When Worlds Collide Ch. 01byJazCullen©
Wow! Such comments on the other two stories in this world have left me stunned. You guys are great! Thank you so much! Here is the opening gambit of Rafe's tale. It can most probably be read as a stand alone but reading FTI & TA gives the reader a better feel for a lot of the characters because they are already introduced in those stories. Be warned though...yes it is about Rafe, Aaron too and the other Weres, but Everyone is in this tale. The reasons for that will become clear as the story unfolds but there will be moments when the light is shining on other characters who have had their story told already. I hope you all enjoy it as you have the others. Thanks again for your feedback! My thanks also to WorldHistoryBuff who edited this chapter for me. As always, it is greatly appreciated.
Lacey Hollister stood patiently in line, almost at the head of the queue for entrance into the ultra private, secretive club called Wicked. It was a warm night which was just as well considering she was wearing the skimpiest outfit she could find.
Her tall, lithe frame was sporting a little strappy top in crimson and the smallest black micro mini she could squeeze into. Her incredibly long legs were bare and her feet were encased in three inch high patent red heels making her even taller than her usual five feet eight inches..
Her friend Jennifer had told her it was a sure fire way to gain access into the secretive club. She hoped her friend was correct because she really wanted to get inside badly. She had heard everything and anything went on in the club and she wanted to see it for herself.
She watched more people being rejected from the door and felt her hands turn clammy with nerves. It was almost her turn to be inspected and she couldn't stop her heart from beating faster inside her chest. She shook back her waist length platinum blonde hair and ran her clammy palms down the side of her skirt as she stepped forward.
The enormous bald bouncer ran slightly bored eyes slowly down her body and then jerked his head signalling her to climb the half dozen steps up to the entrance. She gave him her most winning smile and quickly skipped up the steps in case he changed his mind. She pushed open the door and headed inside.
She hesitated, in the entrance way letting her eyes adjust to the sudden darkness which was interspersed with flashing strobe and glowing neon lights which pulsed to the heavy beat of the dance track blaring around the room. It was a photosensitive epileptic's worst nightmare come true and she was glad she wasn't subject to that crippling condition. She needed this so badly. She needed to be able to let her wild side loose and forget about everything in her more recent past.
Three months of being holed up in Jennifer's tiny basement flat had almost driven her insane. The first month hadn't been so bad. She had been healing then, her body slowly repairing the damage Richard had done. She had been too terrified to leave her sanctuary too. She knew Richard would be looking for her. Richard had constantly told her he'd never willingly let her go, that if she left, he'd do everything in his not inconsiderable power to bring her back.
The second month had been tolerable enough because she was still frightened enough to want to stay hidden from him. It was really only the last month the cabin fever had set in. There had been no sign of Richard and her fear had lessened enough to make her crave the need to get out again, to try and start rebuilding her life.
She moved slightly further into the room as the door behind her opened and more lucky people arrived to get what was possibly their first glimpse of the most coveted place to be seen in at the moment. It was the type of place Richard would never think to look for her, so she was reasonably confident she was safe enough.
Jen had said she'd try and stop by later on. She was working late tonight and would maybe be too tired once she finished work. Her friend was an up and coming hot shot lawyer and had worked to get the most stringent restraining order she could against Richard. She was certain it would keep him at bay but Lacey wasn't so sure. The expression on his face that day in the hospital was burned into her memory. It promised dire retribution as the police had escorted him from her room.
She shuddered slightly and moved away from the wall towards the bar area. She didn't want to think about it anymore and she really needed a drink, a good stiff one which would block the bad memories which were threatening to invade her mind and take away her enjoyment of this first foray back into the world of the living.
Rafe Hanlon reclined in his soft leather chair and surveyed the bank of walled monitors in front of him. The club was into its second month of being open, and so far things had been going really well, spectacularly well in fact. The slightly secretive nature of Wicked was its main attraction. People wanted to know what went on behind its closed doors and were often turned away before entering. It seemed to entice them to want to come back and try again for entry, and within two weeks of opening Wicked had taken on a life of its own.
