Read Chapter Two Of Alpha Submission Free
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Chapter Two: Coordinating
“Lucas. Lucas Odell.”
I swipe a towel over my face and then try to dry my soaked hair with it, giving Odell a side eye as I lean against the side of the pickup. Toilet water. I’d be lying if I said it was my favourite method of washing. My hair stinks like urine and wet dog. Not the best combination. But that’s the least of my problems right now.
He’s tall and athletic, not obviously muscled. Easy on the eye.
“Georgina,” I murmur, not sure how much I trust him, yet. His distinct scent clogs the hot air. I doubt he would have been able to toss the cowboy to the floor without a shot of supernatural strength, but I can’t pick up the vibes I expected. “You’re not a fan of Big Terrence?”
Odell lifts an eyebrow and squints back at the dodgy bar with me. The sun is beginning to set behind its crumbling façade, giving Odell’s cool, dark skin a deliciously gold sheen. “Not a fan of anybody much,” he answers, turning back to face me.
I nod. “What about Nathaniel?”
“Nath ain’t a bad guy.” Odell looks at me. “Stubborn to a fault, but not a bad guy.”
I open the passenger door of the pickup and check my ridiculous hair in the visor mirror, stuffing the towel in the footwell. Nathan thinks I’m stubborn. Headstrong is the word he used. And frustrating. I release a low, steadying breath in the direction of my reflection. Odell’s eyes flicker up to my face as I turn back to him.
“Nathan’s missing,” I continue, ignoring the fact that he’d been checking out my backside, “and the only clue I have is somebody with the initials AJD that wants a werewolf with a black pelt.” Odell’s eyebrow lifts again. “I don’t suppose you have anything to add to that?”
His shoulders shrug lightly. “Hattie told me he was looking for AJD when she first called, but I didn’t know it was serious enough for Nath to go off grid.”
Heat rises a little in my face. Hattie had arranged for Odell to meet me a little further up the road. She must have given him my phone’s GPS coordinates when I’d discretely called her. I was grateful for the rescue, but, conversely, I was getting kind of sick of feeling helpless so much of the time.
“He’s not ‘off grid’,” I say through clenched teeth. “Whoever this AJD is, they’ve taken him.”
Odell shakes his head. “Nath is a top alpha. No one could take him.”
“Well they did,” I snap, balling my fists by my side. “Why else would I have his goddamn car and be driving around this sodding dessert state?!”
He takes a step back. “I wasn’t saying you were lying. Just, Nath… I mean, he must have been distracted. He’s always really alert.”
I wet my lips, hesitating. My mind keeps running back over our last minutes together. We’d almost kissed and then my colleague had interrupted us with a call from my now ex-boyfriend. That look on Nathan’s face… I shouldn’t have answered the damn phone. I should have stayed outside with Nathan. How could I have been so stupid?
Two months without him. Two months trying to figure out where he’d been taken and who by. And who am I kidding? I have no experience in tracking anyone down. I don’t even really know how to be the werewolf I’ve become. All the knowledge I have is scraped together from fragments of conversations with Nathan and his handwritten journal. What was I doing out here trying to play the hero when half the time I couldn’t even look after myself?
“Look,” I say, clearing my throat anxiously, “Hattie said you might be able to help, but if you don’t want–”
“I ain’t said that,” Odell interrupts. His gaze is cool and direct. “If Nath is in trouble, I’ll help. How many of y’all are out looking for him?”
I hesitate. “Just me.”
Odell frowns. “What about Anna? Joey? The rest o’ the Washington pack?”
An icy trickle slides the length of my spine. “Anna?” I repeat, shocked. “Anna’s… dead. So are the rest of Nathan’s pack.”
Anna was Hattie’s sister and Nathan’s former lover. A woman I wasn’t sure he was over. He’d told me that another pack had murdered her, along with all of his packmates. They’d filmed her death. And then Nathan had killed them. Like it was just that simple. Like that was just what you did when someone murdered your mate.
Odell blinks at me.
I sit down, uneasily, on the edge of the passenger seat. He’s suddenly looking at me like a snake in the grass. “From what I gathered, they’ve been gone a while. Some rival pack took them out.”
How is it possible that Odell doesn’t already know this? Hattie had told me he was a friend of Nathan’s. And even those who weren’t Nathan’s friends knew that Anna, and his pack, were dead.
Caleb, an enemy we’d encountered, had made a point of mentioning it when he’d tried to abduct me, trying to get under Nathan’s skin.
“Aw hell no… So, you’re telling me Nath ain’t got nobody on his side but a little English nothing and a goddamn human?” He laughs humourlessly. “No offence, sweetheart, but this ain’t the level of shit show I was expecting.”
I grit my teeth. He has no idea. “I thought male werewolves kept tabs on female werewolves. Shouldn’t you have already known Anna was dead?”
“Look, I try to keep my head down–”
“Then why did Hattie send me to you?”
He blinks as I rage.
“Clearly, you’re going to be less than useful. You don’t know anything about your own kind, let alone hunters–”
Odell holds up a hand, his expression solemn. “Now hang on a second, sweetheart, you never mentioned hunters.”
“What the hell do you mean I never mentioned hunters?! What about AJD?!”
Why am I wasting my time with this arsehole? Nathaniel is out there somewhere at somebody’s mercy. I need to find him. Not play games.
