I was familiar with the small community of Northbrook. In fact, I had grown up in the sleepy town surrounded by lakes and forests. I was comfortable with the fog that floated through the air like heavy clouds, and I loved the sound of wolves howling as I slept; I felt safe, comfortable, and warm at the sound of the gentle howls that guided my dreams. As a little girl, my parents would take me to the Nature and Wolf Reserve close to our house and let me see the creatures that I admired up close. At 18, I moved away from the sleepy town and towards a university that led to a promising future in business. I would have stayed away from the small town, if it weren’t for the terrible accident that had occurred right before my college graduation. My parents had passed away in a car accident and I was left in charge of my two younger brothers, Charles and Chase. I was happy to take care of them, but now as they grow older, Chase and Charles are about to graduate high school and leave for school and I will be alone in the sleepy town that holds no future for a career in anything other than waitressing or working for a local company with no pay raises. But when I moved back into town two years ago, some new, mysterious residents had joined Northbrooke and were going to turn my life upside down.
* * *
I stood out in the back of my yard, preening the hedges, pulling weeds out of the flower beds, and laying down mulch. I loved my garden, it was my oasis, my safe place away from the world. My house was small, quaint, and like me, serene, well for the most part. My two little brothers played soccer in the grass, shouting and taunting one another, practicing passes to prepare for the upcoming soccer season.
“Boys, if you hit my peonies, you won’t be playing soccer this year.” My voice was stern, but soft.
“Cassie, we’re just having fun, we can’t use the field right now, the Bergsons have it rented out, and you said not to go into the woods without you and you’re busy.” Chase whines.
“I don’t understand why they’re allowed to do that, it’s so unfair, it’s public property, but they ‘claim’ it as theirs without any consideration for the rest of the town, and they’re noobs!” Charles complains. Charles takes a swift kick at the soccer ball and it hurls at my face and my precious peonies. With the deft hands of a ping pong expert, I catch the ball before it can damage my beloved garden.
“Sorry, Sis...” Charles grins sheepishly.
“You know; you boys are right.” I smirk. “Get your gear, get into the car, and I’ll take you somewhere you can play.” The boys cheer and run into the house, grass and mud flying behind them. I set down the pruners and takes off my gloves. I slip out of my garden shoes on my way into the house and sees the mud tracks on my white floors.
I keep a small smile on my face as the boys talk in the back excitedly about the skills they plan to practice in the forest clearings. I pull to a stop next to the football field and they look at me in horror.
“Out!” I shoo them out of the car. “You two are leaving for school pretty soon and you need to learn how to stick up for yourself, go tell those people that you’d like to share the field, now go, I’ll pick you up in two hours.” I watch as the boys grumble and walk to the field, kicking their soccer balls the way. As they enter the gates safely, I drive home to the rare peace and quiet residing at my home.
Fifteen minutes later, I’m forced to get off of my hands and knees scrubbing the white floor to answer the phone. “Hello, this is Cassie Meyers,” I say to the unfamiliar number.
“Come and get your boys, we have the field reserved and we don’t like sharing during our practice drills. Come and get them now.” The gruff voice hangs up on my abruptly and I let out a squawk of surprise. My anger starts to rise, steam leaves my ears as I grab my keys, stomp to my minivan, and peel out of the driveway.
I speed to the school, screeching to a halt in the parking lot. I slam the door shut and stomp my way into the football stadium where I see the boys sitting dejectedly on the side of the field, an unoccupied field, might I add.
“Cass, we’re sorry, but—” Charles begins. I throw up a hand to stop him and motion for them to follow me across the field. On the other side of the field, men and women in formational lines do push-ups and sit-ups at an incredibly fast speed.
“Shhh.” I demand.
I did not get mad very easily, but when I did, I was a typhoon, unable to be stopped nor controlled.
“Hey MORONS!” I yell. “Who was the asshole that just called me and hung up on me instructing me to come and get my boys?” I demand. A man stands up from the masses and walks over to me, his body language tense, but restrained. “That would be our pack—company pack leader, Tyson.” He says after giving me a head to toe thorough inspection. “Would you like to speak to him?” he asks calmly.
“Yes.” I growl. Charles and Chase share a scared look and step away from me. They knew how this would go down.
“Tyson!” the man calls out to the press box, “This young woman would like to speak to you.”
A man steps down from the press box and makes his way down the bleachers and on to the field. Half-way towards us, the man pauses and takes in a deep breath. He freezes, motionless and I stomp my way over to him.
He was at least 6 foot with sandy brown hair and hazel eyes, a nose that had to of been broken at least twice, and large pink lips that I promptly ignored. He watched me hesitantly as I neared him. The men and women formerly doing their workout stopped to watch what would occur on the field, little did they know what I was capable of. Charles and Chase slowly follow me and watch as I swing my arm back and slap the man in the face. Growls fill the air and the boys and I turn back to see the people standing and preparing to defend the man. The giant puts his hand up and they stop, confused by his response. “Hello, I’m Tyson Bergson and you just slapped me across the face.” The man says with an amused grin.