It was pretty much a regular club like many others. Okay, it was Were owned and run, but the humans who frequented the place didn't know that. They had no idea that they mixed with Weres from many different animal packs. Hell, even a few vampires frequented the place, mainly because Annie and her vampire Caleb had come to the opening night. It appeared Caleb was widely respected in his community and his acceptance of the local Weres decision to suddenly branch out into the human business community, had fostered an almost friendly truce between Weres and vampires.
Rafe smiled fondly as he thought of his sister and her vampire boyfriend. Little Annie was breaking down so many barriers in the supernatural world and she had no idea she was doing so. She saw the good in everyone, treated them accordingly and everyone invariably fell under her spell. Hell, she'd even managed to tame Caleb's best friend Demetri. The vampire had gone from being a major prick into almost as good a friend to him as Caleb. Granted, a certain leggy brunette called Mara was mainly responsible for Demetri's more agreeable personality.
Rafe sighed deeply remembering a time when he had been so like his sister, always seeing the good in people. A lot had happened since he was that person. A year had passed since he had last been known as Rafe Armand, older brother to Annie and Millie, building labourer and all round pacifist.
A year since his entire life had been turned upside down and thrust into a direction he hadn't wanted it to go in. A rogue Were had bitten him while he was camping and thrust him into the life he was now living. He had had a hard time reconciling himself to becoming a wolf. He had done some pretty stupid things at the time and would most probably have died if it hadn't been for his sister and the understanding of his pack leader Jared Hanlon, the man who now called him brother.
It wasn't such a bad life overall. A lot of changes had happened in the pack and attitudes were changing almost daily. Jared had claimed Millie as his mate and she was just as much of a force to be reckoned with as his sister. She retained her apartment in the city and still worked her job, leading by example to the rest of the pack.
Slowly more and more of the xenophobic wolves were leaving the compound to start new lives in the city. They were spurred on by the twenty odd new matings which had occurred when the first wave of younger Weres had dived headfirst into the changes to the pack laws.
The pack had been slowly decreasing due to segregating themselves from humans so much that three quarters of the pack never found mates to have children with. It had been Millie's reluctance to give up her human life to mate with Jared, and also Rafe's inability to accept losing his human family which had instigated a lot of the changes.
Now there were new Were owned businesses springing up in the city from hotels to restaurants to nightclubs and even a bespoke furniture making business. The pack was finally coming into the twenty first century as it slowly branched out from the local area into neighbouring cities. .
Which was how Rafe came to be running Wicked. Rafe Armand was publicly 'dead' in his own city therefore unable to be seen by the locals there. When the opportunity came up to open a nightclub in the next city over, Rafe had volunteered to run it. Jared had been unsure if it was wise seeing as he was supposed to be dead, but his death had been reported only locally so he had eventually been able to talk his Alpha into it.
He was Rafe Hanlon now and he was brother and beta to the Alpha. He had all new documents which would pass the most stringent checks and even had a fake history all mapped out. At Wicked he could walk among humans without the fear of being discovered.
He sighed deeply again as he ran his brown eyes slowly over the various monitors. The door behind him clicked open and he didn't need to turn his head to know it was Aaron, his closest friend. The tall blond beta invariable went wherever Rafe went. His jovial company was always appreciated too. Nothing ever seemed to faze Aaron. He took life as it came and usually always had a smile on his handsome face. He was a dreadful man whore but Rafe forgave him his faults. He was Were born and therefore saw nothing wrong with bedding a different woman each night until he found his mate.
"The club's busy tonight," Aaron said sitting down on the edge of the desk. He didn't need to tell his friend that, it was obvious from watching the monitors. "Plenty of talent out there, Rafe," he grinned wickedly. "You should get your ass downstairs and have a little fun for once."
Rafe rolled his eyes and grinned back at him. "Do you ever think of anything besides sex, Aaron?" he asked drolly and his friend laughed loudly.
"You mean there's more to life than sex?" he quipped laughing. "Damn it, Rafe. Don't spoil my fun!"
Rafe laughed and turned back to the monitors. A flash of something bright had caught his eye and he leaned forward slightly to see if he could catch what it was. There it was again, a flash of platinum blonde hair being tossed over a shoulder as a tall woman reached the front of the queue to be let inside the club.
