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The Loneliest Alpha

The MacKellen Alphas - Book 1

By T.A. Grey

The Loneliest Alpha by T. A. Grey

One look will change their lives forever.

Lingerie designer Alicia Clarkson just had to open her stupid mouth. Now thanks to trying to defend a fellow pack mate, Alicia’s been blindfolded, tied up, and carted off to the new alpha of the Oregon pack—Gavin MacKellen.

However, the blindfold doesn’t come off so soon. Alicia’s curiosity gets fired up when Gavin refuses to reveal his face to her. Just what happened to him? He talks to her from shadowy corners and behind closed doors. The man is as allusive as a squirrely fox, but Alicia doesn’t play games and the quiet spoken, hoarse voiced alpha doesn’t stand a chance against her. They settle on an agreement, thirty days for them to get to know each other because that’s the only way this cowboy alpha will have it.

Gavin MacKellen needs a mate. But he knows no good woman would ever want to look at his face after the incident he suffered. After one look at Alicia Clarkson all his plans fly out the window. The woman’s beauty has him damn stunned speechless. She torments his thoughts and Gavin finds himself yearning to know everything about her. As a relationship forms, love threatens to grow between them but Gavin struggles to cope with his physical appearance in the face of the beautiful Alicia. Will she be the one to stand in the face of a monster and accept him or will she turn her back on him?

USA TODAY recommended paranormal romance!

 

**Read the first 5 chapters**

 

  • Series: The MacKellen Alphas #1
  • Publication Date: June 14th, 2013
  • Genre: Paranormal Erotic Romance
  • Length: Novel ~101,000 words

 

 

"This book is about more than just their love. There's betrayal in the pack. There are scars that are festering, and Gavin has to figure out how to excise them from his pack before it rots from the inside out. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Gavin and will definitely pick up the next books." ~Jessie Pots, USA TODAYNight Owl Romance Top Pick!

"The Loneliest Alpha is one of my favorite books this year. I'm so glad that I checked out this new to me author and this wonderful book. I loved it! I'm recommending this one to everybody far and wide." ~Debra Taylor, Night Owl Reviews. 5 stars, Top Pick!

T.A. Grey knows how to write some addictive story lines with new and refreshing characters. ~Kawehi's Book Blog

This is a book you must read! ~Raven's Reviews

THE LONELIEST ALPHA is a fast paced, and interesting spin on the Beauty and the Beast storyline phenomenon. This is a story of suspense and mystery, love and hate, betrayal and heartbreak, friends and family. ~Sandy, The Reading Cafe

 

 

 

The delicate lace cupped the mannequin’s breast in a gentle bundle of black feathers.
Alicia Clarkson stepped back from her work and wiped a sweaty forehead on her sleeve as she eyed her latest design. The slate gray mannequin stood poised with one arm bent on its hip in a feminine gesture while the other still hadn’t been attached.

Alicia knew better than to let the rush of excitement sway her more constructive judgment but she couldn’t help it. She knew it was her greatest work yet. The bra was black with thin silk straps, nothing unusual. What made the bra stand out from anything she’d ever seen or made before was the glorious abundance of raven black feathers. The idea had dawned on her late last night while she’d been embarrassingly intrigued by some show on the history of birds. At one point, the camera had panned over to a chubby little bird with blue and brown feathers perched on a thin tree branch and the idea struck Alicia like lightning.

She hadn’t slept since. She’d rushed to her workroom and had been working at this one design all day. Her fingers hurt from using the needle and thread; her nails had long been chipped and little cuts made her thumb and index fingers swollen. The muscles in her arms throbbed but still she had not stopped working. She couldn’t. She’d been in the grasp of her muse and there was no way she was about to let it go so she could get some lousy sleep.

Black feathers shined with a luminous gleam under the fluorescent overhead light. It was the most captivating piece she’d ever created; she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the way the feathers cupped the mannequin’s breasts with a tender touch. The feathered tips frayed where the swell of the breast would be, fanning out along the skin to create a provocative sight.

