Read Chapter Three Of Alpha Submission Free
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Chapter Three: Roadhouse
ickup into the shadows and turn off the engine. I hold Nathan’s gun low in my lap. The thought of hunters fills me with fear. My gaze moves treacherously to the new driver’s side window.
My eyes squeeze tight shut on the memory of the glass shattering, the bullet skimming Nathan’s head just a little too close for comfort. Itching begins to build under my skin, anxiety trying to force through a change of form, but I take deep breaths and try to think of something else. Becoming a wolf here would be foolish.
“Ready to– Woah!”
The barrel of my gun is pointed through the driver’s glass at Odell’s face. He holds his hands aloft and retreats a step. I suck in a shaky breath, lowering the weapon.
“Didn’t mean to startle you.”
“You crept up on me in the dark,” I growl, pointedly, swinging the door wide and dropping down into the dirt. I slide the gun in the back of my jeans, flicking out the tail of my jacket to cover the handle. “How many women do you know that wouldn’t be startled by that kind of behaviour?”
“You any good with that?”
I shrug. I’ve killed two people, now, but both were in self-defence and at point blank range. “You’ll have to wait and see.”
“I’ll look forward to it,” Odell answers apprehensively. He gestures towards his car. “We go in mine.” I open my mouth to protest, but he cuts me off. “Nath’s car has been seen by the hunter AJD sent. If this guy is at the bar, as I hope, he ain’t gonna chit chat if he sees that heap of junk.”
I swallow and clench my jaw. It’s stupid but being parted from the pickup feels wrong. Like I’m getting even further away from Nathaniel. And I don’t like the idea of that one bit.
He watches as I reluctantly pocket the keys. Trepidation curls down my spine. Odell opens the passenger door to his car. I slide in, feeling awkwardly low down compared to the comfortable height of the pickup. Odell clambers in beside me, flicking the ignition and pulling away from our meeting spot.
I glance over at his long legs as he presses the pedals, looking for all the world like he is just the car’s internal muscles, flexing and snapping into shape. He drives like part of the machine, despite the black suit and shirt. It strikes me how different he is to Nathan. An ache unfolds in my chest.
“So how did you two meet?” I ask loftily, staring out of the passenger window.
Odell clears his throat. “’Member I said there are humans who collect our kind? Well… Nath and I were collected before we became what we are, back when we didn’t have much. Humans experimentin’ on humans.”
My gaze snaps to him. The whites of his eyes paint his irises as black as night. All I can see of him is smooth, dark shadows and chocolate sheens. His clothes cling to his lithe form, designed to make him as inconspicuous as possible. He wears a grimace to the night.
“You were experimented on?”
Odell grunts. “Partly government funded. Probably CIA. Anyhow, we were both kids, both desperate for cash, and neither of us had anyone to give a damn about us. So, at first, we’d agreed to take part. Only, it turned out Kuznetsov wasn’t experimenting with drugs. His team had got their hands on some supernaturals and were trying to make more.”
“The world is a shitty place, mutt. Best you get used to that.”
“Yeah, thanks,” I murmur.
The bar is a roadhouse. Cars are parked cavalier in the dark lot. The only light comes from the red curtained windows and a single floodlight above what I assume is the entrance. It looks like a shack, if I’m honest. Maybe that’s what hunters like.
“I assume you have a plan?” I ask, nervously, as Odell switches off the engine.
His pearly whites glint in the dark. “Always.”
I let Odell take the lead, following him across the dry, gravelly ground and past a couple of loitering patrons into the dark, dodgy shack. The interior is just as shabby as the exterior. Low hanging cigarette smoke helps to obscure the already dim lights. The columns holding up the close roof have frayed splinters on every corner. The tables and chairs are mismatched in height and style. The only bit really on one level is the bar where the guy polishing glasses with a dirty cloth raises an eyebrow at us.
He’s not the only one.
By the time we’ve reached the counter, we’ve caught the gaze of a number of other customers. Some send furtive glances. Others stare outright. I pretend not to notice that the guy standing beside Odell is looking across him and down the hint of cleavage at the vee of my top. My skin is crawling, but not just from the leers. There’s a distinct atmosphere that says we don’t fit. My pulse spikes. We’re in the lions’ den.
I shift from foot to foot as Odell orders drinks. Scents roll in and over my tongue. Perspiration, heat, and the yeasty musk of beer. Crowds and close rooms have a new way of making me feel claustrophobic. I breathe deep, sifting the scents. The hunter we want is here, but I can’t easily separate his stink from the cloying aromas of the bar.
Odell hands me a murky brown bottle and motions for us to head deeper into the shadows of the roadhouse. I follow him through the crowd, nudged and scuffed by the pressing in of bodies. I haven’t noticed another woman in the room, which doesn’t bode well with the patrons eyeballing.
My thoughts pitch back to the last time I was in a bar. Nathan had taken me to scope out a guy, then, too. His intentions had started out clear cut and gotten muddled somewhere around the moment he kissed me for the first time. And then the second…
After a disastrous escape attempt, he’d taken me angrily back to the cabin, both of us hopped up on adrenaline. And then…
I drag in a shallow breath, pulled from my thoughts by the scent of the hunter as we pass a tall table surrounded by men on stools. My gaze ticks over the biggest, muscles stretching the shoulders of his shirt. I hold my breath, trying to remain nonchalant as I draw my eyes away from him, still following Odell.
We take a pew in a nearby corner, close enough for me to wash my gaze casually over his face once more. Dark eyes, short hair, and a thick brown beard all shadowed by a huge cap. He laughs and takes a draught from his beer. My heart hammers. This is the bastard that took Nathan.
My lips purse around the glass bottle top, malt tainting my tongue. Am I trembling or is it just in my head? I take in a steadying breath, setting the bottle on our low table.
