The girls spectated behind her quietly. The silence in the room was feeding an eery suspense that had her checking her watch every two minutes.
An hour had passed since she disconnected her wolf and rendered herself completely human. If she passed the three-hour mark without allowing her wolf to surface, she would get locked out of that form for multiple days. This time limit was programmed into all werewolves. Whoever favored one side over the other, or combined both forms simultaneously for over three hours would temporarily lose their other form. This served as the punishment for disturbing nature’s balance.
She sighed when the hour wand ticked over 10. If Sol and Raiden didn’t arrive in the next 60 minutes, she would have no option than to shift and effectively blow her cover.
Calm down. You still have the element of surprise, she reasoned.
She was just about to glance at her watch when the door slid open. Her shoulders tensed and the hairpin was opressed by the force of her hand. She expected a man to walk in holding needles and vials to abstract her genetical substances but was unpleasantly surprised when a man walked in bare-handed.
He was younger than Ezekiel, sporting tattoos and a shaved head.
She watched as he stepped in front of them. He seemed interested in one of the girls behind her. Metal clanked as his fingers fussed with his belt buckle but the girls didn’t shift away as she had expected them to when the man freed his erect penis and started to stroke himself.
Artemis looked at the ground with indignation. Just what was going on? The girls told her that the men didn’t rape them. So why weren’t they phased by this pervert’s transgressions?
She moved away from him and the disgusting slobbering between his legs, ignoring the urge to drive the hairpin right into the mediocrely sized appendige.
He didn’t look interested in tracking her movements, being too focused on the same girl who was avoiding his eyes. “Tamara, come here,” he grit out. His voice was bolded by his desire.
The girl owning the name shuffled over between his legs as he continued to single-handedly pleasure himself. Artemis watched Tamara wrinkle her eyes and purse her lips tightly, looking unwillingly expectant of something.
Realization dawned. Before the man could ejaculate on the girl’s face, Artemis tagged her shoulder and pulled her away. Tamara whipped her head from head to side disapprovingly, doe-eyes widened by the surprise of Artemis intervention.
“It’s okay. He will leave after this. He won’t touch me. Ezekiel doesn’t allow it,” she argued.
Artemis had inherited satan’s rage.
This man got... aroused by the girl’s vulnerability? He got off to their fearful submission? Just how many times had he sprayed his arousal on these girl’s faces as if they were his own personal toilet?
Artemis’ hand took flight.
The man jumped aside to avoid the penetration of the pin and pulled his pants up. Outraged by her outburst, he growled before lunging back at what he believed was a human.
Artemis swept her leg and his legs toppled like dominoes against each other. He landed face first on the ground with a thud. Before he got past his initial shock of her abnormal strength, she was straddling his back and dividing his neck into two.
The girls whimpered when the snap resonated. But they knew better than to scream.
Artemis’ attention moved to the door as she waited for it to burst open. Luckily, a minute trailed by and no one entered the room containing the women and it’s new addition— a corpse.
Ugh. How troublesome.
No remorse coursed through her as she stared down at the remains. She was an alpha, a protector. And she was built to reach whatever extremes were necessary to fulfill her purpose.
She looked around the room for a potential place to hide the body. There wasn’t much. Biting back a curse, she grabbed the back of the man’s shirt and dragged him to a blindspot aligned to the door.
She leaned his torso against the wall and propped his legs up so they bent at the knee. His head stayed for obvious reasons but she ignored the grim sight.
After she made him as small as possible, she stood by the door and made sure that he was out of the periphery.
And then... she blankly returned to her spot. Tamara was crying into a comrade’s shirt as she struggled to muffle her cries.
Artemis sighed. Now she really needed Sol and her soulmate to grace her with their presence.
Ezekiel rushed to the entrance.
His esteemed guests were finally here.
“Sol!” he laughed good-naturedly. He offered a hand which Sol shook firmly before turning to the stranger beside him. “I’m Ezekiel. I’m assuming you’re with Sol?” he greets.
