Mate Set – Laurann Dohner

Mika experienced fear and confusion as the four men surrounded her. She was supposed to be safe in Bartock. This was her uncle’s town—humans were off limits to werewolves, it being law to leave them alone. The four men who had grabbed her from the sidewalk and dragged her down the alley weren’t following the rules. They’d released her but she was trapped in the corner of two buildings that prevented escape. Three of them were blond and resembled each other enough that she knew they had to be brothers. The fourth one was black haired and looked nothing similar to his companions. They were silently watching her and she had the sinking feeling that they were toying with her as though she were a trapped mouse. There was no doubt what they were. The one closest to her was showing his teeth. They were sharp and his mouth was a little too long to be normal. The drunken man to her right was sprouting so much hair that his arms looked like hairy mats, and unless cheek hair was the norm, his face was way too hairy. He also had wild eyes. Drunken werewolves were obviously bad at maintaining their human appearance and at least two of them had slipped enough to let her know what they were. The smell of alcohol was strong enough that she breathed through her mouth.

“I’m human,” she said softly. “Back off me now.” “Totally fuckable.” The blond to her right leered at her. “We were looking for a bitch and now we have her. I say we go by age on who gets her first.” The second blond softly growled. “You say that because you are the oldest. Let’s go by size. Smallest to biggest so she survives longer.

” She didn’t know these men. She was trying hard to control her fear since she knew the scent of that emotion to a werewolf was an aphrodisiac. That’s the last thing she wanted to smell like considering the four were talking about sex. She frantically tried to bring up a memory that would piss her off. Her ex-boyfriend came to mind instantly. Ralph had cheated on her, she’d caught him dead to rights in the act but he’d told her it wasn’t how it looked, as though his dick inside another woman could be anything other than what it was. Anger burned. Ralph thought she was a freakin’ idiot. “I said back off me.” She was proud that her anger was clear.

The beefy blond with the teeth and hairy-arm problem was closest to her. He sniffed, his brown eyes narrowing as he softly growled at her. She tensed. He was close enough now to smell her fear, which was probably making the wolf’s senses go into overdrive. He inched even closer. The black-haired one licked his lips. “She looks tasty, doesn’t she, cousins?” 6 Mate Set Mika pressed her back tightly against the brick wall. Her gaze flicked from one man to another. They were definitely showing her what they were, whether they meant to or not. She had no doubt of her predicament at that moment.

She was in deep shit. She was trapped against a wall with no escape. She bit her lip harder but then released it when she realized, if she made herself bleed, she was done for. It would send all four men into frenzy and she’d be at the center of it. If they shifted into their wolf forms completely, they’d tear her apart. “Breathe through your mouths,” she ordered them. “And back up. I’m human and it’s against the law to attack me.” The black-haired one growled, taking a step closer, making Mika glare. He glared back but hunger lurked in his eyes as well.

Her look darted to the other three. Hunger burned in their scary eyes as well. She was screwed, literally and figuratively, if she didn’t get control of these four men fast. She probably wouldn’t survive the attack, and she even if she did, she was pretty certain she would wish she hadn’t. Surviving one out-of-control werewolf would be tough. Four of them would be a miracle. Mika’s luck just wasn’t that good. “Take off your clothes and present to me,” the second blond growled at her. “I’m not a werewolf,” she yelled at him. “Do you hear me? I’m not taking my clothes off and I sure as hell won’t be getting on my hands and knees to show my ass to you.

I’m human. Go find one of your own if you want to get laid. Leave me alone.” “She knows about us,” the black-haired one growled. “She knows what ‘present’ means. Human or not, I say we take her.” “Shit,” Mika gasped. “You’re slipping form. That’s how I know what the hell you are. You need to shave your arms in the worst way and two of you are showing canine teeth.

