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Jinx’s Mate

By:Marissa Dobson



Chapter One




He felt the fear that radiated from Manetka Resort, could taste the blood of tortured victims in the stale air. It was once a joyful gathering place for shifters, now a prison for all those who served under the Alpha. And Jinx was there to stop it.

He strolled through the empty lobby to the reception desk, the clicking of his cowboy boots echoing through the open space. The freshly polished wood reflected the light from the chandeliers. Manetka Resort was one of the few places that catered only to shifters. For years it had been a must visit destination. That was until Avery began abusing his members. Now everywhere Jinx looked, it was clear the resort had begun to suffer.

A small seating area sat catty-corner to the reception desk, with large comfortable looking chairs, and floor to ceiling windows overlooking the massive swimming pool and hot tubs.

“Welcome to Manetka Resort! How may I help you?” A girl in her early twenties stood behind the counter, and he could smell the tigress, her apprehension drifting toward him.

“Yes, I’m checking in.” He came to stand in front of the counter and set his bag down. “I have a reservation. Jinx.”

She glanced at the leather bound book to confirm it, not bothered by the fact he only had one name. It wasn’t uncommon for shifters to use just one name. It gave them an identity that didn’t tie them to family members. Allowed them to go forth without prejudices. Since shifters tended to have a very long lifeline this made things easier for them to intermingle without centuries-old grudges hanging over their heads.

“It appears to be an open check-out date. Do you have an idea how long you’ll be with us?”

“I suspect just through the weekend, but I’d like to leave it open if that’s okay. I have some business that I need to attend to while I’m in town, and timing might be an issue for the other party.”

She wrote something in the book and nodded. “That won’t be a problem. You’re welcome to stay as long as you like. I’ll have your room key ready in a moment.”

“I’m not in a hurry.” He glanced around the lobby again. “Slow time of year?” He knew the reason for the place being empty, but wanted to hear the official line Avery had come up with.

The woman paused, and bit her lip before gathering herself. “Actually, we were supposed to have a conference here but they had to cancel. It left most of the resort empty, since we were closed to only their members for the week.”

He nodded, amused by the interesting cover story. A conference? Did Avery really think someone was going to swallow that? Shifters didn’t hold conferences. Clans had their own things going, but they would never rent out a hotel to hold it in, not when they had their own land to do it on.

“Lucky me, seems like I’ll have the place to myself.”

“If you prefer isolation, then it’s the perfect time for a visit.” She laid his room key on the counter. “I’ve booked you on the eighth floor, you’ll have an excellent view of the grounds. No other rooms are occupied on that floor, so you’ll have all the privacy you need. Enjoy your stay.”

He smiled at her and grabbed the key. “Thank you.” Manetka’s keys were old fashioned, none of those electronic ones you slid into a card reader. It appeared Avery didn’t trust technology. The resort had a website managed by a solitary shifter, deeply hidden so humans couldn’t stumble upon it, but that was as far as his technology reached. Even security cameras were absent.

He grabbed his bag and headed to the elevator. Having the floor to himself would allow him to come and go without being seen, giving him the opportunity to check the passages Shadow had discovered on the blueprints that linked the other buildings to the main one.

As he made his way to his suite he kept his sunglasses on, taking in everything without anyone being suspicious. Not that it mattered—the place was deserted. Other than the woman behind the counter, no one else was around. Even with his enhanced shifter hearing he couldn’t pick up on any movements behind the walls. Where was everyone?

Stepping off the elevator was like stepping into a ghost town. A thin layer of dust covered the surfaces, all the curtains were drawn, light bulbs had gone out and no one bothered to replace them. The resort was going to need some work to get it back into the condition it had been only weeks before.

Once Tex had escaped the tortures and vowed himself to the Alaskan Tigers, the news spread of what was happening under Avery’s control. People cancelled their reservations to the resort, choosing to stay home or go to another resort that catered to their kind, and things fell into disrepair quickly.

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