Chapter 9

Max

A bell rang above Max’s head as he entered Vixie’s Sweet Treats. He smiled at all the choices of ice cream as he stepped up to the counter. Vixie was there working, with her pixie cut red hair, hourglass figure, and delicious chest. Max couldn’t help but take a long look, not realizing she was talking to him. Damn they look good, he thought.

“Hey Max, eyes up here.”

Jerked out of his stupor, he lifted his eyes to meet hers. She smiled devilishly at him.

“You know some women would slap you for being a perv.”

“Yeah, but that’s why you’re my favorite girl, Vix,” he said with a smile.

She rolled her eyes, hands on her hips, then glared at him with a smirk on her lips. 

“What can I get you, officer?”

He chuckled.

“Not getting anything past you today, am I?”

“Hell no, mister. Now what do you want, you’re holding up the line.”

He glanced over his shoulder to see there was no one standing behind him. Max shrugged and laughed. “I’ll take the usual, with the works.”

With a pep in her step, Vixie turned toward the ice cream and started to work on his order. It wasn’t long before Max was heading towards his favorite booth. He plopped down and looked at the three scoops of Rocky Road ice cream, piled high with whipped cream, sprinkles, and chocolate M&Ms. His wolf paced in his mind, wagging his tail with anticipation. Max dug in as a groan escaped his lips. He gobbled down the delicious dessert without remorse.

The door to Vixie’s Sweet Treats opened, jingling the bell that hung above it. He watched Vixie’s head pop up from behind the counter. Her eyes went wide at the sight of the tall, dark, and handsome man that made his way through the door. Actually, now that I think about it, the Sergeant is quite the babe magnet. Max chuckled under his breath.

Murphy’s dark eyes narrowed in on him as he sat down across from him at the booth. Max smiled back at the grump-a-dump. All he received in return was a frown and more glaring.

“Why the hell are we meeting in an ice cream store?”

“Because I had a stressful day at work with bank robbers and I wanted something yummy in my tummy,” he laughed.

Murphy shifted in his seat with a groan. Max rolled his eyes and finished off his last bite of Rocky Road. He looked down at the bowl wishing there was more.

“Why do you damn wolves only care about food all the time?” Murphy growled.

Max’s head snapped up and glared at Murphy.

“We care about more than food. What do you want anyway?”

“I need to know about Cassandra,” Murphy began. “Did you see anything out of the ordinary today involving her?”

“Besides her getting the upper hand with the bad guys? No, I didn’t.”

“Damn.”

Murphy leaned back in his chair with a worried look on his face. Max wondered what was going on between Murphy and Cassie. The sergeant was definitely hiding something, Max just didn’t know what. Murphy let out a deep sigh and leaned forward looking Max directly in the eye.

“I need you to keep an eye on her. Tell me if anything starts to seem funny to you. Do you understand?”

Max arched an eyebrow in curiosity.

“What is Cassie to you?” Max asked.

Murphy’s dark eyebrows furrowed together.

“She is nothing to me. I just want to make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid to get herself hurt.”

“Is that why you partnered her up with a werewolf?”

“That and other reasons. If I’m right, you’re the perfect type of creature to be working with her in the first place.”

“You going to elaborate on that?”

Murphy grinned showing his fangs.

“I’ll let you know when it’s required.”

“So, in other words you’re just going to leave me in the dark,” Max said with a growl. “I know something is off with her, I can smell it.”

“What do you smell?”

Max opened his mouth to speak but Vixie came over to the table. She smiled and winked at Murphy, then placed two tall glasses of water on the table.

“Thought you boys looked thirsty.”

Murphy gave her a grunt in response. I swear the guy never uses words unless he absolutely has to. Max watched Murphy’s eyes trail up and down Vixie without any sign of interest. She threw back her hair and put on the hundred-dollar smile. God she must like him. But he isn’t liking her. He watched as Murphy’s eyes narrowed. Max gulped thinking his foot was about to come down.

