Alpha instinct, p.48
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       Alpha Instinct, p.48

         Part #1 of Moon Shifter series by Katie Reus
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Page 48

 

  “Connor, Taggart just called. He’s got Vivian and he wants me to deed a section of our land to him. I’ve got to do it. I’m supposed to meet him on the south side of the property line in twenty minutes. This is probably a dumb thing I’m doing but I can’t not go. If you get this, haul ass to the property line, because I have a feeling he’s not going to keep his word. I never thought I’d be doing this over voice mail, but in case … whatever. I just want to let you know that I—”

  Beeeep.

  The voice mail cut her off. Probably a good thing. Telling him that she loved him over voice mail was a stupid idea. One she’d definitely regret later. If she survived this meeting, of course. Sighing, she dug her heels into Adalita and took off. Considering the ground she needed to cover, she’d barely make it in time. As she rode across the grass and hard earth she called Ryan.

  He picked up immediately. “Did you find her?”

  “Taggart’s got her. I’m meeting him at the south-side property line now. ”

  “Damn it, Ana. You can’t go alone. ”

  “I don’t have a choice. He wants something from me in exchange for her and he’s going to get it. ”

  “Just wait for us to meet you—”

  “Not gonna happen, so please hurry. ” She disconnected and shoved her phone back in her pocket.

  Her heart leapt in her throat when she reached the property line. Taggart held a squirming Vivian in his hands and five of his wolves stood next to him, including his second-in-command, Vince. The other wolves were a lot bigger and older than the young wolves he’d sent to attack the ranch the night before. Only he and Vince were in human form. At least he wasn’t naked this time.

  When she neared them, she dismounted. Her hands trembled as she fisted the reins. “Let the girl go. I’ll sign whatever you want. ”

  Taggart sneered as he held Vivian up by the neck. The she-cat meowed and struggled but it did no good. “You’ll sign this contract all right. But neither of you are going anywhere. ”

  She’d known he’d try something dirty, but a bolt of fear spiked through her just the same. There were a lot of them and only one of her. From what she could tell, they all looked like warrior-class shifters too. She might be able to outrun them but only if she got Vivian first. “We had a deal. ” Her voice came out stronger than she’d hoped.

  “You’re going to be my bitch, Ana. I can smell Connor’s filthy scent all over you but I can tell he hasn’t bonded with you yet. You’re fair game as far as I’m concerned. ” His voice was deadly.

  An icy fist clasped around her chest. “I’d rather die first. ”

  “Once we’ve bonded you can decide if you want to kill yourself. ”

  “I’ll never let you touch me,” she spat. The thought of his dirty paws all over her made her want to puke.

  “You don’t have much say over the matter now, do you?” He pulled out a dagger with his free hand and held it to Vivian’s chest.

  It looked silver, and while Ana knew the metal itself wouldn’t do lasting damage to a feline shifter, a dagger to the heart would likely kill one so young. Vivian hadn’t built up a strong immune system yet.

  She held her breath and watched him. What the hell is he doing?

  “Strip. ”

  His command jerked her vocal chords into working. “What?”

  “Strip. Now. I’m going to put my scent on you. ”

  “Are you insane?” Terror streaked through her, jagged and fierce. He meant to rape her right now. She’d thought he might kill her or kidnap her, but he wanted to rape her? It went against their nature to have sex with one already marked by another. She might not be bondmates with Connor but his scent on her was strong. Taggart really was twisted. “Connor will kill you. Do you understand? Kill. You. Dead. There’s nowhere on this planet you could possibly hide. ”

  He snorted loudly. “We’ll see about that. Maybe he’ll show up when I’m balls deep in you. ”

  She gagged at his vile words and took an involuntary step back. When she moved, he pressed the knife harder against Vivian’s chest. The image seared into her brain. The she-cat meowed a sad little cry, but she didn’t even struggle. Just cried.

  Ana wanted to reach out and comfort Vivian, but not before she strangled the life from Taggart. “Let the girl go and I’ll do what you want. ”

  He laughed loudly, the harsh sound bouncing off the forest. “If I let her go, you’ll fight. I’m not an idiot. Now strip, bitch. ”

  “You can’t be this stupid—”

  He pressed the knife into Vivian’s fur, cutting Ana off. With shaking hands, she tugged down the zipper on her jacket and let it fall onto the snowy ground. At least it had stopped snowing. She didn’t know why she even noticed or cared. What was about to happen to her was going to be horrific with or without snow. She started to tug off her sweater when he shook his head.

