Home > Savage Urges (The Phoenix Pack #5)

Savage Urges (The Phoenix Pack #5)
Author: Suzanne Wright

CHAPTER ONE


Finding an unconscious shifter on your doorstep was a definite buzzkill.

Frowning in surprise, Makenna Wray double-blinked, half expecting him to disappear. Nope, he was still there, which just went to prove that Friday the thirteenth really was an unlucky day.

She gently toed the male body, which smelled strongly of wolf. No response. She squatted beside him, only then realizing he was just a kid. He looked approximately sixteen, but his scent wasn’t ripe enough for that age. There was a small pool of blood by his head, but nothing that would indicate an injury he wouldn’t quickly heal from, given that he was a shifter. There was also some vomit on his clothes, but it would seem that he’d spewed up elsewhere.

Given all the facts, she suspected that he’d tumbled down the steps that led to her basement apartment. She might have worried that he’d been pushed, but she could scent two other things. Beer and drugs. As such, it was likely that he’d fallen in his drunken, drugged-up state and knocked himself clean out. Idiot.

Normally, she’d be unsure of what to do next. Of course, she knew what society dictated she should do: check that the stranger was alive and call for help. Well, she could hear his heartbeat clearly enough, so she could cross the first off the list. As for calling for help . . . that part wasn’t so simple.

Packs were insular and private. They understandably didn’t like outsiders knowing or involving themselves in their business—especially lone shifters like herself. And Makenna wasn’t fond of the idea of having strangers in her home; it was essentially her territory, and she was naturally protective of it.

So yeah, she’d ordinarily be hesitant in getting involved in a shifter pack’s business. But as she took in the kid’s rumpled clothes, undernourished appearance, and the distinctive musty smell typical of a homeless shifter, Makenna wondered if, in fact, she was looking at another lone wolf.

Of course she could be wrong. In any case, she couldn’t leave him out here. This wasn’t a good area for unconscious people—hell, it wasn’t a good area for conscious people. And the truth was she was a sucker for a person in trouble.

Once she’d unlocked her front door, Makenna slipped her arms under the kid’s armpits and dragged him through her small apartment to her bathroom, where she dumped him in the shower.

Then she turned on the cold water.

He sputtered to life, shaking his head and coughing. He tried to stand, but his legs buckled. Wild, stunned, bloodshot eyes settled on her. “Who the hell are you?”

“I’m the person who found you unconscious on my doorstep,” she replied dryly. “Who the hell are you?”

He squinted. “You did?” The wildness faded from his eyes, revealing an inner turmoil that she could have related to at his age.

Taking pity on him, she turned off the water. “How’s your head?”

He touched the back of his head and then winced. “A little sore.” His nostrils flared. “You’re a shifter. A wolf.”

“Yes. And you didn’t answer my question. Who are you?”

He regarded her warily. “Zac.”

“I’m Makenna. Why did you come here tonight?”

“I don’t remember how I got here.” He ran a jerky hand over his tangled hair. “I was at a party. A fight broke out there, so I left and . . .” He trailed off, slanting her a suspicious glance. “I guess I took a wrong turn somewhere on my way home.” He struggled to his feet. “I have to get back. My pack will be wondering where I am.”

“You’re a loner, aren’t you?”

Loners had a bad reputation among shifters and were generally distrusted. Some shifters chose the lone wolf lifestyle, but some had no choice. In any case, it wasn’t a pretty fate. They were thought to be on their own because they were banished from their packs for committing awful, heinous crimes. And without the safety of a pack, they became easy prey for other shifters, so a number of them became assassins for hire to earn money and protection. But being in a pack wasn’t always a good thing, and it didn’t necessarily make a person any safer from harm.

Panic flashed across Zac’s face. “No, of course not.”

“That party you went to . . . Let me guess, it was Tariq’s party.”

His mouth pressed into a thin line. “You know Tariq?”

“I know Tariq.” He was a shithead who recruited loners to work for him. “You should stay away from him.”

Zac bristled. “He’s my friend.”

“Because he gave you alcohol, drugs, food, and somewhere to stay? That’s what Tariq does. He finds loners like yourself, he gives them all those things, makes them feel like part of a group . . . then suddenly he announces, ‘Hey, those things weren’t freebies. Now you owe me.’ Trust me when I say the jobs he’d ask you to do wouldn’t be fun.”

“How do you know?”

“I’ve helped a lot of his recruits over the years.”

His eyes narrowed in suspicion. “Why would you help loners?”

“Because I’m a loner too. Someone helped me. And now I’m going to help you.” Earlier that day, she had helped a ten-year-old loner move to a pack consisting of his extended family—hence Makenna’s happy “buzz” that had disappeared on finding Zac on her doorstep.

“How?”

“I’m going to take you to a safe place.”

Zac snickered. “There’s no such thing.”

“I won’t ask you to trust me. You have no reason to. All I ask is that you come with me somewhere.”

He licked his chapped lips. “Yeah? Where?”

“It’s a shelter for loners, you’ll be safe there. If you don’t want to stay, you don’t have to. But if you want food, fresh clothes, and a bed, you’ll find all those things there.”

“What’s the catch?”

“You at least take a shower, because you absolutely reek.”

His mouth twitched into the smallest smile for a mere second. He was a good-looking kid. “I don’t have to stay there?”

She shook her head. “In fact, you could just stay long enough to eat, shower, and change into clean clothes. But if you go back to Tariq, your life will become worse than anything that ever came before. Believe that, if nothing else.”

For a moment, he was silent. “I’ll go with you.”

“Right decision.”

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

Stalking people was so boring.

At least the view was attractive. Smoky black eyes, a strong jaw, broad shoulders, and impressive abs that she could see right through his dark-gray tee. The angles of his face were hard, rough, and dangerous, matching his menacing frown. He was incredibly hot, if you liked the broody, rugged type, which Makenna totally did. Especially when that male exuded strength and confidence with every step he took.

Ryan Conner.

Whenever she found potential guardians for loners, she researched them, scouting the Internet for information and asking questions of her many sources. The guy was a respected enforcer within a powerful pack and was well known for being a seriously talented tracker. All good things. He’d been described as stoic, dauntless, cold. But Makenna often had feelings about people—she was good at reading them, good at seeing past masks and shields—and she had a very good feeling about Ryan Conner.

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