Alpha instinct, p.34
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       Alpha Instinct, p.34

         Part #1 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus
Page 34


  They weren’t using silver bullets or her skin would have started turning gray. She would survive this. She just needed to get them to safety.

  The little cat cried and meowed loudly on the floor.

  “I know, sweetie. We’re almost home. ”

  Behind her, the truck swerved into the next lane and started gaining speed. So Ana increased her own speed. Are they going to run us off the road?

  Connor! She shouted his name in her mind, knowing it was useless. They weren’t linked because they weren’t bondmates yet.

  Shit, shit, shit!

  Her heart pounded wildly in her chest. They were so close to the turnoff. So close to safety. The other truck shot forward in a burst of speed.

  Before Ana could react, it rammed into their side. She struggled with the wheel but it was too much for her to handle.

  Swerving off the road, she thought she saw red and blue flashing lights before her truck slammed into a tree.

  Then blackness.

  Pain streaked through her skull. Ana felt as if one of her horses had kicked her in the head. Where am I?

  “Stay with me, Ana. Come on, wake up. ” The voice was familiar. Unexpected.

  Ana cracked open an eye and found herself staring into the dark eyes of the sheriff. The driver’s-side door was open and he stood there, looking at her with a concerned expression. “What are you … ?” She couldn’t finish. It hurt to talk.

  “I saw what those assholes did. They tore out of here when they saw me. ” He pulled out a knife and she flinched.

  He paused for a moment, then shook his head. When he came at her with the knife she shrank back against the seat. Something in her body was broken and she couldn’t defend herself. He likely wouldn’t be able to kill her but he could hurt the hell out of her if he wanted to.

  “I’m just cutting the seat belt,” he muttered.

  When the strap snapped free, she tried to move, but he put a gentle hand against her shoulder. “I’ve called an ambulance. ”

  Panic and a surge of adrenaline flared inside her at the word ambulance. She didn’t want to involve the locals. She twisted her head around. “Vivian?”

  A small cry came from the other side of the truck. Everything was still blurry but things were slowly coming into focus. The sheriff started talking rapidly into his radio, but she ignored him.

  “Vivian? Are you okay?”

  A paw appeared on the seat; then her spotted head popped up. The front of the truck had been smashed, pushing the dash forward, but it looked like it had created a little cave for Vivian.

  “You’re okay?” she slurred.

  Vivian crawled onto the seat and scooted closer. Despite the pain rolling over her, a sharp burst of relief surged inside Ana. She didn’t know how the little cub was unscathed but she wasn’t going to question the fates.

  “Oh, my God. I didn’t realize anyone else was in the vehicle. ” She turned at the sound of the sheriff.

  “Don’t touch her,” Ana snapped. Talking was using more energy than she had but she didn’t want him going anywhere near Vivian. The little cub was scared and could lash out. And if he tried to touch the cub, Ana feared her own inner wolf would take over. If that happened, she might attack the sheriff.

  “Help is on the way. And I’ve called in backup to go after the guys who did this. I recognized the truck. ”

  She didn’t want his help. All she wanted was for him to stop talking. She didn’t care if he called in backup. Connor was going to go after whoever did this and that terrified her more than anything. Looking down at herself, she saw blood and a ripped sleeve, and she was pretty sure her arm was broken. The pain could be from the gunshot, but instinct told her otherwise.

  The sound of a vehicle approaching made her tense. If she could just get out of this stupid, smashed-up truck, she’d be fine.

  “Shit,” the sheriff muttered and strode away.

  “Ana!” Connor.

  Her eyes closed in relief. She tried to twist in her seat but more pain splintered through her. This time it was in her leg.

  Then he was standing there, concern etched in every line on his face. “What happened?”

  She motioned with her hand. “Get Vivian out of here. Sheriff … called ambulance. Don’t want her near here. ”


  “Do it!”

  He muttered something and reached across her to pick up the small cub. Less than a minute later he was back by her side. “I’m going to get you out of here too. ”

  “Where’s Vivian?”

  “My truck. Can you lean forward a little?”

  She nodded.

  “What the hell are you doing? Don’t move her. I think her arm and leg are broken,” the sheriff said.

  “Yeah, no shit,” Connor grunted. He slid his arm under her shoulders as she leaned forward.

  Twisting to the side, she allowed him to pull her from the vehicle. It didn’t matter that she’d heal faster; a broken bone hurt like hell. And she had two.

  “Damn it,” the sheriff muttered as he hurried to the other side of her. He lifted and held her legs as Connor gently pulled her out.

  They laid her on the soft, grassy incline and she finally let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Connor crouched beside her and held her as close as he could without jostling her.

