I SMELL FEAR

All Rights Reserved ©

IT ISN'T AS IT SEEMS

Whatever had conspired earlier that day in the car only left Sintia with one answer so far; Wolves were a touchy subject to everyone around here, and the wolves that she had now encountered seemed, intelligent, trained, almost as if they were not just animals, but something else as well. She shook the ridiculous thought looking back down to her phone ending the third failed call, Delacourte’s phone was still off.

She was about to call again when her phone lit up showing Richard’s name, her lawyer.

“Miss Swan.”

“Yes?” Sintia asked, it was late in Manhattan, Richard should be home by now.

“Any decisions yet on a husband?” An emotionless question

“No, and I don’t plan on making any either.” Sintia instantly felt the heat rising in her cheeks envisioning Mr. Ching’s face, she was still furious at the whole scenario.

“So you going to let this deal slide, over one clause?”

“No, I’m waiting for you to work me out of this new, totally absurd marriage clause. When we first started negotiations with Ching enterprises nothing hinted to me ever needing a man in my life! I’m very sure if I was a man, they wouldn’t be demanding I marry.” Sintia objected now fuming at Richard’s sigh.

“There is no way out of it. I have done the research, Ching enterprises have every right to change the contract and add to it, especially in their favor.”

It was Sintia’s turn to sigh as she started tapping her foot to avoid pacing again, she had spent most of the day pacing, recalling those wolves on the road.

“Now, I have a list here from Ching’s lawyer of twenty, perfectly presentable, husbands to choose from including background checks and lineage.”

“Twenty?! I am not picking a husband out of a random lineup!” She blasted.

“Number one is Mr. Ching’s eldest son, the age difference is only 13 years but he is extremely wealthy...” Her lawyer continued to plow right through his speech not fazed in the least by Sintia’s high raised voice.

“No! Richard! Just no.” Sintia snapped cutting him off.

“Do you want this contract?” Richard snapped back.

“Yes!”

“Then you need to marry!” He sighed clearing his throat before continuing. “If not from this list, then what about someone you know, perhaps Jarred? He was eager enough to wed you.”

“Jarred?! Have you lost your mind? You seem to forget, that you helped me get the restraining order against that pig!”

“We both know it’s only a piece of paper, I can make it disappear, say it was done in the heat of the moment kind of thing.”

“How can you even mention him to be a prospect? I will not marry that ass unless you want to clear my name for murder!”

“I could make millions.” Richard said dryly.

“As if I don’t pay you enough already.” Sintia sneered. “Jarred is a solid no! Not now and not ever. You know what I went through to escape that bastard.”

“I am not your therapist Sintia.”

“No, thank the gods for that.”

“You hired me because I am the best at what I do, and right now the best, for you is to marry, I don’t care if it’s for love, looks, or a good shag. But it needs to be someone powerful if not, then at least on parr with you, and it needs to be now.”

“We still have an entire year!”

“You and I both know that is not the case. Yes, Mr. Ching said he gave you this year, but do you honestly believe he is sitting back and waiting for you to have romantic walks on the beach, chocolates in bed, or whatever other shit is done on dates! You are not his daughter Miss swan! Whoever is the second and third runner up to take a bite out of that multimillion-dollar contract at Ching Enterprises, is starting to look bloody good right now to them, they won’t wait. You have a month.”

“I can’t get married in a month!”

“Yes, you can, and you will. What about asking the Alexeyev sons for help while you are in Russia? Royalty like that could have a few prospects for you in almost every pocket, after all that family is nothing but a symbol of power. I could call and explain the situation, after all, they owe you a favor for keeping the lodge in a good light.”

“No, no.” Sintia stopped him, feeling her heart begin to hammer in her chest at the mention of their family name.

“I’m not talking about the sons to marry you, they need to marry royalty, but they will know who can be best for you.”

“Yes, I understood that part, but I just don’t want them knowing about this.”

“Miss sawn, I am only trying to help you.” Long pause, softer tone. “Marrying someone in Russia might not be that bad of an idea, think about it, you could come back here and the husband can carry on his life there. You wouldn’t have to see each other till events, holidays, and such.”

“I’ll see what I can do.” Sintia sighed looking to the TV on mute, advertising the Alexeyev Ball saying goodbye to Richard, she turned fully to see the advert play through with a long sigh, that call had been brutal. She couldn’t see herself marrying a random name picked off a list. Arranged marriages were something she had never seen herself ever having to do, screw men, she hated men!

“Perhaps I should attend this Alexeyev Annual ball, after all, Cinderella found love in one night.” Sintia chuckled mocking herself. She couldn’t believe she was trying to talk herself into this!

But she did need this contract; Japan was the next step in keeping things international and opened so many more doors for her business expansion.

