“Don’t start, Dad.” I grumbled, walking out of my office.
“I just don’t understand why you insist on wasting your time with this.” My father sighed, starting in on the same lecture he’s given me a hundred times before.
“Alto, let it go.” My mother chastised her mate as she joined us in the packhouse’s lobby.
“You are too easy on him, Fiona. He needs to focus on being the Alpha instead of spending all his time playing with surfboards.” Father snapped, ignoring my mother’s outstretched hand.
“I can focus on both things, and I’m not playing.”
There was no use in defending my custom surfboard business with my father again. He would never listen. It didn’t matter how high my profits rose, how many news articles, magazine covers, or talk show hosts boasted about my boards, or which celebrity endorsements I got; my business would never be good enough for him because it wasn’t the family business.
When I turned 18 and took over the title of Alpha for my father, I was also expected to take my seat as CEO of the family business. Instead of showing interest in finances, I went to art school and founded my own company of custom surfboards. In five years we became a fortune 500 company and picked up sponsorships from pro surfing competitions all over the world. I was proud of my work and I had the support of the pack behind me.
It didn’t matter how successful I was or how old I was, my father would never admit that he was wrong or give up on his dream of me taking over the family business instead of just handing it over to one of my younger siblings. If nothing changed in 10 years, I assumed it was never going to change.
“I’m heading into the office. Clay and Dover are around if you need anything.” I replied before slamming the packhouse door in my father’s face and storming out to my car.
I drove in a frustrated daze to the corporate office which sat a few blocks back from Samoa Beach.
“Good morning, Mr. Greystone.” The front desk receptionist greeted me in her way too perky tone.
Many of my employees were humans, having no idea I was an Alpha werewolf. But, I also hosted several internships for members of my pack looking to get started in art design or business, and employed many members straight out of college to give them a jump start on their careers. It was a delicate balance but one that was working out well so far.
“Good morning, Alicia.” I nodded politely as I waited on the elevator. I swiped my key card to gain access to the elevator and rode it to the fifth floor.
“Good morning, Alpha.” The executive security greeted me as I stepped off the elevator. She was a college student majoring in business and a member of my pack.
“Morning, Megan. How do we look today?” I asked.
“Everyone is waiting for you in the boardroom. The coffee is flowing, sir, and the spirits are high.” She smiled as we walked side by side to the boardroom doors.
“Thanks. Wish me luck.” I mumbled, not particularly looking forward to, what would most likely be, an hours-long meeting with a bunch of suits.
“Good morning everyone, let’s get started.” I addressed the room and quickly got down to business.
Four hours later the meeting was finally wrapping up and I was able to make my escape. Alistair, my wolf, was jumping and pacing in my head all morning and my patience with him was wearing thin. He wouldn’t tell me what was up and that only pissed me off even more.
I avoided any other interactions with the staff and walked a few blocks to the beach. I kicked off my dress shoes and socks to walk barefoot in the sand. Alistair started howling wildly, giving me an instant headache.
“What the hell?” I snapped.
“Mate!” He barked.
I wasn’t sure I had heard him correctly. Did he really say mate? It had been more than ten years since we were eligible to meet our mate and we had nearly given up. There were dozens of potential Luna’s in the pack and my father had been pressuring me to choose one for years now.
I started sniffing the air and desperately searched the beach. No one stood out at first, it was just a large crowd of humans and some werewolves enjoying the start of summer. I quickened my pace as I scoured the beach for whatever had Alistair so excited.
Finally, it hit me. The most inviting, intoxicating, alluring scent I had ever experienced. It was the smell of crisp sea air and raspberry ice cream. I couldn’t explain how ice cream had a smell or why her scent was different from the normal sea air of California; all I could do was identify what was driving me wild.
Time stood still when I first saw her. She was so tiny, tiny even by human standards. She had to be under 5 feet tall and maybe 100 pounds soaking wet. She had the whitest blonde hair I had ever seen cascading down her back like a glistening waterfall. Her skin was fair and soft-looking, like freshly fallen snow. As if sensing my presence, she turned towards me and I caught a glimpse of her startling icy blue eyes.
Her eyes locked with mine and grew two sizes. She quickly spun on her heels and disappeared into the crowd. I was locked on to her scent and able to follow her with ease. She moved so gracefully, like she was floating across the sand. She wasn’t a werewolf, but she wasn’t a human either. Everything about her both puzzled and excited me.
“Wait!” I called out as she broke free of the crowd and started running towards the woods. She didn’t even pause as she slipped into the cover of trees.
I sprinted across the beach, following her into the woods, but I was too late. Her scent took me to a small cove in the middle of the trees, but it stopped where the sand met the ocean. I searched all around me, eyeing the water to see if she would pop up from a swim. She was nowhere to be found.
Alistair whined in my head, pacing with his tail between his legs. We missed our mate and we had no way of finding her again. I sat there where the dirt from the woods touched the sand from the cove and waited for so long the sun began to dip below the horizon.
“You alright, Alpha?” My Beta, and younger brother, Clay, mindlinked me.
“I found my mate.” I replied.
“Man, that’s great!” Clay cheered.
“And I lost her.”
“You what?” He asked, confused.
“She ran from me and just disappeared.” I pouted.
“She ran?” Was he deaf?
“She’s not a werewolf, I don’t know what she is.” I said.
“You’ll find her, Knox. Mates can’t stay hidden for long, especially once you’ve been exposed to each other. You’ll be drawn back together soon enough.” Clay said enthusiastically.
I sighed but didn’t respond to my brother. Instead, I gathered myself and started walking back to the car.
Clay and my sister, Jenna, were both lucky enough to find their mates shortly after they turned 18. My youngest sister, Meredith, would be 18 in a few months and was sure that her longtime boyfriend would be her mate. I had my doubts.
My father doesn’t understand why I haven’t chosen a mate yet. He chose my mother as his mate when he was 19 and still mateless. Their relationship is exactly why I refuse to take a chosen mate. My father was heartless and cold towards everyone, including his mate. I knew my mother found companionship in other men, as my father did with other women, but no one talked about it. I didn’t want that for myself, for my mate, or for my pack. If all my siblings could find mates, then so could I.
I sulked to the car and drove slowly back to the packhouse. I wasn’t in the mood to talk to anyone. I had the distinct feeling that this sour mood of mine was around to stay for awhile, or at least until I saw my silver haired, blue eyed mystery mate again.