Don’t do this. I’m Omar Deken’s niece,” she said in a shaky voice. “If you hurt me, he’ll hunt down every damn one of you. I’m pack protected.” The blond closest to her sniffed again, frowning. “You’re not pack. You’re not even the right race, and you don’t carry a man’s scent, so you aren’t claimed.” “I’m under Omar’s protection. He’ll kill you and I’m not kidding about that.” “Who?” The first blond growled.

“I don’t know him.” Shock hit her hard that these men weren’t familiar with her uncle’s name. That meant they weren’t from anywhere around Bartock County so they weren’t pack. Any shifter within a hundred miles knew her uncle. All hope of talking her way out of this mess suddenly evaporated. She was going to die a horrible death. She squeezed against the brick wall, wishing she could become one with it. They weren’t Alpha Pack so the rules wouldn’t apply to them. “He’s the alpha’s advisor. He’s also best friends with Alpha Elroy.

You know him, right? You’re in his territory.” Her voice shook. 7 Laurann Dohner They sniffed her, moving in closer, as horrible images filled her mind. Would they take turns raping her or would they all attack at once? She knew it was going to hurt. Her uncle had told her all about werewolves and he was an expert since he was one. Uncle Omar had given her the birds and wolves sex talk when she had once asked if she could ever date a werewolf when she was a teenager. He’d been horrified at even the thought, made damn sure all boys from the pack weren’t allowed near her, and had promptly sent her back to California. She remembered what he’d told her though. Werewolves were dominant creatures, highly sexual, aggressive and rough. He’d also told her that she’d never have to worry about one coming after her.

Stalking a human for sex was illegal as hell in most packs. If taken by force, human women usually didn’t survive or ended up gravely injured. It drew attention to their kind, which was a crime in shifter society. Most unmated males hunted female werewolves nightly for sex but Mika was safe from that shit. One whiff and they avoided her and always had—until now. Why had she left her house? Oh yeah. She was depressed and craving chocolate to cheer her up. Every year she visited her uncle for a few weeks but usually she came to spend Christmas with him. She’d arrived in Bartock just six hours before on a hot June evening so a stroll to the store had obviously been bad planning on her part. Of course she’d thought she was safe.

She’d walked to the store lots of times on those previous visits without running into trouble. She knew for a fact, even if they didn’t, that Uncle Omar would track their sorry asses down. He’d kill them slowly and make them pay for the torture she was about to endure at their hands or claws, depending on how they controlled themselves. One look at the sharp teeth and sprouting hair told that they weren’t in control at all. It was little consolation to her that they’d die when her body was found but it was all she had. Mika screamed as one of the men lunged at her. He gripped her arms, spun her around and his body pressed her tightly into the wall until he was breathing on her neck when he lowered his face into her shoulder. She held still, not fighting, knowing it would only turn him on more. He pushed her harder against the wall until it was difficult to breathe. His knee brushed against the back of her leg for a second before he shoved it between her thighs, forcing her legs apart.

She turned her head slightly, enough to see that the guy had her shirt in his mouth when it was tugged hard. She took a deep breath, forcing air into her lungs, and screamed as her shirt was torn open down the back when the man jerked his head. She fought the panic that gripped her as air hit her skin. Every instinct inside her told her to fight but everything her uncle had ever taught her reminded her that would only make the man more aggressive. Hands were touching her and they didn’t belong to the blond who had her pinned. His hands were gripping her arms, holding them tightly against the wall next to her ribs. Rough hands yanked at her snug jeans and attempted to tear them down her hips but they refused to budge at first. She heard a snarl before the body pressed hers 8 Mate Set against the wall backed up a few inches, allowing the other man working on her jeans to yank the zipper. Mika screamed again when she heard the zipper give way and her jeans were tugged downward. She shut her eyes tightly, fought tears, and realized it was going to be brutal and she probably wouldn’t survive.

