Page 44 of Wolf's Mate

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Sven shakes his head in disapproval. He walks over to me, then without a single word, presses the burning end of the cigarette on the bare skin of my hand.

“Aaaaaaaaargh!” I scream at the top of my lungs, as it burns through my flesh. “You fucker!”

He pulls it away, as the small red circle remains, reminding me of his anger. But, there’s more of it to come. I know it.

I breathe heavily, as the pain subsides.

“It was with Hugo,” Sven continues. “We know it was in his safe. The problem is that it’s not there anymore, and Hugo… well, let’s just say Hugo isn’t talking anymore.”

“Is he… dead?”

“That’s part of the surprise. And, I can’t ruin the surprise.”

“What surprise?”

“Didn’t I just say I can’t ruin it?” he chuckles again, finishing the cigarette, then stomping on it with his foot.

“Why don’t you just kill me and get it over with?” I growl at him again, angered that they took me out so easily.

Then, it hits me. If they went inside our hideout, where was Fynn? Wasn’t he supposed to be watching the place? What was he doing?

“It’s more fun this way,” he tells me. “Besides, there is a point to all this. You’ll see. Also, I’m told not to harm you. At least not until we wrap this up properly. Then, my hands get untied and I go crazy!”

He doesn’t need to say that twice. No one wants to be around when Sven is allowed, and actually encouraged, to go crazy. All I can hope for is that Fynn won’t be enough of a fool to actually come here on his own, looking for me.

I shake the chair a little more, but I know there’s no point. Sven doesn’t make such mistakes of using wobbly chairs or tying up his victims loosely. He’s way too meticulous for that.

“Like I said, you should save your strength for later,” he reminds me.

“You won’t get away with this.”

This sounds like some cheesy, worn out line from a movie, but at the moment, that’s all I can come up with. And, Sven knows it. He just stares at me, then bends down, hands on his knees, and starts laughing his ass off. He laughs for a while like that, the whole place echoing, then he finally straightens.

“That one was really good, Anderson. Got any more cliché movie lines?”

I don’t grace that with a reply.

“Silence?” he wonders. “Alright. I grow tired of this anyway. I’m just supposed to watch you until you wake up. Then, one of the thugs takes over. I’ve got business to attend to.”

He heads over to the door, slamming it shut after him. My mind races, as I look around, trying to find something to use as a means of escape. It’s a big, empty room. Probably used to be the boiler room, as there are several pipes still hanging from the ceiling and from the walls. The floor has been stripped of any flooring. It’s bare cement now.

I look at the chair. Pretty sturdy, with strong legs and back. The rope is tight, double knotted. If I had been awake while they were tying me up, I would have remembered to inhale deeply and enlarge my frame, which could have made wriggling out of these ropes easier. Now, they’re tightly wound around me.

Fuck. Fuck. I have to wait for the first opportunity to get free. Only how?

At that moment, the door opens, and an unfamiliar face walks in. It’s swollen from too much alcohol and drugs, probably. The guy is dressed all in black, and he doesn’t walk over to me. He just stops by the door and crosses his arms in front of his chest, giving me an orangutan look.

Now I get it. He’s the thug. Thugs usually don’t talk. They just beat the crap out of you.

I exhale loudly. This guy probably has instructions not to get near me, not to talk to me, not even to acknowledge me. But, I know a way he’d be forced to get near me.

I inhale deeply once more, preparing myself for the pain that’s about to follow. But, I can’t wait for Sven to return and find me in the same spot. I might not get up from this chair alive.

I remember the last time I was out of breath. It was a particularly dangerous mission, during which Fynn and I got separated. I was the first to stumble onto our target, only no one told us that the guy was a fucking bear shifter with hands the size of a football. He grabbed me by the neck and shoved me against the wall, pressing hard. At one point, I saw stars. Just darkness, with tiny freckles of light, and I thought I was a goner. Fynn smashed a brick on the guy’s head, and knocked him out cold. Needless to say, it took me a while to start talking properly again after that.

But, that is what I need to do now. Put on a show. The fucking show of my life.

I start coughing at first, expelling more air than I take in, to make it more believable. The guy turns to look at me curiously, but he doesn’t budge. Still. I start taking short, wheezy breaths, again expelling more air out of my lungs, purposefully making myself suffocate, or at least sound like I’m suffocating. I tighten my jaw, then open my mouth wide. I try to envision those same hands around my neck, and surprisingly, it’s not that hard. I guess you never forget some things.