Stone Cold Lover

By: Stormy Glenn
Assassins Inc. 2



Prologue




Sinclair



“How are you?”

I wanted to ask more, but I knew I couldn’t. There were unspoken rules about our weekly conversations. One of them was that I couldn’t ask about things that were considered too personal.

“I’m fine,” Stone replied.

That was always Stone’s reply.

I almost smiled.

“Councilman James called earlier and said he had a few new assignments coming through. He asked me to do a bit of research before handing them off to you guys.”

“Did he say who the mark was?” Stone asked.

“Marks,” I said. “From what I understand, there is more than one.”

“Okay, did he say who the marks were?”

“No.” And that was odd. “He asked me to look into a few leads, but I haven’t really had the time to look at them. I’ve been pretty busy trying to clean up some mess Samson got himself into with a pride of lions.”

“Samson got involved with a pride of lions?”

I chuckled at the shock I could hear in Stone’s voice. It had been a surprise to me, too. “Apparently, he camped out in their territory without permission while on an assignment and the pride leader is pissed.”

“And he didn’t wipe the floor with the guy?”

We both knew he could. Samson was huge. Hence the name Samson. He kind of reminded me of a raging bull even though he was a panther shifter, but even that form was huge. He should have been an alpha. I never quite understood why he wasn’t, and Samson refused to talk about it.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

Stone’s words were like a knife to the gut, taking my ability to breathe. I knew this day would come at some point. I had always known. I just hadn’t expected it so fast. It had only been a few years.

“Ca—” I cleared my throat and tried again. “Can’t do what anymore?”

I prayed I was wrong about what he was going to say.

“This,” Stone snapped out. “Us.”

I wasn’t wrong.

I squeezed my eyes shut as tears sprang up at the man’s words. I had to hold it together long enough to allow the man to end things. I refused to let him know how much anguish his words were causing me. I did have some pride.

“These little weekly phone calls of ours are crap, Sinclair.”

Sinclair, not Sin. Stone had been calling me Sin since almost the first day we met. He was the only one who did, and now he wasn’t even doing that.

I guess that kind of said it all.

“Haven’t I been punished enough?” Stone asked in a frigid tone.

I never considered myself a weak man, but in that moment, I didn’t want to do anything except curl up in my bed and cry. Stone’s words gutted me, destroying any hope I had ever held onto that he would one day accept me.

When I found my voice and spoke again, I prayed my tone was devoid of my despair. I didn’t want Stone to know how shattered I was. “I’m sorry if you feel our conversations were a punishment, Stone. You have my apologies and my promise that it will never happen again.”

My fingers trembled as I hit the disconnect button on my phone, hanging up on Stone. Knowing that was probably the last time I would ever hear Stone’s voice didn’t make it any easier.

I stared at the phone when it rang. I knew without even looking that it was Stone. He always did like having the last word with anyone. He wouldn’t be happy that I had hung up on him.

I started to reach for the phone, but curled my hand into a fist before I could pick it up. It wouldn’t do either of us any good to talk again, no matter how much I might want it. Stone had made his wishes perfectly clear and I needed to respect his decision.

I just had to learn how to live without the other half of my soul.

I quickly wiped at my eyes when I heard someone coming down the hallway toward my door. If I had been human—which I wasn’t—I never would have heard the footsteps. But, I did. I could even tell it was a man. Women didn’t walk in the same hard clipped manner as men.

I made sure everything important in my office was put away. Not knowing who was coming, I didn’t want to leave any sensitive stuff lying around. I didn’t get visitors often, but still, it paid to be cautious.

When the door opened, I swung my wheelchair around. “Councilman James.”

The man gave me the creeps, and it had nothing to do with me being a hyena shifter and the councilman being a panther. He just had this uncomfortable way about him, as if he was waiting to see what he could get out of a person, whether they wanted it or not.

“Has the Mills contract been completed yet?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“I need you to stop everything you are doing and put this out on the wire. The price if it’s done in the next twenty-four hours has gone up to two million dollars.”

I raised my eyebrows as surprise sliced through me. “Two million dollars?”

Some contracts went for quite a bit of money, but it had been ages since one had grown that big.

“In twenty-four hours,” Councilman James clarified.

Man, someone seriously wanted this dude dead.

“I’ll get right on it, sir.”

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