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Authors: Dannika Dark

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Two Minutes (Seven Series Book 6)

BOOK: Two Minutes (Seven Series Book 6)
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TWO MINUTES

A Seven Series Novel

Book 6

 

USA
Today
Bestselling Author

 

DANNIKA DARK

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2015 Dannika Dark

No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author. You must not circulate this book in any format. Thank you for respecting the rights of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

 

Edited by Victory Editing and Red Adept. Cover design by Dannika Dark. All stock purchased.

www.dannikadark.net

Fan page located on Facebook

Summary

 

After years of living abroad, Maizy returns home to the only family she’s ever known—a pack of wolves. When she confronts her childhood watchdog to see where they stand, his resentment leaves her uncertain about where she really belongs.

Behind Denver’s charming smile is a tragic past—one that’s made his wolf savage and unpredictable. Only Maizy has been able to tame that darkness, and when they’re reunited after many years apart, he no longer sees a child he once protected. She’s captivating and intelligent—a woman with the world at her fingertips and two suitors offering more than he ever could.

Torn between two worlds, Maizy must choose how her fairy tale ends. Tragedy, murder, passion, and imprisonment all collide with a heart-stopping twist.

Book 6

 

Also By Dannika Dark:

 

THE MAGERI SERIES

Sterling

Twist

Impulse

Gravity

Shine

 

NOVELLAS

Closer

 

THE SEVEN SERIES

Seven Years

Six Months

Five Weeks

Four Days

Three Hours

Two Minutes

Two princes.

Two worlds.

And a fate sealed in two minutes.

Prologue
 

“What are you doing, kiddo?” Denver asked.

Melody’s head poked up from the front of the sofa, a mischievous smile accenting her expression. “Um, nothing?” she replied, her voice uncertain, arm wedged behind the seat.

Denver planted his fists on his hips, pretending to give her a scathing look. But he knew what she was searching for: money. While the pack had plenty of funds, they also taught their children the value of earning their keep. Melody was fourteen with a crazy sense of style and an addiction to clothes, and that hobby depleted her funds fairly quickly. She used to spend hours sewing by hand until Izzy finally broke down and bought her a sewing machine. When she was little, she’d often mismatched her clothes. But as she aged, the pack began to notice her talent—an ability to make something ordinary stand out. A couple of her friends from the neighboring packs had even paid her to design their jackets and customize their sneakers.

Melody pulled her arm free from the cushion and wiped crumbs off her wrist, the milky-green eyes she’d inherited from Jericho filled with guilt.

Denver paced forward and flattened his hands on the armrest of the sofa. “If you’re going to look for spare change, you need to dig
deep
. Aus likes hanging his legs over the edge, which means his ass is tucked against the armrest, not the center cushions.”

Everyone knew Austin always carried change in his pockets.

A smile beamed across her face, and she threaded her hair away from her eyes. Melody’s razor-cut hair reached her shoulders to give her an edgy look, similar to the way April sometimes styled hers except Mel’s was all one length. Sometimes she borrowed Jericho’s hair dye and lightened a few strands of her brown hair as he did.

“Learn from the master,” Denver said, pulling the cuff of his short sleeve over his shoulder and holding up his arm as if he were about to perform surgery. He reached deep into the crevice of the sofa—that realm where deep cleaning was nearly impossible—feeling all the grit and crumbly evidence that had accumulated during the past fifteen years of living in the Weston house. He snatched his hand back and put eighty-five cents in her palm—along with a dust bunny from hell. After a little more searching, he found a total of four dollars and fifty-two cents.

“What about the other side?” she suggested.

Denver performed the same maneuver, cramming his hands in godforsaken places that no hand was meant to go. He recovered some Skittles, a toothpick, a few candy wrappers, a broken crayon, and something butt-nasty that looked like an old piece of dried meat.

“Sweet! Thanks, Uncle Denver.” Melody counted out the additional coins he’d found.

“I don’t know how much you’re going to get with that.” He gave her a cursory glance before rooting his hand beneath the cushion.

She shrugged, and her custom-painted sneakers squeaked on the wood floor. “I don’t need that much. It’s just for accessories, and I can usually find something
el cheapo
in the craft store.”

After Melody flew out of the room, Denver straightened his back, fist tight around a small object. When he opened his fingers, he looked down at a tiny plastic princess in a pink dress. Melody had never liked dolls, and the twin boys sure didn’t. He turned the tiny toy between his fingers.

Naya sauntered in, little black hairs clinging to her white shorts. She cuddled her new five-month-old kitten against her neck and lavished him with kisses. “Want to pet the baby?”

