Chapter 1 Introduction
Eliza woke to a ringing sound loud enough to wake the neighbors. “Shut up stupid alarm” she moaned as she reached across her king-size bed covered in the neutral colors of her comforter to the small nightstand. The sun coming in the only window of the room to her left. She peered up from her pillows through her bright red locks and saw the time. She had obviously hit the snooze button on her alarm quite a few times. “That can’t be the right time!” She jumped out of bed and ran into her small bathroom decorated in colors of the forest, which matched her deep green eyes. No more staying out on a Sunday night, she thought to herself. She had a habit of allowing her friend Alexa to talk her into going out when she knew they really shouldn’t. But she loved her friend and wanted to be sure Alexa was safe. And what better way to accomplish that than to be with her.
Eliza quickly takes a shower washing off the traces of the previous night’s escapades. She pulls her long red curly hair into a bun on the top of her head. This was the quickest and neatest way to accommodate her hair. Clothing was another issue entirely. Her attire was required to be a certain standard for each class in her schedule, even if this was difficult to maintain. She throws on a pair of brown cotton slacks and a light pink button-up shirt with some comfortable heels. Her ensemble is complete in half the time expected. This gives her time for a quick breakfast stop. Eliza runs out the door almost leaving her bags. Tests today and these classes are done, she says to herself as she pulls out of the driveway barely missing a passing car. She slams her brakes and jumps in her seat as she hears a loud honking noise passing behind her. “What is wrong with you? Get it together,” she says to herself as her foot slowly leaves the brake pedal.
Her parents’ dream for her has always been to be a pediatrician. After her parents were killed in a car crash just after her high school graduation, she was determined to accomplish their dream. Eliza did not once feel as though she was sacrificing herself for her parents’ memory. This is the one thing she could do to keep her parents close to her. She has one more semester to complete before she can finally start her rotations. That is the culmination of all the hard work and all the years she has put into achieving her goals. But for Eliza, this day is going to bring her face to face with family secrets that she has been shielded from her entire life.
The morning sun shone through the window above the bed waking David just as it did every morning. There were traces of bacon and coffee lingering in the air. He pulled himself to the edge of his four-post king-size bed, threw the blankets to the opposite side against the wall, and grabbed a t-shirt and shorts from his closet. The floor was cold on his bare feet as he walked down the spiral stairs to find his mother, Theresa, in the kitchen at the stove. “Mother, I’ve told you before there are people that will cook for us.”
“I know. But this makes me feel useful. You know how much I’ve always loved making sure you and your brother are well fed.” She said with her back to him. David nods in agreement before grabbing a piece of bacon sitting on the bar in front of him. “Besides,” she smiled, “doing these kinds of things reminds me of a time when your father was here, and I would cook for the three of you in the mornings.”
“I know mother,” he said softly to her as he kissed the top of her head. She looked up at me with a tender smile. “You know your 25th birthday is in a couple of days. You should really be mated by now.”
David thinks to himself, here she goes again. “I love you mother, but do you have to remind me every day of this. I want my mate just as badly as you do. Trust me.”
“Your mate will help you become the Alpha you were born to be. If you don’t find her soon you will have to step down and your brother will become Alpha. And, we cannot allow that to happen.”
“I still have 30 days after I turn 25 to be marked and mated before I must step down. The rules are reminded to me every day, mother, and not just by you. It appears I may never be mated. Maybe there is no mate for me.” David says softly while looking at the floor.
“Shut your mouth. The moon goddess would never do such a thing. She has created the perfect she-wolf for you. The two of you will find each other at just the right time.” his mother said sternly. “Now finish your breakfast. You have to get supplies today.” My mother has all this faith placed in me that I will be the greatest Alpha of our pack. I’m not so sure though if I have that same faith in myself. I’m sure I can’t be a worse Alpha than my father.
My pack, Night Blood, is one of the few that remain “traditional” and haven’t gone too far “mainstream.” A wolf’s first change is any time between the ages of 13 and 16. At age 18 we reach our full size, strength, health, and power except for Alphas. Being a true Alpha is in the bloodline. Newer packs will have fewer Alphas born because most have challenges to find the Alphas and they mate with many she-wolves instead of their true mates. Alphas do have the same changes at 18 but, if there is a current Alpha in good health we must wait until we age to 21 to become the reigning Alpha unless they die before we are at the age to take over the pack. All new Alphas have until their 25th birthday to find a mate. Wolves normally don’t find their mates until after they are age 18. If the Alpha is not marked and mated before one month after they turn 25, that Alpha must step down and turn over the pack to the next born Alpha in line. And the next in line is my brother, Derek Howard.
My brother is the equality of evil, just as my father was. He would love nothing more than to have me surrender my pack, that I have worked so hard to make my father’s legacy a distant memory. My pack would become Derek’s own execution team. He and I are complete opposites. Derek has blonde hair where mine is dark brown. His eyes are a deep brown as opposed to my crystal blue ones. We are both over six feet tall and have a muscular build, those traits are a given being true-blooded Alpha wolves. But, I have a respect for life and our traditions. Derek would rather slit your throat than even speak to you. Vengeance and hatred reign in his heart. His coldness is frightening, even to me. I have compassion, even for the humans in the neighboring town. My pack is ruled by respect, not fear. Derek would have the pack bow down to him. A pack should have a love for their Alpha with fear being present only when it is needed. My main objectives when I became Alpha after our father was killed by Steven Goddard, the Alpha of the Daygon pack, after one of my father’s murderous rampages, which my father enjoyed frequently, was to be a better leader, a better son, a better friend and a better Alpha for my Luna, when I find her, and pack. I was going to be a better Alpha than my father, Dwight Howard, even if it killed my brother or me in the process.