Burn in hell!
I woke up to the sound of a truck reversing. That faint 'beep…beep…beep' sound of parking sensors going off in the back of my half-asleep subconscious.
And then I smelled it as clear as day and my eyes quickly snapped open.
“Gia, get up, the apartments on fire!” I yelled, shaking her awake.
It wasn't parking sensors, it was the damn smoke alarm in the kitchen.
I couldn't believe that I didn't hear anything going on outside, having been in a deep contented sleep up until a minute ago.
“Huh,” Gia mumbled, all cocooned up in the duvet.
I had already jumped out of bed and pulled on my jeans. “Put this on.” I threw one of my triple extra-large t-shirts at her.
Gia sat up rubbing her eyes, then wrinkled her nose. “Beast, what's that smell? Is that burning?” She asked, her eyes suddenly widened with fear.
“Yeah, so get your ass out of bed, now!” I ordered.
I saw the smoke billowing through the bottom of the bedroom door, meaning that the only way out was through the window. Problem being, it was a long drop onto the hard asphalt, below.
For me it was fine. It was my delicate mate I was more concerned about.
I flung the window open, feeling a sudden rush of cool clean air filling my lungs. Gia had covered herself and had rushed to the side of me.
“We're jumping?” She asked, terrified.
“I'm jumping, you're being carried,” I corrected.
I climbed up onto the ledge, swinging my legs over the other side of the window frame. I beckoned Gia to follow, holding out my hand, and she placed her trembling one into it. I hoisted her effortlessly up onto my lap.
Making sure I had her wrapped securely with one of my arms, I jumped down onto the parking lot with a thump, cracking the tarmac as I landed.
I placed a pale, shaken-looking Gia, down beside me.
“Are you hurt, did I hurt you?” I checked her over for any sign of injury.
“No-no,” she stammered, shaken and teary-eyed.
“Good,” I breathed out relieved.
I gripped her hand as we hurried round to the front of the building to see what happened. The tattoo parlor wasn't the target, although, it'd likely to be filled with smoke damage and ruined all the same.
The tell-tale sign being the smashed living room window in my apartment and the yellow flames flickering out of it, mixed with thick, black smoke.
The sound of fire truck sirens could be heard in the distance. I felt a small hand brush against my right bicep and rest in the crease of my elbow.
“Babe,” Gia whimpered.
I looked down at my petrified mate, feeling fear for the first time in my adult life. I had to end this with Claw if I wanted to keep her safe.
I pulled her into me and wrapped my arms around her tightly, breathing in the scent of her shampoo. Some L'Oriel crap that just so happens to smell like berries.
“We need to get you out of here, there's something I've got to do,” I mumbled into her hair, filling my lungs with the memory of her, hopefully not for the last time.
I hammered on Jaxton's door like I was a fucking bailiff coming to clean the place out. At first, the place was in darkness but five minutes later a light flicked on upstairs.
“Hold your horses, I'm coming!” Jaxton yelled with irritation as he thundered towards the door.
He may be my Alpha, but he was an unmated male. His evenings could possibly consist of a sordid ménage à trois with a few of the club whores for all I knew. That could be why he was taking so long in answering the God damned door. Either that or he just wasn't a morning person.
“Beast, what the hell? Did you piss the bed? It's five a.m in the morning, what gives?” Alpha Jax grumbled, pinching the sleep from the corners of his eyes.
“Someone torched my apartment while we were sleeping,” I informed him.
He scrubbed a hand over his face and threw open the door. “Shit, get in.”
“So, let me get one thing straight. Your apartment was torched?” He asked again, unable to comprehend what I just said.
“Yeah, I'm guessing a Molotov cocktail through the window job,” I replied with a shrug. “Fucking cowards.” I shook my head with a dark chuckle.
“Uh-oh, I know that laugh,” Jax muttered.
“What're you thinking?” He shot a warning look as if to say 'don't do anything stupid'.
Ha! He knew me too well.
“I'm ending this but I have got to get Gia out of here, first. It ain't safe,” I replied, stating the obvious.
“Oh no, you don't get to do that, Kian!” Gia argued, “Don't you dare.” Her voice cracked. She pointed a finger at me, looking fearful, her bottom lip trembling.
It broke my fucking heart.
“I need to find Claw,” I spoke through gritted teeth. Not trusting myself to look in Gia's direction.
Just as I'd asked, Jaxton's phone rang.
Jax looked at the home screen and swore. He swiped to accept and took his time bringing it up to his ear.
“What the FUCK do you want?” He growled into the phone.
I recognized the voice on the other end of the line... Claw.
“How'ya doin' Jax? Is this a bad time?”
His voice held a mocking tone as if he knew damn well what had just happened.
“You want to die today, boy? Just come on down,” Jax threatened.
“Put him on, Jax, I wanna talk to my girlfriend's bodyguard for a sec,” he taunted, knowing full well I would be listening.
Jax handed the phone to me. He looked ready to murder Claw, and probably still would if I didn't get to him first.
I growled as I snatched the handset. “C'Mon out from your hidey-hole, Claw. You've gone and fixed yourself a date with the Beast-man,” I growled, almost crushing the handset as I gripped it hard.
“One hour, big guy. I'm going to take it all. Your title and your girl,” Claw replied while brimming with confidence.
Jax looked about ready to shift he was that pissed. “Fucker thinks he can just make a challenge to get back in the MC? Beast, you got this, bro.” Jax patted my shoulder.
“Where?” I asked through gritted teeth.
“The clubhouse and uh...don't forget my girl,” Claw spoke in a cock-sure breezy voice.
“The fuck I'm bringing her,” I seethed.
“The fuck I'm staying behind!” Gia yelled across the room, correcting me.