48 hours before
Alan laughed, a belly laugh, as Barreck shot dad with a hornet, making dad jump and scowl. “Dam nit, Barreck, you’re teaching the kid bad things.”
Barreck, twice my size and with a truck ton of muscle, laughed with as much vigor as Alan. “Hell, dad, with the stories Jay and Al have told us, Shyanne ain’t no angel.” His bald head shone as he shook his head. Tattoo’s covered his bare arms and chest, making Al the only man in the room without tats.
Scott, my father, was the same as my brother, just softer with old age and his eyes were the same brown. I got my grey eyes from my mother, which made my dad smile sadly every time he looks into my eyes. “True.” He grinned as he flipped a steak on the grill.
Shaking my head, I felt my heart swell with love and pride, the damn thing. How could I, one stubborn jackass, fall in the kind of love that turned a man into a whimpering puppy dog? Everything about Shyanne Jasmine Ice made me practically melt and sigh with love; even her sarcastic and frustrating ways. “She’s an angel, no doubt; she just hides the horns and her tail in her bedroom closet.”
Everyone laughed, including Al. Since he met my father and brother, he’s grown a little closer to me. What cinched our relationship, though, was when I snuck up on him and shot him with a paintball as we ran through our own woods. It amazed him that I could’ve snuck up on him and shoot him. “I really don’t want to know what she hides in her closet; whenever mom gets on her for not cleaning her room, she just separates the clothes from the junk. The junk goes into the closet or under the bed while the clothes go into the hamper.”
Yeah, that sounded just like the little devil.
“She sounds cooler and cooler the second this kid opens his pie hole.” Barreck said with a grin. “You should bring her over soon so I can officially meet her.”
“Actually, her mom invited us for dinner tomorrow night; that was the one condition we had for me stealing dipshit over there.”
Al rolled his eyes as he looked down at our scarred table. “You sound like Shyanne now, Jason. Maybe you should back off of her.”
Dad laughed and began to bring the food over to the table. Mashed potatoes, steak, mushrooms with onions and corn on the cob piled high in the middle and we all started to shovel in, talk slim to none as we gorged ourselves.
My phone, sitting on the kitchen counter, started to ring loudly and I stood up to answer.
“No, no, no!” Dad said, putting his hand on my arm. “You know the rule; no phone while we eat. Just because you haven’t seen Shyanne in a few hours doesn’t mean you get to break house rules. Sit and finish your dinner.”
Grumbling, I sat back down and started to eat again. “Damn, you’re whipped.” Barreck chuckled from across the table.
Before I could retort, my phone stopped and the house phone started to ring mere seconds after it was quiet.
Dad frowned before he drummed his scarred fingers on the table. “Voice mail will get it. We can listen to what they have to say and if it’s important then we can get up, got it?”
“’Kay.” I said, waiting patiently.
“Hello, you’ve reached the Keller residence; we aren’t in right now so please, leave a message and your number so we can get back to you!” Barreck’s voice drifted to us.
Static came over the line before we heard someone crying and yelling on the speaker. “Scott?” Alex, Shyanne’s father, called worriedly. “Please tell me Shyanne’s at your house! A friend of Shyanne’s called me and said that they were supposed to hang out but she never got to the house.”
Dad lunged to the wireless phone as I felt the blood drain from my face. “Alex?” he said with an edge of worry to his tone but it was too late; he had already hung up.
“Fuck.” I said as I went for my charging phone. A number I didn’t recognize, but had the same area code as we did, flashed on my screen with a little icon saying I had a voicemail.
“Dad, I have something.”
Barreck and a pale Alan came to me as my dad stared at me.
Putting my phone on speaker, I punched in my voicemail number and waited.
