A long list of curse words and crude adjectives ran through Izzy’s head as she was roughly extracted from the trunk of a car and dragged through the woods. On each side of her, a Clodpoll Wolf Soldier grasped her arm tightly as they pulled her toward their town.
Her hands were bound behind her back and the thick rope bit into her wrists. They were raw and bleeding from her previous attempts to free herself. Earlier in the day, her captors had blindfolded Izzy, so she would begin to panic with a fear of the unknown.
Izzy wasn’t stupid. She refused to let them scent her fear, knowing that the faintest whiff of fear would incite the angry wolves and they would rip her apart in a mindless frenzy. Her only chance of survival lay in keeping them off guard. She allowed her anger to surface, thought of the victims she had sworn to protect, and her anger grew. The unique stinky sweet blend of her anger wafted around her and her escorts growled in response to the scent.
“Stupid Bitch doesn’t even have the common sense to be afraid,” one Soldier said to the other.
“Afraid of a pussy like you?” Izzy countered.
The insulted Soldier squeezed her arm, bruising it further as he pulled her to a stop. He punched her in the stomach and she doubled over, gasping for air. The pain in her stomach radiated outward and she focused her mind. She ignored the pain as she concentrated on her goal. She thought about the satisfaction she would get when this mission was complete.
“I kind of like her in that position, D,” the other Soldier confided.
“Yeah, I’d love to fuck this bitch, but we don’t have time. Damian is waiting for us. So is Jackson. That fucking bastard will rip her apart before we get a chance to fuck her. Damn shame to waste a pussy.”
Their laughter was obnoxious and Izzy swallowed the bile rising to the back of her throat. D pulled her arm and she straightened. They forced her forward, to the center of their town. A few minutes later, they squeezed her arm, yanking her backward and she stopped walking.
Blindfolded, she could sense the group of people standing around her. She felt the heat from the bonfire and could scent at least twenty wolves gathered around the fire.
“Is this the woman who murdered Thor?” Damian, the Alpha of the Clodpoll pack asked.
“Yes, Sir. Our informant says her alpha boasted about her role in his death.”
“Who is the alpha?” he demanded angrily.
“Aleksandr of the Hoyden Wolf Pack,” one of the wolves replied.
The wolves began to chatter among themselves. Aleksandr Hoyden was a powerful Alpha, feared and revered by most wolves for his aggressiveness. While some Alphas were more diplomatic, seeking peaceful resolutions, Aleksandr usually solved his problems with actions, not words.
“Female, did you kill Thor?” the disembodied voice asked. Blindfolded, she turned her head slightly toward the angry voice.
“Thor went rogue. He endangered our kind and his death was ordered. I’ve done nothing wrong. Ask my Alpha.”
In a situation like this, it was protocol for any Alpha to verify the truth with Izzy’s Alpha before sentencing her to death. Would he? Or would his desire for revenge cloud his judgment? If he killed her without verifying the facts with Aleksandr, he risked a pack war. Izzy was sure Aleksandr would avenge her death and fervently hoped it wouldn’t come to that.
Damian frowned as he thought about his next course of action.
Aleksandr is no fool. He wouldn’t order the death of a wolf unless he had just cause. But to send a female to do so? His forehead wrinkled in contemplation. What reason would he have to send a female—. His thoughts were interrupted as Jackson came barging through the crowd.
“Where is the cowardly lowlife that murdered my brother? Where is that fucking bastard? I will tear his limbs off, one by one. WHERE IS HE?” he shouted.
Enraged, Jackson glanced around and his eyes settled on the figure standing between two Soldiers. He stared at the bound figure, momentarily confused.
It’s a female. Who is she, why is she here and more importantly, where the fuck is Thor’s killer?
Earlier that evening, Jackson was told that his brother’s killer had been caught and would be brought to his pack. He glanced around, looking for the male that murdered his older brother, eager to take his revenge.
After learning of his brother’s murder six weeks ago, Jackson had been full of anger. His older brother, his mentor, had been brutally murdered by another wolf. Thor’s body had been thoroughly descented before Damian’s wolves had been notified of its location. After burying Thor, Jackson had vowed to avenge his brother’s death and searched for his killer. He had visited the spot in the park where Thor died, had shifted into wolf form and sniffed the entire area. Unfortunately, someone had sprayed the entire area with raccoon urine and he couldn’t pick out the scent of the wolves responsible for Thor’s death.
