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“This is just getting sad,” he said, sounding bored when he really should be begging for her mercy at this point.

“Look, Munchkin,” he said, placing his hands on her h*ps as he tried to pull her off of him, “as much as I appreciate a good hug, I’m afraid we’re going to have to end this now.”

“No!” she snapped, trying to wrap her legs around his waist but he wasn’t having that. He gripped her h*ps tightly and managed to pull her legs away, but she refused to release her grip around his neck.

The bastard was going down!

“Are you going to let go?” he asked, sighing heavily as she moved to wrap her legs around him again, but somehow he managed to block her once again.


“Fine,” he said as he pulled her off and tossed her away, earning an embarrassingly high squeal from her as she landed on the middle of the double bed.

She sat up, shoving her hair out of her face so that she could glare at the man. “I get another chance.”

“You’ve had ten already. Give it up, Munchkin. In a few hours you’ll be leaving for your own good.”

Just as she was about to explain that she wasn’t going anywhere a cell phone went off. Without another word Chris pulled out that sleek black cell phone that she’d love to get her hands on and left the room, closing the door behind him.

For all of ten seconds she debated on staying to get her answers, but then decided that she could probably find everything she needed to know on the internet. After one last glare at the door she hauled ass to get the hell out of there.

She opened the window and screen as quietly as she could and carefully climbed out into the pitch black night and perched on the windowsill. Swallowing hard, she did her best to convince herself that the distance to the large oak tree branch that she was currently pining all her hopes and dreams on was less than six feet away. When her brain reminded her that she wasn’t an idiot and that it was at least ten feet away and that she was going to fall flat on her face she hesitated.

Of course she’d rather take her chances and fall then put up with people pushing her around, hanging her upside down, dragging her off to watch men turn into large scary beasts and having her chocolate stolen.

That lost thought gave her pause. Now that she thought about it, she realized that they probably wouldn’t give her any chocolate.

A life without chocolate?

She’d never survive, she realized as she sucked in a deep breath and shoved away from the window. As it became painfully obvious that she wasn’t going to reach the branch she squeezed her eyes shut and hoped for the best and for once luck was with her. Thankfully she didn’t break her arms or her legs when she hit the hard ground, but if the pain was any indication she may have actually broken her ass.

As quietly as she could she climbed to her feet and cringed once or twice as pain shot through her right cheek. She was actually quite proud that she hadn’t screamed one or two choice words. It had been a close call, but then she remembered that Ephraim and Madison had super hearing. With that thought in mind she began to wobble as quickly as she could towards the backyard and what she hoped was freedom.

Not even twenty steps later someone sounded the alarm, literally. She bit her lip as she quickened her pace as the blaring alarm threatened to make her head explode. She was about twenty yards from what she believed was the edge of the woods when she heard someone running towards her from that direction.

Mentally cursing whoever just wrecked her plans, she abruptly turned and ran towards the left side of the house

When the ground suddenly gave out beneath her she opened her mouth to scream only to find it suddenly filled with ice cold chlorine flavored water. With a choked gasp she broke the surface of the ice cold water and swam towards what she hoped was the side of the pool.

“I heard something over here,” a man shouted just as her hand closed around the cold metal of the pool’s ladder.

With a muttered curse she sucked in a deep breath and ducked back under the water, using the ladder to help push her deeper. She squeezed her eyes shut as she tried to ignore the cramps that were forming in her lungs until she had no choice but to get some air. As gently as she could manage it she broke the surface and sucked in a deep breath before ducking back beneath the cold water. At least the cold water numbed the pain in her butt, she thought as she fought to go longer without air.

The water was too cold, she realized. There was no way she could stay in the pool for much longer. She’d have to make a run for it and hope that she came across someone before frostbite set in. Since it was still dark out and no one had tried to scoop her out she figured she at least had a chance.

As carefully as she could she broke the surface and nearly screamed in frustration when she opened her eyes and saw that not only was the pool suddenly lit up, but so was the backyard. When she spotted the man glaring down at her she may have let out an embarrassing little squeal that seemed to piss him off more than anything.

“Get. The. Fuck. Out. Of. There. Now,” he bit out through clenched teeth.

She automatically reached for the ladder to comply when survival mode kicked in. With a firm shake of her head she shoved away from the side of the pool just as he reached down to grab her. Halfway to the other side he stopped her dead in her tracks when he made a very valid point.

“I’ll just catch you,” he said, sounding irritated.

“Damn it!” she muttered, knowing he was right.

“We don’t have time for this shit, Izzy. Get the f**k out of there. We need to go, now!” he snapped.

“No,” she said, shaking her head. She was not going anywhere with him and she damn well was not going to leave this pool until she came up with a decent escape plan.

“Exactly how long do you think you’ll be able to stay in there, Izzy? It’s barely forty degrees outside and the pool has to be at least twenty degrees colder. It’s going to make it really hard for you to keep treading water and you know damn well the weight from your clothes is going to bring you down. So why don’t you save us both a lot time and bullshit and get the f**k over here!”

“I’ll stay in here for as long as I damn well please!” she snapped back, sick and tired of being yelled at and bossed around.

“If you don’t get out of there right now I swear to god I will spank your ass!”

“No!” she yelled even as she anxiously looked for a way out. She knew once she climbed out of the pool she was going to have to make a run for it and right now she really didn’t think that was possible. She was beyond exhausted, her arms and legs were getting tired, she was freezing and unfortunately Chris was right about her clothes. They were making it really hard to stay afloat. She just wanted to find some place warm, curl up and go to sleep.

Chris clenched and unclenched his hands as he glared down at her. “Have you ever heard of a man named Kale Quinn?” he asked through clenched teeth.

“No,” she answered slowly, having a bad feeling that she wasn’t going to like whatever he was about to tell her.

“He is over nine hundred years old,” he said, causing her eyebrows to arch and her mouth to drop. “Most importantly he’s an Alpha who has not shifted to his beast form in centuries. Do you have any idea how much power that takes not to shift?”