Chapter 3: Elizabeth
Elizabeth woke up and glanced at the clock on her bedside table. One in the morning. She groaned and scrubbed a hand over her face. For as long as she could remember, she was jolted awake at one o’clock every morning, and she had no idea why. She tossed her blue comforter off her body and swung her legs over the side of the bed. She stretched her arms above her as she stood. She was wearing a light pink tank top with a pair of black booty shorts. She snatched the hair tie off the bedside table and wrapped her long hair into a loose bun. She sighed and exited the room.
For years, her nightly ritual forced her to walk around the house. She was not wide awake, but she was not overly tired, either. She could not deny that part of her did enjoy the ritual. All of the wolves and humans surrounding her home were asleep. It was the most peaceful time of the day. She walked through the living room and exited through the backdoor. A small balcony was attached to the house. The balcony was enclosed with wrought iron bars that had been braided together, and the ground beneath her feet was the sand of the beach. She climbed on to the railing of the balcony and sat on it to face the ocean. The light of the crescent moon rippled against the waves of the ocean as they crashed softly against the shore. She inhaled deeply and closed her eyes. Serenity, she thought.
Elizabeth cocked her head slightly as she heard footsteps shuffle through the house, but her eyes remained closed. Her brother sometimes participated in the nightly ritual with her. After spending time on the balcony, they would return to their beds to greet the sandman. She wondered if their house guest was what was making both of them restless tonight. She had heard plenty of stories about Michael, ruling with fear and whoring around because of his Alpha status. Her brother was worried about her around Michael, but she simply smiled at the thought. A man like that is not someone that the boys raised me to entertain, she thought. Her Alpha and Beta had taught her their views, and she agreed with them; having a heart made a ruler stronger, and having respect for oneself helped with that strength. As much as he whored around, I doubt that Michael respects himself enough for his people to truly respect him, she thought. They fear him. A tyrant rules with fear; a king rules with respect.
“Be careful, little wolf,” a deep voice whispered behind her. Elizabeth fought the shiver that threatened to roll down her spine. She was not home when Michael had arrived, but the voice that greeted her was so thick with authority that there was no doubting who was behind her. She opened her eyes and carefully turned her body around to face him. Michael was the same height as Vincent, but Michael was physically larger. Even relaxed, she saw the outline of the muscles that possessed his body. He was leaning against the door frame with his large arms crossed over his bare chest. His black hair was ruffled, as if he had trouble sleeping as well. His emerald eyes were bright as he studied her. Elizabeth’s eyes traced the tattoos on his arms and chest in fascination. She had heard that wolves could get tattoos if they were laced with silver, but it hurt like hell. Her wolf purred softly as she took in the black sweatpants that Michael was wearing. She-wolves naturally reacted to powerful males, and so much power oozed out of the wolf before her that it was a little hard to breathe.
“Alpha Michael,” Elizabeth nodded. “It is nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” he replied huskily as his eyes slowly traced her body. She rolled her eyes and shifted her body to face the ocean again. She heard him growl softly, and she smiled. It was deemed disrespectful to turn her back to an Alpha, let alone to roll her eyes at him, but she needed to. Her wolf was stirring lightly in response to the Alpha aura that was seeping off Michael. No wonder he can whore around, she thought bitterly. To resist power like this takes a powerful wolf herself. Most she-wolves did not possess that amount of strength; at the end of the day, they were all just animals, but she would fight her animal.
“You should know better than to disrespect an Alpha,” Michael said darkly.
“I know better than to disrespect my Alpha,” Elizabeth corrected him. She heard his footsteps shuffle and then felt his breath trickle down her neck from behind. She tightened her grip on the railing beneath her as she closed her eyes. Her body threatened to betray her with his proximity; his warm breath both chilled her and enticed her. She felt him press his body into her from behind. His hands brushed hers as he gripped the railing beside her hands. She bit her lip as the heat that radiated from his body swallowed hers. She shivered suddenly as his lips grazed her ear. “I have never been disrespected by a bitch, whether she belongs to someone or not,” he whispered.
