Crash (Westside Wolf Pack) Chapter One Sneak Peek!

Hey everyone!

I'm back from my trip to Colorado. It was long and tiring, but I got a lot of ideas while I was there. I'm finishing up the final polish on Crash (West Side Wolf Pack), and it will be out by this Tuesday, July 2nd.

Here's a look at the first chapter. I'll also send out a peek at the second chapter of Crash to my mailing list after the book comes out on Tuesday.




Axel Cross’s middle name was fuck-up.
Or it should’ve been. Instead it was something else, William, Ben remembered, as he stepped out of his car and looked at the bar hunched on the corner of the street. Axel was the last person Ben should’ve wanted to see on his final night in town; so, of course, he was first on the omega’s very short list.
The music from The Den thumped all the way out onto the street – the steady beat of the bass line rocking under Ben’s sneakers. He smoothed his hands over his button-up shirt (thrifted J. Crew), and took a deep breath before he stepped closer. A few of the patrons on the street eyed the small wolf, like they always did, and Ben fought the knot in his stomach that told him he didn’t belong here.
It was just like walking past the cool kids in high school; only he’d graduated five years ago. How did that same sensation overtake him after all this time?
Well, he didn’t seem like the type to hang out in places like this. With a freshly laundered shirt (classic white with blue stripes) and those jeans that fit his slender frame perfectly, he looked like he should be headed to work, not into a seedy bar on the wrong side of Pittsburg.
Then again, as far as Ben was concerned, Pittsburg didn’t have a right side.
As he neared the door, Cary Lewis slipped in front of it. She looked worse than she had senior year. Her blonde hair was messy and eyeliner smudged her eyes so she looked like a raccoon. Yeah, she was all kinds of classy – for a meth head.
Ben plastered a smile on his face and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Cary. Long time. You look well.”
Her eyes drooped, and she smiled. “Hey, Benny Boy. Whatcha doing over here? Haven’t seen you at the Den in a while. You looking for something?” Her fingers wandered between her breasts. The black bra peeked out from under the white tank top, leaving nothing to the imagination – if Ben’s imagination turned in that direction, which it didn't.
“Not you, honey,” he said and reached for the door.
“Oh, fuck! You’re a faggot, aren’t you? Good luck in there. You’d do better at the Hive, unless you wanna get your ass beat.”
Ben ignored her as he walked inside and flashed his I.D. at the bouncer. She didn’t know any better, and she was as high as the fucking moon at the moment. Plus, she didn’t understand the truth.
Most humans didn’t.
The music wasn’t as loud inside as it sounded from the street, but the beat of the bass still rocked his every step. He didn't recognize the song. It sounded more like screaming than actual music, but the regulars didn’t seem to mind.
No one even looked up when he stepped in, and Ben fought the urge to wrinkle his nose. How did Daniel stand the stench? Unwashed bodies, smoke and the astringent reek of alcohol filled the stale air, undercut by the vague smell of Pine Sol and vomit. Lovely.
Ben scanned the crowd, keeping his face as neutral as possible. He was just looking around, trying to find his brother. He was not hoping to catch one last glimpse of Axel – not at all. Even if it may be the last time Ben would ever see his former friend. It was for the best that the omega was leaving town, but one final look couldn’t hurt.
Then he spotted Axel at the pool table in the corner. Yeah, Ben really should’ve known that’s where he’d be.
Axel leaned against his cue, his taut, muscular arms covered in tattoos. The taller wolf watched his opponent take a turn, his bright amber eyes scanning the table as his tongue played with the ring on his bottom lip. That was new – at least Axel hadn’t had it the last time Ben saw him about five months before.
The alpha scion was dressed in all black, a wife beater and jeans with a pair of grubby Converse on his feet. High tops, naturally.
The sight of him knocked the breath from Ben’s lungs, and the omega tried not to stare.
Then Axel stood up straight and leaned over the table. The light reflected off the edge of his hair, and it burned like it was on fire. He narrowed his eyes as he took the shot, pocketing three balls at once. When he looked up, he caught Ben’s eye and they stared at each other for a long moment.
All the sounds in the Den faded, as if just the two of them existed. Then Axel’s eyes narrowed into a glare. Ben smiled and put his hand up. Why not? He didn’t have anything left to lose since he was as good as gone.
Even if Axel hated Ben now, there was a time he hadn’t. There was a time they’d been best friends, even if it seemed like ages ago.
Axel was the first to break eye contact. He took a long swig of his beer and moved to the other side of the pool table, putting his perfect ass in full view.
Ben sighed and tore his own gaze away. He came here to see Daniel, not to pine over guys he couldn’t have.
A new song beat through the speakers as Ben strolled up to the bar. Daniel must’ve caught his scent, because he turned immediately and a grin spread over his lips. They looked alike, everyone always said, but Ben didn’t see it. Daniel was at least four inches taller, and he was built like a bull. If they’d been in a smaller city, he was the type who could easily reach beta or even alpha status.
