Chapter 21: Claimed
“You need to rest, love. This will all be here tomorrow.” Snake pulled me back into his chest, forcing me to relax into him as my eyes struggled to remain open. He kissed my head gently. “Come on, let’s go home.”
I looked around the room, my eyes only seeing all the work that needed to be done tomorrow before the women would arrive, if they chose to arrive. Snake’s exercises in preparation had paid off big time. I never would have found this place if we hadn’t focused on the problem, that whole exercise in listing everything I would need to help the women once they arrived. I had procured an exhaustive list of equipment that I would need, along with a hidden location to use it. There was no way in hell I was bringing anyone associated with that Alpha into my home, I didn’t trust him as far as I could throw him. Snake didn’t either, that was why Viper and the other guys were taking such precautions in the transfer. They were already in Duluth, setting up for the exchange of up to twelve pregnant shewolves in the morning.
It was like Luna was looking over my efforts with how it fell into place. I was searching for used medical equipment when I came across a real estate listing for a veterinary practice. It wasn’t a large building, it had been run for decades by a single veterinarian and some assistants in Maplewood. When he suddenly passed, his estate could not find anyone to take over; the building and its contents were available for a price, including an assumption of the remaining two years of the lease. I immediately called and made an appointment, and before I left we had agreed on a very reasonable price.
Most of their work was on pets, but they did have the equipment to work on large animals as well. The X-ray machine was old but was workable, the ultrasound was nearly new. The lab was small but capable. The small surgical suite would need a new bed for humans, but otherwise was well equipped. The supply room was stocked, including a number of drugs that would be helpful to me. By converting the office and lobby into living spaces and fixing up the break room into a small kitchen, it would work well for what I needed. It even had a small crematorium; it wasn’t large enough for a whole body at once, but in parts it was better than building a bonfire in the suburbs. It solved so many problems at once for us.We left the windows boarded up, not wanting to show anything going on inside. The front faced a busy road, but in back was a fenced-in area that was hidden from the neighbors; once we drove the vans in, we couldn’t be seen easily. If anyone inquired, we were preparing the property for auction.
We had driven a van over with the equipment from my clinic and from storage, all the things I had been searching for over the summer. While I was setting things up, Snake and Moose had been making runs to the stores. The ladies of the club had taken over preparations for the women, cleaning the rooms and setting everything up into a functional dorm. They had left at ten, and I was still working in my lab after midnight when he’d finally had enough. I let him lead me to the door, turning out the lights behind us as we headed for the van. “Shit, I forgot my cut. Go start the van,” he said.
I opened the door and walked out into the back lot, taking a deep breath as I looked up at the night sky. I hadn’t gone two steps when I froze, I could feel him, smell him, but as I turned around it was too late.
Strong arms wrapped around me as I was lifted off the ground. Kicking didn’t help, and my head butts landed harmlessly against his strong chest as he walked me to the front of the van. “Donovan, don’t do this.” I could smell his arousal, it was calling to my wolf, a deep woodsy smell of animal lust.
“Oh, Vivian, how I have dreamed of this day. Alpha Clark sends his regards, and his congratulations on your upcoming mating in about, oh, two minutes.” He pushed my back against the hood of the van and forced me down onto the hood, my legs dangling off the ground. His left hand easily caught both of mine, holding them together above my head as I struggled against him in vain. I wasn’t weak, but I wasn’t a trained Pack Warrior either.
“Please, don’t do this, Donovan, I don’t want this.” I shivered as his right hand went down my side, caressing the side of my breast as it made its way down. I felt the nails shift into claws, cutting away the shorts from my waist before he cut away my underwear. They fell to the ground, leaving my lower half bare and open for him.
“It’s what is best for you, and something that I want. The Alpha sent five of us here, promising that if we found you, we could mate you and keep you. This little bout of independence doesn’t serve you or our Pack. You belong with us, under Alpha Clark’s dominion as his Pack doctor, and a mated Pack woman. Did you really think that he would turn over all those women to you, including his own mate, without a plan to get you back? Foolish woman.” I spit in his face, he just smiled. “I found you first, and I win. You’ll learn to love being my mate, Vivian. I’ll keep you happy, and with this tight body, I know you’ll keep me VERY happy.” His tongue licked my neck, right on the spot he was going to leave his mating claim. If he managed to screw me to orgasm and bite there, I would be tied to him irrevocably.
