Beast billionaire 1 (bad.., p.13
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       Beast Billionaire #1 (Bad Boy Alpha Billionaire Werewolf Shifter Romance), p.13

           Mac Flynn
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Maggie stumbled through the dark woods as she followed the path forged by Adrian. Behind her the sun spread its final rays before sunset. A deep, rumbling growl told her she was getting closer.

  Maggie burst from the trees and into the clearing. The combatants faced off as they did in the mirror, but Adrian was hunched on the ground. His back heaved up and down. The scent of alpha permeated off him in strong waves. She clutched her chest as the familiar lustful heat was lit inside her.

  Adrian whipped his head to her. She gasped. His face was flat and his snout longer than before. Hair covered his entire body, and she noticed his knees faced backward like those of a wolf. He turned to face her on all fours. His hunched back was covered in a mane of gray fur.

  Adrian lunged at her and grabbed her shoulders. The mirror dropped onto a pile of needles as he slammed her onto the ground. He leaned down and sniffed her cheek. His razor-sharp teeth brushed against her skin.

  Maggie swallowed. "M-Mr. Forrest. It's me. Don't you remember me?" The wolf curled back its lips and growled at her. It eyes were devoid of light as it opened its wide jaws. Maggie's eyes widened and she shook her head. "No. Please no." The wolf raised its head for a finishing blow. Maggie struggled in his grasp, but his grip was too strong. "Adrian!"

  The wolf paused. Its yellow eyes blinked. The cold emptiness of the beast vanished and was replaced by the bright light of Adrian's human self.

  The figure on the opposite side of the short clearing chuckled. Adrian leapt in front of me and spun around to face the trespasser. Its pale lips curled back in a long snarl.

  The figure shook its head. "No need for a worthless show, wolf. You can't harm me, but what a stroke of luck." He paced halfway around the clearing and stopped twenty feet short of them. "Two wolves for the price of one. My client will be most pleased." The stranger removed their hood and revealed their face.

  The person was a man of forty with gray eyes and a weather face. His thin brown hair was combed back over his thin skull and shimmered with grease. His skin was pale and his thin lips slipped up into a sly grin.

  Over his dark eyes and centered on his forehead lay a single red eye. The eye was large and partially lidded. It blinked against the rhythm of the other two, and its attention lay solely on Maggie. She shrank from that staring abnormality.

  "It's always nice to have my job made simpler," the man commented. He lifted his hand and held his palm out toward them. A bright red light sprang from his palm and formed itself into a ball. The hair on the back of Maggie's neck stood on end and there was a crackling of energy as the ball grew larger and larger until it was the size of a basketball.

  The man drew his arm back. "Time for some separation." He threw the ball at the pair.

  Adrian lunged at the ball. A shot rang out. There was a flash of light as the red ball exploded into a thousand small, shimmering dust particles. Adrian dropped onto his four feet short of the explosion and averted his eyes from the bright blast.

  The force knocked Maggie off her feet. She shook her head and glanced down at the ground. The parts of the ball floated to the ground like feathers and vanished in a flash of black light as they hit the earth.

  Albert stepped from the woods with his smoking gun in hand and his eyes on the stranger. He shoved a large silver bullet into the single chamber and cocked the gun. "I would rather you not try that again, sir. These bullets are rather expensive."

  The man sneered. "How dare you interfere, human."

  "I dare because my master dares. What I am doesn't matter," Albert countered.

  The stranger drew back his hand. Another ball formed in his palm. "Then you can die with the others, and I will bury your soul in a tree."

  Adrian leapt forward. The man raised his glowing hand and the ball formed into a round, curved shield. Adrian's head knocked into the shield and bounced off. He dropped back and shook his head.

  The stranger chuckled. "Though my magic is weak against silver, a mere werewolf can't break this shield. It is made with the strongest of spells created and recited in the deepest forges of the dwarves."

  Adrian curled his lips back into a sly grin and a deep, echoing chuckle reverberated from his long mouth. When he spoke his voice was deep and gravely. "I thought merely to knock the spell from your hand, but now I'll severe your hand from your body."

  Adrian lunged at the stranger. The man raised the shield. Rather than head-ramming, Adrian lifted his own clawed hand and took a swipe at the defense. Claw met red light and the red light shattered, but Adrian's claws didn't stop there. His long fingers sliced through the man's wrist and cut off his hand.

  The stranger's mouth opened in a wide, pain-filled scream. He dropped to his knees and clutched his bleeding stump. His wailing echoed in Maggie's ears. She clapped her hands over her ears and looked away.

  The hand, and Adrian, dropped behind him. Adrian turned to Albert. "Don't let the stupid animal suffer any longer."

  "But sir, shouldn't we-"

  "Take what he sought from me, then, and let's be done with him," Adrian snapped.

  Albert closed his eyes and bowed. He stowed the gun back in his coat and pulled out a small, transparent glass vial. Albert popped the cork and lifted the bottle above his head. A blue mist floated out of the mouth and over to the wounded man.

  He looked up just as the mist wrapped around him. His eyes widened and he stumbled back, but the mist kept him in its circle. The man shook his head and raised his stumpy arm in front of him. "No! No, you can't! Don't-" The mist pressed into him, hiding him from view and cutting off his words. The column twisted and writhed for a few moments before it stretched and floated into the air.

