Series: SWAT, #3
Author: Paige Tyler
Pubdate: December 1st, 2015
He opened his mouth to order her to drop the MP5 she had aimed at him, but nothing would come out. It was like she’d robbed him of the ability to speak. Shooting her wasn’t an option, though. And the idea of arresting her didn’t make him feel any better.
There's a new gang of criminals in town who are organized and ruthless in the extreme. When Eric Becker, along with the rest of the Dallas SWAT team, ends up in the middle of a shootout, he immediately senses werewolves-a lot of them. Turns out, the new bad guys are a pack of wolf shifters.
In a spray of gunfire, Becker comes face-to-face with the most gorgeous woman he's ever seen. Becker does the logical thing. He hides her and leaves the scene with the rest of his team.
Jayna Winston has no idea why that SWAT guy helped her, but she's glad he did. Ever since she and her pack mates got mixed up with those Eastern European mobsters, everything had pretty much fallen apart.
So what's a street-savvy thief like Jayna going to do with a hot alpha-male wolf who's a police officer?
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1L25iPs
This December, Paige Tyler releases the third in her action-packed SWAT series, IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES.
To celebrate, we have the first 5 chapters of IN THE COMPANY OF WOLVES to share with you!
To get you started, we’ve included the first few pages below.
Can’t get enough of SWAT? Sign up for Paige Tyler’s newsletter to receive an exclusive bonus scene on November 23rd.
East Side Detroit, September, 2010
Jayna Winston flinched at the sound of the door slamming against the cheap plaster wall of the apartment’s tiny entryway. Crap. Her stepdad was drunk again. No surprise there. These days, Darren came home drunk almost every night. He was supposed to be looking for work, but unless there was a job hiding under a bar stool down at Hoolie’s, he wasn’t likely to find one anytime soon.
She glanced at her partially opened bedroom window that exited out onto the fire escape. Maybe she should bail and see if she could crash at a friend’s for the night. She didn’t like the idea of walking the streets of Detroit’s East Side this late, but she really wasn’t in the mood to listen to Darren and her mom get in another fight over money and his drinking habits. Darren was a mean drunk, and when her mom started screaming at him about wasting what little money they had, things usually got ugly fast.
Not that her mom was any kind of saint when it came to saving money. The reason she got so pissed about Darren blowing through all the cash was because it hardly left her any to spend on her own vices—lottery tickets with a little crystal meth on the side.
Jayna scrambled off the bed and started for the window but then hesitated. Darren got pissed when she used the fire escape to leave their third-floor apartment. He said it made her look like a dirty hoodlum, sliding down the ladder like that. Not that she cared what people around here thought, but the last time he’d caught her slipping out the window, he’d thrashed her with his belt right out on the street while the neighbors watched.
She was still weighing the odds when she heard Darren swear, immediately followed by her mom’s voice, roughened by a lifetime of smoking unfiltered cigarettes, cussing right back at him.
“Don’t turn your face away from me, you stupid bitch!” Darren’s deep voice was so heavily slurred, it would have been impossible to understand if she didn’t have so much experience at interpreting his drunken rants. “You think you’re too good for me or something? You’re nothing but a meth whore. Get over here!”
“Double crap,” Jayna muttered as she headed for the window.
She was getting the hell out of there. Darren wasn’t only violent when he was drunk; sometimes he was horny too, and now seemed like one of those times. Her stepdad never had a problem smacking her around whenever he felt she deserved it—which was frequently—but he’d never tried anything else. Since she’d turned seventeen a couple weeks ago, he’d started looking at her in a way that made her feel really queasy. Jayna knew that sooner or later, he was going to come sniffing around her. She wasn’t going to hang around and give him a chance to do it tonight.
She was yanking on the window, which got stuck more often than not, when a loud thud resonated from the living room, immediately followed by a sharp cry of pain. She hesitated, but not for long. She’d tried to come to her mom’s defense a few months ago, putting herself in front of Darren and rocking his head back with a slap across his face, only to end up getting hit on the head with a heavy glass ashtray by her mom, who then shouted at Jayna for touching “her man.”
Jayna didn’t think of herself as all that smart—she was barely making it in school—but there were some lessons she only had to learn once. That night had been the last time she ever tried to get between her mom and Darren. Her mom wanted him; she could keep him.
Ignoring the sobbing outside her bedroom door, Jayna tugged on the window again. It broke loose without a sound, and she already had one leg halfway over the sill before she remembered her cell phone.
She pulled her leg back in and darted for her dresser, where her old, battered Nokia was charging. She hated wasting time getting the thing. It had crappy service most of the time anyway. But if she was going to find a place to crash tonight, she’d need her cell. It wasn’t like she’d find a working pay phone around this part of town.
Jayna was shoving the phone in her jeans back pocket when her bedroom door flew open so violently the knob smashed a hole in the wall and sent a cloud of white dust flying. She took one look at Darren’s pissed-off expression and ran for the window as fast as she could. Angry might have been his default expression, but this was different. This time, he looked…hungry.
