⚠️Warning before you read⚠️
My characters don’t always make perfect decisions. They will frustrate, annoy, and maybe anger you. The consequences they face in the story could probably be predicted from a mile away.
I know you all might make different decisions if you were in their shoes, but have you ever been a werewolf with a pack to run and a stubborn mate to run from?
If you choose to continue reading, please keep this in mind before you give up and throw your phone at the wall ☺️
~The Alpha's Shatter Zone~
"Alpha, a wolf just crossed the northern border.”
“Yes. The border guards are already on it,” the second in command stated firmly.
“Do you want them to kill him?”
“No, bring him here,” the Alpha stared out the window at the swirling drifts of snow that fell upon the pine forest just beyond the pack residence, then said, “I’ll kill him myself.”
“Yes Alpha,” the guards bowed out of the room and went to obey the orders. They always obeyed the Alpha.
He ran fast, ducking and weaving between the trees, yet the guards gained on him. They were well trained, smart, grouping then splitting up to herd him to an impasse. Just like he’d anticipated. He threw a look over his shoulder, saw them snarling and snapping their jaws, and nearly laughed at their predictability. The sound came out a guttural growl, echoing and bouncing back from the trees, and only angered the other wolves further.
They soon caught up to him and leapt on him, tackling him to the dirt and cold leaves. They sprawled in the muddy dirt, and two big wolves pinned him down. His breath came out hot in the frosty air as his snout pressed into the mud.
“Shift!” a guard ordered. A woman. With long black hair and a fierce gaze, she stood tall and straight with legs apart and arms crossed over her chest. The fur on the collar of her black leather jacket reminded him of a skunk.
He just growled, and she took a step closer, the two guards pressing down on his back. He rolled his eyes then shifted, standing to his feet when the guards eased up on the pressure.
“Move it, dirty mongrel,” the woman gave him a push in a direction he guessed was the pack house.
“Don’t talk to me like that. Don’t you know who I am?” he yanked himself free from her firm grip on his shoulder.
She stared at him with narrowed eyes, then they widened. Of course, it would be harder to recognise him with the messy hair and scraggly beard. He hoped to get cleaned up soon, however.
Her frown soon turned into a smirk and she shared a quick look with the other guards around her. “So sorry, Alpha, did I hurt you?” She mocked before pushing him roughly again. The others laughed.
“Take me to your alpha,” he ignored her jibe and spoke through clenched teeth.
“You’re in luck. We already are. Ordinarily, I would’ve snapped your neck by now.”
“Aren’t you afraid of me?” he growled at the men who held his arms restrained.
“Why should we be? Our Alpha isn’t afraid of anyone.”
“He should be.”
The woman shared another knowing glance with her men, a smirk on her otherwise beautiful and strong face. Right now he just wanted to wipe it in the dirt. All in good time, he reminded himself.
They soon cleared the forest, the trees growing thinner and the snow falling thicker. He wasn’t cold despite the flakes that landed on his skin. He’d been through far worse.
“Drink in the sight of the countryside—it’ll be your last, pretty boy,” the woman said as they followed a dirt trail that soon broadened with pavers.
“Lexi, knock it off,” one of the men threw her a stern look.
“Hey, why can’t I have some fun?”
“We all know what happened the last time you had ‘fun’,” another joked.
“Come on, you guys were thanking me for weeks, admit it.”
“After we were let out of jail, you mean.”
“What stories would you guys have to tell around Fire Nights if I didn’t come up with my clever plans?”
“Crazy, more like it.” This comment earned the speaker a slap up the back of the head, and the others just chuckled, knowing Lexi won.
“How long til we’re there?” the trespasser asked, itching to get on with the show. It was meant to be a clean mission: get in and kill the alpha, then take over the land. Not get stuck with these mango heads. He could still just—
“We’re here,” a guard said, and he jerked his head up from his thoughts.
A grey stone building loomed from the snowy mist, looking more like a castle than a pack house. A flight of steps ran up to the main entrance, lined with a curving bannister, and glowering gargoyles peered down at him from each corner and gutter. The four stories rose above him, and he nearly stumbled as they pushed him up and inside.
Their footsteps echoed on the stone floor as they walked down the main hall, and his heart beat faster and thudded against his chest. He took a deep breath to calm himself, but there was just something about this place…
They pushed through a door into a large room, a row of windows lining each side and a mounted platform on the far wall. The whole place had a throne room feel to it, he decided as his heart raced and sweat broke out on his palms. Why was he acting like this? Did the guards inject him with a drug or something?
A woman was standing to the side, staring out the windows. She turned when he was shoved to his knees.