  The man's upraised body came back into view. His open eyes stared straight ahead, but there was no life in them. A small breeze swept over him and the eye in his forehead blew away like dust. He fell face-first into the ground and didn't move.

  The blue mist was sucked back into the bottle. Albert reinserted the cork and tucked the bottle into his coat.

  Adrian stood on two legs and partially transformed back into his human self. His body was still covered in hair, but his face was mostly human. Adrian turned to Maggie who cowered at the edge of the clearing.

  Adrian walked over and knelt in front of her. He offered her his hand. "There's nothing to fear now."

  Maggie recoiled from his clawed fingers. "W-what happened? Who was that? What was that light?"

  He sighed and shook his head. "You don't even believe in magic after you've seen it?"

  She blinked at him. "That. . .that was magic?"

  He nodded. "Yes, and a very potent kind." He glanced over at his manservant who stood a few feet away and smiled. "I'm fortunate Albert came to my aid."

  Albert closed his eyes and bowed. "It was my duty, Master."

  Adrian chuckled. "Duty is very dangerous for you. But you-" he returned his attention to Maggie, "-you had a different form of duty, didn't you?"

  She blinked at him. "What are you talking about?"

  He chuckled. "Haven't you wondered why you rushed out here and came to my aid."

  Maggie opened her mouth, but the explanation died in her throat. She looked away from him and shook her head. "I-I don't know."

  Adrian cupped her chin between his fingers and returned her gaze to his sly smile. "It's because you're mine."

  Maggie frowned and wrenched her chin from his hold. She jumped to her feet and stumbled back. The final rays of the sun set behind her as she glared at the werewolf. "I'm not yours! I'll never be yours!"

  Adrian stood and shook his head. "You can deny it all you want, but you still came here to rescue me." His smile widened. "And might I add you did a fabulous job."

  His praise brought a pleasant heat to her chest. Maggie closed her eyes and shook her head. "This can't be happening! This just can't be happening!'

  Adrian stooped and picked up the mirror she'd
dropped. He set a hand on her shoulder and held the glass out to her. She looked up into his soothing yellow eyes and her thoughts were calmed. His voice was soft and quiet. "You've been through a lot. You should go."

  Maggie shook her head. "I won't go until I get the truth. The whole truth."

  Adrian tilted his head to one side and grinned. "Then you shall have it, but at the house."

  CHAPTER 10

  Maggie stepped back and shook her head. "No. I'm not going anywhere until you tell me what's going on."

  Adrian folded his arms across his chest and studied her with his crooked grin. "You are most becoming when you're most obstinate."

  Maggie backed up in the direction of the driveway. Her hand tightly gripped the handle of the mirror. "Tell me, or I leave now."

  Adrian shrugged. "There isn't much to tell. What you witnessed was a-shall we say, an altercation because my household and a wizard."

  The young woman blinked at him. "A. . .a wizard?"

  He nodded. "Yes, and not a bad one as far as they go. You see, they have a fascination with werewolf souls. This one was particularly persistent in his objective which is why we returned the compliment. He won't be returning to bother us."

  Her eyes widened. "So you. . .you took his soul?"

  Adrian closed his eyes and bowed his head. "Precisely."

  The hand mirror dropped from Maggie's shaking hand. The glass hit the ground and cracked. She backed up and shook her head. "You. . .you killed him!"

  Adrian arched an eyebrow. "He would have done the same to all of us if we had given him more chance."

  "But you didn't have to kill him!" she objected.

  Adrian took a step toward her and stretched out his hand. "Please, Maggie, listen to-"

  "How could you kill him so easily?" she questioned him. Warm tears slid down her cheeks and dropped off her chin. Her dreamed image of the handsome man before her dropped to reveal the beast that stood out. "How could you kill him at all?"

  A sob escaped her lips. She spun around and rushed into the woods.

  Adrian strode up to the mirror and stooped to pick it up. Albert stepped up beside him. "Do you wish for me to catch her?"

  Adrian flipped the mirror over and studied the broken glass. His multiple images all reflected the beastly face he wore. He lowered the glass and looked at where she'd gone. "No. She will return. Fate has ordained it. Besides-" He raised the glass and pursed his lips, "-this will take some time to fix. She will return to us before our errand is done."

  Maggie's arms and face were swatted by the branches and brambles. Her hot tears burned her eyes and mixed with the dust and sap of the forest. By the time she reached her vehicle her hair was a cobweb of pine needles and dead leaves, and her clothes were stabbed with small holes.

  She slumped over the passenger side of her car and cried into her arms. The sound echoed through the lonely woods. After a time she straightened and shook her head.

  "Why. . .why am I doing this? He doesn't. . .he doesn't love me, and I don't love him," she told herself.

  Maggie wiped her face with her sleeve and turned around. The other car with the strange license plate still sat in the middle of the road. She gave the plate one last glance before she walked to the driver side and ducked inside.

  Something made her pause. There had been movement in the woods. Her pulse quickened as she leaned out and squinted. The night made the forest nearly impenetrable. All she saw were shadows.

  Maggie shook her head and slammed her door shut. She backed up and drove away from the long nightmare.

  As her taillights disappeared down the driveway, a dark figure stepped from the shadows near where her car had stood. They wore a cloak, but they lifted their head and revealed bright red eyes. A chuckle slipped from their ruby-red lips as they stepped back into the darkness.

  For all books by Mac Flynn visit her author's page or visit Mac Flynn's website.

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