“Listen to me, I do not give a rat’s ass who you are, what I care about is the fact that you kicked MY boys off of a field that you’re approximately using half of without any reason other than the fact that you’re a selfish, inconsiderate bastard,” I snarl. “Another thing is, I do not like being told what to do. My boys are tearing up my grass and my house when they’re not allowed to use the field and the turf that is public domain. I have been scrubbing my house, since I dropped them off, to clean the grass and mud off of my white tile and white carpet, and the reason is entirely your fault. Had they been allowed to play here instead of in my yard, my house would be as immaculate as the home of two teen boys can be, got it?
“Now my boys will be staying here until they have finished their drills and shot skills and I will be leaving to clean my home, and if you threaten or talk to them, your balls will be sitting on my fireplace mantle, do you understand, Mr. Bergson?” I snap.
The boys hold in their chuckles as they watch me tear into the much larger man with ease and the grace only a Meyer can have. I turn and looks at them, pointing at the opposite end of the field, “Drills, NOW!” I snap. They nod and hustle away, high fiving half way down the field.
“Thanks Cass!” they cheer.
“Miss Meyers is it? I’m sorry to offend you and insult your sons, but we have reserved this field—”
“SONS?” My snaps, my mouth falling open. “How old do you think I am exactly? My brothers had me drop them off and I get called back to deal with a bully. Do not insult me even further by adding 20 years to my age.”
“I apologize, perhaps I can make it up to you.” Tyson Bergson grins at me. I amused him and that pissed me off.
“And how do you expect to that, Mr. Bergson?” I demand.
“I’ll be sending my people to clean up the mess I apparently caused, your brothers are more than welcome to train here, in fact, I’ll send my best trainer to assist them and motivate them, and I’ll take you out on a date.” He smiles at me and I feel my face went go from red to magenta in seconds.
“As kind and insulting as that offer is, I decline, I do not need your help cleaning my home, my brothers are perfectly motivated as it is, and I would never want to go on a date with a bully like you, and trust me when I say I can motivate them more than one of your ‘trainers’ can. Good day, Mr. Bergson, hopefully we will not have to encounter each other under these circumstances again, if at all.” I stomp off, leaving a bewildered Tyson Bergson behind and the shocked expression of his company pack. The man who had first spoken to me walks up to Tyson with a frown.
I leave the boys running drills as I go back to the red minivan sitting in the parking lot at an awkward angle and climb in, my head spinning from the hot mess that was Tyson Bergson. With a puff of hot air, I start the minivan and drive home, my heart racing as I mumble incoherent complaints and swears at the man who was making my hand ache from where I hit him.
“Dirty, rotten, bastard—” Before I could finish my sentence I see a deer run across the road and I slam on the breaks to avoid hitting it. I barely miss hitting the creature before I feel my body slammed forward as something hits the car from behind. I scream and feel pain as my head hits the steering wheel sending me into darkness.
I woke up to find Hannah Montana playing in the background and a teenage girl with a worried look on her face staring at me. I shrieked and kicked my arms and legs out away from the strange girl. She looked at me with wide eyes and starts apologizing profusely.
“I AM SO SORRY!” she yells, her voice climbing up an octave, she yanks open the car door and looks me up and down. I look around and see that the minivan was on the side of the road, I unbuckle my seatbelt and climb out, my head aching. I put my hand to my head and am surprised to feel something warm and wet on my hand. I pull it back and see a red liquid running down my fingers. My stomach lurches and I quickly lose my breakfast on the road.
The girl lets out a shriek and jumps out of the way of my lost meal and I sit on the ground, holding my hand to my head. “I AM SO SORRY, LIKE SUPER SORRY, OH MY GOD, I’M SO-”
“I get it!” I snap, my head was hurting, my car was wrecked, and she wasn’t helping my situation.
“Oh, sorry! My brother says that when I get upset I talk REALLY loud and—” I shoot her a look and she stops speaking. “Would you like to call someone for a ride home? Or maybe a ride home?”
“Phone call please.” I respond. I look for my phone only to find it shattered on the ground next to me. I sigh and she hands me her phone. It flickers on, only to flicker off three seconds after being alive.
“Oh! It must be dead. I live right up the street and my vehicle should be ok to drive, I’ll send my brother to come and pick up your minivan and we’ll get the insurance stuff figured out. I’m so sorry! I’m Katie, and you are?” She holds out her hand to pick me off of the ground.
“CUTE!” she smiles broadly. “Let’s go!” I sit in the passenger seat and she slowly leaves the wreckage site. We drive for about 15 minutes before she turns onto a long, paved driveway. She hops out of the car and two men open the front door, looking worriedly at Katie and her car.
