Midnight Wolf (Shifters Unbound #11)

Midnight Wolf (Shifters Unbound #11)

Jennifer Ashley


“You Angus?”

Angus Murray, black wolf of the New Orleans Shiftertown and bouncer in this New Orleans bar, made a show of looking around. Music thumped, the darkness broken by swirling colored strobes and the small white light above the front door. Angus stood in that light’s shadow.

“I don’t know,” he answered. “Am I?”

The man addressing him was a suit—too clean-cut, every hair in place—but he had the craggy face of a man who used to be a soldier. He’d traded military for civilian in a big way, and was polished and slick, way out of place in this Shifter-groupie bar.

“I’m recruiting you for a job,” the suit said.

Angus looked down on him from his six-foot-five height and rubbed away a bead of sweat before it could trickle into his close-cropped beard.

“Already have a job.” Angus gestured to the packed, five-story bar with a staircase running up the center. Couples snaked around each other on the dance floors or made out in dark corners. Shifters and humans mixed—Shifters because they were bored, humans because they were excited to be around Shifters. “I make sure partying humans and Shifters don’t hurt one another, and themselves.”

Case in point—a human male getting in a female Shifter’s face. He was drunk, waving his beer bottle at her, and the next second, he hit her with it.

Female Shifters could take care of themselves, so Angus didn’t move until the female rose in a snarl of rage and tried to tie the human into a knot. Her Collar went off in an attempt to dampen her violence, but it didn’t stop her from hanging the man upside down by his heels.

Angus waded to her. “Put him down, love.”

The woman, a Feline Shifter, had a bruise on her cheek and fire in her eyes. “The dickhead hit me. Because I didn’t want to go do dirty things in the alley with him.”

“I know. I saw. But you have to let him go.”

Angus spoke sternly. He was supposed to keep Shifters from hurting humans, no matter what the idiot humans did, so Shifters wouldn’t be arrested and executed. No violence against humans. That was the rule. The Feline was from his Shiftertown, but Angus couldn’t cut her any slack.

The Feline gave Angus a sudden smile, her long wildcat teeth showing. “Sure thing,” she said, and dropped the man on his head.

The man howled and scrambled around, trying to get to his feet. The Feline dusted off her hands and disappeared back into the crowd, to the cheers of her friends.

Angus helped the human to stand. “You should go.”

The man jerked from Angus’s grasp. “Don’t touch me, freak. I want that bitch arrested. And I’m suing this place.”

Angus gripped his shoulder. “Not a suggestion. Go.”

He put just enough growl into it. Angus was large and strong, and usually scowling, which helped. His cub, Ciaran, said it made him look like a wolf with a toothache.

The man opened his mouth to argue, got a good look at Angus’s eyes, gulped, and spun away. He slouched unhurriedly out of the bar, muttering that he was tired of this place anyway.

The suit materialized from the shadow where he’d retreated. “I’m right. You’re exactly who we’re looking for.”

That didn’t sound good. “To do what?”

The man beckoned Angus to follow him and turned away.

Angus didn’t like beckoners. The raised, curling finger was annoying, the gesture saying the beckoner believed himself to be in charge. This guy was clearly Shifter Bureau, because only one of them would walk into a Shifter bar and order people around.

Angus followed the suit for two reasons. One, his shift was almost over and another bouncer had arrived to take his place. Two, Angus feared in the back of his mind that if he didn’t make a show of respecting Shifter Bureau agents, they’d use his son as leverage. Ciaran was all Angus had. Ciaran’s mum had gone to the Summerland, dead and dust, but she’d been dead to Angus years before that. The one love in Angus’s life was the little wolf cub with the smart-ass mouth.

The suit led him to the manager’s office. It was empty; the manager rarely came in here.

As the man shut the door, Angus leaned against the desk, folded his arms, and crossed one booted foot over the other. Closing yourself off, Dad, Ciaran would say. You have to let other people in.

Other Shifters, sure. Not assholes who worked for Shifter Bureau.

“What’s the favor?” Angus snarled the words. “You don’t mean a job with pay.”

The suit shook his head, unworried about being alone back here with an irritated Lupine Shifter. His dark hair shone in the office’s light, his eyes sharp and blue. One edge of his suit coat drifted back to show Angus the butt of a pistol in a holster. The pistol looked odd—probably a tranquilizer or Taser. Whatever.

“No pay,” the man confirmed. “But you’ll do it. We need you.”

“I’m touched.” Angus stood up, wanting his full height advantage when he told this dickwad what to do with himself. “I’m also busy.”

“It’s not a suggestion.” The man echoed Angus’s earlier words, another mannerism that annoyed him.

“Okay, look,” Angus said. “I know you Bureau shits think you can come and tell Shifters what to do, but you have rules too. I’m working a job to keep my cub fed and clothed. I’m allowed to do that, without interference. I don’t have to drop everything to do favors for Shifter Bureau whenever they want extra muscle.”

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