Creed's Claim(6)

By: Mina Carter

Joking and giggling, the three women made their way down the town’s main street, heading for the shortcut between the library and the small grocer’s. An alley led to a dirt track that would take them out past the industrial estate to the club. Since it was a nice night, they’d decided to walk.

Well, in Kacie’s case, Kait corrected herself, stagger on the impossibly high heels she wore. She watched her friend with amusement as the other woman navigated a pothole in the path with the same level of wariness normally reserved for bears or mean-ass rattlers. Shaking her head, she carried on walking, her heels rapping on the asphalt as they turned into the small alleyway that led to their destination.

Lilly stiffened beside her, a hand on Kait’s arm to stop her while calling out to Kacie a few steps ahead. “Wait, something’s not right.”

Apprehension swept through Kait as she looked around. The dark alley seemed somehow darker as three forms materialized out of the shadows ahead of them. Men, big men, and from the look of them, not locals.

“Come on,” she muttered softly. “Let’s grab a cab.”

Turning as she spoke, she pulled up quickly as two more men stepped around the corner into the alley, blocking them in. Shit. No going back that way. The looks on their faces were hard, and the set of their bodies reeked of danger and violence. Despite herself, Kait stepped closer to her friends. This was not going to end well.

“Hey there, pretty ladies.” One of the guys in front of them swaggered forward into the dim glow cast by one of the overhead lights. There were only a few on the path, the rest shrouded in shadows. Kait thought fast. If they could slip past, perhaps they could hide in the darkness.

But Lilly’s hand tightened on her arm.

“Don’t run. It’ll make things worse,” she whispered, but her gaze was on the leader in front of them.

“You must be new around here.” Lilly’s voice didn’t betray any fear, and Kait gave her a mental high five. She’d never have been able to sound so self-assured, not while she was basically crapping herself at how they were going to get out of this. “So I suggest you run along before you get yourself into any trouble.”

Trouble? Trouble? Kait shot the other woman a side look. What the hell did she think she was doing threatening these guys with trouble? At the very least they should be screaming and running away.

“Lilly,” she hissed. “Can you not piss them off and perhaps we might get out of this in one piece?”

She reached for her purse, where she usually carried a personal alarm and a can of something. Even hairspray in the eye was better than nothing and might give them a fighting chance. But the space by her hip was empty, her usual purse at home and replaced by an evening clutch.

“Yeah, Lilly,” the asshole who seemed to be in charge drawled. “Perhaps you should listen to your little friend and not piss us off. We’re dangerous when we’re pissed off and unclaimed women answering back tend to piss us off.”

Just like that Kait’s temper went from simmer to boiling over, but Kacie beat her to it. “Oi, jerkwad. Lay off the unclaimed women part. What do you think this is…the Middle fucking Ages?”

Kait felt more than heard Lilly’s intake of breath, and in the next heartbeat, all hell broke loose. The three men in front of them surged forward, snarling like animals with their arms spread and what looked like knives in their hands. Knives. No, they weren’t knives. Knives glinted in the light. They were straight and clean…not twisted inward, and dull colored like bone. And knives had handles, they didn’t erupt from the end of fingers…like claws.

She screamed. “They’ve got claws!”

How the fuck did they have claws? Turning, she tried to run, to escape the darkness of the alley and the trap that had been set for them…only to realize that the other two weren’t following.

“Come on!” she yelled, only to watch as Lilly raced at the nearest guy, who was about to grab Kacie, and body slammed him with a shoulder in the gut. He went down with a snarl, but cruel hands closed over Kait’s upper arms. She screamed again as she was hauled up against a hard body. She didn’t let up on the screams as she fought with all her might.

Jerking her head back, she felt the back of her skull impact with her captor’s nose. It gave with a satisfying crunch but she didn’t stop there. Bringing her knee up, she drove her stiletto heel down into his foot, trying all the time not to think about the fact that they had freaking claws. There was a grunt of pain, and his grip eased enough for her to tear herself loose and run forward.

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