Alpha On the Run: A BBW Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance

BOOK: Alpha On the Run: A BBW Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance
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Alpha On the Run

 

By Zoe Chant

Copyright Zoe Chant 2015

All Rights Reserved

 

 

Contents

 

 

Chapter One
Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Epilogue

 

 

 

Chapter One

 

Joshua Knight ran on four legs through the darkness.

The wind ruffled his silvery fur, but the thick coat protected him from the cold. Rain fell, then turned to sleet. He squelched through deep mud, dazed by exhaustion and pain, before his human mind awakened and reminded him that he was leaving a trail of paw prints.

His wolf mind protested. He was limping painfully, and just walking was hard. Leaving the path would be excruciating. Besides, he was badly hurt. If he kept pushing himself he might collapse before he reached safety. But the danger that pursued him was worse than the danger of exposure. The weather could kill him, but at least it wouldn't torture him first.

Unlike the alpha he was fleeing.

He limped off the deer path and into the bushes, squeezing through a narrow gap in the undergrowth. Soon he found drier ground that he could walk on without leaving a trail. He wiped his paws awkwardly, trying to get rid of the mud, then set out at a brisk trot. The hail was still coming down hard. With any luck, it would destroy any traces he left.

He wanted to speed up, but he couldn't keep that pace up for long. He'd save what little energy he had left for when the pack came closer to catching him.  Then he would fight or sprint away.

There were no natural wolves in the forest, although it was good territory. The sleet covered a lot of scents, but he could still smell deer and rabbits. The trees were thick and there weren't any humans nearby. Joshua wondered how untouched this place was, and how few humans were really around. He struggled to call up the map he had memorized. Wolf minds weren’t very good with pictures. The most he could remember was that there had been a highway and little else. Tourist cabins, maybe?

He hoped there wouldn't be many. There was no need to drag people into this. Animal witnesses weren't in danger. Humans could talk – and might be killed to ensure they didn't.

As he got more tired, his plans became harder to concentrate on. They slipped out of his wolf's mind like water out of cupped hands.

His mind drifted. He heard the insects scuttling inside logs and rotten tree trunks. Rabbits and squirrels and chipmunks fidgeted, and he sometimes heard deer. The sound of the rain and the wind through the trees overshadowed it all.

The rain stopped. Joshua sat down in the middle of the path and sniffed.

He was far from where he'd started. The smells had changed, telling him that he was surrounded by different plants and wildlife. He smelled pines instead of broadleaf. Was he at a higher altitude? He wished he knew more, but he hadn't been raised as a wolf. Most of his experience wasn't in this kind of open wilderness. His wolf instincts might guide him on how to keep safe, but the wolf only knew
different
, not
why
.

The ground here was still hard and flat. He dropped his nose to it and realized it was no longer packed dirt, but stone, with only a few scattered trees.

Joshua got up and felt his legs scream in protest. His right hind leg was injured, and it hurt the worst. He had to find somewhere to sleep safely to make it through the next day

He forced himself to take a step, then another step, and sniffed at the air. There was a cool, earthy scent with some unfamiliar rodent flavoring it. Bats? A cave would be wonderful. A cave would hide him and let him sleep out of the rain. He crept forward until the smell stopped abruptly.

He circled the space in disappointment. He was standing by a patch of rocks and natural gravel. Had the entrance been filled with a slide?

It wasn't easy to dig when he could only put a little weight on one of his back legs. He did it anyway. The smell got stronger as he cleared away gravel and dirt from what he was sure was the opening to a cave. Then he came across a small boulder. It didn't want to move. Joshua barked in frustration at it. It didn't move at that either.

He reared up and pounced hard, shoving with his forelegs. After the third pounce, the rock fell into the opening. Gravel rained down with it. He pushed his nose in cautiously, then his forelegs, and edged slowly into the hole in the hill side. It wasn't long before his paws hit solid ground. Relieved, Joshua wriggled the rest of his way in.

It was lonely to sleep in wolf form without his pack mates. He would never have his pack mates again. They were gone. He was all alone.

He curled in a ball, rested his nose on his haunches, and gave in to the sleep that had been pulling at him for miles.

 

              Joshua slept restlessly. He dreamed of pack and home and bodies that piled against him, comforting at first. Then he realized that he was being crushed alive in a pile of corpses. He dug his way out and broke into the forest he'd traveled through. Now the sounds and smells of animals were eerily absent. The only living things around him were the trees. He felt that they had eyes and were judging him, then that they were wired with cameras transmitting his location to the pack. He broke into a run.

There was a woman’s voice in the distance. He didn't understand the words, but in the dream he knew that she was singing to him. She was calling him home to her. He walked towards the voice. What was a woman doing here, alone? This place was comforting to a wolf but dangerous to humans. She shouldn't be alone here.

He broke into a trot, and the singing turned to screams. Her pleas for help filled his ears.

Joshua woke. There was light in the cave.

He got up, slowly. He felt refreshed from the sleep, but his injured leg was worse than ever. It pulsed with heat and pain. He wondered if it was infected. His wolf wasn't afraid, but he knew as a human that an infection finish him. He should shift back and go for a doctor's help, but he’d endanger anyone he met. He couldn't bring himself to put anyone else at risk.

His injury wasn’t yet bad enough to keep him from traveling. There was no sense giving up now. He shook himself, and wriggled out of the cave.

He was hungry. He'd have to try to catch some food today. But he'd slept and the rain was gone. His despair lifted. He’d find some way to make it. Even if that meant spending ten years as a wolf in the forest until the pack left him for dead. He'd gotten out of worse spots before, back in Iraq, when he’d thought werewolves only existed in fantasy novels.

