Home > Tiger (New Species #7)

Tiger (New Species #7)
Author: Laurann Dohner


New Species series
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Prologue

 


Zandy knew she was in a world of shit. She was still unsure how going out for a few drinks to drown her sorrows had landed her in such a mess, but it had. A glass crashed into the wall near her, beer splashed her skin, and she huddled in her seat to make a smaller target. A body landed just feet away. The man grunted from hitting the floor hard and struggled to get back on his feet. She stood quickly and the wood chair scraped the floor as she turned.

The fight had moved her way. Drunken idiots were doing their best to beat the living crap out of each other and she was trapped on the far side of the bar. Her gaze frantically searched for an exit—a door or even a window to flee through. Three solid walls surrounded her and the only way out would be to struggle through the tight press of combating bar patrons.

“Oh hell,” she muttered.

One of the tables close to her toppled when a man stumbled back against it after taking a fist to the face. The table missed crushing her feet by inches and she spun back around, stepped up on the seat she’d vacated and climbed on top of the corner table. There wasn’t anywhere else to go. Two more bodies hit the floor too close for comfort. One more dived on top of the fallen pair and they rolled dangerously close to her perch. Blows were exchanged and one even pulled the hair of his opponent.

Her view of the room was much better from the higher vantage point on the tabletop but it assured her she was still trapped. Two small groups of men fighting over the football game on television had turned into a brawl that encompassed the entire length of the room, wall to wall. At least forty men were involved. The few women who’d been inside the bar were rushing out the doors and Zandy envied them. No way could she safely navigate through the fight to follow them outside.

Her back pressed tightly to the wall, her breath came out in pants and she prayed the cops would arrive to break it up before the worst of the fighting reached her. The brawling men on the floor hit the underside of her table, it shook and a whimper escaped her parted lips. She glanced to the next table, ready to jump for it, but a burly man suddenly crashed into it. It collapsed under his weight and she winced as he landed on top of the broken thing.

Regret filled her. She should have stayed home. She’d just wanted to forget her misery by spending her evening sulking over the bitch-slap life had given her. Leaving Los Angeles to move to Northern California had seemed like a dream come true when she’d been offered a better-paying job. She’d relocated, sunk every penny of her savings into buying her first house and had thought everything would work out.

Within three weeks she knew what a clusterfuck of a mistake she’d made after starting her new life. Her boss turned out to be a sadistic slave driver and a chauvinist pig. The jerk knew how much she depended on keeping her job and wasn’t above taking full advantage. He’d spent the last week making her miserable. He’d upset her to the point that she’d ended up in Mickey’s Bar and Grill. Another mistake.

Two men grappled, wrestling while on their feet. They slammed into the wall near her and tripped over the man still trying to untangle his drunken body from the destroyed table. Both of them fell on top of him. Zandy frantically stared across the room again, praying everyone would just stop fighting.

The doors of the bar were thrown open and she watched several unusually tall men come inside. They all wore matching black uniforms and riot gear. Their black helmets, vests over their chests, and shield-covered faces were ones she was happy to see. Joy rushed through her that help had arrived and they’d get control of the room fast.

She wasn’t the only one to notice their arrival. Bodies surged her way—panicked drunks possibly afraid of being arrested—and Zandy screamed as someone fell against her table. It tipped, wood snapped under the man’s weight, and her hands flailed to grab something—anything—but she ended up slamming hard into the floor, on her ass.

Pain shot up her spine and stunned her, but she recovered quickly when someone nearly stepped on her fingers. Zandy struggled to get to her hands and knees. She frantically crawled for another table to hide under it since being on top of one hadn’t been good but she didn’t make it.

Something big and fleshy landed on her back, shoved her flat against the floor, and knocked the air right out of her lungs. The man on top of her didn’t get up. He was impossibly heavy and more weight ground her against the unforgiving hard surface when another body landed on top of him. Their weight shifted enough for her to barely gasp in air.

Someone’s heel backed into her hip, a man cursed loudly and weight crashed down over her legs when he tripped backward. Zandy groaned from the pain of having at least three men sprawled on top of her. It rapidly turned even more hellish as more men tripped over the fallen ones.

The horror of her situation filled her thoughts when she tried to move. They had her pinned. She couldn’t even drag air into her lungs from the massive amount of weight holding her down and she was about to die on a disgusting bar floor under a dog pile of drunken idiots. She managed to tuck her face against one of her upraised arms in an attempt to protect it when someone elbowed or punched the back of her head.

The bodies shifted as they began to fight each other. She drew in a painful breath, her entire body feeling pulverized, and managed to choke out another terrified scream.

Why don’t they realize they are killing me? Don’t they know I’m under them? Oh god! More bodies landed over her until her hips and rib cage felt as if they were about to snap from the pressure of their combined weight. It taught her a new definition of pure agony. It hurt so much she couldn’t have drawn breath even if she’d been able to inhale.

A fist hit her arm, material tore and something dug painfully into her ass cheek. One of her shoes slid off when bodies rolled a little over it. Rough denim scraped the underside of her foot and most of the weight over her felt as if it centered on her lungs. She couldn’t breathe.

Pure panic gripped her when no amount of struggling moved anyone on top of her. She clawed at the wood floor, not caring how dirty it was anymore and she twisted her face. Her eyes opened. She spotted the leg of a table inches from her outstretched arm and managed to curl her fingers around the wood.

Zandy tried to pull her body but her strength waned. Spots appeared in front of her eyes. Her face felt really hot and knew she was suffocating. She blinked, focused on just her hand and her arm shook from straining muscles. Wood scraped the floor. The table moved a tiny bit, instead of her. More spots flashed and she knew in that moment that she was about to die.

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