Forty miles east of New Orleans, dog tired and out of money, nineteen year old Jax and his little brother are on the run. They stop for breakfast at a roadside café and have a run-in with the leader of a tough looking motorcycle gang. His name is Cade D’Allisande, an alpha wolf leading his pack to a new home in North Carolina, hoping to join the Dark Hollow Wolf Pack. Cade instantly recognizes his bloodlust mate, an intense and rare blood match that forms an alpha pair. The trouble is Cade isn’t ready for a mate. Unable to leave him behind, he convinces the young man to join their group and takes him with them on their journey to find a new home. But once there, an old enemy of the Pack threatens their happiness, and Jax, Nicky and Gabe must team up to save their mates.
The miserably cold drizzle had turned into a hard, steady rain, and the puddles in the parking lot were like an obstacle course they had to splash through to reach the relative safety of the road. The little pools of water sucked at Jax’s boots as he ran, clutching at him and trying to hold him back. Mason was keeping up, but barely, clinging tightly to Jax’s hand. Mason stumbled once and went to his knees, but Jax yanked him to his feet, and they kept running, out of the parking lot and onto the highway.
Stumbling alongside the roadside, Jax kept looking over his shoulder. He ran until his breath was coming in sharp gasps and his legs felt like rubber. He hadn’t eaten anything since the morning before, and it was making him a little weak. Mason was running a few steps ahead of him, and seemed not to be having quite as much trouble as Jax.
It took Jax another minute to realize the steady rumbling he heard behind him wasn’t coming only from the storm. The roar had started out like a distant thunder but was growing louder and louder. Casting a wild glance behind him, he saw at least four or five of the bikers coming after them, spread out in a V formation like a flock of predatory birds, and panic dropped over him like a smothering shroud. Yelling at Mason, he grabbed for his arm and turned off the road. They clawed their way into the underbrush, jumped over a drainage ditch and headed for the pine trees lining the road on either side. He could hear Mason gasping for breath beside him and knew he was terrified.
Jax heard the motorcycles stop on the road behind him, but kept running blindly ahead through the trees, pulling Mason with him. Crashing through the underbrush behind them, the bikers came after them and my God, how could they be so incredibly fast, so relentless? Small pine tree branches hit him in the face as Jax pushed through them, trying to shield Mason from the worst of it, stumbling on the soggy ground. A noise ahead of him made him freeze in place and peer wildly through the trees.
Somehow two of them had circled around in front of him and Mason. Quick, fierce, and muscular, the men didn’t try to catch them as they careened to a stop, just kept edging closer, their faces wary, as if he and Mason were wild animals they were trying not to panic. Clutching Mason to his chest, frantically panting for breath, Jax slowly backed away, his head pivoting in either direction, looking for a way out, but thick pines and cedars blocked the escape routes on each side of them, hemming them in. The big men in front of him advanced toward him steadily, their arms out to the sides, like they were herding them, and it was only when he backed into the big, solid body behind him that he realized why. Jax wasn’t able to stop the hoarse scream that tore from his throat as he flailed his arms and tried to fight like a wild thing, terrified and hopeless, knowing he didn’t have a chance against them all.
“Calm down, damn it, you’ll hurt yourself,” the deep voice said in his ear, as iron-like arms closed around his waist, but he didn’t, couldn’t listen. Pushing Mason to the side, he tried to fight the big biker, struggling in his arms, even trying to throw his slight body to the ground to escape. It was useless, of course, and the man picked him up bodily and held him against his chest, while he kicked out with his legs and slammed his forehead against a steely chest.
Worn out and hungry as he was, it didn’t take long to exhaust himself, and when he could no longer fight, he sagged hopelessly in the man’s arms. Lowering Jax to the ground, the big man loomed over him, still holding him with an unrelenting grip. Jax twisted his head away and screamed to Mason over and over to run, unable to hear whatever it was the biker kept repeating to him in a slow, steady voice.
Suddenly, the forest fell away and he was in his old room at home, hot breath at his mouth, a heavy body holding him down, crushing his chest and making it hard to breathe. “No, please, please, stop,” he murmured and a sob caught in his throat. Jax looked straight up into a pair of startled brown eyes and moaned. “Don’t do it again.”
Jax was breathing so hard and in such a panic that he began to hyperventilate and little sparkly stars started to flash on and off at the backs of his eyes. Jax crumpled with an odd, choked sound as he lost consciousness.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED