Authors: Miriam Becker
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.
Alpha Heart copyright @ 2014 by Miriam Becker. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.
Emma turned the sign to open and headed into the back of the room to begin filling the glass case with the delicious treats she made. The benefit of owning the only bakery in town was that she was the only place selling fresh bread and baked goods. She was just filling up one of the glass counters along the wall when the bell on the front door rung, announcing a customer.
“I sure hope you have my éclairs, Emma,” announced Mrs. Humphrey. The short and stocky elderly lady made her way into the bakery and took a seat on one of the sofas by the other wall.
“Do I ever disappoint you, Mrs. Humphrey?” Emma chuckled and handed her the box that was already packed and ready to go. Mrs Humphrey had paid a year in advance for the éclairs she picked up every Thursday.
“You’re a kind soul, Emma.” Mrs. Humphrey stood on shaky legs, placed the box carefully in her wheelie basket, and shuffled her way back out of the shop. That’s where Mrs. Humphrey was wrong. She wasn’t a good soul, not since that dreadful night almost six months ago.
The bakery didn’t usually pick up until lunch time, so she headed into the backroom that also served as a kitchen. It had taken Emma nearly five years to save the money to open her own shop after she discovered that most bakeries or restaurants wouldn’t employ her because she hadn’t gone to culinary school. Well, look where she was now.
She was wrist deep in dough, when the bell on the door rung again. She managed to remove most of the gooey dough and left the kitchen, wiping her hands on an old towel. She pasted her smile on and headed into the front of the bakery.
“How may I help you?” Emma could only see the back of the man’s head, but there was something different about him that she couldn’t quite place. She knew he wasn’t from town because she knew everyone in this town and this man most certainly wasn’t one of them.
“I’m just passing through, but I’ve been told Emma’s Bakery is the place to come for cinnamon rolls.” The man finally turned around, a smirk on his strong face.
“Well, you were told correctly.” Emma tossed the towel onto the bench and grabbed the tongs that were sitting on the side. “How many can I get for you?”
“Just one for now and a cup of coffee, if it isn’t too much trouble.”
“To go or eat in?”
“Eat in. I really need to rest before I continue on my journey, thank you.” The man turned and took a seat on one of the sofas, picking up one of the many magazines strewn across the coffee table beside him.
Emma placed the cinnamon roll on a plate and filled one of the many ceramic mugs with coffee before placing the items in front of the man. She finally got a good look at his face when he glanced up and smiled at her. He was stunning. The man had the most peculiar eyes though, one was a piercing blue whereas the other one was golden, almost like a dog’s eye.
“Thank you ever so much.” The man nodded and Emma smiled before she disappeared behind the counter again.
The door opened again a few minutes later and Sheriff Mills headed inside, patting his huge stomach with an equally huge smile on his face.
“Emma, I hope you’ve got my breakfast.” Sheriff Mills leaned against the counter and it groaned quietly. Emma feared one day that the man’s weight would rocket so high that he may break it.
“Right here, Sheriff.” Emma handed over the bag and a take-away coffee cup with a smile.
“Who’s the new guy?” He tilted his head to side, indicating the man sitting in the corner.
“I’m not sure, he’s just passing through.”
“The name is Travis,” said the man from the corner, without taking his eyes off the magazine he was reading. Emma could see a smirk on his handsome face.
“Travis, we’re a nice town here. Don’t need any trouble, you got me?” Sheriff Mills nodded his head at Emma before he headed towards the door.
“I’m only passing through, Sheriff.”
The sheriff stepped outside and into his patrol car, making his way towards the station, just like every other day. Emma went back into the backroom, hoping that Travis was a decent man who wouldn’t try to steal anything from her. Not that she had much to steal.
She squashed the dough into baking pans, then placed them in her industrial oven. Next, she began to clean her mess up. The only down side of having a bakery was the amount of mess that came along with the duties.
“Excuse me, Emma?”
“Yeah?” she answered, making her way out of the backroom to where Travis placed his plate and mug on one of the counters. She was astounded by how handsome Travis was. The man was incredibly tall and had ever so wide shoulders.
“May I have ten of those to go? Also is there a hotel where I can stay? I’ve been on the road for too long,” he said. He leaned against the counter, but unlike when the Sheriff leaned on it, it didn’t make any noise.
“Of course. If you head down this road, on the left from Daisy’s Flowers, is a motel. There aren’t many visitors here so only a small place is needed,” Emma spoke, as she placed the cinnamon rolls into a box and tied it with a ribbon to keep the box closed. Travis paid her the money before he tipped his head at her.
“I’ll be seeing you, Emma.” With that parting remark, he left the bakery and disappeared down the road.
Thursday was usually her busiest days and she barely had a chance to sit down the whole day. She was grateful when closing time came and she could head upstairs to her home. Conveniently, she lived above the shop. Not only was it easier for her to get to her shop, but she could also carry anything she made at home the short distance without the fear of dropping it.