  “You’ve been shot. ” Connor’s eyes started to darken, as if he’d just realized the extent of her injuries and that this wasn’t an accident. An animalistic rage like she’d never seen flared there. And she could smell the change in the air. There was a dangerous darkness to it. Her mate was in battle mode. Ready to kill, regardless of man’s or the Council’s laws.

  Feeling desperate, she clutched his arm. “Don’t. Please. Just stay with me. I need you. ” The last three words had an immediate calming effect.

  If he shifted and went after whoever had done this, it would cause a war. People wouldn’t care who had started it. They’d know only that a shifter had killed some humans. And she knew Connor wouldn’t be quick. He’d rip them to shreds and he wouldn’t be apologetic afterward.

  Some of the natural green crept back into his eyes, but the beast inside him warred with his human side. She could see it so clearly it scared the holy hell out of her. Thankfully his human side won as he moved closer to her.

  “You’re going to be okay,” he murmured.

  “I know. ” And only because he was there. His presence gave her a profound comfort.

  A loud siren blared in the distance. The ambulance was close. And she wanted nothing to do with it.

  “They’re almost here. ” The sheriff stood a foot away, staring at the two of them as if they were crazy.

  “No, I’m taking her home. She doesn’t need your help. ” His voice was dark and edgy. The sweet way he cradled her was in direct opposition to his angry tone. She soaked it up.

  “She’s been shot and she’s got a couple broken bones. She could have internal bleeding. Or a spinal injury. She needs to go to the hospital. I thought you were her mate,” he said disdainfully.

  “She’ll heal fine without your fucking hospital or doctors,” Connor growled at the sheriff but smoothed back her hair gently. “You’re going to be okay, Ana. I’m going to get you back to the house and take care of you. ”

  The sheriff ignored him. “That may be so, but she’s going to a hospital. I want this documented and I need her statement. Whoever did this isn’t going to get away with it. ”

  “Connor. I’ll go … Don’t fight him. ” Something in the back of her mind questioned how Connor had even known she was there, but she brushed it aside. All she cared about was the fact that he was there and holding her. Comforting her. The pain was overwhelming and she needed to block it out. She closed her eyes and let the blackness take her again.

  Chapter 14

  Connor pace
d at the end of Ana’s bed. Bringing her to the hospital had been a mistake. They could have taken better care of her at the ranch. Vivian wiggled in his arms but he held her tight. They’d already gotten more than a few odd stares when he’d walked through the emergency-room doors, carrying a crying jaguar cub.

  The only reason they hadn’t called security was likely because he’d been with the sheriff.

  Vivian growled and nipped him as she struggled in his arms. She didn’t draw blood, but she dug her teeth into his hand hard enough to make him flinch. If it had been anyone else, he’d have punished her. But she was young and he understood what she wanted. He held her up and looked into her big brown eyes. “I’ll let you lie next to Ana, but don’t jostle her, okay?”

  She licked his face.

  Shaking his head, he set Vivian down near Ana’s side. The young cub immediately curled up as close to Ana as she could without touching her. She was inches away from one of Ana’s hands.

  Ana’s arm and leg were wrapped and bandaged and in soft casts. In less than forty-eight hours she’d be healed, so it would be pointless to put a hard cast on either injury. The doctors seemed to understand that when he’d explained it, but he was under the impression that they hadn’t dealt with many shifters before. Which only made sense. Most shifters avoided hospitals at all costs. For all he knew Ana was the first shifter they’d ever actually helped.

  He pulled the chair next to her bed and sat. Every primal instinct inside him wanted to hunt down whoever had hurt her and rip their throats out. But he couldn’t leave her. Not like this. When she woke up, he wanted her to see his face.

  As if she read his mind, her dark eyes flew open. She looked around the stark white room before settling back on him. “Where am I?”

  “Hospital. ”

  “Oh, right … What happened?”

  “The sheriff came upon a truck trying to run you off the road. He got the plates but he says he thinks he knows who did this to you anyway. ”

  “I remember that part … Humans?”

  He nodded. A shifter wouldn’t have used a regular gun. Or a gun at all. They’d have stalked and hunted her down with much more cunning. The attack in broad daylight was stupid, arrogant. Besides, even the most hardened shifters wouldn’t have gone after her with a cub in the vehicle. Well, except maybe someone like Taggart, but Connor hadn’t scented him in the area. “The bullet is out and you’re already starting to heal. I think you freaked the doctors out with that. ” Shifters might have come out to the world, but they didn’t frequent hospitals or flaunt all their abilities.
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