Sunday Excerpt 3 - Introduction of Leonidas

In today's excerpt, a new character is introduced: Leonidas.

Leonidas is the son of the Caesar, the current leader within the community. Unfortunately, he is a stubborn, stupid, and self-righteous young man who causes more trouble than good. I hope you absolutely hate this character. Furthermore, I hope that, as the story progresses, you'll come to understand him-maybe even pity him-although that's entirely up to you.

Alexis barely heard the creaking wooden door over her sobs. She turned to the sound but remained crouching in the dark corner behind stacks of apple crates. A shadow moved across the ground and she knew it was Leonidas before he came into view. As he cornered the row of apple crates, she jumped up to a standing position. She attempted to quickly brush her hands across her face and hide evidence of her sobbing.
"I was walking by and heard someone inside, so I decided to check it out," A smirk formed on his mouth, creasing the edges in single sinister lines.
"Bullshit Leo. You knew my parents were breaking the news to me, and you wanted to see my reaction."
"Breaking the news?" Leo asked, as if his question was more rhetorical and snide, then honest. "Come on, you had to have known about your family's plans since we were children."
"I never really thought they were serious. Besides, you should be mating up with one of the girls clamoring over you instead of hoping for something that will never happen."
"Oh, it is going to happen." Leo stepped forward, his six foot frame filling the small space between the high stacks of apple crates, and blocking her only exit. "Whether it is official or unofficial, now or later, we will be together."
Alexis tensed and scowled at him. "You only think you can get away with anything you want because of your daddy. If it weren't for him, you would've been put down years ago for your poor—"
Leonidas stepped forward and backhanded Alexis, sending her sideways against a stack of crates.
"Bitch, you leave my father out of this." He moved to her as he spoke, pushing her to the dirt floor. He was on top of her before she could react, ripping at her blouse, and cursing in her ear.
"You want to play tough? We can play tough." He pulled at her sleeve until she heard the threads ripping free. "I think we will be mated sooner rather than later."
He pinned her down with one hand to her throat while he busied his other hand grabbing at her breast. Alexis was stunned, in a sudden state of shock, her body starting to go numb, preparing to give in to what was happening. Then, as he squeezed her breast to the point of pain, something snapped inside her. Fear and resignation gave way to anger, and prompted her to shift—not completely, but at some mid-point between human and wolf. In the next instant, more through instinct then conscious thought, she swatted him away and rolled over on top of him. His shift came nearly as quick, but now she had him by the throat, and she squeezed until his breathing turned to gurgling sounds. He batted violently at her but she continued to squeeze his throat with all her strength, kneeling with her knees against his shoulders, until his eyes rolled back and he became motionless beneath her.
He shifted back to human form, his black hair already slick with sweat. Alexis slowly released her grip around his neck and checked to make sure he still had a pulse. She heard him breathing low, rough, and raspy, and he had a pulse. That is when the real fear struck her. Leonidas was still alive. He would likely recover soon and run to tell his father what happened. Of course, he would leave out the part of him attacking her, trying to force himself on her. His father and everyone else, to include her own parents, would take his side and she would still be given to Leonidas in the end, as if she were some kind of object to be traded or sold at someone else’s will. A flood of emotions rose within her as she considered what to do next. She couldn’t allow herself to be given to Leo. She couldn’t continue to live in this small town under the oppression of Leo and his father and certainly, she couldn’t continue along this defiant path without the support of her friends, her family, and especially, her grandfather.
Alexis ran. She stormed through the wooden door of the storage warehouse, racking it so hard against the outside wall that it broke off its hinges, falling flat on the ground behind her. She was not sure where she was running to, or even why she was running; she just needed to get away. Tears blurred her vision and cooled her cheeks as she ran out of the orchard with her purse, flapping behind her like a kite on a string. Surprised the straps were still intact around her shoulders, she stretched her legs and found firm purchase on the asphalt-covered street, increasing her speed. In what seemed mere moments, she was in the town circle looking at the a line of antique shops.
Her only thought was to get out of town, away from Leonidas, and someplace safe and familiar. She’d hardly been outside of Ellijay her entire life, except for her recent time in college. She spent two years at Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta.  Her first two years were spent at Dalton State College’s Ellijay extension where she received an associate degree in general studies. She made the short trek South on River Street to an ATM and withdrew as much cash as the machine would allow. A taxi sat alone along the curb. She stopped, opened the back passenger door, and got in.
"Where to?" The cab driver turned in his seat, an expectant look on his face.
"How can I get to Atlanta?" Alexis asked. Atlanta seemed as good a place as any to go.
"There's a Greyhound that goes there from the station south of Dalton twice a week."
"Then take me to the Greyhound station."
The driver sat there looking at her with that same expectant look on his face until she pulled her wallet out of her purse, flashing her credit card. Then he turned back around and made a radio call before gunning the throttle, pushing her into the seat as they rocketed back toward the town circle. After a quick turn around the circle, the driver pointed the car south on main street and out of Ellijay.