The full moon was getting closer and closer and Emma could feel it in her entire being. Her body was craving to change into the beast that had been inflicted on her almost six months ago. She shook her head and locked the door behind her. Then, she padded over to the bathroom, since a cold shower always helped her feel better.
As she stepped into the shower, she reflected back to that fateful night.
She was heading home from college at the time it happened.
It was nearly midnight by the time she got off the bus that night. She was walking down the alley towards her home when she was jumped. She tried screaming, but the man had put a hand over her mouth and told her to shut the fuck up.
The man dragged her into a nearby park, but his movements were jerky, like he was trying to hold something back. Emma knew that if he took her into a public place, then she would have a better chance of getting away. She was horrified when her kidnapper pulled her further into the woods that surrounded the park.
Things kept getting weirder and weirder when the man shoved her to the ground in front of four other men. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but she was scared and she knew that it wasn’t going to be a good thing.
“You’ve chosen well, Michael.” The largest man nodded his head before the man called Michael dropped her to the ground. Then, the large man grabbed her by her hair and smiled at her.
“We’re going to make you into one of us.”
“W-What do you mean?” Emma was trying her hardest not to show that she was frightened, but she was surrounded by five men and they were all intimidating. She knew that if she tried to get away, there would be no chance for her in the slightest.
She watched in amazement as the large man held his hand out and claws extended from his nails. Emma cried out in pain, as those claws scratched down the front of her chest, tearing her shirt apart, and cutting her skin so blood spilled down her now naked chest.
“We’ll find you before the full moon, wolf.” The larger man released her before a gold glow shimmered around them and five wolves stood there. She shook her head again and watched as they loped off into the woods. Emma tugged her shirt back together and ran home. She needed to get out of this town before the full moon.
Emma was packed and out of that town before the weekend was even over.
She shook her wet hair out of her face and frowned, as she found herself stroking her fingers over the claw scars on her chest. They’d never disappear. She knew that much. She shook herself out of the memory and wrapped a towel around her body before leaving the bathroom and moving towards her bedroom.
Her thoughts returned back to Travis. There was still something about that man that she couldn’t quite place her finger on, but she wasn’t sure what it was. His eyes were peculiar and his scent was familiar, but unknown. She dressed while thinking about him.
There was something calling her to him. Something that made her want to run to the motel and jump into the bed where she knew he would currently be sleeping. The only other time she had a reaction like that was when another wolf turned up in the town, although she hadn’t wanted to jump that wolf like she wanted to jump Travis. She wanted to get the other wolf out of town, she felt like it was her territory.
Emma took her recipe book off the shelf in her bedroom and sat on her bed. She was itching to try something new, but she wasn’t sure what to try yet. Maybe something with chocolate in it. It was nearly the full moon and, for some reason, the wolf inside her craved chocolate around this time of the month.
As she flipped through the book, her thoughts strayed back to Travis again. She was almost certain that he was a wolf like her, but he seemed to have a better hold on it than she did. Emma shook her head and tossed the book on the nightstand next to her bed before lying down. She needed sleep, it would make her feel better.
Travis opened the door to the bakery the next morning and was astonished at the queue that waited. There had to be at least fifteen people in front of him. It seemed Emma was going to be having a busy day. It was just past midday and Travis was a little peckish. He saw two diners and a pub while on his way to the motel, but his body was craving something sweet.
He took a seat on one of the sofas, as he let the people in front of him order their sweets. He was more interested in the stunning woman behind the counter. The moment he rode into town on his motorcycle, he knew there was something or someone special here for him. That was confirmed once he walked in the bakery, smelled the sweet treats, and saw the amazing Emma standing behind the counter. He knew from within his entire being that Emma was destined to be his.
Although he had a feeling that Emma either suppressed her wolf or denied it, Travis could smell the stress and need for a change practically pouring from her body. Either Emma had a traumatic turning experience or she was unable to control her wolf while she was turned.
Travis must have been sitting on the sofa for almost an hour before the last of the customers disappeared from the store. Emma smiled at him before wiping the sweat from her brow.
“What can I get for you, Travis?”
“Two coffees, a cinnamon roll, and anything the lady wants.” Travis winked, set the magazine down, and reclined on the sofa, crossing one leg over the other.
“I should really be working...”
“Aren’t you allowed a lunch break? It’s nearly two.”
“I suppose so. Thank you.” Emma nodded her head slightly before filling two mugs with coffee and placing two cinnamon rolls on a plate. Then, she placed them on the table in front of Travis and took a seat opposite him.
“How long are you staying then?” Emma asked before pulling a piece of the roll off and stuffing it in her mouth. For some reason that turned Travis on, causing him to grow hard and push uncomfortably against the zipper on his jeans. He saw Emma’s nose twitch slightly before she took a deep breath, a look of confusion on her face.
“I was only passing through, but I may have to stay for a while now.”
“Where are you heading to?”
“I had some business to do in Colorado. Although, I’m sure I can get someone else to do it for me.” Travis smirked and had the pleasure of watching Emma’s face flush pink.