Authors: Becca Jameson
Tags: #Paranormal Romance
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Published By: Taliesin Publishing, LLC,
400 Gilead Road, #1617, Huntersville, NC 28070
Copyright © 2014 by Becca Jameson
Digital Release: May 2014
Cover Artist:: James Caldwell
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Table Of Contents
Allison Watkins has been missing for a year. One of many victims captured by the mysterious Romulus, she is finally rescued by the North American Reserves in a massive sting. Tired and in need of counseling, she comes to the Spencer Ranch in Texas to reunite with her parents and work through her trauma with the other rescued women.
Daniel Spencer has been training with NAR for over a year. He is prepared to fight the undefined menace closing in, threatening the way of life shifters have enjoyed for centuries. He is determined to ensure his family and friends can continue to live in peace. What he isn’t prepared for is the sexy broken blonde with deep blue eyes who arrives at his family’s ranch and stops him dead in his tracks.
Allison is his mate. Denying the connection is futile. But she has been through a lot. She needs time. And time is not on their side.
The clock is ticking. Daniel needs to get to Seattle and join the rest of the forces gathering for a battle against evil. He can’t stay with the mate he’s only known for days because her safety, and the safety of every shifter on the planet, is at stake. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her alive.
What does the Romulus want? And why are they preying on young female shifters? Locating them and stopping this madness before exposure to humans and the Romulus’ evil plan destroys their world is the top priority.
To my fantastic publisher and fabulous editor who spend countless hours brainstorming with me to make elaborate plots possible!
Allison huddled in the dark corner of the closet, shivering with cold. She kept her knees tucked under her chin
and her matted hair hung around her face. She couldn’t remember when she’d last had a bath or washed her hair. She’d lost track of time. She didn’t know how long she’d been in this dark prison
either. Hours? Days?
She was so thirsty. If she had to guess
it had been a few days. She’d slept only in short spurts, unable to get comfortable and repeatedly jerking awake out of fear. Even the slightest noise startled her.
She’d rocked to keep warm, but dressed only in shorts and a T-shirt
she wasn’t wearing enough clothes for the lower temperatures she’d experienced…
wherever the hell I am
A noise made her freeze. She stiffened and lifted her face as though it would help her hear better. She held her breath. Was he back? He’d never left her this long. She didn’t know which fate was worse, starving to death locked in this closet or him returning to drag her out and stab a needle into her filled with whatever he repeatedly injected into her.
He rarely spoke and never answered any of her questions. She’d given up trying to communicate or reason with him months ago. But she had no idea what his intentions were. She was stuck, seemingly in the middle of nowhere in a cabin in the woods. She thought they had traveled north that first night when someone snatched her from The Gathering last year, and the cooler weather would indicate she was right.
She’d been in her hotel room alone when a man knocked on the door, sweet-talked his way inside
and then jabbed her in the thigh with a syringe.
Her last memory had been staring at him wide-eyed as her body stopped holding itself upright
He’d cradled her in his arms and set her on the bed. Even her mouth refused to omit a scream. Everything had gone black.
She didn’t know his name. Nor did she know the name of the man who had been her guard here in this cabin. He’d never told her. She knew it had been over a year
judging by the change of seasons.
The only clothes she had were the contents of the small suitcase she’d taken to The Gathering. Her captor had packed up all her belongings and taken her drugged body and everything she had with her. Unfortunately
The Gathering was held at the beginning of summer in Oklahoma. Nothing but warm-weather clothing accompanied her.
And now she was stuck without proper attire for the weather
and the asshole holding her hostage never provided her with anything else.
When she’d awoken the day after her abduction, she found herself bound and gagged in the back of a Jeep bumping down the road toward her new fate. This was not what she’d had in mind when she’d gone to The Gathering.
Sure, she’d been looking for a mate. Every red-blooded shifter between the ages of eighteen and thirty did the same thing every other year when they attended. Anyone not interested in mating usually didn’t show up.
But that man was not her mate. Nor was the man who’d kept her hostage in the cabin.
Footsteps… She angled her head toward the closet door. There were too many. More than one set. Every time there had been visitors, Allison had been on the receiving end of strange drugs that altered her state of mind and stole her memory.
Stomping and shuffling…even running… Someone was in a hurry. Whispers…
Allison grew anxious. She stiffened her spine. She reached out her tongue to lick her dry lips to no avail. Her saliva was almost nonexistent. A chill ran down her arms
and she squeezed her legs tighter.
“Is anybody here?” a voice bellowed.
Allison flinched. Fear made her keep very still. Nothing good happened when that closet door opened. She knew better than to trust whoever was on the other side of that door.