“Hello, Mr. Keller; my name’s Greg Allen and I’m with the State Highway Patrolman’s office. There has been a wreck on the side of 65 and we found your number on the victim’s list of important people. We also believe it was a female by the name Shyanne Jasmine Ice; I just wanted to call and ask if you had any places to where we may find her? There seems to be a lot of blood on site and we just want to…” my hand went numb and I felt my body grow weak.
No. my wolf snarled in my head before starting to growl and howl. Mate. No. Gone.
“Alex.” I could hear my dad in the background as I stared at the wall with stinging eyes.
A few minutes later, I found myself tucked into Barreck’s little car and we were driving at break-neck speeds to what I assume was Shyanne’s home.
“Jason.” Alan said with a fear that mirrored my own.
Looking over at Alan, I could see the silent fear that had crept up on him. “Don’t worry, Al; we’ll get her back.” I promised as my voice cracked.
Barreck swung the poor old piece of crap into the driveway and sped down the drive, lights bouncing up and down crazily on the front of the house. A police cruiser sat beside Alex’s little Ford and a big Cadillac sat haphazardly next to the porch.
Swinging out of the car, I sprinted up the stairs, not caring that I was still dirty and grimy from the run in the woods; my white tank was tore and had a few specks of blood from a few scrapes I had received as I had brought Barreck down.
A police woman and man sat on the nice leather couch with Alex, Rosie and Shyanne’s brother-in-law and sister sat across from them in the older couch. They all looked up at my loud approach but my eyes were all on the cops.
“Tell. Me. What. Happened.” I said with a guttural tone.
“You must be Mr. Keller.” The man said with a heavy sigh. Dad, Barreck and Alan rushed in behind me, making Rosie tear up.
“Alan, get over here.” Rosie said as tears streamed down her face. Al hurried over and into his mother’s arms, her grey bob shaking as she sobbed.
“Actually, I am. This is my son, Jason; my name is Scott Keller and this is my oldest son, Barreck. We are very close to Shyanne.” My father said with a hard edge as he looked at the officers.
The man, who had to be at least a million years old, cleared his throat before shuffling his feet. “Well, Mr. Keller, we really don’t have that much evidence. As we were telling the Ice’s, the most we have is a license plate, a cell phone and a purse. The car, however, has been taken. Blood is pooled around where the car had struck a tree, about four hundred feet from the road. Shreds of clothes has been scattered around the scene, making us think the worst.” it was clear that they thought they had raped her and taken her, but my heart knew that she had done her first Shift. “To be honest, ladies and gentlemen, there is a minimal chance that we’ll find her… alive.”
“But we won’t stop looking.” The woman, who was at least thirty, chimed in with a sad smile.
My heart plummeted to my stomach. I swiped my fingers through my hair, fighting the urge to Shift and run till I found her.
Mate. My wolf whimpered, the first time I ever heard any kind of weakness from him. Find. Track.
Trust me, we will find her and she will be alright. I vowed.
After saying their goodbyes, the police left and I watched as the lights faded from the window.
It was deadly quiet from there on out. Dad was pacing restlessly as he scratched his chin. Barreck was lounging in the lazy boy by the kitchen doorframe, his focus on the knife he was currently sharpening. I was standing at the little window that face the road, my gaze unfocused as I thought of how to get her back. The rest of the Ice family was quietly crying, talking softly to one another.
My body tensed as my phone suddenly started to ring. Everyone stopped and I could practically feel their gazes on the back of my neck.
“Hello?” I answered hoarsely.
“Jason?” the man on the other side said with a gravelly voice. It struck a familiar cord in my brain.
“Yes?” the last time my phone had rung it was the worst call of my life.
A sigh of either sadness or regret filtered through and it sounded like the male was driving. “My name is William; I’m a friend of your father’s and… I’m Shyanne’s biological father. A few people I know from the states say that someone has taken my daughter.” Anger plain in his voice, I could also hear a female demanding an answer of how it happened. “I called to let you know that my wife and I will be at the Ice residence in ten minutes. You have that much time to think of a good answer as to why you allowed some worthless piece of shit take my only child.”
