Authors: Viola Rivard
Bound to the Alpha
Copyright ©2014 by Viola Rivard
All rights reserved
Even without her glasses, Sarah knew that she was staring at a werewolf. Rather than being afraid, numbness settled over her body, freezing her in place. It was an odd reaction, yet she wasn’t entirely surprised. She had spent the past twenty-four hours in utter terror that she would be killed by a wild creature, and there was a strange comfort in seeing her worst fear standing before her.
The wolf watched her from the other side of the creek. Its posture was lax, but Sarah knew that it could clear the stream in an instant. She would probably be dead before she could scream—not that there was anyone around to hear her.
After regarding her for what was quite possibly the longest moment of her life, the wolf knelt down and began to drink from the stream. The rhythmic sound of its tongue lapping at the water further served to calm her. Each second that it drank was another second that it was seemingly uninterested in eating her.
As the initial shock began to wear off, Sarah’s nerve endings
started to prickle with renewed awareness. She remembered the pounding headache, the blistering cold, and the gnawing hunger that had plagued her just moments ago, before she’d seen the werewolf.
Keeping her eyes on the wolf, she took a step back. The sound of snow crunching beneath her feet seemed to echo through the forest, louder than the
rush of the stream and louder than the hammering of her heartbeat. The wolf didn’t look up.
She took another step backwards, wonde
ring if it was just playing with her, letting her think she could escape. The instant she turned her back, it would probably maul her from behind.
Abruptly, the wolf thrust its head into the water. The movement was almost too quick to register, and it startled her enough to jump. When its head came back up,
it was holding a thrashing fish between its jaws. With an easy shake of its head, the wolf flung the fish into the air. It landed in the snow in front of her, its tail flopping back and forth in agitation.
Sarah looked be
tween the fish and the wolf, and then lowered herself to pick up the flailing creature. The fish was slippery and the large puncture wound in its side did little to dull its resolve. It thrashed wildly in her hands, and it took her several tries to pick it up. Once she had a secure grip on it, victory surged through her veins. She looked back over to the wolf, but it was already walking away, a dark brown blur sauntering off into the forest.
should have been overjoyed. The wolf was leaving her in peace, and had even given her something to eat. But it dawned on her as she stood there, the fish squirming in her icy hands, that despite both of these facts, she was still royally screwed. Her car was still totaled, her glasses were still lost, and she was still stranded in the wilderness with no means of finding her way home.
The fish gave one
final twitch before its life gave out. She frowned down at it, feeling a little guilty, even as she imagined it seared and topped with a lemon-butter sauce. The poor fish had just been swimming along, minding its own business, and then all of a sudden it had become the victim of a cruel fate.
Sarah knew that she would probably be next.
The wolf was just a small smudge on the horizon now. After a brief hesitation, Sarah dashed after it. Water from the stream made its way into her flats as she crossed, but her feet were already too cold to be bothered by it. She slowed as she neared the wolf, not wanting to alarm it.
“Um… Excuse me…” she called out. The wolf continued walking and didn’t look back. “Do you think you could point me in the direction of the nearest town?”
It was far too big to be anything but a werewolf. Despite that, Sarah still felt strange talking to a giant animal. She didn’t know a lot about werewolves, but then again, few humans really did. Like other shifters, they lived in remote areas, far away from human civilization. Every few years there would be rumors about them raiding rural towns, or killing nosey college kids, but other than that, their lives were shrouded in mystery.
“I was in a car accident
, yesterday, I think,” she said, finally catching up to the wolf. She walked alongside of it, but kept a few feet of distance between them. “I’m on my way to Vermont, to see my mom.”
Sarah was pretty sure that
it didn’t understand a word she was saying, but it made her feel better to talk. She hadn’t realized, until she’d started talking, how horribly lonely she had been. The pain, cold, and hunger had overshadowed her fundamental need for companionship.
“Thanks for the fish. I’m not sure how I’m going to eat it, but it beats eating snow. That’s all I’ve had since the accident.”
She didn’t know how long the wolf was going to let her follow it, but she planned on taking advantage of its apathy for as long as she could. Following the wolf was probably the craziest thing she’d ever done, but to be fair, Sarah wasn’t exactly known for being crazy. She was very cautious, but caution, as she’d recently found out, could be just as dangerous as recklessness in its own right.