Sintia turned to see Rod and Don still standing outside her door, wondering how much they had heard. Would she need to dress them up as well to attend the ball? They would look mighty fine in a tux. The thought of attending the masked ball, and finding handsome strangers in such an unknown part of the world to her, actually started to sound tempting.

Where else would she meet a temporary husband? Some crusty bar? No, she didn’t want a man that drank their life away, her father had been enough.

Perhaps she could find someone at this massive ball, not for love. No, no one could fall in love so quickly, but maybe someone that was easy on the eye, someone that had made a name for themselves, and hopefully someone that would understand her urgency once she explained it all. After all weren’t women the emotional ones? A man would understand her need to marry for work with no offer of love? The husband prospect would be less likely to take offense to such a proposition, after all her wealth and fame was eye catching enough to pull in a big fish.

Sintia smiled tapping her phone against her chin as she thought it through. She had been to a few galas and ball’s before, men, yes, the dreaded opposite sex she was growing to hate a little more each day, had thrown themselves at her. Perhaps instead of a perfect no, this time she would force the yes.

As much as she was determined to show how it wasn’t just a man’s world anymore, she would bend slightly for Mr Ching and find a man, after all the new clause was to marry, it said nothing about divorcing straight after.

Her cell lit up again with an email notification from Kiki on her private account, and Sintia opened it to read. It was about the investigator she had found to dig dirt up on Jarred.

“Shit man.” Sintia snapped reading it again, another dead end. As much as the investigator had been given his home address, yacht details, his name, cell number, and email, there was no known Jarred listed with any proper records. Jarred’s name was just that, a cover like a stage name or a fake alias like John Smith.

She had always known there was something off about him, even his damn name was a lie!

Her frown deepened as she read further.

The investigator had also informed them that he was withdrawing from the investigation as two men had started to follow him asking too many questions and threatening his family.

Sintia jumped on the reply button to find out if the investigator had given Jarred, or whatever the bastard’s real name was, any information as to who was investigating him. If Jarred had found out that she had sent an investigator, well she just hoped that wasn’t the case.

If it was, thousands of miles between him and her with a little piece of paper that said a restraining order would not be enough. Sintia looked back towards Don and Rod, she needed to hire another two guards from Delacourte.

* * *

“You won’t kill me.” The Molchalin man said holding his neck looking up at Delacourte, the statement had come out confidently, but Delacourte saw the fear in the injured man’s eyes.

“I almost did.” Delacourte snapped stepping over him, “I still might, how dare you use our lands to break our laws to turn so many humans!”

“What better way to not be caught than right under your royal noses.” The Man smirked, Delacourte pulled back and punched the man in the face causing the Molchalin’s nose to bleed.

“Don’t kill him yet D.” Vinchenzo called making his way down the embankment to join them by the water’s edge. Delacourte still holding the man’s jacket looked back to see his brother with blood splattered across his jeans.

“You ok?”

“Fine, but this one’s friend,” Vinchenzo said nodding towards the Molchalin man in Delacourte’s grip, “Didn’t make it.”

“I thought I had restraint issues, not you.” Delacourte snorted turning back to face the bleeding man in his grip.

“Usually yes, that’s why I ran over before you killed this one, we need one alive to question.”

“He hasn’t said much.”

“He is Francis.”

“No one asked.” Delacourte snarled looking down at him, “What I did ask is why you want us dead.”

The brothers stared down at Francis waiting patiently as he scanned his surroundings looking for a way to escape.

“You welcome to run.” Delacourte said releasing him taking a step back in line with his brother. “In fact, I beg you to run, nothing excites me more than the smell of your fear as we chase you down again.” Delacourte felt his wolf clawing just beneath the surface for release, excited at the thought of another hunt.

“I assure you, once you run, you will be killed.” Vinchenzo said watching his brother’s lips pull back in a deadly snarl.

“Let me go or your girl will be killed.” Francis said looking at Delacourte.

The brothers looked at each other in confusion.

“Girl? What girl?” They both asked looking at each other.

“Who are you dating?” Vinchenzo smirked looking at his brother curiously.

“Noone you?” Delacourte asked shaking his head.

“None.” He shook his head, “What girl?” Vinchenzo asked watching Francis look between them as a flicker of uncertainty crossed his face, his defense faltering.

“Bull shit, I’m calling your bluff.” Francis hesitated looking towards Delacourte.

“What girl?!” Delacourte growled stepping forward gripping his throat. “I think I would know if I had a woman!”

“The black-haired green-eyed babe driving on your property earlier today. She was accompanied by two of your men, we thought you would be in the vehicle, we were going to kill you while you were alone for a change, but found her instead, we could smell you on her.” He said looking up into Delacourte’s eyes.

Delacourte felt his blood run cold as he looked at his brother. This had been why rod had been calling nonstop, he hoped his men were ok, damn the death threat on him, he was used to them.

