I startle awake a short while later. My wolf is on edge with her ears perked forward as she paces back and forth in my mind, sensing that something is about to take place. She suddenly stops and stands completely still while tilting her head to the side, listening for anything that seems out of place. I am not exactly sure what she expects to hear, but there is no longer the sound of chirping birds in the trees which makes my body tense. Baron is holding onto my thigh tightly in his sleep so I get into a sitting position slowly as I don’t want to wake him up and freak the little guy out if it is nothing.
Looking to where Bri was laying down, I see that she’s sitting up and looking across the little creek with narrowed eyes. She turns her head my way and I can see the question in her eyes as she mouths a second later, is your wolf uneasy also?
I nod my head in agreement as I whisper “I don’t like the feeling my wolf and I are getting. It’s too quiet.”
Over the sound of running water, we hear a twig break. My eyes dart to Bri and I tell her just above a whisper so I know she can hear me. “Mindlink Edric and tell him to get the someone out here. Now, Bri… something isn’t right. Where are the wolves who patrol in this area? If that was anyone from our pack, they wouldn’t be sneaking around on us.”
She nods her head and I can see the far off look in her eyes, letting me know that she is informing Edric of what’s going on. Another twig breaks, but this one much louder and closer, as if they want us to be aware of their presence. I shift Baron off of my lap and gently lay his head on the grass as I get up, careful not to wake him yet. He stirs slightly but thankfully, falls right back asleep. I don’t even bother taking off my clothes and instantly shift into my grey wolf.
In wolf form, our senses are heightened. We can hear and smell a lot better and right now, I need to know if we are in real danger. With the wind blowing in the opposite direction, I now know why we can’t smell them. We growl low as we stand in a protective stance over Baron, warning whoever is watching us that they will have to get through me to get to the pup. Bri gently puts Georgie in the same position as Baron and also shifts into her caramel wolf, readying herself.
Footsteps are heard too close for comfort and get louder as we see three brown wolves across the little creek, one a little bigger than the other two, staring at us with their lips raised in a threatening manner. The taller one inhales deeply and lets out a feral needy growl. The fur on my spine rises as we make ourselves taller, wanting these wolves to know that we won’t back down and tuck tail. The smaller one growls and takes a few steps forward with their focus solely on me. They don’t even pay attention to Bri or the pups and I am thankful for that.
I can tell by the way their fur is matted that they are not pack wolves, yet they aren’t exactly rogue either.
Do they have a connection to Sterling in some way? If so, why are they just standing there?
I twist my head around to look at where Georgie and Baron were laying and see that they are now huddled together, Baron has his arms around Georgie and glaring at the invading wolves. His eyes are a dull gold so I know that his little wolf is present also. I step closer to them, blocking them from seeing the trespassers and vice versa.
Bri growls and steps toward the smaller wolf, warning it to back the fuck up. While I was checking on the little ones, he managed to inch his way closer to me. I bark at Bri, hoping that she will understand what I am saying and I can tell that she does by taking a step back. The wolves tilt their heads to the side in confusion.
The bigger one shifts into his skin and opens his mouth to speak. “Hello Gia Nealey, soon-to-be mate of Alpha Sterling. He told us a lot about you and he wasn’t wrong. You are one gorgeous she-wolf.” My wolf and I snarl, raising our lip in a menacing way, causing him to chuckle and shake his head. “I think it is time for you to come to your mate now, female. He has been waiting long enough and he is starting to get impatient. Alpha Sterling has paid us greatly and expects results immediately. You will be coming with us or we will not leave your friend and those pups behind you, unharmed.”
We release a feral growl and take a few steps forward as we eye this dirty male. Our taste buds thirst for a taste of his blood for threatening three of the people I care about. Bri takes over where I was, having the pups right on her flank, holding onto her so she knows they are safe and she can grab onto them if she needs to run. “We have already dealt with the two jokes you consider patrol wolves, so they will not be coming to protect you, and don’t be foolish enough to think that there are only the three of us present, Luna. Just because you cannot see others, does not mean they are not here.”
I take what he says seriously, even if he is bluffing. For all I know, we are surrounded and the other wolves are waiting for their leader to order out his demand. Why does Sterling not come for me himself? Why pay men to do it for him? Could he consider Edric a threat so he is trying to be sneaky about capturing me?
The two wolves come forward and snarl menacingly towards Bri who has not let her guard down once. She is slowly backing the kids up to the forest line. I remember on the way here, there was a large hole in a giant tree that would be perfect for them to hide in. I tilt my head sideways so I can keep an eye on the wolves in front of me while also making eye contact with Bri.
She subtly nods her head yes, so I know she must be thinking the same thing. She takes another step back as the two wolves growl and slowly come forward. They are about ten feet from me as the other male stays in his spot behind them. “Luna Gia, I would tell your friend to cease her movements if I were you. These two will prevent her from leaving with the pups. Don’t push our hand, because we will take them if it means you would comply easier.”
The thought of them taking Baron and Georgie pisses my wolf and I off and we howl, charging right for the two males that start running our way as Bri and the pups turn to run. Somehow, Bri has managed to get Georgie on top of her back and Baron in her mouth before taking off with a whine and whimper. I know she doesn’t want to leave me alone with these assholes, but those pups need to be safe and I would risk my life for theirs any day.
“Luna! No! We can’t leave her Bria! We need to help her! Turn back! Please!” Baron’s teary voice has us whimpering and we falter for a second before we realize that the two wolves aren’t coming for us, they are going for Bri and the little ones as they pass by me. I quickly turn around and push our paws to go at a speed unknown to myself, reaching for the wolf that is closest to them as the one slightly behind rams into my ribs.
