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Mine to chase, p.1
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       Mine to Chase, p.1

           Laurann Dohner
 
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Mine to Chase


  Mine to Chase

  Laurann Dohner

  This book is loosely related to Scarred and Kilt from the anthology Something Wicked This Way Comes, Volume 2.

  Jasmine met the guy of her dreams, who unfortunately wasn’t interested. She’s spent a year filled with lustful fantasies and soul-deep yearning for a man who doesn’t want her. Now she’s locked away in a dark hole, kidnapped by a madman, her life almost over. She’ll never know what could have been, if only he’d felt the same.

  She was supposed to be his a year ago, but Chase had walked away to protect her from his world. He’s a mixed-breed—vampire and werewolf—and his list of enemies is endless. His current mission is to hunt down and kill a rogue vamp who’s preying on humans, but what Chase finds changes everything. Jasmine’s one of the victims. Instinct demands he protect her, possess her. He won’t be denied again. This time, she’s his—for keeps.

  A Romantica® paranormal erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

  Mine to Chase

  Laurann Dohner

  Dedication

  Ruben “Angelo” Dario Riguero-Brito—Thank you for being as beautiful on the inside as you were on the outside. You will be missed.

  Chapter One

  The stench of death hit him the moment Chase crept inside the abandoned house on the outskirts of town. A human wouldn’t have picked up those slight traces but he wasn’t human. His nose flared as another scent teased his senses—sweet feminine fear. His predatory instincts immediately rose to the surface as his fangs began to ache. He raised a hand, motioning for the two werewolves to circle the property.

  “We found him,” one of them confirmed before he disappeared, skirting the porch to make sure no one escaped out the back.

  Yes. We did. Rage gripped Chase instantly. Rogue vampires were the enemy, risking discovery by humans of all Others. No one wanted that. It would mean the beginning of a war if the killings didn’t stop. Humans far outnumbered Others. It was better to live in peace, their existence nothing but myth and entertainment, than the alternative.

  A board above him creaked, betraying where the enemy hid. A smile curved Chase’s lips as he stealthily maneuvered through the lower floor to the open stairwell. One whiff assured him he was close to the enemy as he withdrew two blades. His knees bent slightly before he leapt, effortlessly sailing over the upper railing to land gracefully on booted feet.

  The vamp sitting in the chair appeared surprised as his eyes widened. “Who are you?” He paused, nostrils flaring. “What are you?”

  “Your worst nightmare. You’ve been found guilty.”

  Chase moved before the rogue could react, the speed he’d inherited from both sides of his bloodline assuring the outcome. With the slash of his hands, steel sliced into skin and bone and then he jumped back to avoid the tumbling head touching his trench coat.

  The body fell forward, slumping on the carpet. It didn’t turn to ash and he muttered a soft oath before whistling. In seconds feet pounded up the stairs. He turned to give his pack orders.

  “He wasn’t turned too long ago. Get rid of the body.”

  “Damn, Chase.” The wolf smiled. “That was fast. You didn’t even allow him to make a run for it.”

  “Should we burn down the house? I smell rotting bodies.” The other wolf breathed through his mouth. “Multiples. He probably hid them in the basement.”

  “I’m aware.” Chase sighed. “It’s best to dispose of them without drawing notice. Fire and police would come if we torch his lair. They’d investigate and might discover remains in the rubble.”

  “Gasoline would take care of it if we soaked the corpses first.”

  Irritation rose and so did a menacing growl deep within his throat. “You heard my orders.”

  Both wolves dropped their gazes in submission. “Yes, Chase.” They rushed to do his bidding.

  He wiped the blades clean on his kill’s clothing before putting them away to use his cell phone. The call connected as he walked downstairs. It was answered on the third ring.

  “We located the rogue who murdered Lacey’s sister. She’s been avenged, Lethal. Give her a kiss for me.” He disconnected with an amused grin when his friend snarled, more than a bit possessive of the woman he loved.

