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Home > Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)(2)

Cry Wolf (Alpha & Omega #1)(2)
Author: Patricia Briggs

At last the monster left, dragging a front leg and bleeding from a dozen wounds-though there was no question as to who was worse wounded. He'd seen a lot of men die, and he knew from the smell of perforated bowel that his time had come.

But the young man was safe. Perhaps that would answer, in some small part, for all the young men who hadn't lived.

He let the muscles of his back relax and felt the dried grass and dirt give way beneath his weight. The ground was cool under his hot, sweaty body, and it comforted him. It seemed right to end his life here while saving a stranger, when another stranger's death had brought him here in the first place.

The wind picked up, and he thought the temperature dropped a few degrees-but that might just have been blood loss and shock. He closed his eyes and waited patiently for death, his old enemy, to claim him at long last. The knife was still in his right hand, just in case the pain was too much. Belly wounds weren't the easiest way to die.

But it wasn't death that came during the heart of the first blizzard of the season.

Chapter ONE

Chicago: November

Anna Latham tried to disappear into the passenger seat.

She hadn't realized how much of her confidence had been tied to having Charles beside her. She'd only known him a day and a half, and he'd changed her world...at least while he was still next to her.

Without him, all of her newly regained confidence had disappeared. Its mocking absence only pointed out what a coward she really was. As if she needed reminding.

She glanced over at the man who was driving Charles's rented SUV with casual ease through the light after-morning-rush-hour traffic on the slush-covered expressway as if he were a Chicago native instead of a visitor from the wilds of Montana.

Charles's father, Bran Cornick, looked for all the world like a college student, a computer geek or maybe an art major. Someone sensitive, gentle, and young-but she knew he was none of these things. He was the Marrok, the one all the Alphas answered to-and no one dominated an Alpha werewolf by being sensitive and gentle.

He wasn't young, either. She knew Charles was almost two hundred years old, and that would necessitate his father being older yet.

She looked hard, out of the corners of her eyes, but except for something in the shape of his hands and eyes, she couldn't see Charles in him at all. Charles looked pure Native American, as his mother had been, but still she thought she should have been able to see a little resemblance, something that would tell her that the Marrok was the kind of man his son was.

Her head was willing to believe Bran Cornick would not harm her, that he was different from the other wolves she knew. But her body had been taught to fear the males of her species. The more dominant the werewolves were, the more likely they were to hurt her. And there was no more dominant wolf anywhere than Bran Cornick, no matter how harmless he might seem.

"I won't let anything happen to you," he said without looking at her.

She could smell her own fear-so of course he could smell it, too.

"I know," she managed to say, hating herself for allowing them to turn her into a coward. She hoped that he thought it was fear at the idea of facing the other wolves from her pack after she'd precipitated their Alpha's death. She didn't want him to know she was scared of him, too. Or even mostly.

He smiled a little, but didn't say anything more.

All the parking places behind her four-story apartment building were filled with strange cars. There was a shiny gray truck towing a small, bright orange and white trailer with a giant manatee painted on the side just above lettering that let anyone within a block know that Florida was "The Manatee State."

Bran parked behind the trailer without worrying about blocking the alley. Well, she realized as they got out of the car, she wouldn't have to worry about what her landlord thought anymore. She was going to Montana. Was Montana "The Werewolf State "?

Four wolves in their human forms waited for them at the security door, including Boyd, the new Alpha. His shadowed eyes took in every bit of her. She dropped her gaze to the ground after that first glance and kept Bran between her and them.

She was more afraid of them than the Marrok after all. How strange, because today there was none of the speculation, the avarice in their eyes that usually set off her fears. They looked controlled...and tired. Yesterday, the Alpha had been killed, and that hurt all of them. She'd felt it herself-and ignored it because she thought Charles was dying.

Their pain was her fault. They all knew that.

She reminded herself that Leo needed killing-he had killed so many himself and allowed the deaths of many others. She wouldn't look at any of them again. She'd try not to talk to them, and hope they'd ignore her.

Except-they'd come here to help her move. She'd tried to stop that, but she wasn't up to arguing with the Marrok for long. She dared another quick glance at Boyd, but she couldn't read his face any better this time.

She took her key and went to work on the lock with fear-clumsy fingers. None of the werewolves made any move that indicated they were impatient, but she tried to hurry, feeling their eyes on her back. What were they thinking? Were they remembering what some of them had done to her? She wasn't. She wasn't.

Breathe, she chided herself.

One of the men swayed on his feet and made an eager sound.

"George," said Boyd, and the other wolf quieted.

It was her fear that was pushing the wolf, she knew. She had to get a handle on herself-and the sticky lock wasn't helping. If Charles were here, she could deal with everything, but he was recovering from several bullet wounds. His father had told her that he had a stronger reaction than most to silver.

"I didn't expect you to come," said Bran-she presumed he wasn't talking to her since he'd manipulated and talked her into leaving Charles alone this morning.

It must have been Boyd he was talking to, because it was Boyd who answered him. "I had the day off."

Until last night Boyd had been third. But now he was the Alpha of the Western Suburb Chicago Pack. The pack she was leaving. "I thought it might hurry matters a bit," Boyd continued. "Thomas here has agreed to drive the truck to Montana and back."

She pulled open the door, but Bran didn't go in immediately so she stopped in the entryway just inside the door, holding it open.

"How stand your pack finances?" Bran asked. "My son tells me that Leo claimed he needed money."

She heard Boyd's typical humorless smile in his voice. "He wasn't lying. His mate was expensive as all hell to keep. We won't lose the manor, but that's the only good news our accountant has for me. We'll get something from selling Isabella's jewelry, but not as much as Leo paid for it."

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