His hand reached for mine, interlocking as we kissed, first tenderly then passionately as he pulled my t-shirt over my head. It felt like sparks and static on my skin. I was cold and hot simultaneously. It was magical, and I shivered from the pleasure that leaned towards ecstasy as his lips pressed against mine.
Passion, affection, love — is this what it’s like to be with your true soulmate. It felt perfect as his hands make short work of my jeans. He stopped momentarily to admire my form and smiled at my lack of underwear.
“I wanted to surprise you,” I smiled, all of my insides tensing. Am I good enough? Will I measure up as an omega?
I think he sensed my insecurity, because he gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear, “It’s a beautiful surprise, thank you.”
I relaxed as his warm hands roam all over my now fully-naked body leaving more sparks and tingles in their wake.
“You are so beautiful,” he whispered in my ear, his warm breath making me wrinkle up my nose in reaction. “Where have you been all my life?”
“Shut up and kiss me,” I whispered, then licked his ear and blew into it which made him scrunch up. I giggled. Revenge is a dish that is best served cold. My tongue was warm; my breath cold.
His lips brushed mine with a minty fresh scent that makes me smile. There’s nothing worse than a lover with bad breath, soulmate or no. Our naked bodies pressed together, as he gently massaged my neck leaning in to smell my omega scent. I moaned softly as his hands continued to roam. His alpha scent is rising, and I can’t help but react. I moaned again into his mouth, as I gently ran my fingers through his beautiful, brown curls.
“I love you,” I whispered as our gazes locked on each other. “I will always love you.”
“I love you more, Landon.” The alpha picked me up off the floor easily carrying me to our bedroom. “Now and always.”
“Run!” A voice, my father’s voice, shouted.
The alpha vanished. Instead, it was my father. I was in his bedroom. Was I sleepwalking? It had been years since I’d done that. My mom lay on the bed, bloody and unmoving with her eyes wide open. A bullet had crushed her temple and blown out the side of her head. Acid rose to the back of my throat.
Wake up! I had to wake up.
But the smell of blood and urine and—
My mom had been shot in the head. She was dead.
“Mom,” I fell beside her, choking on a sob, but my father grabbed my hand. His hand was sticky. Blood leaked from the side of his mouth. Why was he bleeding?
“You’ve got to go now,” he whispered, his gaze desperate.
I had to be dreaming. This couldn’t be real. I pinched myself. It hurt, but not as much as what I was seeing.
“Dad? What’s wrong?”
“It’s too late for me; they shot me good.” he whispered, coughing up more blood. “If you don’t leave, they’ll take you and either kill you or do horrible things with you.”
“What are you talking about? Who?”
“The people who killed your mom and me.” My father was looking more pale with each passing moment. “Mind me, boy. Leave me. Go for yourself. Call the police on your cellphone as you run. It will slow them down.”
“I-I-I can’t leave you like this,” I wiped my eyes.
“I am already dead, son. You must run or you will be dead, too.”
I always did what my father said, but I didn’t want to leave him in this state. I never heard him sound so desperate, so scared. He knew something I didn’t, and that knowledge could be summed up in one word — Run! I took a step away from him, unsure.
“Go,” he whispered. “I love you, Landon, always will. Remember that. Now run.” He closed his eyes as if that last sentence took everything from him.
I blinked, and I was standing on the steps in my pajamas with my cellphone in my hand. The sleeve of my pajama shirt was sticky with blood.
As I ran down the stairs to the front door, I tapped my phone and said, “Siri, call 911.” Something moved in my peripheral vision, and I knew that had been more than a dream. The shapes were behind me, but I didn’t let it slow my escape.
The voice of a police dispatcher sounded through my phone. I hadn’t put it on speaker, and it was hard to hear her over the pounding in my ears. “Please—nature of—emergency?”
“They shot my dad.” I opened the front door and ran straight into a brick wall.
“Where are you?” the dispatcher yelled.
The brick wall shoved me back. My phone fell from my hand and clattered on the floor between us. He stomped down on it with his heavy boot, and the woman’s voice cut off mid-word.
“I’m sorry,” I said, backing away.
The brick wall closed the door behind him. Softly. My mouth was dry. He was a tall, extremely muscular man with dark, dead eyes and a leering grin. He wore a t-shirt, leather jacket, and black leather gloves. He was definitely an alpha, and his scent was overpowering. He smiled down at me. “My name is Hastings Smith. Who were you calling?”
“Are you a cop?” I asked.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” Mr. Smith said. Something in his expression turned my guts to ice. “Did you call the police?”
His right hand clenched. “Don’t lie to me.”
“It was my aunt. Aunt Mary. You can check the phone.” Mr. Hastings, or whoever he was, had crushed the phone, hopefully enough that he wouldn’t be able to look at the previous calls.
“Good boy,” Mr. Hastings said.
“Don’t worry about your parents.”
“My mom was shot.” My stomach roiled. “I think she’s dead.”
“You shouldn’t have seen that.” Mr. Hastings raised his hand to my hair. Fuck. I had to get away from this lunatic. My back was against the wall below the stairs. Was there something around I could throw? No, better to wait for the cops. They had to have my GPS even with the phone being crushed.
Mr. Hastings jacket shifted as he reached out and I saw the grip of a gun. I could grab for it. And what? Shoot him? I’d never held a gun let alone fired one. “What do you want?” I did my best to keep my voice level.
“I’d like you to be my guest at my villa for a few weeks. Landon.”
“How do you know my name?”
“Social media. It’s the future.”
I stared at him, my mind racing and my mouth stubbornly shut. Normally, I could come up with something witty, but now all the pithy remarks were gone. Wisecracks, shutdown.
