Heart pounding, skin clammy, nose numb to the frigid cold of the snowy mountains I ran through, chest aching as I sucked in another gasp of air. I was running from someone. All I knew was that He needed me.
"Willow,” the harsh wind seemed to roar around me, calling me, pulling me.
I tried to run harder, faster, but these legs couldn’t carry me anymore. I was human and this frail body wasn’t mine. I was strong. I knew that, being from the Southern Wolves. Their blood ran through my veins, but this was all wrong. I fell to my knees, sinking two inches deep in snow, knees scraping the graveled ground buried beneath.
"Willow,” his voice called out to me.
“Ezra,” I gasped as I lurched awake in my bed.
“Another dream?” a sleepy voice asked from the twin bed across from my own.
I switched on my lamp light, pulling my covers tighter around me, still feeling the stinging bite of the cold wind from my dream. “Yeah, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m used to it,” she yawned.
“Ezra again?” she asked.
Rachael was my best friend. Always had been since we met as freshmen in high school. She was my rock no matter the stupid shit I got myself into. She was always there, whether it be to help me bury a body or lend a comforting shoulder. Not that we’d ever needed to bury a body. Yet.
We’d lived in the pack house together for years, way past what was considered appropriate but we got away with it because I was the Alpha’s daughter.
“Yeah, but this dream was different. I was in the mountains and human.”
She stared at me with half closed eyes, her body propped up on her elbows, her black brown hair a wavy mess.
“That is new.”
She was struggling to stay awake. We’d come in late after initiation of the new pack wolves.
“Go to sleep. I can tell you about it tomorrow,” I pushed, switching off the light.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
I didn’t even get to reply before her head hit the pillow again.
I sat there until I couldn’t stand the quiet of the pack house anymore. Leaving close to sunrise, I shifted as I leapt off the back porch. Running for hours across pack land and checking our borders did nothing to push his name from my mind or to erase the deep rasping tenor of his voice ingrained so deeply into me.
In the six years that he starred in my dreams, it was all I knew of him. Well, that and his name.
I growled. The fast brutal pace I’d kept all morning had done nothing for me. I circled back towards the pack house, hoping not to run into my father. Missing breakfast with him was a slight he wouldn’t easily forget. His sleeping in after last night’s festivities was a possibility but that was wishful thinking. I knew better. The man never overslept or missed a step. He wasn’t Alpha for nothing.
I’d just pulled on my second shoe that I’d discarded atop my clothes before running when my dad’s voice boomed from the back door. “Willow,” he chastised.
“Sorry,” I breathed heavily as I reached the awning of the three story pack compound.
His gaze followed my measured steps.
“I needed to run.”
“That’s fine but you should have taken someone with you,” he scolded. “You know as well as I do about the reports of snatchers in the area. You need to take caution.”
I grimaced. I’d read the report as it came across my desk, but I’d forgotten in the moment. Being third in charge gave me access to everything pack related so I really should have known better.
“I’m sorry,” I offered lamely.
He bristled. “We lost your mother to snatchers. I will not lose you as well.”
I knew it was a sore spot for him and I really should have remembered. He was right, of course he was, but it didn’t stop me from saying, “I’m not a child, dad. I’m twenty-six years old.”
His worried gaze turned hard. “Then don’t act like one.”
The stare down between the Alpha and I would have continued if Luke, the pack’s second in command, hadn’t interrupted.
“A word, Jonas?” he asked my father, eyes flitting between us.
“Sure, Luke,” he agreed as he turned his gaze from mine.
I smirked as I sauntered away.
Okay, maybe I was acting childish but I honestly didn’t care.