1. Sweet Moon
It was a precious concept even to the wolves who craved the balance between man and beast. I lost mine the day I was killed and for half of my life, I’d been nothing but an empty shell wandering the earth. I’d never been right since that fateful day and those who saw me day in and day out knew it. I was ready to live the rest of my life without ever truly feeling until she entered my life like an unsuspecting hurricane shattering my world.
I wasn’t used to this type of emotion: want, desire and possessiveness driving me into fucking insanity.
In my sweet Moon’s eyes, I wasn’t a man despite the skin she saw. Come to think of it, she didn’t see me as wolf. My aura and the smell of death was off-putting. No matter what her flesh felt it didn’t match her wolf’s emotions. All in all, I wasn’t what she was used to and in all honesty, I wasn’t used to her.
She was a high – born wolf. She belonged to the leading pack that initiated The Nobles, the elitists, the ones that looked down on wolves like me - like my birth-pack - as if we were lower than dirt. We were scums roaming the earth; dare I say the Moon’s mistake. Somehow, they got wind of my pack, The Bloodstone, one I built from the ground up with the blood of my ancestors and other wolves that were abandoned by their own. They were impressed by me and they wanted me in their league.
And I despised what they stood for.
Once I got the invitation, I was prepared to decline. In fact, I wasn’t going to respond with the fancy paper they used. But of course, before I made any final decisions, I needed to talk to my men and through the council. As the Alpha, I needed to consider their opinions.
“This is bullshit!” Growling, I shoved the paper to Keith who then passed it onto Cena. “We’ve survived this long without them. Why accept now?”
“You don’t have to accept yet,” Keith said, folding his arms with a slight shrug. “Just visit their pack, see how it is, negotiate terms and decide whether or not we want to join.”
“You gotta consider the whole spectrum and the pack. Leave however you feel about The Midnight Moon and the others behind. Long term, this could be beneficial to our people,” Cena said in a low tone, face impassive, as ever whenever I saw him. “However we feel about them, we leave it all behind. Think of the present and the future.”
Grunting, I grabbed the bottle of whiskey and took chugged it before passing it to Keith. I frowned and said. “Their values are different from mine...”
Understanding flashed through them.
“What about their value of a true mate?” Keith asked.
A true mate? I released a humourless scoff; the idea was ridiculous. Thirty-five years and going and I still haven’t found this ‘mate’ that was made for me. I was beginning to think it was a silly perception, a wish fulfilment for young, naïve she-wolves as I’d been hearing about it from them.
“You think that shit is real?” I asked with a raised brow.
“I think it’s legit, Alpha,” Cena shrugged. “You’ve seen some of the wolves here,”
I didn’t say anything. I still wasn’t convinced. With a sigh, I scratched my overgrown beard and thought things over. They were right. I needed to put my feelings aside and think objectively of things. Of course, I wasn’t going to accent instantly. I had to see for myself if their system was working and if it’d be a right fit for the pack.
“When,” I asked bitterly, running my fingers through my hair.
“Make some preparations,” I said, directing my gaze to Keith, my second in command. “Write back to them that we’ve agreed to this… gathering.”
He nodded, standing to his full height before heading towards the door. Cena stayed back, his elbows resting on his knees with his hands clasped together. Narrowing my eyes, I shrugged my shoulders in a questioning manner.
“Ever thought maybe you might find her,” I wasn’t expecting his question. I thought of it, processed it, digested it and answered with the honest truth.
He chuckled, leaning back in his chair, his finger trailing over the tattoo curving his right eye. He was my greatest tracker, more capable than that. Once I offered him the title as Beta but he turned it down. An answer I’d never understand.
“You’re not getting any younger. You need heirs, Basil. If you’re not gonna find your mate, why not choose one of the women?”
“I don’t want them,” I stared into his eyes. “None of them are fit to bear my pups. The Moon is my one true mate. I serve no one but Her.”
It was a huge declaration but it mirrored how I felt. For the longest time, no she-wolf has caught my interest other than a simple fuck. I made sure they knew it was only that. A fuck. Nothing more.
He chuckled but I didn’t join him in his amusement. I was serious. Even if I wanted to choose one, they wouldn’t understand me, the way I am. I knew what every one of them thought of me but I had no soul to care. I was too brutal, too wild to go gentle on any one of them. May the Moon help them if I ever showed any interest.
“You don’t need to want them. But we do need a leader by your side,” Cena said, his voice turning serious. “Elizabeth can’t do this forever. Just ask whoever you trust to carry your pups and step in the role. How would the humans call it? A surrogate?”
He was right. Again. I wouldn’t admit it out loud. Leaning into my chair, I wiped a hand down my face; another situation that needed a solution. A Luna. I was been fine being alone as Alpha but as The Bloodstone grew with new wolves each year, I needed a Luna. They demanded one.
I heard my peoples’ cry but I couldn’t pick a random she-wolf. She needed to be worthy of the role.
“After our visit to The Midnight Moon,” I said with confirmation in my tone. “I need time to think about it and then I’ll choose.”
He nodded, rising to his feet. “I can stay back to look after the pack.”
“You don’t want to come?”
His dark eyes hardened, his jaw ticking with tension. “I’d rather not get too involved in pack politics,”
With a nod, I waved my hand dismissively and he left, leaving me to my own thoughts. I grabbed the drawer next to me, dragging it open to take the toothed necklace I’d made since the death of my pack.
My thumbs skimmed the bumps and rusty corners, contemplating on my past, on my life after my birth pack and how I came to be where I was. They brought me back to life for a reason – to continue the bloodline.
But by accepting their invitation, would I be rejecting my past? My family? All the traditions and values I’d been told to continue, would it vanish?
I’d be a selfish Alpha not to consider this for my people in The Bloodstone. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them. In return, I’d give back. I made an oath to protect them and they did too when they decided to follow my leadership.
Rising to my feet, I headed for the door. Walking through the packhouse, I nodded at those I saw and they bowed their heads in respect. Inhaling the Mississippi air, my lungs expanded and I walked around the building to a dirt path shadowed by the trees.
As I went further down, the fragmented memories of my past blurred my vision. They were memories I’d have but could never understand.
Not when the emotions surging through me belonged to my flesh.