Chapter Twenty Eight

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Word Count: 1623


My heartrate never slowed.

Rushing outside, I slide into Chase's car, looking over my shoulder at every opportunity. As I shove the key into the ignition, I pray Chase won't wake up and come out here to drag me back inside to punish me. Who knows what he would do if he woke up to see that I was gone.

Turning the key, the car hisses and roars, however, fails to turn on. I try again, harder this time, but nothing seems to be working.

"Shit," I curse under my breath, looking back toward the cabin. No movement comes from inside, although that doesn't stop me from assuming Chase might have woken at the sound of the car attempting to start.

Suddenly, the car sputters a few times before starting up, the engine purring. Relief consumes me, but I don't dwell on it too long. Putting the car into reverse, I back down the driveway quickly before I reach the road. Then, I put my foot down, wanting to put as much distance between that house and Chase and me.

I can't let him catch me.

Creeping down the mountain, I try gain control over myself and my nerves. I'm not sure where I'm going, or even where I am. If I wanted to go back to the Loyalty Pack, I wouldn't know where to go. I'm not planning on going home anyway. I need fix this first.

Fate turned against me as snow began to fall in a flurry of thick flakes, hitting the windshield as I drove.

As if a blessing was answered, a small village appeared at the foot of the hill, buttery yellow lights glinting and glowing as I approached. I don't remember Chase driving through here, meaning I must have taken a wrong turn. Regardless, I'm grateful, hoping someone will have directions for me in one of these stores.

Pulling up outside a small storefront, I shiver. I'm still wearing Chase's leather coat, which I peel off. It looks odd on me, and I don't want the people of this village to think I'm about to harm them. Plus, I don't want to be touching anything of his, no matter how cold it might be.

Well, no point waiting around.

Pushing the door open of the car, I emerge into the snowstorm, cold wind whipping against my bare arms and face. I rush through the bitter chill toward the store.

Bursting it open, I hear the tingle of the bell above my head. Everyone in the store startles at my entrance. Here I am, shivering, dusting snowflakes off my arms. Even my teeth chatter, especially seeing the lavish coats hung up in the storefront I can't afford.

I catch a glance of myself in a mirror behind the store counter. I look crazed, my hair dusted with snow, blood strands sticking up everywhere from being tied to a bedpost and transported across the country. Even my eyes look sallow from disrupted sleep, my skin flushed pink from the cold.

"Can I help you, love?" an aged voice sounds from behind the counter. It's an elderly woman stepping toward me cautiously, looking concerned.

Blinking a few times, I almost forget why I'm here.

"I need directions. I'm lost," I croak, looking at the other ladies in the shop who stare. Once they notice me looking, they cast their attention pack to store racks, pretending they weren't scrutinizing me.

"And cold. Look at you!" the older lady says, plucking a beautiful scarlet red coat lined with thick animal pelt. She passes it to me, which I gratefully put on. "Keep the coat. You poor girl, how did you get here? Where are you going, and what do you need directions for? You came to the right place."

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