  His dark eyes glowed wild and insane. “Forget your top. Just take off the pants. This is going to be fast and hard. By the time your mate gets here, my scent will be on you too. I can’t wait to see the look on his face. ”

  Again, bile rose in her throat but she shoved it down. “It’s not as if you can make me your bondmate. ” It wasn’t a full moon, something they both knew, but she wanted to stall.

  “So? You think Connor will want you after I’ve had you? Not that it matters. I’m going to kill him when he shows up, but before he dies at least he’ll know I had you. ” His smile grew, wicked and terrifying.

  She fought off a shiver that had nothing to do with the cold. “Will you at least turn Vivian away? I don’t want her to see this. ”

  Keeping the knife against the feline, he turned her around.

  Ana wished there was more that she could do for Vivian but she was out of options. She felt light-headed as she struggled with the button of her jeans. How can this be happening? Her fingers clenched into fists. It took all her willpower not to shift and attack. She might not be a warrior but she was still an alpha. Her inner beast demanded she fight, even if she knew she’d lose. Her basest instinct wanted to struggle right to the death. By some magic feat, she lassoed her inner wolf and stayed in human form. If she shifted he’d kill Vivian. No doubt in her mind.

  As she started to pull down the zipper of her jeans, a roar slashed through the trees.

  Connor.

  The sound was loud and eerie and chilled her straight to her bones. She froze and the other wolves did the same.

  “What the hell was that?” Vince muttered. A burst of fear jetted off him and the rest of the animals.

  Then another noise ripped through the air. Loud, angry howls. And they were getting closer.

  “Now’s your chance to run, Taggart. Leave now and he’ll let you live. You have my word. ” Ana didn’t know if she could control Connor but she could sure try. If it avoided bloodshed—no matter how much the bastard deserved death—she was in favor of it. She just wanted to get Vivian to safety.

  “Shit!” Taggart dropped Vivian when she bit into his wrist.

  A couple of the wolves made a move for the feline but Vivian was fast. She ran to Ana and darted behind her feet.

  “Uh, boss?” Vince asked. There was no denying the nervous note in his voice or the stench of his fear.

  “Get the weapons ready,” Taggart growled.

  Weapons? Ana’s heart rate tripled. Since Taggart’s attention was diverted, she bent and picked up Vivian and her jacket. As she scooped the cub into her arms, a dark wolf emerged from the woods.

  Not Connor, but Ryan. One by one, six more wolves emerged, growling and snarling. Ryan must have notified them, though she didn’t see Liam in the group. Maybe he was with Connor. Her hands still shook as she thought about what had almost happened. She still might die today, but at least she wouldn’t be raped by that monster.

  Still no Connor. He was coming, though. She could hear and feel him. The
y all could. The air buzzed with an electric energy.

  Ana took a small step toward her horse. “Leave now, Taggart. Before he gets here. ”

  Ignoring her, he and Vince pulled out two big guns. Knowing Taggart, they were packing silver bullets.

  “So you’re going to fight dirty? So typical,” she sneered, unable to keep the disgust out of her voice.

  He flicked a quick glance her way, his dark eyes hollow. “Shut your fucking mouth. ”

  Ana glared at him but did as he said. She took another step back toward her horse, and two of the wolves growled at her. Adalita whinnied and put some distance between them but at least she didn’t completely abandon Ana.

  Stopping dead in her tracks, Ana tucked Vivian under one of her arms. The she-cat didn’t struggle or wiggle around. Just meowed. Ana ignored the little one’s cries and watched as her packmates stalked across the clearing. Whatever happened today would change everything between the two packs.

  Out of the corner of her eye she saw a flash of fur. Then wind rushed by her face, caressing her with an icy breeze.

  Before she could blink Taggart flew through the air as two hundred pounds of black fur and muscle slammed into him. His weapon seemed pathetic now as it too sailed through the air. It landed in the snow with a soft thud a few feet away.

  Taggart screamed in pain as Connor pinned him to the ground.

  All the air whooshed from her lungs as she stared at them. She’d known Alphas were fast but she’d never seen one move that fast before.

  “Shoot him!” Taggart screamed.

  Vince lifted his gun, but Ana dropped Vivian and lunged at him. Preparing for a fight, she clutched at his arm. When he didn’t struggle she realized he didn’t want to shoot Connor.

  That put a whole new spin on things. She still held his arm but chose her words carefully. “According to Council laws, they have to fight unimpeded in wolf form. Do you really want to go against our laws? More important, do you want Taggart to be victorious? Connor is a good Alpha. A fair one,” she murmured. She didn’t think Vince was fast enough to shoot Connor anyway but she didn’t voice that.
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