“Here he is, Alpha,” Lexi spoke then took up position, standing proudly beside him like he was her prize catch.
His head swivelled side to side, trying to see the Alpha. Instead, the woman stepped closer, her long platinum blonde hair falling past her shoulders, her black cape grazing the polished floor.
“I will speak only to the Alpha!” he growled.
“You are,” she stopped in front of him, forcing his gaze upwards.
For a split second, their eyes locked, and something passed between them. For a brief moment, he wanted to wrap her in his arms and trace kisses on her neck. His heart had never been this on fire. Then he shook his head. “Impossible!” he roared.
Her steely gaze faltered for a bit, but was soon replaced with a sly twitch of her lips and a wall over any hint of emotion. “And why is that? You feel intimidated by a female alpha?”
“No, I-I,” he spluttered, fazed as she kept staring in his eyes, the icy hues of her irises piercing him. The more he sunk in their depths, the more his mind was screaming one word. And the more he refused to believe it.
She stared at him, unnerved by the richness in his brown eyes, yet repulsed by the indignation and prejudice in them. He was mocking her; he was criticising her ability to rule as Alpha with just one glance of his eyes. They cut her down. They attempted to strip her walls and see beyond the exterior she fought so hard to keep in place. Because her own heart was trying to break it down, was trying to let him in—her mate.
He leapt to his feet, and her Beta and Gamma both grabbed his arms. “I don’t believe it,” he said low and sinister. “This is the SteelHeart Pack, right?”
“Yes,” she jutted her chin.
“Then where is the tough, strong Alpha I’ve heard so much about? Where is he?” he stepped forward but her men kept him restrained.
“I’ve been the Alpha for five years,” she said with deadly precision, incensed that he was underestimating her power. “Any whispers and rumors you have heard of the strong Alpha would be from under my rule, my reign.”
His lips twisted in a sneer, and any thoughts of rushing into his arms vanished. She just wanted to slap him good and hard.
“Alpha Chesca, he’s all yours,” Lexi, her head of guards, motioned her head towards him, reminding her of how she normally dealt with trespassers--rogue or Alpha, it made no difference.
“Chesca, is it?” he slowly looked her up and down, his gaze making her skin shiver with goosebumps.
“Alpha?” Lexi shot her a frown.
Lex, I—I can’t! He’s...he’s my mate… she spoke through the mind link.
You’re kidding, right? Lexi tried to hide the shock on her face.
Do I look I’m kidding?
“Go ahead, kill me,” he said with a smug look on his face. “That is what you were planning, right?”
“Don’t dare to think you know what my plans are. Even my command don’t know my plans. No one knows my plans,” she was prattling, she knew it. His presence was messing with her usually crystalline thought processes. She paced around him, giving him the same once-over he gave her. Torn and stained jeans, black shirt, messy dark brown waves of hair that fell to his shoulders and framed a handsome face that she just wanted to—
“Is that why you’re stalling? To formulate plans?”
She growled and shot her hand out to his neck, gripping it tightly. “Don’t play games with me. I could say the same for you, oh mighty Alpha of Razestone. Disgraced, disavowed, removed from your position by your own father—”
“Don’t try and speak of things you know nothing abo—”
“That’s why you came here, isn’t it?” she continued despite the mixture of hurt and anger in his eyes. “To kill me and take my territory for yourself? You thought you could just waltz in here and crush this Alpha? Well, you got something coming for you—”
“Kill me then,” he hissed, his neck muscles clenching under her fingers.
“You kill me! Snap my neck like I know you want to! Take my territory, take my pack,” she dared him.
He lifted his arm, and her men moved closer but stayed back, realizing this show of power was crucial in their Alpha Chesca setting the boundaries.
He wrapped his large hand easily around her neck. She stifled the gasp that arose from the touch of his skin against hers. He didn’t apply any pressure. Just stared in her eyes, nose to nose, faces inches apart. She could feel his warm breath on her lips, his heart beating rapidly in the chest that brushed against hers. They stared each other down, both daring, yet neither one willing to make a move, win or lose.
Lexi shifted her eyes from one to the other, back and forth, holding her breath.
Finally, he released his hand. “I could never hurt you. You’re my mate,” he said softly.
Her men coughed and spluttered at this, but one look from her silenced them.
“Take him to the West Wing.”
“Yes, Alpha,” they obeyed.
“The West Wing?” Lexi fell into step beside her as she marched from the meeting hall. “Not the dungeon?”
Chesca took a deep breath to calm her racing heart, then smiled at her girlhood friend. She was grateful for the concern and the way Lexi always looked out for her. But she was wrong on this one. “Didn’t your father ever teach you to keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?”