Read Claiming Their Cat Online

Authors: Maggie O'Malley

Tags: #Romance, #Erotic, #Suspense, #paranormal, #Werewolf, #menage

Claiming Their Cat (4 page)

Chapter Three





was warm, so warm. She must have died sometime during the night and gone to hell. What was she saying? She was alive and living in hell, running from a madman. Wait. She’d run right into another madman last night—Rabid Rio.

“Go back to sleep.”

voice whisper
against her hair. Her eyes flew open when a big heavy arm
her middle
pulling her to a very naked body. She was naked
too. This was not good.
held her breath when he splayed his hand over her belly. She had to get out of here.

“Don’t make me get up to chase you.”

She tugged against his restraint. “You don’t have to get up at all. Stay in bed all day for all I care. Now
let me go.”

He removed his hand
and she scrambled off the
small bed
, taking the blanket with her. She turned around to see if he w
her. Thanks to the pink hues flooding the room, she saw him lounging on the cot wearing nothing but a…hard on. He leaned up on his arm and dragged a huge hand through his shoulder-length black hair. To save her life, she couldn’t pull her eyes from his body. God, he was beautiful…for a man. His tanned skinned contrasted with the stark white concrete block wall and the white sheet. Corded muscle covered long, powerful legs, his belly tight and ripped. And based on the size of that cot, he had been holding her to keep her from falling off.

“Are you done ogling me?”

She blinked.
Get a grip, Cat.
The guy you’re drooling over is a killer.

Of course not
.” Heat rushed her cheeks. Pushing him from her mind, she glanced around until she found her backpack sitting on the floor near a door. As she made her way across the cold tile floor,
cool air
that she only w
a blanket. She spun around when she heard the cot creak, thinking he was coming after her. He sat on the bed, his long legs looking even longer on the short cot. And that wasn’t the only long thing. He scratched his belly.

“Morning wood.

Cat b
linked. “What?”

“It’s morning wood.”

“I don’t know what that…means.”

He hitched one dark brow.
“Were you raised in a convent?”

His words stung, but what would she expect from a killer. Subtly wasn’t what Rabid Rio was known for. “No.”

“Morning wood means I’ve got a hard on because I was sleeping. And I’ve got to piss.”

Her face flamed even more. “Well, don’t let me stop you. Go piss.”

“You want to go first?”

Pissing on a bush was
an art that she
perfected of late
, so passing on the real thing was out of the question
. She nodded and
pointed to the door. She tinkled a little bit, and it was dark yellow
—not a good sign
. She needed more fluids.
ing her
she snatched
several of the paper towels and bunched them in the grip off her sheet. At least she’d have something to wipe with at the next bush.

opened the door and moved away from him. He stood and stretched like a lethal creature, so much bigger
the he was the night before
. Maybe because she could see all th
muscle that bunched and
as he disappeared into the bathroom. Nice ass too. She wasted no time changing into her remaining pair of sweats and t-shirt. Pain from putting on her shoes almost made her cry out, but staying here was out of the question. Time to go before Mr. Rabid came back.

There were two other doors, and she had no idea if one went out the back or not, but that’s where she wanted to go. After mentally flipping a coin, she opened the one closest to her, which turned out to be the kitchen. But maybe that wasn’t a bad thing, since her belly decided to protest loudly. And her baby had to be hungry.

Cat rummaged through the industrial fridge, snatching
water bottles and a few biscuits. After taking a big bite of a cold, dry biscuit, she stuffed it all in her pack. She grabbed two large kitchen knives and tossed them in too. Moving into the diner, she snatched the ticket book and scrawled

IOU $15 for the food.

Maybe one day, she’d get the opportunity to repay the debt—if she lived long enough.

The rattling of keys at the front door caused her heart to stop. The older man from last night opened the door and stepped in. “Mornin’,” he said with a smile on his face. “Name’s Fred, by the way.”

“Ah, good morning to you
, Fred
And I’m not telling you my name.
Redness crawled up her face when she thought of stealing from this man. “I need to leave.”

The old man raised an eyebrow. “Before breakfast? That’s not a good thing for you and your baby.”

He knew.

“Trust me, sir. You’ll be better off the farther away I am from you.” She could see the doubt in his eyes.