“So, do you like anyone in here, sweetheart?” Odell asks carefully. His eyes slide across to mine as he takes a swig of his own drink. He’s sat with his legs wide in that infuriating way all men seem to think speaks of their masculine dominance. All of them want to be top dog in their own way.
I push away brief thoughts of the alpha tormenting my heart. Being emotional isn’t going to help anyone right now.
My tongue runs over my lips. “Uh, yeah,” I mutter quietly, realising my companion is talking about the hunter. “The big guy in the trucker cap.”
Odell’s dark eyes sweep the room, skimming over the high table. He sips. “Doesn’t know how to shut up?”
I nod and lift my eyes. Trucker guy is watching me, now, and our gaze locks for a moment. My heart hammers in my chest, but my teeth grit.
“I think you made an impression,” Odell mutters. He leans over to me, our shoulders touching, and whispers that, when the big guy comes over, I should stay quiet. He says my accent is too obvious if the hunter knows anything about what happened in Washington before Nathan was grabbed. I give Odell a tight smile and nod that I understand, even if it pisses me off.
We sip our drinks silently. The beer dissolves unpleasantly. I only take small mouthfuls; I don’t want to look too out of place in this shithole. Trucker guy keeps a close eye on me. After twenty minutes, he mutters something inaudible to his cronies and they all pile over to our table, squatting on low pouffes and stools. The big guy sits himself next to me, but he talks to Odell.
“You’re not local.”
He looks like what might happen if a wrestler made a baby with a lumberjack. His scent rolls in around me and I can’t help but pare it with the tang of Nathan’s blood and the crisp intensity of fresh snow. My fingers clench around the edge of my seat. I take another sip of beer to keep my mouth under control.
My companion is cool in the face of this gruff beast. “Nope. But nor are you.”
The hunter’s eyes flicker over me, appraising me in a way that makes me want to bottle him. My knuckles whiten and I grit my teeth.
“You and the broad travelling through?”
“Sort of,” Odell admits with a glint in his eye. “On a trail.”
The hunter and his friends tense. “Local trail?”
Odell smiles. “Not sure. Just following up on a rumour. You heard of ‘AJD’?”
There’s some shifting of weight around the table, but the hunter in the trucker cap just takes a swig of his beer. “No,” he answers as solid as a stonewall. My anger clenches into a tight ball. His gaze slides over me, before returning to Odell. “Enlighten me.”
“My partner heard a rumour about fees for live… ‘specialities’.”
The thunder of my pulse moves up a gear. Nathan isn’t a commodity. He’s not an animal to be kept in a cage. My lips narrow as big ugly throws a dark look my way, his lips turned into a sneer.
“Your broad heard wrong.”
“I’m not his ‘broad’,” I snap, my temper spilling over. “And I know you had dealings with AJD.”
The trucker smirks, his gaze dropping down my body and then back up again. My face burns with heat. Odell shifts beside me, clearing his throat as if I need reminding of his previous warning. “That so, little lady? Far from home, ain’tcha?”
My lips thin to almost nothing. I glare back at him.
“Look,” Odell says coolly, trying to regain the trucker’s attention, “we just want to talk with AJD.”
“AJD don’t deal with strangers.” His gaze shifts back to me. “And I don’t deal with little girls.”
“Fine,” Odell answers, his cold voice slicing through the heat of my anger. I turn to look at him and find that he’s addressing me. “Meet me outside.”
Fury and indignation sear my bones. “Are you joking? I’m not–”
“Wait by the car,” he growls again.
The dicks around the table are grinning. Angry, I down the bottle of beer I didn’t want and slam it back down on the table top. “Fuck you both,” I hiss. And I storm outside where the air is cooler.
I smash my fist into the bonnet of Odell’s car. Fuck him for making me come in his crapmobile so I couldn’t drive off on my own. Thoughts of how I could have left him stranded keep me company as I wait.
Finally, he rocks up, keys in hand. His face looks strained, but I’m too pissed to give the expression much thought. He edges around me so my back is to the bar and his is to the car. “What the fuck was that?!” I snap, anger coursing through my blood.
“I’m sorry, Georgina.”
Ham hock hands grab me from behind, lifting me off the floor. I kick out and scream, but Odell doesn’t move an inch to help. His face remains impassive as the hunter comes to stand beside him, his cronies the ones holding me back.
“Georgina, hm? Pretty for a mutant.” I bare my teeth. I wish I could change forms and tear out his throat. Let him see how pretty I am then. “Your friend, here, sold you out. Ain’t that right, friend?”
Odell doesn’t even look guilty. Rat bastard.
“He’s a werewolf, too!” I snarl. “Why aren’t you taking him?!”
The hunter sighs and gives some kind of signal to his friends. Two grasp hold of Odell and a third slams what looks like a silver coin to his cheek. I raise an eyebrow when nothing happens. Then the guy with the coin turns on me. When he presses it to my cheek, my skin burns in anguish and I scream, tears prickling my eyes.
The guy pockets the coin and the two holding Odell release him. He straightens his shirt out before looking at me. “Never said I was one of your kind, sweetheart.”
Was that some kind of werewolf test? My cheek was still stinging. And how come Odell wasn’t a werewolf? He said he’d been in the same place as Nathan. That they’d been experimented on!
“So, 60/40?” Odell says to the big guy.
He laughs. “You still think this is a deal?” He shakes his head and smirks at Odell. “Load her up, boys. AJD will be happy to see her.”
Odell puts his hand on the hunter’s arm. “We had an agreement!”
A sneer crosses the huge bastard’s face and he slams his fist into Odell’s eye socket then winds him with a swift, hard elbow to the stomach. My former companion crumples to the floor as I’m hauled into the back of a truck.
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.
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