             

Chapter Two

 

Anna Gutierrez brushed her hair back from her face for the fourth time in an hour. She shifted her grip on her walking stick and started off on the trail again.

As she walked, she sang Spanish songs that she’d learned as a child. Her voice wasn't anything special, but that didn’t bother her. It was a nice way to spend the time. Plus it would warn any out of season deer poachers that there was a human around. She had a fluorescent orange vest, but it was so hot and heavy, and fit so badly, that she had stopped wearing it after a week. They didn't make those things to fit over women's chests, especially if you weren't skinny or had boobs bigger than B cups.

She’d already checked two of the potential archaeological sites, both by shallow caves. One was a waste of time, containing only a few shards of colonial pottery, way beyond her period. But the other was a jumble of bones in a sealed passageway that looked very, very old. One skull looked like one of the extinct species of American pronghorn. That would put the site in her time period.

She'd recorded the exact position of the sealed passage, first in her notes and then on her cell phone's GPS. Then she headed back toward her car, daydreaming about when she'd be back with a full crew – or at least a couple of undergrads who wanted experience in the field.

Anna brushed her hair back again, then gave up and stopped to redo it completely. The damn curls wouldn't stay contained.

She spotted paw prints at the edge of the path and headed over to investigate. The prints didn't look like anything she expected to see in these woods. Much too big to be a fox or even a coyote, but not a lynx either. The shape was wrong.

“Feral dog, maybe?” she muttered.

Anna fished out her phone to take a picture. She could look it up later. Maybe it was a stray someone had dumped. The tracks looked recent and it had rained all last night, so it couldn't have been too long. She would have to keep an eye out for it. If it was a stray, it would never survive without help. If it was a feral dog it might be dangerous. Most wildlife was too scared of humans to attack, but dogs were confident around people. Unfortunately.

Anna started off again. This time she didn't sing. Instead she glanced around and squinted for signs of movement. Twice, she glimpsed small animals, and scared them
and
herself.

Anna returned to her car, then swung her heavy backpack down, intending to take a break and eat her lunch before starting back to her cabin. Then she spotted the largest animal yet – not in the underbrush, but hunkered down under the car.

It gave her a start. She grabbed the walking stick, but didn't run. Instead she backed up a little so she wouldn't scare the thing. Then she leaned over for a look.

Definitely a dog. It was a big, silver furred thing, probably a husky mix. Or maybe a malamute? It was bigger than most huskies. It wasn't moving, but she could see it breathing.

“Hey,” she said softly. “Hey sweetheart, you okay?”

The dog perked its ears.

Encouraged, Anna went on, “Hey sweetie, come out from under the car, okay? I've got something.”

She fished in her backpack to pull some cheese from her sandwich.

The coat was smooth and looked taken care of. The dog stared at her attentively and didn't shy away. It was probably a stray or dumped dog, not feral.

“Come here, c'mon? Come!” she finished firmly, in case it was trained.

The dog squirmed out from under the car. Anna clucked to it encouragingly. It got to its feet with obvious pain, favoring its right hindleg. Her heart ached with sympathy. She wondered whether it had gotten hurt in the wild by itself, or if its owners had injured it before dumping it. People could be so terrible to animals.

The dog watched her but didn't come closer.

“Hey. You're okay, I won't hurt you. Don't you want some food?” She tossed the cheese a few feet in front of her in case that was less scary. She would need to get it into her car if she was going to get it help.

She tried to think where a vet was. It would be at least a couple hours' drive to the nearest town. but she could hardly leave the poor dog here.

The dog inched towards her cautiously. It snapped up the cheese, making her laugh. It perked its ears at the sound and swung its head around curiously.

“Hey, buddy,” she murmured again.

Anna offered the next piece of cheese from her hand. The dog took a few more steps and snapped it up, then licked her fingers for more.

“Good dog.” She reached out to touch its chest slowly. It shied at the touch and she pulled her hand back. Then it pushed its shoulder into her hand, soliciting pets.

She scratched at the dog's fur. No collar, but if the dog had been dumped that wasn't a surprise. Maybe she could use the rest of her sandwich to lure it into jumping into the back of the car. It might be too injured to do that, though. And it was too big for her to lift.

Then the dog swung its head up to look at her face. Anna got a good look at its eyes and froze. They weren't the brown of most dogs or the blue eyes common to huskies, but a soft gold with hints of green.

She was petting a wolf.

Anna knew most of the wild life native to Pennsylvania. Wolves had been wiped out a long time ago. A wolf loose in the forest here was
definitely
someone's pet. The fact that it had curled up under her car and come to her voice confirmed it. The only thing this changed was the animal's bite strength. She wasn't planning to be bitten, was she?

The wolf whuffled softly. When she didn't respond, it shoved its nose into her lap to search for the rest of the sandwich. She pulled the bag away quickly. The wolf pushed its face into her free hand instead, butting up against her fingers when she didn't respond.

She scratched at its ears slowly. It wagged its tail. “Did I stop petting you?” she murmured, trying to keep her voice sweet and calm.

The wolf relaxed at the sound of her voice. Anna managed a few more awkward words of pet talk before giving up and starting to sing again.

It perked its ears again and tensed. Anna tensed as well.

The wolf shot to his feet and then whirled and darted off into the trees. She shakily watched it disappear.

“Well,” she said aloud, after a few minutes. “Must not have been hurt that badly, then.” She would call the county wildlife rescue later to tell them there was a domesticated wolf loose.

Anna sank to sit on the ground, and picked up the sandwich bag. Lunch. Right. She had been about to eat lunch when she spotted the wolf.

That was enough excitement for her for the next, oh, month or so. The only surprises she wanted to find were the kind that came buried in the ground.

BOOK: Alpha On the Run: A BBW Wolf Shifter Paranormal Romance
9.36Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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