She held still but she was panting— fighting her urge to fight. She could almost hear Uncle Omar’s voice in her head, telling her if she was ever grabbed by a werewolf not to struggle. He’d warned her that she’d never win a fight with one. They were too strong, too fast, and fighting would be a sure-fire way to turn an attacker into a brutal animal intent on killing its prey. “What do you have there?” The voice was a new one—deep and male—and it snarled the words. The hands on Mika froze and the body behind hers tensed. Mika whimpered. Great, another one, she thought. Now instead of being a sex toy to four males, there were five involved in her worst nightmare. “Get lost,” the man gripping Mika snarled back.

“She’s ours.” Long seconds ticked by where Mika only heard heavy breathing. The man pressed against her back shifted his weight and pushed her hard against the wall again. He nuzzled her blonde hair, moving it away from her neck. She heard what sounded like a scuff on the concrete. “The way I see it,” the new male voice snarled, “is that she’s not yours. She isn’t in your pack since my nose is telling me she isn’t even our kind and she doesn’t sound very willing from those screams that drew me this way.” The blond behind her seemed to be in charge since he was the one doing the talking. “Mind your own business and get lost. We aren’t sharing so leave or my brothers and cousin will tear out your damn throat.

” The stranger had a deep-sounding chuckle. “You pups think you can take me? You’re new in town or you would be pissing yourselves right now if you knew me.” “Who are you?” It sounded as though the black-haired man spoke. “I’m the one who’s going to tear your heads off if you don’t let that woman go.” The blond eased his hold on Mika’s arms as he took a step back, totally releasing her. Mika’s knees nearly buckled in relief. Her eyes flew open and she reached down, yanking up her jeans. Her hands shook but she managed to zip her pants and fasten the snap. She slowly turned around, keeping her body against the wall. Her four attackers were standing close together a little to her left but they weren’t touching her anymore.

Her terrified gaze moved from them to the new man on scene. She couldn’t help but stare at the big bastard. He had to be at least six foot four and probably two hundred forty pounds or so. A tough-looking male wearing jeans and a gray sweater. He had long black hair that touched his wide shoulders and bulked-up biceps. His arms hung casually at his sides. A wide chest matched those broad 9 Laurann Dohner shoulders and his slim hips were perfectly displayed in the snug jeans that revealed long, muscular legs. Mika’s focus lifted to the man’s features. He was partly in the shadows so she couldn’t see his eyes but she saw his lower face well enough in the dim light from the alley. He had a strong chin and a wide nose.

His full, generous lips were drawn into a firm line of disapproval. His long hair hid his eyes, even if the light had been strong enough to see them. The man slowly lifted his arms. “Do you want a piece of me, pups?” His fingers wiggled, urging them to come at him, as his voice dropped from a snarl into a husky growl. “I dare you.” Even Mika knew that daring a werewolf was a no-no. Werewolves were stubborn, proud creatures who didn’t back down from a fight or from a challenge. The tone in the stranger’s voice left no room for misinterpretation that he was issuing both, provoking them into attacking him. The new guy snarled and growled so she had no doubt that he was another werewolf. He’d scented that she was human too because he’d mentioned it.

Mika inched along the wall, trying to ease away from the four would-be rapists. If the stranger was willing to get his ass kicked to save her from being gang raped, she wasn’t going to stand around the way a frozen idiot would. She was going to make his sacrifice worth it by fleeing the first chance she got. Guilt ate at her a little as the four men started to surround the stranger. He was bigger than her attackers, but still, four against one weren’t good odds. Mika swallowed hard. “Um, guy who’s rescuing me…what’s your name?” The man didn’t even glance her way. “Grady.” “Thank you,” she whispered. She’d be sure to tell her uncle about Grady.

Maybe Uncle Omar would pay his hospital bills and give him some type of reward if he survived the fight. She was pretty certain her uncle would make sure this man was compensated well for helping her. That’s just the way he was. The blond leader lunged at Grady but he saw it coming. Mika watched in horror as the other three men attacked from the sides. She instantly looked for a weapon, knowing she should help the guy who had come to her rescue. Grady snarled a second before it became a dog pile as four men leapt on him. The five men went down in snarls and flying fists. Mika saw a board in the alley and sprinted to grab it. The wood was rough and dirty as her fingers curled around it, heavy as she lifted it.