On the other hand, Ben looked like a sketch of his older brother. Sure they both had the same dark hair and bright blue eyes, but Ben was slight where Daniel was strong. Short where Daniel was tall, and pretty where Daniel was handsome.
“You made it! Ma said you’d try if you weren’t too busy.”
Ben glanced at the bar littered with crumbs and spilt beer and decided to keep his hands in his pockets. “I’d always make time for you.”
Especially since Ben had no idea when he’d be back – maybe never, if things worked out the way the omega wanted.
Daniel nodded and grabbed a beer, popping the top. “On the house, kid,” he said and his eyes misted over. For a big guy, he sure got emotional easily. “You know we all wish there was another way.”
Ben nodded and schooled his face into a neutral expression. If he looked too happy they’d know how the new turn of events thrilled him more than upset him – and letting on how he longed to be free of the stifling wolf pack he’d lived under his whole life, wouldn’t go over well. Magnus might even change his mind.
“I know. Ma keeps telling me the same thing.”
Daniel nodded and swiped a wet cloth over the bar. “And dad? What’d he say?”
Ben shrugged at his older brother. “He thinks it’s bullshit and says I should stay with the family because my mate should be local. No member of the pack has left this territory in a hundred years, or something like that.”
The grin returned to Daniel’s face, and he chuckled. “Sounds like him. He’s just worried about you. We all are. What if the Baton Rouge pack isn’t as friendly as Magnus claims?”
“It’s not like it could be worse over there than it is here.” Ben was already an omega. They couldn’t rank him any lower – if the smaller wolf went to Baton Rouge to begin with, which he wouldn’t. The alpha, Magnus, might want Ben to go, but it’s not like the man was going to take Ben there himself.
“Guess not. I just don’t trust family of his, you know? He says they’re looking to expand and you’re welcome there, but they could have different rules. Plus, on account of the whole other thing – what if you can’t find a mate in that pack?”
Ben raised his eyebrows. “You can just say I’m gay. It’s not going to hurt my feelings.”
Daniel gave him a withering glance, and his eyes darted back and forth. Like someone could’ve heard them over the thud of the music. “Yeah, that.”
“If they don’t have another fairy in the Baton Rouge pack, I guess I’ll have to turn someone. You straight guys all secretly wonder what it’s like on my side of the fence. Admit it!”
Daniel chuckled at that. “Funny, kid. But you need to be careful down there. No one else will be around to protect you, and you’re not too good at protecting yourself.”
He was talking about high school again, but he was right. It’s not like Ben could use any of his wolf strength on the guys who’d picked on him without looking suspicious. Nor did he want to. Fighting was so . . . messy. Plus, it was a big brother’s job to worry, even if it was unfounded.
“I think I’ll be okay. I promise not to start any fights.”
Daniel leaned on the bar and shook his head. “That’s not what I’m worried about. It’s that damn mouth of yours. You know, Magnus would let you stay if you were better at –”
“Being an omega? I know. But Missy is better at it than I’d ever be, you can’t deny that.”
His brother would never tell Ben to know his place, like their pack alpha often did. Daniel wasn’t like that and neither were their parents. It came from growing up in a family of strictly mid-ranked wolves. They didn’t live with an alpha or beta. Even if Ben was the omega, they never treated him like that at home. In some ways, his attitude was their fault, but he’d never tell them that either.
“I guess,” Daniel said and a regular bumped against Ben in an effort to get to the bar.
“Hey Danny, I need another one,” the man slurred.
“Yeah? Well don’t knock my kid brother around to get it.”
The guy glanced down at Ben, who smirked at him. “This is the little queer, right?”
His older brother’s eyes burned like the blue at the center of a flame. With one swift movement, he grabbed the guy by the collar and yanked him across the bar, upsetting Ben’s untouched beer.
The omega couldn’t help the grin that slipped over his lips. He might be aching to get away from Magnus and the weight of their city, but he’d miss Daniel. “Oh, you really shouldn’t have said that. He’s very protective.”
“You gonna say that again?” Daniel growled.
The drunk’s eyes lost focus, and he shook his head. “Sorry, man. I didn’t know.”
“Didn’t know what? That he’s my brother or that I’d take offense to your name calling?”
That seemed to be too complicated a subject for the guy to comprehend, and Daniel let the man stumble backwards. “Get the fuck out of here before I break something.”
The drunk understood that, and Ben raised an eyebrow as the man slumped away.
“Thanks, but I said I don’t mind. It’s my own fault, as Magnus always says.”
Daniel pursed his lips. “It’s this neighborhood. Too bad you’re not joining a pack in San Francisco or something.”
Ben snorted and stared at the toe of his shoe. No way Daniel could’ve figured out his plans, but it still hit too close to the truth for comfort. “Stereotype much?”
His big brother shrugged. “New York?”
“At least you didn’t say Chelsea. Look, I’d better get going. I have to finish packing, and I’m getting an early start.”
