I had loved someone only once.
He'd been from the rival Tamrin pack. I had cared for him but once he'd come of age to choose a mate he had left as quickly as he'd shown interest. And I had been desolate.
Now I was of mating age. And my pack the Nemra had several ideal mates established for me. Coordinated by my four brothers.
I couldn't imagine wanting anything less then to be stuck with someone they'd selected for me.
And I was considered a prize. In a world of brunettes I was one of the few blondes. My platinum hair considered exceptionally rare.
My brothers told me this was why I was never allowed to go on their hunting parties.
But I knew the real reason. Lately prey had become scarce in the Warwood and they'd been infringing on Nemra territory to hunt. Despite that the Nemra Alpha was notoriously ruthless.
They were preparing to go hunt today and I hoped they'd not push the boundary again.
"It's dangerous, Jacob." I warned my brother as I handed him his hunting pack. Which included a skinning knife and cloth bags to store the meat.
Which would hide the scent.
From the Tamrin Pack.
"We're just going hunting, Ren."
"No, you're not Jacob. Don't lie to me."
"Fine then." He kissed my forehead and grinned in that way that meant he was being awful. "Don't ask."
I'd always feared what could happen to them treading on enemy territory but I had not expected the brutality of the onslaught that came.
Not only had the Tamrin wolves caught our Nemra but they'd slaughtered all on their territory and come for additional blood. They killed every male in our pack.
I cowered in the rafters of my hut, as my brothers had told me to if ever there was a raid.
But I could hear their screams outside and the alarmed shouts of women being taken prisoner.
They're taking all the females to expand their pack. It wasn't uncommon during a Wolf Raid.
But terrifying nonetheless.
I covered my ears and hugged the rafter I clung to. Praying it would all soon stop and they'd go.
The door of my family's hut was kicked open. And suddenly filled with men I didn't know.
Tamrin men. I swallowed and tried to stem my scent and slow my breathing to not draw attention.
I could see the top of the head of the one that was clearly the leader. He strode in purposefully. A thick, bloodied dagger clenched in his fist. Blood matting his face and dark curling locks.
His grip worked on the handle of that blade and he slowly turned, inspecting the hut with a keen eye.
Then, to my horror, his head slowly rolled back for him to see up into the rafters.
Meeting my blue eyes unflinchingly.
His face was a mask of blood stains and mud. He slowly commanded his men. "Get. Her. Down."
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