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Authors: Alanis Knight

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BOOK: Rough Wolf
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CHAPTER EIGHT

 

 

 

 

 

I awoke to the sound of muffled voices. I opened my eyes, but I could see only darkness. At first, my heart thudded. I thought I was blind. But then I realized I felt something resting against my face. I realized I must be blindfolded.

I strained to hear the conversation. It seemed to be coming from my right, but had to be in another room because I couldn’t distinguish one voice from another or even tell what was being said.

I fought to move, but I couldn’t. I realized that the pain I’d felt had greatly subsided. The blinding agony had been replaced by a dull ache.

I felt something gripping me. It was rough, and it cut into my skin harshly. I was bound. That’s why I couldn’t move. At least I was no longer paralyzed by the pain.

My fingers slid along the bindings behind me, trying to find a way to free myself. I thought if I could find a knot, perhaps I could loosen it and break free. I located one knot, but it was hopelessly strong, and I couldn’t find any way to undo it even a little.

My thoughts drifted to Geo. Surely he must know by now that Vince and his cronies had taken me. They probably released Greta, knowing she would run back to tell him about Vince’s ultimatum.

I shivered at the thought of Vince’s words.
He can either join us and get his new mate back, or he can turn us down and she dies. He has until sundown to choose.

I knew which choice he would make, but I couldn’t completely understand the consequences his action would have on the pack. Vince had mentioned taking other territories. Something about owning six counties. But what did he need with all that land? Geo’s territory alone must have been quite large, because I couldn’t see any other cabins from Geo’s, and I knew the other pack members must live in the same territory.

Voices began to come into focus. I listened carefully, hearing only single words, and soon simple phrases. Before long, I could hear them almost as well as if they were in the room with me.

“Oh, he’ll bend, alright,” said one voice. “Vince wouldn’t have taken her if he didn’t think this would work.”

“You’d better hope it does,” said another voice. “Because if this leads where I think it will lead, we’re fucked.”

“What are you talking about?” the first voice demanded. “You sayin’ you think Vince ain’t doing the right thing?”

“I’m just saying that if he’s misjudged the situation, Giovanni will destroy us,” said the second.

“If you two buffoons are finished, can you feed the girl?”

I recognized that voice. It was Vince’s right hand man, Max. I gritted my teeth, wanting to extinguish the little worm’s life right then and there.

“Yeah, yeah,” groaned the first voice. “I’ll feed her.”

I heard a deep groan, and footsteps approached. I heard the grind of metal on metal and a long, whining creak. Another long creak, and a metallic slam reverberated around me.

“Ah, you’re awake,” said the first voice. “Good, you can eat this crap so I can get back to my discussion. Open up.”

I acted as though I were deaf. I paid him no mind whatsoever.

“Did you hear me?” he raised his voice. “I said open up!”

I kept my face pointed straight ahead, and I sat motionless. I heard the rustle of clothing as he approached me, and he grabbed my face and pinched with all his might, forcing my mouth open. He stuffed something inside it and then clamped my jaw shut.

“Eat it!” he demanded.

I struggled to spit out what tasted like an old, stale roll, but this stinking brute had my jaw pinned shut so tightly I couldn’t. My face began to throb angrily where his fingers were digging into my flesh.

The metal door creaked.

“Enough!” I almost snarled at the sound of Vince’s voice. “Back off, Rocco. You damage this merchandise and Giovanni will never join us.”

“You really think he’ll do what you say?” Rocco asked skeptically as he released me and I spat the roll onto the floor.

“Oh, he’ll do anything I say to get this back.”

I felt his slimy hand on my head, stroking it. It was all I could do to restrain myself, but I said nothing.

“How can you be so sure?” Rocco insisted. “I mean, look at her. She ain’t exactly a supermodel.”

I heard a sharp smack, and Rocco cursed.

“You imbecile!” Vince spat. “Giovanni and I have similar taste in women. We like a woman with curves. We like a woman with something to hold onto. This creature is spectacular, and I can see why Giovanni would do anything to protect her. She is a treasure.”

I was nauseated to hear this creep speaking of me this way. It did nothing to flatter my ego. It only made me sick.

“You need to eat something,” Vince said. “Please eat a few bites.”

I felt something touch my lips, but I refused to open my mouth. I could smell yeast, and I assumed it was another roll.

“You need your strength,” Vince said. “Eat.”

I pursed my lips tightly together and sat completely rigid in my chair, silently fuming at him.

He sighed heavily and said, “Fine, go hungry. I’m sure Giovanni will come to claim you soon, anyway.”

My stomach rumbled loudly, and I cursed internally.

“Keep trying to feed her,” Vince ordered. “But if you get rough with her one more time, you’ll be wishing I’d left you to rot in that jail in Albuquerque.”

I heard the door creak again, and it slammed shut with a clang. Rocco muttered something under his breath and I heard the sound of something scraping against the floor.

“If you won’t eat, I’m gonna sit right here in this chair and sing Christmas carols and show tunes until your ears bleed,” Rocco said.

His voice erupted into a screeching rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina”, and I noted he had the lyrics terribly wrong. It might have been comical if not for the nature of my captivity and the way his off-tune voice bounced off the walls and echoed all around me.

