Read Matthew's Chance Online

Authors: Odessa Lynne

Tags: #Gay Romance Fiction

Matthew's Chance (5 page)

BOOK: Matthew's Chance
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He didn’t care.

He had faith in Ash’s ability to find him. He would just hole up somewhere until that happened.

The truck hit a rut in the road, and his wrist knocked against the bed of the truck. Matthew gasped and rolled over, holding his arm to his chest until he could breathe without wanting to scream.

He might feel better everywhere else, but his arm was going to give him trouble and the biotech wasn’t going to be enough to heal it without assistance. Gage had ground his boot into Matthew’s hand early on during the beating and he’d probably broken every bone in Matthew’s hand by the time he was done.

Matthew blew out his breath and sucked in another, and then he scrambled up over the side of the truck, glanced quickly at the dark window in the back of the truck’s cab and jumped.

He hit the ground hard. For a moment he couldn’t even breathe as he stared up at the night sky and the stars overhead. Then he groaned and rolled and stumbled to his feet just as he heard the scrunch and skid of tires in the thick bed of pine needles that covered the rough old road.

He grabbed his middle and started running.

A door slammed and Sal’s voice raised high, “Paul! Get the hell back here!”

Matthew didn’t hesitate to keep going. The clear sky and nearly full moon meant the forest wasn’t as dark as it could have been and he could see well enough not to run headlong into a tree. His feet weren’t so lucky, and he felt something jab into one of his socks hard enough to puncture his skin. Whatever it was—a sharp stick, the edge of a rock—just missed impaling his arch. He gasped and slowed down, hoping the thick branches of pine would hide his outline.

He reached a thick oak tree and slammed himself up against the rough bark and then around to the other side, and listened as best as he could over the rush of blood pounding through his body.

Someone thrashed through the trees behind him, and then—

A bloodcurdling roar, from the other direction. Matthew clenched his fists against the tree and sagged against the trunk, feeling every ounce of weakness that plagued him in that moment.

He hoped to God that was Ash.

But Sal hadn’t given up. “Paul, damn you! You’re going to get yourself killed!”

Matthew heard more thrashing through the woods, and he threw a quick look around the tree to see the outline of Sal’s body under the light of the moon and in the faint glow of headlights.

A flashlight bobbed behind him. Chen? El?

“Come on, Sal, we’ve got to go. Didn’t you hear that?”

Matthew saw the shadowy form of Chen grab at Sal’s shirt and watched Sal jerk free.

“I’m not leaving him here.”

“What the hell’s wrong with you, Sal. Can’t you tell he doesn’t want your help? Let’s go.” Chen sounded as if he meant to drag Sal out.

But then the trees shook and something rushed out of the darkness with a roar, and Matthew threw himself away from the tree and toward Sal and Chen.

He had no doubt in that moment that the wolf coming for them wasn’t Ash.

“Get down!” he screamed at Sal and Chen and then he spun and faced the glowing alien eyes of the wolf bearing down on them and screamed, “We submit! We submit!”

He dropped to the ground on his knees, gasping as the jolt of contact shuddered through him. He glanced over his shoulder to see that Sal stood frozen, and Chen made a jerky movement as if he wanted to run, as if he were just about to bolt.

Sal moved then, just as Matthew was about to give up on him, grabbing Chen and throwing him to the ground. He followed quickly, dropping to his knees.

Matthew turned back to face the wolf. “We submit,” he said again, slower, clearer. “We submit.”

The wolf had stopped running. His shadowy head tilted to the side and his teeth gleamed as he spoke. “Who do you belong to?”

Matthew had used the wolves’ learning technology many times over the last three years, practicing his understanding of the wolves’ language until he could understand better than most humans, with the exception of those humans who spent most of their time with the wolves. Even so, it took Matthew a moment to figure out what the wolf had asked in his thick accent.

“No one,” Matthew answered, heart thundering, sweat soaking his underarms and trailing down his spine.

“Fuck,” Sal said, so quietly Matthew almost didn’t hear it.

The wolf turned his head toward Sal. “Who do you belong to?”

“He doesn’t belong to anybody either,” Matthew said.

The wolf turned his attention back to Matthew and slowly started stalking closer. Matthew shut up.

