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Chapter 13| Cat & Mouse

"I'm sorry, were we going somewhere?"

"Yes, to my place.

"Oh?" she questioned as her left eyebrow rose in challenge, "And did it not cross your mind that I may be busy?" she said as she crossed her arms over each other.

I really didn't have time for this, between Cirini and the intel waiting back for me at Shadowfang, I could already feel the migraine forming.

I pinched the bridge of my nose hoping it would relieve some of the tension as I asked, "Will you be busy, Amina?"

"That's not the point, Malachai. You're not asking, you're demanding, and while I may like certain things in bed, it doesn't mean they translate outside of it. I'm my own person."

Bold.

Her confidence stirred the fire in me again, I wasn't used to this, no one ever spoke to me this way, I was an alpha, the alpha. Most of the time, women threw themselves at me and men cowered before me.

Not Amina.

It was hot, and like a moth to a goddamn flame, I found that I was far too attracted to her confidence. A woman who knew herself through and through, Goddess.

I bit my tongue to focus my thoughts, there were more pressing matters to attend to.

"You're right, I apologize."

"Apology accepted."

"So, will you stay with me for a few days?"

I could tell that she was at war with herself, she wanted to come, but she didn't want to budge now, how weak would she appear? She had to stand on her principles.

She was an open book, and I couldn't determine whether or not it was the bond's doing, but if it wasn't, we'd have to work on that. No luna of mine-

"Already making plans for the future?" Maverick said with a chuckle. I didn't respond, mainly because he was right, I was getting ahead of myself, and I needed to know everything before I could accept her.

"The pack comes first, Mav, you know this," I responded, and he scoffed in reply.

While I understood her reservations, her safety was more important. Cirini isn't one to underestimate, he's cold, manipulative, and calculative.

There was no doubt in my mind that he knew where she lived. He knew where I was, did he seriously think that I would leave her?

If I left her, she'd be without protection seeing as all my men, barring Jeffrey, are already back with the pack. To have a handful of them leave would only weaken Shadowfang.

Who knows how many reinforcements Cirini brought with him, both visible and not. The challenge is simply a decoy; he knows I'll respond, and he's betting that I'd be foolish enough to leave Amina behind.

He'd have his men apprehend her, perhaps even before I make it to Shadowfang by which point, he'd be gone.

Shadowfang and the non-morti reali always avoided war, as it ensured mutual destruction. So while we bumped heads, his coven and my pack always tread a fine line.

Enough to piss each other off, ruffle some feathers, but nothing that resulted in outright war.

Though make no mistake, for Amina, heads would roll if any harm befell her. If a war was what Cirini wanted, I'd give him one the likes of which his decrepit ass had never seen.

Michael Cirini would meet his end with me.

Alpha.

Yes, Jeff.

Got eyes on at least 10 cold ones, coincidence, or?

Not a coincidence. They're Cirini's men, they're here for her.

Well, I've circled around, I'm at the East entrance.

Thank you, Jeff. We'll down shortly.

Cirni was playing the classic game of divide and conquer, the problem was it was too obvious, too easy.

"I can't go with you, Malachi. I have obligations, I can't just drop everything to go off with you for a few days."

Just as I expected I sighed; I really didn't want to do this, but I'd have to give her a more moderated version of the truth, she needed to understand that it wouldn't be safe for her here.

I took her hand in mine, hoping to convey to her the severity of the situation without having to give too much, "It's important that you come with me for your safety."

"My safety?" She questioned as she yanked her hand from my grasp, "What are you not telling me, Malachai?"

It would appear that I was an open book as well.

I blame the bond.

"The man you were dancing with last night, before I...interrupted..."

"Yeah, what about him?"

"It would seem that you managed to leave a lasting impression. According to my sources, he wasn't too happy that I interfered," the memory of how I found her with him came to mind and my anger began to rise with it.

"Anyway, he's a dangerous man, Amina, a powerful one at that, and I don't want to leave you alone."

"Dangerous how?" she asked as she took another step away from me, "He doesn't even know where I live, I'm sure I'll be fine."

He does...and you won't.

"Amina. You'll be alone"

"Malachai," she said, mocking me, "I can handle myself."

"That thing-that man will not rest until he has you."

"And what makes you think I don't like the chase?"

My patience had worn out now, I no longer cared to exchange words, and I can tell from the look on her face that she knew she had fucked up, royally.

"Malchai, I-" my hand shot up demanding her silence, I didn't care for whatever excuse she was about to give me.

The temperature in the room dropped, and I watched her shiver. She looked at me, her face marred with confusion at the change in temperature.

With eyes still fixated on her, I watched as she slowly came to the realization that I was the one responsible for the chill that racked her spine.

Fight or flight, Amina, which will it be?

"Do you want him, Amina," I said, my voice barely audible. I watched her body stiffen, at my words. I stalked towards her, and with each step I took, she took one back.

"Answer. Me," I said, my voice an octave higher than the faint whisper I had used previously.

Adrenaline flooded her system; her heartbeat loud and clear, barely giving itself the chance to complete a beat before the next one took over. I watched her pupils dilate, eyes darting from right to left assessing her surroundings, determining the nearest exit.

Which will it be?

This was the part I loved the most, the moment of realization of who was prey and who as predator; the moment that reality struck-that this was the hunt. The sick, dark, and depraved part of me was showing, the predator.

Fight. Or. Flight

I watched her chest deflate and expand, trying to take in as much oxygen as possible.

Flight

Without sparing another glance, she darted from the room, where was she headed in this small apartment? I had no clue, but I was the type of predator that liked to play with my food, so I'd let her think she was getting away for a little while.

I had exited the bedroom and made my way down the short corridor. Upon turning the corner, I found her at the exit, pulling frantically at the door that refused to open wide enough for her to pass.

When she realized the chain was the reason for her delayed escape, her shaky hands began working at the chain, but it was of no use.

While she was only human, her attempt was pitiful, but didn't I know this already?

Yes. Yes, I did, I thought as a predatory laugh escaped my lips.

I crowded her by the door, leaving no room for escape. Her back still to me, my arm crept around her waist, securing her against my chest. I lowered my head to her ear and whispered, Do you like the chase, Amina?"

"N-No," she said as she shook her head, "I-I don't think I do, Chai."

Chai.

I turned her around to better discern how she felt.

Scared

Excited

Aroused

Her gaze never faltered.

That's my girl.

While I enjoyed our little game of cat and mouse, we had lost enough time as it was, but this had to be Amina's choice..kind of, otherwise, she'd fight me tooth and nail the entire way to Shadowfang.

"Will you come spend a few days with me?"

She nodded before she replied, "I'll go pack my bag."

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