his own path. While it may be outside of the law in many regards he sees it as ensuring justice for the true victims of crimes when the system fails them. It’s his way of seeing the guilty pay, and keeping his own inner beast in check with the violence, and blood it craves.
Everyone thinks having a super power would be great. Alexa Harold would beg to differ. She’s been cursed to see ghosts, the dead not yet having gone to their final resting place, or judgment, or wherever they belong. They track her down, and harass her until she’s ready to go mad. Learning early in life what she needs to avoid has been the only saving grace in keeping her sanity intact.
Then she sees a man who couldn’t possibly be real. It was just her luck that such a prime specimen would in fact be deceased. Only he isn’t, and he’s taking notice of her. With a little temptation, some mystery, and a taunt he leaves her wanting more.
Kurt never thought he’d find his mate outside of the streak, or streak functions. While those of a supernatural inclination aren’t exactly rare, they have had to be careful and keep their population down. Alexa is the woman for him the only one he could ever want or need. And when her life is put in danger by his own past Kurt won’t stop until everyone understands to get to this tiger’s mate, they’ll have to get through him.
Wrapping his hand around the fresh longneck the bartender slid his way, Kurt lifted it to his lips to take a long drink. His contact was late. Never a good sign when the guy who did all his go-between work wasn’t on time. Especially when it was payday.
Kurt would give the man another half hour before hunting his ass down. Any longer than that and the ditzy blonde at the other end of the bar might garner up some courage to come talk to him. Her friends had been daring her to since they’d caught sight of him. So far she’d resisted their urging despite the number of hungry looks she’d sent his way.
While he had zero problems hooking up with some random, preferably nameless, chick in a bar, that one looked like serious trouble. He could have given anyone a multitude of reasons why. Namely he knew she was trouble by the two thousand dollar shoes, one and a half thou handbag, and he didn’t even want to tally up her outfit. Kurt wasn’t a connoisseur of fashion, not even close, but he’d been around enough to start to recognize the brand names. He had to be observant in what he did, as otherwise he’d end up dead.
He took another long pull from the bottle, camouflaging his perusal of the group so that they wouldn’t perceive it as interest. The blonde was downing shots. Freaking fan-fucking-tastic. If she put enough down, she’d likely get up the courage to actually wobble over in her overpriced stilettos. Not what he wanted tonight. He was here to get paid for the job he’d completed, and then he was going to find a place where no one knew him to crash for many hours of peaceful slumber.
Tensing, he felt someone getting close he let out a breath. Only the waitress. He’d chosen the end of the bar with the wall to his back so he could see the entire place, and so no one could get too close without him knowing. While it sucked if he had to bail, it was tactically the wisest location in case trouble came calling.
And blonde bimbo was making her move. Son of a fucking bitch. She tottered across the bar, closing the distance between them as he waved the bartender over for another cold one. Relief crashed through him as his contact slid onto the empty seat at Kurt’s side.
“Sorry, man, fucking accident six blocks over fucked me right up. I’m late. I sincerely apologize. Didn’t know it was there until I was in the thick of the shit. It’s truly amazing how perfectly decent human beings turn into the Grim fucking Reaper when there’s a DOA at a crash. Couldn’t get a single one of them to move enough to let me through. Fuckers all looked at me like I was the douchebag.”
Lenny signaled the bartender when he’d finished his spiel. Kurt gave the man a few moments to take a drink before he acknowledged him. “No worries,” he said quietly. He didn’t bother mentioning he’d been mere minutes from heading out to hunt his scrawny ass down. No reason to upset the little guy unduly. Besides, Lenny knew what Kurt would do to him if the man didn’t show up for a meet.
“I tucked it into the usual spot,” Lenny said. Which meant Kurt’s payment was secured in Kurt’s truck in the lockbox in the back. “I may have another gig for you. I’ll need to do some background, and check a few of the less clear details, but I should know something in a couple of days.”
Kurt gave a slow nod. The blonde was back at the table of idiotic sorority types downing more shots. “Shoot me a text for a meet when you feel confident about it.”
While Lenny might give the impression of being the unreliable sort, Kurt did trust him. To a degree. The man brokered all the deals, kept Kurt out of it all, and ensured Kurt got paid for what he did. Doing what he did, it wasn’t like Kurt could set up a web page and advertise. That was just begging for a one way ticket to a ten by eight cell for life, if not the chair.
Tipping his beer up he did another visual sweep of the place. Movement from the end of the bar near the girls caught his attention. Son of a … bikers, why the hell is it always bikers? Most were good guys even if they did shit that had the law on their asses most of the time. Then there were the wannabes who acted tough, blew smoke, and basically started shit. The guys making lewd gestures to one another about the sorority sisters were very definitely in the second category.
Big, scary looking, and assholes. They’d also been drinking so it was a situation ripe, and ready to explode. Setting his beer down Kurt turned slightly. “You may want to finish that up, and clear out. There’s about to be trouble in here.”
Kurt was itching for a fight. His last job had gone smoothly, too smoothly for him. He was a hands-on sort that liked to get good and bloody. The biker assholes might finally give him a way to let off a bit of steam. And if he happened to break a few of their bones or faces, all the better in his mind. While Kurt’s conscience didn’t pipe up all that often, there was no way he’d risk the guy that was his go-to man.
“Uh, shit, right.” Lenny chugged the last of his beer quickly. He reached to his pocket.
“I got it, go.” Kurt pulled off a couple of bills to pay for his beers and Lenny’s. The man took a cut off every job Kurt completed, which was all of them because he was that fucking good, but Kurt still paid for his drinks at every meet.
“One of these days I will pay for a drink, you know.”
“You can try, but we both know who has the better and faster moves. Now go. You’re no use to me in a hospital.”
“The love and concern for my wellbeing I feel pouring off you warms my heart.”
Hearing the sarcasm Kurt turned his eyes on the other man, and growled. Not some pissy ass sound a human could make, but a sound only a born predator could pull from the bowels of his gut.
Tiger’s Mate is part of the Bad Alpha anthology published with Evernight Publishing. I am honored to be part of this anthology with these other amazing authors. Simply fabulous men and women.
April Zyon (me!)
Elyzabeth M. Valey
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