Excerpt: Stubborn Mate

Chapter One

Emma tugged on her gloves, making sure not an inch of flesh was exposed. She turned around in front of the mirror, examining herself, checking to see that she was fully covered. She wore a burgundy blouse with long sleeves, a long black skirt and knee high boots. She donned a black hat with black mesh veil and arranged it so it covered her face. The thin veil obscured her face so that anyone who looked at her would easily mistake her for Ellen.

She took a deep breath, picked up her small purse and walked out of the room, down the massive stairs and out the front door. Baxter stood by the limousine and opened the door for her. She entered the limo and he followed, closing the door behind her. Georges, already in the front seat, started the car the moment the door closed. Georges and Baxter were identical twins. Both were six foot four, blond, muscular and well armed. Whenever Emma disguised herself as Ellie, they always escorted her, as they understood the agreement between Emma and Ellen.

They rode in silence, all the way to the airport, during the plane ride and in the subsequent car ride to the docks. Georges pulled the silver Bentley to a stop in front of the abandoned warehouse. He parked among a dozen other luxury vehicles. Both Georges and Baxter escorted her into the warehouse, walking on either side of her. Their presence helped keep anyone from getting too close to her, from discovering her true identity.

The warehouse smelled musty. They walked into the dimly lit warehouse and headed towards the middle, where others had gathered. Emma recognized three businessmen, a congressman and two senators. The rest were strangers. They gathered in a circle, listening intently to the man in the middle. The harsh fluorescent lights above the man flickered, yet he continued as if nothing was wrong.

He looks slimy, Emma thought as she shivered.

“I’m telling you, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Slimy promised the crowd.

“Yes, yes. The phone call that I received, that we all probably received, said so. This better not be some land sale scheme!” said one of the businessmen.

“I assure you, this will be worth every second of your time and every cent that you are willing to part with,” he assured them.

“BRING HIM IN!” Slimy shouted to someone to his left.

A door opened somewhere to the left and heavy footsteps headed their way. The crowd parted as a man was brought in, bound in handcuffs and shackles. His chest was bare, as was his feet. He had on a pair of ugly gray gym shorts. 

He stood six and a half feet tall, had wavy brown hair and dark brown eyes that were narrowed in hatred.

He was handsome in his own way, despite the numerous scars on his face, across his wide chest and down his mouthwatering six pack abs.

Did she say ‘mouthwatering’?

She meant muscular.

His jaw was clenched in anger. His whole body was tense.

“Kneel!” Slimy commanded. The bound man refused and Slimy pulled out a little remote and pressed a button. Immediately the man screamed in pain and fell to his knees. The crowd gasped in shock.

“Instant obedience. Isn’t it grand? We surgically implanted a device that causes pain when this button is depressed.” Slimy held up the remote for all to see.

“That’s not all, folks. He’s a… werewolf.” Everyone turned to look at Slimy.

“It’s true. He’s a werewolf. They do exist. I’ll prove it to you,” Slimy promised.

Slimy turned to the bound man and commanded him to shift. When nothing happened, he pressed the button, held it down for seconds, minutes until the bound man, screaming in pain, changed into a wolf! Emma couldn’t believe her eyes. This man was a werewolf! It couldn’t be a trick. He transformed right before her eyes. She heard the pop as his bones reconfigured, saw the way his skin bulged. Somehow his body shrunk as fur rapidly filled in, covering him everywhere in a thick fur.

A large gray and black wolf stood panting, its amber eyes glowing eerily. Its body tensed, its ears flattened against its head and he growled loudly in warning, saliva dripping from its sharp teeth.

Slimy demanded that he change back and pressed the button. The wolf howled in pain as its body contorted on the ground and changed back into the man. The man/wolf grimaced in pain. Naked, he knelt on the floor, bracing his hands to keep himself from falling down. Sweat covered his body, a thin sheen that glistened in the flickering fluorescent light.

“An obedient werewolf at your beck and call. Shall we open the bidding at fifty thousand?” Slimy asked.

Emma stared at the man/wolf, speechless. 

They were selling him?

Outraged, she bid on the man. She would buy his freedom, no matter what the cost.

Was he the only one they had? She wondered.

She would never know unless she had a chance to speak to him. The bidding slowly increased and Emma began to panic.

“One hundred thousand is my final offer,” Emma stated with conviction. It was every cent that she had.

“Going once. Going twice. Sold! Congratulations, Ms. Barrington. Once your payment clears, we will deliver your new pet to your mansion tomorrow evening.” Slimy looked at Baxter and Georges.

“I see that you prefer muscular blonds. It’s a shame this one isn’t blond, but you could always dye his hair.”

Slimy grinned at her and she bit her lip to keep from telling him off. She drew on every ounce of disdain she felt for Slimy and responded in a bored voice, “Why should I spend another dime on him?”

She nodded to Baxter and he made the payment with one of Ellie’s check. She would pay Ellie back next week when she returned from her trip. Afraid she would give herself away, she turned away without a backward glance at the man/wolf.

Georges drove them back to the airport and back home. They rode in silence as Emma contemplated the existence of werewolves and repercussions of their captivity. Her anger at the man’s mistreatment was palpable. She hoped that he was the only werewolf they had captured. She shuddered to think of what they would do to a captured female wolf. Emma would have to question him to find out everything he knew. Somehow, she and Ellie would put a stop to it.

Emma Tyler and Ellen Barrington had been friends ever since Ellen had run away when she was 8 years old. In a fit of temper, Ellen had run away from her mother in the mall and gotten lost. She sat crying, huddled in a corner until Emma, also 8, had walked up to Ellie and comforted her. Emma calmed her down and her parents took her to one of the cashiers, who promptly called security. A few minutes later, Ellen was reunited with her parents. As a reward, Mrs. Barrington had invited Emma over to their mansion for a visit. Though Ellen was rich and Emma was not, they found they had a lot in common. They became fast friends and were inseparable.

As they got older, strangers would sometimes mistake one for the other, and over time, they began to purposely deceive others. At first it was a game. Later, when her responsibilities became overwhelming for Ellen, she would beg Emma to take her place and she would go off on ‘holiday’ for a much needed respite.

When Ellen and Emma were away at college, the Barringtons died in a tragic plane crash. Their entire fortune and their company, Barrington Enterprises, a successful marketing firm, belonged to Ellen, their only child. With Emma’s financial expertise, Ellen’s business thrived. With Emma’s friendship, Ellie stayed sane.

They were of the same height and same build, however Ellie was slightly more voluptuous. With a padded bra and veiled hat, no one could really tell the difference. Emma, several shades darker than Ellie, thanks to her Indian heritage, could hide her skin with long sleeves, pants or long skirts. Emma’s face was a lighter color than the rest of her body, so a bit of makeup along with the hat completed her transformation into Ellie. Since Emma was a financial adviser, actually, Ellen’s personal financial adviser, she could take time off whenever Ellen needed.

Ellen had called her a few days ago, begging her to take her place, so she could have a few days reprieve before the next stockholder’s meeting. Emma had gladly decided to step in, enjoying her time at Ellen’s mansion. She spent most of her time in the massive library, had been sitting there when she received a mysterious call about a unique opportunity. Intrigued, she had decided to go to the warehouse.

Now Emma had spent all of her savings and was the proud new owner of a werewolf, one she would release as soon as she had the information she needed.

Georges pulled into the driveway and stopped in front of Barrington Estate. Baxter opened the door and disabled the alarms. They settled down and went to bed. She thought about all the questions she had for him, about werewolves and other beings. Early in the morning, she finally drifted off to sleep.