Anna arrived at seven-thirty exactly and had to practically walk a mile to the club’s front door. It was out in the middle of the woods, just like Eric said it was, but if the number of cars was anything to go by it was a happin’ place.
Walking in, she found Renee waiting impatiently for her.
Looking Anna up and down, Renee frowned. “You call that sexy?”
Anna had put on a fitted, mid-thigh length, navy blue skirt paired with a gauzy white blouse and white pumps. If Eric had been with them, she’d have popped open an extra button on her blouse just to tease him. She’d learned early on that Eric like her in pretty things and showered her with compliments when she wore them. If she showed too much skin though, he spent the evening glaring at any man who looked her way. The man had a way of making her feel feminine and sexy.
“No, I call it my, ‘I’m here, but I’m not available’, outfit,” Anna revealed.
Renee rolled her eyes.
Anna heard a snort from behind her. Turning, she found the bouncer watching them. He winked at her, and she quickly glanced away with a sniff. She then took a moment to look at what Renee was wearing.
Renee had on a pair of leather shorts, that barely covered her. She’d paired them with a red top, cut low over her cleavage, and tied up to show her mid-rift as well. She finished her outfit with giant red hoops in her ears and a pair of red pumps, which had at least a four-inch heel.
It looked good on her, but it wasn’t something Anna herself would wear.
“Well, let’s see if we can find a place to sit,” Renee said before dragging Anna further inside.
Anna coughed at the thick smoke-filled air but followed her. Renee found them a small table and after telling Anna to sit she took off. Renee was soon back. For Anna, she’d brought a can of coke and a sprite for herself.
“I truly hope the band is as good as they say it is,” Renee said, her excitement back.
“Mm… I hope so too.”
Then they sat, poking fun, and laughing quietly about some of the outfits people were wearing. It wasn’t long before the band hit the stage and admittedly, they were good. By nine-thirty though, even good music couldn’t keep her there any longer. Watching all the couples dance to slow, sweet, love songs had her physically aching for Eric.
“This isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be,” Renee said.
“Oh? Why is that?”
“I miss Ryan. He’d have me out on the floor dancing while he snuck kisses,” Renee answered longingly, then looked over at Anna. “What about you? Missing Eric?”
“Yeah. All these couples make me realize how badly I want to be together with him.”
“So… you have moved past the friendship phase. Tell me, does he know that yet?”
“No, but I think after tonight he will. If nothing else, my eyes have been opened to what I’m missing out on,” Anna said then.
“Awe, is somebody wanting to jump some man bones?”
Anna felt her face heat and stood up. “Maybe. Let’s get out of here.”
So, laughing they left the club.
“Well, I’m off to see if Ryan’s back yet. I’ll see you Monday, Anna.”
They went their separate ways then, only to find they’d only parked a few cars apart.
Once in her car, Anna took off quickly, more than ready to be home. She hadn’t gone too far though when she realized something was wrong. There was this strange thumping noise, and she was having trouble steering. So, turning into a side road, well, more like a small track through the woods, Anna parked her car and got out.
“Great! A flat tire,” she muttered with a huff. Kicking her shoes off, she threw them into the car before opening the trunk to find the lug wrench and jack. “Good thing dad taught us, girls, to do this considering my cell has no service.”
Finally, loosening all the lugs, she was about to remove the tire when a big truck pulled in behind her.
Now, Anna found it a bit odd because she’d pulled off the main road on purpose, a girl alone could never be too careful. So, why had this truck pulled off? She watched as someone stepped out of the truck and walked in front of their lights. She kept a tight grip on her tire iron.
“Hello, sweetheart, did you miss me?”
Anna gasped as she started to stand. “Mark?”
“In the flesh. I’m here to take what’s mine back.” He stepped closer.
She backed up. “Go away, Mark!”
“No can do!” He yelled. Then he moved quickly toward her.
Anna hit out at him but missed.
Mark laughed, sounding slightly crazy.
With her eyes trained on him, Anna couldn’t watch where she was going and stepped into a hole. She screamed as she fell, hearing her ankle pop.
“You won’t get away this time because there isn’t anyone for miles to save you!” He snarled.
He reached down then, grabbing her by the hair.
Anna came up fighting, but he punched her in the stomach.
