I stared at the dirty naked man in front of me. He was just as beautiful as I remembered just a lot thinner and with no emotions. I tried screaming his name but no sound was coming out of my mouth. Suddenly the images starting fading in and out and I knew Marina was losing her energy. I tried one last time to get to him but as soon as I went to reach for him I found myself falling forward as Austin wrapped an arm around me preventing me from face planting on the floor. Marina had passed out and was lying there unconscious.
I pulled out of Austin's arms and fell to the ground next to her. "Marina? Marina you have to wake up. We were so close." I said while brushing the hair from her face. I didn't notice I was crying until little drops of my tears fell onto her face.
She blinked a few times and smiled at me saying "I think we found him. Go, Anna. You know where he is."
"No I don't Marina. I only saw the room he was in. I don't know where he is. Please get up we have to try again, please."
Cassandra was at Marina's side and said "We need to let her rest now." She motioned to Xander to help her get Marina up and to the couch. I watched as they placed her weak body down and soon she was fast asleep.
I ran my fingers through my hair and walked over to Austin and Val. "Austin we have to hit the woods now. Bring me to the territory that has been unsearched." I walked out the door and towards the woods. But when I reached the edge there were a dozen wolves staring back at me.
I jumped back as Austin walked straight to them. "We will start at the waters edge by the old lookout. Any scents or suspicious activity is to be reported to me immediately. Whatever you find you alert me first. Understand?" All the wolves bowed their heads and turned around ready to run. "LET'S FIND OUR ALPHA!" He said as he ran and ripped off his clothes shifting into a massive brown and white wolf then he turned to us and nodded returning to face the woods. Val and I quickly shifted behind a tree and walked out into the clearing in front of the others.
All the wolves ears folded back and their tails immediately tucked underneath them then all at once they all bowed to the ground. Val and I looked at each other and then she bowed down as well. I finally realized they were showing me respect as a Royal and I barked once causing them to all stand at attention and then as one we all ran off to the river.
Austin mind-linked everyone with specific instructions. We were all paired with someone then given a spot to search. Austin and Val were together, of course but I was paired with a woman named Claire who was a warrior. She knew the area and took off immediately.
I trailed behind her but I wasn't convinced she knew the best way to search. I stopped and sniffed the air. There was a peculiar smell, smoky yet sweet. I shifted back to my human form and grabbed some clothes from my backpack and ducked out of Claire's sight.
There was a freshly made trail that led further into the woods but before I got there someone grabbed my shoulder and I froze. I turned around slowly and saw Parker. I opened my mouth to talk but he shook his head and put his finger to his lips for me to be quiet then pointed forward guiding me into the trees. Once we were concealed he asked me "Anna, what are you doing here? It's not safe."
"Parker, I'm searching for my mate. He was taken and has been missing for 3 months. We think he is somewhere in the woods being held captive."
He sighed and drug his hand down his face. "The Alpha is your mate?"
"Yes. Do you know him?"
"No I've only heard of him since I got here but I was approached by someone from his pack to help with the search."
I pulled him into a tight hug and said "Thank you. Thank you so much Parker. I need to find him. Do you have any idea where he might be? How long have you been searching?"
"I have been in these woods every day since I got here and I haven't found anything. But, there is one place that I haven't tried yet. It is a small area of territory that is questionable. It's very rough terrain and is hidden by thick bushes and trees."
"Show me." I snapped.
He glared at me for a while then looked around to see if anyone else was had found our trail. He motioned for me to follow him. Within minutes we were standing in front of an abandoned house. He walked around to the back while I stayed in the front. I stood there frozen with fear. I couldn't explain it but I had an eerie feeling about this place. I could feel it in my bones. There was something bad here and I didn't want to find out what it was.
I called out to him. "Parker, I don't think it's safe here. I'm going to go back to the clearing and wait for the others. I think we could use some back up." He didn't answer me. "Parker?" Still nothing. I was starting to get worried that something happened to him so I walked slowly to where he disappeared and yelled again "Parker? Answer me! You're starting to scare me."
Just as I went to take another step a cold shiver ran down my spine and my entire body prickled with anxiety. My heart started beating faster and faster and my hands were shaking. I heard footsteps behind me but I was too terrified to turn around.
"Anna!" My blood turned ice cold and my body turned to stone. I recognize that voice. I slowly turned around while thinking of an escape plan in my head. Knowing that I wasn't faster than him but I was smarter and if I could just get him to the clearing the other wolves would be my protection. When I finally turned around Parker was standing in front of me flashing a devilish grin. Only it wasn't Parker.