She could almost see the completed design. The black silk, no, satin, panties with decorative feathers. Paired with stockings, pure black or maybe netted nylon. A shiver went over her and Alicia raced to her notepad to jot down the idea.

Fishnet stockings, black, with feather trim.

She could almost see the finished concept if she just closed her eyes. It was sexy, mysterious, intriguing.
Biting her lip, she smiled. This could be the one. The design that made her work popular. It was her most original idea yet. It just had to sell.

The sound of a woman’s scream broke the rush of excited pleasure coursing inside her. Alicia ran to her window overlooking the street below. One floor up gave her a great view of her pack’s neighborhood. She lifted the window and stuck her head out.

What she saw sent goosebumps across her arms and a chill down her spine. Two of the pack’s highest lieutenants, Mike and Lawrence, had another packmate in their grip. She squinted to see who it was and nearly growled at what she saw. It was Sarah, a sweet, innocent woman barely out of girlhood. She was always practicing her acting skills, said she wanted to be a famous movie star one day.

Rage exploded inside her and she shouted before she thought twice about it. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Let her go!” She didn’t stand there to see them glance up at her. Instead, she raced down her apartment stairs and flew out the front door.

“What’s the meaning of this? Does Josiah know what’s going on here?”

Lawrence leveled her with a cold look. “Yeah, sweet cheeks, he knows. Who do you think sent us to fetch her?”

“Mind your own business, Alicia. This has nothing to do with you,” Mike said.

Alicia scanned the street to see several packmates coming outside at the commotion. Making sure she could be heard she raised her voice and said, “I think forcing Sarah to go with you when she’s clearly scared out of her mind is a cause for concern. Let her go.”

Mike’s jaw flexed. He had a big head with a long forehead and a nose that looked like it’s been crushed dozens of times. He looked exactly how a thug ought to look. “Why don’t you go back inside like a good girl and mind your damned business, tramp?”

Alicia grunted. “Taking her is all of our business.”

The rumble of tires came their way. “Great, Josiah’s here. You can handle this with him yourself,” Lawrence said.

Alpha Josiah’s dark green Jeep came to an abrupt stop with a squeal of bad brakes. He hopped out and instantly Alicia lowered her gaze to show her respect.

“Josiah, they’re trying to take Sarah and she obviously doesn’t want to go wherever they are taking her.”
A minute of silence filled the air.

Alicia chanced a glance at her alpha only to see him watching her carefully before his gaze slid to Sarah.
“Bring them both.”

She jerked. “What? Take me where?” Her sharp question whipped through the air.

Lawrence left Mike to hold Sarah as he came for her. She didn’t bother trying to outrun a lieutenant since it’d never work, though choosing to stay was hard enough when every instinct told her to flee. A tight fist gripped her arm, pinching.

“Alpha Josiah, what the hell is going on here?” she asked, panic beginning to creep into her voice.
Josiah shook his head as his shoulders pulled back in a commanding sign.

"There’s a new alpha in the Oregon pack named Gavin MacKellen. The old one, Joseph Harrington, died after some scrap with his mate, a Kategan.”

“And?” Alicia said, words spoken from between tight lips.

At the sound of her anger, Josiah’s eyes hardened. “Watch your tone with me, tramp. The new alpha’s looking for a mate.”

Shock and something that felt as though she’d eaten something bad filled her stomach with a lead weight.

“As a sign of our trust and happiness with the new leader, we’re sending some of our women.”

“Some of our…” she paused, then tried again. “So you’re, what, sending Sarah to be his whore?”

Josiah took hard steps toward her until he got in her face. Whimpering, Alicia looked as far down as she could, bowing her neck in the process. “I’m sorry, Alpha.” Her words, barely a whisper, sounded as loud as a gunshot in the tense atmosphere.

“Well, she’s not going alone now. You both are. After all, I gotta send the pretty ones. Wouldn’t want to pass up on the chance to send one of our finest would we, Alicia? Not to worry, he says he’ll send back any he doesn’t like. Maybe he won’t like all that beauty you keep wrapped around yourself. Besides, it’s not like you’d mind him, right, tramp?”

