Eileen peered through the second to last window and hit pay dirt. Finally, one that was unlocked, even though it was shut. She lifted the heavy crowbar she’d found behind Lorne’s workshop and pushed it between the window and the frame. She grimaced at the sight of it scraping the paint, and made a mental note to pay Kendra back for the damage.
With a few wiggles and a couple good pushes, she had the window open enough to slip her hands inside and push it all the way up.
She’d be safe little longer. Kendra was on her honeymoon with her new husband—and the Alpha of Ursa Hollow—Lorne. They’d be gone for two weeks, Kendra had told her. That was perfect. Two weeks should give Eileen enough time to figure out what to do with herself.
She pushed herself up on her hands in the window like a gymnast getting on the balance beam. Unfortunately, she wasn’t a gymnast, so it took her three tries to get her chest up on the window seal. With some grunting and groaning, she’d slid herself halfway inside what looked to be a guest bedroom.
“Just a little farther,” she muttered to herself. The dang window was going to give her bruises down her stomach and hips, she just knew it. Definitely should have spent more time at the gym working on upper body strength. But she hadn’t exactly expected to be climbing through someone’s window.
How did I get to this point?
Suddenly, she was no longer moving forward. Something gripped her hips and ass hard. And whoever it was yanked.
Eileen screamed, flying out of the window, propelled by someone much stronger than she was. The same person caught her, keeping her from falling on her ass, but she certainly didn’t appreciate the gesture. She turned to see a black T-shirt containing a strong male chest—too close to see his face without craning her neck to look up.
“Let go of me!” She smacked his chest. Would anyone hear her scream out here? She didn’t think so. She had to run.
But she wasn’t much of a runner.
She kicked the man’s shin and finally got a reaction.
“Oof.” He grabbed her shoulders and held her at arm’s length. “Stop it. What the hell are you doing?”
The voice was familiar, and that startled her enough to bring her out of her panic. She looked up and met ice-blue eyes. So gray with a touch of blue that they looked like they’d come from a box. The contact box. Nearly white hair curled around his ears. His icily handsome face glared down at her.
Well, she’d never so much as got a glare out of the man before, so she was a little proud. More importantly, she knew the man.
“Dane,” she said, feeling a blush sneak up on her cheeks. Partially because he’d just caught her breaking into someone’s house. But also because the man had seemed to make her want to blush and flirt and grab him ever since the moment she’d met him. But who could blame a girl? The man was beyond hot—in the coldest possible way imaginable.
And only days before, he’d escorted her down the aisle. Of course, that had been for the wedding of her best friend—whose house she was currently trying to break into. Kendra had married an Alpha bear shifter. And Dane was his right-hand man. Bear. Whatever.
He still hadn’t released her shoulders. “Get off me. What are you trying to do?”
“What am I trying to do?” He quirked a brow, as if he found what she was saying amusing. “Not breaking into someone’s home, for starters.”
Point for him.
She rolled her shoulders under his grip, and he released her. “I didn’t break into anything. The window was unlocked. And besides, this is none of your business.” She waved her hands at him, trying to get him to back off. But the man didn’t move. Not an inch. He was like a big, annoying mountain.
“Why are you here?” he asked, voice flat.
“None of your business,” she said stubbornly. And it was none of his business—none of anyone’s business. She’d sort out her own problems, and the last man she’d confide in was standing in front of her.
His eyes flicked to the house and back. “You’re breaking into the Alpha’s house. That makes it my business.”
“Kendra is my best friend. Since we were eleven,” she pointed out.
“Does she know you’re breaking into her house?” he asked, still impassive.
Dammit. She wasn’t sure she could lie to a shifter. Besides, this one probably had an easy way to check out her story. “Not exactly. But she wouldn’t mind.”
“Come with me. We’ll discuss this with the acting Alpha.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you.” She poked him in the chest. “I don’t even know you.”
He grabbed her hand. “You know me well enough to feel safe poking me in the chest.”
A lump formed in her throat, and she swallowed hard. The man did not sound pleased. “Look, just let me go. I’ll go somewhere else.”
His gaze shifted to the house, then back to her. “No. The acting Alpha will want to speak with you. Find out why you’re here.”
With no small effort, she yanked her hand out of his. Something about him touching her made it far too easy to get distracted. “Like I said, I’m not going anywhere with you. No offense, but I don’t trust you enough for that. And I definitely don’t trust this new acting Alpha person, whoever he is.”
“She will want to know why you’re trying to break into her Alpha’s house. Do you think us so lax in our security that we wouldn’t want to question you?”
She crossed her arms. And when she spoke, her voice verged on a yell. “I’m not going anywhere with you.” She said each word slowly and precisely. Like he was a slow child who couldn’t quite comprehend what she was saying.
If her tone and insinuation annoyed him, he didn’t show it. Instead, he merely shrugged. Then, before she realized what was happening, he lifted her up and threw her over his shoulder.
“Let me go! Salaud!” She smacked his back with her fists.
If her punches affected him, he didn’t show it. He walked at an almost leisurely pace toward his old Ford truck. At least she assumed that was where they were going, since she couldn’t see jack hanging over his shoulder.
She went limp, figuring he’d put her in the passenger seat of the truck, and when he went around to go get in the driver’s side, she’d make a run for it. Granted, escaping a bear shifter on foot with a miniscule head start probably wasn’t the most brilliant plan in the world, but it was the only one she had. She didn’t know who this new Alpha was—or acting Alpha, anyway, until Lorne and Kendra got back from their honeymoon—but she was sure she didn’t want to meet her. She hadn’t been in Ursa Hollow long, but it hadn’t taken long to realize that most of the people in this town—this den—were leery of humans. Some were outright hostile.