  Chase’s job was done. He inhaled but then winced. Almost done. The bodies would have to be disposed of. He located the basement door right off the kitchen and paused, bracing for the worst. Running security for his vampire friends could sometimes get messy but corpses were rarely involved unless they were bad guys. This was different.

  The stench intensified to a nauseating level when he jerked open the door. He regretted killing the rogue so swiftly. Human women had been slaughtered to feed the bastard. A needless waste. It was easy for the vampires to get blood without murdering their sources—just a quick mind swipe would clear their memories—but the rogue obviously enjoyed taking lives. Chase could guess why. The sick bastard got off on tormenting them first and watching them suffer. He breathed through his mouth to suppress some of the offensive odor as his eyes adjusted to the darkness below. The stairs creaked under his weight.

  The unfinished basement had piles of dirt in at least six locations, the corpses under the thin layer of covering too obvious to be anything else. “Fuck.” His voice rose. “Get six body bags.” He didn’t wait for a response, knowing his pack heard. Their hearing was almost as keen as his.

  He scanned the room for something to dig with, not a job he wanted to do with his bare hands. The state of decay he smelled promised to make it a messy task. The rogue had to have used a shovel to bury them. He located it leaning against the wall in the corner.

  Jasmine held very still, her gaze locked on the tall, massive man standing at the bottom of the stairs. Light from above revealed enough of his features to scare her into absolute silence. A very masculine face turned slightly enough to make out full lips and a strong chin. It wasn’t the man who’d taken her but he appeared just as dangerous. Perhaps more so.

  It had been days since Jasmine had slept, too terrified to close her eyes. The madman who’d kidnapped her was pure evil. He hadn’t given her food and had savagely bitten into her a few times. It wouldn’t surprise her if she was delusional from the wounds being infected.

  No tears filled her eyes. She’d passed that stage already. First she’d been terrified, pleading for her life. It had pleased her kidnapper. Then she’d hit the acceptance phase that her death was imminent. The bastard had watched her cry as if it fascinated him. The bruises along her arms still hurt from where he’d pinched them to make her kick and hit at him in an attempt to protect her body. He’d liked that too. It was the only reason he said he wouldn’t kill her outright. He admitted to being bored and she amused him.

  There was something familiar about this man but she figured it was her mind playing tricks. Then he lifted his face, turned toward the door at the top of the stairs and Jasmine recognized him. Chase Woods. A very memorable client from almost a year before.

  The striking features were his. He was the man she’d dreamed about—muscular and big, with the sexiest brown eyes she’d ever peered into. He’d bought some land on the edge of town as an investment. She’d tried to tell him that the two hundred acres of forest were too dense for building. The cost of clearing and leveling the land would be extreme.

  She’d liked him a little too much despite it not being mutual. He had never flirted, though she’d given him green lights to do so. He’d ignored her subtle hints that she had been interested.

  He’d claimed his work didn’t allow time off and had wanted her to show him properties after hours. She probably would have been terrified of meeting a man in such remote locations at night but her attraction to him had made her shove common sens
e aside.

  A memory surfaced in her mind. They’d been surveying a parcel of land after dark and she’d been distracted, a little unnerved by the odd request that she show it to him at night but there had been something about Chase that she couldn’t resist. Something different…

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  She never saw the tree root and nearly fell. A strong arm wrapped around her waist and she was in the circle of his arms, held against his body.

  “Careful.” His deep voice was sexy.

  “I don’t know how you see anything. Wouldn’t it be better to return in the morning?”

  “The moon is almost full and I have great eyesight.”

  She grabbed onto his biceps. Her hands didn’t come close to encircling the thick muscles. He was strong, much bigger than her, and smelled wonderful.

  “I’m almost blind out here.” She realized she should release him but he kept hold of her. It seemed only fair to touch him back. She lifted her chin to stare up into his face. She couldn’t make out much but she could tell he wasn’t looking at her. He had turned his head to the side. “Are you okay?”

