Read Surviving the Pack Online
Authors: Shannon Duane
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Paranormal, #Romantic Comedy
Katarina wrote Dante a note explaining she needed to go back to the American Canyon pack, planning on leaving it on his dresser. Next thing she knew his bathroom door was flung open and he walked out in a low slung towel; water drops clinging to his hair, falling onto his wide strong shoulders and caressing his back as they slid down to touch the top of the fluffy towel. Her body’s automatic response was to release her woman’s dew and prepare for an intense round of sex. The gasp she let loose was to let him know she was there and prepare for escape.
Seconds later she was pinned to the ground, hands tightly pinned above her head and a wet male body plastered to her. “Dante, it’s me. Let me go.” She wiggled against him not knowing if she wanted to get free or get closer.
“Oh, I know who it is, honeybun. I don’t plan on letting you go any time soon and I know you probably wanna bolt after what happened tonight.”
Her body was preparing for him and before she could succumb she needed to explain she was leaving. She blurted, “Wait, I’m leaving.”
Ignoring her he continued, “You’re home now. I got something for you.” Releasing her arms he hopped up and went to his dresser drawer. Pulling out the still warm bread pudding cook made he placed it on the center of the bed. “I had this made for you, honeybun. Come share it with me.” He sat next to the tasty treat with his legs crossed and a twinkle in his eye.
Katarina saw him dip his finger in the bread and custard mix, scooping up a bite and bringing it to his mouth. The moan he released pulled at her loins as well as her salivary glands. “Dante, don’t do this.”
His eyes met hers and she read his desire clearly as well as his excitement. “Do what, honeybun?”
Katarina crumpled the note with shaky hands and threw it at him as she sprinted out of his room. It was a huge mistake trying to confront him; she should have left the note on his kitchen counter and dashed off into the night.
* * * *
Her car, a heap of junk, died on the edge of town and she was forced to walk. Sure, she could have called Bailey to pick her up but she didn’t want any connection with Dante and his pack. By now he’d realized she was telling the truth and she was gone, never to come back. What would he think? She forced her thoughts away from him and his evil pack. Why had they forced her to relive her parent’s deaths and her life’s upheaval?
Taking out her cell phone she realized she had no service so she continued walking towards town. Hearing voices she paused and tried to slow her breathing to remain unnoticed. Who would be out at one in the morning on a Monday? Taking her safety into consideration she crouched in the woods and listened.
We exposed her for who she really is. He’ll take a mate soon and cast her aside. No wolf in his right mind would mate a lazy bear. By tomorrow he will have a new potential mate; we must go prepare her for her mating. The old ways will soon be known as the new ways under Dante’s leadership.
Katarina wasn’t surprised. Dante’s pack seemed obsessed with forcing a mate on him even though he’d made it clear he was waiting for his fated. Taking a deep breath she blew it out slowly and realized this wasn’t her problem. She’d not been accepted into this pack and she needed to move on, fast. There was no way she could stay and watch Dante meet and mate his fated, it would crush her.
She walked along the edge of the woods, slipping her useless phone in her back pocket. Her plan was simple, walk to the edge of town, call alpha Jake and see if he could send someone to pick her up so she could move back to his pack until she found another. She could move to a nice little cabin in the woods somewhere; bears were loaners but after what happened to her parents she was hesitant to attempt living on her own.
A deep growl sounded behind her, she froze realizing too late that she should have been paying more attention, especially while she was out in the woods alone.
Bloody fucking hell.
She turned slowly and saw three wolves pawing the ground, snarling and drooling. “Uh, hello, just passing through. I’m on my way out of town now.” Slowly taking a step back she tried for humor, “Umm, peace.”
The wolves kept coming with teeth bared and spittle flying from their jowls.
“Okay, that’s enough. I’m leaving so you don’t have to be dramatic.” Katarina spun on her heels and began to run away.
They sped after her.
Fucking hell, I just triggered their instinct to chase.
