I was finding it hard to believe that she was actually my mate. After all the sins I committed, I was sure I’d be at the bottom of the pairing list. Maybe I’d just mistaken the feeling as my demon-wolf selfishly wanting to claim her as his. After all, I was born from the deepest roots of desire and lust. There was a strong possibility he’d chosen her as our mate.
Although the way her gaze made my whole being crave her body and soul, any doubt got thrown out of the window. My demon-wolf was now pacing with excitement as her eyes drifted down to take in my appearance. His demonic voice came through in my head, demanding me to take her home and make her our Luna. It was getting harder to tune him out.
There was a glimpse of hope simmering in her almond-shaped eyes as she continued to look at me. Her eyes, I’d never seen anything like them. Her left was blue, like the ocean, and the right, soft green. It’s what caught my attention first before my gaze drifted to her neck. My canines ached to pierce through her delicate fair skin. Every second was becoming harder to control myself.
Her cheeks flushed as my eyes drifted further down to her breasts. She sheepishly lowered her head, causing some of her wavy black hair to cover her face. She’d instantly grown nervous, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was shaped like a goddess and made entirely for me. The worst part of it all-
I couldn’t have her.
I couldn’t have a mate. Hybrids already have a terrible reputation; being paired with one can be highly dangerous. It wouldn’t be fair of me to barge into her perfect life and ruin it. I would be dragging her down with me.
“Arlo Blackburn,” The head speaker addressed me, “Please take your seats,” He grumbled impatiently, burning holes into our heads with his hard eyes. Kane looked at me with suspicion before he led us down the corridor to our seats. It just so happened to be right next to my mate’s table where she sat with a man and a woman. I assumed they were her beta and gamma. From the look on Kane’s face, I knew he would be questioning me about this, but he kept quiet for now.
My mate’s face paled as realization dawned on her. At first, I thought it was because of my unfortunate breed, but as I glanced at the name on her paper, I realized it was much deeper than that. The name Astrid Collins was written on the top right corner of the sheet. I couldn’t believe my eyes. She’s the alpha of River Ash, our enemies.
I was officially convinced that the fate goddess hated me with every ounce of her being.
I fidgeted in my seat, uncomfortably as I waited for the meeting to begin. It was my first among the other alphas in Silverhill after six months of becoming one myself. So far, my journey was successful. With the little experience I had, I’d already traveled to some foreign countries and met with many different packs to learn their ways. I also learned how demanding the job truly was. It made me appreciate my father more and all the valuable things he taught me.
As more alphas shuffled in the conference room, I couldn’t shake the anxiety I was feeling. My leg bounced underneath the table as I watched all the faces coming through the door. Each one was a disappointment. My wolf was anxiously pacing inside me. It was as if she’d been expecting someone particular to walk through that door. This bewildered me more than anything; nonetheless, I found myself concentrating on the door.
I feared that she was sensing a possible attack. To make it worse, I heard rumors of the Madison hunters attacking more wolf packs recently. Their weaponry was improving every year, and their skills were becoming more lethal. I sighed, regretting the decision to not carry my sword with me this evening. What if they ambushed us with their advanced weapons? It would be a blood bath for both parties.
Although this thought clouded my mind, my wolf assured me that this wasn’t the case and not to worry. I tried asking her what her problem was, but she soon shut me out completely. She’d never done this before.
Nicole reached under the table and put her hand on my knee, stopping my leg from the continuous shaking, “What’s up with you? You seem nervous.”
“I’m fine,” I lied, still focusing my attention on the door, but my body language sold me out.
“You don’t look fine,” She said, eyeing me dubiously. At the mention of this, Derek leaned forward, looking over Nicole and then at me. The truth was written all over my face. I wasn’t fine at all, and they knew well enough to know something was wrong.
“The meeting hasn’t started,” Derek said, “You still have time to take a break.”
I shook my head, “That won’t be necessary,” I said, tearing my eyes away and finding other things to concentrate on though something strange happened when my emotions intensified.
Suddenly, my senses became razor-sharp even more than they were. I could see the small piece of lint on Nicole’s shoulder and the tiny dust particles moving in the air. I could hear everyone’s hushed conversations throughout the room and the people walking outside the building. The phone ringing in the next room boomed through my ears. I winced, covering my ears and closing my eyes.
“Astrid, you okay?” A deep male voice asked. I looked up to see one of our allies sitting at his table in front of me. It was Alpha Frank and his beta looking at me with concern. His question raised the awareness of the others nearby. Derek and Nicole were becoming more concerned for me.
“Yeah…Thanks,” I perked my voice, trying my best to sound convincing. It must have been enough to fool them because Frank and the others went back to their own business. Meanwhile, my stomach was in knots, and my breaths were shaky.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” My face contorted with pain from the overwhelming senses. I groaned, “When are we going to start?”
“We’re waiting on two more people,” Derek informed me, shaking his head. He added, “I knew you weren’t fine.”