“You’re coming with me,” a voice boomed behind her, causing her to jump out of her skin.

She spun, and without thinking, she had her hand in her pack, fingers wrapped around the
hilt of a knife. She moved away from Rabid Rio and pulled the knife out.
God, Cat. Pulling a knife on him was probably the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.
She cocked her head to the side. Wait a second. She’d shoved a steak knife into him last night when he attacked her in the rain. All the way up to her hand. Why wasn’t he in the hospital?

Rio stood before her wearing only a pair of jeans that rode low on his narrow hips with a pistol casually shoved down the front. There wasn’t a bandage there. Did she dream she’d stabbed him?

A forward step by him sent her back. He scowl
. His nostrils flared
lethal animal stalking his prey.

“You have a thing for knives, and you don’t even know how to hold one,” Rio said.

She bit her lip to keep from telling him to kiss her ass. “Well, I’ll trade you my knife for your gun.”

Rio’s lips quirked.
Was that the only smile he could muster?
He held his hands out and moved toward her. She moved back from Rio and the old man, putting herself in a corner with no way out. She briefly glanced at the old man hoping to see a way to knock him on his ass without hurting him and escape through the door. Assaulting the elderly wasn’t something she did on a regular basis
, b
ut she’d do anything to survive.

“I need to leave…alone. It’s not safe for anyone to be around me. Alvarez wants me, and he’ll kill both of you just because I spoke with you.”

“I ain’t worried about Alvarez. I’ll kill him when the time comes.”

She blinked.
What? Was he insane? Was that before or after he collected the reward?
“He’s got more money than God, more armed men than the military, and more spies than…oh…I don’t know…something. No one’s that good, not even you, Rabid Rio.”

A frown marred is handsome face.
What? He didn’t like being called rabid?

“You let me handle him. You need to calm down, eat, and take care of your baby.”

Was he dense?
“No. I’ve only been a half a step ahead of him the whole time, and since you shot me up with something, I’ve lost enough time already.” She shifted the knife towards the old man. “I’m begging you to let me pass.”

“I’ll let you go anywhere you want,” said
. “But I’m pretty sure Rio ain’t of that same mindset. This is between you two, but let me tell you one thing. Rio will protect you and your kid, but you have to trust him. Now, I’m going to start breakfast. My belly’s growling just like yours.”

The old man moved toward the kitchen, but Rio
to cut her off from the door.

Trust Rabid Rio? When hell
ice cubes
“Don’t make me stab you again.”

His eyes glittered. “Are you sure you got me last night?”

“I remember stabbing you before you assaulted me, and I’ll do it again.”

“Maybe you did. Maybe you didn’t. I don’t want to hurt you
and I don’t want you to hurt yourself or your baby.”

“Of course you don’t want to hurt me. You want to take me back to Alvarez and collect the reward.”

“I’m not taking you back to him, and I don’t need any more money.”

No, she reckoned he didn’t
any more money since
Alvarez and others paid him so handsomely
to do the dirty work. But that didn’t mean he wouldn’t collect it anyway. Hell, he’d probably turn her in just to stay in Alvarez’s good graces.

“I’ll die before I go back.”

Something frightening flashed across his face, and in a skinny minute, the knife flew from her hand and she found herself plastered against his big hard body. He apparently moved when she blinked her eyes, because she certainly didn’t see him move.

“That won’t be necessary, because you’re never going back to Alvarez.”

He jerked a chair out from the table, spun her around, and sat down. Then he pulled her in his lap.

“What are you doing?”

“Holding you down until breakfast is done. I think it will be safer this way.”

His body was so hard against her back; she couldn’t even wiggle, “Let me go, you bastard.”

“No. Be still and don’t hurt yourself or your

Baby. Why was he so concerned about her
? Nobody cared about her
but her, and she wasn’t about to trust a
killer. “I realize you think that you’re invincible, that you’re too mean for somebody to kill, but you’re not.” Her bottom lip quivered. Damn it. She would not cry. Rabid Rio would die bec
ause he was stupid and stubborn. Why should she care?

Of course, she had to ask herself how many people had died because of her. She didn’t care if Rio croaked, but she didn’t really want the old man to suffer. He seemed to be a nice gentleman.

