“Do I have to go?” I asked, watching my brother pace back and forth.
Running his fingers through his dark hair anxiously, Hunter’s cobalt eyes darted to me and the corner of his lips tightened grimly, almost apologetically. At his slow response, my shoulders sagged. Parting my lips, I was ready to protest yet I knew my words would fall on deaf ears. What could I say? That I didn’t want him? The Goddess picked him for me and me for him. Our bond, once fully completed, would become inseparable.
I inhaled sharply at that thought, the brim of my skin heating at the salacious thoughts and my wolf growl in satisfaction. She wanted him, the rogue. That was what he was and despite how she felt about him, I despised him.
Rubbing the stubble on his jaw, Hunter released a sigh. “I can’t interfere with this. If I do, I’m declaring war.”
“But he’s a rogue! Who knows what he’s going to do to me when I leave the territory!” I yelled.
He glared at me. “Calm down...”
“No,” I shook my head rapidly. “I don’t want to go! My family is here and... I have a life outside the pack. What about college?”
Realisation dawned on me, like as if reality just slapped me in the face. I wouldn’t ever return to my mundane life away from the pack. My college life, my friends all will be taken away by a claim I didn’t want. I gritted my teeth, rage infiltrating my system, it was so unexpected, I scared myself. Hunter noticed this, he knew of my irrational anger and for some reason – despite years of my maturity – I was unable to get it under control.
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned; well I say hell hath no fury like an Alpha female. Clenching my fists, my chest heaved with deep, unsteady breaths.
“Izabella,” Hunter said slowly, his eyes pinning mine but I refused to back down. “Relax, please.”
A loud knock echoed through the room and before my brother could invite whoever it was, the brute entered, his sharp eyes holding me in place. I straightened my spine, his presence a commanding force that couldn’t be ignored. He was taller than Hunter, broader and leaner. I couldn't help myself but scrutinise him.
He was devastatingly handsome, beautiful but with a savage twist. His long hair was tied back into a low bun and his previous shirt was replaced with a white, buttoned-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Dark, faded jeans hung loosely on his hips and I forced myself to look away, willing myself to not look further down. I felt his eyes burning the side of my face when he spoke directly to Hunter.
“Is her virtue still intact?”
I scowled at him. “What do you think?”
I only got a growl in response.
“Yes, when she was away, we had people keep a close eye on her and her whereabouts,”
Snapping eyes to my brother, I felt a sense of betrayal. Hunter avoided my gaze, glancing at Basil for a few seconds then walking around his desk, collecting some paperwork. I kept my mouth shut. During my time away, I’d been granted access to The Blue Moon Pack and it explained why their Alpha, Mason, was always around. All those times I thought he was being kind to me but instead, he was my babysitter. Hurt seeped into my bloodstream as I leant against the wall in utter defeat.
What did it take to prove I was capable of taking care of myself? All throughout my life, I’ve been treated like a delicate flower, sheltered and unable to find myself. The perks of being the Alpha’s sister I despised. Sometimes, I wondered what it would be like to be a regular wolf or even human. I wouldn’t feel this pressure to fulfil others expectations rather than my own.
A shadow fell over me and I straightened my spine, noticing Basil standing too close for my liking. The musk of his scent was razor sharp to my senses and I ground my teeth, refusing the urge to inhale deeply. It was a distinct smell, one that I wouldn’t forget that belonged to him.
The tips of his large fingers skimmed against the junction of my neck and my shoulder. I quickly pulled away from his touch as if he’d burned me. Basil narrowed his eyes but finally, I was free from his stare, his eyes gliding to Hunter.
“I plan to leave today,”
Hunter frowned. “When?”
“That’s not enough time,” I whispered to myself. “I need to say goodbye to my family, pack my bags-”
“The Bloodstone Pack is your family now,” He interrupted unapologetically. “I’m giving you an hour, pack your bags and say goodbye to whoever you want. We are leaving tonight.”
“Do you have everything you need?” Hailey asked, rubbing my arms gently as I zipped up my suitcase. I sighed with a nod, biting the inside of my cheek nervously.
The hour was nearly up and I couldn’t help but feel as if it was the Grim Reaper ready to take my soul away. I said goodbye to most of my pack members before returning to my room and I could hear my parents’ discussion on the bottom floor. Sabrina was devastated at my soon departure and Jackson only replied in monotonous syllables. The whole pack knew I was to be whisked away by a dark knight and I could see sympathy reflecting through their eyes. Hailey embraced me warmly and her ever-present light shone through my gloomy mood.