Anger and pain cloud my vision with red hot tears. I turn my face away from Odell, jumping down from the passenger seat and slamming the pickup’s door. My quivering hand moves up to swipe away my liquid pain as I storm blindly around the front of the truck, heading for the driver’s door.
“Hey!” Odell shouts, catching my arm and spinning me to look at him. I want to smash his face in, claw his eyes out, do some kind of damage that will release the frustration and hurt that’s shattering me. His gaze flickers over me. His expression softens marginally, but that only makes it worse.
I don’t want him to know how cut up I am about Nathan. I don’t want anyone to know I’m looking for him because I’m fucking in love with him!
That last time we spoke, I didn’t explain that I didn’t love Carrick any more. I should have. I should have stopped Nathan from walking away, really found out where I stood. But Anna… He was still in love with Anna! He’d still been dialling her answer machine to hear her voice…
So why am I here? Why am I looking for him when he might not feel the same…?
“Hey…” The sun is creeping low behind Odell. “Look, Nath asked about AJD, but he didn’t say anything about hunters.” His hand drops from my arm, his quiet gaze assessing my dampened anger and pain. “He made out it was something personal and wouldn’t disclose much.”
My heart hurts. Typical of Nathan not to ask for help. He was an alpha and seemed to think that meant he should shoulder things without anyone else to help bear it.
The door to the bar shuts. Odell glances at the men exiting. They’re all eying us as if they want to start something.
“Look, sweetheart, I ain’t talking about this sort of stuff in a public forum.”
“Why should I trust you? If Nathan didn’t even give you the reason why–?”
“I don’t give two shits what you think of me,” Odell cuts, calmly, “standing here with your pissed on, new mutt smell, but I’m not about to have this discussion out here so all them rednecks in that bar come sniffin’ about. You want help? Then we’ll see whether I’m interested, but you’re getting in that shit heap Nath calls a car, first, and you’re following me to the diner in town.”
I hesitate. “The diner?”
“Yeah. We get our heads down, get some food, and you tell me the real deal. Then I’ll see whether I’m gonna help you.”
“Fine,” I growl.
I swing myself up into Nathan’s pickup. His scent is fading on the interior. I close the door and flash back to the first time I drove it. He was missing then, too, but I’d had the advantage of knowing who our enemy was and where I should be headed. I try not to glance at the passenger side as I buckle in, the ghost of him, injured and naked, lolling in the seat.
The township isn’t too far from the crappy bar. It’s grown dark by the time we get there, though. I pull one of Nathan’s shirts on over my crop top. Originally, I brought the selection of his clothes so that he’d have something clean when I found him, but after two months… I was beginning to lose faith in myself. And the lingering scent of him on the material was the only comfort I had left.
Odell orders a blue steak and a coke. I want to pass on food, my stomach is in knots, but my newly altered body has been making it more and more obvious that my previously small appetite was no longer going to cut its supernatural needs.
Fuck Caleb for biting me.
I order pie and tea – hot tea – hoping that this might be the first American place to bring me something that might pass for the taste of home I need.
Once the waitress disappears, Odell clears his throat and leans in. He drops his voice, but there’s barely anyone else in the place. “So, what is all this shit Nath is in. Start from the top.”
The top… The moment I woke up naked and bound in Nathan’s basement…
“So AJD ain’t a hunter?” Odell concludes half an hour later as I stuff a mouthful of pie into my face. I’ve given him the main story and nothing else. Odell doesn’t need to know how complicated things are between me and Nathan. He just needs to know that we have to find him. He frowns and mops up some of the blood from his steak with a soggy chip. “They just sent hunters after Nath and he killed all of them but one?”
“Yeah, they were after him for the colour of his fur, apparently, but the fact that there was only one left doesn’t mean only one took him,” I reply, reluctant to consider Nathan would be subdued by a single assailant.
I sip the tea the waitress has brought. It’s thick and horrible, but it’s better than nothing.
“However, my guess, by the way you found his car, is there was probably something else used to distract Nath. Maybe a sedative or a taser.”
“Would that really take down a… one of our kind?”
“Sure.” Odell pops a slice of dripping steak in his mouth. It’s the rarest slab of meat I’ve ever seen. I don’t know whether I’m impressed or disgusted. “You said there was blood, so I’m guessing maybe a baseball bat or something was their first try, but that ain’t going to take out Nath on its own, so they tased him or tranquilised him.” Odell glances at my expression. “He’ll be alright. Nath and I have been in some pretty tough scrapes.”
“Well, I’m new to all of this, so excuse me if I don’t share your confidence.”
“I tell you what. Stick in town tonight. I’ll get in touch with you tomorrow after I’ve done some digging. If this AJD is after Nath for his fur, then he might well be a collector.”
Odell leans carefully forward. “Y’know how some people get real into collecting comic books? Well, occasionally, humans that find out about us get real into collecting, too. If this AJD specifically wants a werewolf with black fur, I’m willing to bet that might be why.”
I slump back in the booth. “That’s a good point…” And a good reason to hope that Nathan is still alive.
If you haven’t preordered Alpha Submission, yet, then click here to find your favourite retailer and get your copy ready and reserved for the 30th June 2021! Or grab the first book in the series, Alpha Domination, to get you started.
Don’t forget to click back here for a third free chapter next Friday. And…
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