The rumble of an engine hummed through the back of Saxon’s skull, dragging him into consciousness. He blinked up at the ceiling, trying to make sense of where he was and what was happening to him. But no matter how much he tried to focus on his surroundings, his mind was too sluggish to keep up.
A bump in the road’s surface brought a sharp, distinct ache to his shoulders. He held back the groan when a gentle tug confirmed his arms were tied behind his back. He tried to separate his wrists, testing the tightness of his bonds. He could feel the tell-tale bite of a cable tie around his wrists, and although he should have been able to break the plastic easily, Saxon struggled to do just that.
Over the sound of the engine, there were two voices. One belonged to Mark, the bastard who had seemingly fooled him and the entire Helheim pack into believing he was the victim of an accidental biting by a rogue wolf.
Mark had also been the one to shoot Saxon with the tranquilizer dart that was now incapacitating him.
“This is a mistake, Vivian,” Mark said, his voice tense. “He wasn’t who we needed.”
Saxon tilted his head back, straining to hear the conversation over the whir of the motor and the rush of asphalt racing beneath the chassis. The woman replied, but he couldn’t make out the words.
“—need to kill—” Mark spoke again, and Saxon’s heart raced in response to the cold tone of the other male’s voice.
“We can still use him,” the woman, Vivian, replied in a dark purr. Saxon had never heard her voice before, and he certainly didn’t recognize her scent.
With his heart still pounding in his ears, Saxon knew he had to find a way out of there. His gaze slid to either side of his body, inspecting his surroundings. It looked as if he was in the back of a utility van – a brand new one judging by the new car smell still clinging to the upholstery on the front seats.
Saxon tried to bend his legs, but his range of movement was limited thanks to the matching set of cable ties on his ankles. They’d been tightened until the circulation was severed, making his toes numb.
Even if he were able to get the ties off, he wouldn’t make it very far on foot. His shoes had been taken off, and the bottom of his jeans had been hacked away, leaving his lower leg – from his knees to his ankles – exposed. He already knew he wouldn’t be able to shift with the drug cocktail floating in his bloodstream.
The van slowed down, veering to the right as it took an exit. Time was ticking away. Saxon had to find a way out, or at least be prepared for when they stopped, because he would come out fighting.
The road they were driving on now was far more rutted than the last, the bumps jarring Saxon’s arms, sending the pain roaring through his overstrained shoulder joints. He counted the turns they took, making a mental note of them in case he had to retrace his steps to escape.
He heard a dog barking—a big dog by the sound of it—kept in the yard behind a chain link fence which rattled with every booming bark.
The van slowed down to a crawl, bouncing over a deep curb before gravel began pinging the undercarriage. The engine cut, then both doors opened. Playing possum, Saxon closed his eyes and lay still, ignoring the unnatural angle of his arms and the pain radiating out of them. The rear sliding side door opened, cold air rushing into the back and bringing with it the smell of pine needles and fresh snow.
“He’s still unconscious. How much did you give him?” Vivian asked.
“He should come around soon,” Mark replied.
A strong hand landed on his shoulder, pulling Saxon up. He was hoisted up onto Mark’s shoulders, his head thumping against the small of the guy’s back. Saxon was carried up a few steps, which creaked under their combined weight, and taken into a room that smelled of mildew.
“Where do you want him?” Mark asked.
“Against the wall, there.”
A moment later, Saxon was dropped onto a hardwood floor. He couldn’t stop the groan that erupted from his lips as the movement jostled his arms.
“What the fuck?” Mark said.
Saxon opened his eyes and stared at the double-crossing bastard. “I’m going to skin you alive,” he growled, meaning every damn word.
Mark’s wolf shifted impatiently behind his eyes. “You’re not really in any position to make threats.”
“I’m not threatening,” Saxon replied. “I’m making you a goddamn promise.”
The guy actually had the nerve to grin. “The last I checked, you were the one tied up.”
“Stop talking and tranquilize him again, Kade.”
Vivian handed Kade a small syringe. Saxon tried to jerk away, but it was useless. There was a sharp pinch on his thigh, then darkness chased away the light.