3 years ago, I faked a pregnancy to steal half a million dollars from my mate. I felt as if I didn’t have any other choice as I had to pay my brother’s ransom or let him die. Now, I would rather die than spend another day being treated with icy, bitter resentment. My name is Rachel Flores and I rejected my alpha mate because I’m ready to live, not just survive! *** "Who are you?" I came awake with a jerk, disoriented and aching all over. A heavy male body lay beside me---we were both naked except for the sheet covering our bodies. I searched my memories of the night before, trying to figure out how I had gotten here while attempting to wrap the sheet around my body. I stopped when I realized I'd leave my bed partner totally nude. I remembered myself saying over and over, "I'm your mate!" I eased myself off the bed to look for clothes. I tried to be as quiet as I could so I didn't wake up the stranger. His scent was all over me, all over everything really. Rich and masculine...
"Get away from me!"
I kick at the three men trying to hold me down and flail my arms as hard as I can. My fingertips have become claws as I try to reach for my inner wolf to shift in self-defense. I only just had my eighteenth birthday a week before; I haven't gotten good at shifting on my own yet and it is nowhere close to night much less a full moon so instinct alone won't let me shift.
I try to get my wolf to wake up in my mind.
'Rayne? Wake up!' I try again to call her.
One of the men has my arms stretched over my head while the other two have got my legs. I struggle against them, but it's useless without my wolf coming to my aid. I'm too small to cause much damage. They have me beaten with numbers as well as size.
A fourth man steps into my view with a clear glass in his hand. It's full of some kind of dark-colored liquid -Wine? Surely not blood!- and I can smell it from across the room. Its bitter odor stings my nose. I feel tears welling up in my eyes and I hate myself for them.
What good is crying going to do me?
"You do have spirit! I like that in a girl. Now drink this. Trust me: you'll like me better after some of our magic potion."
I don't know what he means. I do know I don't want whatever he has in the glass.
All my intentions to keep my mouth shut, to spit it out, to refuse to swallow, go away as he cruelly pinches my nose shut, cutting off my air.
I hold out as long as I can until my head aches and lights are flashing in my eyes from lack of oxygen.
The moment I open my mouth to take in a breath he is pouring the liquid between my lips, flooding my mouth, filling my throat, choking me. I gag and gasp and grunt to try to get air while getting rid of the rusty-tasting concoction.
"That's a good girl! Give it a few minutes. Everything will seem so much better."
I try to free myself from the hold of the men. It's still useless. I'm getting so hot. Why is it getting so hot?
I remember I was on my way home from school. I was grabbed off the sidewalk and thrown into the back of a white van.
"Your daddy wasn't lying when he said you had a lot of fight in you. He owes me a considerable amount. Depending on how tonight goes? I just might even let him have credit left over to hit the tables again. It isn't as if he'll pose much of a threat to the house. I doubt he could win if we rigged every game in his favor."
I want to scream when his hands move up my legs to raise my uniform skirt. I try to shout for help, but my tongue is thick and useless in my mouth. I can barely move my limbs as heat seems to be racing through my body spreading out from my stomach making me pant.
"That's a good girl," he mutters as his hands grasp my panties, dragging them down my thighs while I scream at the nothingness in my mind where my wolf usually waits, "You just lie there. I'll take care of you. I'll give you what you need."
Sweat has beaded on my brow. I know I've been drugged. What was in the cup? What did I drink?
A thick finger forces its way inside me and I struggle anew at the invasion.
I keep trying to say 'no' even though I'm pretty sure it's useless. No one in this room is interested in what I have to say.
"Un-fucking-believable. She's pure."
I have no idea what he means. I've only dated one boy before and all we'd done was kiss even though we were in love. I am saving myself for my mate.
His face fills my vision as he looms over me. His skin is reddened with broken blood vessels over his wide, bulbous nose. His cheeks are more like jowls which wobble as he breathes in and out of his mouth; his hot breath stinks of liquor and cigarettes.
Pinching my chin between his thumb and forefinger, he leans down to kiss me. His lips are thick and wet as they move against mine.
I am going to vomit. He takes his finger out and traces my sex with it as if he has every right to touch me as intimately as he wants.
I am saving myself for my mate!
"I never would have believed you were pure with Pat Fl
ores as your old man. I owe him big for you. I can't remember the last time I had a virgin."
I can feel his paunchy belly pressing against me as he moves between my legs; I know I have to fight harder or it wouldn't matter what I wanted for my first time because it was going to be taken from me.
His words rattle around in my head until I finally find myself furious at the realization all this is happening to me because my father can't stay away from the gaming tables.
He was supposed to be my father! He'd sold me to this man!
Rayne stirs in my mind as fury burned hotter through my veins than whatever evil drug they'd forced on me. She's a strong wolf with an indomitable will. I feel her strength flood my body as my anger combines with her power to shift me into my wolf form, ruining my school uniform and making me impossible to hold down.
'Kill him!' Rayne growls in my mind, 'He wants to take what belongs to our mate! He wants to grind us down beneath him like an unmated bitch in heat.'
Rayne wants me to go for his throat, but I only manage to get a mouthful of his shoulder as I surge up. I bite hard enough to taste blood and release him from my fangs quickly before the bloodlust can overtake my mind. I am a medium sized female with long limbs and the coloring of a timber wolf; I have been told I will grow larger as I get older. I only hope I get the chance to reach full maturity.
I have no idea what the consequences will be if I manage to kill him. I do know I don't want to be a murderer if I have the chance to simply get away. My long limbs give me speed over strength. I am fast. I am very fast.
With my wolf senses, I can now tell the three men who have been holding me were only humans. The yelling beast who has assaulted me is a wolf though I can't tell anything about his power. He could be weak or my senses could be too dulled by his drugs or a combination of both.
I run for the door to the room.
Luckily the handle is easy to press down and the door swings open to let me sprint out into the hallway. My paws skid on the slick floor, sliding me into the opposite wall where my head strikes another door hard enough to make me dizzy.
I can hear the men in the room scrambling to come after me. They might catch me if I don't keep running. I can barely hold onto my connection with Rayne as my blood boils in my veins; I can tell my wolf wants nothing more than to bite, claw, tear the men chasing us.
I push my body to race down the hallway. I stretch myself out with every leap to cover as much ground as possible. I have never run so fast before.
A maid comes out of a room with her arms full of linens. She walks to her cart and I can see the door to the room she's left out of is still cracked open.
I don't think about the consequences or what could be waiting on the other side of the door. I just push my body through the crack and kick with my back legs to close it behind me.
The poison in my system cut my connection to Rayne, forcing me to release control of my wolf form and shifting me back into my human body as I lay panting on the floor of this strange room.
"I agreed to maid service. I'm not sure what service you're supposed to offer, but I know I didn't ask for it."
I look around the room until I see a man standing in a hallway in nothing more than a low-slung towel about his middle. He is tall, even by werewolf standards, and broad in the shoulders. His dark hair curls around his forehead, his ears, down his neck; he looks as if he hasn't been to a barber in far too long. His blue eyes meet mine and I lose all concept of time or place.
"Who are you?"
I heard him ask the question even as the men chasing me began to bang on his door, demanding to be let in to retrieve me.
I'm tired. I'm confused. I'm burning from the inside out from their drugs and I'm naked on a stranger's floor because my own father sold me to pay his debts to his bookie.
Feeling hot tears leaking down my face, I manage to rasp out, "Please. Help me?"