Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance) (8 page)

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
6.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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I spied her a couple of feet away, a man towering over her as she scrambled up off the ground.

Another man circled behind me, his steps nearly silent, but he was not quiet enough.

With a roar, I leaped at Macey’s attacker, driving him to the ground in a crash of fists flying, landing punch after punch, him twisting beneath me, legs kicking and arms blocking.

“Jason, I’ve got him. Behind you.”

Arms dragged me backwards, locking around my neck, cutting into my windpipe. Digging my fingers in, I peeled the arm away, kicking back, my boot connecting with bone, the crunch of a knee. The man howled in pain, dropping me.

I collapsed onto the ground, bracing myself, trying to gulp in air through my bruised throat. Macey was pinning the other man, holding him down through pure strength of will.

Movement caught my eye, the flash of fabric through a smattering of leaves, the sound of quiet footfalls. I kept my head down, pretending I was still catching my breath, my original opponent still rolling around on the ground in pain.

A sinking feeling threated to choke me.

We had walked into an ambush.

But how had they known?

Six more men stalked toward me, ignoring Macey.

I let them get closer, desperately trying to work out a plan.

I wasn’t going down without a fight.

 

 

***

Macey

The man beneath me struggled, bucking against my hold, but stilled when I pressed my extended claws a little closer. Everything they said was true. If you threatened a guy’s manhood, he was putty in your hands.

Not that this guy really had much to lose to begin with, but hey, he had to work with what the Mother had given him.

Jason had disabled the other guy with a slick maneuver that had my head spinning. Who the hell was he, and how did he know moves like that?

Then his eyes flicked to the edge of the trees and widened a fraction.

Shit!
More of the bastards.

There was only one thing for it—we had to run. We couldn’t take on a whole pack of thugs. This was only meant to be a reconnaissance mission. Intel only. Hell, we hadn’t even been sure the pack was still here, given that Jason’s information was badly out of date.

I twisted my hand hard, resisting the urge to put the coyote out of his misery once and for all. We didn’t know the facts yet. These guys could be acting on orders, being made to work for Bert. We didn’t know enough to start killing—not yet.

The man beneath me screamed and I sprang to my feet, dashing over to Jason. “We have to get out of here!”

He didn’t move, his eyes locked on the men moving toward us.

“It’s too late, we’ll never make it. There is at least one more over to the right.”

Double shit!

I tugged at his arm, trying to drag him to his feet. “We have to
try!

Finally allowing me to pull him up, he muttered, “We have to fight. It’s our only option.”

“Or surrender,” a deep voice called out, then a man moved into sight.

Brown hair, brown eyes, average height—he was
average
, but the look in his eyes made my skin crawl. His eyes were hollow and vacant, lacking any awareness. Then I realized, they were missing that vital spark of humanity I was used to seeing, in any normal, sane person anyway.

“Jason…” I hissed. I still thought we could run. Between us, we could deflect the one man Jason insisted was in our way and stand a chance.

“Jay?” The man strode toward us, each step weighted with an implied threat.

Our window of opportunity was quickly closing.

“I didn’t realize it was you, not with that hat on anyway. We’ve been keeping watch for you. Well, well, what have you brought home? Bert will be pleased.”

Ice formed in my veins, my lungs seizing. “Jay? What is he talking about?”

“I have no idea,” Jason said, grabbing my hand, and for a second I couldn’t tell if it was for reassurance or to keep me at his side.

The brown haired man tutted, his face breaking into a sick, twisted grin. “Role play? I didn’t think that was your style. More of a grab ‘em and take ‘em kind of guy. But hey! Whatever works for you. Shall we take her back?” He made a hand signal and the remaining men melted back into the trees, each nodding at Jason with varying degrees of wariness and friendship. “Or do you need to stay in character, y’know, make this whole
thing
work for you?” he pretended to whisper, his eyes glowing as they flicked over me.

I waited for Jason to say something, to deny what was happening. Anything! But he stayed silent, his jaw tensed, lips sealed shut.

He wouldn’t even look at me, and suddenly his hand around mine felt like a steel band, trapping me.

Eventually he spoke, his voice harsh and gritty. “You say Bert will be pleased? Is he here?”

The other man laughed, high pitched and squeaky, like he’d just heard the funniest thing. “Of course not, Jay. He’s at location two, like planned. Didn’t you just see him yesterday?” He squinted at Jason. “Take off your hat.”

“What?” Jason growled, his spine stiffening.

“I said, take off the damn hat.”

Maybe there’d been a mistake. Maybe, for some reason, he’d got Jason confused. Maybe—

Jason pulled off his hat slowly, his brows furrowed, his chest ceasing to rise and fall.

His shockingly white-blond hair was exposed in the dusk, shining like a beacon, one of the reasons we had decided to cover it up.

Our captor slapped him on the shoulder. “Aw, man! You had me going there! Staying in character, were you? Priming her for the fun and games?” He chuckled, sick admiration on his face. “Let’s get her back to the compound. We can talk more there. I have some details I need to go over with you for next week.”

The fledgling sliver of hope I’d been clinging to vanished, the bitter taste of betrayal taking its place.

Jason tugged at my hand, making to follow the group of men.

I dug my heels in. He’d have to drag me there. No way was I going willingly.

“Macey,” Jason hissed under his breath. “This is our chance.”

I couldn’t even look at him. Because then I’d see his lips, the ones I’d been loving earlier with my own. I’d remember his taste, exquisite and thrilling. Most of all, I’d see his eyes. Eyes that I could have sworn held love. Tenderness. Respect.

