Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Power Play: Chapter Three

Content Advisory: Hot guy getting naked and shifting into a wolf.

Cassie’s not having a good week. She’s tired of dealing with the mixed signals from her boyfriend and she’s attacked by a large dog. Then it gets worse. Said boyfriend is keeping secrets and possibly using her for his own ends and the dog that attacked her? Yeah, that was a werewolf and now she’s going to be howling at the next full moon. 

Not only does she have to deal with a deranged werewolf, intent on killing her but she’s got her boyfriend’s father pushing them to mate. Did she mention her boyfriend was a werewolf too? It’s going to take all she’s got to handle these alpha men and get what she wants too. Things can only get better. Right?

If you missed Chapter Two, you can find it here.

Cassidy sat silently in the passenger seat of Alex’s car. She could feel the weight of his appraisal, heavy like a pile of bricks sitting on her shoulders, but she had a lot to process right now. Waking up in the hospital, or rather clinic, had thrown her for a loop. Her whole experience there had been surreal.

When she'd woken the second time, no wounds had marred her skin. The dog had broken her arm, ripped her throat open and tore out her stomach yet three days later, it was if it never happened. Then there was Alex.

He had never left her bedside and when she had been awake, he’d been so solicitous she didn’t have the heart to send him away. How he’d managed to convince her to let him stay after her release was still a mystery.

Alex pulled into a parking spot in front of her apartment building and turned off the car, breaking her from her reverie. “Cass, are you all right?”

Cassie glanced at Alex and his beautiful eyes were dark with worry. A shiver ran through her. It wasn’t fair he could make her want him with a look when he didn’t want her. Trapped within the confines of the vehicle, his smell overwhelmed her. The earthy scent of pine and musk sent her arousal thrumming through her body. She threw open the door, gulping fresh air.

When she could look at him without the fear of jumping him there on the sidewalk, she answered him. “I’m fine, just like I was ten minutes ago when you asked and the twenty times before that.” Turning away from his wince, she opened the door and walked to her building. Alex caught up with her before she got all the way inside. She'd probably hurt his feelings, but she was raw right now, dealing with her “non-accident” and his earlier rejection.

“It feels so good to be home!” Cassidy collapsed on her couch. Everything looked the same. Had it really only been four days?

Alex walked across the room and sat beside her. He leaned back into the soft cushions and pillows and slipped his arm across the back, behind her shoulders.

“I love your place. It reminds me so much of you.” He rubbed the ends of her hair together.

Trying to see her apartment through his eyes, she couldn’t help, but compare her small home with the cold, sterile place she’d just left. Her walls were painted a sunny, golden yellow with white trim. Abstract paintings in bright reds, blues and yellows were interspersed on the walls along with some candle sconces. The couch she sat on, as well as the chair and chaise lounge, was covered in a soft beige material with red and navy blue pillows scattered around for color. The two small tables between the furniture in the living room overflowed with piles of magazines and books. What a mess.

“What? I’m a slob?” she blurted out, leaning away from his touch.

Alex laughed. “No, that’s not what I meant. Your place is bright and cheerful, like you are most of the time. Beautiful, yet comfortable to be around. You have a lovely place.”

“Thanks.” She eased a little closer to the arm of the couch. She needed a clear head for this conversation and if Alex was close to her, she wouldn’t be able to concentrate.

She sorted through her thoughts, wondering where to start. “Yesterday you said you could explain things to me if I agreed to wait until we were at my place. We’re here, so…”

Alex leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. Releasing a deep sigh, he ran his hands through his hair. “Okay, I’ll tell you everything. I hope you’ll be able to forgive me.” A cold chill raced across her skin, leaving goose bumps in its wake. “Cass, I have been keeping something from you.”

“Oh God, you’re married, aren’t you?” Why did she always pick the losers? First Dirk the Jerk, now Alex the Adulterer.

“No, no. Nothing like that. There is something about me I haven’t told you, though. It’s what I was referring to at the restaurant the other night.” He stopped. His face was pale and the way he continually rubbed his thighs clued her in that he was nervous about whatever he had to tell her.

She sank into the cushions behind her, relieved she hadn’t tried to seduce a married man.

Alex took a deep breath. “Let me start with your attack. First of all, you weren’t attacked by a dog.”

What was he talking about? Her brows drew together. “Yes, I was. It sat on me and growled in my face before it tore my throat out.” Cass’ voice rose until she ended in a shout. She stood and started pacing in the small apartment, sure that she wouldn't like what he was about to say.

Alex went to her and pulled her into his embrace, running his hands up and down her arms. The warmth of his touch sparked something inside her and her need rose within her, stronger than ever. She jerked away and walked to the window.

“No, it wasn’t. It was a wolf.”

Cassidy turned to him with incredulous eyes. “Why do you keep saying that? You weren’t there.”

Alex strode over to her and brought her back to the couch, sitting down beside her. “Cass, what I’m about to tell you will seem crazy, but please hear me out.”

Cassidy nodded her head. Her hands twisted in her lap and her body trembled. This was the moment her life would change. She could feel it. Whether it would be a good change remained to be seen.

“Not only was it a wolf that attacked you that night, but it was a werewolf.”