Denver stepped back. “That thing ain’t normal. I thought after Sparkles died you weren’t going to get another cat.”

“Her name was
Misha
,” Naya said with annoyance. “And a five-year grieving period is sufficient. A pet isn’t a novelty. They don’t have anyone else to look out for them.” She wiggled her nose from the black hairs that were stuck to her lipstick.

Denver arched a brow and folded his arms. He didn’t feel one way or the other when it came to cats, but pets just weren’t the Shifter way. Still, couldn’t the woman have at least gotten a bulldog?

She approached him and held the cat out so that his jackrabbit legs were wide open. “Give Spartacus a kiss.”

Spartacus hung suspended in midair, staring at Denver. He was a scrawny little black cat with short hair, long legs, and a perpetually startled expression. His yellow eyes made him look like an alien, especially when his black pupils were dilated. It gave his eyes a hypnotic look that sucked you under their spell like Gollum’s ring. Spartacus also had a problem keeping his tongue in his mouth; it was always hanging out and off to one side.

“I’m not kissing your pussy.”

Naya rolled her eyes and kissed her kitty on the head. The poor cat looked like a mouse about to get eaten by a panther. “He’s special. Leave him alone. That’s why I gave him a butch name; he needed a boost to his ego.”

“He gives me the heebie-jeebies,” Denver said, putting distance between them. “And if he sneaks into the shower with me one more time, I’m going to put him on the front porch in a box with an adoption sign.”

“He’s a water baby,” she protested.

Water baby, my ass
, he thought. Anyone dumb enough to leave the bathroom door open would find an unwelcome animal climbing into the tub with them—one with sharp claws. Last week, they’d heard a loud thud upstairs when Lexi was in the bathroom. Austin sprang into action and later said that when he broke into the bathroom, he’d found her sprawled out on the floor. At first he thought she’d slipped, but then he found out she’d flung herself to safety. Austin recounted Spartacus paddling around in the bathtub with a patch of bubbles on his head, looking like a deranged otter.

Naya had adopted him two weeks ago from the shelter, much to Wheeler’s dismay. That man abhorred cats, even though he’d mated one. She used to make him brush Misha, which was about as close as he got to the animal—even though that cat loved him for whatever godforsaken reason. After she died, Wheeler thought he was in the clear. It didn’t take long before Naya began pining for another one. She narrowed it down to a Persian and a short-haired black cat. Wheeler took one look at the Persian and fifteen years of cleaning up hairballs flashed before his eyes, so he lifted Spartacus from his cage and convinced Naya that ugly things need more love.

Jericho walked leisurely down the staircase, the chain looped around his jeans clinking. He had on a pair of dark sunglasses—his hair unkempt, ripped jeans, an unbuttoned shirt over his white tank top, and keys in hand. “Come on, Mel,” he shouted impatiently, turning at the bottom of the stairs and looking up. He twirled a wolf ring on his finger and leaned on the banister. “Time ain’t on your side,” he sang in his smoky voice.

Denver recognized the tune. “Shouldn’t that be
is
on your side?”

He glanced over his right shoulder. “The Stones didn’t have a daughter when they wrote that song.”

William Rush burst through the front door and paused before hanging up his keys. “Heading out?” he asked Jericho.

Denver chortled. “I think he’s going dress shopping with the offspring.”

Jericho twisted his lips in annoyance. “Mel wants to pick up some girly shit. If you’ve got a problem with me being a good dad, then speak your mind. You dig?”

William’s curly hair ruffled when a strong breeze drifted in behind him. “Maybe I should go with you.”

“I think I can handle it,” Jericho said.

William was the third-in-command, and he didn’t make pointless offers. “Mustn’t underestimate how easily a young girl can slip out of your sight. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Jericho made a sound that wavered between a groan and a sigh.

Two weeks ago, Izzy had taken the kids to the mall. She became distracted when the twin boys started peeking underneath a mannequin’s clothes, and by the time she finally got them to behave, Melody had vanished. Izzy searched the store but turned up nothing. When she called the pack, Reno and William showed up in less than ten minutes, then combed through every store in the mall from top to bottom. Reno found Melody in a small jewelry store, sitting on the floor and looking at stick-on designs. Melody argued that she was old enough to go out by herself, but Shifter packs were protective by nature and didn’t let their teenage girls wander off alone. Maybe it was her rebellious age or the influence of television and movies, but Melody was always pushing the limits. That was one reason the men in the pack were extremely watchful of her. Trevor had almost beaten up an eighteen-year-old boy when he caught the kid talking to Melody in the hallway of a movie theater.

