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Authors: Mike Cooley

Tags: #paranormal romance

Alpha Male (5 page)

BOOK: Alpha Male
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“You don’t want to go there.” Danny’s crayon dropped to the table and started to roll toward the edge. He ignored it. His face turned pale. He was crying.

“That’s enough.” Ted was standing near the booth, glaring at me.

“I’m—I’m sorry. I didn’t know it would upset him.”

“Just leave him. He ain’t right. Hasn’t been right since that night.”

I stood and headed back to the bar. Tears streamed down Danny’s face, and he was trembling. The brunette waitress mopped his cheek and comforted him. “It’s okay, Danny. No one is going to hurt you.”

“Okay, Sheila. Okay.” Danny wiped his eyes and watched me as I sat back down on the barstool.


The girl stood on the edge of the rocky cliff, thirty feet above the Pacific. She was dressed in a skintight black bodysuit, which sculpted her thin yet muscular physique nicely. Her brown eyes shone under the light of the rising moon as she tucked her long blonde hair into a skull cap and pulled it down over her face. The bodysuit zipped up the middle and had a blue design on the left shoulder that resembled the letter S drawn over an octagon. Around her waist was a silver belt with multiple items hanging from it. She ran the last few feet toward the edge of the rocky cliff and jumped, arcing out and down into the ocean. She entered the water vertically, leaving barely a ripple.

Tala swam down beneath the waves, kicking powerfully with her legs. She activated a dial on her left wrist and a light sprang forth, illuminating the dark, cold waters off the coast of Washington. She played the light over the submerged rocks until she saw the formation she was looking for and then swam toward it. The underwater cliff face shimmered as she neared. Tala kicked harder and headed straight at the octagonal design. When she reached the wall, it absorbed her like a pool of mercury and then regained the look of rock once she was within.

Holding her breath easily, Tala kicked and pulled with her arms, propelling herself through the roughly hewn tunnel as it sloped down and under the coastline above. The tunnel angled down at a forty-five degree angle for a hundred feet before leveling off. Ahead, a light shining down from the top of the tunnel pierced the darkness. Tala swam upwards and emerged in a pool, which was in a cavern lit by blue-white electric lights. She gasped for air and pulled herself out of the water, then removed her cap and shook out her long blonde hair. Another girl—who looked identical right down to the eyes and figure—was standing at the edge of the pool holding a silver-edged video screen.

“How are we looking, Faye?” Tala unzipped her suit partway, revealing her petite breasts, and pushed the cap into a silver tube on the left side of her belt. Her skin was a darker shade of brown than her eyes, and her aureolas were darker still.

“Final tests underway. Almost ready to go. What about
?” Faye watched the status indicators scroll by on the handheld screen.

“Daelius? They are close. They know enough to get in the way—if we let them.”

“Then we mustn’t wait any longer.”

“If we screw this up, there won’t be any human race.”

“People die every day while we check and double-check.” Faye tapped on the display. “The DNA splice and metamorphosis looks good. Better than the early experiments.
A Minus
is ready.”

“Let’s take a look.” Tala headed down a metal corridor that formed the only above water exit to the cavern. Faye fell in step beside her. “Are the others accounted for?”

“Vena is still out. Checking on the wild card.”

“And the empath?”

“They have her.”

They walked for two hundred yards, passing small rooms filled with electronic equipment, flashing lights, and dials. And then the tunnel opened up into a huge rectangular room with stainless steel walls. The room was lit with blue-white lights and smelled of chemicals. There were other girls dressed in the same black bodysuits attending to equipment. They all looked identical to Tala and Faye. Against the far wall were rows upon rows of canisters labeled
A Minus.
A whirring of centrifuges and the sound of fluids bubbling through tubes filled the air. Different colored fluids ran through transparent pipes that criss-crossed the room like an Escher spiderweb.

Tala smiled then looked over at Faye. “Ready to change the world?”

Faye nodded. “Before it’s too late.”


I looked down at my hands. The faint green glow of healing was flickering. Jagged red lines shot across it. The energy felt different—stronger. I hid my hands and looked up at the cameras.