Silence thundered through the room for a moment. What the -? Did she wander into some horror movie or something? Cassidy opened her mouth to speak, and Alex raised his index finger to her lips.

“Wait, Cass. Let me finish. Please.”

Cassie closed her mouth and nodded.

“I’m a werewolf. I’ve wanted to tell you, but I was afraid of how you would react.” Alex paused. When Cass didn’t say anything, he continued. “The wolf’s scent was all over you. That’s how I know what attacked you. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true.”

Alex gave her a hard stare, as though trying to read her mind. Her eyes were so wide they hurt and she pressed her lips together, afraid of what might come out of her mouth if she relaxed them at all. He was crazy. How could she be dating a lunatic for over a month and not know? Did that make her nuts, too?

“Cass? Honey, say something.” He gave her a sad puppy dog look that usually worked on her.

“Well, this is quite surprising. I never would have guessed. I mean, you’re not all that hairy, you know? Are you sure you’re not a vampire instead? Oh wait, I’ve seen you in the sun.” She babbled, a common side effect when she was nervous. Why did she always embarrass herself around him? Why was she worrying about what he thought of her when he wasn't right in the head? A thought filtered through. She was alone in her apartment with him.

“I’m serious. Werewolves are real, and I’m one of them. We’re not like the movies portray, but we do exist. And there’s more.”

She burst out in hysterical laughter. “More? Of course. What else? Did the werewolf have rabies?” Her skin grew cold as the blood rushed away from her face.

Alex grimaced as he ran shaking hands through his hair. If he kept it up, he would be bald before the end of the week. “Your attack was severe and allowed enough of the virus into your bloodstream.”

His hesitation stretched her nerves taut. Get on with it so I can get you out of here. She arched her left brow.

“The…infection…mutated your DNA. You’re a wolf, too. Well, after the next full moon.” He glanced at her face. “You can hear, smell, and see much better than you could before, can’t you? I’m sure you’ve noticed your injuries are completely healed?” She looked into his eyes. He wore the same serious expression she’d seen on his face many times in the months they'd dated. Alex really believed what he was telling her.

“So werewolves are real; you’re a werewolf; I was attacked by a werewolf; I’m going to turn into a werewolf. Okay, I’ve got it. Thank you for being so up front with me.” She needed to think. She needed to get him out of here. She needed a new life. Her throat threatened to close and her mouth was like cotton. “Wow, it’s a lot to take in. I think I’m getting a headache. Could you run up to the corner and get some aspirin at the drug store?”

Cassie rubbed her temples. Her head really did hurt, but it was important to get him out of her apartment. If she could get rid of him for a few minutes, she could get the hell out of here and hide.

Alex growled. “Cassie, don’t patronize me. I know it sounds impossible, but I can prove it. I’ll shift for you.”

“Don’t you need to wait until the full moon?”

Alex stood and paced back and forth in front of the couch. Keeping him calm was imperative. One attack by a werewolf was enough. Oh, for crying out loud, now she was starting to sound as deranged as he did.

“For one bitten as you were, the full moon has to guide your first transformation. I was born a wolf so, no, I don’t need the moon.”

“Sure.” Once he tried to transform and couldn’t, maybe she could convince him to let her call someone for help. She hoped he didn't turn violent. It figured he would be crazy. After all, why else would a hottie like him spend so much time with her?

Alex stopped pacing. He removed his clothes and draped them over a nearby chair. Now he decides to get naked? Just her luck. What a body, though. Now she knew what she’d been missing.

He knelt on the floor. At first there was nothing, then a strange sparkly mist surrounded him. One moment he was a man, the next a wolf.

Holy shit! He was a werewolf.

Even through her shock, she recognized Alex in his wolf form and realized how beautiful he was. He was a dark brindled brown color with a white blaze running from his forehead down to his muzzle. The eyes that looked back at her were Alex’s chocolate brown. His wolf was huge, bigger even than the one that attacked her.

The beast moved around the chair and slowly walked toward her. As it got closer, the memory of her attack and everything Alex had told her ran through her mind. When the wolf nuzzled her hand, she did what anyone would do. She screamed. The wolf jumped back and whimpered. She bolted to her feet and took a step back, falling over the arm of the couch.

The wolf retreated farther away and she eased up onto her feet, edging closer to the exit. Oh my God! He’s a freakin’ werewolf, which means I’m going to be one too. The impossible clamored through her brain, making it hard for her to think.

The doorknob pressed into the small of her back. Time to get some space. She reached behind her and turned the knob, keeping her eyes on the wolf, on Alex. When the latch detached, she yanked the door open, jumping through and pulling it shut before the wolf could follow. She could see the surprise on Alex’s face. Could an animal show expression? What was she doing?

Cassidy ran the length the hall, down the stairs and out the door of her apartment building. Her feet automatically headed toward the park before she caught herself. What the hell was she doing? That's how she got into this mess in the first place. Changing direction, she ran blindly down the street, hoping to find refuge from the insanity. Too bad she couldn't get away from herself.

Please return on August 17th for Chapter 4 of Power Play.
~~Riley Quinn~~

If you missed any of our previous posts and would like to catch up, you can purchase the Digital Digest Volume I and Digital Digest Volume II anthologies as ebooks for only $.99!

Copyright © 2011 Riley Quinn

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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