I could hardly remember a time that I hadn’t loved Callum Murphy. He was two years older than me and best friends with my brother Maverick, but that didn’t stop me. I knew what I wanted. I knew at six years old he was the one that I would call my own.
When I had fallen from the tree house and hit every branch on the way down, it was Callum who had raced down the rope ladder to help me. He had scooped me up in his arms and carried me back to the packhouse to have the doctor check me over. Callum who stayed by my side and made me laugh through the tears as he acted out the picture of me tumbling through the tree. Callum who helped me carry my bags to school for the next four weeks as my broken arm healed.
In my young and naïve mind, I decided from that moment on that he was who I would call my mate. Because I was six and didn’t understand the responsibilities that would one day weigh heavy on our shoulders. Because Callum had not yet become the Beta to our pack. Because I only saw him as the boy who I loved.
But being the daughter of the Alpha came with responsibilities, a duty to our pack. I was promised to another. A marriage to keep neighboring packs at peace.
But the heart wants what it wants and our story had just begun.
10 years later…
“Emersyn!” Callum yells from behind me. My heart skips a beat at the sound of his voice. I instantly turn towards him with a big smile planted on my face.
My grin falls slightly as I see the blonde bombshell with perfect blue eyes flutter her flawless lashes at me as she drapes her pristine body across his arm. I fight the urge to rip her immaculate hair from her scalp as I answer through gritted teeth, “Yes?”
Callum doesn’t seem to notice the jealousy seeping from my every pore as he responds, “Are you coming to the bonfire tonight?”
Barbie opens her mouth and purrs, “I am sure the ‘princess’ has better things to do than come hang with us lowly subjects.”
I roll my eyes at the plastic bitch, ignoring her sarcasm as I answer, “Wouldn’t miss it! Have you seen my brother?”
Callum laughs. “I believe he was fighting off the attention of a group of girls hoping he would take them to the bonfire tonight.”
“So, the usual entourage. Got it. I’ll find him!” I smiled as I started walking in the direction he had pointed.
Callum called after me, “Go easy on them, tiger!”
I pushed my way through the overcrowded hallways in search of a group of girls surrounding our future Alpha. I heard the obnoxious laughter of a girl as she looped her arm through Maverick’s, hanging on every word that came out of his mouth. Rolling my eyes, I stepped into the group of girls before catching my brother’s attention.
He grinned with that flawless smile that always seemed to get him out of trouble. “Emersyn, little sister, I was just coming to find you!”
“Were you?” I said, arching my brow as I eyed the girls surrounding us.
“Sure, I was. I just got a bit distracted.” He says, shrugging his shoulders as if I should understand his dilemma.
“Let’s go, Maverick. I have better things to do than stay at school on a Friday night.”
“Oh, yeah? Like what? Studying for next weeks test?” He said mockingly as he waved good-bye at the disappointed girls.
“No, smartass. I need to get ready for tonight. I have friends going.” I said keeping my eyes peeled on the floor in front of me hoping that he wouldn’t realize the real reason I wanted to go to the bonfire.
Maverick eyed me suspiciously. “YOU are going to the bonfire? Little Miss Study Every Waking Hour, is taking a night off?”
“Yes, me. I need a break.” I said nonchalantly.
“Hmm. I been saying that for months!” Maverick’s blue eyes studied me for any signs that an alien had inhabited my body. “What is the real reason you’re going?”
I rolled my eyes avoiding eye contact with him as I threw my bag over my shoulder, “I told you already. Are you deaf?”
Maverick shrugged his shoulders as he looked at me suspiciously, “Fine. I’ll just have to figure it out!”
I laughed as I punched him in the shoulder playfully, “Let’s go.”
The car ride home was filled with what seemed like a game of twenty-one questions as Maverick interrogated me. “I know there is more to this than you are telling me,” he quipped.
“No, there isn’t Detective Know-It-All. I can’t be a normal teenager for a night?” I asked with the most innocent flutter of my lashes that I could manage.
Maverick knew me well enough to know that I was lying, but he was never going to pry the truth from me. Callum was his best friend and I was his little sister, it didn’t take a genius to know that he wouldn’t exactly approve of my crush. Besides it didn’t matter, Callum was with Malibu Barbie. I was never going to measure up to her.
The hours passed by with lightning speed as night fell. I nervously checked my reflection one more time noting the various imperfections that I saw. My cheeks were too full, my nose too wide, and lips too thin. I traced my reflection with my dull blue eyes as I began to doubt myself once more.
A light tap on the bathroom door pulled me from my self taunting antics and back to reality. “You about ready to go?” Maverick asked from the other side of the door.
I opened the door before I could talk myself out of going. “As ready as I will ever be,” I stated.
Maverick looked at me with the adoration of a big brother as he smiled, “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” I muttered bashfully brushing my unruly hair from my face.
I walked ahead of him when I heard him say, “Hey Em?”
“Yeah?” I questioned as I looked over my shoulder at my big brother.
“Who ever you’re trying to impress is a lucky guy. Don’t forget that,” he said grinning a brilliant smile. “But if they break your heart I am going to kill them,” he stated with a suddenly serious face.
My cheeks lit a vivid red as I stammered, “Maverick, I am promised to another there is no one.”
Maverick gave me a knowing look as he responded back, “Emersyn, just because you know where the rides ending doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the twist and turns until you get there.”
I laughed as I asked, “Where did you read that Mr. Philosopher?”
“Came up with it on my own, you know I’m not all good looks and no brains!” he smirked.
I grinned back at him, “So you say.”
He playfully tapped my arm. “Let’s go squirt, I have ladies to impress and beer to drink.”
I snarled my nose up, “None of which sounds appealing to me!”
Maverick laughed, “Yes, my sister the party animal, who is going to the bonfire. Learn to live a little, Em.”
“My brother, the voice of reason, I’ll think about it,” I said laughing.
Maverick’s phone began ringing just as we reached the door. Callum’s ringtone, I thought to myself as my heart skipped a ridiculous beat. I listened intently as Maverick answered.
“Yo, brother from another mother,” Maverick said smiling as he answered.
His face fell slightly as he heard the anger that was apparent in Callum’s tone as he answered, “Can I get a ride?”
“Sure, what’s up I thought you were riding with Callie.”
“Nope. I just broke up with her,” I heard Callum say through the line. “I couldn’t take her shit anymore.”
Maverick laughed as he looked at me apologetically, “Can we go grab Callum before we head over?”
“Sure,” I said trying to keep my voice from raising an octave in excitement.
“We’ll be there in ten,” Maverick said grinning. “Welcome back to the free man’s club!”
I rolled my eyes at my brother’s stupidity, but deep down my heart ached.It had been so long since Callum had been single.Tonight, I would make my move, I thought to myself.Tonight, Callum Murphy would realize that I was more than just his best friend’s little sister.Tonight, things were going to change.ere…