“Skins only. No teeth,” my dad states sternly, directing it mostly toward me. I look at the male in front of me and grin wickedly, letting my canines descend just enough for him to see. His eyes widen in surprise as my full alpha energy filters out, and it’s in this moment he knows he’s made a mistake.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve been challenged by a male, or anyone for that matter, but I know how the ego of a young alpha can quickly get him into trouble, so I won’t hold this against him. My wolf, however, might not be so forgiving.
The young soon-to-be alpha was sent here by his father a couple of weeks ago for extensive training, and he’s got enough testosterone built up to make him do ignorant shit like this. As pissed off as he got when I kept putting him on the ground during training, I knew this challenge was coming. Little does he know I’ve trained my entire life for this.
“You might as well just submit now,” I hear Jackson call from somewhere behind me. “Save yourself the embarrassment from her kicking your ass in front of all these good folks.”
The young alpha’s face turns crimson, his pupils dilating until his eyes are solid black. He growls furiously at the disrespect before quickly launching at me. I duck out of the way just as he throws a meaty fist straight at my face, and I retaliate with a sharp, quick punch to his throat.
It's just enough to catch him off guard and while he takes a second to recover, I haul myself up onto his broad shoulders and quickly lock my legs around his neck. Throwing all my weight backwards, he falls back with me, making us hit the ground hard beneath us. I manage to keep my leg locked over the one that is still around his throat and tightly squeeze.
I hold on as he flails wildly, his hands grasping at my legs as he starts to gasp for breath. He continues to struggle and after a little while longer, he starts to lose consciousness.
“Enough Artemis!” my dad bellows from my side, but I don’t stop. All this male has to do is tap out and submit to me. “I said that’s enough!” he roars as he pulls me off the male causing a loud growl to rip from throat, my wolf pissed she didn’t get her submission.
“Alright, that’s enough entertainment for one day. All of my warriors meet in my office for orders in exactly twenty minutes,” my dad says shooting me a look before walking back to the pack house. I turn and snarl at the male I just fought as he quickly picks himself up off the ground. Before I can say anything, he grunts and storms off in the opposite direction.
Inhaling a lungful of fresh air to calm myself, I turn to follow my dad when I feel somebody poke my side. “I just love a good fight in the afternoon,” Jackson chuckles as he falls in step with me. Jackson is my closest and oldest friend, other than my twin brother, Raiden. We were all raised together since his father, Toby, is my dad’s beta.
“I’m pretty sure you gave that guy a boner though,” he laughs, and I elbow him in the ribs. “Ew. So not my type, J.,” I retort.
“Yeah, yeah,” he says, “I have to say though, it’s going to take a tough ass male to handle you. If you were lucky enough to find your true mate, I bet he would be one bad mother fucker.”
“Too bad I’ll probably never find him,” I tell him causing him to roll his eyes and shove me playfully. “Not with that attitude, you won’t,” he replies.
It’s not that I don’t want a mate. I would love to have what my mother and father have, but I want more for myself. I have worked and trained my entire life to become alpha of my pack and I’m in no hurry to find my mate. There is no doubt he will be an alpha, and I will not give up my position in my pack to go be luna in someone else’s pack.
When we finally get to my dad’s office, we stay to the back of the room while he finishes giving orders. “So, I heard Raiden is coming to visit with his new mate next week,” Jackson whispers. “I’ll be glad to see him.”
“Me too,” I reply quietly. “I’ve missed him so much.”
“You’re on guard duty tonight, Stone,” my dad says, interrupting our conversation. “Take the south border.”
“What?” I ask, hoping I misheard him. If this is his punishment for nearly choking the life out of that male, then he’s got another thing coming. He gives me a look, daring me to talk back and after a moment, I lower my eyes. “Yes, Alpha,” I grit out.
“The rest of you have your orders. You are dismissed.” My dad leans back in his chair and scrubs his hand over his face. “Except you, Artemis.”
Everyone quickly disperses out of the alpha’s office as Jackson tugs a strand of my hair. “I’ll see you later,” he says. “Call me if you need me.” I nod and let out a long sigh before making my way to my dad’s desk.
“Before you start, that wolf challenged me and you know as well as I do that our wolves won’t let us stop until we get full submission,” I tell him.
“You could have killed him, Artemis,” he scolds me. “His father is counting on him making it home in one piece. I know your wolf needs submission, but you have to learn to control yourself if you are going to take over as alpha someday. Someone can’t submit if they are dead and you know we don’t do that here.”
I sigh heavily but lower my head and silently acknowledge he is right. I still have a lot to learn. In a lot of ways, I feel like I carry a chip on my shoulder being an alpha female and I always feel the need to prove myself. However, I will not let anyone run over me and I will not back down from a challenge.
We both stay silent for what feels like an eternity before he speaks up again. “I’m guessing you learned that move from your mother?” When I look up at him, the corner of his mouth tilts up into a smirk.
“Where else would I have learned it? You don’t know any moves like that,” I tease. He chuckles and seems to go into deep thought, the silence reminding me of being put on guard duty. “So, you were serious about guard duty?” I ask him.
“Sorry, A. I need you. Johnson is at home welcoming in a new pup, so I gave him the rest of the week off,” he states.
Ugh. Guard duty sucks. My dad says it’s necessary, but nothing ever happens here so I’m left wandering the woods for hours. I know he has good reason and I am always happy to hear of a new, healthy pup being born, so I let it go. “Fine,” I drawl, “but only because I’m happy for Johnson.”
My dad shakes his head and smiles knowingly. “No matter how strong you are, you will always have the same soft heart.”