Chapter 1. I Accept Your Rejection
“I accept your rejection.”
A searing pain suffused my cheek after I said the words. I knew a third scar had just appeared, showing I had been rejected as a mate three times. It’s a curse, for those who against the will of Moon Goddess……for those who unwanted.
Warm blood trickled down my cheek down to my jawline as the occupants of the ballroom—a flurry of fated mate hopefuls—began tittering around me. I was not dressed in anything resembling the finery the other women had donned for the occasion. I wasn’t there to be mated at the ball. I wasn’t worthy.
No, I was only there as a guardian, a warrior for the pack.
Mason Hale, the Alpha of the Blackfoot Pack, gave a nod, his chin raised a bit with wounded pride.
I couldn’t blame him. I was the daughter of a pack traitor. Which was how I was in this situation to begin with. I was a warrior, an Omega unfit for mating.
“She’s less than worthless,” Giselle, a former friend, simpered, going to Mason’s side. “I can’t believe the Moon Goddess could have found it in her wisdom to even suggest she be your mate. What a cosmic joke.”
I shrugged it off. Giselle was only saying what everyone was thinking. “By your leave, Alpha,” I said, giving a small bow and starting to leave them to their commiseration.
“Wait.” Hale’s Alpha order froze me where I stood. I couldn’t have moved if I wanted to.
“Yes, Alpha?” I asked, wishing he’d just let me quickly go to the buffet table for a napkin. At this point, I was dripping blood on the floor, and I could just feel the house staff Omegas’ eyes boring into the back of my head.
“You are forgetting something.” Then Hale turned to those gathered. They stopped laughing immediately, not wanting their Alpha to think they were laughing at HIM. “The rejection ceremony will take place in two weeks. I will vow before the Moon Goddess to reject this mate. That is all. Please enjoy the rest of the ball.”
Giselle clung to Hale’s arm as he made a move to leave. “Don’t let that unworthy b*tch ruin your good time, Alpha. Enjoy the rest of the ball with us.” She batted her eyelashes at him.
‘With me, more like,’ I thought to myself, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. Giselle had been after Hale since we were kids.
Since we were friends.
I shook my head. Those days were long past. “Alpha? Might I go now? I understand the ceremony is to be in two weeks. As always, I am at your disposal. Just tell me when and where and I will be there.”
“Good,” Hale said. He jerked his chin in the direction of the buffet table. “Go clean yourself up.”
I hurried to the buffet table before he could find a reason to stop me again. Not only had I sullied the hardwood, but I was sure I must have quite a stain on my uniform now as well. The house staff was going to be incensed, and I was going to suffer for it.
As I dabbed a napkin over my new scar, I could still hear Giselle wheedling at Hale to stay. “But Hale-y-boo,” Giselle pouted. “The ball won’t be nearly as fun without you.”
“I’ve had quite enough, Giselle,” Hale grunted, and somehow managed to extricate his arm from her grasp.
I was sure he meant he’d had enough of HER, not just the ball. But Giselle let it whoosh right over her head.
“Aww, Hale-y-boo, don’t be like that,” she whined.
I covered my lips with the napkin to keep from laughing at the disgusted look on Hale’s face when he turned away from Giselle. Maybe he thought no one would see, but I did.
“No,” Hale said. “I’m leaving. Have a good time, Giselle. Hopefully, you’ll meet your mate.” He then made as quick an exit as he could. He was Alpha, after all. It was hard for him to simply disappear without a word.
Giselle was disappointed. And angry. Very angry.
I knew she was angry because she rounded on me immediately. “You stupid b*tch! You ruined everything!” Giselle hissed in my ear after marching my way.
I didn’t respond. I wasn’t allowed to respond. Given what my father had done, I was lucky to be alive.
Giselle looked at the buffet table, then picked up a glass of red wine and poured it on my uniform. “Oops,” she snickered. “I didn’t see you there.”
Yes, the house staff were going to murder me in my sleep. Or drop spiders in my bed. Though, perhaps this time they’d get more creative.
I simply picked up another napkin and began blotting at the stain.
Not satisfied with my response, Giselle took a quick look around, then subtly kicked one set of table legs out from under the buffet table.
