Eloise awoke to a pounding sensation in her head. She tried to raise her hands to rub between her eyes, but found she was bound hand and foot. For a minute she didn’t remember what had happened and then it all came back to her.
A few hours earlier...
She was cooking breakfast in the kitchen. When she’d woken up Marcus was gone, but had left a note telling her he was at the police station and would be back as soon as he could. She figured he went without eating and was cooking up a huge breakfast. After spending five days with his family she picked up on a few things from Beth. Looking down at her engagement ring she couldn’t believe she would be marrying Marcus. He was the most amazing man in her life, he made sure she was taken care of and had left her a note so she wouldn’t worry. Standing by the kitchen sink she rinsed off a carton of strawberries. That had been the most surprising thing to find out about him, he loved any fruit and would devour whole cartons.
A noise made her turn, she thought she heard the sound of the door being unlocked. Cautiously walking over toward the door she heard the sound of male voices. Dropping to the floor she carefully crawled over to the door and peeked out the window. Outside stood a thin man with beady black eyes and a thin mustache talking to a taller broader man with black hair and stone cold gray eyes.
“How are we going to take her? The place smells like a bear, and a dominant one at that,” the thin man said, his voice nasally with a hint of a whine.
“We knock and pretend we are here to fix something. When she opens the door grab her and drag her out to the car,” the bigger man said. Eloise frowned and moved away from the door, she kept down on all fours. Reaching the kitchen she grabbed two steak knives, one she tucked carefully into her back pocket, the other she kept clutched in her hand. If they were here to take her, she would go down fighting. Praying she could hold them off until Marcus returned, she moved silently back up to her bedroom and grabbed her phone from the charger. She tucked it in her bra just in case she wasn’t able to fight them off successfully.
Knock, knock. She froze at the sound of a knock on the door. Looking down at the door from her bedroom window, she saw a new face. Standing there was her principal Sheila. She walked down and opened the door.
“Hi Sheila, what brings you here?” she asked, Sheila gave her a sad smile and walked into the house.
“I came to check on you. I hadn’t heard anything since you left. How have you been?” They walked over to the couch and sat down.
“Would you like some coffee?” Eloise asked, Shelia shook her head and glanced nervously toward the door. Eloise found it odd, but Sheila was her principal, she was here to check on her employee.
“No, so tell me about your time in Texas with Marcus’ family,” Sheila probed, Eloise smiled and launched into telling Sheila about her time in Texas and showing off her engagement ring.
“It sounds like you had a wonderful time. I am very sorry about what I have to do,” Shelia told her once she was done talking. Eloise looked up in time to see Sheila’s hand turn into claws and swipe at her. She jumped out of the way and took out the steak knife she had in her back pocket. It wouldn’t save her if Sheila shifted, but she felt better having something in her hands.
“Why are you doing this?” Eloise demanded.
“I have no choice, I cannot let my secret get out,” Shelia replied, she looked haunted.
“What happened?” Eloise asked, she was backing away toward the back door, she didn’t want to run into the men who had been out front.
“It was an accident,” she explained, Eloise had no idea what she was talking about, but she looked frantic still prowling toward her.
“Sheila, if it was an accident then no one will blame you,” she tried to reason with her principal.
“No one will believe me. Just come with me quietly and no one needs to get hurt,” Sheila promised and Eloise shook her head.
“No, I won’t go to William.”
“Then you leave me no choice.” Sheila shifted fully into her mountain lion form and Eloise screamed. She bolted for the back door only to meet two men grinning evilly at her. She did the only thing she could think of and sunk the steak knife in the thinner man’s shoulder. He screamed and she took the moment of chaos to run into the kitchen to arm herself with the larger knives.
“Come on little lady, the boss man wants his mate back,” the larger man said. She shook her head and held him at arm’s length with a butcher knife. Sheila growled at her and Eloise jumped back.
“No hurting her,” the man ordered and Sheila backed off. She paced back and forth blocking Eloise’s escape. Looking around Eloise realized she’d been backed into the corner of the kitchen with nowhere to go.
“You have no way out. Come quietly and no harm will come to you,” the man said, his partner was groaning on the floor pulling on the knife.
“No. William is not my mate. I am already mated to Marcus. I refuse to become his,” she yelled and threw the butcher knife. The larger man dodged the knife and she tried to run around the island. Shelia threw her body into Eloise and the world went dark.
Now she sat in a dank basement with her hands and feet tied. Looking around she saw she sat on a low cot with a thin blanket to keep her warm. Searching her body she found her cell phone, but when she tried to call Marcus the signal was out. Silently cursing she carefully tucked the phone back into her bra. She hoped she’d get a chance to find signal and call Marcus to let him know where she was being held captive.
“So you are awake,” a deep voice said, she jerked her head up and saw William standing in the doorway. He had changed, gone was his thin frame and in its place was a man who had grown into his body. He wasn’t as tall as Marcus, but was probably close to six feet tall. His muscles rippled under his shirt, he had the same green eyes and dark hair she remembered.
“Hello William,” she said glaring up at him.
“Now is that how you greet your mate?” he asked coming further into the room and crouching. She immediately pulled back, she didn’t want him to touch her.
“You are not my mate,” she replied.
“Yet, I’ll mate you tonight and leave my mark on you.” He reached out and stroked one blunt finger down her face.
“Why me? You left me alone the first time I turned you down,” she asked.
“I realized I was not good enough for you at nineteen. I needed to grow into being a man. I worked hard to get a computer science degree. I remembered you and your mom not having much money and wanted to be able to provide for you. I am now the owner of a computer management company. We have a contract with the local school system to come in and fix broken computers,” he explained, this time he grabbed her face with one hand and forced her to look at him.
“I’m sorry William, but you are not my mate. I know you will find her, but she isn’t me,” Eloise said using a soft voice. She didn’t want to push him into hurting her.
“You are my mate! I’ve known since that day we met in high school.” He stood with a growl and placed around the room.
“In a couple hours you will participate in a claiming ceremony and become my mate. I’ve instructed Shelia to bring you upstairs to change and shower. I want my mate looking fresh and beautiful in front of everyone. Oh and don’t think about doing anything foolish. She has my permission to subdue you how she sees fit. We mountain lions are not known for being gentle with our mates,” he explained with a laugh. She watched as he walked out of the room. Moving as quickly as her bound hands and feet would allow she tried the door. It was locked and the hinges were on the opposite side.
I hope Marcus finds me soon. I don’t want to be mated to that lunatic. She thought and slumped onto the cot.