I wanted darkness to take me away. To let me drift until there was nothing left of me here. Every inch of my body ached, the bruises and broken bones healing slowly, but I could hear unfamiliar sounds around me. Beeps, clicks, and taps, all coming from my left, but I could not move towards it to find out what it was. My head ached, my nose felt stuffed, and my throat hurt. The feeling was surreal.
“Has she awakened at all?” A deep voice questioned, unfamiliar. “The Alpha has questions for her.”
“You cannot rush the Luna’s healing.” Another, this time, brought in with a scent that had my eyes opening a sliver. “Patience, Beta Joey.”
“Alpha?” I ventured past a pained, raspy throat and a warm hand grabbed mine. “Luna?”
I barely remembered who I was, much less those unfamiliar terms. Then my hazy vision cleared and I swallowed. Pinkish-colored eyes with ghostly pale skin and pure white hair. Yet it was his scent that had me nuzzling closer, craving contact with this stranger. He smelled of vanilla and forests. Dew spread across the grass in the early morning. His almost pink eyes narrowed, then his hand cupped my cheek.
“Luna. That would be you.” He whispered, leaning forward so I could hear him better. “And I am the Alpha of the White Lunar Pack. My name is Zakaria McCann.”
In a flash, my memories returned, making me wince and cover my face. I didn’t look well enough to meet my mate. I was sure there were wounds on my face, arms, hands, and everything exposed to the sterile air of the hospital room we were in. My eyes glanced around this new place in fear as I waited for my attacker to appear again, and I started shaking uncontrollably. His warmth was the only thing keeping me sane.
“My name is Anthea Durham.” I stated, glancing away from his intense gaze. “Of the Trembling Woods.”
“The Trembling Woods? I’ve never heard of that Pack.” He replied, making me flinch as his hand rose. “Did someone there hurt you?”
“My uncle…” I countered, then my gaze drew back up to his handsome face, passed downturned lips to pink-colored orbs. “I… If he comes here…”
“He will die.” The stranger stated, leaning closer still. “My Mate.”
Mates were possessive. Demanding. A braided necklace with a circular shaped charm fell out of his black tee shirt for my gaze to focus on as he nuzzled his nose against my forehead, something that had my entire body flushing with heat. Even as I grew stronger while my body recovered, I still feared my uncle. My first mate rejected me. The memory stung hard. But my new mate only stared at me in wonder, as if happy to finally meet me.
“Our Alpha has been waiting twelve years to meet his Mate.” Someone supplied, and I glanced to the right to find another stranger standing there. “I am your Beta. Joey Wile.”
“Joey. That is information Thea does not need.” The Alpha glared over his shoulder before those pinkish eyes fell back on me. “I apologize, perhaps I should ask before giving you a nickname.”
Was it illegal for a man to be so handsome? If not, it needed to be. A pale hand shifted to pick up a long lock of my blonde hair, his white lashes falling closed as he sank into thought. Zakaria’s fingers were gentle as they stroked through my hair, only occasionally brushing my scalp before detangling the ends. He looked peaceful. As though this were the only thing he had ever missed.
“I accept you, Anthea Durham, as my Mate and Luna.” His whispered words made my flesh tingle as his acceptance washed over me. “May I have your answer?”
“Then… I accept you, Zakaria McCann, as my Mate and Alpha.” Maybe I would later regret that choice, but I wanted to be with my Second Chance. “If you’re okay with me.”
“There could be no one but you, Mate.”
Beautiful dirty blonde hair, hazel eyes, and tiny hands. Anthea was perfect. From her sugary sweet scent to her curvy form hidden by the blankets atop her bed. We sat in the medical bay of the Pack Territory as her body healed. When they first alerted me to her presence, I was already moving in her direction, her scent drawing me in like a moth to a flame. She was found just outside our territory. Lying on a mound of dirt covered in cuts and bruises. It was as though someone tried to bury her there, but her wolf fought her way out before losing the battle with consciousness.
Once she recognized who I was, she reverted to her human form, the sounds of bones and flesh shifting back to soft tanned skin, full of curves, and beautiful blonde hair that matched her fur. I had never seen a wolf so gorgeous. Emerald orbs focused on me where I sat next to her in the safety of the Pack Medical Bay, and I swallowed thickly, barely able to contain the desire boiling beneath my skin. Mate. My wolf was mad with lust, something I’d only ever felt in passing before, and I bit back the desire to mark her right there. She is weak right now. I had to keep telling my Wolf that she was weak.
“Alpha?” She questioned, full lips parting in a rasp as she spoke. “Is something wrong?”
“Call me anything but that.” I pleaded, watching as those green pools widened, her jaw dropping a little in shock. “Please.”
“Zak?” Hearing the smooth tones of her voice call me a nickname without prompt had my fists clenching in my lap. “Sorry, does that one not work, either? I can call you Zakaria.”
“Zak is fine.”