“You’re going to be okay, everything will be okay,”
“What if he loses control and...”
I couldn’t complete the sentence. I heard the stories. It wasn't all the time two mates hopelessly fall in love and consummate their bond. My grandma from my mother’s side was from a tribal pack in Venezuela and she made it sound like my granddad forced himself on her. I loved him but I couldn’t get around that fact. From the way my mom acted around him, they weren’t close. Hailey gasped, shaking her head.
“Basil may be very... very rough around the edges but I don’t think he’ll ever force you into something you don’t want to do,”
Breathing shakily, I nodded, lifting my suitcase and headed down the stairs. My parents and Phoenix stood to their feet as I reached the bottom step. Sabrina’s glassy eyes appraised me as she met me halfway. She tried to contain a sob but Jackson peeled her body from mine. His eyes identical to my brother’s, they were quizzical but held a sad undertone.
I left my childhood home and from the distance, I saw Hunter and Basil discussing in hushed voices, their expressions far from being relaxed. Behind them were some pack members waiting to see me leave and whispered murmured travelled through the air.
I turned to Phoenix who glanced over at Basil with wary blue eyes. She lifted her hand to touch my elbow, her light squeeze bringing my attention to the warning her eyes conveyed.
“Be careful in their territory, I heard stories about Basil at night, he wanders off into the woods and some say be becomes a beast,”
I frowned. “We’re wolves, he’s probably having his midnight shift.”
Phoenix shook her head. “No... something far worse, a demon...”
Perplexed, I tore my gaze away once Hailey’s fingers grazed my forearm, leading me towards the brute I was forced to leave with. My father, Jackson, stood at my other side, his eyes faced forward and void of any emotion. She-wolves leaving their birth pack was a customary practice, especially if she was mated to an Alpha. Basil’s white eyes travelled down my frame and his fists tightened as I got nearer.
Both men stood in front of a black Jeep and in line there were male warriors waiting on their Alpha. I watched them, glancing at the tattoos that marked their body and their large frame that was incomparable to Basil. Nevertheless, to a regular wolf, they were intimidating.
“Thank you, Hailey,” Hunter’s eyes only softened for her, it was quite cute but I didn’t think he’d appreciate that. He turned to our dad but they lost their warmth. “Is there anything wrong, dad?”
“No,” Jackson shook his head, stepping closer to the brute. “If you hurt her, I will kill you. That's a promise.”
A snarl ripped through Basil’s heaving chest, not taking my dad's threat lightly as he stepped forward. Toe to toe, they stared at each other and neither of them backed down. My father may be sixty-two but his age was never a weakness of his strength and his ability to win a fight. However, Basil was young, and as a rogue, he’d seen the ugly things that came along with his lifestyle so he had an advantage.
Astonished, Hunter stood between them. “Dad, back off.”
“I’ll die before allowing anything to happen to her,” Basil turned his eyes to me soon dropping to my suitcase. He pried it from my grasp as tossed at the back of the Jeep without any struggle. Opening the door and outstretching his arm, his voice held a command when he said. “Come.”
I looked at Hunter and he gave me a nod of encouragement. Then I looked at my dad. He sent me a reassuring smile and I ran into his opened arms, the little girl in me unable to stay hidden for too long. Jackson kissed the top of my head and I wrinkled my nose at his stubble scratching the surface of my skin.
“I love you,” he whispered, releasing me.
I smiled, glancing at everyone one last time before walking to Basil who waited patiently with calculative eyes on me. Placing his hands on my waist, I gasped in surprise when he lifted me onto passenger’s seat with ease. His large fingers brushed against my thighs and I stiffened involuntarily. Despite my reaction, he kept his hand there, purposefully, and a muscle ticked in his jaw as he pulled away and slammed the door shut.
I exhaled loudly, just as he entered the Jeep and the engine roared to life. The silence between us was suffocating, along with the authoritative aura that he oozed. Alphas may be Alphas but there were some who were bigger, better and stronger than the next to ensure our survival.
He was the Alpha of all Alphas. I could feel it.
I glanced at him when he said. “Are you ready?”