Frustrated at his inability to find his brother’s killer, Jackson had become surly, picking fights daily to relieve his aggression. Damian, tired of complaints about Jackson’s behavior, had ordered his Soldiers to be more aggressive in finding Thor’s killer. Three weeks ago, they began hearing rumors about Thor’s killer and devised a plan to abduct the Soldier responsible. After following her for nearly two weeks, D and Marcus finally had a chance to abduct her and bring her back to their pack to dispense Pack justice.
D grinned and took the opportunity to kick the back of Izzy’s knee. With a grunt, “Oof!” she fell to her knees on the ground.
The other Soldier removed her blindfold and announced, “This is the bitch that killed your brother. She just admitted it to Damian.”
Jackson snarled and looked at her face. It seemed as though his heart stopped beating for a full minute and the air left his lungs. His legs propelled him forward and he found himself standing in front of her. He raised his head to the sky, taking a deep breath before howling in pain and frustration.
Izzy blinked a few times after her blindfold was removed, trying to regain her sight. She saw a figure moving closer and assumed it was Thor’s brother. He stopped directly in front of her and howled. She glanced up at him, puzzled by his actions. He looked down at her and her eyes widened in shock.
Before she could say anything, D suggested, “Don’t kill her outright, Jackson. Let us have a little fun with her first.”
D sneered, reaching for his belt as Marcus, the other Soldier chimed in, “Yeah, Jackson. We can have a real good time with this bitch.”
Jackson’s head snapped up and he punched D in the face, knocking him off his feet. He quickly turned to Marcus, snarling before punching him in the face as well.
“Anyone who touches my mate will die slowly and painfully,” Jackson announced.
While his Pack mates stared at him in shocked silence, he turned to Izzy, held her arms and gently tugged her up. He hoisted her over his shoulder and marched back to his cabin.
Jackson swore under his breath all the way to his cabin. He opened the door and after they entered, slammed it shut. He walked farther into the cabin and set down his mate in his living room.
Izzy stood in front of his couch, watching him as he paced back and forth in front of the small fireplace, growling and swearing. The man wanted to strangle her while the wolf fought for his right to fuck her. At war with himself, he continued pacing. Occasionally he would stop and glare at her before swearing and resuming his pacing.
Izzy took the time to study her…mate, shaking her head in disbelief.
Fate is so cruel. This is an impossible situation. We might be mates, but he hates me, and I have no love for his late brother or his pack. I wonder whether he’s like Thor. Is he an arrogant, selfish brute as well?
Izzy decided she didn’t want to find out. There had to be a way out of this predicament and she was determined to find it. She focused on Jackson, still pacing in front of her.
Jackson was a typical Soldier. He was tall and muscular. He had short, wavy black hair and golden wolf eyes that glowed in anger. His nose was slightly crooked, evidence it had been broken a few times. He wasn’t as handsome as some males she had known, but he was attractive in his own way. He paced like a caged wolf and she had to admit, she enjoyed watching his muscles bulge and flex each time he passed her.
What if…what if he were the rapist? Surely fate wouldn’t be so cruel as to make my mate a rapist? Izzy bit her lip, frowning at her thoughts. If he were the rapist, wouldn’t he have raped me already? Or perhaps I’m not his type? Maybe he is incapable of raping me because I’m his mate? Maybe he needed Thor to pick out the woman? After all, since Thor’s death, no one had been attacked. How the fuck am I going to figure this one out? Think, Izzy, THINK.
Because wolves could not harm their mates, she decided that she could push her boundaries. She had to finish her task and go home, without Jackson. So long as she didn’t have sex with him, he might allow her to leave. If an emotional or physical bond was formed, like most mated males, he would refuse to let her go. Given that he wanted to avenge his brother’s death, she was sure sex wouldn’t be a concern.
Izzy’s arms ached and her wrists burned.
“Are you planning on killing me this century?” she asked sarcastically.
He paused mid stride and turned to face her. He was formidable and most wolves would tremble if they were on the receiving end of that glare, but Izzy wasn’t like most wolves. She was a Hoyden Soldier and didn’t scare easily. She returned his glare, flashing her large wolf canines.
“I haven’t yet decided what to do with you, mate.”