Elizabeth’s eyes shot open, and she snarled. She whirled around and jumped to her feet. Her gold eyes met his gold ones as his body remained a statue, trapping her between him and the railing. “Don’t call me that,” she growled. Rage fueled her as her canines descended. “And I don’t belong to anyone, you pompous asshole.” His gold eyes brightened in amusement. His own canines descended, and he lowered his face to hers. Her breath caught in her throat as the moonlight illuminated his fangs and brightened his eyes. “Your resilience is somewhat refreshing, little wolf,” he purred. He pressed his body into hers again. She felt the railing bite into her back as he trapped her against his body. She heard the railing groan as his hands gripped it tighter, but his eyes never faltered from hers. “After some time, I begin to think that all…she-wolves simply rolled over,” he whispered.
Elizabeth flinched as one of Michael’s hands connected with her face to brush stray strands of hair away from it. Michael looked at her curiously, his emerald eyes returning to the surface. He slipped his canines away. Elizabeth returned the gesture as she retracted her canines, but her gold eyes remained. She contemplated pushing him away from her, but his gentle touch interested her. This is the Alpha known for death and destruction, and he had the decency to tuck my hair behind my ear? She thought. He could rip me in half for how I treated him. He opened his mouth to speak but closed it. “If it’s all the same to you,” Elizabeth said slowly. “Can you move? My back is killing me with this railing.” She gasped suddenly as Michael slid his other hand off the railing and pressed it against her back. In one fluid motion, he spun them around to where his back was flush against the railing. He kept his hand rested on her back as his arm tightened around her waist.
Elizabeth’s blue eyes burst through her gold ones as she studied Michael. “I won’t hurt you, little wolf,” he said softly.
“Right,” she said as she rolled her eyes again. “Is lying a common trait that you use to get she-wolves to sleep with you?”
“You did not lie to me; I can at least offer you the same courtesy.”
“But why?” she asked as her wolf growled lightly. She would not trust him; she could not trust him. His reputation of his velvet tongue was famous, and his sudden tenderness with her was putting her wolf on edge. In more ways than one, she thought with annoyance. Her wolf was ready to attack if necessary, but his sudden compassionate nature lured her wolf to his for more than conversation. Whether it was curiosity or the desire for the Alpha that her and her wolf were fighting against, she was not sure. “Why won’t you hurt me? I called you a pompous asshole, and it made you smile.”
Elizabeth looked at Michael in bewilderment as he chuckled. Her body grew rigid as she felt his fingers stroke her lower back softly. “Firstly, killing one of my host’s wolves is rude, especially when that host is aiding in the survival of my pack. Secondly, you interest me, little wolf. Out of all of the she-wolves that I have met, you are the only one that is not throwing herself at me.”
“Disappointed?” she snorted.
“Impressed and intrigued, my dear. It takes a great deal of strength to resist a male wolf, especially an Alpha. Or commitment to another,” he added.
“I am committed to no one.”
“I thought that we were not lying to each other.”
“I’m not lying to you. I am not committed,” Elizabeth said.
“Then why are you in the Alpha and Beta house?”
“I can’t just live here?” she asked. She realized that he must not have been told about who she was, despite his pack becoming a neighboring pack to hers. She doubted that he would be this bold with her if he knew of her true identity. A light smile spread across his lips. “No woman that I was not truly with ever lived in my home.”
“Wow, you must be lonely.”
“So, who is it?” he continued. “Alpha or Beta? You don’t strike me as someone who has more than one commitment.” Elizabeth scrunched up her nose and shook her head. She would play incognito as long as she could, but the insinuation that she would sleep with her brother was repulsive. She had developed a natural attraction to Vincent over the years, but she had kept silent about it. She-wolves were automatically drawn to power, which created her desire for Vincent. Thank god the sibling bond is stronger than that and I see Vincent as more of a brother than a friend, she thought.
