“What you doing, little bit?” I lifted my head and grinned at my brother as he made his way across the lawn to my hiding spot behind the fountains.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked, taking the hand that he offered and pulled myself to my feet.
“Where else would you be? You love doing your homework by the water, you say it soothes your wolf who hates Math - can’t say I blame her. Yet I already know mum helped you with your homework this evening, so why are you out here in the dark?”
I pulled a face, “mum and dad... they’re...”
“Doing the naked dance?” He laughed, wrapping his arm around my shoulders, and steering me towards the woodlands. “Yeah, I heard them too, hence me being out here. They’ve been obsessed with each other all day.”
I rolled my eyes at him. “It’s not normal, Eros! They carry on like they’re teenagers. I once heard dad say that he would die if he didn’t get at least ten kisses of her a day. Who says something like that?!”
He laughed as he ruffled my hair. “You’ll be like that one day – trust me. Their relationship might make you cringe now, but it’s something to aspire towards. Not everyone gets the match that they have.”
“Well, they could hide it from their children a little better, surely?!”
“Antheia,” He smiled, his eyes dancing. “I never had you down as a prude! Besides, I’ve seen you making goo-goo eyes at Axel every now and then, don’t try to deny it!”
“Axel?!” I spluttered. “Please!”
“Well… since we have nothing better to do, how about we have a game of chase? What do you say? You fancy a run with your big brother?”
My wolf burst forward, jumping around in the far corners of my mind. She loved nothing more than running, especially with other members of the pack. We had recently graduated from the children’s programme and it was becoming harder and harder to find people to run with. Other than the weekly pack runs that my father insisted on, I was low on running partners. The children still in the school grew frustrated at how advanced I was, yet I wasn’t fast enough to run with the older wolves for training, which left me frustrated.
My dad would tell me it was just an age thing and the unfortunate downfall of having a smaller pack as there were not always children the same age or level as myself. It was why I loved that he was always so open to taking me with him when he went for his weekends away with Eros. He let me run free, and it was rare that I spent more than an hour in my human skin during our trips.
“I’d love to run,” I beamed at Eros, the smile falling from my lips as I remembered what I had seen earlier. “Err... the thing is...”
“The thing is?” Eros replied.
“Well, you see…”
“I see...?” He was openly smirking at me now. He had infinite patience for me, knowing that I easily grew nervous in the face of tension and drama. I knew things were about to go from zero to one hundred real quick.
“I actually had something I needed to say to you – I was going to come to you earlier, but you were locked away in your bedroom, and mum said it was best not to disturb you.”
“Antheia. Stop rambling. What is it?”
“I saw Sophia earlier,” I bit out, refusing to look him in the eyes. I felt rather than saw his body stiffen as the air around us dropped a few degrees with his growing anger.
“Did you now?” He ground out, his jaw so locked and stiff that he barely moved his lips.
“Yeah. She asked how I was and how things were going with school and stuff...”
I bit my lip, hopping from one foot to the other. “And then some guy approached. She left on the back of his motorcycle. They were headed for the woods and...” I didn’t get to finish my sentence as Eros spun on his feet, shifting into his wolf almost instantly and running straight for the pack gates, stopping only for a moment to grab one of the many backpacks my parents placed around the borders. They were easily carried in our wolf form, the straps the perfect size for us to grab between our teeth. The backpacks were stuffed to the brim with a change of clothes and some very basic survival tools such as a bottle of water, some dried meat and a burner phone - just in case we ever found ourselves in trouble with the human authorities.
I puffed out my breath, my shoulders slumping forward. I guess I wasn’t running tonight then. I inwardly cringed as I realised what this now meant.
Someone had to tell my parents where Eros went, and that delightful job fell on my shoulders.
My dad loved being interrupted during his “alone time” with mum.
Just as I was entering the packhouse, I saw the perfect person for the job. “Hey, Axel,” I called, my eyes sparkling with mischief. “I need a big favour from you, you know where my parent’s room is... right?”