She sucked in a breath at his words. She tried to think of a way out of this but knew it was useless. Josiah nodded to Mike and he jerked back into the house where he ordered her to pack.

Only after they forced her to pack her belongings in a meager duffle bag, even after they drove her from Arizona up into Oregon with Sarah at her side, and after they were driven into MacKellen lands, blindfolded, and taken into a house, did her situation finally hit her. It hit her like a lead pipe to the head.
She was hungry, alone, on unfamiliar land with no friends, and blindfolded. She was completely at someone’s mercy.

Someone jerked the blindfold off her eyes and shoved her forward into a darkened room. The door slammed shut behind her. Alicia raced for it and twisted the handle. Locked. Making a fist, she banged and screamed. The door shook and someone had to have heard her cries but no one came. What was going on? Where did they take Sarah?

Her fist hit once more then stilled. Only her harsh, erratic breaths answered her in the quiet room. Turning, she faced her room and took note of it for the first time.

It wasn’t a big room but it was dark without windows or any light. She searched the walls for a light switch and only thanks to her heightened eyesight as a lykaen did she find it. With relief, she flipped it. Nothing happened. Cursing, she flipped back and forth again but no lights turned on.

A horrible thought came to her. Was this some sort of room where they stashed the women to be used in the dark?

Oh god, oh god.

She needed to find a weapon.

A deep mumbling sound came from the other side of the door, or maybe further away at the end of a hall. She couldn’t really tell. They’d kept her blindfolded so she wouldn’t know where they were taking her.
Using her hands to touch everything as she walked in baby-steps, she made her way through the room. She started to make out shapes: a big, upholstered chair in the corner by the door, a chaise sofa on the opposite corner with a rug in between and a few small tables with lamps that, when she turned the switch, refused to turn on. On another wall, she found a bookcase.

The male voices came closer, the words muffled. Her heartbeat kicked up into a fast tempo and she moved faster, fumbling to find a weapon. A book fell off, slamming into the floor like a small explosion and she jumped at the sound, letting out a little scream. Get a hold of yourself, Alicia! Finally, she felt a gap in the shelf where there were no books. Her hand closed around something. She squinted at it. It was some kind of little statue not even a foot tall but it felt solid and heavy in her hands. Maybe even a trophy.
She heard two voices as she raced to hide behind the door. The door handle jiggled and her breath caught. This was it. Someone was coming in here.

She raised the little statue above her head, making sure the door would hide her when it opened, and then she waited.

She did not have to wait long.

The door unlocked with a metal click and swung inward. No light entered which meant they were keeping her from seeing whoever came inside; no hallway light, nothing. A heavy footstep, another, and then the weight settled as someone stopped.

He must be wearing boots or be very fat because he sounded heavy.

A thick shadow stood in the door like a black mass. She couldn’t discern much in the few seconds she saw him but she catalogued what she did see: heavyset shoulders, broad, tall at over six feet, feet braced apart, flannel shirt, sleeves rolled up, hair thick but not long. She could almost make out a spattering of gray though her eyes could be playing tricks on her.

She struck. As hard as she could, she yanked her arms down letting her muscles burn and connected with his head.

Then the consequence of what she just did struck her because he did not topple to the ground as she’d seen people do in movies. Heck, he didn’t even make a sound, not so much as a peep or a grunt.
No, but he did turn around and not slowly, but fast as a fox grabbed the statue out of her hand and tossed it across the room. Before she could react, the big man grabbed her by the arms and pushed her away from the door.

“We’ll have to tie her up,” a new voice said.

Alicia stiffened for two different reasons. For one, another younger-sounding man came into the room, cursing as he bumped into something.

“Yeah,” the big one agreed.

And two, the big man who spoke his one-word reply had a unique voice unlike anything she had ever heard.

The younger man came at her, grabbed her by the arms. Alicia didn’t hesitate to shove him away. The man was young, maybe in his twenties. He had a skinny body and when she pushed he stumbled back a few steps.