“I’m not with either of them, Michael. It fascinates me that you are more interested in my commitment status than my name,” Elizabeth said. He had not asked for her name or addressed her by it once, which further confirmed that Vincent and Grayson had not told him about her. Stupid, protective brothers, she thought. They probably thought that Michael would be too busy with the development to be around enough to notice her, that they would just never meet. “You are mistaken, I am very interested in you,” Michael purred. “But I did not see the point in acquiring your name if I don’t have a chance at winning its owner.”
“I told you that I don’t belong to anyone. And what makes you think that I am a prize for you to claim?” she asked sharply.
“Because you are a prize,” he whispered as he stroked her cheek softly. “You interest me, I’d like the chance to learn more.”
“Not a chance that you will have,” Grayson’s deep voice threatened. Elizabeth tried to turn around, but Michael’s grip tightened on her. She growled at him and managed to look at her brother over her shoulder. Grayson’s jaw was clenched tightly, his gold eyes burning as he stared at her. He was wearing a black muscle shirt with red basketball shorts. She noticed that he had drawn his claws. “Grayson, put them away,” she said slowly.
“When he releases you,” Grayson growled.
“Put them away, Grayson,” Michael said. “I won’t hurt your precious she-wolf.”
“Let her go,” Grayson said.
“You’re sure that you don’t belong to him?” Michael asked.
“Let me go,” Elizabeth ordered.
“Because if you start a fight with my Beta, then you will have to hurt me because I will try to kill you myself.”
Michael smirked and ran his thumb along her lower lip softly. He traced her body slowly with his fingers as his hand slid from her back, along her ribs, and settled on her stomach. He pushed at her gently and nodded. Elizabeth turned around and Grayson immediately rushed over to her, his claws hidden again. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine,” she confirmed with annoyance. “He wouldn’t be able to hurt me unless I let him.”
“Cocky you are, little wolf,” Michael said. She turned and looked at Michael. He had his arms crossed over his chest as he watched her. “What makes you so sure?”
Elizabeth sighed and rubbed a hand over her face. He was going to find out sooner or later with their packs being neighbors, she thought. “I’m the Beta’s sister, and the Alpha’s best friend. Trust me, Michael, I would make you bleed, too.” She observed a whirlwind of emotions flicker through Michael’s gold eyes. She noticed his body tense and his jaw twitch. Same shit, different day, she thought. She had seen males react the same way when she explained why she would not sleep with them, she had grown used to the reaction. She felt a slight twinge of guilt for not revealing herself to him sooner; any harm that could have been inflicted on to her would have jeopardized his pack. She rubbed a hand over her face again and looked at her brother. “I’ll be inside in a minute. In a minute,” she repeated sternly as Grayson opened his mouth to protest.
“One minute,” Grayson said through gritted teeth. He turned and entered the house.
Elizabeth sighed and looked at Michael. “I’m sorry if this put your pack in danger. I should not have spoken to you like I did.”
“Do not apologize to me. What is your name?” Michael asked.
“Elizabeth,” she responded, and she looked at him curiously. His gold eyes vanished, and his emerald ones took their place. He pushed himself to stand fully and approached her. He kept his arms crossed over his chest and gazed down at her. “It’s nice to meet you, Elizabeth,” he said, his voice light.
“Are you sure?” she asked as she cocked an eyebrow at him.
“Why wouldn’t I be?”
“Because I have a brother and an Alpha are irritatingly protective.”
“It doesn’t change my interest in you, If anything, it amplifies it.”
Elizabeth bit her lip. She wanted to ask if he was afraid of them like everyone else, but she knew that he was not, and she did not want him to voice that. It could cause conflict between him and Grayson, she thought. The first male wolf who is not afraid of the overprotective wolves that have followed her around her entire life is the one wolf that no one trusts. “Try to get some sleep, Alpha Michael. I understand that you have a busy day tomorrow.”
“I begin meeting with the contractors,” he nodded. “Pleasant dreams little wolf.” She smiled at him and entered the house.