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Alyssa’s Wolves

By:Becca Jameson

I’m Reese, by the way.” He reached out a hand to shake hers. “And this is Charles.” He nodded in the direction of his friend. His hand still hovered across the table, but he withdrew it abruptly.

What’s the matter with you? She couldn’t even bring herself to withdraw her fist from her pocket to shake the man’s hand.

Charles cleared his throat, and Alyssa turned her attention back to him. “I can see you are definitely in a bind. Not sure I’m buying the whole story about the strangely abusive boyfriend, but obviously you need help. We’ll take you with us. Do you even care where we’re headed?”

Alyssa shook her head, relief allowing her to exhale long and hard. Had she been holding her breath?

Charles raised his eyebrows. “Worse than I thought.”

The waitress who’d given Alyssa a mug of coffee showed up, chomping on her gum and smiling broader than when she’d waited on Alyssa. “Hey, fellas. What can I get you?”

She cocked one hip to the side and propped her hand on it. The woman glanced at Alyssa for about half a second and then returned her gaze to the men, a sigh escaping her lips. Her blonde hair was done up high on her head and sprayed to the point of concrete. She was twice their age, at least, and yet she flirted relentlessly as though Alyssa were a mere bug she could stamp out while convincing these guys to pick her instead.

Reese shut his menu and looked up at the waitress. “I’m sorry, ma’am. Something’s come up. We’ll not be able to eat here after all. Please excuse us.” Reese stood.

Alyssa swallowed her tongue. Well, it felt like it. Were they going to leave her? Just walk out? The waitress paused in her chomping, her eyebrows raised in confusion. Finally, she huffed, turned, and walked away, mumbling incoherently.

Charles nudged Alyssa’s arm and nodded for her to stand. “Let’s go. I’m sure you’re starving, and we are too, but we’ll find something faster along the way. You don’t look like you want to hang out here chatting.”

Relief flooded Alyssa’s body. She let her shoulders drop several inches. They weren’t going to leave her. Thank God.

Without a word, she followed her saviors out of the diner and climbed into the back seat of their truck. She silently prayed to herself she hadn’t just jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

“Relax,” Charles stated as he started the engine. “No one’s going to make you do anything you don’t want to do.”

Relax? Was he kidding? She’d just climbed into the back of a truck with two men she knew nothing about. She was at the mercy of whatever they wanted to do with her. How was she supposed to relax?

Alyssa looked out the window as they pulled out of the lot. Whatever happened, it couldn’t be a worse fate than what had been in store for her yesterday. She slumped down into the seat, her eyes heavy. So tired. She clutched her bag with tight fingers as though her only worldly possessions might disappear with a poof if she let go.

“We’ll just drive for a while and then grab something to eat. Is that okay?” Reese angled his head over his shoulder to question her.

She nodded. “Thank you. I really appreciate your help.” At least she could be polite.

Reese smiled. “No problem. If I had a sister your age, I’d hope someone would help her out if she was ever in the bind you clearly appear to be in. Let’s get out of here. Get some distance behind us. If you need anything, yell. You look like you could use a nap. We’ll wake you when we stop.”

Exhausted beyond measure, Alyssa finally felt safe enough to let her guard down. She slumped against the door and closed her eyes. She had no idea if one of them would decide to claim her, but at least for the moment, it didn’t seem anyone was going to force anything.

Alyssa slept the entire day and most of the night, waking only occasionally to eat and use the restroom when they stopped for gas. She barely exchanged words with her rescuers. Every mile they put behind them put her more at ease.

When the sun rose again the next day, she sat up to look at her surroundings. “Where are we? I haven’t even asked where you’re going.”

Charles glanced at her in the rearview mirror and chuckled. “I noticed. That boyfriend of yours must have really frightened you.” He obviously didn’t buy her story but also didn’t pressure her for more details.

“Yeah…” she mumbled. “He did.”

“Well, we live on a farm outside Corvallis in Oregon. You’ll love it. My parents are the kindest people I’ve ever met. Don’t worry about a thing. You’ll be welcome there for as long as you need. We’ll be there in a few hours.”

“Do you mind, um … I mean…” She bit her lip before sitting up straighter and continuing. “Would it be too much to ask for you to pretend you’re like … with me?”

“Both of us?” Reese chuckled now. She was glad to know she was so amusing.

“No. Of course not.” She shivered. “I didn’t mean … I just…”

Charles reassured her. “Don’t worry. No problem. But, for the record, no one in our family would think it was strange for you to share us. It’s kind of the norm among my brothers.”

“You share? Women?” Alyssa cringed and scooted closer to the door. God. Maybe this had been a horrible mistake. She’d just gone from a pack that shared women to a pack that shared men? Greeatt.

“Don’t look so frightened. We aren’t going to rape you.” Reese turned all the way around in the front to look at her. “We just have a tendency to share is all. Charles and I haven’t really outed ourselves to the family just yet, but if you want us to pretend you belong to us, we can do that. I’m not sure I understand quite why, but we can play along.”

Okay. Deep breaths. They seemed harmless. If they intended to take advantage of her, wouldn’t they have done so already?

“This isn’t really necessary, you know. My family won’t care what your reasons are for fleeing, but if you need time to think about it, that’s okay with us. Take all the time you want. I’m sure once you get comfortable