“Yeah, on second thought, not a bad idea,” Jericho grumbled. “Mel!”

“Coming! Coming!” Melody tore down the stairs like a twister. “Hi, Uncle Will! Bye, Uncle Will!” When the door slammed behind her, the men burst out laughing.

“Just like her mother,” Jericho said with an amused shake of his head.

William lifted his keys. “I’ll drive.”

“Something wrong with the truck?” Jericho gave him a critical stare as he twirled his keys in a circle.

“Other than the fact you jump curbs when you park?” Denver asked. He patted Jericho on the shoulder and moved toward the stairs. “Go on, dickhead. I’ll keep an eye on the boys and give Izzy a break.” He snatched the cigarette from behind Jericho’s ear and licked it from one end to the other.

“Hey, what the fuck? That was my last one.”

“You shouldn’t smoke around her.”

Jericho snorted. “She can’t get cancer, asshat.”

“No, but do you want your baby girl smelling like a woman who hangs out at the bar?”

Jericho’s cheeks mottled with scarlet and he slammed the door on his way out.

Denver flicked the cigarette into a vase and jogged up the stairs. He could hear the boys slinging the balls around on his pool table in the game room. They were ten, or was it eleven? It was easy to lose track since they weren’t big on birthdays. As far as Denver was concerned, they were trouble years old.

The only birthdays they’d ever made a big deal about were Maizy’s. She used to love birthdays—even insisted on sharing hers with Denver.

He passed one of the closed doors in the hall and looked at it contemplatively. He gripped the knob, hesitating before going inside. Maizy’s bed was pushed against the wall to the left of the door, the window straight ahead. Pale lavender walls matched the bedspread that marked the time when Maizy’s love for all things pink had changed to purple. That was around the time she began shoving her toys under the bed and stuffing dolls in a cardboard box.

Denver set the tiny princess on the nightstand. He reflected on the nights she’d curl up beneath the covers and beg for him to read
Peter Pan
. He usually went over the top acting out the scenes just to get a laugh. As he sat there in the quiet room, he could still hear her faint giggles, as if the past had left residual traces of her memory.

After Maizy turned sixteen, her mother decided to send her to boarding school up north to further her education. It was also an opportunity for her to break away from the pack and spend time around humans. Lynn had temporarily moved up there to be close, but soon Maizy became more independent, so Lynn came back home. The pack went to see Maizy often, and she sometimes visited the house during her breaks. In later years, Denver always had something to do that kept him away from the house.

When she expressed an interest in studying abroad, Austin paid for her education in England. They had the money, and Maizy wanted to see the world. Lexi took it hard at first, but that quickly transformed to excitement after taking several long trips to Europe to spend weeks at a time with her little sister. Sometimes the pack joined her in small groups, but someone had to stay behind to guard the property. Denver was always that someone. He felt like one of her old toys left behind in the box with no place in her new life. Maizy didn’t need a watchdog anymore.

It had been four years since he’d last seen her—just a blink of an eye for a Shifter. Lexi scorned him for avoiding Maizy’s calls, but she didn’t understand. He’d never bonded with anyone as he had Maizy, and now that he was no longer her watchdog, that needed to end. Humans were fragile and grew old too quickly. Lynn had more grey hairs that she attempted to cover with blond dye, and April was already in her late thirties. Maizy was now around the same age as April had been when Denver first met her at Sweet Treats all those years ago.

Soon she’d find a husband, get married, have kids, and visit every other Thanksgiving.

It broke his goddamn heart.

“Hey, did Jericho leave already?” Izzy asked from the open doorway.

Denver cleared his throat and turned around. “Yeah. I’m keeping an eye on the boys if you want to get out of the house or go do something. Chick time. Feel free to get your bubble bath on.”

“They should be fine.”

He smirked and stopped in front of her. “Well then, let’s hope they don’t decide to finish the paint job they started on Austin’s tires.”

Her brows reached for her hairline, and Izzy lightly shook her head. “Hell’s bells, I’m
so
glad Austin didn’t see that.”

“Tires aren’t cheap, and you’re lucky he was out of town.”

She snorted and moved into the hall, pulling back her wavy red hair and tying it with a band. “Thanks for that, by the way. They can be a handful sometimes. Having not one but
two
alpha boys at the same time is a lot to take on. They’re always daring each other and neither wants to back down.” Her voice fell to a whisper as they moved in front of the game room and peered inside at the twins, who both had russet-colored hair. “It’s a shame they won’t end up in the same pack, but in a way, it’s a good thing. They’ll have an automatic alliance with each other.”

BOOK: Two Minutes (Seven Series Book 6)
12.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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