“What did you do with them?” Vinchenzo asked

“Nothing yet, just popped in to say hi before heading to the bar.” Francis said with a mischievous smile. “But kill me and they will rip her apart limb for limb, either way she is on our watch list now.”

“I just ripped apart your friend back there, what makes you any more special than him?”

Francis notched his chin at the mention of his friend’s death but said nothing.

“Take her off your little watch list, the woman is but a guest at our lodge nothing more.” Vinchenzo frowned as Francis laughed

“You can’t lie to us young princes, we saw the videos with the two of you circling her, now this morning she is driving around with two of your men. Lie to me, makes no difference, our alpha has already set his plans for her.”

“What plans? Why this revolution against us?”

The man said nothing looking away, Delacourte gripped him by the jacket throwing him into the snow before launching into him with another fist.

“ANSWER ME!”

“I am but a pawn in the game. Molchalin soldiers do not ask questions.” He coughed looking up at Delacourte through bloodshot eyes.

“Bull shit! Why is your tribe turning new wolves on our land? Who is your alpha?!” Delacourte demanded.

“Did Molchalin kill our guards at our house?” Vinchenzo demanded.

“You two think you are kings; you will soon learn.” Francis said before shifting into his wolf form. Vinchenzo yanked Delacourte back as the wolf turned to face them baring all its teeth at them.

“So, you choose death?” Delacourte asked the wolf, to which it responded snapping its jaws with a low growl.

“So be it.” Delacourte smiled as both brothers shifted into their grey inner beast forms. The Molchalin’s wolf backed up slightly flattening his ears, his feral eyes darkening.

Delacourte sniffed the air smelling his fear and rolled his shoulders back flexing his claws as the adrenaline build-up began, Francis would no longer answer any questions, he would fight till his death.

*

Delacourte side-eyed his brother a while later as their men caught back up with them. They had all decided to stay in their wolf form padding forward from the borderline. Each of them had killed their own share of a Molchalin wolf. One of the guards had a deep wound and ripped flesh on his hind leg causing a bad limp, while the other had deep gashes in his chest, thankfully they would make it, as long as they didn’t encounter anymore along the way home through the mountains. They weaved their way through the forest heading down towards the game lodge, the nearest place for them to regroup and clean up.

Vinchenzo returned the look, as they silently nodded in agreement. They had each dragged their killed wolf back to where the van had dropped them off, off their land, and entered back through the broken fence on the fastest route they could to the lodge. The killing of the wolves would just aggravate the Molchalin causing more of a reaction against them, and they knew their father was going to be livid, but, they had done it anyway. Fuck trying to keep the peace, they could only be pushed so much before teeth drew blood.

A laugh echoed towards Delacourte and he stopped sniffing the air in its direction, turning towards the tree line on their left thinning out, he spotted the outlines of the lodge and broke from the pack padding towards it.

“Not that way D.” Vinchenzo called through their mind link. A gift that all werewolves were given to project thoughts to each other in wolf form, yet only Alpha’s were able to communicate outside the werewolf species to humans and other animals, not that any had in centuries.

“It’s her, I need to ensure Rod and Don are ok.” Delacourte padded forward nearing the fence separating the lodge from the wild.

“Don’t let her see you like this.” Vinchenzo growled then looked behind him to the guards heaving through their discomfort. “I’ll meet you inside.” He linked to his brother before nodding to the wolves behind him to follow on down behind the lodge’s back entrance.

Delacourte sniffed the air again trying to pick up on his men’s scents coming dangerously close to her balcony, when her hand appeared on the railing right before her smiling face holding a phone to her ear laughing again.

“Why him? Wasn’t he in love with Bianca since we were in preschool?” Sintia laughed. Delacourte adjusted his ears tuning in to hear the conversation, hearing a male on the other line.

“Yeah, but she changed, bad egg, but Devan is still the same good soul as he has always been, plus he took over his dad’s farm now, they doing very well, so you should consider him, I could put in a good word for you?”

Delacourte could hear a smile in the male’s voice.

“You make it sound like I’m just after money.” She laughed feeling slightly offended.

“No sis, just that, with all your power, I know you need to marry someone doing well, and on such short notice, well Devan would be good to you, plus choosing someone from your roots here back home gives me a reason to finally see you again, I know mom would love it too.”

Delacourte skulked nearer as jealousy crept into his chest, who was this Devan? Was she engaged he hadn’t seen an engagement ring on her finger.

“I called you to clear my head not be offered up to your friends as a solution, and now using mom as bait, low blow.” Sintia sighed with a smile looking out into the forest, Delacourte froze realizing how close he had gotten, hoping she wouldn’t see him. “How is mom doing?”

“As well as she can, the live-in nurse is a blessing, thank you.”

“You thank me every time, stop, mom needed the help, and you need to stop shouldering so much responsibility.”

