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Lyla skidded around a corner, breaking the heel of her left shoe in the process. Fuck! She stumbled, but caught herself before eating the pavement, and managed to only scrape her knee along the concrete. Now the pain in her side from running was accompanied by the searing, throbbing ache in her knee. So not good.

Her wolf clawed and scratched within, but she’d be damned if she went wolf in this area. Besides, letting the beast free was exactly what the sniveling omega, Carl, wanted.

Lyla kept running. She pushed Carl’s behavior from her mind. Mutt or not, her Alpha had no right to enforce his power over her.

So what if she’d reached the ripe old age of thirty without mating. So what if she was a bit pudgy—okay, a lot pudgy. And so what if she worked a near dead-end job with no hopes of advancement, which Mr. Alpha-man felt was beneath a member of his pack, albeit a mutt. Just … So what!

Her breath came in billowing pants now. The pain from the stitch in her side warred and fought with the almost debilitating ache in her knee. And through it all, her wolf howled and paced within her. It, in its infinite wisdom, felt it could take down the lowly Carl. Good thing Lyla knew better.

A growl sounded from behind her, and she didn’t dare look back. His shifted hand sliced through the back of her shirt, taking skin and flesh with it, and still she ran, cursing herself with every pounding step.

Why hadn’t she demanded to be taken home, Alpha’s wrath be damned?

She shoved the thoughts aside. Rehashing her mistakes during a run for her life wouldn’t solve anything.

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