You changed me when I healed you, Silas.
I can’t let you come for me. They’ll kill you. I have to get out on my own. And they aren’t likely to fall for the same trick. Don’t come, Silas.

I stood up, walked across the padded cell to the single metal door and banged on it. “Bathroom!” It had been days since they had brought anyone new down for me to heal. Maybe they were running out? The room smelled of antiseptic from the last scrub down, and it was empty—except for me. There was nothing to fashion into a weapon or hurt myself with. The cameras overhead tracked my movements.

Drake opened the door himself, instead of sending a minion. His smile was bigger than normal. “You know how this works, Melanie. You try anything and I taser you and toss you right back in here…and then you can piss yourself.”

“Yeah, that’s what I call room service.”

I waited for him to step aside and then headed down the corridor to the bathroom at the far end. Halfway to the bathroom, the corridor intersected with another one. To the right was the way up toward the rooms where the Daelius men were staying. And to the left was the unknown. The ever-present thrumming of the generators vibrated through the ceiling. From what I could tell, we were hundreds of feet below the lowest level of Ice Harbor Dam, in a collection of rooms and corridors that weren’t on the plans. Drake was so close behind me that I could smell his breath and cologne.

“You’ve got a sweet little ass, and that’s for sure.”

Drake grabbed me from behind and squeezed. I ignored him and darted ahead into the bathroom, slamming the door behind me. The walls and floor were tiled, and there were no windows—not that a window would reveal anything except more concrete.

“Don’t take too long, sweetie.” Drake’s voice rumbled and echoed off the walls.

I sat down in the far stall and rested my head in my hands. I took my time and tried to relax and get my breathing under control. When I had finished, I went to the sink and washed my hands.

I heard him open the door behind me. I whirled around and backed against the wall between the two sinks. Drake shut the door behind him and showed his teeth.

“How about a little fuck?”

The hair on the back of my neck stood up, and I felt my skin grow hot. My hands tingled as I felt the energy build up. “Don’t make me hurt you.”

Drake laughed, took two steps across the room, and ripped my shirt open, exposing my breasts. Buttons flew everywhere. He pinned me against the wall with his body and stuck his hand down the front of my pants. “You’re a healer…remember? And you
me. Don’t pretend you don’t.”

“I’m warning you.” I gasped as he unzipped his pants and grabbed my left breast.

“Oh you’re gonna like this, little girl. I’m going to give it to you good.”

I reached down and grabbed his dick with one hand and put my other on his shoulder.

“That’s better.” Drake lowered his lips toward mine. His brown eyes were full of malice and excitement. His dark hair was greased into spikes. His odor made me retch.

“Pain.” I willed the energy down through my body and into my hands, like I always did. I felt the power pushing from behind my eyes. And then my rage took hold. I remembered the men and what they had done to me. How they had used me. How they had hurt me. The green glow surrounding me turned crimson. Drake screamed and tried to pull away. I squeezed tighter. My fingers sank into his shoulder, carving holes like a hot knife through butter. Smoke rose from his skin.

He screamed again and dropped to the floor, clutching his blackened genitals. The air smelled of charred flesh. His shirt smoldered, and there were burnt circles on his shoulder where my fingers had penetrated his skin.

“How does it feel to be fucked, asshole?” I kicked him in the face until he stopped moving. Then I pulled my shirt closed and ran.


I almost hit her as she appeared out of nowhere and dashed across the gravel road. The lights of the dam were around a turn ahead of me. I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. Mel tripped, tumbled, then jumped up and headed for the cover of darkness.

I threw the van in park, then opened my door and jumped out. “Mel! It’s me, Silas.” I waved my arms.

She slowed and turned, her pale face lit up by the headlights. “Si? Is it really you?”

“It’s me, Mel.”

She walked closer. Her shirt was torn. She clutched it together at the middle. She had scrapes and bruises on her arms.

“Jesus, Mel, what did they do to you?”