“Raiden. Yes.” Wrath answered curtly. His tamed attitude was nothing but a ruse. His fingers were subtly jerking uncontrollably, yearning to cast Ezekiel’s throat and steal his life from him just like he had stolen his mate.
“Which one are you?” Ezekiel inquired curiously. The question would’ve been odd to any other recipient. But Sol and Raiden fell in the slim population that could look past the vagueness.
Ezekiel nodded. “Ah, yes. I’ve read about you in one of those werewolf books. Did you really murder the goddess in cold blood?” His eyes were wide with childish admiration.
“Yeah. Faster than I should have. The bitch deserved to suffer,” he shrugged half-jokingly.
Ezekiel laughed obnoxiously. “Come on. We’ve got a lot to cover.”
And with that, they slipped past his defenses.
The place was crawling with werewolves. Raiden counted six of them chatting and staring, all armed with handguns.
“Where is the inventory?” Sol slipped intelligently when Ezekiel led them to an office.
“They’re locked somewhere. Russel, get me the girls,” Ezekiel commanded a man who was browsing through a folder as they passed him.
Russel walked off as ordered. He pulled the door open but didn’t bother to walk inside. “Come on,” he beckoned annoyingly at the females, thinking about the pile of work he still had to iron out.
The five women stood up and rushed to him, led by Artemis.
This is it, she thinks with relief. They’re here.
Without a peep, they trotted after Russel and away from the corpse in the room. Artemis’ breath was lodged in her throat. She irrationally feared the man would get re-animated and come after them.
Russel pushed past his boss’ office and moved aside, revealing the three lycans.
Her heartbeat exaggerated to the point that she could feel it in her toes when she connected eyes with Raiden.
His brows were furrowed. His eyes pin-pointed.
He was furious. And something told her that some of that anger was directed at her for getting into this situation.
The girls stood in a straight line beside Ezekiel’s desk. Sol and Raiden were seated across Ezekiel.
“Here they are. Four of them were ordered. I’ve got one guy in Ireland that wants two,” Ezekiel smirks, looking every inch of the psychopath that he is.
“How do they choose the girls?” Sol asked while Raiden kept his eyes on Artemis’.
“I know a guy who has access to hospital information. We look up the requested blood type first, then narrow it down by age, ethnicity, location, etcetera. I’m telling you, it’s an effective system.”
“Something caught your eye, Raiden?” Ezekiel turned to him.
Wrath nearly snarled. He detested that name. He detested being reminded of who he used to be.
“Yes.” He said briskly, not bothering to look away from the agitated Artemis who was holding back from jumping Ezekiel. How could he talk about the girls as if he was appraising cattle?
Ezekiel laughed. “If you want that one, I’ll give her to you at a discounted price. Bitch barged in here thinking she could save her friend. Fucking humans, man. They’re hilarious.”
With those belittling words, Wrath’s temper became thinner— something he thought was impossible at this point. Leave it to Ezekiel to bring out the worse in him.
“How about you let me take a ride and you can deduct it from my paycheck?” his gruff message made one of the girls gasp fearfully for Artemis.
Meanwhile, the subject of discussion, Artemis, felt heat migrate to the juncture between her legs. The business proposition was undoubtedly an attempt to get them alone so they could touch bases and plot their exit. But those wouldn’t be the only kind of bases they would reach.
If Ezekiel agreed to Raiden’s crude offer, they would have t0 walk out of the room bathed in each other’s scents. Otherwise, Ezekiel would know that Wrath didn’t touch her.
And there were only two ways to fake sexual intimacy through scent... ways that involved a lot of licking.
Even Sol shifted in his seat when he realized the price of ten minutes to talk privately.
“I don’t normally allow the girls to get ruffled up...” Ezekiel struggled.
Ruffled up... Artemis looked away from Raiden when thoughts of him ruffling her up began developing.
This was the first time she felt lust for him, having been too busy feeling frustrated and confused. But the fact of him being an attractive, strong male remained. And it was in her genetics as an alpha to seek such a male.
Fuck! She raged internally when her body began reacting in ways that she knew would affect her scent. In minutes now, her arousal will be projected to all three men. Like all other alphas, the one emotion that she struggled to control was lust.