I lose my footing and nearly hit the forest ground, but we manage to grab onto the shoulder blade of the wolf in front of us and dig our teeth in deep. He yelps and spins his head around to bite our jaw, missing us by an inch. We snarl through our teeth and our incisors rip through his shoulder, causing him to roar out his pain as we feel another set of teeth dig into our right hip.
We howl in agony as the wolf shakes his head, causing us to let go of his partner as we swing our head and upper body in his direction to grab a hold of his ear and rip it clean off. He lets go and reaches for our nose, but misses. This action takes our attention off of the other wolf and he goes straight for our neck, but oddly enough, he doesn’t dig his teeth in too deep. We roar as our adrenaline spikes and we shove off of the forest floor so we are pushing all of our body weight into the wolf, making him drop to the ground as we land on him. He yelps and lets go of our neck, just enough for us to get out of his reach again.
We hop away from them and block the path that Bri and the pups went, using our sore body as a barrier. They both howl into the air and charge for me, I know I cannot keep them back much longer, but Bri should almost be at the tree by now so I only need to keep their attention on me a little bit longer.
Where is Edric? What’s taking them so long? It feels like hours have gone by when really, it has only been minutes.
I hear a few more howls coming from where the other male was standing and start to panic. It is hard enough to take on these two wolves, but how are we supposed to hold back a whole group? It isn’t possible. I crouch low to the ground and keep my eyes on these males, my back end and neck are throbbing from their bites, but I can still fight, and I will for as long as I need to. They will not get past me as long as I can still stand.
The wolves don’t make a move and I see the reason why coming from behind them. The other male has shifted back into his wolf and is snarling at me, his canines bared and looking ready to take me out. I don’t think they want to kill me, otherwise I’m sure they would have by now, but they will do whatever is necessary to get me to go with them. I have a feeling that Sterling gave them some harsh consequences if they don’t show up with me in tow.
I bare my canines back to him and stand as tall as I can, regardless of the pain I feel in my body when I do. I cannot show weakness, especially now. I don’t notice the other wolves that surround me until I hear the leaves crunch to my left. Swiftly whipping my head in that direction, I see in my peripheral that a few others have gathered in a circle, putting me right dead center.
They inch their way closer, snapping their jaws, growling and mock biting us. We are trying not to outright panic right now. If Edric doesn’t get here soon, the outcome isn’t going to bode well for us. I wildly growl and snap my teeth at any wolf who gets too close, not letting them think they have us defeated.
We hold them off for as long as we can until we start to get light headed from the blood loss. I won’t let them take me! I didn’t fight to get away for as long as I have, just to be taken by some assholes thinking I belong to a sick bastard.
We gather some inner strength and ignore all of the painful nips to my tail, ass and the ones that have now started on my back legs and flank. I am not sure what they are trying to get me to do, but they need to fuck off. I stare into the tall males eyes as I limp forward and what I see disgusts me. He has a predatory gleam in his eyes that makes my wolf and I uncomfortable. We pretend to be more injured than we are and drop to our belly right in front of the leader of them all.
We make it seem like we are giving in and will go with him. He raises his head and howls to the sky, the others follow his lead and do the same. As soon as they stop, distant howls are heard and the air around us becomes even more tense. The wolves around me start to bite at me with more urgency, expecting me to get up and move faster since I was willing to do so mere seconds ago.
A roar is heard in the distance, this one more feral and pissed off then the rest and in my heart, I know it’s Edric. My wolf feels a new surge of energy knowing that her mate is on his way for her, so we use this distraction and jump up, latching onto the lead males neck with our incisors. He roars in anger and furiously shakes his head, using his claws to try to get our underbelly but we keep dodging his attempts. The other wolves are growling, biting into the flesh of my body but we refuse to let go.
A sharp bite to our hip has us howling in anguish, making us let go of the males neck that is now dripping blood at a rapid pace as we try to take a step away from him. He roars before grabbing us by the back of the neck and whips his head to the left, throwing us against the base of a tree. We yelp in excruciating torment as our back makes contact with the tree. Trying to stand, the pain that is in our shoulder, back and rear end makes us immobile and we are unable to gain traction under our paws to get away.
We use the tree to hold ourselves up and protect our body the best that we can from the incoming wolves and snap at anyone who comes too close to us. The lead male groggily comes to stand right in front of us with his head low, fangs sharp and growling right into our face. I shift into my human skin and the sick fuckers take in my body. Their growls suddenly turn into sexual purrs and their eyes still hold some malice, but I notice lust in them also. I decide this is a good thing and stay in human form to use my body as a distraction until Edric gets here.
Fighting the urge to lay down on the ground and curl into a ball to heal, I growl low enough for the male in front of me to hear, “I would rather fucking die then become that sick fuckers woman. I will never let him touch me, fuck me or come anywhere near me. This message won’t be making it to him though, and I am pretty sure your dead body will be a clear enough message.”
He roars just before he freezes in place, hearing the rustling of leaves and panting from a group of wolves coming in our direction at a rapid speed. He snaps his teeth in my face within an inch of my nose and howls into the air as they all turn and start to run the way they had originally come from. I watch them try to run just before they are stopped by Edric’s warriors coming from the other direction. I have never seen Mac in wolf form before, but the look I receive from a large dark and light brown wolf, I know that it’s him. The sorrow and regret is as clear as day. I shake my head no, letting him know he is not to blame in any way. We had no idea this would be happening, especially so far from the border. Within seconds, they have the hired wolves surrounded and they are now the ones in danger.