The man turned to the bigger, scarier man still shadowing the door. “She won’t let me.”

The air froze at his words. Alicia’s eyes bugged at his ridiculous statement. “Of course I won’t let you, you idiot.”

The man, whose skinny body felt more like that of a boy’s, grabbed her again, this time getting behind her and wrapping her in an impenetrable bear hug.

“Try not to hurt her,” said the man with the voice. What had happened to him to get a voice that sounded like that—like he’d had his windpipes crushed before?

As she fought in his hold, her eyes squinted to find focus on the man in charge, but she could no longer make out his impression. He’d gone.

“You should be doing this,” the boy said, venom lacing his words. Was he mocking the big man?

“Please let me go.” She tried begging; it was worth a shot.

The one holding her didn’t say a word, but his grip did tighten around her with his answer—a resounding no.

Suddenly hard footsteps were coming straight for her as the big man came back into the room. She fought harder, pushing back and shoving her hips, anything, to find purchase.

“Hold her tight,” the man rasped.

“Don’t—” was all she got out before a screech and rip sound shut her up. Was that...? Cold, sticky tape was clamped over her mouth. Yes, yes it was. Duct tape.

Panic reared its ugly head; she bucked, putting her whole body into it and knocked the boy off her. Without hesitating, she ran for the door, but didn’t make it far as her shoe caught the edge of a table and sent it tumbling over with a crash. She lurched through the air arms flailing, feeling nothing but empty air for bottomless moments, then her fingers trailed over a hard, flat wall and she flung herself toward it.

A moment later, he caught her. The big man, the man in charge. He did not say a word as he jerked her arms behind her back and began tying them. The material was scratchy and firm and she closed her eyes with the realization that she was now bound by rope and gagged with tape. A hollow, cold sensation settled in her chest and spread out to encase her limbs in a heavy, drugging feeling.

With a jerk on the ropes, he walked her backward. Even close up she couldn’t make out his features. Just a tall, strong looking man. He pushed her back and she fumbled as her knees hit the sofa. She knew what he wanted and this time she gave in and sat.

He moved away from her. The room was so dark that even with her eyes as adjusted as they could be, she only knew he moved because the air around her became less stifling.

Her nostrils flared as she breathed in quick breaths through her nose.

The boy came back and she could no longer feel the bigger man’s presence. Had he left or was he lurking in the shadows? The boy fidgeted with the lamp on the table beside her. She heard a distinct metallic sound and glared at the boy in the darkness. It sounded very much like he was screwing in a light bulb. So that’s what they’d done, but why?

He turned the switch. At once, her eyes blinked fast to adjust to the new light. Then she took in everything about the boy and the room. He was about twenty-one, so younger than she was. He wore a pained grimace, had golden brown eyes, and shaggy blond hair.

“Mmmfff!” At her failed attempt to speak through the tape, he laughed at her.

“I’m Will in case you’re wondering. Don’t worry, he’ll be back soon. I was just supposed to put the bulb back in the socket to give you some light. It ain’t much but it’s better than nothin’.”

Her eyes flared. Why remove the bulbs? To scare her, Sarah, and others like them? What kind of freak was this alpha? Only a deranged, perverted creep would go to such lengths.

He looked back at the door. “Good, I hear him coming. Now, if I can give you some advice—” He looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to respond. When she could only glare, he continued. “He won’t hurt ya, and it wouldn’t hurt to beg to go home.”

She glared so hard she could feel her eyeballs squishing. What in the world?

Boot steps sounded. The light was so dim and the room so large that it barely reached the doorway leaving it mostly in shadows. She could just make out an outline outside the door of a hallway which looked like a house.

Will gave her a mock bow then headed to the door to meet the Strange Man.

“I’m goin’ out. If you need somethin’ talk to Jo or Hart.” This he said to the Strange Man who seemed to stand perfectly in the shadows so she couldn’t see his face.

