from him.

The online Alpha was my only hope, unless I planned on showing throat to Roscoe.

And I’d fucking die before I did that.

Chapter Three

Time to call that alpha again. Swallowing my pride and my disgust, I ran back up the stairs and grabbed my phone. I glanced at the screen – two calls from out of the area numbers.

Hmm. That didn’t sound like Roscoe, or anyone in my pack. Who could it be? Another one of Cash’s bill collectors? I hit call-back, curious.

A man answered, his voice smooth as buttermilk. “Who’s this?”

Well, that was abrupt. I frowned, my fingers tensing on the phone. “You called me.”

“You called me first,” he said in that same lazy, unhurried fashion that just went all over me.

When had I called this stranger? A tiny, foggy thought slipped through my distracted mind – I’d called a number and hung up before leaving a message.

The man from the dating agency.

The snarl emerging in my throat died a second later. “Oh. Is this…” I struggled to remember the name on the alpha’s profile. A city. Something about a city… “Jackson?”

“You got me.” Another bland statement. Unruffled, almost bored. Kind of an odd stance for an alpha to take, now that I had thought about it. I felt a tiny bit of my hopes die – I needed an alpha, not another pretender.

That moved me past irritation and straight into rage. “Your dating profile. You put an ‘A’ in your status. Is that bullshit? You might as well tell me.” I put force into my tone. No one in my pack would be able to stand against me in an argument for long when I exerted my will.

He seemed a little amused at my high-strung demands. “What about it? If you don’t want an alpha, sister, don’t call me.”

Alpha? Sister?

The term was irony itself and a slap to the face. How many times had Cash jeered me with the same term?

I forced myself to calm, blinking back tears of frustration and sadness. “So you’re really an alpha?”

“That’s me.”

He wasn’t a man of many words, it seemed. I swallowed my pride again, and a small sigh escaped me. “I need you.”

“That’s flattering,” he said with a chuckle. “Mind explaining?”

He had a drawl, a southern one, but it didn’t sound like he was born to it. I noted that, mentally sizing up my prey.

“Do you have a pack?” I asked. Packs split and ruptured all the time, children with strong aggressive personalities striking out to head up their own packs.

There was a pause on the other end, as if he were gauging me as well. “I might, I might not. Why do you ask?”

My heart thumped painfully with excitement. Hope. “I have a pack,” I rushed out. “Our male alpha died a few weeks ago and I don’t have anyone to take his place. Unless I can get another alpha to lead us by the next full moon, we’re going to be taken over by another alpha.”

Again, the slow pause. “I take it that’s not to your liking?”

“It’s not,” I breathed, a wealth of tension in that small sentence.

“You the female alpha?”

I knew what he was asking – did I come with the package, or would I step down for his own mate? I bristled at that – he could bring a woman if he needed to (Cash had Joanne, after all) but I intended on keeping my spot at the head of the pack. There was also a careful law of dominance to be followed – I had to be stronger than all the other females in the pack and most of the males, but the male alpha needed to be stronger than me. If I could dominate this man, there’d be an uproar and the pack would continue to be unsettled.

“I’m the female alpha,” I confirmed. “I stay.”

I knew what that meant for me, too. Accepting this man as my alpha, into my pack and not being related to him? There was only one position for a female alpha that wasn’t related – that of mate. Not only would I be taking a stranger into my pack, and giving him the care of my family, but I’d be giving myself to him as well.

But then again, my other option was Roscoe.

“Are you interested?” I said flatly into the phone.

There was a moment of silence, and I could hear typing on the other end of the phone. “What’s your profile number?”

“Does it matter?” I said, my tone fierce. “It doesn’t matter if I’m ugly or old as the hills – I’m offering you the chance to lead a pack, if you’ve got the balls for it.”

To my surprise, he chuckled. “Ah, the female alpha. Delightful as ever.”

For some reason, that made me blush. I’d worked hard to cultivate my mixture of bossy domineering and motherliness for my pack and my position as head female (but not mate) to Cash. And because I wasn’t mate, I was used to being challenged…and winning.

“Are you taking what I’m offering or not?” I asked.

“Where you located?” he asked. “We’re passing through Waxahachie.”

‘Passing through’ was a polite term for ‘haven’t found a permanent pack yet,’ and I felt a bit of relief to hear that, though it quickly disappeared when my brain registered the ‘we’re’ part of his words. So he wasn’t alone. I should have guessed. Still, I could challenge whatever female he brought with him.

I was ready for her. I’d fight for my pack.

“I’m in Little Paradise, northwest of Fort Worth,” I told him. “Can you get here soon?”

“Maybe, why? Full moon’s not for a few days.”

I glanced back at my kitchen, and felt the same skin-crawling shudder of revulsion sweep over me. “Because the guy that wants your position broke into my house tonight and left me a message. And I need someone to change the locks.”

“I’ll be there in an hour,” he promised.

~~ * ~~

While I waited for my new alpha to arrive, I put on my pants again, grabbed a pair of gloves and tossed all of my underwear into the trash-burning barrel outside. I hadn’t mopped the floor yet, but I would soon. Ugh. I squirted kerosene into the barrel, tossed my plastic gloves in after it, and tossed in a match. Watching all my underthings burn made me feel a little better, but not much. Roscoe had broken into my house. Gone through my things. Touched them in dirty, nasty ways.

As messages went, that one was pretty clear.

A large white truck pulled up, and I glanced over at it in the darkness. My gravel driveway was about a hundred feet away from where I stood near the trash barrel, but with my wolf-eyes, I was able to read just fine in the dark. Jackson Wilder – Plumber and Handyman. Huh. The truck looked a little beat up, but I didn’t know a single handyman that kept a pristine truck anyhow.

The truck door opened, and a man slid out, his form veiled by the open truck door. I immediately clutched the shovel closer. I’d been using it to poke at the fire, but now it served a better purpose – protection. I faced the truck, my manner unwelcoming as I mentally steeled myself for the worst. What if this guy was mean? Bad tempered? Worse than Roscoe?

Was there even such a thing?

Before I could continue down that path, the man raised a hand in greeting and moved forward, shutting the truck door behind him and stepping closer to where I stood, body clenched, by the fire.

The breath rushed out of my throat.

When he hadn’t included a photo of himself on the dating website, I’d expected him to be ugly. Maybe short. Maybe fat. All of the above.

Вы читаете Single Wolf Female
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату