I jerked up in bed at the sound of a slamming door.
Shit, what time is it? I looked at my alarm clock and it read five o’clock. Crap! I had to hurry and get ready for my shift tonight.
My feet hit the floor as I rolled out of bed. As the cold penetrated the bottom of my feet, I wondered how I got to my room when the last thing I remember was walking into the kitchen.
Ugh, my head was killing me. A pleading voice reached my ears, not helping my headache one bit. Peaking out my bedroom door and down the hallway, I spotted a tall, dark haired man standing in front of my bathroom, knocking softly and begging whoever was in there to come out and talk to him.
Shaking my head, I slipped back into my room. I was not going to ask. Today was bad enough with Alexander showing up on my doorstep. I’m not going to get into it with Cameron about strangers in the house.
Dammit! No! I will not waste another thought on that conceited ass! I needed to get ready for my shift at the club tonight. I have to make money so I can pay the bills and save up for the Ninja Turtle toy Quinn wants for his birthday this year.
I’m not going to think about the way he looked standing on my doorstep. How he looked so much better now than he did in High School. How...
Ugh! I needed a distraction. Stomping my way to my closet I shimmied into the short black mini-skirt and red top, proudly proclaiming ‘Down and Dirty’ on it.
Stupid uniform, but the customers loved the servers hot and the alcohol cold. Too bad the outfit didn’t come with a can of pepper spray—or a taser—for those who got a little too excited with how ‘Hot’ the service was.
Pulling my hair into a messy bun, and grabbing my black stilettos on the fly, I raced from my room giving no notice to the man pleading outside my bathroom door. Noises and scents from the kitchen had me heading in that direction.
I wasn’t paying attention, as I entered the living room looking for my purse and keys, otherwise I would have noticed the ominous growl coming from behind me.
“Quinn! Where’s my purse? I could have sworn I left it here when I came home earlier. Were you playing with mommy’s wallet again?”
There was no answer from my son, but the second growl—louder, more demanding—caught my attention. Stiffening in my prone position on the floor, where I had been searching under the couch, I slowly shifted to my hands and knees and glanced over my shoulder.
Alexander stood several feet away, his eyes glowing with animal lust, his wolf trying to take over and claim his mate. Quinn’s small stature was made even more apparent as he stood next to his towering father.
His eyes were wide as he looked up at the man growling at his mother. I could tell he was confused, but I didn’t know how to explain the situation to him.
Without looking at Alexander, I addressed my son, “Quinn, honey, why don’t you go and get Uncle Cameron, okay?” His wary eyes shifted between myself and Lex. I didn’t want him to get caught in the middle if anything happened. “Go on, honey, I’ll be fine. I just need to talk to this man real quick.”
Quinn debated my suggestion for a second, then nodded his head quickly. He raced from the room and down the hall to Cameron’s room.
I just hope my brother keeps him out of harms way if Alexander’s wolf decides to get aggressive.
“What are you doing?” Alexander’s lust and want filled voice floated over my senses. I had to suppress a shiver of desire as I turned my back on him and continued my search for my missing purse and keys.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw them. My keys and purse were sitting on the end table next to the front door. My fingers almost brushed the leather of my purse when a hard, masculine, hand grabbed my arm and spun me around. Sparks and electricity shot through me at the contact.
I wanted to lean into the hand holding me. I wanted to wrap my arms around him and never let go. I wanted the past three years never to have happened.
But they did.
“What are you doing Kayla?” he growled at me again.
Getting myself under control, I ripped my arm from his grip and grabbed up my purse, keys, and a jacket for the cold California winter evening. My hand was on the doorknob when I finally decided to answer him.
Still without looking at him, I said, “I’m going to work. Stay, don’t stay. I don’t care. I need to leave and earn some money so I can put food on the table and a roof over my son’s head.” He didn’t have a response to that. As I was stepping out and about to close the door, I yelled, “Bye everyone! I’ll see you all in the morning! Love you Quinn! Be good and go to bed on time!”
I slammed the door before Alexander could say anything else to me. I was halfway down the walkway to the drive when I noticed my rundown hatchback was blocked in on all sides by two expensive looking cars and Cameron’s used Chevy.
