Becoming A Vincent (The Wild Ones Book 1)

By: C.M. Owens

The Wild Ones #1




When you live in a place where “turbo speed” internet is a slight step above dial-up, men carry on nine-year beard-growing challenges out of stubborn pride, and your brothers do things like nail all your shoes to the floor of your cabin just for funsies, you tend to be a little crazy. You can call it a locational hazard, if you will.

That’s Tomahawk for you.

We rank people based on just how crazy you are. And the four craziest families in town are called the Wild Ones.

I’m on the bottom tier of those, so technically I’m not as crazy as the other Wild Ones. In fact, if it wasn’t for my brothers and their endless antics, I wouldn’t be considered a Wild One at all. Ahem. Sure. We’ll go with that.

Anyway, I have a best friend who endures it all with me. Benson Nolans is my one constant favorite person.

Without him, I’d probably go really crazy, and not the fun kind. It’d be ridiculous, after three years of a flawless friendship, to mess that all up by falling for him.

I mean, even if we did get a little too close one night, it’d be reckless endangerment. Even if we did suddenly feel the chemistry that’s always been there and stop toeing the line, it’d be a foolish risk to take.

It’d be stupid to start hoping a really fun, but completely irrational, night with zero inhibitions might accidentally happen.

Really stupid…

Right?





Chapter 1



Wild Ones Tip #189

You only have two legs. Animals with sharp claws and teeth have four.

Never get caught in the woods without your gun.





LILAH



“You big bastard! Get away from the tree, and no one has to die,” I shout at the hostile cougar that is debating whether or not she wants to climb up after me.

I even wiggle a puny stick at her like it’s Excalibur or something.

How did I end up in a tree, wielding a stick like a mythical sword, while a cougar decides if I’m worth the trouble of mauling to death or not? Two reasons: Hale and Killian Vincent.

Those are my brothers.

I’m one third of a set of fraternal triplets. My theory is that all the oxygen in the womb was cut off from the two jackasses who are responsible for my current predicament, and I’m the only one who escaped with functioning brain cells.

Sometimes they act like geniuses, other times…they leave me in the woods with a freaking cougar! And not the kind of cougar who has a hankering for a younger guy. Nope. I’d like that cougar.

I’m talking about a cougar with sharp claws, sharper teeth, and a lot of power that could destroy me.

The cougar groans or growls or both. I’m not really sure.

I don’t speak cougar, but I think that was a sound of frustration, and fortunately, she decides not to shimmy up the tree after me.

I blow out a breath of relief as the cougar slinks off into the thick woods, a kitten cougar joining her at her side, and they slowly disappear from sight. Obviously I don’t get in any sort of hurry to climb down, just in case that momma cougar is tricky and is playing me.

Fun fact: most animals are faster than humans. Much faster. Like, you can’t possibly outrun most four-legged creatures no matter what the movies try to tell you.

Shotguns sound in the distance, and I glare in their direction.

Those assholes are going to end up with me shooting them with buckshot in the asses. Again.

This time it will be on purpose.

Slowly, warily, and all too shakily, I start the treacherous climb down, stepping on a few questionable branches that creak and quiver as I do.

More shotgun blasts continue, at least staying in the opposite direction of my cougar stalker so that I don’t have to worry about it being driven right back at me.

As soon as my feet hit the ground, I sprint. In my head, I’m an Olympic runner right now, and nothing can catch me as I put on a gold medal performance.

My heartbeat thumps in my ears as I run harder and faster than I ever have, leaping over fallen trees or bushes like they’re intentional hurdles. And I run for a solid mile or more, right to my aunt’s cabin where people are everywhere.

I collapse as soon as I’m surrounded by gun-wielding, bearded men.

“Lilah! Why are you so sweaty?”

I’m wheezing for air, barely able to lift an arm to signal that I’m alive, haphazardly sprawled on the ground, and my aunt is furiously inquiring about my sweatiness.

Awesome.

“You okay?” I hear someone ask.

Benson. That’s Benson. I think. My ears are still letting me hear too much of my heartbeat too loudly to be sure. Please let it be Benson. He’ll save me.

Surely he’ll realize the after-running effects are slowly killing me, and he’ll have to save me.

Oxygen. I need a lot of it.

“Lilah?” the guy asks again, but I just wheeze out an unintelligible sound, struggling to catch a breath.

Despite what my mind thought during that muscle-burning sprint for my life, I’m not actually an Olympic runner. I’m a run-to-survive-only kind of girl. I’m always suspicious of those people who say they run for fun.

Personally, if you’re running regularly, I assume you’re hiding something nefarious and practicing your getaway for whatever is coming after you. And I don’t want to be your friend, because I hate running.

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