“What do you think about a short visit to my villa?” Smith continued when he received no answer.
“No, thank you, sir,” I managed after a pause.
Laughter. “Perhaps, I phrased it incorrectly. You are coming with me. Do you understand now?”
“My parents wouldn’t like that. My dad especially. He doesn’t like me spending time with strange alphas” There, that was better. This guy was nuts. And maybe he hadn’t killed my parents. Maybe it was a dream. All I had to do was wait to wake up. Mom and Dad always handled these types of delicate negotiations. Even though I was eighteen, they still handled uncomfortable and unpleasant issues. This certainly qualified as unpleasant.
“I think both are beyond objecting now.” Mr. Hastings smiled, his teeth flashing.
They really were dead. Any hope of waking up was gone. I said, “It was you.”
“I killed your mother, too.” he replied. “I shot her in the head, and she dropped back into the bed without making a sound.”
I would probably die, but I was beyond caring. I launched myself at Hastings Smith, scrambling for the gun. For a shining second, I held it in my hand. My finger wrapped around the trigger as I tried to raise the muzzle. I pulled the trigger. Click.
“Help! I shouted, or tried to, because his beefy hand was around my throat and I couldn’t breathe. I struggled, but it was like fighting a slab of beef the size of a bison.
I was no match and he knew it.
“Quit it.” He shook me and my teeth snapped down against each other. I saw stars. I wanted to kill him, but I felt like a kitten fighting a tiger. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.
My vision grew black around the edges. If he kept choking me like this, I was going to pass out.
Use your brain, Landon. Outsmart him. That was my dad whispering from the grave. He had told me that when older alphas had bullied me in school. Now, the advice was back. If you want to survive, you will have to outthink this monster.
“Calm down, boy,” Smith said.
I forced myself to stop fighting. Where were the cops? Shouldn’t they have traced the call by now? Or maybe they couldn’t. Maybe the GPS had been crushed.
Finally, he loosened his grip. My throat burned. I swayed, gasping a painful breath.
You must be smart to get out of this. I had been accepted to Harvard and Yale, so there must be a few brain cells firing upstairs.
“Why?” I managed to choke out. Tears ran down my cheeks. My nose started running and I was shaking as held me by one hand. Use your brain; crying can be a weapon. It makes you look weak; it makes you look like you’ve given up.
“I needed to get you free and clear. This way, it will look like you killed them and run off.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond to his matter-of-fact recitation of his truth. “They’ll never believe that I shot my parents. I don’t even own a gun.”
Mr. Smith pulled the gun from my hand. “You pulled the trigger on this one. There will be no doubt in the cops’ minds that you shot your parents.”
I watched as he collected the pieces of my cellphone and put them into his pocket. In the distance, I heard sirens.
“We’d better get going,” he said, grabbing me by the arm. I didn’t resist. If I did oppose him, I would be dead like Mom and Dad. If the cops were coming, that meant they’d heard my 911 call. They’d know a third party was involved. And even if they didn’t, if they were hunting for me, they’d find Mr. Smith as well. All I had to do was wait for rescue to come, and I’d be saved.
At least, that’s what I told myself.
A dark hood that smelled of horses was thrown over my head. It was stifling, airless, suffocating in the few minutes it took from hauling me outside and away from safety. I wanted to rip it off, to gulp in some fresh air, but hands were also tied as were my feet. You only magically get away from this position on television, and I was nowhere near a film crew.
I was dumped in the back of a van, and away we went, leaving my old life behind where my parents were dead or near dead, and I was left with no explanation, except that I was now free and clear. All I left behind was a few glass shards from my cellphone, a gun with my fingerprints on it and a wonderful life destroyed by a lunatic.
With a little wrangling, I could breathe out of the bottom of the bag, and that was a relief of sorts. I bounced along in darkness. Where were they taking me; it seemed a long distance. For all I knew, they could be driving around in circles just to throw me off. Somehow, I knew that this was probably not the case. It felt like we were going straight, which meant there was distance being put between my home and this new place Hastings Smith called the villa. I had a feeling that villa was anything but palatial and luxurious.
The three men in the front of the van were silent, save an occasional traffic direction. The van never slowed down or sped up. I figured they didn’t want to attract attention; they would have to kill a cop, if he pulled them over. There was no need for that kind of stress, I surmised. So, we drove as any law abiding citizen. I thought about kicking the back door, of trying to sit up, but my father’s admonition stopped me. Outthink him. Instead, I would wait until we reached the villa. Maybe, escape was possible there, and if it wasn’t, I would wait some more. I hoped that I didn’t wait so long as to wind up dead, but that was a chance I was willing to take.
I estimated that we had driven at least an hour; the van slowed, turning onto a gravelly road if the sound I heard was correct. We drove a few hundred feet, not that I was a wizard on wheel rotation to length driven calculations. It was just a guess, and as we slowed to a stop, my fear returned 10-fold. As long as we were driving, we were headed to my doom. Now that we had stopped, my doom lay on the other side of the van’s doors.
Would they kill me now? My throat closed with dread. I could barely breathe, and everything inside me was tight, ready to fight, run or give up and accept my fate.
Hastings Smith could kill me with a single swipe, and I would be coughing up blood as my body shut down.
Why hadn’t I run faster like my dad had told me? No answer came, and in the vacuum it created, time slowed and terror settled in like an unwanted, crazy house guest. I was becoming sure that I was going to die when they opened the door; the terror of that possibility gave way to acceptance. Live or die was up to the people on the other side of the van doors. I would await my doom, and try to die with as much dignity as my Knight family honor could muster.