Alpha Province: Puppet Strings

By: Becca Van
Alpha Province: Puppet Strings

After being beaten, stabbed and almost raped by a man she’d been dating, Sage Garland lives in fear when he got off on a technicality. With the trial over and her life threatened, Sage applies for a job at the new Louis Bed and Breakfast in Ambrose, North Dakota.

Tiger shifters, Bladen, Daxon and Cason Fox, know that Sage is their mate as soon as they meet her, but she makes it loud and clear for them to keep their distance. Nevertheless, the three brothers aren’t about to give up.

Sage can’t ignore the sparks flying between them or how much she comes to like them. She eventually agrees to be their mate.

Then Sage is abducted and becomes almost catatonic with grief and fear when she thinks her mates have been killed. What has she got left to live for?




Prologue



Sage Garland stared at the man she’d been dating for three months as he raged at her.

“What the fuck were you thinking?” Stewart McGill shouted as he took a step closer.

Sage was scared but amused at the same time. His face was as red as beetroot, and the veins and tendons were standing out on his forehead and his neck. She wondered if he’d have a stroke before he’d finished his diatribe. He’d spent the last twelve weeks wining and dining her. He’d also started pressuring her to have sex with him, but she’d held off. Now she was thankful she had. The asshole was losing his shit because she’d stopped to talk to a work colleague in the restaurant Stewart had taken her to.

“Are you fucking smirking at me?” Stewart moved until the toes of his shoes were almost touching hers. “You fucking cock-teasing slut.”

Sage cried out as pain exploded in her face. She’d been so intent on staring into his angry brown eyes she hadn’t even seen him raise his hand. She staggered, nearly stumbling to the floor, and was able to steady herself by placing a hand on the wall. She turned to glare at the self-righteous dictatorial bastard. “Get. Out.”

“No, I won’t get out. You owe me, you bitch. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to win you. You don’t fucking talk to other people, other men, when you’re out with me, you dumb cunt. You’re going to fucking pay up if it’s the last thing I do. You fucking owe me, slut.”

Sage glanced about, hoping to find a weapon. If only he hadn’t hit her and backed her into the wall. Now he was between her and the living room furniture. There was a lamp on one of the side tables. She’d have to get past him to get her hands on it, but by the determined angry expression on his face and his aggressive stance, she wouldn’t be going anywhere.

Her only hope was to scream as loudly as she could and hope someone in one of the other apartments heard her and called the police.

When he started moving toward her again, Sage tensed every muscle in her body. If he tried to hit her again, she wasn’t going to just stand there and take it. She would fight that bastard until she had no breath left in her body.

He halted and sneered at her when he was only about a yard or so from her. Sage balled her fists, ready to punch him in the face, but he was a lot bigger and faster than she was. Again, she didn’t see him move, but she certainly felt the pain as his fist punched her in the gut. The pain was incredibly bad, but what was worse was the fact he’d knocked all the air from her lungs and she couldn’t inhale. Agony centered in her chest as tears rolled down her face.

He grasped her tresses in a brutally cruel grip, pulling the strands of hair and making her scalp hurt. Sage punched out toward him with one hand as she raked the nails of her other hand down the back of his wrist, but since she was a chef working with food all day long, she kept her nails short, and they didn’t seem to have any effect on him. Finally able to breathe, she opened her mouth to shout for help but ended up whimpering in pain instead.

When he tugged her away from the wall using her hair as a leash, she had no option but to follow. He kicked her small coffee table out of the way, throwing her down to the floor. Even though she tried to fight back, it was difficult when he was straddling her, with her arms pinned to the floor above her head. Just as she opened her mouth to scream, he gathered both of her wrists in one hand and began to rain blows down on her. No part of her body was off limits. He punched her in the ribs, the chest, the face and even pinched her.

Her ears were ringing, every part of her body was hurting, but he kept right on hitting her. When she realized he wasn’t going to stop, she opened her mouth, sucked in a breath, and screamed for all she was worth.

A blow to the side of her head dazed her, her vision darkening until she thought she was about to pass out. While she was aware of her dress being ripped apart, she was too out of it to care. Searing pain stabbed into her lower belly just above her right hip. The agony was so bad it was all she could do to breathe. Inside she was screaming her head off, and if she did scream out loud, the noise didn’t reach her ears. Something warm and sticky wet her skin, but she couldn’t work out what it was. Her brain had shut down, her head hurting too much to take anything in, to understand what was going on.

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