“Now, Brad, James, don’t be mad, but...”
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO YOUR CAR??” they demand. My head pounds at the yelling and I put my hand back to my wounded head. “WHO IS SHE??” From behind me I hear tires squealing up the drive and I see a large red truck racing up the driveway. I step back and hide behind the car. The truck slams to a stop and a familiar face jumps out and starts yelling.
“I just saw Cassie’s van out on the highway completely mangled, send out a search party, there was blood, I WANT HER FOUND.” Tyson Bergson yells, snapping orders at the two men. The two men are unfazed.
“WHY ARE YOU NOT MOVING??” he roars.
“We already found her, Alpha.” The taller of the two begins by pointing at me. Tyson’s head snaps to me and he sprints over to me. I step back in surprise, but I can’t escape his massive hands from snatching me up and hugging me to him.
“Let go!” I snarl, trying my hardest to get away from the brute in front of me.
He holds me tighter and black spots fill my vision. He takes a deep breath and freezes. “SHE IS BLEEDING, GET AN EMT OUT HERE NOW, I WANT WHOEVER DID THIS TO HER KILLED!” he snaps.
“Mr. Bergson,” I manage to say. “You’re hurting me.” He lets me go and I fall to my butt, scraping my hands on the driveway. I let out a moan and feel my hands start to bleed, tears filling my eyes.
“Oh, Cassie, I am so sorry! This is all my fault!” Katie shrieks. “Tyson, I—”
“You did this?” He snarls. She nods meekly. “Get inside, we will discuss this later.”
Very carefully he picks me up under his arms. “I am going to take you inside to have our doctors look at you and patch you up.” He says softly to me.
“No, I need to get my car and go and get my brothers.” I argue. I push on his chest to make him let me down, but the giant doesn’t budge. He chuckles at my attempt, making me angry at him once again.
“Brad, fetch her brothers, be gentle. Send everyone else back to the pack house. James, grab the pack doctor, prepare two suites for the Meyers to stay in. Katelyn, I will deal with you later. You are to stay in your room while I take my mat—companion here to the doctor. Go.” He orders. Everyone scurries off and I am left alone with the giant who carries me into the house.
He brings me into the majestic house and up a grand staircase to a room sitting directly at the top of the stairs. He nods the door open and we enter what looks to be a large office. Dark shelves line the room and two doors sit on the back wall, a large, regal desk sits in the back, papers stacked neatly on top. He lays me on a chaise lounge and grabs an overstuffed chair to sit in next to me. He softly puts a hand to my forehead and I flinch away. He grimaces and frowns at my reaction.
“This is my office; the doctors will be up in a few minutes to check on you.” He tells me.
I’m silent before blurting out, “It’s not Katie’s fault. A deer jumped in front of me. I slammed on my breaks and she must not have seen me hit the breaks so quickly.”
“My sister knows better, her eyesight is superb, she must’ve been on her phone when the accident happened, even though I have directed her against such things, so it is her fault that my mat—newest friend was injured.”
I scoff. “I would not call us friends, Mr. Bergson. As for my brothers, thank you for sending someone to pick them up and for the medical care, but the suite is unnecessary.”
“Don’t call me that.” He says softly. “Call me Tyson, or anything but Mr. Bergson, and we will be friends, or more than that.” He smiles cheekily at the end, a bit cheerier. I snort.
“I don’t do ‘friends’ and I don’t date.” I roll my eyes and we’re silent.
“Well that’s good news for me, I guess. I didn’t want to kill any old flames.” He responds.
The door opens and a lanky boy and an older woman come in and she holds a large bag in her hand. “Alpha, I’m here. Is this the young lady needing medical attention?”
“Yes, make sure she’s taken care of.” He directs, nodding at me.
The woman comes to treat my wounds and Tyson stands up and starts to pace. She starts cleaning my head first, then my hands, bring out butterfly bandages and I hiss as the antiseptic stings my skin. Tyson’s head snaps to me and he growls.
“Calm down, Alpha, she’s fine.” The woman says softly, unflinching, unwavering as she tends to my wounds. “Talk to him, he’ll calm down.” She tells me as I see Tyson watching me intently.
“Ok??” I say aloud. “Why are you called Alpha, Mr...I mean, Tyson.”
“Because I’m the Boss.” He answers deftly.
“Why are you the boss?”
“I was born into the position.”
“Why not Boss, why Alpha then?”
“Because that’s the title of the leader of the pack, Alpha is a sign of dominance, his mate’s name is Luna, and then the chain of command goes Beta...”
“What is a mate?” I ask, my head was starting to swim as my headache grew stronger and stronger.
“A mate is the soulmate of a werewolf, just like you are mine, Cassandra Meyers.“He looks at me, his hazel eyes boring into my blue ones. That’s when the pain became too much and I fade into the darkness calling at the edges of my eyes.