It had all been a lie, which meant I couldn’t trust myself around him. My body still wanted him, reacted to every little touch, but it was just the mating call. Just a physical need to bond with him.

And I would not bond myself to a traitor.

“No.”

“Macey, believe in me. I don’t know what’s happening—”

A loud chuckle drifted back to us.

“How could you?” I’d sworn to myself that I wasn’t going to ask, didn’t want him to know that I cared. That he had actually gotten to me. Though he’d probably figured that one out for himself, the way I’d wrapped myself around him, practically grinding against his leg.

I’m a fucking idiot!

A chill gripped me, my heart stuttering. He knew who my father was, had asked what people would target me for. He’d dug for information, not because he wanted to protect me, but to see what I was worth.

Without thinking, I kicked out, aiming for his knee, the exact same move I’d seen him use earlier, twisting my hand at the same time, trying to break his hold. I had to escape, get back to the pack. They had to know that Jason was a traitor!

When it was all done, then I could curl up into a ball and hide.

“What are you—?” he muttered, skirting my blow at the last second.

“Do you need a hand back there, Jay? Feisty little minx, isn’t she? Should be good for sport, though.”

“I’m fine,” Jason called back, then hissed, “Think, Macey! We need to—”

I struck out with my free hand, putting all my weight into it, hitting him square in the nose. The crunch of bone was sickening, and blood spurted, flowing freely down his chin, dripping and blending into his dark t-shirt.

“Fucking hell, Macey!” He grabbed me, squeezing my back against his chest, pinning my arms to my sides. “I’d let you go and get help, but they’d chase you. I can’t bear the thought of them catching you. Hurting you. So, for the Mother’s sake, keep still!”

“Why don’t you let her go, Jay? We could have some sport hunting her, share the spoils?” The man I had decided to call Mr. Average wriggled his eyebrows suggestively, leering at me.

“No. She’s mine. No sharing,” Jason growled in a voice barely recognizable as human, and from the way Mr. Average flinched, I’d bet my last dollar Jason’s eyes were glowing violet.

Claws pricked into my arms, reminding me of the very volatile leash Jason had on his coyote. I’d thought it was because he hadn’t shifted, shunning his animal. Not because he was a fucking psychopath, playing both sides!

I wriggled, thrashing and squirming in his arms as he struggled to hold me. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was trying not to hurt me.

Idiot!
He’s just playing the game…

Mr. Average watched, his beady eyes heating up as I continued to struggle.

Jason grunted as I sunk an elbow into his ribs.

I hated the fact that even now, my body was reacting to him. Wanting to yield to him. Heating for him.

“I hate you!” I shrieked when he caught the arm I had managed to work free and bound it back to my side.

His breath was hot on my neck, and I bit back a moan as a shiver ran down my spine.

“Please, Macey, just
trust
me.”

My eyes blinked shut as he laid a gentle kiss on the back of my neck, tears burning and threatening to spill.

Why?

Footsteps crunched nearer, a stale smell invading my nose.

I forced my eyes open.

“—should make things easier.” A large hand sailed through the air.

Pain streaked through my head, knifing into my skull.

“No!

It was a deep growl, a man’s voice.
Jason?

Then everything went black.

 

 

CHAPTER NINE

Macey

The world swam back into focus, though immediately I wished it hadn’t. My head hurt like a motherfucker, every small movement sending nausea spiraling through me.

Careful not to move my head, I squinted, willing my eyes to adjust to the dark room.

I was lying on something soft. I curled my fingers, scraping them across what felt like fabric. A bed of some sorts. A foul smelling one, layered with the scent of multiple people, along with other smells that I didn’t even want to try and identify.

As my eyes adjusted, I started to pick out the usual bedroom furniture. A dresser, a set of drawers.

A woman stared at me, her eyes wide and frightened. She looked lost. Her hair was pulled back in a messy ponytail, her t-shirt ripped, her hands and feet bound in chains.

Jeez, my head hurt.
I blinked again, wondering where the woman had gone. Why wasn’t she talking? Couldn’t she see me?

The room darkened, everything fading.
No!
I forced my eyes back open.

There she was.

I blinked. She blinked.

Fuck,
it was a mirror. Even the realization felt sluggish, as if half of my brain had shut down.

Something wasn’t right. Weakness like I’d never felt before pulled at me. Sleep called to me, serenading me with promises of mindless rest.

I could just sleep, and everything would be fine. I’d wake up in my own bed.

The woman’s hands and feet had been bound.

My whole body shaking, I fought back a sudden spike of panic.

Calm. I had to keep calm. And think! Why couldn’t I think?

The room started to dim again.

Just five minutes, then I’d figure it out.

 

 

***

Macey

A murmur of voices filtered through the fog of sleep that surrounded me, dragging me to the surface.

“…don’t know where we are…”

I concentrated on the voice. It sounded familiar.

“…is Bert due back?”

I knew that voice.

Jason
.

This time it was less of a struggle to open my eyes, and my head swam a little less. I was in the same room.

Which meant…I jerked my arms, twisting my wrists against the metal shackles that bound them.
Fuck!

Calm down, Macey,
I lectured myself, hearing my dad inside my head. I could hear him telling me not to panic. To assess the situation and to work on a plan of action.
A well thought out plan is always better than a reaction with no thought, Macey. Remember that…

BOOK: Redeemed: True Mates Book 4 (BBW Wolf Shifter Romance) (A Craggstone Paranormal Romance)
6.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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