  “Yeah.” His voice came out even deeper. “I told you to wait in your car.”

  He had, but she’d wanted to spend as much time as possible with her client. There was something about him that drew her. It wasn’t just his handsome face. She’d dated men who were good-looking before and had learned the hard way that some of them had less than stellar personalities. It could be how fit and muscular he was. Every woman would notice Chase Woods when he walked into a room. She discarded that as well. It was just him. He was sweet, mysterious, and looking into his eyes always did something funny to her entire body. She’d never been more attracted to a man in her entire life.

  “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I made you view the properties alone. You might have questions.”

  He chuckled—a deep, rumbling sound. “Can you identify all the tree varieties? There are plenty of them out here.”

  Jasmine glanced to the side, seeing nothing more than a lot of dark shapes. “Um, no,” she admitted. “I can tell you how long it’s been on the market and how much we can haggle on the asking price.”

  He drew her closer when the wind suddenly picked up, shielding her from it. He really did smell wonderful and she suddenly had an urge to rest her head against his solid chest. Other thoughts came to mind as well. Wild, naughty ones that were shocking. Stripping naked in the woods with a man she barely knew wasn’t something she’d ever considered before. It didn’t stop the images from filling her head though.

  She wanted him to kiss her while lifting her higher into his arms. The skirt she wore would be easy to shove up to her waist after she discarded her panties. Chase was strong enough to hold her up during sex. His jeans would be simple to unsnap to free his cock and then nothing would be between them. They’d be skin to skin. Her knees weakened slightly just imagining the way he’d feel entering her body.

  Chase suddenly stepped back and his arms were gone from her body, leaving her feeling cold and sexually frustrated.

  “I’ve seen enough.” He cleared his throat. “I’ll take it. Let’s get back to your office and draw up an offer.” He was brusque after that.

  The next day, Chase agreed to the seller’s first counteroffer. The paperwork was finalized for the sale and he refused to allow her to take him to dinner to celebrate his purchase. It hurt. The warmth and friendliness was gone. He was cold and withdrawn once their business was concluded.

  The attraction was so powerful that it was almost unsettling. She couldn’t stop wishing he’d call and ask to see her again.

  It just hadn’t ever happened. That had been the last time she’d seen Mr. Woods but his memory lingered in her dreams. It explained why her imagination would bring him into her nightmare.

  His voice drew her out of her memories and back into the hellish basement…

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

  “Hurry up,” he demanded. “I don’t want to be here all night.”

  That sexy voice was one she’d never forget. It still made the feminine parts of her respond. It was whiskey and honey, husky but full of strength. A bitter laugh threatened to burst forth. She was dying and her mind had decided to create more fantasies that included him. It beat fixating on the horrific way her life would end.

  The slats in the door were wide enough to watch him cross the room to retrieve a shovel. She reached to touch the rough wood, wishing she could get closer. The chain jerked her in place when the length, shackled to her wrist, pulled taut. The cuts, caused by her struggles to wiggle free, hurt enough to make her whimper.

  Mr. Woods suddenly spun her way. She couldn’t see his face in the shadows but his blue eyes seemed to glow and he was looking right at her. He dropped the shovel and headed toward the wall. She froze in place, barely breathing, as he crouched on the other side. The change in the color of his irises was stunning, only strengthening her belief that it was just her mind playing tricks.

  “Hi,” she got out, not caring if she was talking to a figment of her imagination. Her voice came out rough, dry, and it hurt. She’d kill for a sip of water.

  His eyes definitely radiated blue as they widened and his fingers suddenly dug between the slats. Wood snapped when he yanked hard, tearing it away.

  “Son of a bitch.” His tone deepened into a snarl, his anger clear.

  Jasmine swallowed, trying to stay in the fantasy. It beat the alternative. “Did you ever build those condos?” She wanted to wince at how horrible her voice sounded. It seemed pretty pathetic to screw up a daydream.

