Chapter 1 - Landon
Landon lowered himself towards the ground and inched closer to the voices floating through the dark.
His footsteps were undetectable and light as he inched through the warehouse, his tennis shoes light against the concrete.
His steps slowed as he came closer to the voices.
He slowly ducked behind a large metal container and reached for his phone. Realizing it would be too bright, he turned down the brightness of the screen and pressed the recording button. The red button flashed and started its count, signaling it was recording.
Landon held his breath and stalked towards the light. The voices picked up their volume as he came closer to the lit room.
The small crack in the door shed a sliver of light along the ground then spread up the closest metal container. Landon stopped his approach as the voices became discernible and their words were no longer mumbled noises.
“...Lacy was going to ask.” One voice was cut off sharply by another intense voice.
“Without a price, I’m not sure if I’m willing to sacrifice that much time and money. It’s much more than we usually do.”
“Vince, you’d be crazy not to accept. Do you realize how much money this could make us?”
Landon mentally noted that all three voices sounded different and especially held onto the sound of Vincent’s voice.
“You think I need to worry about money? I’m talking connections here. Arroyo is really sloppy when it comes to his deals.”
Landon inched closer, realizing they were already talking about what he was trying to discover. He slipped his phone from his pocket and held it closer to the door, trying to capture every last sound.
As he edged closer, Landon caught the intense smell of pears and laundry detergent. The smell was unique and intoxicating, capturing Landon’s full attention.
He moved into the light slightly, trying to glance through the crack to catch sight of what the cause of that captivating smell was.
“That’s why we use Lacy again.”
“My sister doesn’t need to be dragged into this. She has already been dragged through enough.”
“Well, then let’s use Brooklyn. She can finally be useful for once.”
“What am I doing?”
All noises stopped as the scent grew stronger. Landon could feel his wolf spring to life as his senses sharpened. He swallowed a purr that climbed up his throat the sound of the voice.
What was wrong with him?
He suddenly felt anxious and pulled back from the light, taking deep breaths. He hadn’t had a reaction like that to anyone in almost ten years.
His mate’s death left a powerful scar that almost left him better dead.
He curled his hands into his pockets to restrain himself from flinging the door open and giving himself away.
The instinct to barge in there and find the source of that voice was almost too much to fight.
“Did you see that?” The sweet voice rang through the door.
Landon mentally cursed himself for losing his cool and stepped away. His steps were slow and uneven as he fought the urge to go back and look at who was there.
Landon’s brain snapped out of it when he heard men start to shout into the empty warehouse. “Hello?”
Landon jumped behind a large metal case as the lights flicked on. His steps had returned to being light and silent as he heard their quick approach.
Landon looked around, but couldn’t see anything but columns and columns of metal shipping containers. He silently cursed himself for being so distracted and giving himself away.
Voices and footsteps neared, so Landon darted from his safe position and flattened himself behind a large metal shipping container. He tried to level his breathing so he could go undetected but found it difficult.
Landon carefully studied the sound of the footsteps and mirrored them, always staying just out of sight.
“I don’t see anything. Brooklyn must be seeing things.”
Landon’s breath pushed out from his lungs slowly at their admitted defeat. He backed up, trying to get closer to the entrance so he could just slip out.
The distinct sound of metal scraping against concrete had his heart pounding in his ears.
Landon glanced down to see a small tire iron behind him on the ground.
Instantly, Landon couldn’t hear the men anymore. Their silence unnerved him and Landon shot towards the door, trying to escape their view before it was too late.
The shout echoed through the large warehouse as Landon slipped out the back door, closing It firmly behind him. He quickly snagged a metal barrel close by and moved the heavy metal in front of the door to make their escape harder.
Landon didn’t look back as he bounded away from the warehouse, happily leaving the chaos behind him.
He took a few sharp turns through the various trucks and outdoor metal containers in hopes to lose the men still hollering at him. The lights of the yard flicked on suddenly, illuminating nearly every crevice.
Landon muttered a curse and flung himself for the fence, shifting mid-jump.
It took seconds for his large wolf to come over his body. His white and grey fur looked bright in the moonlight and the electric light now shining down.
His wolf skidded to a stop when the tall wire fence stood before him. He took note of the concrete floor before launching himself at the thick wires.
They bounced him back effortlessly, making him slide across the concrete.
The feeling of his fur grinding harshly against the hard ground had Landon hissing. He groaned when he rose and noticed blood covering his side.
He had to find another spot.
Just as the thought crossed his mind, he heard the distinct sound of footsteps and labored breathing come in from behind him.
“Oh, my g—it’s a wolf!”
Landon showed his canines in a mean snarl towards the men. They took a step back from the terrifying look and rose their hands as if showing surrender.
He continued snarling, but let his eyes bounce around to the fence, following it down the long line of metal shipping containers.
His eyes landed on a rusted spot not far from here and he took off, letting his feet carry him swiftly to the opening. His side was burning as blood continued to soak his fur, but he clenched through the pain and kept his paws pounding under him.
His head banged hard into the rusted wires and his body soon followed. Landon felt the broken wires scrape his fur as he crawled out of the hole and burst into the forest lying just beyond the shipping facility.
His breathing started regulating as he slowed his sprint to a trot.
He turned around to see the men he was growling at gone. He could hear the faint sound of voices in the background, but couldn’t detect what they were saying.
Panic suddenly gripped him and had Landon turning around.
He lost his recording.
Knowing he had no other choice, Landon headed back for the rusted wires he plunged through. He quietly slipped in, trying to control his breathing. He made sure to stay silent as he nearly crawled to the location he shifted.
His clothes were gone.
His heartbeat spiked when he noticed nothing was there.
What should have been torn clothes and a random cell phone was now nothing.
He started panicking and sniffed the ground, trying to pick up on where it went.
Landon instantly caught the scent of Laundry detergent and pears. The mouth-watering scent brought his confusion back full-force. His wolf groaned, making Landon snap out of his daydream.
What was going on?
His thoughts were cut off by the sound of the voices coming closer. Landon quickly slipped out of the fence again and sprinted to the trees, hiding from the curious gazes.
He was going to find the owner of that scent.