“This isn’t right,” Chen said.

“Quiet,” Matthew ground out through his teeth.


“You should listen to your companion.” The wolf’s voice crawled down Matthew’s spine, deep and strong and terrifying. He had never been this close to a wolf during heat season and he was already sure he never wanted to experience this feeling of unsettled fear again.

“Something smells different about you,” the wolf said, Matthew squarely in his sights. He leaned down, and Matthew fought the urge to recoil, knowing if he did, the wolf could go from calm to crazed in an instant.

Human scent and heat season were a nasty combination. Wolves hadn’t yet found a way to control their reaction to the human scent trigger during their heat, except with the use of repression drugs that had unpredictable side-effects.

Because of Brendan, Matthew knew more about wolves than most humans. That didn’t mean he understood them any better. Especially not the way Brendan had started to understand them.


“No,” the wolf interrupted. “I want to smell you.” He stuck his nose against Matthew’s neck and sniffed, then dragged in a deep breath, skimming his face along the column of Matthew’s throat and forcing Matthew’s head back.

The wolf reared back and growled, “Who are you?”

Matthew threw a quick glance to his side, to see the shadow of Sal turned his way, watching him.

The wolf’s claw-tipped fingers took a firm hold of Matthew’s chin, turning his head. “Answer my questions.”

Matthew licked his dry lips and said, “Matthew. My name’s Matthew.”

“Your full name.”

“Bryant. Matthew Bryant.”

“Matthew Bryant, I can smell your injuries. I can also smell them healing.” He paused. “And I can smell why they’re healing. But your companions don’t share your secret.”

Matthew shifted on the damp ground, his knees digging into the earth. “No. Someone’s looking for me. One of your kind.”

“To mate?”

Matthew swallowed. “No. Not to mate.”

Sal made a choked sound. Matthew hoped Sal kept his mouth shut. Chen, too.

And God, he hoped this wolf wasn’t thinking about claiming him to mate through this heat season. Matthew had never fucked a wolf and he didn’t really want to start now with a wolf he didn’t even know, during heat season.

Wolves were unusually attractive, no doubt about that, but the only wolf he’d ever wanted to fuck was Ash.

The wolf straightened abruptly and turned his head.

A coyote howled in the distance.

When he turned back to Matthew, his eyes seemed to glow brighter than before and he growled low in the back of his throat. “We’re leaving. They’re not coming with us.”

Matthew threw Sal a startled look, just as the wolf yanked him upright by the fabric of his shirt.

Sal scrambled to his feet. “The hell you’re taking him!”

Without hesitation, the wolf turned on Sal and roared, “Submit!”

Sal jerked back, tripping over Chen. Before he could regain his feet, the wolf started hauling Matthew along beside him. Brush crackled underfoot and the wolf ripped a branch from a sapling as they passed. Matthew stumbled.

Sal yelled and rushed them.

The wolf swung around and knocked Sal to the ground, his reflexes so fast that Matthew didn’t have a chance to even try to stop him. The limber switch whistled through the air and caught Sal in the chest. “Don’t try to follow. If my heat comes on me while you’re near, we’ll mate. If you can’t submit…”

The wolf didn’t finish his sentence, just threw the switch to the ground in front of Sal and turned with Matthew, pulling him along.

Matthew tripped and the wolf’s hand twisted in Matthew’s shirt, hauling him upright again while the collar nearly choked Matthew. Matthew started coughing and he jerked at the fabric with his undamaged hand.

The wolf paused and adjusted his hold. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said. “Walk faster.”

“I’m trying,” Matthew gasped out. “I don’t have shoes.”

The shadow of the wolf’s head bowed as he looked down. “Why are you in a forest without shoes?”

“It’s—” Matthew had to catch his breath. “It’s complicated.”

The wolf had to know Matthew was struggling, but he didn’t slow his pace through the woods. “Will he follow?”

“Sal? I don’t know.”

“Humans have no sense of self-preservation.” The wolf made a strange sound and started stalking through the woods so fast Matthew had trouble staying on his feet. “I would prefer it if he did, although he might regret his actions when my heat cycle washes away the last of the repression drugs in my system.”

Matthew didn’t know what to say to that, but the relief he felt was a physical thing. Maybe this wolf wasn’t interested in him for mating.