“We could have had a good thing you know, but you had to ruin it. Now, now, I’ll just use you for my punching bag until I’m bored with you.”
Mark proceeded to do just that. He hit and punched her so many times she lost count.
Anna tried to get away, but he grabbed hold of her hair, wrapping it around his fist. On her knees now in front of him, her back to his front, he held her. He ripped her blouse off, pushing her bra out of his way before he began squeezing one of her breasts painfully.
“Mm… so pleasingly plump. Simply perfect to hold on to when you’ve got a woman bent over, screwing her from behind,” he murmured as he licked her cheek. “Too bad I no longer want you that way, it would be so much more pleasurable for you.”
Disgusted, she turned her face.
He yanked her back. “Don’t turn away from me!”
“Why? Why are you doing this?” She questioned with a sob.
“Because no woman tells me no!” He yelled.
Throwing her down on the ground, he began kicking her once more. With every kick, he yelled at her about how stupid she was to turn down his offer and how different their relationship would be now.
Suddenly, a loud growl ripped through the air.
Mark froze mid-swing with the tire iron he’d just picked up.
Anna whimpered, slowly crawling away from him while his attention was elsewhere. An animal, a dog by the look of it, jumped between her and Mark. It growled as it took a defensive stance in front of her. She heard Mark curse as he slowly lowered his arm. She watched as he began to back away. The dog slowly followed him, continuing to growl.
Mark backed up to his truck. He jumped into the passenger side as the dog lunged at him. Once inside, he backed the truck out, spinning tires as he pulled back onto the main road and took off at a high speed.
Anna gave a scared cry then as the dog turned toward her. Only, now she could see it wasn’t a dog. It was a wolf with yellow-green eyes almost glowing in the darkness. She let out a pitiful sound of fear, thinking it would now be coming after her.
The wolf let out a soft whine as it slunk down, belly now on the ground as it watched her.
Anna let out a sob as her gaze moved from it to her disabled car. It was jacked up, tire half off, and wasn’t going anywhere. Shea was bruised, bleeding, and thinking her ankle was possibly broken from the hole she’d stepped in. She wasn’t going anywhere either, not without help.
Her gaze moved back to the wolf who lay watching her. From the looks of it, he didn’t intend to go anywhere either.
Feeling hopeless, Anna carefully pulled her legs up, wrapped her arms around them Then she laid her head down on her knees before bursting out crying.
“Don’t do it, Eric,” Alpha Pete growled through his head. “She’s already traumatized.”
Eric whimpered as he stared at the woman sobbing in front of him, his mate. “But Alpha, she’s hurt, she needs medical help.”
*Flashback to earlier*
He and Ryan had returned from their out-of-town meeting later than planned. He was driving so, after receiving a text from Renee that she was now home, Ryan asked to be dropped off at hers.
Eric decided to swing by Anna’s, but when he arrived her house was dark, her car missing. He was worried, so he called Renee. She told him that Anna had pulled out not far behind her and should be home. Yet she wasn’t.
Driving home, he called her multiple times but never received an answer.
So, knowing the club they’d gone to was close to the border of his pack’s land, he shifted and headed that way. He was almost there when pack border patrol reported what sounded like a woman screaming and was headed that way to check it out. Thinking it could be Anna, he told them he was headed that way also and began to run faster.
When he got there, he was flanked by two other enforcers. He let out a deafening growl as he took in the scene before him. Mark stood over Anna, a tire iron raised and her cowering on the ground begging him to stop.
When Eric growled, Mark stopped, and Anna began slowly inching backward.
Eric jumped between the two of them, after Anna moved back, and continued to growl at Mark.
Mark had backed away to his truck and left, leaving him alone with Anna, so he’d turned to face her.
He saw fear flash across her face as she stared at him wide-eyed.
Eric had slowly moved forward on his belly as she cried.
Now, she sat with her face buried in her knees, so she didn’t see him inching closer.
“Eric,” Alpha Pete warned again. “You need to back away now. I’m on my way and will be there soon. I’ve got clothes with me. Go back into the bushes with the others and wait for me.”
Eric wanted to do as he was told, he did, but he couldn’t just sit while his mate sobbed in front of him. While he dithered about what to do, he felt his wolf step forward wanting to be with his mate.
Eric soon found himself completely in the passenger seat as Wolf took over.