“Allison? Allison Watkins?” More shuffling around. Something large scraped across the floor. The small kitchen table? “Shit.”
Another deeper voice joined the first. Neither belonged to her captor. “Do you think we’re too late? Fuck.”
Could it be? Had someone finally found her?
Hope crawled up her spine and landed on her shoulders, weighing them down, pressing her into the floor. She couldn’t lift her body, but she still had her voice. “In here.” The words came out weak and raspy. She tried to lick her dry lips and opened her mouth again. “Here. I’m in here.” This time she sounded louder.
“Allison?” Footsteps came closer. Thank God. At least she hoped she should be thanking God. The good intentions of these presumed rescuers had yet to be proven.
The closet door rattled. It was locked. Of course. For a moment she wondered if they thought she was stupid. If it hadn’t been locked, she wouldn’t still be sitting in the closet freezing her ass off. How did the closet always manage to stay colder than the rest of the cabin?
“Ma’am, could you get as far from the door as possible? I’m going to kick it in.” The voice was soothing, but urgent. The fact that he’d addressed her as “ma’am” eased some of her suspicions. She hadn’t been treated with any sort of humane respect in over a year.
Allison tucked her feet farther under her and pushed herself to standing. She was amazed she had the energy to pull herself upright, but adrenaline kicked in at the thought of being rescued. Finally.
She’d given up hope long ago.
Something hit the closet door and her body jerked. She squeezed herself tighter into the corner, but it was difficult to avoid the opening. The closet wasn’t much larger than the door frame.
Two more times something slammed into the door before it splintered and broke free around the lock. Large hands reached inside and tugged the splintered wood until it gave way and daylight flooded her tiny cell.
Allison flung an arm over her face against the brightness. She’d been in the pitch dark too long.
“Are you Allison Watkins?” a voice asked.
“Ye-yes,” she muttered, barely able to hear herself.
“You’re safe now, ma’am. You can come out.”
Allison peeked over her forearm, her eyes squinted against the light of day. In reality it wasn’t that bright. She just wasn’t accustomed to seeing at all.
Two men stood just outside the closet, both wearing hunting gear. No, not hunting clothes exactly, but camouflage. And they were armed. Military? They were shifters. Perhaps members of the North American Reserves
then? They stepped back and gave her space, the larger one holding his hand out toward her.
She stared at the gesture but didn’t reach for him. Her heart pounded so hard she thought it might beat right out of her chest. She hadn’t seen many people besides her captor in over a year. The only time others had visited, they hadn’t spoken. They’d simply covered her head, taken her to some sort of medical lab, and then later returned her to the cabin. No one had ever addressed her or looked her in the eye.
This man was looking directly at her and concern furrowed his brow. He dropped his hand. “We’re here to rescue you, Allison. You can trust us.”
I’ve heard that before
Allison stepped over the debris, trying to avoid the splintered wood with her bare feet.
There were three men in the room. One stood by the door, gun drawn, eyes scanning the outside. A knife hung at his waist and a larger rifle was strapped over his shoulder.
Allison shivered. She had no idea if she could trust these people, but she had nothing to lose
The largest man spoke again. “I’m Bill. Are you all right?”
Allison glanced down at herself. “I think so.” She licked her lips. “So thirsty.”
The shorter blond man darted across to the sink in two strides, grabbed a glass from the counter, and filled it with water from the tap. “How long have you been in there?” he asked as he handed her the cold
Allison downed the entire thing in one long draw, knowing she shouldn’t, but unable to stop herself. Her stomach would hurt, but she didn’t care. “Not sure,” she muttered. “Days?”
“Who brought you here?” the shorter blond asked. “I’m Chuck, by the way.” He thumbed over his shoulder. “That’s Marshall manning the door.”
Marshall didn’t turn around. She barely saw his profile. He had longer dark hair, almost black
and he was taller and slimmer.
“He never said his name.” Allison narrowed her gaze at the three men one at a time, still trying to decide if these men had her best interest in mind.
“How long have you been here?” Chuck asked. He took the empty glass from her and lifted it. “Do you want more?”
She shook her head. She should wait a while before drinking more. “Since The Gathering. A year?” She wasn’t positive. “Have…you been looking for me that long?”
“Not quite, but close.” Chuck looked her up and down. “Is that all you have to wear?”
“Yes.” Allison wrapped her arms around her middle and shivered again at the mention. “He never gave me more than I had at The Gathering.”
The bigger man, Bill, shrugged quickly out of his jacket and draped it around her shoulders. “It’s not much, but it’ll help.”