Duskfall remained quiet during the January cold. Apparent, however, was the budding kinship between Titania and Brett as a normal routine between the two Alphas was established. Brett’s submission to Titania had removed all doubt of threat to the title which had the rest of the pack at ease with the giant. It did not take long for the Shetland male to fit in.
As she flicked through a report from the Elders, fingers barely touching upon the paper, her expression darkened as her eyes followed the vague and falsified words. Unimpressed with the pathetic excuses from the supposed higher-ups, she lay on her couch with her legs dangling over the top as her head hung over the bottom; her pink lip pouted as she reread the letter not once, not twice but three times.
Throwing the lengthy report onto the ground where it belonged, she cursed. “Bunch of idiots.”
Having heard her constant muttering since the early hours of the morning, Brett made his way down Titania’s spiral staircase. Observing her laid back posture paired with the lines adorning her usually stoic face, he couldn’t help but let a low chuckle escape.
“Reading the words more than once won’t make your anger disappear. Just leave it.”
She sent a scowl his way, “Hilarious. Who would’ve thought of such a pioneering idea? How about you leave and-
Her phone rang as he descended the stairs, interrupting the fierce stare off between the two. Cursing under her breath, her eyes began to burn with her wolf which gave away the identity of the caller. Ever as observant, Brett made himself scarce as he hid his sarcastic comment and smirking expression by occupying himself with making himself and Titania a cup of tea.
Titania eyed the phone as ‘Watcha Say’ by Jason Derulo filled the cabin. She hadn’t bothered changing her ringtone and had a soft spot for the naughties such as old Taylor Swift, All Time Low, Busted and Bring Me The Horizon; which continued to be some of her favourite artists. Classics in her eyes that continued to be, and remained, her guilty pleasure. She sent Brett a fierce glare to his back, signalling the weight of her caged secret as she moved to grab her phone. She swore that if he spoke a word of her music taste, she’d castrate him with no regrets.
The song swiftly finished as her finger ran over the screen. Before the embarrassment could cross her features, Brett handed her the piping hot mug to which she accepted without a word.
Turning herself upright, she brought the cup to her lips as she relished in the soothing effects of the tea, although she’d have much preferred it if the mug held something much stronger, Hell she’d need it. Three weeks living with Brett had fried her emotional tethers more than she’d like to admit.
“Thanks,” she replied bluntly while focusing on her mug.
“You might as well get it over with, they’ll not stop if you just ignore them, believe me I’ve tried that.” He motioned to the second call of her vibrating phone. “Persistent bunch they are. Also, nice song choice.”
“If you repeat that to anybody, you’ll be tied up and left out in the forest.”
His eyes danced with ushered lust, “I don’t think that would be much of a punishment.”
Catching his hidden meaning, she coughed, the tea sloshing in its cup. “Out the question.” But how her mind thought the opposite. If anything, her thighs clenched at the idea of tying Brett up and having her way with him. The bond fluttered delightedly at such a proposition. She cleared her throat and immediately changed the subject.
“I’m trying to control myself as much as I can before I go to rip the Council’s throats out.” She sent Brett a dark smirk at the roll of his eyes, “You did make me promise to work on my emotions and here I am... A role model Alpha. Don’t tempt me to easy beheading.”
Brett snorted as Jason Derulo once again filled the room, “Will you hit me if I don’t agree?”
In response, her hand attempted to hit him, instead it missed as he ducked out the way. Titania glowered at the missed opportunity but at the full smile that adorned Brett’s face; she couldn’t help but feel her own warm – a small smile following suit.
“Right on target.” He jested sarcastically as he finished the rest of his tea. “You have some good tea down here.”
Throwing the middle finger, her teeth flashed, “You should be grateful it wasn’t on target or else you’d have to go see the doctor and of course we have the best tea, we’re not a bunch of savages. Shetland needs to get itself some.”
Brett hid his bout of sadness at the mention of his old pack. He’s received some bad news a few hours prior and had struggled to sleep. Being in close proximity to Titania ebbed the pain but it was still there. Luckily it was still raw and he hadn’t processed the news properly. Wiping all trace of it away, he plastered the easygoing smile back on his face, “Clearly you’re slacking in the accuracy department Alpha.”
Goosebumps adorned her skin like pinpricks at the subtle submission; all while his eyes sparkled with dominance and dark kept promises. Even in her slack position, they both recognised the dominance and tension that flew like static, hot and heavy in the confined room.