Wine glasses shattered, and silver plates and platters bounced everywhere. Food sloshed and rolled across the floor.
Giselle plastered on a wide-eyed, innocent face and brought her hands to her mouth. “Kora, what have you done?! Just because ALPHA HALE rejected you, doesn’t mean you should go destroying things!”
I squeezed my eyes shut and sighed. I was in for it now.
Male hopefuls who wanted to puff up in front of the females came over and yelled at me.
“You idiot! How can you ruin the Alpha’s things this way? You’re lower than dirt. You’re not worthy to be in the Blackfoot Pack, yet the Alpha’s family allows you to stay! THIS is how you repay them?!” one roared right in my face.
I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. It wasn’t allowed.
Giselle knew it and smirked, lapping it all up.
“She’s so hopeless. I don’t know why they bother to keep her,” a friend of Giselle’s said, fanning the flames.
“She’s not just hopeless,” Giselle announced. “She’s a coward! If it weren’t for me, the whole pack might have been destroyed today! I found scouts from another pack sniffing about—”
Ah, yes. When Giselle had shrieked and run away. When I found those scouts.
“—and Kora just ran away! I alerted the perimeter guard—”
I alerted the perimeter guard. Not that they could back me up. They were also looked down upon in the pack.
“—and that’s why we’re alive today,” Giselle boasted. She gave me a theatrical scowl. “KORA is a coward.”
“Coward,” came the muttered agreement from all around.
I just stared blank-faced at all of them. I wasn’t stupid enough to shrug in the middle of a mob that was just missing pitchforks, but honestly, I didn’t really care anymore. This was a daily occurrence for me. I just happened to be standing in a larger group than usual.
Besides. Lowered my eyelids, I hope my emotionless mask was still working normally.
Until I got what I want, it’s not wise to infuriate them.
“Hey, Kora.” Shawn Norman, a fellow “traitor’s child,” came walking over to me. The crowd parted like the seas, obviously amazed he’d dared to speak.
He ignored the others and gave me a bright smile. We were equals, after all. “Why don’t you let me take the rest of your shift, and you take mine later? Looks like you need a change of clothes.”
My eyes shining with gratitude, even though I couldn’t smile back, I gave a quick nod and quick-marched out of the ballroom.
I heard the music strike up again behind me. With their favorite entertainment gone, I guess dancing was back on the menu.
With stealth born of years of trying not to be seen or heard, I dodged any encounters with angry house staff and made my way toward a servant’s entrance at the back of the mansion.
Diana Quinton, another familiar face, ducked out of the kitchen, full vodka bottle in hand. “I heard about what was going on, so I sent Shawn in,” the housekeeper whispered to me, pressing the vodka into my hand. “Here. Take this. Go relax.”
She paused for a moment, rubbed my hair, “We all know you are the strongest warrior, Bloody Kora. Forget these people.”
“I already have,” I said with the slightest of smiles.
The nervous creature bobbed her head and scurried back into the kitchen.
I went out the side door with the vodka.
It took less than fifteen minutes to reach my destination, loping along on my long legs. I didn’t shift, but I was still pretty fast without becoming a wolf.
The cliffs were tall, sheer, sandstone, and beautiful. I come here often to rest, relax, and think. Not that there was much to think about today. Fourteen years. A full fourteen years had passed since the bloody night my kind father rebelled. I was almost there, so close to the goal.
Mated to the Alpha? Please.
Unscrewing the bottle cap, I sat down in the grass and swung my legs over the edge of the cliff. I was just about to take a pull from the bottle when I heard a noise behind me.
Thump. Thump. THUMP.
I turned my head, blinking as a large, black wolf came barrelling toward me.
“What in the—?!” I gaped, setting the bottle down and scrambling to my feet.
Before I could shift, the black wolf leaped into the air. When he landed, he was a man again.
It was Alpha Mason Hale.
“What…” he snarled at me.
“What in the ROYAL HOLY F*CK do you THINK you are DOING?!”
Hi all, this is Ida! Thank you so much for reading my story.
Eight chapters available here, please find more on Readamo/Lereader! Thank you so much for your love for Kora and Mason. Love you all.