She didn’t make it far before a heavy hand caught her shoulder. Darren spun her around and gave her a shove, bouncing her off the cheap mirror attached to the wall beside the window. Her right elbow and forearm absorbed most of the impact, hitting the mirror hard enough to shatter it. Something shattered in her arm too, and the stab of pain that shot through it was enough to make tears spring to her eyes.
But she didn’t cry. She’d found out a while ago that crying only made it worse. Darren liked to hear women cry.
Gritting her teeth against the pain, Jayna glared at the piece of crap her mom had brought into their lives. “What do you want?”
Darren eyed her from under heavy lids. “I want you to start pulling your weight around here, girl, that’s what I want.”
Her heart pounded as he moved closer, and she knew this had nothing to do with her cleaning the toilet or taking out the trash. Darren had wanted something else from her for a while, and tonight, he was apparently drunk enough to try to take it. That was never going to happen. She’d die first.
She edged closer to the window. “Stay the hell away from me, you pig!”
If she could get a lead on him, she could get out the window and onto the fire escape. He’d never catch her once she got outside. She was too fast, and he was too clumsy.
But he closed the distance between them faster than she’d ever seen him move, making her wonder just how drunk he really was. Before she could even take a breath to scream, he had his big hand around her throat and was shoving her against the wall. The back of her head bounced off the edge of the mirror frame, and she felt shards of loose glass dig into her back at the same time stars exploded in her vision.
Jayna was still fighting off a creeping wave of blackness when his lips came down on hers and he forced his tongue into her mouth. He tasted of cheap beer and cigarettes, and she bit down hard, jerking away. He bellowed like an angry bear and backhanded her. She fell over the broken remains of her mirror in a heap, pieces of the razor-sharp glass stabbing into her in a dozen different places.
She cried out, kicking at him with her tennis shoes as Darren roughly flipped her over on her back. He ignored her feeble kicks the same way he ignored her wild punches. She screamed then, as loud as she could—not because she thought someone might come to help, but simply because she wasn’t going to let this happen without a fight.
Jayna fought with everything she had, but he was so much stronger than she was. On top of that, her right arm throbbed like hell. It was all she could do to lift it. Worse, the more weight Darren piled on top of her, the deeper the shards of glass from the broken mirror dug into her back.
Crap. Why hadn’t she thought of it before?
Ignoring the pain in her injured arm, she searched blindly on the floor for a piece of mirror she could use as a weapon. Her fingers closed around one, and she cried out as the sharp glass sliced into her hand. But the feel of her belt coming undone drove the sting away, and she swung her hand up, stabbing at anything she could reach.
Darren was so drunk and enraged, he didn’t realize what was happening until she’d slashed his face so hard, the glass crunched under her hand. Blood poured down his face and he bellowed like a wounded animal. But instead of throwing himself off her like she’d hoped, he brought back his fist to punch her.
Knowing a blow like that would end her fight, Jayna tightened her fingers around the piece of mirror and swung at the most vulnerable area she could reach—his neck. The long, jagged piece of glass only stopped when the part she’d been holding broke off in her grasp. The rest was buried in the right side of Darren’s fat neck four inches deep.
He let her go and reached for his neck. Jayna twisted sideways, kicking him in the chest, then crawled out from under him and scrambled to her feet. She staggered toward the window, stumbling when she heard Darren behind her. Oh God, he was still coming!
She grabbed the porcelain Wonder Woman lamp that had been sitting on her nightstand since her real dad had given it to her fifth birthday, spun around, and smashed Darren over the head. The lamp shattered, and Darren slumped to the floor with the pieces.
Jayna looked around. There was a lot of blood on the floor, both hers and Darren’s. But she was still standing, and he wasn’t.
A sound from the doorway startled her out of her daze, and she lifted her head to see her mom standing staring at her in horror.
“What did you do?” her mother demanded, running to Darren’s side and kneeling down beside him.
Jayna didn’t try to explain. Her mom wouldn’t listen or care. Darren was still breathing, but Jayna had no idea if he was going to stay that way. The cops might believe she’d been defending herself, or they might not. She’d never had much faith in cops. They weren’t interested in helping people like her.
This wasn’t something she could get out of by spending the night at a friend’s house either. She had to get away from there.
Jayna stepped around her mom, who was still blubbering and fussing over the unconscious Darren, and grabbed the charger for her phone. Then she scooped up the small amount of money she had in her sock drawer and headed for the window. Her mom didn’t even say anything to her as she climbed out.
Jayna stood on the fire escape, afraid she’d take a header down the steps if she didn’t. But she felt surprisingly steady considering what had just happened. Her hand was barely bleeding and her arm didn’t hurt nearly as bad as before.
Maybe it was shock, she mused as she climbed down the fire escape. Or maybe she was simply a whole hell of lot tougher than she ever thought she could be.
“Damn right you’re tough,” she muttered, almost believing it as the pain in her arm and hand receded a little more with each step. “You don’t need anyone to make it on your own.”