But if the wolf didn’t want to mate, then why had he taken Matthew?

Matthew kept walking, all the while worried he wouldn’t like the answer when he found out.



Chapter 5

The trudge through the woods lasted so long that Matthew was almost ready to pass out from exhaustion when it ended at a cozy little cabin in the woods, something that had obviously been built before the wolves took possession of the protectorate.

The wolf took his time making a wide pass around the cabin, then moved in out of the shadows of the trees cautiously. He left Matthew sitting on the ground where Matthew gulped in oxygen and thought longingly of the last real meal he’d had.

The wolf came back for him a few minutes later, just when Matthew was about to let himself curl over on a prickly bed of leaves so he could doze off and wait. He’d been taught enough about the biotech inside him to know that when his energy reserves reached an end, the biotech could shut down temporarily. If the biotech shut down while his hand was still messed up, it would probably hurt like a son of a bitch and he really didn’t want that to happen.

Also, who knew what other injuries he had still to be healed?

So he had allowed himself to drift, conserving as much energy as possible while the wolf was gone, knowing that running would be about as stupid a thing as anyone could do with a wolf. Their sense of smell, their ability to see in the dark, and their remarkable stamina meant he would have no chance of escaping even though most wolves didn’t run any faster than a fast human. They didn’t have to, not when they could keep running for hours after a human dropped from exhaustion, and Matthew was already exhausted to his bones.

“We can rest here. The home is abandoned.” The wolf’s voice startled Matthew, leaving Matthew with a sudden spill of adrenaline in his blood, making him feel shaky as he started to push himself to his feet. The leaves slid out from under his socked foot, and he sat back down with a jolt.

The wolf offered Matthew his hand. “You need rest.”

“I don’t understand why you brought me with you,” Matthew said, clasping the wolf’s hand and letting the wolf pull him to his feet. “You should tell me your name—”

“Call me Watcher if you feel the need.” The curt answer brooked no further discussion.

Matthew let the subject drop.

Matthew almost felt drunk walking the last of the distance to the cabin. He could feel packed dirt beneath his feet and he was pretty sure they were walking along a road. He scrubbed at his face and eyes with his good hand as they went, trying to wake himself up.

Moonlight glinted off solar panels and the cabin’s door had a standard p-lock that would only release if someone traced the correct pattern onto the small panel above the knob.

The wolf ignored the door and went up to the window beside it and broke the glass with his fist. He started removing the biggest shards of glass from the window.

Matthew stood to the side quietly and let him work. Now that they’d reached a resting place, his concern for his well-being started to reassert itself. He knew nothing about the wolf beside him, and he was completely lost. He didn’t recognize the cabin and he had no way to know how far Sal had driven before he’d regained consciousness in the back of that truck.

“Who is the wolf you say is coming for you?”

Startled out of an unintentional near doze on his feet, Matthew cleared his throat. “I know him as Ash. He’s third beta to the Alpha I know as Craig. I can’t pronounce their proper names. I wish I could.”

The moonlight glimmered in the wolf’s eyes. “That’s not necessary. I know the Alpha you speak of.

“Good,” Matthew said, taking a deep breath, rubbing his face again and struggling hard to keep his eyes focused. “Good.”

He had never been so exhausted. He didn’t know what the biotech was doing to him, but he was about to lose the fight to stay awake, even standing on his feet.

“Yes, good,” the wolf said, eyeing Matthew in way that sent a shiver through him, along with enough adrenaline to help him shake off the urge to sleep at that moment. “I have unfinished business with Alpha
. I believe you might prove useful.”

Matthew took a step back on the porch. “What does that mean?”

The wolf reached out and snagged Matthew’s shirt, near the collar, and his partially extended claws poked right through the fabric. “It means I have a purpose for you and you’re the one who chose to submit, so I expect you not to do anything foolish. Heat season is on us.”

Matthew nodded shakily and tried to relax.

The wolf gave Matthew one last look and then climbed through the broken window.

Matthew waited a moment, hearing the sounds of the wolf walking inside the cabin. The front door opened.

“Watch out for the glass,” the wolf said, standing aside. “You’ll cut your feet.”

BOOK: Matthew's Chance
8.95Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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