I threw my head back in annoyance. The pain in my head was becoming intense. I didn’t understand why this was happening to me. It felt like my wolf, and I were two separate entities, experiencing different emotions.
“Maybe some fresh air will help. Do you want to step outside for a minute?” Nicole offered, gently caressing my back like a mother does for her child. I shook my head and closed my eyes, hoping whatever I was feeling would go away soon. Little did I know, I was in for a big surprise.
I was utterly bewildered yet again as the sensitivity and apprehension vanished within seconds. It was replaced with something much stronger. Adrenaline coursed through my veins as the sound of heavy footsteps approached the door. I slowly peered over my shoulder as the door swung open, revealing a blonde-haired man before the tall figure behind him walked inside. I froze.
His captivating silver eyes locked with mine. I inhaled deeply, filling my lungs with his intoxicating musky scent. It had the power to knock me right off my feet had I been standing up. After a few long moments, I finally tore my eyes away to take in his breathtaking appearance.
His curly black hair shaped a squared face, and the subtle beard outlined his slightly crooked jaw. His bowed shaped lips begging to be kissed, the bottom larger than the top. I could see his tattoos peeking from his collar and the edge of his sleeves.
I’d seen a lot of beautiful men in my life, but none of them compared to this man standing in front of me.
I watched intently as his muscular chest fell rhythmically while he ran his eyes all over me. I couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel to be enveloped in his tall figure. I already imagined his bulky arms wrapped around my waist while I rested my head on his chest.
My wolf was now stirring uncontrollably inside me. She had sensed him coming all along. I couldn’t believe that my mate was standing right in front of my eyes after all this time.
For a moment, everything around me became inconsequent. It was only him and me. Nothing could spoil our moment…or so I thought.
The head speaker decided to speak up and address my mate at this time. Arlo Blackburn as in THE Arlo Blackburn. The demon-wolf hybrid and alpha of the Blood Rose pack. My heart sank, and the anxiety hit me deep in the gut like a tsunami, wiping out any hope for the future I previously had.
How could this be happening? Of all the perfect candidates out there, why would the goddesses’ pair me with a hybrid, the enemy?
I’d spent my whole life envisioning a future for myself, plans that wouldn’t involve the disasters that demon would bring into my life. I’m a good person, and I take care of my people. What did I do so wrong to be punished this way? Surely, this was a huge mistake. It must be.
“That was awkward,” Derek whispered to Nicole as I faced the front of the room. She responded with a low hum while she eyed me curiously. My breath caught in my throat. I didn’t dare look at him as he walked by and took a seat next to my table, but I could feel him staring at me.
For a second, my eyes betrayed me, and I stole a glance. He must’ve seen the name on my paper because he resembled my horrified expression though it seemed more like disappointment. I fought the urge to beg Nicole to trade seats with me. It would definitely raise some eyebrows.
I stayed quiet and calm throughout the meeting, but there was a storm of emotions inside me. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to curse out the moon goddess or burst out in tears. The latter option seemed better, but I refrained from doing so. It wouldn’t have been very professional of me.
Meanwhile, I felt his eyes fall on me continuously throughout the meeting. It was hard to keep a straight face and pretend like it wasn’t affecting me, but it had the butterflies fluttering in my stomach. Nonetheless, I kept my face forward and concentrated on the guest speaker. The time couldn’t have gone any slower.
“Should we- “
“No,” I spoke too firmly, cutting off Derek. The meeting was finally over, and I wasn’t going to join the after the discussion. I was only focused on getting out of that building and being miles away from him. I collected my belongings and nearly ran for the door without Nicole and Derek.
I took a deep breath as soon as I reached the safety of the hallways. Unshed tears burned in my eyes, but I blinked them away. I would only release them in the comfort of my bed with a bottle of wine that was waiting for me at home.
I was about to reach the exit door when I heard the abrupt heavy footsteps walking behind me. I didn’t need to turn around to know it was him. I picked up the pace and rushed to the door, but it was no use. His hybrid speed had its advantages.
“Astrid,” His sonorous voice boomed through the hall. I stopped dead in my tracks. Its vibrant tone sent a shiver down my spine. I hated to admit that I’d like the way my name rolled off his tongue. It sounded different coming from him.
He was standing dangerously close to me as I turned around to face him. I could feel his hot breath blowing on my face. I gulped, pushing down the lump in my throat. I wanted to walk away though I knew he’d come after me. There was no escaping him.
The silence of the hallway moved with tension. His intense eyes bore into me as he looked down at me. There was no emotion in them, making it difficult to look him in the eyes.
“This didn’t happen,” He spoke sternly, breaking the silence. A tinge of disappointment churned in my stomach, but I kept my face blank. Although I didn’t care, it hurt my wolf to hear the confidence in his voice as he dismissed the situation so easily, like if I wasn’t worthy of being paired with.
“Agreed,” I nodded. Without saying another word, I walked away from him, wondering what I could’ve possibly done so wrong to be given this fate.