“Thanks for the water,” Murphy said. “But we are a little busy. You think you can go stand over there without eavesdropping?”

And just like that, Vixie’s balloon was deflated. Her pretty smile turned into a frown and she stomped off in a huff. “Jerk,” she mumbled. Max shook his head and just looked at Murphy. What the hell is this guy’s deal? It’s like he only has eyes for Cassie or something. He couldn’t possibly have a thing for her. He’s old, and she is so so so not his type. 

Murphy turned his attention back to Max. His eyes were ablaze as if he was looking for a fight.

“What do you smell when you’re near Cassie?”

“Well…”

“Answer the damn question, wolf!”

“Geez, keep your pants on… It’s hard to explain. Her scent is almost like a witch’s, but different somehow. It is even softer—almost unnoticeable.”

“Hmmm…” Murphy rubbed his nose and appeared to be deep in thought. “Keep your eyes on her and keep her out of trouble. If she turns out to be a witch, things might get bumpy between the two of you.”

“Yeah.” Max agreed. Werewolves and witches didn’t mix well together, especially since witches tended to hide behind the power of The Triad. Damn fools. If only they knew what those evil bastards did to his kind. They had practically brought the werewolf population to extinction in the human realm. The only way they’d survived was to go through the vortex to find another world to inhabit. Now that their numbers were great once more, they’d started to venture back into the human world—careful to avoid The Triad’s hunters. 

Murphy rubbed his hands together and stood up. Max gaped.

“That’s it?”

Murphy looked down at him with his dark eyes. A brief flash of mischief flashed across his face then disappeared without a trace.

“Yep, till next time.”

Max watched Murphy turn and walk out the door. He hadn’t even given Vixie a sidelong glance as he’d departed. She huffed behind the counter then went back to tidying up the shelves on the walls. He watched for a few seconds then looked down at his empty bowl. There is something up with him, and I’m going to figure out what if it kills me.

Max stood, pulled out his wallet, and dropped a few bills on the table. “Tip’s on the table, Vix,” he hollered out. He didn’t wait for a response as he pulled open the door and made his way out onto the dark street. He looked up and down the sidewalk for civilians but didn’t see anyone. Guess it’s going to be a quiet walk home.

Setting off down the road he made his way through parked cars. I swear these damn cars are everywhere. He even noticed a few parked illegally. Baw… I’m off shift and I’m not stopping to write tickets. The thing he hated most was playing meter maid. Max sprinted across the street trying not to get hit as a car honked at him. He waved. “Sorry!” Damn, why do people always have to be in such a rush? You’d think wearing my uniform would get me a break.

A few blocks down the bridge came into view. He could already hear the water rushing beneath it, crashing into rocks with powerful force. As he grew closer, Max started to whistle a soft tune to himself. An eerie feeling crept up his spine like a spider crawling across his flesh. Something seemed off. His eyes dilated as his wolf paced uneasily inside his mind, then began to tear at his control. Max held onto it for dear life to keep his wolf at bay. We can’t shift out in the open, you idiot…people might see! 

Max dug his fingers into his palms to focus on pain over anything else. The coppery smell of blood trickling down his palm filled his nostrils as his wolf calmed. He blinked a few times. What was that all about? I never lose control like that without a reason. 

He checked himself as he took a deep breath. Max looked around to make sure no one was near. He was halfway over the bridge when he realized why his wolf had acted up the way he had. Someone was using magic, he thought to himself. That’s the only thing that could set off my wolf like that. 

Tires squealed against the road, and Max looked over his shoulder just in time to see a large black SUV do a half circle a few feet away from him. The vehicle now blocked the sidewalk preventing him from moving forward. Max rolled his eyes. Who is stupid enough to pull this with a cop? 

Three men climbed out of the SUV and lined up in front of him with the shortest man in the middle. Max sized them up, wondering if he could take all three at once if need arose. His eyes fell on the big guy in the back. The guy had to be 6’2 or 6’3, and his large build made it clear who the muscle was in this group. Luckily for me, the guy looks like he has acorns for brains. 