  “Jasmine?” He leaned closer, a dark shadow.

  He gently gripped her upper arms. It still hurt but she didn’t pull away. He had big hands and the warmth of them was worth the pain. His glowing gaze traveled down her body where she sat in the dark, cramped space, before lifting to meet hers.

  “I’ll get you free.” One hand released her and he magically withdrew a knife from his long coat. “Hang on.”

  His other hand dropped away to grip the shackle on her wrist. It hurt enough to make her cry out but he didn’t stop. The tip of the metal stabbed the lock and he flicked his wrist. The shackle parted, releasing her. He tossed it aside and the chain fell to the dirt next to her knee. He repeated the process to free her from the other restraint.

  “Come here.” The knife disappeared into his coat and his arms opened. “Crawl to me. I don’t want to drag you out.”

  Every movement hurt but she managed to shift to her knees, careful of the low roof of the storage area she’d been confined inside. He backed up enough to give her room. She straightened the second she was clear and threw her arms around his broad shoulders. Her breasts were smashed against warm cotton and a firm torso.

  His soft, silky hair was down now, testament to him being a fantasy. The real man had always kept it secured in a leather tie at the base of his neck. She’d always wanted to see how it would look free from that confinement.

  Strong, thick arms wrapped around her waist. She breathed him in instead of the atrocious stench she’d adjusted to. Her nose buried into the long strands of his hair. “You smell so good.”

  His massive body tensed.

  “Don’t let me go.” She didn’t mind dying if she could just hold onto the memory of him. It meant she wasn’t alone, despite it not being real. “Please. Don’t leave me.”

  He drew her closer by tightening his hug. “I’ve got you, Jasmine.”

  She wished that were true. “I’m glad it’s you.”

  He stroked her back. “You’re safe.”

  Exhaustion took hold as his warmth surrounded her. Her eyes closed as she clung to him and the fantasy that had brought him.

  Chase softly cursed as the woman in his arms turned limp. He could hear her steady heartbeat as he lifted her more securely into his arms. He stood and turned to stare at the wolves. One of them spoke.

  “What do we do with her? Can you wipe her memory? It would be a shame t
o kill her after all she’s survived but there may be no choice.”

  Chase hesitated. “She’s none of your concern. Clean this up and remove all evidence of what happened. I’m taking her somewhere safe. There’s been enough death here.”

  He strode out of the basement with Jasmine cradled in his arms. He’d liked the sweet, soft-spoken woman a little too much. She’d bravely met him—a stranger—at night to show him possible sites for the pack to roam. She’d also easily bought into his lies, making it possible to avoid altering her thoughts. He’d found her attractive and had picked up her very subtle hints that she was interested, but he’d ignored every one. She was the type of woman he’d destroy. He refused to allow that to happen, despite the way his body had reacted to Jasmine. He’d never allow harm to befall her, even if that meant he was the one she needed to be protected from. Of course, now everything had changed.

  “Chase?”

  He clenched his teeth as the shadow near the front door moved. Arry stepped into his path, her green eyes narrowed. She shouldn’t be there, yet she was. Irritation flashed as he stared back at her, knowing she’d purposely arrived in hopes of him needing her somehow. It was never going to happen.

  “Open it and move.”

  “Who is she? Dinner?” A pink tongue darted out to swipe ruby-red lips. “Not very appealing.”

  A growl of anger burst forth before he could halt his instinct. Arry might actually mean her words. He and Arry were as different as night and day. “Do as you’re told. She’s a survivor.”

  “Not for long. She’s circling the drain.”

  He trusted Arry’s sense of smell better than his own. She was older. “Get the door,” he snapped. “You’re visiting my territory and you’ll do as you’re told.”

  “Fine.” She opened it wide, stepping out of his way. “You should let me drain her and just end it. She’s got twelve hours at most.”

 
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