She abruptly stopped and did a half shift letting them know she wasn’t going down easy. When the first wolf sprung at her she swung her claw tipped paw at him and connected with a satisfying crack. Not having time to recover she slapped the next wolf down but wasn’t fast enough to block the teeth that came at her left leg.
Screaming she stayed on her feet and threw her paw heavily into the wolfs head trying to detach it from her aching leg. Hearing a yip and feeling the pressure ease off her leg she shifted fully to her bear and lumbered towards the pack that was attacking. Her odds weren’t good but she’d be damned if she was beaten down by any more fucking wolves.
She let loose a growl and lumbered over to the wolf she’d struck first thinking he must be the leader. She climbed on top of him placing her front paws on his head knowing he was in pain from his head being smashed, trying to ignore the others biting her sides. Suddenly, a horn blared and bright lights blinded her. She remained in position on top of the wolf and heard his friends run away. He attempted to wiggle out from under her but she simply shifted her paws to put more pressure on his chest, crushing the lungs and making it difficult to breathe.
The truck stopped a few yards away from her and Bailey rushed to her side with her palms up in front of her in a placating gesture. “Calm down, Miss Fuzzykins. We’re here to help you but you need to get off Mr Simmons, okay?”
Katarina was done with this town and these people and her car and…everything. She looked down at Mr Simmons and sniffed his muzzle.
Not too bad, I’m sure I could take a bite without vomiting.
She open her bears mouth and set her teeth to the wolfs head applying a small amount of pressure when she heard another truck speeding towards them. She didn’t lift her head or move, she listened.
Dante slammed his door. “What the fuck is going on? Why do I smell blood?”
Bailey was nice enough to answer since Katarina’s mouth was full. “She was attacked by a couple of wolves. She appears to have caught good ol’ Mr. Simmons before the others got away. She was just about to bite his head off and I’m super glad I have a front row seat; I’ve always hated that bugger.”
Dante’s smooth rich voice floated in the air towards her and she could hear his footsteps coming closer. “Honeybun, you have to release Mr. Simmons. He is old and probably tastes like mothballs. You don’t want to get a tummy ache, do you?”
Katarina didn’t move.
Bailey laughed and Dante huffed out a, “you’re not helping,” before he came closer. “I’ll take care of him, you can trust me. Let’s go home and we’ll make some cookies. You like cookies, right?”
Katarina tightened her jaw a moment enjoying Mr. Simmons smell of fear and pain before she released him. She backed off, allowing him to take in deep breaths; she smiled at his whine of pain. She let her human side through and revelled in the change from bear to human; learning to allow the alpha to protect would take some time to get used to.
Dante let out a sigh as Katarina shifted but it quickly changed to a groan at seeing her naked form. He adjusted himself in his jeans and looked away from her nudity. Not before he got a good look at her tight firm breasts, shapely hips and long muscular bloody legs.
Oh God blood.
Dante rushed to her side and hated that she took several steps back in fear coming to rest against a hard body. Bailey growled their way and Paul, the hard body, steadied her and stepped away.
Katarina’s anger and confusion was getting worse. “Fucking wolves just keep popping up. Who else wants a bite?”
Paul crossed to Bailey and rubbed his head against her jaw, placing a tender kiss on her mouth. Bailey seemed to settle, ceasing her grumbling when Paul put his arms around her and pulled her close.
Katarina yearned for the type of connection they had, afraid it wasn’t meant to be. She backed away limping in an attempt to escape, she wasn’t feeling particularly safe. “I’m sorry for touching your mate, Bailey. I’ll be out of your hair in a moment if you’ll just…move along.”
No one moved so she continued, “Go on, shoo.”
Mr. Simmons chose that moment to shift back to human and protest. “No you don’t little lady. Alpha, she attacked me; you saw it with your own eyes. You can’t just let her get away. Seize her.”