The click of an ended call was sounded through before I could even stammer out a response. My brain then lost all thought and my hand let the phone drop to the ground, probably breaking the fragile glass screen; I was too far gone to even care.
“Jason?” dad’s voice was panicked as he came up behind me and clamped my shoulder hard. “Who the hell was that? What’d they want?”
“Did they know anything about Shyanne?”
“Was it the person who took Shy?”
All the questions flowed from everyone, who stood up anxiously, crowding my already frustrated body.
“Back up, guys, give him some room.” Barreck seemed to be the only calm and sane person in the house as he looked up and into my eyes. “Tell us about it.”
Swallowing thickly, I stared at the worried family in front of me before I looked to my father. “William Collins and Vitoria will be here in about ten minutes; apparently, they have eyes in the area who heard through the grapevine that someone has taken Shyanne. He didn’t exactly tell me if they had any idea who it was but he did tell me that I had better have a good ass reason to why I let them take Shyanne.” Anger finally made it to the top of my numb brain and it filled me so much that I clenched my jaws and hands. “It wasn’t like I just let them come waltzing in and grab her. They don’t have any idea how much she means to me! Why-”
“Jason, calm down; they’re probably just upset that we didn’t even stop them. They’re frustrated that their only child is gone without a trace and they have to pin the blame on someone or they’ll probably go crazy.” Dad soothed but I could tell that the news surprised him.
“They’re still alive?” Alex asked as his blue eyes suddenly seemed dry.
Dad nodded before rubbing his temple. “They’ve been on the run since Shyanne’s birth. A friend that lived with Will’s pack told me that they had finally found Will and Vic but they killed them. I haven’t spoken with them for years and years; I’m surprised they’re coming out of hiding.”
“Like you said, we’re extremely upset and aggravated that our daughter has been taken from right under your noses.” A woman’s lilting voice, with a slight accent, said from the kitchen.
Everyone turned to see the small woman with the beast of a husband behind her. They were both scowling and the woman seemed to be ready to gut someone and tie our innards around the other’s as ribbons.
“William.” Dad said, relief but also a slight twinge of fear in his voice.
“Scott.” He gave a curt nod, his black beard brushing the top of his wife’s reddish hair.
The worst kind of fear struck my body as I stared at the people who gave my life meaning. Suddenly, I just wanted to let them gut me for letting Shy be taken.
“I’m so sorry.” I mumbled, my head bowed in a defeated gesture. “It was my lack of attention and seriousness that caused Shyanne to be taken.” My wolf suddenly snarled, hating that I was defeating like this; rolling over and practically offering my throat to them.
The Shift started in my mouth and I groaned, helplessly trying to reverse the damn thing. My wolf had willpower though and I felt my canines cut into my gums. Blood filled my mouth and I backed away from the humans, trying to spare them.
“Jason, get it under control.” Barreck growled as dad pushed the Ice family back to safety.
“I… can’t…” my voice wasn’t so human and it even made my skin pebble with fear.
Next thing you know, I’m on my knees, my fingernails cutting into my jeans as my wolf fought out of its prison. My clothes shredded and I found myself in wolf form, snarling at the intruders in front of me. My instincts took over and they practically screamed at me to attack and kill.
Teeth bared, I raised my head with my ears up, showing dominance as my fur puffed up on end.
“Now boy, you wouldn’t want to do that.” The large male said with a huff as he pushed his mate back into the kitchen and away from me.
All the fear, rage and desperation from the past two hours flooded my veins and I could see red. All my wolf wanted was to chase and take out all the pain and fear out on someone else; the wolf didn’t know how to deal with all the human emotions that clogged my body. All it knew was to protect mate, love her and never let anything happen to her. Now that she’s gone, he only wanted one thing.
Growling with a ferocity that even surprised my prey, I leapt from the wooden floor, claws out and blood lust on my mind.