I clenched my jaw tightly and let my thoughts wander back to Geo. I wouldn’t let this sweaty, smelly pig… and let me tell you, he smelled like rotting flesh or some other similar horrid stench… break me. I remembered the way it had felt lying beside Geo the night before with his arms around me, listening to his heart beat as we fell asleep together. I remembered that first night we met by the lake, when his wolf had attacked and he’d said he had trouble containing him. I remembered him calling me beautiful, and cooking me breakfast. Soon, Rocco’s voice faded away, and all I could hear was Geo telling me he loved me.

I don’t know how much time passed, minutes… maybe hours… but my thoughts of my mate were eventually interrupted by the sound of a shrill alarm. Startled, I jerked to attention, and I heard Rocco’s chair overturn as he scrambled out of the room, the metal door banging shut behind him.

“Bring her!” I heard Vince shouting frantically. “Bring her now!”

Rocco exploded through the door and hurriedly untied me. He left my blindfold in place, and he yanked me to my feet and dragged me, stumbling, along with him.

“Here she is!” Rocco yelled breathlessly.

The air grew cooler, and my bare feet fell onto damp earth.

“See, I told you, she is unharmed,” Vince said.

“Keep your hands where I can see ‘em!” shouted an unfamiliar voice.

I felt arms around me, and I instantly melted into them. I knew at once they belonged to Geo.

“Are you alright, darling?” he asked me softly.

I nodded weakly and he began to lead me somewhere. He pulled off my blindfold as he guided me along, and I could see a large number of squad cars and police surrounding the area. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Vince and his cronies with their hands in the air as dozens of guns were pointed in their direction. They stood before the entrance to some sort of bunker.

Geo took me a safe distance away, well beyond the wall of police. His arms caged me protectively as he spoke.

“Vince, have you met my adoptive father, Commander Walter Hastings?” Geo shouted.

“Your… father?” Vince asked, eyes wide.

“Yes, Vince,” Geo nodded. “This is my father. And your days of kidnapping and trying to start turf wars is over.”

“You didn’t tell me his father was a freaking cop!” Rocco hissed at Vince.

“I didn’t know, you moron!” Vince snapped.

“Get on the ground, now!” shouted Commander Hastings.

Vince and his pack slowly lowered themselves to their knees and then fell face down on the ground. Officers swarmed them, putting them in handcuffs. I knew that even if they shifted, they were unlikely to escape. There were just too many officers and too many guns.

I had just noticed one face was conspicuously missing when Commander Hastings approached.

“Son,” he said to Geo.

“Father,” Geo returned. “Dad, I’d like you to meet my new mate, Dora. Dora, this is my adoptive father, Walter Hastings.”

I extended my hand, and the man took it and squeezed it firmly.

“Welcome to the family,” he said. “I hope my son will bring you around sometimes.”

“I’d like that, Commander Hastings,” I said, smiling.

“Call me Walter,” he insisted.

“Walter,” I agreed. I glanced around once more and then looked at Geo and asked, “Where’s Max?”

“He’s not here?” Geo asked.

I shook my head and said, “I don’t see him.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll find him,” Geo said.

But I couldn’t get a nagging feeling of worry out of my head.

Geo helped me into the back of one of the patrol cars and he slid in beside me. One of Walter’s deputies drove us back to the cabin. Greta was waiting outside, and her face, which was drawn with worry, suddenly lit up. I noticed she was wearing clothes for the first time since I’d met her.

The moment I exited the car, she nearly knocked me over with a huge hug, and then she suddenly gasped and back away.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” she shrieked. “Gosh, I’m so sorry. You must still be in so much pain!”

“Pain?” I asked. Then I remembered my spill. “Oh, right! I’d totally forgotten about that.”

“Forgotten… how could you forget?” Greta asked. “The way you smacked that tree, I thought you were as good as dead!”

Geo hooked his arm around my shoulders, and I could feel the worry wafting from him as he heard this tale for the first time.

“I’m fine,” I told both Greta and Geo. “Really. I feel just fine now.”

“It’s true,” Geo said quietly.

“Folks, I’m going to take off,” said the deputy who brought us home. “Geo, I hope all is well.”

“What’s true?” Greta asked.

“Thank you, Officer Maddox,” Geo said.

“What’s true?” Greta repeated.

The officer drove away, and Geo continued to hold onto me protectively. He was still incredibly worried.

“Geo, I’m fine,” I assured him.

“What’s true?” Greta shouted.

“She’s picking up our traits,” Geo answered.

“Say what?” Greta asked.

“I know it’s rare, but it’s true,” he said. “I didn’t believe it at first, either. But first she was picking up my emotions, and now she’s healed from severe wounds in less than a day.”

Greta gawked at me with her hands on her hips.

“How is that even possible?” Greta asked.

“I don’t know, but I’m thankful it is,” Geo said. “Otherwise she might have…”

His voice caught in his throat, and he tried to clear it. The muscles in his jaw clenched and released several times.

“No need worrying about what might have happened,” Greta said gently, coming over to embrace me again now that she was convinced she wouldn’t break me. “She’s safe, and that’s what matters.”

“There’s just one problem,” I told her.

“What?”

“They arrested Vince and a bunch of his other cohorts,” I told her. “But I didn’t see Max anywhere.”

“So he’s still out there?” Greta gasped.

“He is inconsequential,” Geo said, but I could sense that he wasn’t so sure of that.

BOOK: Rough Wolf
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