Authors: Faleena Hopkins
By The Alphas
By Faleena Hopkins
Cover Image Calt © Serov
Cover Image Wolf © Outdoorsman
Cover Image Moon © Suppakij17
Licensed through: Shutterstock.com
Published by Hop Hop Publications
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher.
Copyright © 2014 Faleena Hopkins
All Rights Reserved
hy I chose
to do this idiotic fucking thing is beyond me! Why didn’t someone stop me? Because I didn’t tell anyone where I was going, that’s why,” Ali grumbled, her breath huffing out in small angry, steam clouds. “So, now you’re lost. Well done. Way to go, nimrod.” Her hands held firmly onto her heavy backpack to keep it balanced, but it didn’t seem to help with the ache. Her back was killing her, and Yosemite Park wasn’t looking quite as pretty as it did when she arrived. Trampling loudly through overgrown grass and over rocks of all shapes, colors and sizes, she shook her head and sighed, “Go see nature! That’ll make the boredom of your stupid life go away! Idiot.”
A loud crackle of a breaking branch sounded behind her. Ali froze, a single puff of steam suspending in the air before her slackened lips. There were wild animals out here, and while that seemed awfully romantic at the outset of this little solo-excursion, it was now a nauseatingly terrifying reality. She held her breath and didn’t move. The distant cawing of a bird she could not see pierced the silence, seemingly warning her what they both knew–that she was not alone. She ever so slowly inhaled the crisp air in a vain attempt to cool her head and summon up the courage to turn around, but the fear that had crawled underneath her coat to settle on the baby hairs of her spine was suffocating.
Her voice cracked, “Hello?” She cleared her throat and tried again, calling out, “Hello? Anyone there?” then mumbling, “Wild animals don’t talk, Ali.”
To her left loomed several sky-high gray boulders flanked by Whitebark pine trees, and ahead lay a fallen sequoia tree covered in yellow and green lichens. But there was no sign of anything or anyone…besides her. She took another deep, chilly breath and slowly walked toward where the sound came from. There on the pine needle-covered granite laid a branch as thick as her forearm, broken in half, the bones of it sticking out in sharp points. “That’s no squirrel’s handiwork,” she whispered, eyes darting around.
She had the distinct impression she was being watched.
Widened brown eyes flitted to the broken branch again as a shiver whispered over her body. A lizard scurried by her sneakers, crawling over the branch. She covered her mouth to stop herself from screaming like a child. “Get it together, Ali! God!” she whispered, the cold making her voice hoarse.
She took one step toward the fallen tree.
The thought that a bear might be near was immediately shoved away. She couldn’t go there. Not now. Not when she had no way of defending herself. If she allowed herself to think for one minute that a freakin’ grizzly or any other kind of bear stomped that branch, she’d lose her mind screaming, and that wouldn’t help her. With her heart pumping adrenaline into her veins, she muttered under her breath, “Just keep walking, Ali. The trail’s got to be that way.” Hooking her fingers tighter around her backpack straps, she changed directions and tromped toward the boulders and the sinking sun.
Her sneakers picked up speed as her heart told her to run.
“What are you doing here?”
The man who’d stepped out from behind the boulder winced as Ali screamed in his face. He reached out but stopped just short of touching her, withdrawing his hand at her expression.
Frozen, Ali Latham stared, and as quickly as the brain takes in an image, she soaked in the details of what could only be described as
the towering god
before her. His eyes were shocking; two different colors, one hazel with gold flecks, the other deep emerald. To add to the impact, he had jet-black hair that hung to his tanned shoulders. What was most surprising was his complete lack of a single piece of clothing.
To run into a naked man in the middle of the woods would normally have freaked Ali right the fuck out, but this male specimen looming before her was truly magnificent. His chest was edges cut from skin-colored marble, his stomach engraved in knots of muscle, his shoulders broad and intimidating. He had a nice smattering of chest hair that matched the curly line of scruff that traveled down from his taut belly button to his oh-my-God-look-at-the-size-of-that! Ali’s eyes flashed up to meet his, her astonishment clear.
“What are you doing way out here?” he asked in a low, gravelly voice that made her chest rumble. He seemed to be angry with her, or with something she couldn’t understand.
She blinked. “Me? What are you doing out here…without any clothes?” Ali expected him to smile at her tone; most people did. She had a dry humor that was lost on few, something she was quite proud of, and something she hid behind when she was uncomfortable. Like now. But he did not smile. Instead he searched the surrounding area, his luminescent eyes glinting in the graying sky. “You should not be here. You’re miles away from…”
“I know,” she cut him off, struggling for a way to sound normal under the circumstances. “I’ve been walking for hours and… I’m sorry. I’m a little distracted. Can we get back to the subject of you being naked?”
This time a gratifying smile tugged at his lips, and Ali relaxed at the familiar reaction, just a little. None of this felt real, and while that was what she’d wanted when she’d left San Francisco, to escape reality, finding a naked man in the far reaches of Yosemite wasn’t on the list. It was hitting her in all the wrong places in all the wrong ways, or the right ones. Depended on how you looked at it. She should run…and, wasn’t that what she was best at? That’s what all of her ex-boyfriends would say.
