Chapter 1: Meeting
I turned my face towards the sky with a deep sigh. I sat on the edge of the pack’s territory enjoying the feeling of the light drizzle running over my face. I could feel every drop as it coated my skin revitalizing my energy.
I loved the rain, loved the sensation of the water washing away every stressor as I regained control of myself. I closed my eyes mentally drawing the water to me feeling the calming pattering of drops on my face. Rain was like the universe’s way of righting all wrongs.
Days like today there was plenty for the universe to make right. The hopeless loneliness that haunted making conscious hours seemed unending. I wondered if Artimis could really be so cruel as to doom me to a life alone. I already knew the answer to that though.
‘We haven’t been forgotten; we just haven’t found her yet.’ My wolf, Brooke, whimpered in the back of my head.
‘Sure.’ I said unconvinced as I slowly opened my eyes to look out over the ocean watching how every insignificant drop hit the surface. I sighed, running my hand through my shaggy hair, brushing it out of my eyes.
‘Richard.’ Logan’s voice boomed through our mind link, causing me to flinch.
‘Yes, Alpha?’ I responded respectfully.
I would have said something more sarcastic to my best friend, but I could feel other consciousnesses listening to our conversation. As Beta and I would never set an example of disrespect with others around. When it was just us, there was no hierarchy. We were true brothers in that sense.
‘Have you finished patrol yet?’ His voice was dripping with formalities, and I absently wondered if he was prepping for a meeting or if he had just finished one.
Logan was bad at transitioning from professional conversation to casual; it always took five to ten minutes for him to make the transition.
‘Yep.’ I said casually. ‘You need me back at the house?’
‘No, actually, there’s a rogue near town and I need you to verify it’s not a danger to the pack.’ His voice was slowly losing its tense tone, clarifying that he had just finished a meeting.
‘Sure, do you want me to scare them off?’ I asked, feeling Brooke bristle with excitement.
‘That might be best, but I’ll leave it up to you.’ His exhaustion was suddenly palpable.
‘Everything okay Logan?’ I asked concerned.
‘I’ll talk to you about it when you get back. Trish is almost out of lemons, could you get some?’ He said and I could visualize him ringing out his hands the way he always did to motivate himself.
I chuckled remembering that between being the alpha and his mate being seven months pregnant, Logan was bound to be exhausted.
‘Of course, let me know if there’s anything else.’ I said smiling to myself.
With that I took off running. In seconds I was in the forest that bordered the beach. I could feel each blade of grass against my bare feet, and I loved it.
‘Shift!’ Brooke whined.
I shook my head in one quick jerk. It was my turn. As I ran a chocolate brown wolf appeared, flanking my right side and an ash gray she-wolf on my left.
‘Zane, Rowan.’ I acknowledged them.
Then rolled my eyes of course Logan would send back up. I could just hear him saying better safe than sorry for the millionth time. As annoying as it could be I had to admit it made him an amazing alpha. He cared about every pack member and protected them all to the best of his abilities.
The she-wolf, Rowan, nodded in response to my greeting. Her huge green eyes looked me over questioningly. I knew she wondered why I was still in my human form, but instead of responding I ignored the glance.
We ran in silence for miles. Seeing nothing alive except birds, rabbits and a few deer. Until I saw a flash of red and orange in the distance. At first I was suddenly concerned that there might be a fire, but I discarded that due to the lack of smoke.
‘Shift Richard, there’s two of them.’ Rowan said her grey fur shimmering metallically.
I pause momentarily to strip my shorts and store them with my shirt around my ankle. Then I let Brooke take over. I shuddered at the familiar heat that shot through my body as I shifted.
The others hadn’t waited but it didn’t matter. I was bigger, faster, and stronger than them. I overtook them quickly, racing ahead and chasing the flame that, through Brookes eyes, I could now see was a small she-wolf. I could also see, Rowan was wrong. There were three wolves.
The she-wolf used her nose to urge her young pup forward, but I could smell a male too. Suddenly the she-wolf’s pursuer leapt out of the trees next to her biting down on her right flank. Her pained howl filled the forest.
Brooke growled furiously, ramming the wolf in his ribs. He flew through the air, smacking against a nearby tree. The young maple snapped under the pressure of the large body barreling into it.
The male wolf was large with a sandy brown coat and blood staining the fur around his muzzle. I noticed that his eyes were not crazed. This meant he wasn’t a rogue attacking somebody at random. There was more to this situation then first appearances showed.
He sprung to his feet, snapping his razor-sharp teeth at my neck. I evaded the attack easily and we paced slowly back and forth snarling and snapping as we sized each other up. I was careful about keeping myself firmly between him and the she-wolf who was now cowering behind me.
I was bigger than him, but he was fast. The she-wolf whimpered, and I instinctively glanced at her. Taking advantage of my distraction he lunged, biting down hard on my front left leg.
I yelped in pain as Zane, finally caught up. Zane bit down on the wolf’s neck throwing him off me. I stood again furious at being caught off guard. I forced the raindrops nearest to him to combine and freeze solid before shooting directly at him.
I lowered my head farther, snarling at him as he pulled back trying to get away from the pelting ice. Of course, with a simple push of my mind, the ice balls followed him. They pushed him farther and farther away from the female behind me.
The stranger not liking the sudden change in the odds backed away slowly. He snarled threateningly over my shoulder. His anger at missing out on his prey obvious. Giving up he finally turned and ran away back towards the border.
‘Zane, make sure he leaves the territory!’ I growled.
Zane nodded his large brown head, before taking off after the stranger.