One hundred and twenty-seven leaves on the floor. The tree next to it has seventy-one to the left, thirty-three in the middle and twenty-three to the right.
My wolf scoffed in my mind as I mentally calculated the trees on the floor.
“This your idea of fun?” She asked me, turning her back on me before I was even able to answer.
Not that I could blame her.
I was supposed to be on a date with my new boyfriend, Chad. Except it hadn’t quite gone to plan. Fifteen minutes into our drive, he had received a phone call that had him skidding his bike to an immediate stop and answering straight away. Every so often he would mouth an apology at me, but it hadn’t made him end the phone call any quicker, despite the angry looks I threw his way.
It had been an eye-opener, that was for sure. I was almost positive that he was on the phone with a drug dealer and that Chad was supposed to have done a drop off for him today, but for whatever reason; he had bailed.
I waited for the initial rush to hit me, the familiar feeling of adrenaline surging through me as my brain kicked in and recognised the company I was in and how risky this could all end up. It didn’t happen. My wolf no longer appreciated being around all these men anymore. She had found her one and only and simply whined to be close to him once more.
Nothing had ever felt the same since we had found out Eros was our mate. So much for living life and experiencing the highs of an adrenaline rush. That was short-lived.
I pushed myself off the wall, saying goodbye to the tree in my head. It had been better company than Chad in the end. I shook my head and smiled at my own silly actions and turned to my so-called date.
“Chad,” I whispered. He looked surprised to see me, almost as if he had forgotten where he was.
Well, that’s flattering.
“Look, I’m going to go, you clearly have a lot on your plate right now...”
He paused for a moment until his eyes fell to the cleavage spilling from my low-cut top. “No, wait, I won’t be a moment,” he murmured, using his hand to cover the phone for a moment before turning away from me, saying his goodbyes to whoever was on the other end.
It wasn’t a minute later before he was spinning back in my direction, picking me up by the waist and placing me back on the wall. “Sorry, sugar, I’ve been neglecting you, haven’t I?” He murmured huskily, bringing his lips down to mine.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed myself against him, finally feeling something other than the boredom that had plagued me for the last few hours.
“Desperate,” my wolf hissed.
Desperate or not, I was finally getting what I wanted. This date might turn out to be interesting after all.
Why was her fucking scent all over this town? It made it impossible to track her down.
Ever since my wolf had recognised her as our mate, I had been smelling her everywhere. It was as though the wind carried her scent to me, haunting my every movement.
I cursed inwardly as I skidded to a halt, hiding behind a building as I recognised someone crossing the road.
What the fuck was I doing? I couldn’t go running through the town as a wolf. Humans would certainly raise a few eyebrows at that.
Reluctantly I shifted back to my human skin, changing into the change of clothes stuffed into the backpack that I had luckily had the foresight to pick up. My senses wouldn’t be quite as honed in this form, but they were still more advanced than any other human out there.
I walked around, my nose stuck in the air as I continued to try to follow her scent. As it turned out, it wasn’t her scent that gave away her position. Her soft, captivating giggle travelled across the distance, hitting me in the chest with a sharp stab. I had been with enough women to recognise that sort husky, sexy laugh.
I ran. My canines elongated. My hands partially shifted into claws. I was one more giggle away from allowing my wolf to burst free.
I rounded the corner, skidding to a halt as I saw her.
Pressed against some douche bag looking asshole.
I closed my eyes and took a moment to catch my breath in an effort to reign my anger in slightly. That was when the douche bag made his final mistake. Despite the fact that my blood was pounding through my body, drowning out all other sounds as it vibrated through my mind, I heard his voice clear as day.
“What do you say we take this back to my place, sugar?” He asked, his voice low as his hands roamed all over Sophia’s body. She titled her head back and arched her back for him, giving him better access to her chest.
Fuck this. Fuck the human authorities and fuck him.
I shot forward, knocking him away from Sophia and straddled his hips the second he hit the floor, raining blow after blow down on his face.