Dire (Page 43)

This was it. Gage was gone, and I was going to freeze to death on the side of the road. Tears slid down my face. Evidently she hadn’t frozen those.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Gage

“No! You can’t leave her here!” I screamed on the top of my lungs as I listened to the girls taunt Mary Anne as they drove away.

I was thanked by losing the ability to speak. These had to have been the witches Hunter had warned Mary Anne about. I guess he wasn’t lying.

My heart nearly beat out of my chest as the girls continued down the road. The red head turned to the driver. “Now that we got rid of the garbage, we can head home.”

Home? Was she crazy? What the hell was wrong with all these people? How were there so many psychos living within hours of where I grew up? Of where Mary Anne grew up? It was freezing out, and she couldn’t move. How long could she survive? Despite my feelings about him, I hoped Hunter came back and found her. He was probably her only hope.

“What’s wrong, honey?” The red head looked at me. “You’re not thinking about her are you?”

I said nothing, I couldn’t. She’d taken away my capacity to speak.

“You’re going to enjoy your new cage—I mean home.”

The dark-haired girl giggled. I vaguely remembered her friend calling her Helen, but I preferred to leave her nameless. After all, she was the one who drove away from Mary Anne.

Cage? They wanted to keep me in a cage? I didn’t care. All I wanted to do was get back to Mary Anne. Once again I’d let her down.

The driver turned off the road and the red head climbed over the center console to the back seat. She ran her nails down my back. “You really are a nice one. All muscle. I like muscle.”

Without warning she ripped off my shirt. Now I’d had plenty of fantasies about attractive women ripping off my clothes, but none of them involved me being frozen in place, after said attractive woman left my girlfriend to die on the side of the road.

She raked her eyes over me. “Nice.”

The red head turned around. “Very nice. He’ll be fun.” She laughed. “Lots of fun.” She sucked my earlobe into her mouth and ran her tongue over it. Ugh. I’d have done anything to push her away. “I’m Vanessa by the way. What’s your name?”

“Oh yeah. You can’t talk.” Both girls laughed.

“Let’s call him Sprinkles. He has these adorable freckles on his chest,” Vanessa traced her fingers over the handful of freckles.

What the fuck? Sprinkles? What, was I a dog?

“Oh yeah. That’s a great name. Landa is going to love him. She loves the tall, dark types.”

“Are there any other types?” Vanessa laughed.

“I like a nice blond once in a while.”

“Can you believe we got a dark haired one with freckles? What a find.”

If I hadn’t just spent a week with a pack of wolves I would have thought I was dreaming. I went back to the Hell idea. A bunch of hot girls who are bitches and kill off the only girl I care about? That was Hell.

We continued along the dirt road until the SUV came to a stop in front of a cottage. It was old and looked like it came from a fairy tale. What, was this Hansel and Gretel?

“We’re home, Sprinkles.” Vanessa opened the door and pulled me out. It seemed like my body moved when she wanted it to, like she’d taken over all control. “Landa? You home?” Vanessa called out.

“Yes.” A striking blond walked out of a cabin. “OH MY GOSH, HE’S SO CUTE!”

She came over and put her hands on either side of my cheeks. “What’s his name?”

“Sprinkles.”

“Because of these freckles?” She ran a finger over my chest.

“Yes!” the other girls shrieked.

“Let me go get his collar.” Landa walked back inside. She came out holding a leather collar.

“Let me put it on.” Vanessa put the black leather around my neck.

“Here’s the leash.” She attached a chain to it. “Come on, Sprinkles. Time to see your new home.”

“Tootsie, come show Sprinkles in.”

Another guy with a similar collar came out and took my leash. “Of course, Madam. I will take him in.”

Was this guy going along with them?

He pulled me along around the side of the cottage to some sort of barn. He pushed open the barn door and towed me behind him. He paused in front of a cage. Yes, a cage. They weren’t kidding. Inside were two twin mattresses lying on straw. One of the mattresses was occupied by a guy staring at the ceiling. In addition to his collar, he was wearing a hemp necklace around his neck. Tootsie leaned in to whisper. “Do what they say, or you’ll end up like Granola over there.”

Granola? I assumed the guy could thank the hemp necklace for that name.

Tootsie pushed me in. I hadn’t figured out where his pet name came from yet, but I probably didn’t want to know. “The freeze will wear off soon, but do yourself a favor and keep your mouth shut.”

Keep my mouth shut? Like that was going to happen.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Mary Anne

My nose itched. That seems like such a small detail considering my situation, but it was reassurance that my entire body wasn’t frost bitten. For the first hour I kept expecting them to reappear. Gage would find a way to move, and he’d be back. He’d never leave me behind. He’d find a way to return in time.

Eventually that delusional hope disappeared and was replaced by despair. What a way to die. At least I’d had sex with Gage—multiple times no less. That was something.

Just when I thought the itch on my nose couldn’t get worse, I realized I could move my arm. Maybe whatever the witch had done was wearing off. At first I couldn’t move my arm past my elbow, but eventually my finger made contact with my nose. A dull ache like you get after a tetanus shot had me resting my arm moments later. I had to work up some energy before I could move it again.

I tried to move my legs, but it was a no go. Nothing else worked. I looked up and noticed at least ten crows lined up on the power lines above me. Great, they were already circling like I was dead. If the birds thought I was a goner, what kind of hope did I have?

A low howl in the distance gave me a shot of hope. Was that Hunter? Would he find me? But what if it was Falcon? Either wolf would be angry, but Hunter would be less likely to hurt me. After a few moments of hesitation, my freezing body, a desire to live, and a determination to find Gage won out. I tried to scream. Nothing happened. Evidently my voice wasn’t back.

I heard another howl, this time closer. I tried to yell, but it was pointless.