“Kick off your shoes.”


“Your shoes. Can’t have those sores getting infected.”

“I’m not kicking my shoes off.”
Because I’ll need them to run from you
. “I’ve only been one step ahead of Alvarez since I started…running.”

“How long you been running?”

Oh, what would it hurt to tell him? “I’ve been running for six days, and somehow,
I run, someone always shows up, sometimes within hours.”

stiffened behind her. She yelped when he swung her up in his arms and marched outside to his truck. “What the hell are you doing?”

dropped her on her feet and pain shot through her blisters. He snatched her backpack from her shoulder. After fumbling around in the back seat of his truck, he pulled out a black wand
, switched it on, and ran it over her backpack. Dropping her pack, he waved it up her body starting at her legs.

The man had gone off the deep end, and he was taking her over the edge with him. “Are we taking a flight?”

He moved behind her, started at her butt, and scanned up. Beep. Beep. Beep. “What is that? What does that beeping mean?”

“It means you’re wearing a microchip.”

“A what?”

“Alvarez inserted a tracking device in your shoulder. Do you remember him doing it?”

“I would have remembered someone sticking me in the back.”

He moved his fingers around her shoulder and then stopped on her shoulder blade. “It’s small and would have been delivered with a syringe. And where it’s placed you can’t reach it with your hand.”

Rio whipped her around so fast she had to wait until her eyes caught up with her head. He grabbed both of her arms. “Think. Did you get drunk and pass out one night?”

His words hurt her…again, but the why was totally eluding her. It was apparent that Rio had no tact, but if you were as big and scary as he was, he didn’t need it. “I don’t even drink, you moron.”

“Okay, did you take a sleeping pill one night?”

“No, I wouldn’t harm my baby.” Did he think she was careless with another life?

“Okay, did you go to bed early one night because you were sleepy or didn’t feel good?

“No, no, no…” She stopped and cocked her head to the side. “Wait a second. About three months ago, I did go to bed early because I was so tired.”

“He probably drugged you and then inserted it while you slept.”

Would Alvarez risk
child in order to inject her with a tracking device? Probably. He couldn’t lose his heir. Alvarez was paranoid, would shoot people just to keep the other people in line. Several of the girls who he had tried to get pregnant just disappeared and the rumors were that they were dumped in the middle of the wilderness alive. Several men hunted them like animals, and whoever captured the woman was allowed to do—whatever. A cold fear swept through her. Did Rabid Rio participate in this? Did he hunt, rape and then kill these poor girls when he was finished with them? Her gut said he probably was the winner most of the time.

Rio stooped, picked up her bag, and slung it in the cab. And before she could guess his next move, he scooped her up and headed back in the diner.

He set her on her feet. “Fred, bring me the medical kit that has a surgical scalpel. I think it’s the red one.”

Her knees buckled and he caught her by the arm to steady her. He whipped a chair around and bumped it against her
. “Here
sit down before you fall.” His words were so harsh they scraped against her soul. Hormones. It must be the hormones. Why did his words affect her so? It wasn’t like she even cared whether he approved of her or not.

Damn it. Her lower lip quivered. No, this can’t be happening.
I will not cry
. And she didn’t when the old man came out with a surgical knife. “Oh, I think I’m gonna be sick.” Fred whipped out a trashcan from under the counter and had it between her legs. She dry heaved several times, but nothing came up.

When she sat up, Fred handed her a wet paper towel. “Thanks.”

“No problem. Now, who wants the knife?” There was a gleam in his eye when he said it. She held out her hand, and Fred cocked a brow.

“She’s got a microchip in her shoulder. It has to come out and then we all need to get out of here.”

A frown crossed Fred’s face. “I’ll pack us some breakfast. What are you going to do with your stash?”

“I’ll throw it in the back of the truck.” After Fred left, Rio turned to her. “What’s your name?”

She looked up at him. He stood still as death, eyeing her with those cold, black eyes. Again, it was a demand. She hated demands. “You don’t need to know my name. Just get that damned thing out and let me go.”

“I want to know your name.”


“Because it will be easier to talk to you if I know what to call you.”

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