The wolf probably could have ditched her at any time, but it didn’t. Despite her exhaustion and the stiffness in her legs,
she was able to keep up with its steady pace. It was just after dawn, but the weak winter sunlight wasn’t strong enough to banish the cold from her bones.
sloped as they began trudging up a hill. Her aching muscles protested, but she did her best to ignore them, focusing on placing one foot in front of the other. When they finally reached the top, she hunched over and placed her hands on her knees, breathing heavily. Once she’d caught her breath she looked up, but the wolf was gone. Her eyes followed its paw prints to where they disappeared behind a large rock.
Swallowing audibly, she walked forw
ard and peeked around the rock. Behind it was a small entryway that led into what appeared to be a dark cave. Sarah stepped back, sighing in defeat.
Following the wolf through the forest was one thing. No matter how dire her situation, she didn’t see how it could be improved by fo
llowing a werewolf into a cave. Her shoulders slumping, she turned to scope out the surrounding area and plan her next move.
Despite her high vantage point, the deciduous forest before her was nothing more than a blur of brown and white.
She squinted, trying to bring the forest into focus. The brown blurs immediately in front of her sharpened into trees, but everything beyond that remained as unintelligible as ever.
Her thick, plastic-framed eye
glasses had always been the bane of her existence. A few days ago, and pretty much every day of her life before today, she had fervently wished that she would never have to wear them again. She didn’t know how she’d lost them in the accident. The impact had knocked her unconscious, and when she’d finally come to, she saw that a tree had impaled her windshield, narrowly missing her torso, and her glasses were nowhere to be found.
I’m going to die out here.
It was the first time she’d allowed herself to think what she’d known from the start. The only thing that disturbed her was how little emotion the thought stirred in her. Hunger and exhaustion had weakened her, and she knew that if she was going to have any chance of surviving, she’d have to find somewhere to take shelter and convalesce.
The sound of heavy footsteps drew her attention back to the cave. Sarah took a few steps forward, expecting to see the wolf again, but that was not what emerged from the darkness. She squinted as a tall, broad-shouldered man
exited. He wore denim jeans and was in the process of fitting a white t-shirt over his head.
Frozen in place, only her eyes moved, traveling up his torso and past his thick neck to settle on his head. She struggled to make out the fine details of his face, but couldn’t see anything beyond his
glinting eyes, eyes that appeared to be centered on her.
I would not need to lure you into a cave to kill you.” A deep, masculine voice. A voice that commanded obedience. “Go in or go away, just make up your mind quickly. I need to cover our tracks.”
With that, he brushed past her, his booted feet crunching loudly in the snow.
Sarah didn’t hesitate. Refusing to give herself time to think and inevitably talk herself out of what she was about to do, she walked inside.
Without seasoning or sauces, the fish tasted as unpleasant as it smelled. Although she recognized on some level that it was disgusting, Sarah tore into its charred flesh, ripping its meat off indiscriminately.
The werewolf watched her from the other side of the room, too far away for her to gauge his expression. She tried to feign disinterest in him, but as the fire warmed her and the f
ish sated her hunger, she started to run out of other things to focus on.
He had been gone for only a few minutes, coming back with a few branches for kindling. She’d half expected him to rub sticks together to make a fire, but to her surprise he rummaged through a small, blue duffle bag, extracting a matchbook. Once the fire had been lit,
he took the fish from her, speared it with a stick, and rested it over the flames. After that, he’d left again, not coming back until after she’d already begun eating.
When she was nearly finished, it occurred to Sarah that he hadn’t eaten, and she wondered if they were supposed to share the fish. Looking to the werewolf, she held up what was left of the fish.
“Are you hungry?”
“I do not eat fish,” he replied
resisted the urge to ask him what he did eat, telling herself she probably didn’t want to know the answer. She went back to picking at the fish, this time stealing covert glances at him from the corners of her eyes. He was large, bigger than any man she’d ever seen. He leaned against the stone wall of the cavern, staring off towards the entrance with his arms crossed over his chest.
hen her stomach was full, Sarah put what remained of the fish aside and set to warming her hands over the crackling fire. She stole another glance at him while trying to think of something to say.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” he asked.
“Like what?” She couldn’t gauge his tone, and was still having trouble making out his facial expression.
“You were glaring at me. You still are.”
She held her hands defensively. “No, you have it all wrong. I’m squinting. I lost my glasses in the accident and my eyesight is really bad.” Nervously, she added, “I’m sorry, I’ve just never seen a…a werewolf before.”
He tilted his head, regarding her. After a
brief pause, he pushed off of the wall. Clearing the room in three long strides, the werewolf crouched down in front of her. Sarah kept her eyes on him, her jaw slackening as he came into focus.
