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Alyssa’s Wolves

By:Becca Jameson

for a watch, her parents had gotten her wherever she needed to go all her life.

She’d been rather old when she’d first begun to question her strange life in her mind. Twelve. And then, only because her father had taken her to Oklahoma City one Saturday for supplies. That trip had changed her life. Without it, she’d never have witnessed the outside world so thoroughly, seen how others lived, watched children her age laughing and playing in their yards. Girls and boys of all ages filled the aisles of the stores she went in with her father. Their cheerfulness had been infectious. She’d known then and there she wanted that for herself. Freedom.

Now that freedom was right in front of her in the form of flashy, blinking lights of every color. Alyssa hastened her pace once again and crossed the parking lot she came to with her head held high. Hopefully no one would notice her emerging from—nowhere.

She didn’t have much money, but she needed to go inside the truck stop and order something, anything, to occupy her while she scoped out the patrons and selected someone to aid her escape.

Timidly, Alyssa entered the diner and took a seat at the counter.

A waitress leaned over the counter from the other side and said, “Coffee?” Alyssa’s worries about ordering vanished. She’d never even tasted the stuff before, but she didn’t care. It would be hot, and it would give her the freedom to sit on the bar stool. And wait.

Within fifteen minutes of her arrival, she spotted them. Perfect. Two good-looking, hunky men came in and took a seat not far from her perch at the counter. They glanced her way and nodded. A shiver shook her at their intent stares. Hot liquid sloshed over the sides of the untouched mug of coffee, warming her hands when she jiggled.

It unnerved her that the newcomers stared at her, but not for the reason most young girls would be nervous. Nope. These men were lupine. She knew that about them, and more importantly, they knew the same about her. All three of them had an above-average sense of smell. It was thick in the air. And no one else in the diner was a shifter.

Alyssa smiled. Get brave, girl. This is your best option.

Trembling enough to make walking difficult, Alyssa jumped down from the barstool, grabbed her pack, and headed to the booth the two wolves had occupied. She didn’t even bother to bring the coffee with her. As it was, her hands stung from the splash of liquid that had landed on her fingers moments ago.

She paid no attention to the sting. In fact, she stuck her hands in her coat pockets to occupy them while she swallowed hard and opened her mouth. No task in her entire life had been as important as this one. She squeezed her hands into fists around her gloves in her pockets, the strain taking the edge off her predicament.

“Hey,” she uttered. She tipped her head to one side and smiled again, hoping she was enticing. She glanced from one man to the other. Both were tanned from hard work outside, but the similarities stopped there. One had brown eyes and dark hair, thick waves that landed over his forehead in need of a cut. The other had deep blue eyes and blond hair that gave him a slightly less rugged appearance. Both were probably what most women would consider sexy. She could do much worse than to align herself with them.

At least they weren’t past retirement age and slobby fat. She swallowed around the lump enlarging in her throat.

The blond man glanced behind her and then around the diner. “Are you alone?”

“Yes,” she mumbled. Fear climbed her spine. They were attractive enough, and she knew deep down she’d do anything if they’d just take her with them wherever they were going. She only hoped they wouldn’t take advantage and push her to have sex with them before she could even wrap her mind around the idea.

She knew about sex, but only because she was inquisitive. Not because anyone had told her much about it. She could read. There was a library in her town, a human library, and she’d read nearly everything in it over the years, even though most of the books never got checked out or came home with her to her parents’ house.

“Why?” The dark-haired man scooted over and motioned for her to take a seat on the bench with him. “You look exhausted. Like you ran all night.”

Alyssa hesitated and then sat. At least her legs would stop wobbling. Between her fear and her exhaustion, she was sure to collapse soon.

“I did.” She decided to be slightly forthcoming. Flat-out lying wouldn’t get her anywhere. They didn’t need to know the entire truth, just enough to be willing to aid her escape.

She kicked herself for not thinking this through ahead of time, but she’d never envisioned making her escape with shifters. This changed things. An idea formed in her head. “My boyfriend … he uh … hit me. I … uh … ran to get away. Would you be willing to take me with you? You are passing through, right?” God, don’t tell me they live near here and just happen to dine at a truck stop before sunrise.

“We are.” Tall-and-dark narrowed his gaze at her. “You’re on the run from a boyfriend? Where’s your family?”

Alyssa swallowed, a new habit. Probably her my-life-is-a-mess-and-I’m-scared-out-of-my-mind habit. Could she trust these guys? Or would they turn on her and take her back to her family?

She couldn’t risk it. She had to lie harder. “I’m not from around here. We … my boyfriend and I … were driving through this area when he became abusive. Drunk. He was drunk. And he slapped me. He, um, threatened to strangle me. So, I, um, ran. I’m sure he’s passed out in his truck somewhere. If you could just take me with you before he wakes up and looks for me I’d…” You’d what, smarty pants? “I’d do anything. Do either of you have mates?”

The blond gasped, and she whipped her head from the darker guy to the blue-eyed man across the table. “Anything? You must really be in a pickle.” His eyes narrowed, but he chuckled. Was that a good sign or bad? “