“Why not? I figured you did plenty of ruffling yourself.”
Ezekiel shook his head. “I’m not a rapist, no disrespect to you of course. I like them willing. The kicking and screaming takes the fun out of it.”
Wrath’s eyebrow curved. “Then why are you considered lust?”
Ezekiel’s eyes moved to the roof. “I’m quite old, around ten years younger than you, Raiden, so I was around when the first alphas were born all those centuries ago. In youth, I had a... thing for getting what I wanted. It gave me a thrill. When I was around seven, there was a kid that was a better swimmer than I was. One day, we went swimming. Just the two of us. He must’ve gotten a cramp or something because he started to thrash around, begging for help as the water he loved so much attacked. I watched from the shore, excited, when sunk and didn’t resurface.”
“At fifteen I discovered how dicks work. Mine had a thing for the prettiest girl in town. She kept rejecting me though because she was into women. I was so humiliated that I just had to ruin her. And when I want something, I get it. So I drove her to suicide.”
His face remained passive as he filled them in.
“Fast forward ten more years. I discovered other werewolves existed. I became transfixed by the alpha position. I slid up ranks, killed my alpha, and took over. The bitch wasn’t fit to lead anyway. No woman is. There is a reason why men are physically stronger. The weaker sex is meant for reproduction and making life more comfortable for us,” he stopped his sexist rant to run his hands through his hair.
“It’s funny that I mention reproduction, actually. My alpha was pregnant when I got rid of her. She was going to be the very first werewolf mother. Luna got angry that I killed her grandchild so she took everything from me.”
The dots connected. Ezekiel didn’t lust sex... he lusted power. His story was eerily similar to Raiden who also killed to ensure his position. But Ezekiel took an extra mile. Unlike Raiden who would’ve settled with becoming the chief of his village, Ezekiel wanted power in every department: The best swimmer, the best bachelor, the best alpha... what would he have become next if Luna didn’t end his reign of terror?
Who knows. He thrived on using people as stepping stones to the top. The only issue is that for him, there was no top.
“Why are you stirring up trouble now after years of laying low?” The question came from Sol.
Ezekiel threw his head back and laughed maniacally. “You know,” he stopped with a grin. “I was afraid of Luna for quite some time. She is a powerful, retribution-loving god. After my downfall, I traveled aimlessly for centuries to steer clear of her wrath. But recently... I took a look around and wondered how life could possibly get worse. She can’t kill me and send me to hell,” he slammed his hand down and earned his desk a split. “Because I’m already fucking living in it!”
Everyone watched as his hands entangled like worms as he cracked his knuckles. “I settled down five times. I fell in love five times since this shit,” he slapped his chest. “Since this plague took over my body. And after about forty years of bliss, I would lose them. They would die, I would bury them, and only to fall in love again and repeat the vicious cycle.”
None of the girls other than Artemis knew what Ezekiel was rambling about. Artemis understood, to some degree. But Sol and Wrath hung onto each and every single one of his words as they stirred somber memories. The two of them could relate to Ezekiel’s pain. They had lived it themselves.
“I’m tired. Tired of living like vermin when I am meant for greater things. That’s why these weak, disposable whores are here. If I’m going to live forever then I might as well do so comfortably.”
There was a long awakening that Artemis wanted to deliver to the sexist, delusional, man. But she spared herself the breath. Ezekiel was way past salvation. His moral compass was permanently broken.
“So,” he turned to Wrath. “$10,000 for a ride? I don’t usually let them get broken in since it depreciates their value but I guess I like you enough to let you test the goods,” he smiled.
Raiden nodded. “Works with me.”
Ezekiel’s smile widened. “Alright. Try to be back in fifteen. I’ll go over some things with Sol. Sienna, try not to scream too much please,” he requests, rubbing his temples as if her tortured screams would give him a headache.
Raiden snatched Artemis’ arm who began struggling to keep up an act. “No! Please!” she cried cunningly. Wrath bent and tossed her over her shoulder, slapping her ass to play his own role of a caveman.
Lust: Intense wanting for sexuality, money, or power.