“Question it again and I’ll prove it to you again and again.”
Clearing his throat to try rid himself of his sinful thoughts that had gladly shifted from grief, Brett turned his heated face away, all while Titania stared him down. She had the advantage and smirked as he angled his body away from her as his boner grew. Satisfied at his embarrassment, she sipped at her tea.
At the heated pheromones within the room, Brett’s wolf grew more and more aroused, his tongue wagging as Brett tried to hush his inner beast. The blood rushed through his body as his heartbeat increased. What infuriated him more was that Titania could sense his growing struggle while all she gave away was a dazzle of teeth and a knowing glint within her arctic eyes. His chosen bondmate was entwining deeper and deeper within his soul every day at their interactions.
“Losing your control huh, Brett.” She sniggered, “That’s a first. Usually you’re the one that sits in meetings with a stick up their arse preaching about what to do and what not to do. This is just too amusing to watch.”
“It’s all you, you little Vixen.” He pouted as he not-too-subtly adjusted himself. “I’m going on a run and then I’ll be back. I can give you a hand with the paperwork and things if you want?”
Usually Titania would’ve denied his request outright but the desperate look in his eyes had her hesitating. She relented with a sigh. Brett had given up his position and she knew he and his wolf craved something to do other than menial tasks – it was clear it was taking its toll from the bloodshot tinge to his eyes.
“Sure.” She agreed, “You can make me tea and rub my feet like a good maid.”
“Deal.” He winked.
Her phone vibrated for the umpteenth time and she nodded her head to Brett, “Give me two hours then we can move through the land contracts and shopping spend once you’re done.”
Brett threw his top off, revealing his broad chest before sending Titania a meaningful look. Struggling to tear his eyes off the one he had sealed his soul to, he dragged himself out her cabin door, repeatedly telling himself that he’d see her in less than a couple hours’ time.
Her skin cooled due to Brett’s empowering presence leaving the four oak walls, and her expression unknowingly hardened. A glare was all she gave her phone as she answered it.
The combined voices of the Elders were all on the other end, muttering and huffing, “Being difficult...her title is null...complaints from other Alpha’s...” Was what she caught before her harsh tone took centre stage. It was brutally clear from the distaste that dripped from her voice that the people on the opposite side of the phone were not in her good books.
“Make this quick.” She snapped.
The Elders rightened themselves and the voices in the background hushed. “Good morning to you too Alpha Titania. I see you’ve finally picked up the phone.”
Elder Talon’s deep baritone had her wolf’s fangs bared in desperation for his head.
“As I said, make this quick as my patience with the Council is limited.”
Elder Talon clucked his tongue, “Happy to hear that you’re back to yourself again, the rumours really had us all at the Council worried. Is Duskfall all and well?”
Titania kept her pointed laughter to a minimum at the statement, of course the Council despised her for constantly going against age-old patriarchal sexism, but that didn’t stop her from proving them wrong at every turn.
“And why don’t I believe your concern for my wellbeing? On another note I read your reports, and while I much prefer the rest of the packs being back to their own lands that doesn’t answer the question of the young shifter deaths. Your vagueness might work with the others but not me.”
“I don’t have to explain myself or the Council members to you, Titania...”
Her growl was auditable through the device as her wolf threw itself forcibly against her barely constructed walls. “Alpha.”
“Yeah, Alpha Titania.” He mocked, “I don’t have to answer to your demands. You read the report, we have identified one of the main sources for the deaths, human pollution in the waterways, and have developed a vaccine. You have no right to demand anything of us.”
Her fangs protruded from her gums and the copper scent of blood filled the room. “You didn’t specify that in the report Elder.
He stumbled before correcting himself, “Well... it was implied, however... that is not the purpose of this call. Your mate deadline is up, and I wanted to confirm that you’ve got a male leading the pack.”
“I have lead this pack for over 5 years-
“And look how far that’s got you. We’ve had numerous complaints about abuse and misconduct from the packs staying with you and the fact that Duskfall won’t participate in any of the Councils trade negotiations speaks volumes. We need to stick together, especially after recent events with the infection.”
Her brow raised in suspicion at his words while the anger ate at her rationality. Using a saccharine-sweet voice, she replied, “Duskfall is its own entity, I think my fellow Scottish Alphas and I can vouch for that. We want nothing to do with the European packs and I think from your little housing experiment that rings true. We are true to our roots and while the Council may try to ‘modernise’ the packs, we want absolutely no place in that.”