The bigger wolf stepped around the bar and gripped Ben’s shoulders. “Dammit, kid. Wish I’d be home in time to see you off. Remember to call. And you can always come visit.”
That’s not what the alpha said, but Ben didn’t bring it up. The less Daniel knew, the better.
I don’t want to see your face in my territory again, omega.
 “Will do. Promise.”
Then his big brother pulled him into a tight hug, and Ben swallowed the lies that had been choking him for years. In just a few more hours he’d be free of everything. Free of Magnus. Free of the cookie cutter houses and weed-ridden lawns in their neighborhood. Free of the rules of their pack. But most of all, he’d be free of Axel Cross.
“Good luck,” Daniel said and gave the smaller wolf a misty-eyed smile when he leaned back.
“You too,” Ben said and turned. He tried to keep his eyes focused on the exit, but they drifted back to the pool table regardless.
Axel wasn’t there, and for a split second, Ben’s chest tightened. No. Don’t look around the bar for him. Just get the hell out of here, Ben told himself. As soon as he left Pittsburg, he’d never have to see Axel again. That’s exactly what he needed.
The fresh air hit the omega’s face as he stepped outside, even if it was laced with cigarettes and weed. Cary wasn’t hanging around the entrance anymore. She must’ve found another guy who was looking for something.
Some territory. Why the hell was Magnus so protective of this shithole?
Shaking his head, Ben turned toward his car when he heard the familiar voice. It came from the side of the Den, and from the sound of footsteps there were probably a few other guys back there too.
“I’ll have it next week,” Axel grumbled.
“Maybe our boss wants it now,” another man said.
Ben sniffed the air and caught a scent of feline under the piss and smoke. Making deals with were-cats seemed like something Axel Cross would do – way to make his pack proud. And Magnus chose to kick Ben out, of all people.
Well, the omega couldn’t pretend he didn't know why. It was easier to get rid of the lowest ranked wolf than it was to get rid of the former alpha’s son. Plus, Axel was Magnus’s nephew.
“Well your boss can wait.”
“Say he doesn’t want to wait, what then, dog?” another man asked.
Ben swallowed hard and tried to walk toward his car. He needed to leave this shit alone. Axel could take care of a few cats, and the omega wasn’t a fighter. But his feet didn’t listen to his brain. They turned and walked around the side of the bar, crunching over gravel and cigarette butts.
Axel leaned against the wall, holding his own cigarette. He crossed his legs at the ankles, and his whole body was relaxed as if the guys in front of him didn’t matter. He was strong enough that they probably didn’t – he’d taken on worse in high school. Ben didn’t know what kind of guys Axel fought in juvie, but he knew they had to be tougher than a few were-cats.
“Is this a private party or am I invited?” Ben asked and glanced at the three cats standing in front of his former best friend.
Two were only slightly taller than Ben, probably about five feet nine. The third was around six feet and fat with a large belly hanging over his jeans.
“What the hell is this? Another dog?”
The look Axel cast him almost froze Ben in place. Had it been that long since they’d spoken? Guess so.
“Wolf, actually. We’re not strays like you guys. But this looks like fun.”
The fat one snorted. “We don’t have anything to say to you, dog. Now go chase your tail or some shit.”
Axel pushed himself off the wall as Ben opened his mouth. “Get the hell out of here, omega, or I’ll beat the shit out of you myself. This is my business – not yours.”
It was dark enough that Axel couldn’t see the color drain from Ben’s face.
The were-cats snickered, but Ben ignored them and smirked at Axel. “No problem. It just looked like fun. I like four ways. Didn’t know you felt the same. Magnus would be proud.”
If looks could cut through steel, the one Axel threw Ben would’ve. The wolf tossed his half-finished cigarette to the ground and the butt brightened in the night air before the alpha scion stepped on it.
Ben’s heart slammed in his chest. He knew the other wolf heard it, but he didn’t step away. He stood his ground as Axel drew closer. Once they were about a foot apart, the taller man stopped and looked down. He towered over Ben’s slight frame by at least seven inches. Axel’s face was all smooth angles and perfection. The tail of a tattoo crawled up his pale neck.
The omega swallowed again, this time willing his groin to calm the fuck down. “I’m leaving town tomorrow. Not that you care, I just thought I could get a goodbye kiss.”
For a moment, Axel’s eyes widened. He didn’t know? Well, why should he? Not like Magnus was advertising the fact that he kicked Ben out of their pack – banishing him to another pack several states away. In that instant, Ben imagined he saw his old friend buried inside the angry wolf in front of him. Then Axel’s face hardened, and the glimpse was gone.
“Good,” the taller wolf growled. “Now get the fuck out of here.”
“So much for besties,” the omega said and turned toward his car. He couldn’t worry about Axel now – not that it ever did much good anyway.
Ben silently chastised himself. How could he forget the truth? Axel was a fuck-up. And he didn’t even have the decency to be a gay fuck-up, something Ben could work with.
Oh, and the worst truth of all – Axel hated Ben.

There wasn’t a damn thing the omega could do to fix that.


Popular Posts