Aaron wolf whistled loudly. "Get a load of those legs," he said, his voice full of appreciation as they both ran quick eyes over the woman who was running her palms down the sides of her extremely short skirt. "I wouldn't mind having those wrapped around me tonight."
Rafe growled low in his chest and shot a dark look at his friend before turning back to the door monitor. He picked up the handheld radio on his lap and spoke into it quietly. "Let the blonde in."
The bouncer nodded almost imperceptively and then jerked his head towards the door. Rafe watched intently as the woman smiled and hurried up the steps , an expression of relief on her beautiful face. He felt his heart turn over when she smiled and his groin reacted instantly. His wolf growled restlessly and he smothered down a deep sigh and sat back in his chair. There was no way he was going to give in to the primal urge he felt deep inside him. He didn't care how beautiful the woman was; Rafe Hanlon would not be ruled by his wolf.
Aaron watched Rafe's face intently as he tracked the woman's movements through the ub,recognising the expression on his friend's face. His wolf was interested in the woman and he was very unhappy about it. She was possibly even Rafe's mate, but it was hard to tell because he wasn't close enough to scent her. He stifled a sigh and turned back to watch the blonde head towards the bar. Even a year on Rafe still fought his true nature. Oh, he was much more comfortable within himself than he once had been and almost seemed truly happy at times but there was still something which made him fight his wolf with a vengeance.
Rafe watched silently as the blonde ordered a drink and then turned to survey the room with open curiosity. Not only was she stunningly beautiful but she had a body made for sin. It wasn't hard to see, not with the lack of clothes she was wearing. Full generous breasts threatened to spill out of her little red midriff bearing top. The flashing lights glinted off something shiny at her navel, most probably a piercing of some kind.
She had curvy hips which lusciously stretched the tight micro mini skirt that barely covered her deliciously rounded ass and nether regions. And then the legs began and just went on and on and on. They were long and shapely, her thighs rippling slightly as she moved. It was plain to see she was tall despite her stiletto heels and she obviously kept in shape too.
Rafe stifled down a groan as he felt his cock twitch hard in his jeans and his wolf growled again. He ruthlessly pushed the animal down. He would not be dictated to by a bloody animal. If he bedded the woman it would be because he, the man, wanted to bed her, not because he was reacting to some primal mating instinct.
"You want her, Rafe?" Aaron asked with a slight smile tugging his lips. "Because if you don't then I might go try my luck with her." He laughed loudly when Rafe shot him a murderous glare and growled at him before he suddenly looked startled and backed down.
"Do what you want, Aaron," Rafe snapped dragging his eyes from the woman and once more going back to the other monitors.
Aaron shrugged and took him at his word. He knew Rafe was fighting a losing battle with himself and he was more than willing to help his friend realise it. If that meant risking getting his ass kicked by his friend later, then he'd let him do it. He slipped out of the office and headed quickly downstairs.
Lacey was on her third scotch and had just ordered a shot of some weirdly named concoction of alcohol when the tall blond man appeared at her side. He quickly ran his eyes over her and smiled before turning to the bartender to ask for a glass of scotch.
"Sure thing, Aaron," the bartender smiled. "Place is jumping tonight."
"It is that, Ben," Aaron smiled turning slightly to look at the woman at his side again. "The view just got better too," he grinned cheekily and the blonde turned her head sharply to look at him. She had the most amazing light green eyes he'd ever seen and his grin widened.
"Hi, I'm Aaron," he said. "Haven't seen you in here before. First time?" He knew it was but he wanted to hear her voice to see if it was as spectacular as the rest of her. He was really disappointed Rafe was attracted to her. She was by far the most beautiful woman in the club tonight and he would have liked to have gotten to know her a little bit better.
"Lacey," she replied after a short hesitation. Her voice had a husky lilt to it which was very sexy sounding. "And it is my first time here. I've been...busy the last few months. First night out on the tiles, so to speak."
