Logan stared dejectedly out the window of his bedroom, silently cursing the snow that had picked the wrong day to fall. The cold and lonely weather was doing all the wrong things to his already black mood. He grunted and raised a hand to his head, raking his fingers through his black shoulder-length hair. Dammit, where was inner peace when you badly needed it? He hated feeling like this.
He turned abruptly from the window and began pacing the room. He had gone to see his invalid father as a last resort this morning, hoping for some much-needed advice on what to do about the rogue attacks at their boundary. As usual, his father had barely recognized him, then after he finally did, had screamed a load of gibberish, capping it up with cries for Jessica to be brought to him. Jessica had been his mate and Logan’s mother before she was killed years ago.
As if that wasn’t enough, there had been pressure on him of late to find a mate. He was always steadily reminded that he needed a Luna chosen for him by the Goddess, someone to bear his children and be a mother to his pack. He had no desire to find anyone to spend the rest of his life with though. His father was enough example. Pressure or not, he wasn’t willing to go down the same route his father had gone.
The recent rogue attacks had been his personal headache for several weeks now. He had sent a number of his pack members to their deaths trying to curb the attacks. There was a cloying feeling about the attacks, something strange and eerie that gnawed at his mind and made him lose sleep thinking about it. This was not their first rogue attack, and neither would it be their last. Why did this one feel so different?
A rude voice interrupted his thoughts and he stopped pacing, trying to zone in on the intrusion. It was his beta trying to reach him through the mind link.
Still all cozy in your blanket aren’t you, Alpha? His beta’s teasing voice resonated in his ears. Logan rolled his eyes and sighed.
What do you want, Casper?
There’s a situation with the patrol. You might have to join us. We’re really short of men here and we need more wolves to cover more ground. Maybe leave your bedroom and join us?
Logan groaned. Do I really have to do this?
Yes! Casper insisted. It would really boost the confidence of your subjects if you showed up. You can’t stay holed up in that room all day, you know.
Alright, fine. I’m on my way.
Casper closed the mind link and prepared to join the patrol team. Several minutes later, he walked out of his room decked out in a gray fur coat fit for the weather. His raven-black hair was pulled back in a ponytail that accentuated his sharp jawline and dimpled cheeks.
He moved from the hallway of his bedroom to a large foyer that joined all rooms in the pack house together. Heaving a sigh of resignation, he opened the foyer doors and walked out into the cold winter air.
The packhouse was situated in the middle of a large expanse of land, the tallest building in miles around. To the right was the small gathering of houses where his subjects lived, and to the left was the woods that stretched for miles around. Directly in front of the pack house was a training site which was empty. All the trainers had been recruited for patrol too.
The alpha trudged forward in the snow, silently cursing as his boots got stuck severally in the muck. One more reason why he hated winter.
He got to the border a few minutes later. The patrol team was arranged at intervals along the borderline. They were so scanty; Logan had no idea how they could take on another attack. His heart ached with worry and fear as he contemplated the depleted number of his pack.
Their border was located at the edge of the woods, with the forest behind the patrol team and a wide expanse of land to their front. Everything had been made white and bleak by the falling snow, but Logan could sense the enemy as surely as he could see his own hands. He knew they were lurking in the snow, waiting for any sign of relent before making their attack.
Suddenly his thoughts were interrupted by Casper’s voice in his head. He sounded excited and scared at the same time and Logan was finding it hard to make sense of his words. His voice was frantic and incoherent. Logan waited for him to calm down before speaking.
You might wanna repeat all that you’ve said, Casper. He said calmly.
Casper paused and took deep breaths. Then he started again:
Alpha, there’s a bit of a situation. You might wanna check this out. Meet us at the north border.
Logan murmured an excuse to the men around him, then walked over to the north border, wondering what Casper was all excited about.
He reached the north border and saw a group of men gathered around something on the ground. His sharp wolf eyes caught a glimpse of white on the ground but before he could look further, Casper appeared in front of him, his eyes full of excitement.
“Bad news again?” Logan asked, bracing himself for the worst.
“Not particularly. At least not yet.” His beta answered. “Come see this.”
Casper led the Alpha to the group of gathered men. They all parted to show him the center of their attention.
It was a white wolf, half buried in the snow.
Immediately Logan’s eyes fell upon the wolf his body reacted violently. A hot searing flash of connection went through his body, igniting something inside him that he couldn’t identify or control. He found himself drawn to the white wolf, and suddenly something in his mind clicked and became right, as though he had been waiting for this moment all his life. Suddenly all he wanted was to get on the ground and wrap his hands around the wolf, whisper in her ears, and tell her she would be fine. Suddenly it felt as though they were the only two people in the world. The feeling was unbearable, yet comforting. Unwelcome, yet desirable. And immediately, the Alpha knew what had just happened to him.
He had found his mate.
He gasped at the realization and turned his back on the wolf, trying to regain his composure. His men mustn’t notice any form of weakness in their Alpha. Casper placed a hand on his shoulder worriedly.
“Alpha…what’s wrong? Perhaps–”
“No.” He replied, righting himself “I’m fine.” He counted the seconds slowly, then turned back to the wolf and crouched before her. This time he was a little more prepared for the onslaught of desire. His wolf cried out in excitement as he looked at her again but he ignored it.
The lone wolf on the ground had her eyes closed, apparently unconscious. Her fur which matched the snow perfectly was partially buried under all the white. Logan reached his hand out and brushed a few flecks of snow away from her body, revealing her left shoulder.
There was a branded mark there, just below her neck. A crescent-shaped tattoo-like mark, barely bigger than a bottle cap. Logan fought the urge to reach out and touch it. The mark looked like none he had ever seen. It looked ancient, as simple, and as confusing as a hieroglyph. He frowned, wondering how she got the mark and why it stood out to him.
He stood without another word and turned into the forest, ignoring Casper’s call behind him. He wanted to clear his head and rearrange his thoughts: everything that had just happened was starting to get to him.
He had just invited his mate into his life.
Little did he know he had also invited trouble.