“Practice what you preach.” Came the males laughing voice.

“Yeah, guess you right.” Sintia giggled before looking up to the stars, her face sobering “I don’t think I can do this…” Sintia whispered.

“Is that doubt? Since when does my little sis doubt anything she does?”

“This is personal though; this is literally taking work home.”

Delacourte shook his head, realizing how lost he had gotten into learning more about who she was, instead of seeing how his men were, and decided to leave when he backstepped onto iced leaves, crunching them under his paw.

Sintia sucked in a sharp breath of fright releasing the railing.

Cursing inwardly Delacourte looked up, straight into her eyes as footsteps rushed onto the balcony pulling her back.

“What is it?”

Delacourte heard Rod’s voice as she raised an arm pointing towards him, but he couldn’t look away, having her see him in his wolf form was doing something to him. Something about this woman had him intrigued in every possible way, he wanted her to see him, wanted to in fact get nearer.

“Don.” Rod called as they both appeared on either side of Sintia looking at him. The men hesitated forward to defend until they realized who it was.

They all stared at each other for a long moment.

“Did that, is that.” Sintia stuttered trying to clear her mind, seeing the large wolf instantly reminded her of her recent attack.

“A wolf, yes.” Rod helped eyes still locked on Delacourte.

“Don’t worry, they can’t get over the high fence.” Don assured Sintia before turning back to the wolf.

“Aren’t you a bit lost?” Don called out to Delacourte with a small cocky smile.

Reluctantly Delacourte pulled his gaze away from her to his men, pulling his lips back in a small teasing growl.

“Everyone keeps saying there are no wolves in the area, I’m starting to think they lying to cover something up.” Sintia said a bit breathlessly watching the hypnotic blue eyes. “These wolves are huge; they can’t be normal, what is going on here?” She whispered to Rod.

“Don’t be scared, they can smell fear.” Don said to her.

“I am not afraid!” Sintia snapped stepping away from the men and looking back to the wolf. “And stop talking to it as if it understands! Its dam freaky, ok?” She snapped a final time before heading back inside leaving the two men and Delacourte outside.

“What the fuck you doing here D? No disrespect your majesty, but you breaking your own rules, no human interactions!” Rod whispered stepping nearer to the railing while Don kept his eye on Sintia walking through the lounge back to the bedroom.

“I know, just needed to ensure you were all ok, the calls I received earlier just...” Delacourte projected his thoughts cutting them off as out the corner of his eye he caught Sintia’s bedroom light go on. He could just spot her through a gap in the curtain undressing to step into the on-suite bathroom, catching a glimpse of her dark hair falling down her bare back as she undid a clip, watching the way it fell in loose waves over her bare ass before she stepped out of view, a low growl escaped him.

“D?” Don called pulling his attention back.

“Is she going out?”

“Just to the lodge for dinner.”

“I’ll see you there.” Delacourte turned to disappear back through the forest.

* * *

“She saw you, didn’t she?” Vinchenzo snapped as Delacourte entered their permanently reserved room in the lodge a while later. He had shifted in the woods shortly after seeing her and made his way back before his brother had sent a search party.

“Rod and Don are...”

“Ok, of course, they ok.” Vinchenzo snapped again cutting him off, anger written all over his face.

“She won’t find out.” Delacourte sighed walking to the bathroom, he knew to stay away from humans when in wolf form, they were too abnormally large to be classed as normal wolves, which brought on suspicion, which could lead to problems for their kind, humans were curious creatures.

“You getting too close.”

“Like I said I needed to check on Rod and…”

“Bull shit D, lie to yourself if it makes you feel better but we both know you can’t lie to me.” Vinchenzo said pulling on clean boots. Delacourte paused halfway in the bathroom turning back to listen to his brother’s rant. “We can’t get close to humans, you know this. Sure, she may be easy on the eyes, but you and I both know this can only end badly.”

“Who said I was attracted to her?” Delacourte frowned crossing his arms leaning against the door frame.

Vinchenzo gave his brother a dead look.

“What?”

“You are!”

“I’m not!”

“Then why did you let her see you?”

Delacourte opened his mouth to speak then shut it clenching his jaw, he wanted her to, but couldn’t understand why.

“Look,” Vinchenzo sighed standing up from the bed, “She is a human, you can’t forget that, flirt, have fun but don’t fucking fall for her.”

Delacourte snorted a laugh turning to enter the bathroom.

“As if we were allowed to fall for humans.” Delacourte grumbled closing the door to shower thinking of the bare bottom babe he had seen, sure the attraction was there, but that wasn’t it, there was something about her he wanted to challenge, see more of. But he had a duty to his country, anything further than flirting would just cause trouble, as it was the Molchalin had their eyes on her, she was in danger, them keeping their distance kept her alive, yet he still wanted a poisonous bite out of her.

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