The man at her side was pretty gorgeous and she wasn't averse to talking to him. He was just over six feet tall with shaggy blond hair and light blue eyes. His physique was powerful but not too powerful. He had little laughter lines around his eyes and mouth which seemed to indicate he smiled a lot. Plus the bartender seemed to know and like him. He looked like he could be fun to hang around with.
His blue eyes twinkled and he smiled. "Out on the tiles," he repeated with a little laugh. "Sounds like you're out to have a good time tonight, Lacey."
His open appreciation wasn't lost on her and she suddenly wished she'd worn something a bit less revealing. It wasn't that she didn't find him attractive because she did. What sane woman wouldn't find a hunk like him attractive? But she wasn't looking for a man tonight, just as bit of fun. A few drinks, a bit of dancing, nothing more than that.
"I'm not looking for anything other than a little drinking and a bit of dancing, Aaron," she said honestly. "I've just come out of a pretty bad relationship and men are not top of my list at the moment."
He smiled again and threw back the remainder of his scotch. "That's fine with me, Lacey," he grinned reaching for her hand. "Let's dance."
She let him pull her onto the dance floor smiling at his enthusiasm. He reminded her of an overgrown puppy, all bouncy and playful with a little hint of badness to him. She decided to trust he was willing to accept her boundaries, so she loosened up and began to gyrate to the heady beat of the music filling the room. She was halfway drunk already, the lack of alcohol she'd had over the last three months lowering her usually high tolerance to the stuff. She let Aaron pull her close, closed her eyes and swayed against his body as she surrendered to the music.
Rafe couldn't stop the low growl which erupted out of his throat as he watched his friend talk to the blonde briefly and then drag her onto the dance floor. He had seen Aaron in action many times before and knew how easily he found it to pick up women . The blonde was swaying suggestively in the tight circle of Aaron's arms and Rafe could feel his anger start to swiftly rise . He never wanted, in his entire life, to do anything so badly as he wanted to march down to the dance floor and rip the woman away from his friend.
"She is not our mate," he growled out furiously to his wolf, dragging his eyes away from the screen and turning his back to the wall of monitors. He rested his head in his arms on his oak desk. He was not going to submit to his bloody wolf. He refused to be ruled by it. If the blonde wanted to be with Aaron then so be it. A minute later he groaned in defeat and rose from his chair, striding swiftly from the office.
Aaron barely contained the smile on his face when he saw Rafe stride angrily out of the door marked private. He was making a beeline straight for him and he quickly guided Lacey from the dance floor and back to the bar, forcing Rafe to have to change directions. He ensured there was enough distance between himself and Lacey by the time his friend reached them.
Lacey was confused when Aaron suddenly pulled her from the dance floor and back to the bar. She looked at him quizzically but he just smiled a wide smile, settled her back onto her bar stool and moved slightly away from her. She was going to ask him what was wrong but suddenly there was another man at their side. She blinked slowly as she looked up at him.
Dear God, the man was enormous! He was well over six feet tall and was so wide in the shoulders and chest she wondered if he suffered from the strange genetic disorder which made people grow into giants. His eyes were a deep brown colour and they were narrowed as if in anger. His face was ruggedly handsome and extremely pleasing on the eye even when he was scowling as darkly as he was now. His dark brown hair was longish, almost reaching his shoulders and just as scruffy as Aaron's. He looked big and intimidating and he was glaring at the man at her side who didn't seem the least bit bothered.
"Rafe," Aaron smiled cheerily. "Come meet, Lacey." He turned to the woman at his side. "Lacey, this is my best friend Rafe. He runs this place."
Lacey. The name tantalised Rafe as did the wonderful scent of ... coconut? He hated coconut! But the scent of it on her skin was the most amazing thing he had ever smelled. His wolf howled as he stared down at the woman before him and inhaled deeply as his greedy eyes roamed over her beautiful face. Her eyes were amazing. They were such a light green shade they were almost colourless. They drew him in as if tempting him to look into her very soul. He was aware of nothing but Lacey. The flowing mane of silky silver, blonde hair. Her long thick black lashes, her clear pale skin, her wide generous lips almost begging him to kiss her. Those lips were moving suddenly and her breathy, husky voice washed over him.