This night was just getting better and better. Luckily, I had a set of Cameron’s keys on my chain and could just take his truck to work. I hope he actually put gas in it this time.
After a few false starts, the engine finally turned over and I was on my way to the club a few towns over. I crossed my fingers on the steering wheel hoping the rest of my night went smoother than it had started. I didn’t think it would.
But a girl can hope, can’t she?
The kid and I were in the kitchen cleaning up Cameron’s disaster of dinner. I thought there was something I could salvage, but everything was either burnt or stuck to the pans. I was so not going to eat any of it.
After the last pan was put in the sink to soak I turned to the kid next to me. He didn’t seem so bad, for a midget. It was unnerving the way he kept staring at me though.
I was never one to fidget, but the way the kid kept looking at me made me want to shift from foot to foot and rub my sweating hands on my pant legs. I tried to think of a distraction, when I noticed the phone on the wall. I reached for it as I asked, “How do you feel about pizza?”
I must have said the magic words as his face lit up and he was practically bouncing off the walls. “Yay! Ninja Turtle Pizza! I want it the way Michelangelo eats it.”
I was going to ask him who Michelangelo was, and how he ate his pizza, when the most amazing sent hit me full in the face. Lilacs and freesia. Everything that reminded me of spring, of Kayla. My mate.
I was having a hard time controlling my wolf, and when I looked into the living room, the site before me did nothing to help. Kayla was walking around looking like sex in six-inch heels, short skirt, and tight top. She bent over to look under an end-table, her skirt rode up her thighs to just below her pert little but.
My whole body tightened as images of what I wanted to do to her flashed through my mind. The phone in my hand shattered with a small whimper of crushed plastic. A growl ripped from the bottom of my soul quieted the whole house, but she didn’t even notice. She just stretched out on the floor, reaching her hand under the couch.
“Quinn! Where’s my purse? I could have sworn I left it here when I came home earlier. Were you playing with mommy’s wallet again?” Another growl reverberated around the house as her voice brought my wolf to the forefront.
I saw her stiffen, then get to her hands and knees. My wolf almost mounted her right then, regardless of the fact her son was standing next to me.
It hurt, but I was able to gain a finger hold on my wolf. Reigning him in the slightest bit. Gaining some control, I noticed she had sent her son from the room. It was probably a good thing with the way my wolf wanted to take control and claim his mate and never let her go again.
She was standing now, looking around the living room for something. What could she be looking for when I’m standing here trying not to rip her clothes off?
“What are you doing?” I growled at her. A shiver passed down her body, but she suppressed it so quickly it could have been part of my imagination.
She didn’t answer as something caught her attention next to the door. Without conscious thought, I reached out and grabbed her arm spinning her around to face me. I noticed how her shirt hugged her luscious curves, revealing an inordinate amount of cleavage. The thought that she should only dress like this for me, and only me, passed through my mind.
“What are you doing Kayla?” I asked again. I needed to know why she was dressed this way.
Instead of answering me, she pulled from my hold grabbing what turned out to be her purse, keys, and a jacket before reaching for the doorknob. She was leaving? She couldn’t be leaving dressed like that?!
When I thought she was going to continue the silent treatment, she said,“I’m going to work. Stay, don’t stay. I don’t care. I need to leave and earn some money so I can put food on the table and a roof over my son’s head.” With that she opened the door and yelled,“Bye everyone! I’ll see you all in the morning! Love you Quinn! Be good and go to bed on time!”
She walked out into the night, slamming the door in my face. I was completely stunned. What job could she possibly have to get to dressed like that? I thought she worked for the Council? What the Hell was going on in this house?!
My hands found their way into my hair in frustration. I spun around looking for something to destroy, when I noticed the other occupants of the house standing behind me.
Cameron was looking at me in disgust, the boy had a look of bewilderment on his face, and Devin—the bastard—was looking like the cat who got the cream.
Ignoring Devin and the boy, I concentrated on Cameron. He had to know where she was going. He had to know why she said she wouldn’t be back until morning.
My desperation must have shown on my face. He looked torn between taking a stand with his sister, or helping me get her back. Earlier, he was willing to help, I just hope he will continue in that purpose.