The firelight highlighted the sharp contours of his face
. It was a powerfully masculine appearance. A strong jaw, heavy brow, and slanted cheekbones. His nose looked as if it had been broken in the past, yet somehow fit perfectly with the ruggedness of his façade. Everything about the shape of his face seemed designed to draw its hapless victim up to his eyes—striking eyes of burnished gold that seized her gaze, making her unable to look away.
“Well?” he asked, his voice reverberating from somewhere deep inside his chest. “
Is it what you expected of a werewolf?”
“No.” Sarah breathed the word. Her heart was hammering again, but this time for an entirely different reason. She swallowed before saying, “I thought you’d be hairier.”
It must have been the right thing to say, because his lips curved into the barest of grins. The small change in his expression transformed his face, replacing the hardness with a masculine sensuality that had Sarah’s blood flowing towards all the wrong places.
He remained crouched as he
spoke to her. “Where is your home, human?”
m not from around here,” she said. Realizing that she hadn’t given him her name, she couldn’t really take offense at the title he’d given her. She held out a hand which, miraculously, didn’t tremble. “My name’s Sarah.”
He took her proffered hand, not to shake, but to examine it. Turning it over, the werewolf’s eyes scrutinized her palm. He brushed the
calloused pad of his thumb over each of her soft fingers. His touch, light, yet rough, sent sparks of pleasure through her body.
Not looking up from her hand, he asked, “Why did your family allow you to go so far from home?”
In a throaty voice, she replied, “I don’t need my family’s permission to leave home. I’m a grown woman.”
His golden eyes flicked up to her, dark amusement lurking in their depths. “
That is not something you should be telling a
.” He said ‘werewolf’ wryly, and she could tell he didn’t use the term frequently. His eyes moved back down to her hand, which looked small and fragile within his own. “Especially when you are at his mercy.”
Her cheeks colored, but she didn’t miss a beat. “Should I be afraid?”
There was a long silence, and then he placed her hand back onto her lap. He stood, stretching his back. Sarah stared up at him, his face once again blurred into obscurity. She felt a curious sensation of loss, but quickly brushed it away.
“There is a road a few hours south of here,” he said. “I will take you there after I rest.”
“Is it the highway?” she asked hopefully.
“A dirt road,” he clarified. “But humans travel it on occasion. Someone will find you there.”
It wasn’t ideal, but at least it was something. The remote road she’d been driving on had been carved into the top of a steep cliff. Try though she had, there’d been no way to scale the icy wall.
“I can’t thank you enough…” Sarah trailed off, hoping he would give her his name. When he didn’t, something else occurred to her. “Do you have a name?”
He seemed human enough, at least in the way that he spoke. Still, he wasn’t human, and she didn’t know enough about werewolves to assume they followed traditional human conventions.
“Cain,” he replied. Both his dry tone and biblical name told her that it had been a rather ignorant question.
“Sorry,” she said quietly.
Cain picked up the remains of the fish and went outside. She hung her head in silence, hoping that she hadn’t offended him too much. When he came back, he was carrying a handful of snow, which he used to put out the fire.
“How come you’re doing that?” Sarah asked, disappointed. She could already feel the chamber growing cooler.
“The fire attracts bears,” was his offhanded re
Sarah’s eyes widened. “There are bears out here?”
She thought she could see him grinning. “It is called Bear Mountain for a reason.”
“Do you think that—what are you doing?”
Her train of thought was derailed as Cain began taking off his shirt right in front of her. With their close proximity, she could just make out the ridges of his muscular torso before she had the grace to avert her eyes.
“I am going to sleep.”
In her peripherals, she saw his shirt fall to the floor, and then heard the sound of his jeans unzipping.
Not sure how to respond, she asked, “Isn’t it a little early to be sleeping?”
“I sleep in the day,” he replied.
She heard his pants fall to the ground, and th
en a strange popping noise. Sarah hesitated, but her curiosity won out over propriety, and she tilted her head to the side to peek at him.
The man was gone, replaced with the large wolf she’d been following a short while before. He was every bit as intimidating as he had been when she’d stumbled across him at the stream. But rather than being scared, Sarah was amazed at how quick and quiet his transformation had been.
The wolf padded over to Sarah. He moved behind her and then slumped down, his massive body curving to frame hers. She looked to his face, but he just blinked at her before settling his head down on his legs and closing his eyes.
Sarah sat still for a long while, feeling awkward and unsure of herself. Eventually, the cold and her exhaustion won out. She slipped her hands into the sleeves of her parka and then tentatively lowered her head to rest against the side of his body. He was warm and his soft fur smelled like earth and pine needles. Within minutes, the gentle cadence of his breathing had lulled her into a deep and much-needed sleep.