Max turned his attention to the other two. The one on the left looked about 5’9 and had a nose so huge Max wondered if he’d ever poked someone’s eye out with it. Damn thing could be a deadly weapon if he got too close. Max had to hold back the chuckle threatening to break from his lips. Acorn brains glared at him and snarled. Max ignored him and looked at the third guy who stood in the middle. There was intelligence in his eyes. Fire blazed within brown pupils, and Max knew instantly who the ring leader was.

Max locked eyes with him and his wolf raised his hackles. Then it hit him—the scent that meant he was in real trouble. Ah crap, they are warlocks. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that they were members of The Triad. Those supernatural, creature-hating mother fuckers. They treat my kind like we’re abominations, but it’s really them. They are monsters in human hide. 

“What do you want?” Max asked, already knowing what the answer would be. The leader stepped forward and laughed at him. His hands opened wide in a welcoming gesture as his hair fell forward into his blue eyes. Max tensed.

“Look what we got here, boys… A mangy wolf out all by himself.”

Max growled, glaring back at him. His features reminded him of someone, but he couldn’t put his finger on who. His brother had pointed him out before. It can’t be…can it? Max gulped, trying to settle his wolf scratching at his insides. He had to play this right if he wanted to get out of here alive. Because if he was correct, the man who stood before him was one of the most dangerous Triad members around. Sabastian Corbin, the second in command.

“What do you want?” Max repeated with a growl.

Sabastian smiled, flashing his teeth. He cocked his head to the side as blond hair fell into his dark, murderous eyes. His hand reached up and brushed his flailing hair away. Max could feel the tension, making gooseflesh sprout along his arms. 

“You don’t know who we are, do you Wolf?” Sebastian asked.

Max glared, letting his eyes dance back and forth between the three men. He sniffed the air to smell the pungent odor that marked all warlocks. They smelled of musk, black earth, and sage. His nose itched at the stench. 

“Warlocks,” Max sneered.

Clap. Clap. Clap.

Max watched in shock as Sebastian clapped his hands together. A deadly smile spread across his face. What is up with this guy? 

“Looks like we got some spunk in this one, boys. Let’s hope he doesn’t disappoint.”

What the hell is that? Max’s eyes grew wide with surprise as Sebastian reached into his black trench coat and pulled out a round, slender piece of leather. Max had to do a double take as Sebastian unwound a whip. The loose end of it fell to the ground with a soft plunk. What is he going to use that for?

Max looked into Sebastian’s eyes and the humorous glint sent chills down his spine. This is nothing but a game to them. 

A chuckle escaped Sebastian’s lips. “Let’s see what you’re made of, you abomination.”

Max shifted his weight, crouching down into a defensive stance. He would have to be quick on his feet to make sure that whip never made contact with his skin. Dancing on the balls of his feet, he was ready as he ever would be. Only he’d forgotten to take into account that the dickwad had magic on his side. 

“Slacëa!”

In the blink of an eye, the whip came alive. It struck at his feet like a serpent aiming for its prey. What the hell! Max jumped, and the whip struck the ground just seconds after he dodged. The sound made his ears ring as he continued to move. Every step had to increase in speed. He jumped from the guardrail to the street. Laughter rang in his ears as the deadly serpent continued to strike at his feet. Max was starting to feel winded when he thought he heard someone call out his name. In that one moment of hesitation he was caught. The whip wrapped around his ankle, slithering up his leg as it gripped him tighter. Sebastian tugged on the whip, pulling Max’s leg out from underneath him. He braced his fall with his hands and free leg. A flash of movement caught his eye. Max looked up to see the third guy holding a gun. Aww…shit!

“Max!”

BANG.

A body slammed into him, sending him tumbling over the guardrail. Air surrounded his body as the water grew closer. The only thing that registered in his mind was that Cassie was falling beneath him. Then the chill seeped into his clothes and water filled his lungs.


Thank you for reading chapter 9 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 10.

Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.

Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.