“Funny, considering the last person to call you that ended up beaten within an inch of their lives,” Joey stated, and I tossed another glare over my shoulder at him. “It was me. I was the one who called him that.”
“Zak is too intimate for a Beta to call his Alpha.” I demanded, narrowing my eyes as his face paled. “Thea is my Mate. She may call me whatever she wishes.”
Her cheeks flushed a pretty pink as her gaze returned to me, and I smiled. Oh, though maybe I shouldn’t smile. Most females feared my smile, since I was far paler than most. Thanks to my sensitivity to light, I could only hunt at night, too. Sure, I made for a handsome wolf in my own right, but if it turned potential mates away, it wouldn’t do. Especially not Anthea. My lips formed a frown as my thoughts circled when she stunned me by lifting a hand to touch my cheek.
“You have a nice smile.”
My heart thudded hard in my chest as a gentle smile lifted her lips. Her hands were smooth, and though I knew she was weak, my head automatically nuzzled into her palm. She was chilly. Far cooler than most wolves I knew, though likely because of her blood loss. Luck was on her side, since I had the same blood type. The doctors said she would make a full recovery, she just needed rest.
“You should rest.” I smiled, cupping her hand against my cheek with my own. “I cannot wait to learn more about you.”
“I’m a little scared… My last Mate rejected me.”
That meant I was her second chance. She fell asleep, her hand going limp, so I returned it to the bed, and turned from her as I stood. I needed to cool my blood, and I refused to find a willing female. The only woman who would share my bed would be my mate, from now on. Who could reject such a female? I walked through the medical bay out into the crisp night air. Joey was right behind me, his shuffling footsteps echoing in the night.
“I’m glad you finally found our Luna.” He stated, and I came to a stop outside the Alpha House. “She will surely alleviate the concerns the Elders had about your reproductive abilities.”
That was the least of my concerns. No one could discover I was a second chance for her. I remembered the pain I felt a few years ago and wondered. What if she was also a second chance for me? That pain no longer hovered, I noticed. Until I met Stacey, the pain I usually felt in my chest did not exist. It faded, as though she was the balm I needed. I turned to look at my Beta with a weak grin.
“Her recovery is the most important thing. I will not press her for an heir when her body is not healed enough to manage childbirth.” I warned, eyes narrowing before I sighed. “Plus, it is clear she has been abused. If the Elders try to force it, I will be very angry.”
“Don’t worry, Alpha. I doubt they have any such expectations. Only,” Joey returned, his expression turning thoughtful as he lifted a finger to his chin, one arm crossing under his chest. “I’m sure they will want to meet her. Sooner, rather than later.”
I fell asleep before I could even think of asking him more. Then I realized he left after I told him he was my second chance. Maybe that was unacceptable. My uncle often told me once my former mate rejected me, I would never get another chance. I winced as I sat up, happy to be able to move again, and glanced around. The room I was in was decorated in a light pink, something I didn’t notice before.
Blue bedclothes fell, revealing a hospital gown as I threw my legs over the edge of the bed. I wanted to move around. To find Zak and figure out what he intended to do with me. If I was going to face another rejection, I wanted to leave as soon as possible. My blonde hair fell over my shoulder and I used slightly stiff fingers to comb through some of the tangles. As I made my way over to the door, it opened wide, revealing that of Zak.
“You are up.” He stated, a small smile curving the corners of his light pink lips. “I am glad. You healed rather quickly, for a wolf.”
My healing abilities were thanks to the Moon Goddess. Something my uncle enjoyed taking advantage of. I winced at the reminder, and he held out his hand in offering, as though I needed help standing. Instead of accepting it, I looked into his pink-hued orbs, watching as they dilated at our proximity, turning a slight reddish hue. My Mate. I could scarcely believe I had finally found my savior. The male who would save me, I hoped.
“I am happy to welcome you to the White Lunar Pack. My pack members have been waiting a long time for your arrival.” Zak cooed sweetly, his hand wrapping firmly around my waist to help me walk. “I brought you some clothes to change into. Do not worry. I had a female take your measurements.”
My cheeks flushed with heat at his thoughtfulness as he helped me into a private bathroom attached to the room we were in. I looked around in awe as he showed me where all the bathing supplies I could ever dream of were, next to the walk-in shower. The white tiles on the walls and floors gave the room a clinical feel, and I shivered at the chill of them against my bare feet. He was patient as he turned back to me.
“I will leave you to it.”
With that, he walked out into the pink room, his broad back disappearing behind the solid oak-colored door. My uncle made sure he kept me clean, so fortunately I could handle this much. After washing up, I dressed in the jeans and tee shirt he brought me, though the jeans were a little large and the shirt just a little too tight. I returned to the room they were letting me stay in to find Zak staring at the bed, fingers and jaw clenched.
“Um… I’m finished.” His pinkish-colored orbs snapped to me, and he visibly swallowed before standing. “Thank you. I feel refreshed…”
“We will take you shopping in town today to get you some better fitted clothes.” He smiled gently, something which had me relaxing. “Shall we?”