“You’re walking a fine line Titania. If you don’t have a male standing beside you then we’ll revoke your title and Duskfall will comply with Council negotiations. So, we’ll send someone to take your title in the following days-
Grinding her teeth together, she threw her mug against the wall. “I have a male. Duskfall is mine.”
A pause sounded on the other end of the call. A small murmur from the other Elders was barely recognisable even to Titania’s sharp hearing.
“And do tell who this male is? We will not fall for your goose traps again. Your time is up. There must be a bond and you must be subservient to him.”
How Titania’s blood boiled at such a statement. Her eyes flickered black as pure red-hot fury pulsed through her veins unforgivingly. This was why she didn’t interact with the Council and only attended meetings when mandatory; they were incompetent, as shown from their handling of the shifter pandemic, and utterly pompous in their views. Emotions intensified as her wolf now growled for their blood, the feral demanding compensation from the trauma they’d been put through. A rather tempting proposition. Why did shifters need three old men dictating the lives of so many when they were so out of touch with how they lived and communicated?
She schooled her voice as she reined in the emotions that threatened to overspill. “I’m bonded to Brett Irvine. He’s with me at Duskfall.”
“Interesting...” Elder Talon paused, his tone showcasing the surprise at her statement. “He disbanded Ash Crescent which displaced a lot of the other packs. We’re not too happy with him.”
Titania rolled her eyes as she started to pace, hoping that the action would calm her down. “Yes, he did. You have your answers. Is there anything else?”
“We’ll be checking on Duskfall soon. You better be careful on your bonding accusations because if we find out that they’re false then there will be some... severe consequences.”
“Of course, Elder.” The snappy undertone to her response wasn’t missed by the Elder but he accepted it.
“We’ll be speaking soon Titania.”
Before she could contradict his address with her correct title, the phone line went dead. The dismissal had her turning the coffee table over in rage as the glass shattered and scattered over the floor.
Pinching her nose, she took in some deep breaths. However, it was not enough to curb the dark desires to take the Councils’ heads. Acknowledging that she was coming close to a meltdown, she refocused herself on mundane tasks. Anything to take her mind off the patronising and sardonic practices that forced her to have a male by her side rather than it be more than enough for her leadership to speak for itself.
Two hours did not seem enough for her head to cool. As Brett entered Titania’s cabin, he could see the carnage and concluded that the conversation with the Elders had not gone well. He’d had similar conversations with them and had to restrain himself from lashing out; for dealing with his old pack had given him enough grief and guilt to last a lifetime but he did not appreciate others rubbing it in, like adding salt to his wounds.
“How’d it go?” He broached as Titania’s figure entered from the kitchen.
“Does it look like it went well?” She sighed, “They were as dismissive and blunt as I remember them. Fucking undermining me and my pack and ordering me around like a pup. Not to mention they had the cheek to check on my mate status...”
His eyes never left hers as his lungs clenched within his chest.
“I didn’t have a choice but to acknowledge you as my bondmate.”
Brett released the breath he was holding but could spot the deep sadness that plagued Titania’s arctic eyes. While the statement should’ve had him jumping for joy- it did the opposite.
He moved closer and dared to try to hold her hands. She pulled away instinctively and he kept the hurt from crossing his expression. “I get it. We can take this slowly...I know- I’ve marked you, but we can hold out until you’re ready. And well... if you choose not to accept it then that’s okay.”
Brett’s heart sunk at letting those words escape but he knew Titania had to make the choice herself. He didn’t want her feeling that she was caged with him. He was not like them.
“It’s not necessarily that. I just hate being forced especially when I’ve proved I can do this myself. It’s all so unfair.”
She flopped down on the couch once again and despite the situation, Brett’s face glowed from her complaints. He completely agreed with her, of course, but there was something about her being so raw, so exposed that just tugged at his heartstrings.
“I get it. I wouldn’t want to be in your position, mated to a hunk like me.” He joked but she just sent him a scowl. Changing the subject, he clapped his hands together, “Okay up up, time to get the documents up to date!”
She moaned sourly as Brett grabbed the pile of contracts in front of her. His excitement was the complete opposite to Titania’s outward disgust.
“How the fuck are you so excited? I must’ve bashed your head in too many times when we last sparred.”
He nudged her as he got stuck into the land renewals. “Or maybe you’re the strange one here. There’s nothing wrong with signing your name here and there, it was the most peaceful part of my Alpha duties.”