“She’s already happy, asshole.” Donovan stood up and turned, and I looked back to see an angry Snake coming out the back door. His Colt was in his hand, silver bullets at the ready, but I was right behind him.
“Walk away before you get hurt,” Donovan growled out. “She’s mine, and I’ll kill to keep her.”
“Funny, so will I.” I didn’t give him a chance. He had let go of my hands, and I quickly reached under my shirt for the combat knife I kept on a lanyard between my breasts. With his attention on Snake, he didn’t consider me a threat. That was his last mistake.
I unsheathed it as I reached around his waist with my left hand. I used the hold for power as I stabbed up with the knife, pushing it into the junction of his vertebrae and the occipital plate on the back of his head. The six-inch blade easily penetrated the bone, destroying the brain stem. It was a lights-out kill; that portion of the brain controlled breathing, heartbeat and all motor function. He fell to the ground bonelessly, dead before he could understand what had happened.
I scrambled off the hood and reached down, removing my knife and cleaning it on his shirt before putting it back in its sheath. Snake ran over, pulling me into his chest. “Shit, Viv, are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “He didn’t get a chance to do anything. Bring him inside for me?” I was strangely numb, like my emotions had been disconnected. My wolf and I were probably in shock, but I had no time to break down. I reached down and grabbed my destroyed clothing. I removed my keys and opened the door. Walking into the building I tossed them into the garbage. I went to the lab, opening the cabinet with spare scrubs I pulled a pair on, rolling up the bottoms as they were too big for me.
I was only when I looked in the mirror that my mind started to process what just happened, and how close I had come to a second rape and forced mating in less than a year. The adrenaline crash hit at the same time; I started to shake, my body shivering and my brain shutting down. I slid down the locker to the floor, the emotions overwhelming me as I buried my face in my hands.
I don’t know how long I sat there, I lost track of time. This was the third male I’d killed, but it was so much worse than the first two. Those had been during a three-on-one situation with rogues, men who were crazed and dangerous. This? This was my friend, my protector, the man who stayed by my side and slept in wolf form each night outside my door. He was like family to me, and he so casually talked about how forcibly mating me was the right and good thing to do.
His words shook me to the core. How much had he hidden his attraction for me during the time I was sleeping with Matt? How could he know me so well, know I didn’t want this, but still think it was all right? It was like I was the prize.
Actually, that was EXACTLY what it was. Alpha Clark had sent five men on a hunt for me, winner take all of me. The fact that they would have to rape me, take away my choice forever, didn’t even slow them down. My desires were meaningless, even for men I considered trusted friends.
I cursed him and his Pack, vowing to destroy that man’s reign over the good wolves I knew in his Pack.
Snake opened the door and looked in. His face fell as he took me in, crying uncontrollably, shaking and holding myself. “Shit, Vivian,” he said as he rushed over. He picked me up and carried me to a chair, sitting down and holding me across his lap. I buried my face in his chest, letting all the emotion out as my wolf calmed herself with his scent. We had some deep discussions, my wolf and I, about Snake. She loved him as I did now, saw him as a strong man and a good protector for her. He’d never let me down.
I told him everything that had happened, everything I knew, then I fell asleep in his arms.
I woke up the next morning in bed, the light coming through the cracks in the drapes and landing right on my eyes. I looked up, it was nine thirty in the morning. I sat up, looking around for Snake and not finding him. His scent was weak, he had been gone for a while. I got up, seeing I had been changed into pajama shorts and one of Snake’s T-shirts. I quickly used the bathroom, then put on sandals and shorts and headed down to the club.
I saw Moose at the bar, eating a bowl of cereal. “What, no hot breakfast? Where is Snake?”
“Gone. He left me here to keep watch over you, he said he would call if he had a chance.”
I sat next to him and grabbed a bowl and some Raisin Bran. “Where did he go?”
“Duluth. He said he had some unfinished business with some Clark guy.”