“I did it to them this time.” She flashed a tired smile. “They won’t capture me again. They’ll want to shoot me now.”

The sound of engines gunning erupted in the distance.

“We need to go, now.” I grabbed her arm and pulled her toward the van. “They’re coming.”

Mel opened the passenger door and hopped in. I took the driver’s seat and shoved the van into reverse, then spun us around. Dirt and gravel flew as the van swung around to face away from Ice Harbor. I slammed on the gas, and we were both thrown back into our seats as we accelerated. Mel was taking off her shirt and pants.

“What are you doing?” I tried to keep my eyes on the road.

Mel rolled down her window and threw her shirt, pants, panties, socks, and shoes out the window. My eyes widened, and I swerved.

“Eyes on the road, Si. Don’t wreck us.”

“What are you doing?”

“I think they put a tracking device in my clothes. Any clothes in the back?” Mel headed into the back of the van and started opening cargo doors.

My eyes followed her in the rear view, then I grabbed the wheel with both hands and kept us straight as we raced away from the dam. I could see headlights on the road behind us.

“I found a jumpsuit.” Mel stepped into a black stretchy fabric and zipped it up the middle. “It’s a bit big and the shoes don’t fit, but it will have to do.”

“Anything else useful back there? They are gaining on us.”

Mel rummaged through the lockers, pulling gear out and throwing it in the middle of the floor. “Electronic devices I don’t recognize and some scuba tanks.”

I glanced forward and hugged the edge of the twisty gravel road. A single bright light was heading toward us from below. “Fuck, Mel. They have us from both sides.”

Mel rushed forward and sat in the passenger seat, still clutching the tanks and regulator. I jerked the wheel hard to the left as the light ahead of us resolved into a motorcycle. It shot by us with a roar, carrying a girl in a black bodysuit that looked like the one Mel was wearing. Her long blonde hair streamed behind her like a flame, and she was grinning like the devil.

“What the hell?” Mel pulled her seatbelt across and clicked it into place.

“Who the fuck was that?”

The truck skidded sideways. I jerked the wheel to the right to correct. We were careening toward a hairpin turn on the edge of the ridge. My hands gripped the wheel tighter.

“I think I fucked up, Mel. Hold on.”

I slammed on the brakes and turned the wheel. The driver side wheels caught on the edge of the road, and the truck lurched over. Far below in the darkness was the Snake River. Behind us, the sound of gunfire erupted, followed by an explosion. I reached over and grabbed Mel’s hand as the truck flipped through the air. Time slowed down.

“I love you, Si.” Mel squeezed my hand.

“Don’t let go.”


We hung in the air forever, with the wind rushing by in the darkness. I squeezed Silas’ hand tighter. The faint reflection of light danced across the river below as it rose up to meet us. “You have got to stay out of cars and trucks, Si.”

“No shit.”

The van hit nose first, and both airbags went off. Which is a pretty good thing if you are on the road and a really shitty thing if you’re sinking in a river. The bag hit me like an explosion and pressed me into my seat. I lost my grip on Si as he was wrenched to the left. The van tipped toward the driver’s side, and water came rushing in from the engine compartment, through holes in the floor, and through gaps around the doors. It smelled like hot oil and antifreeze.

I reached down and frantically tried to unfasten my seat belt, fighting the air bag. It felt like my chest and face were bruised from the impact. The van was sinking.

“Silas! We’ve got to get out of here.”

He didn’t answer.

I unclipped the belt and slid to my left, onto the floor. The van was spinning downstream and sinking beneath the surface. Si was bleeding above the eyes and unresponsive. I unclipped him and dragged him to the floor. Cold water rushed up to cover us. The remaining air was being pushed toward the passenger side of the van, which was tilted toward the surface of the river.

“Fuck, Si. Wake up.” I slapped him. His eyelids fluttered. “I don’t want to die here.”

The dash lights shorted out, along with the headlights. The engine coughed and stopped. I cranked the valve on the scuba tank and tested the regulator. It was working, but I couldn’t see how full the tanks were in the dark.

BOOK: Alpha Male
12.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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