I awoke to fingertips brushing up and down my arm. The chill in the air made me inhale deeply as cingles spread up my arm where his fingertips caressed. I pretended to remain asleep when the vibration of a phone ringing beside my head buzzed and vibrated against the wooden cupboard it was sitting on.
My mate growls, and where I have been laid dips so I know I was on a bed. The jostling and movement as he climbed off made that evident. My eyes Mutter open, and I squint, remembering to remain calm and keep my heart rate down as I try to take in my surroundings.
Brown wall paneling covered the walls and was the first thing I noticed in the dimly lit room. The old-fashioned lamp with a floral shade made little light in the room, and the smell of burning wood reached my nose. It smelled a little damp making the scent a little too strong. It reminded me of pine needles, the crackling sound coming to my ears at the same time his voice did.
“What is it, father?” Carter asks. At least I knew who he was on the phone to, “Not my problem. I did my part. I am done now. Find your own way into the city to enact your revenge. I want no part of it anymore,” he growls into the phone, “I have better things to entertain myself with, but I left half the money in the mining tunnels for you. It should tide you over for a while.” Momentary silence has me lifting my head, which was a mistake on my behalf.
In my drowsy state, he sounded further away. Turns out he was only a couple of meters away, and as I turned, I caught his eye. Carter smirks at me, turning away, and I glance around to find I am in some small cabin.
“Contact Clark. He may help you,” Carter tells his father before I hear yelling, and my eyes flick to Carter to see him pull the phone from his ear and glare at it before he lets out a growl.
“Well, I told you he was a moron. If he has got himself locked up, what do you expect me to do about it? Figure it out. This is no longer my problem,” he snaps back before hanging up.
I swallow when I watch him set his phone down and quickly wiggle up on the bed to find I am only dressed in my bra and panties. I tug the itchy brown blanket higher, and Carter purrs before stepping closer and crawling onto the bed.
I watched him. He was a predator, and I refused to be his prey. Bond or not, he was not my Alpha, and I would never be his Luna.
“Did you rest well, Love?” he asks, and I nod, watching him as he moves closer before I turn my head, looking out the window. The place, I could tell, was somewhere deep in the woods. I could hear the owls and night creatures outside, and I was totally dimmed by my face reflecting back at me in the window.
“Where are we?” I ask, turning to look at Carter.
“In the woods,” he purrs, and I lift my knees, drawing the blanket closer. “Yes, but where?” I ask him.
“My mother’s place. She built it with the forsaken,” he says. “She built this place?”
Flyes, they aren’t all crazed. Some held some sense still. Though she was too far gone by the time I found her,” Carter tells me.
“The rest of the forsaken?” I ask.
“Dead, I killed them, and those that I didn’t kill, your rogues did in the attack. It is perfectly safe out here,” he tells me, and I oversee him, not liking the sparkle of excitement in his eyes.
“Safe enough to bring ‘Taylor here when I go back for her,”
“I know it isn’t what you expected, but it is only temporary until the heat dies down, and then we will flee the country,” he tells me, gripping the blanket and tugging it down.
“I need to use the bathroom?” I tell him abruptly
“There is an outhouse,” he says, and I quickly get out of bed. The floorboards creak under my feet, and he watches me.
I try to take in my surroundings, yet when I move off the bed, the clang of chains makes me realize the attachment to my ankle.
“Just precautionary, my love. I wasn’t sure how you would wake,” he tells me as I stare at the chain attached to the bed.
He climbs off the bed before pulling a key from his pocket. He bent down, undoing the chain attached to the foot of the bed. How did I not notice that before? Seeing it, the weight of it was all I could feel.
Carter grips the chain before pointing at the door. I look at it when he steps behind me.
“I’ll take you,” he whispers.
“That is unnecessary,” I tell him.
“The feeling through the bond tells me it is,” he whispers before giving me a nudge, and I clench my teeth but move toward the door.
“It is an adjustment, one you will get used to. One thing about rogues is we adapt,” he says as I grip the door. Ain’t that the truth, but I won’t be getting accustomed to this place. Stepping outside, I am smashed by the harsh coldness of the wind; I rub my arms before spotting the small outhouse; I didn’t really need to use the bathroom or whatever the heck that ice age contraption was but the moment the wind touched me I suddenly needed to pee.
The steps creaked as I stepped off the tiny porch, and I could see nothing but darkness and trees showing how utterly alone I truly was. The grass was wet from dew, and I wondered what time it was. Kalen would come for me. I know he won’t abandon me out here, or he will alert Everly and Valen. They would be wondering where I am by now. They had to be.
“Ava?” I ask
“I left her at the train station. I haven’t heard any reports on what happened to her. My plans didn’t go as planned in the city, and my men were arrested,” Carter tells me with a growl as I
make my way to the outhouse.