He paused. Shaking his head, he threw the painful memories of his pack to the back of his mind. After studying his once joyful expression, Titania grabbed her first contract and bit her lip. The distraction clearly proved a success as Brett immersed himself in the occasionally tranquil back and forth with Titania as the days passed. Titania was surprised that she was starting to look forward to their daily Alpha hours and it lessened her workload significantly; even more so than when Lucy had accomplished in the month they stayed together. But as she got out more from her cabin, she noticed that Brett was starting to do the opposite - long days helping her with paperwork and phone calls and even longer restless nights. After the sixth day of Brett’s unusual moping, she decided she’d had enough. One pep talk later, and a plate of freshly caught rabbit placed out for her roommate on her wooden table, she turned herself to Brett and levelled his gaze.
The question hung on the air and Brett turned himself around to face the curious expression that had Titania’s eyebrows scrunched. Worry was not the emotion that crossed her face but something slightly akin to it.
“What do you mean?” The fake easygoing smile was easy for Titania to spot as she huffed.
Composing herself, she asked “Got something on your mind? You look...distracted.”
She waited as his eyes darkened. Patiently observing, she gave the male time to think and after he wolfed down his breakfast plate, his eyes swung to her: conveying the utter despair that crippled his expression.
“Yeah, I am.” He admitted, “I don’t even know where to start. It’s all such a mess. Fuck, I’m a mess.”
Titania didn’t say anything as the bond pulsed for her to comfort. Surprisingly, she didn’t find the urge overbearing and instead, followed it’s lead. She offered her plate to him, a small but meaningful offering. Brett acknowledged the sign and finished the meal, thanking her with a very slight tilt of his lips, “Thanks.”
“It’s no problem, the rabbit by the Southern cliffs always hits the spot.” While she was happy that the offering was well received, she made a note to go back to the cliffs and catch another breakfast for herself.
It took several minutes for Brett to gather his thoughts. The look that passed his face, from the hollow look to his eyes, lifeless pallor to his skin and unkempt appearance screamed that the male was suffering. It was a demon Titania had experienced once too many times herself.
“I found out last week that my little sister has died...” The sentence hung heavy with his monotone. “She’d went off to Aberdeen to study months before I resigned. God, I told her to wait but no. And... well...” He took a gulp as his eyes watered, “They found her frozen body at the bottom of the cliff before the port. Apparently, it took hours before she died of hypothermia and she didn’t even make it to the boat...all by herself.”
Tears, slow and fat, dripped down his cheeks as the torment swirled within the grey of his irises, pure and raw. He wiped them away quickly before shoving his hands over his face. “Fuck. I’ve done enough crying to last me a bloody lifetime. Just give me a sec...”
As he broke down in front of her, all Titania could do was watch. Brett curled in on himself harnessing all the added grief he felt towards losing a family member: while he played house and abandoned his pack. His mother would be in hysterics at such behaviour. Rolling in her own grave alongside his sister.
“Hey don’t cry.” Her voice came off eerily cold, but Brett could sense her true intention.
“It’s just so hard.” He sniffled, “Tilly was the sweetest thing, knew the rocks and everything, which just makes it so much fucking worse. S-s-she was only eighteen!”
Titania rubbed his back as the silent sobs rocked his frame, “Um, it’s okay...” She soothed, “Just let it out. I’m here.”
A small smidgen of jealousy hit her. Brett always presented himself as such an Alpha male, impeccable and invincible but was now expressing himself so openly. Why couldn’t she be the same? Despite the crude thought, she didn’t consider that the mate bond was building him into the male he was always destined to be, warming and thawing the heart that had been captured by the dreich and drizzly Scottish climate. He was brazen and brave, daring to take what he wanted, revealing his emotions and wearing them as a shield for only those he trusted to see.
In his heart of hearts, he knew Tilly would be proud of him and proud of his choice to pursue the woman who’d stolen his soul the moment she ripped an arrogant Beta’s scrotum in two. As hard as it was to accept that his soulful and strong little sister was now lost to Mother Nature and Death, he hoped that she was now watching him from above. And hoped hard he did.
Sorry for the terrible wait, to make up for it I gave you double the words (pls forgive me). Currently writing the next chapter so should hopefully be a much quicker upload. Only a few more chapters until the end of this book.
What would you like to see in the sequel?
Are there any unanswered questions that can be better represented in the editing of this version of the book?
Thank-you all for the support and love you give this book. I read every comment and every review xox
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