However, she could see the flannel of his shirt more clearly—red, green, and brown lines and boxes. He also wore a pair of torn, worn looking blue jeans with boots caked in crusty mud.

He took a step into the room and closed the door behind him. Alicia fidgeted in her seat then scanned the room for any possible means of escape but saw none. No windows, only one door which he blocked. He walked toward her carrying something in his hands which rattled. Sucking in a sharp breath, she jerked backward nearly falling off the sofa as he approached.

Only, he never came close enough for her to make out anything about his face let alone close enough for him to touch her. From what she could see he had to be older than her, maybe late thirties or early forties with dark hair, but he moved out of the light so fast she couldn’t be sure whether it was long or short, black or brown.

He set a tray on the coffee table in front of her but stayed on the other side of it, away from her. She thanked god for the small miracle. Peering at what he brought, she frowned. The motion pinched the skin around her lips, pulling the tape tighter at what she saw. He’d brought her a glass of water, a cup of hot tea, and a sandwich.

Really?

She tried to meet the Strange Man’s eyes but failed to as he started moving around the coffee table toward her. At once her eyes darted for his face but he kept it averted, the light never quite catching it. He moved behind her chair and when she tried to turn to keep him in her sights, he touched her shoulder to keep her facing forward. With that one, firm touch she froze.

Warm fingers trailed across her cheek and her blood ran to ice. With a quick snap, he ripped the tape from her mouth.

“Ow!”

Relief at having the tape gone was met with a fiery burn around her mouth. She could feel a layer of skin go with the tape. Immediately, heat rose where the tape had been making her feel like she had a strange sunburn. She licked her dry lips, wetting them. He cut the ropes binding her wrists next and she hugged herself. He didn’t give her long to enjoy her newfound freedom before he tied her wrists in front of her.
“Eat.” One word and it made her stiffen. What was wrong with his voice? It was too scratchy, too deep.

“Who are you?”

He moved back to the door. In the light she confirmed he was tall, broad framed, and probably quite muscular. She had an eye for seeing such things since she made clothes. Proportions, dimensions, and sizes were how she saw clothes. With some fabric, a little thread, and needle, she could make him a better-fitted flannel. The one he wore was too long on him, dangling too far down his thighs, and the collar was too big around his neck as if it was meant for a bigger man.

“Just eat.”
She didn’t spare the food another glance. “No.”

When he turned around she wished he’d come close enough to show her his face. It was too disconcerting not being able to see the person she was talking to. Besides, what game was he playing at with all the theatrics?

“I want you to eat it.”

“Why, so you can drug me and make it easier on you to do your thing?”

Her breaths quickened. Oh god, how little control she had here. Face it, she told herself, you have none. He holds all the cards and right now he’s only showing you a few of them. She rolled her shoulders to try to ease the tension in them. Didn’t work.

A long, eerily quiet minute passed, followed by another before he deigned to speak.

“You think you’re here to get hurt?”

She could not keep her jaw from falling open. “Why else did my alpha tell me I’m so pretty and send me here to be the new alpha’s…his, your, whatever. Josiah didn’t offer me up to do the alpha’s dishes, you know. How do you think that sounds to me?” Anger made her words sharp like snap-fire gunshots.
He stayed silent as if contemplating her words—or how best to kill her and dispose of the body. Her family was dead and her alpha had given her up so she’d bet he could do it easily.

“No one here will hurt you. Now eat. It was a long trip and they said you wouldn’t eat.”

Seriously, that’s all he had to say? He took a seat in the chair behind the closed door. She sent him another of one of her glares. She was hungry, the food look downright delicious and smelled even better, but it was his food and damned if she’d eat it. Or maybe she could just have a nibble.

“You’re going to watch me eat?”

“Yes.”

She blinked. That voice…it was so unsettling but interesting at the same time. He had a voice that raised questions.

She sniffed the hot drink finding that it smelled like tea so she sipped it, found it slightly sweetened with sugar. She set it down then waited a few minutes to see if anything felt odd. She had no idea what she would or wouldn’t feel if she were drugged but this was her only option.