The door creaks as I open it, and I frown. I would rather piss in the woods or ruin my panties. It seemed more hygienic than this shit box; it was quite literally a box or trough to shit in
“Door stays open,” Carter says, gripping the swinging door before it could shut.
“Where exactly do you expect me to go when holding the chain you shackled me with? “I ask, trying to keep the anger from my tone. He huffs and clicks his tongue. “Good point,” he says, letting the door swing closed. I am plunged into darkness and roll my eyes before letting out a breath and pushing the door open. I sure as shit didn’t want to fall into the damn thing, and there was no light.
Carter gives me a crooked smile. “There is no light,” I tell him, and he holds the door open.
“Yeah, I never rigged the solar panels on that thing. I hardly stayed out here long enough to warrant using in,” he tells me when I notice the solar panels on the cabin. We appeared to be on some big mountain, yet I could see nothing in the darkness, and the wind up here whistled and howled between the trees.
“Don’t fall in. The only bath you’ll find here is the stream,” he laughs, and I look down at the makeshift toilet. “Can you at least turn away?” I ask him, and he does, keeping one hand on the door, the chain held in the other.
I squat over the damn thing and quickly pee, not wanting to touch it if my ass developed tinea or gave me tetanus.
“Are you done?” he asks when I pull my panties up. “Or do you want to suss out the woods a little so you know you can’t escape?”
“I’ll take your word for it,” I tell him as I step out, letting the door swing shut. I followed him back to the cabin, wondering how far out of the city we were because I could see no lights, and I briefly wondered if Kalen and John’s tracker 1 swallowed had a maximum distance.
Thanks to the fireplace, the air was a little warmer inside the cabin. Carter moved toward the bed and locked the chain around the foot of the bed. I sit on the edge watching as he undresses, removing his shirt and moving toward the small kitchenette in only his jeans.
“Are you hungry?” he asked, and I nodded, watching him and looking around the small space. A round table sat off the side; some stumps were for chairs.
A bearskin rug sat on the floor beside the fireplace, and above it was a set of huge antlers. It reminded me of a hunter’s cabin. There were even a few taxidermy pieces. One was an owl.
“You hunt?” I ask him, wondering if there were any guns kept here. He shrugs, not bothering to answer as he grabbed a steel camping kettle and filled it with bottled water from a box on the floor. He sets it on a hook inside the fireplace.
“How did we get here? I didn’t see your car or the road.” I asked him.
“I carried you. I had this place set up already. I was never staying in the city,” he tells me.
“So you didn’t want to take over the city?” I ask him.
“No, that was my father’s plan. I have no future there, and he won’t forgive me for killing my
sister. We tolerate each other nothing more and nothing less.” he states.
“You killed her?” I asked, a little shocked.
“I put her out of her misery. That is no life for anyone. Lying in a bed covered in bedsores, being pumped full of drugs, and a tube breathing for you is cruelty, not a life. My father would have let her rot like that, so yes, I killed her,” he says while stoking the fire. “I have packet noodles, not much fresh stuff, mostly canned food. It isn’t much, but I will get more supplies tomorrow, or I can go hunt something if you like?” he says. I shake my head,
“No, noodles are fine,” I tell him when he hands me the water bottle, and I gulp the liquid down rather thirsty. Craning my neck back, 1 hiss and choke a little at the stinging sensation in my neck from his mark
My hand went to it when he was suddenly in front of me. I flinched at his fast movement, not expecting in, and his hand was sweeping mine away as he gripped my chin, turning my head to examine it.
“It’s just my venom. It will probably be a little tender,” he says, dipping his head before I feel his breath sweep over my skin, making it tingle before he runs his tongue over it, making my entire body shudder as the bond flared to life.
He chuckles, pulling back. “I was afraid the bond wouldn’t have the same effects, but I am glad it does.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. My neck was now burning fiercely, developing its own pulsing throb.
“You didn’t hear the rumors?” he asks, moving back to the fire; he grabs a tea towel and pulls the camping kettle from the fire.
“I was bitten years ago by my mother and attacked by the other forsaken, nearly killing me. My father spent years getting me treatment to lessen the effects. It prevented me from becoming crazed like the others, but I developed the venom glands still. I wasn’t sure if marking would kill you, though I am glad to see the marking gives you some form of immunity,” Carter tells me.
Yet what does that mean when we kill him? Assuming Kalen and John can actually find me out here.
“How far are we from the city?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Four hours, roughly,” Carter tells me, pouring the hot water into a saucepan and dropping the dried noodles. I try not to let that bother me. Information is vital, and right now, I need to bide my time. I just hoped that tracker would lead them to me.