(Mercy Thompson Series)

Lone Wolf

A/N - This will hopefully be an ongoing story, depending on how readers receive it. I have read all the Mercy Thompson books (so far), and I am becoming more and more enamored with Ben. So I thought he deserved his own story. Hopefully Patricia will do more with him in the future. Anyways, Michelle is my OC, and I hope you guys like her. Just in case you didn't know, she is the female lone wolf mentioned in my oneshot, The Announcement.

Please read and review! It really encourages me. Thanks, and Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Mercy Thompson series or characters. That honor belongs to Patricia Briggs, and I receive no compensation for this work.

Chapter 1 - Caught

They were gaining on her. Michelle could hear their pants, their excited howls as they closed in. It was like she was…she was prey…her! She tried running into a shallow river, moving upstream and ducking under bulrushes and through cattails to lose their pursuit.

She earned just a moment to catch her breath however before she heard the call resuming the hunt. Someone had found her trail.

It had been quite some time since she'd known what it was like to be hunted. Usually it was her doing the stalking while she was wolf, running her prey into the ground, immersing herself in its fear, feeling its last bit of life fade beneath her fangs.

Now it was her turn once again.

But she saw a possible escape. There was a steep slope ahead, one that led to a dense forest she could easily fade into. She would use every trick in her to confuse the noses of her pursuers and shake them off for good. And she was fast. She would outrun them, then vanish.

She'd done it before.

Gliding easily over the slope, Michelle darted into the wood, not even trying to hide her route as she went. She made a curving line, looping about, her paths crisscrossing again and again. When she was done, the grove of trees was drenched in her scent.

It would be difficult for even the best tracker to discern which trail went where. With that in mind, Michelle leapt upon a low-lying branch. Her forelegs, more like arms than the limbs of normal wolves, allowed her to grip the bough with her claws before she launched herself quite a distance over to continue running.

She broke free of the wood and crested another hill, rejuvenated. Her ears flattened when she accelerated, her dark coat glossy in the moons glow. She was free! Those other wolves would be lost for at least enough time for her to put them, and this whole ordeal, far behind her.

She bounded across the ground, her claws kicking up dirt as she sped on. Just as she made it to another wooded area, she skidded to a hard stop.

It would seem she was not alone after all.

A very large, very male werewolf blocked her path, his pale yellow eyes petrifying her, their hue made all the more intense against the background of his deep red coat. The fur along her spine rose, and she found that despite her best efforts, she just could not move!

Michelle saw his nostrils flare as if confirming the scent he and his pack had been following. How had he gotten ahead of her? He stood there, staring, confident in the knowledge that she was no match for him. Michelle could hear his pack far off in the distance, moving ever closer.

She was trapped.

This was it. They would take her away. They would force her to be one of them. Her freedom, her life as she knew it, that she'd worked so hard to regain, would be over.

It was that thought that finally made her move. It began with her eyes. She shifted them left, right, searching for an escape route. Deciding, she feinted to the right then dashed to the left, attempting to flee around the large male.

Just as it seemed she was getting past him, he was there, his body blocking hers once again. Moving in the opposite direction yielded the same results.

Desperate, she bared her fangs at him, in an attempt to intimidate him, but it was for naught. He wasn't in the least bit moved by her display. In fact, if she wasn't mistaken, she could just make out the ghost of a smirk on his red face, as if to say "Really?" even in his wolf form.

She threw herself forward desperately, surprising the red as she dove under his body and through his legs, dashing out from under his tail. She heard his teeth snap closely as he tried to restrain her. Then she was moving, quickly reaching top speed in a mad dash for freedom. She was very fast.

But he was faster…much faster.

She was thrown to the ground when his large body slammed against her side, causing her to lose her footing. Sliding in the dirt a ways, she opened her eyes to find the red male towering over her, his muzzle inches from her face.

He didn't snarl or growl at her; he simply stared intently, his power flaring about him. The message was clear. Stay. Down. So she lay there, submissive, resigned. She could hear the pack closing in, their breaths on the wind.

She fought the panic that gurgled up from her gut. No freedom. No escape! She tried frantically to keep herself calm. Panicking in this situation would only end in an attack and most certainly her death.

When the pack arrived, Red backed up a few steps, his gaze still holding hers. Michelle chose to look at the ground, the humiliation of having all these strange wolves scrutinizing her making her sigh despondently.

When a commotion arose, she looked up to see the wolves moving aside as another large male entered the area. He was odd-colored, his silver coat blending into deepest black on his powerful legs, thick muzzle, alert ears, and raised tail. He carried an aura of Power with him that sizzled along Michelle's skin.

He was very much Alpha. Every inch of him screamed it, and the wolves surrounding him took heed.

She dropped her assessing eyes as soon as they met his golden gaze. No point in angering the one who held her fate in his jaws. Alpha walked up to her, briefly glancing at Red, who dropped his own eyes.

When he stood over her, Michelle again looked at the ground, hoping he wasn't going to attack. She imagined a very painful, very gruesome death when he brought his nose down to take in her scent.

Her own nose was working discreetly, taking in the minty aroma he carried as well. She wanted to file away all the information she could get for now, in the extremely lucky case she was able to escape. She would not be caught unawares again.

She had had no idea a pack was in this area, only discovering too late. One moment she was enjoying the invigoration of a moonlit run, the next she was here, subdued. Now she had no idea what would happen.

Just as quickly as he had appeared, Alpha was turning away, leaving the way he had come. As he departed, the other wolves filed past Michelle, each smelling her before following in his wake.

It would appear she was not the only one gathering information. When most of the wolves, save for three, had departed, Red approached her again, nipping her hip. She understood, and rose to her feet as the trio escorted her in the direction their pack had gone.

Michelle glanced hopelessly behind her. If only she had been fast enough, more aware. She would have been miles away by now. But she was stuck, and who knew what would become of her?

Perhaps her steps were slowed by her troubled thoughts, because it was not long before one of the escorts, a big golden female smelling faintly like cinnamon, nipped her again. Move it, she seemed to say. The group picked up their pace into a ground-covering lope.

She sped up her steps, compliance taking hold. Maybe she would have another chance to flee, when her captors' guard was down. She would bide her time until then.

Red looked back at her, his eyes stern. Such a serious one, that, Michelle thought. But when his tongue lolled out, his face turning mischievous, she snorted at him. What a fool she was to have been caught by someone like him.

She could not wait to escape again. She would fade away and be free, alone, as she had always wanted. These wolves and their Alpha could turn to dust for all she cared. She would leave them behind her just the same. She needed no pack.

As she ran, putting the open land, and freedom, behind her, Michelle's mind began to work on a plan, a plot to regain her independence, her solitude. And she would.

It was only a matter of time.

Hope you guys liked it! Thanks for reading! :)