She repeated the process with glass of water and sandwich.

A rough sound, something like a grunt, filled the empty space after several minutes. “I told you it’s fine.”

“And I don’t trust you.”

Another pregnant pause. “I need to ask you some questions.”

He wanted to ask her questions. She chewed on a bite of the sandwich. This whole situation was getting more curious by the minute.

“Like what?”

“Do you have a mate?”

Her eyebrows shot up at that. “Excuse me?”

Something that sounded very much like a growl came from him. It was a deep, rattling noise from deep in his chest. The hair on her arms stood on end.

“Listen, I don’t much like the situation we’re in and I don’t like havin’ to ask a lot of questions. So why don’t you just answer my questions?”

Food forgotten, she could only stare at the shadow of the strange man. An even odder sensation came over her. With a start, she recognized the feeling—security. He’d just made her feel some measure of safety and he did it without offering any promises while she still had her wrists bound. She didn’t entirely understand it.

“Well?” Impatience laced his words.

She swallowed, wishing she had more time to analyze this. He was so strange.

“Tell me who you are first.” This could be a lieutenant, the alpha’s brother, or any number of people though she had a feeling she knew. Only certain men packed the kind of power an alpha did.

“Gavin MacKellen, alpha of the northwestern pack of lykaens. I hold allegiance to none but my people.”

“You’re a new alpha.”

Their lykaen species didn’t shapeshift as movies and books made them out to, but they did have some unique traits. They were strong, stronger than vampires, but not as fast. They outlived humans but could be killed any number of ways. In other words, they weren’t infallible.

They followed a hierarchy of strength just like pack animals. The connection between pack members was said to put human relationships to shame. Though, that also meant there was always one man that led them, protected them, and loved them. He was their alpha, a position obtained by battling the strongest men in the pack. Gavin had won that position.

Alicia’s pack was from Arizona, one of the southwest packs, but even she had heard about the goings on in the Oregon territories. The previous alpha, Joseph Harrington, was an older alpha that mated with a young woman who didn’t much care for him. She left him and fell in love with a vampire. The alpha went after her as most were obsessed with doing and he died by  gunshot leaving the northwester pack without an alpha. In stepped Gavin MacKellen.

“Yeah, I am. I answered your question, now answer mine. Are you mated?”

She answered honestly. “No.”

He sighed and she sensed relief in the sound. “Do you know why you’re here?”

Her back slammed ramrod straight. “You’re looking for a whore. I won’t be it.”

“You disrespect me to suggest I would.” He paused, clothes rustling as he moved. “I’m lookin’ to mate.”
A mate. Someone to share love and responsibilities with, to have children with. The mystery man wanted that. That seemed odd to her, though she didn’t know why.

“Why?” she asked.

“Are you asking me why I want a mate?”

She bit her lip. “Yeah, I guess I am.”

“Why does anyone want a mate? I want it for the same reasons as anyone.”

True. Then why did she bother to ask him in the first place? She had to stop and think about it. Maybe because so far with him he’d put tape over her mouth, tied her up, tossed her into a dark room and forced her to have this weird conversation with only the light from the dimmest lamp in the world.

“Why all the,” she waved to indicate the room, “theatrics then? Can’t you just seek out a mate like everyone else does? You know, by dating.”

She expected his answer so when it didn’t come she couldn’t help but frown and shift in her seat. This man was beyond ridiculous.

“When is the last time you were with a man?”

Her body jerked. “Excuse me?”

He sighed, the sound thick not with impatience. “I won’t repeat myself, Alicia Clarkson.”

She froze at the sound of her name even as a part of her understood that he had to know her name. The tone of his voice had changed though, the grating sound becoming a growl.

She answered as soon as she collected herself. “Seven months ago. No six. Yes, six months, I think.”
“Were you sleeping with him?”

She bit the inside of her cheek, jaw flaring as a blush covered her face. “I don’t see what that has to do with---”

“Just answer the question,” he said in that slow, measured voice. He sounded like someone who didn’t waste words but chose them with care.

