STORY EXCERPT: Runaway Wolf, Book 6
Silver Bullet Series
Maddox Collins lay in bed staring at the ceiling. He was waiting for Scout and Montana to fall asleep. The two men had been keeping him inside their home, away from the pack that hated him. He didn’t blame them. His actions had dictated this outcome. He’d crossed the line in a moment of jealous rage and attacked his best friend, Holden. Hell, he almost killed the man.
Bile rose to his throat, almost choking him, and Maddox sat up. He swung his legs over the side of the bed, placing his elbows on his thighs, and took a few deep breathes. Guilt and shame ate at him and he knew that he needed to leave New Orleans. He didn’t belong, not when he’d caused so much pain and damage to those around him.
Standing up, Maddox grabbed his backpack and slung it over both his shoulders. He tried not to make a noise as he tiptoed to the bedroom door. Pressing his ear against the door, he closed his eyes and listened, trying to locate any sounds. Silence. His heart hammered hard against his chest and nervous energy filled his stomach, making him slightly ill. Maddox gripped the knob and turned it slowly. He didn’t want Scout, his mate, to stop him from leaving. He didn’t deserve the compassion or forgiveness he saw in the other man’s eyes.
Stepping into the hallway, Maddox moved carefully over the carpeted floor. With the supernatural hearing of shifters he was scared that he’d get caught any second. Each step felt like a small victory until he finally reached the front door. He closed his eyes for a moment, forcing himself to not look back. It was hard to walk away this time. He wasn’t a kid, leaving New Orleans and heading for a private school in Europe. He was an adult leaving his fated mate.
Closing the front door behind him on a soft click, Maddox stepped off the porch and onto the thick grass. He walked quickly, putting as much distance as he could between Scout and himself. Each step was more difficult than the last. It felt as if he was dredging through thick mud. His wolf howled, whined, and begged for him to go back, but Maddox refused. He couldn’t look Scout in the eye, not after everything he’d done. The romance with Ranger and attacking Holden…those sins were too much to forgive. He didn’t deserve happiness.
The main pack house, also known as The Castle, came into view. Maddox stayed under the tree line, sticking to the dark shadows. Keeping his head down, hands shoved deep into his pockets, he kept his pace brisk. He didn’t know where he was going. Luckily, he had a college degree. He should be able to do something with it, even though he didn’t have any practical work experience.
“Where are you going, Maddie?” Ranger’s voice washed over him and Maddox jerked to a stop. Shit, I was so close. He used to love that voice, had for so many years.
He’d only been sixteen when he ran away with his two best friends, Holden and Blair. They’d left their old pack behind when the three were caught experimenting with each other at Blair’s house. That night, Blair had been beaten by his father and to save themselves, they ran. The three of them ended up in New Orleans, right outside the Silver Bullet club. Hungry and desperate, they dug through the trash, looking for food. That night, Gideon, the pack Alpha, welcomed them into his pack.
They’d been sent to Europe to attend private school only a couple of days later. The Beta of the pack, Sean Griffin, needed distance from his mate, Blair. Maddox went along, knowing that he himself had scented his own mate among the older, gorgeous wolves. At the time, Scout had been too intimidating and scary to confront, so he’d kept his mouth shut. Over time, he’d leaned on Ranger and fell in love, or at least he thought it was love. Now, he wasn’t so sure.
“Don’t.” He shook his head. He didn’t want Ranger calling him Maddie, baby, or love. Those pet names had been special at one time. “This turned into something so ugly.” He felt sick to his stomach, his eyes filling with tears. “I loved you. I didn’t want to come back here. I wanted to stay in Europe.”
Things would’ve been so different if they’d stayed behind. He wouldn’t have broken Scout’s heart and Holden never would’ve been injured. Maddox took the blame, carrying the burden of making the wrong decisions squarely on his shoulders.
“I made a mistake,” Ranger whispered.
Character inspiration for Maddox Collins ----->