Dante let loose with a guttural snarl and advanced on Mr. Simmons, keeping Katarina in his peripheral vision. “It’s sad that one of our elders would disregard my orders and attack a new member of this pack. You’ve broken the law and will face punishment, pack style. You’ve committed one of the most appalling crimes. Females are to be revered, they’re essential to the health and progress of our pack.”
Mr. Simmons spat in the ground at Dante’s feet, “You are incompetent. You believe females should be independent and have opinions when they should be submissive.”
Dante sent him a wicked smile. “You are outcast, no longer a member of this pack. You will roam alone for the rest of your days unless you find a pack who will take you in.” Dante leaned down over him, spit on his feet and whispered. “You are lucky I don’t let her rip your head off. It would have given me great pleasure. You have twenty four hours to clear out or I’ll kill you myself.”
Dante turned his back dismissing the old man who dared to attack sweet Katarina. He looked for her and saw that she hadn’t stuck around; he couldn’t blame her. Following her scent he found her sitting on a fallen log in the woods assessing her injured leg.
She didn’t even look up, “Go away. I’ve had enough of your hospitality and the graciousness of your pack. I want to leave.”
“You’re not a prisoner, Katarina. I told you that my pack is broken and you took the risk in coming here. I’m glad you did because you’re a strong woman and I want the females in my pack to develop even a third of your strength. I like having you here.”
“I can’t stay where I’m being physically abused. Do you even realize what it was like being attacked by wolves…again? I never wanted to be in that situation.”
Dante was trying to ignore the fact that she was naked; one of the most beautiful, ladylike and gentle females he’d ever met. He knew from past experience that she was soft and delicate but had a core of steel. “Bailey and Paul were impressed. You held your own against three wolves on the hunt.” Dante reached out and touched the smooth contour of her cheekbone. “I’m so sorry this happened to you. Let me take you home and tend your wounds. If you want to leave tomorrow I’ll do my best to help you go.”
Nodding her head she began to rise and stumbled. Dante caught her under her arm and felt her shiver against him. The sky was just beginning to darken and the temperature had dropped about ten degrees. Dante made sure she was steady before he removed his shirt and placed it gingerly over her head.
Reaching her hands up and into the sleeves of Dante’s shirt she couldn’t help the wince as her muscles protested. The fight had been hard on her; the adrenaline had worn off causing various muscle aches and definite pain in her leg. She set off toward where she’d left her car limping and was surprised when she was lifted off her feet and into strong arms. “Put me down.”
His chuckle was short lived as she brought her claws out placing them at his neck. “I am not a docile little lamb who will be ignored. I can walk on my own and if I feel the need to be carried I will make it known.”
“As you wish.”
That he didn’t look horrified at her behavior was shocking. “I need the respect of your pack. I cannot appear weak, especially now. I hope you can understand.”
“Of course I understand. I also feel the same. It is my job to protect the pack but it’s so backwards I don’t know if I’m coming or going. Eventually I’ll have cut away the dead wood but I have to do it one person at a time and it’s exhausting.”
Having no words of encouragement she began walking again, maybe more like limping, wanting so badly to allow Dante to hold her in his arms once again but if anyone had lingered she needed to appear strong. She was panting by the time she made it to Dante’s truck and he had to lift her into the passenger seat. She noted he lingered when buckling her seatbelt and his forearm definitely skimmed her breast, changing his scent to a heady horny male once again.
“I can’t believe you.”
Dante’s eyes changed to the yellow that belonged to his wolf. His expression promised erotic pleasantries in the near future and she felt her scent rise to match his.
“I can’t help it when I’m around you, please forgive me. You smell amazing; knowing that you bested three wolves tonight makes my beast recognize your strength, which is alluring; similar to your bun madness.”
“I doubt that very much. I had my leg used as a chew toy by an eighty year old arthritic wolf and his geriatric pals, not very appealing.” She couldn’t prevent the electricity that sparked between them but she could ignore it and hope it went away.