“Yes.” Why that admission embarrassed her when she knew there was no shame in what she’d done annoyed her.

“You make clothes.”

She nodded since he already knew this.

“Do you sell them?”

Another nod.

“How?”

This was all too surreal. Now he wanted to know about her job? Losing patience, she snapped. “I sell lingerie online. I have my own little e-store. I don’t do as well as I’d like but I’m fine with where I’m at. I get by.”

He didn’t say anything for a while. Alicia fidgeted with the ropes by wriggling her wrists which seemed to make them itch more.

Then he spoke and every inch of her stiffened. Even her heart skipped a beat. “What do you look for…in a man?”

“What?” she asked, her voice as soft as a whisper. He sounded curious, maybe even a little embarrassed.

“Answer the question.”

She shook her head sending locks of hair snapping across her cheek. She came to a stand, teetered, then widened her stance to steady herself. “No, I’m done with this. I won’t play your little games anymore. You either explain what this is about or let me go. Actually let me go right now and show me the door. I’ve been ready to leave since I got here.”

He stood and she took an abrupt step back. Was it because she feared him? Damn right.
“Turn around.”

“Like hell.”

She could hear him sucking in a mighty breath, perhaps trying for patience, but she didn’t feel bad that he suffered. Not when she was the one tied up.

“Turn around so I can untie you.”

Biting her lip, she debated his words. He could by lying. “Promise that’s all you want?”
He grunted some sound of agreement.

She was loath to give him her back but she did, slowly. Better to show him her back than to keep the ropes on. He had to reach across her stomach to grab the rope binding her wrists and her heart jumped with fear. He could kill her; hurt her in so many ways.

“Stare straight ahead.”

Naturally, she tried to look over her shoulder but he grabbed the back of her head and turned it to face forward before she could catch a glimpse.

“Don’t.” A warning.

It became difficult to breathe. This close, she caught his scent. It was fresh, masculine and smelled of something rugged and outdoors. The lykaen in her rolled onto its back and stretched, content. Whoa. Reel it in, Alicia.

She jumped at the sound of his voice so close to her ear. “I’m searching for my mate, not lookin’ for no whore. I want you to stay here while we get to know each other. That means I’m goin’ to have some questions you’ll need to answer. You got that?” He had a gravelly, coarse voice, deep as a bass singers. He held the rope hostage as he spoke.

“Yeah,” she said instead, since she didn’t see any other options.

Another grunt of approval, then she heard the metal swish of a switchblade coming out. She wiggled, tugging to get her arms free as fear rode her.

“Please don’t hurt me.” She hung her head, arms trembling in his grasp.

“Stay still. I don’t wanna nick you.”

Like that her fear passed. The blade passed through the ropes with ease and her shoulders sagged with relief. The itchy rope fell away. She smiled at the tiny pleasure of being free.

“You’ll sleep down the hall. I’ll have someone show you the room.”

He touched her forearms, strong and direct. His fingers began rubbing in circles, dipping into her muscle to massage it. She had to bite her lip to stifle a moan. She hadn’t even realized how tight her muscles had become until he touched her. He worked her cramped muscles until they were loose and warm, then he did the same to her hands. His thumb dipped into her palm and rubbed in slow circles shooting pleasure through her nerves. She was biting her lip so hard she could feel it swelling. 

His touch vanished in an instant.

Rubbing her arms at the sudden chill, Alicia turned back only to find he’d retreated back to the shadows.
“I’ll send someone up.”

She didn’t mean to ask but the words flew from her lips. “Why won’t you let me see your face?”

He opened the door, stepping into the hallway. She was so certain he wouldn’t answer her that she fiddled with her reddened wrists to hide her eyes.

But then he did answer and his words couldn’t have shocked her more.

“I don’t want you to see my face ’cause I’m an ugly son of a bitch and you’re too pretty to be lookin’ at that.”

She gaped as he quietly shut the door behind him.

Coming June 14th!

**Read the first five chapters for free!**