She spun to face the fight. This is insane, she thought. I should be running. She fought with her conscience and it won so she crept closer to the men on the ground. The blackhaired man who’d attacked her went flying from the pile to land a few feet from Mika. He shook his head, snarling, his gaze locked on the fight while he 10 Mate Set jerked into a sitting position. Mika struck without pause, nailing the son of a bitch with everything she had with the board, swinging it as though it were a baseball bat. The man groaned before he slumped forward to the ground. Mika dropped the broken board that had snapped in half when it had made hard contact with the back of his head. Her hands hurt from the impact but it was worth it until he started to move again, trying to lift off the ground.

She turned and spotted a full, metal trashcan. She grabbed it by the handles and lifted the heavy, smelly thing with a grunt. She tossed it at the downed man so it hit his back hard, knocking him flat again. Trash spilled out all over him. One of the blond men screamed as he flew toward the wall where Mika had been pinned, hitting it hard enough that Mika actually flinched as he landed motionless on his back after he bounced from the wall. She saw that his nose and mouth were bloody. Her attention flew to the remaining three battling werewolves and realized that Grady was winning. He was punching the shit out of one of the blonds and had the other man pinned under him with his legs. The pinned man was trying to crawl away but it wasn’t working for him since he couldn’t escape those strong thighs. Grady could fight.

She could see he had both the attackers well under his control. Her relief was instant when she knew he’d be fine. She eyed the downed man on the ground who’d hit the wall to see he still wasn’t moving. The guy under the trashcan grunted, cursed, while slowly shoving garbage off with one hand while gripping the back of his bleeding head where Mika had nailed him with the board. He looked done in. Mika turned and fled, running for all she was worth toward the main street. Bartock was pretty dead at ten at night so it wasn’t a surprise that she didn’t see anyone as she turned the corner and sprinted down the sidewalk. Her little house was three blocks away. She ran a good block before her burning side made her slow down. She was never going to go out at night again.

No damn way. If she wanted chocolate, she’d call Uncle Omar to go get it for her or she’d be smart enough to buy it before dark. She was breathing hard and walking when she heard a sound behind her that made her spin around. Shock coursed through her when she saw the man who had saved her coming down the sidewalk. She froze as Grady advanced on her, his long legs quickly ate up the sidewalk between them. Even though his head was down and his sweater was gone, she knew it was him. Grady was wearing a black tank top that was torn open over his stomach. His head lifted as he came within ten feet of her, pausing where he stood to stare at her. She’d never seen such dark eyes before. He was attractive but not handsome in the way she usually liked men to be.

He was still damn good-looking in a purely male sense. Masculine fit him perfectly as a description. His hair was black, shaggy, and wild looking. He had long black eyelashes and his dark, intense gaze peered out at her from beneath them. Fear crept up her spine. No one’s eyes should be that black and they didn’t look human. The fight he’d just been in had probably helped that look along, she realized. 11 Laurann Dohner Why is he here? She wasn’t sure she really wanted to know the answer. They stared at each other. The man moved first by taking a step toward her and then another.

Mika froze where she stood. If she tried to run away from him then his instincts would demand he chase her. She was all up on her werewolf facts since Uncle Omar had pounded them into her head since she was five years old and realized the doggy that played with her sometimes was really Uncle Omar. She’d accidentally witnessed him changing so he’d had to tell her the truth. Sometimes a big dog wasn’t what it appeared to be. She was alarmed by how tall Grady was when he stopped just feet away to stare down at her. At five foot four Mika had never felt shorter in her life as she looked up a good foot into the man’s face. She had never considered herself really tiny before but she felt that way at that moment. The man’s sheer size dwarfed her. “Thanks for saving me back there,” she said softly.

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