She expected an answer, but instead he stepped closer into her personal space. Her heart sped up to a dangerous pace as he reached out and lifted a lock of her hair, the deep mahogany tresses darker in the dimming light. She’d tied it up in a ponytail, but now it was askew, and he seemed fascinated by it. He brought it to his nose and smelled it as she gaped at him, wondering why she felt excited by him doing that. With him inspecting her, she quickly did a mental inventory of what he might find. She remembered that she’d worn no makeup, no bra, no deodorant. That last item had been an oversight, the first two on purpose as a fuck-you to civilization. But now, she wished she had all three. Or at least the first and the last.
His penetrating gaze scratched down her face, her neck and finally landed on her breasts, Ali’s breath hitched even though her flesh was covered. Had it not been, her nipples would have told him exactly what she thought of that carnal look he was giving. “My face is up here,” she joked, half-heartedly. He paid her no mind, staring at the ample hills of her breasts like he could see through her blue windbreaker. She crossed her arms even though that was the last thing she wanted to do. “Um…okay. It was nice meeting you. I…have to go.”
“You don’t have anywhere to go. You are lost,” he said with authority.
“Right. So, I’d better get un-lost,” Ali muttered, watching his fingers rise in the air between them.
He touched her neck. “I can help you.”
While Ali thought of all the ways he could, she shook her head. “That’s okay. I can find my way back. And…oh wow. It is really hard to think with you licking your lips like that.” She peeked downward to see if he was, yep, erect and gorgeous. “I have to go.”
“You do not want to go,” he smirked.
“That’s not the point,” Ali blushed. Getting ahold of her sanity, she tugged at her backpack straps and twisted her shoulders to find comfort under their weight. “I should go. And so that’s what I’m going to do. Goodbye.” Flipping around, she started in the direction she came from, kicking herself for taking this long to leave.
After only three steps, she felt her body lifted off the ground as one of his arms encircled her and picked her up. “Not so fast.”
Before she had time to object, he carried her behind the boulder to hide them from view. She gasped at the speed with which he’d done that, how easily he’d managed her body. She was no petite little thing. Like her mom and grandmother, Ali came from voluptuous stock. She had never been one of those waif types, nor did she want to be, but never had a man lifted her with one arm before. It made her feel tiny. She liked that feeling a little too much from the ache that now pulsated between her thighs.
He seemed to be listening for something, and suddenly fear replaced excitement. He’d hid them because he’d heard something nearby. Maybe a predator. Ali listened, too, her heart hammering in her chest for two reasons now. She cast her eyes to the distance and whispered, “Is it a bear? Oh God, please don’t let it be a bear, because you don’t look like you’re hiding a gun anywhere.”
His head craned to the right, lips parted, mind focused. She couldn’t help but steal a glance at him. There was a faded scar down the side of his face that looked like a knife or claw had cut him. She stared at the pale jagged line, the close proximity of his tall, naked body driving her to distraction. She breathed against his skin and watched as he turned and slowly met her eyes. “We are alone.”
“Okay. Well,” she mumbled, glancing away so as not to accidentally nibble on his shoulder, “I should be going. Now that it’s safe.” She trailed off as she locked eyes with him again. She didn’t want to go. He was right. How often would something like this happen to her? She wanted desperately to flirt with him, give him a signal she wanted him to kiss her and maybe more, but Ali had never been the flirtatious type. Joking, yes. Flirtatious? Not so much.
He stared at her thoughtfully and then his nostrils flared and his eyes darkened with what looked to her like lust. Could she be imagining that? But then he did the strangest thing: he leaned in and smelled her by sniffing down the sensitive skin on her neck. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, leaning into the soft curve. Mirroring him reflexively, she breathed him in, too, and loved his masculine scent. It had an aggressive effect on her psyche, ripping away all of her reason. Standing between a pale gray boulder and a man who’s generously endowed body was growing by the second, Ali realized that she was not going anywhere until she felt him inside her. It didn’t matter that they were in the forest, had never met before, and he was inexplicably nude, some people you just have to fuck.
“You want me,” he murmured, as though reading her mind.
“I don’t want you,” she lied as his lips brushed hers.
Before she knew what was happening, his hand slipped into the front of her jeans and snaked beneath the soft cotton of her panties. She gasped, but didn’t move to stop him, her eyelids fluttering.
“So wet,” he murmured lazily as his fingers slipped lower. He cocked his chin to the side, the muscles of his neck flexing.
As his fingers stroked the secret folds of Ali, the throbbing ache between her thighs became acute. When he bent in again and this time nuzzled her neck and kissed it, she moaned. He ran his tongue down to her collarbone as Ali heard a voice inside her head telling her that what she was doing was crazy; that she should run. But that voice was ignored. The truth was the desire to scream for help had vanished as soon as she had seen this exquisite stranger. His dark features, great size, and incredibly unusual eyes were something she’d never imagined could be real. If he’d sprung wings and told her he was her guardian angel sent to fetch her and bring her back to civilization, she would have believed him. Although she would have thought him a very,
As he caressed and stroked her, he breathed into the sensitive hollow of her ear, “So wet.”
“Yes,” was all she could say.
So she said it twice. And then again.