With a sigh, and a look like he was going to regret this, he said, “She works at the ‘Down and Dirty’ club a few towns over. When you get there, don’t you dare tell her I told you. She is already going to kill me for calling you. I don’t need her even more pissed off at me.”
He started herding the boy into the kitchen, I’m assuming the get him something to eat. Looking over his shoulder, he gave one last piece of advice, “Whatever you do, don’t screw this up. She’s been hurt enough over the years. She doesn’t need you trying to make her feel worse.”
I gave him a short nod, not really understanding what he was talking about. But one way or another, I was going to get some answers tonight.
Devin stood there with a smirk on his face the whole time. I sent him a death glare. He just raised his hands, his smirk never leaving that smug face of his, and turned back down the hallway.
Spinning around, I left the house without another word. I had a mate to track down.
Secret Warehouse Facility
I’ve been stuck in this Hell-hole for a month. Thirty days without my mate. Seven-hundred-twenty hours without talking to my parents and brothers. Forty-three thousand, two-hundred minutes of not knowing what is going to happen to me and my baby.
All I do is sit on the thin mattress, this place considers a bed, and wait for the one person who makes this all bearable. The one person who has offered to help me while I’m stuck here. Kayla.
She promised, when they moved me, and the other occupants in this nut house, that she would help me escape. I should have stopped believing her after the first week. But something in me kept hoping that she would eventually get me and my unborn child out of here.
That not only will I be saved, but so will all the other men and women who are treated like lab rats.
I’ve heard through the thin walls what some of the guards and—so called—doctors have done to the people here. I’ve been lucky so far. They’ve only done tests to make sure my pregnancy is progressing normally. Well, normal for a human. They haven’t done anything more than take sonograms, make sure I take my vitamins and eat healthy.
Some would think I have it easy, but being blind brings a whole new dimension to what is happening. I can’t tell who is in the room with me, unless they speak. I don’t know if they are going to slip something into my food, because I can’t see what I’m being given. For all I know they could slip sedatives into my medications instead of vitamins.
Because of my paranoia, I won’t take anything from the people in here, unless it’s Kayla. The problem with that, she is hardly ever here.
We haven’t been able to talk all that much, as I’m constantly being monitored, but I know that she has a life outside of this place. I can’t just expect her to be here twenty-four seven at my beck and call.
She has, however, been trying to teach me brail. When I was able to make out complete sentences, she would write me little notes to help keep my spirits up. It was this way, that I learned she has a son of her own.
I don’t want anything to happen to her because of me, so I’ve been trying to cooperate more with these horrible people. If they ever found out about her boy, then they would use him against her, and I can’t have that on my conscience.
Absently, my hand rubbed over my protruding stomach. As they have for the past month, my thoughts run to what she promised me so long ago. She was going to get in touch with her brother. She was going to get me out of here.
I need it to happen soon.
I need to be with my mate when this child is born. I can’t go through having this baby here, in this lab. I knew they were just waiting for me to go into labor. I knew they were going to take my baby from me. To use as their own personal lab rat.
Something they can study, raise, twist to their own demented purposes.
My arms tightened around my stomach in a protective gesture. They were never going to get my baby. No matter what I have to do, they will not lay a slimy, latex covered, finger on my child.
My thoughts turned to Jack, and what he was doing right now. I know he had to be looking for me. I hope he finds something to lead him to me soon. I want to feel his face again. I want to run my hands through his hair and hear him growl in pleasure at my touch.
I want him to mark me.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I regret all the time I’ve waisted pushing him away. If I could have the time back, I would have accepted him with open arms and we could be mated right now.
Maybe if I had, I wouldn’t be in this position. He would have known something was wrong immediately. He could have found me by now.
But no, I had to be idiotic and keep him at arms length, until I thought he had proved himself.
Silent tears ran unnoticed down my cheeks, as I hummed a sad song into the empty room around me. Laying down on the thin mattress, I hugged the lumpy pillow to my chest burying my face into it, and cried.
I cried for all the things I’ve lost. I cried for all the things I may never have. But most of all, I cried because I knew my mate was out there hurting just as much as me.