“Where are my shoes?” Zena wondered audibly and dragged her brown eyes through the darkness under her bed.
“Oh, you lost your atrocious vans? What a tragedy... need to borrow my heels?” her cheeky sister proposed.
Zena got off the ground. “Give me my shit,” she sighed.
The fully-dressed Zya bit her lip and shook her head. “Please just wear them. They’re pretty and comfortable... maybe apply some makeup too... and a necklace,” she pushed with a guilty grin.
“Sure. And how about you tie rope around your neck to match with me? I’m sure you’ll look great dangling from a tree,” Zena suggested with a crooked smile.
The other Rhee growled and threw the new white vans she was hiding on the carpeted ground. Zena smiled gratefully, lifted her baby blue dress, and slipped her right foot into its respective shoe.
“Can you at least fix your hair?” Zya demanded, starting the argument the two had every time they went out. Zena’s prom day had been a bloodbath. She was determined to show up in jeans and Zya promised death if she didn’t slip on the dress she carefully picked out.
Zena showed up to prom in a sparkly pink dress, a scratched face, and busted lip. Her prom pictures never failed to raise eyebrows.
She sat on her bed and let Zya take care of her hair. Zya was much more talented at styling hair, applying makeup and pretty much anything that requires a feminine touch. Zena, however, couldn’t pick out a dress for you but if you needed a contract written or a database hacked, then she was your girl.
Zya brushed the strands up and organized a tidy bun. The task was pretty difficult considering the fact the rest of Zena’s hair was somewhere in Canada. She didn’t mind having short hair though; finding that the longer it was the more it got in the way.
“Okay, let’s go,” Zena ordered and slapped her sister’s hands away from her head.
She was feeling awfully nervous about the event. Assassination attempts weren’t exactly her cup of tea. Especially if she’s the one who’s supposed to end up with a bullet in their brain. Not to mention the fact that the place would be full of her friends and family. An attack would undoubtedly hurt or kill someone.
With a stick of dynamite in her stomach, she grabbed her cellphone and walked out of the room with Zya behind her.
“Only a few werewolves, Eva said. It will be fun, she said,” Zena grumbled mockingly when she glanced out of the window. They were in Adrian’s territory. True to his word, the place was packed with security. Wolves on duty stood all around the mansion the Millers built to host events.
It was larger than their own house, sitting at four stories high. Eva stood by the entrance in a red gown, hand in Adrian’s. Zena pushed the door open, not waiting for the driver to open it for her, and walked to the couple.
“What happened to ‘only a few’ people? Hmm?” she asked Eva and examined the swarming yard. She waved to a couple of werewolves she recognized and shot a huge smile in Alpha Nathaniel’s direction which he gladly returned.
“Well... I got a bit excited... you look wonderful!” Eva complemented. She was half honest and half trying to change the subject.
Zena chuckled. “So do you. Adrian, you look as miserable as I feel.”
Adrian shrugged a shoulder, knowing that it was true but not caring enough to fix his bored mug.
“Hey, Zena! Congrats on not dying!”
Zena recognized that voice. She spun around, her dress swaying around her ankles at the motion. She winked at Sylas and cockily replied: “It’s not that easy to get rid of me.”
The two of them had dated since middle school. They had been each other’s first everything. They were both seventeen when they first made love. At the time, Zena loved him and didn’t give her mate much thought. To this day, she didn’t regret giving herself to him because like Lukas, she didn’t hold intimacy with such high regard.
When they turned 18, Sylas met his mate. A week later, a text while driving took her life. Heartbroken and angry at the world, Sylas left Connecticut and moved to New Hampshire. This was three years ago, but they kept in touch throughout the years.
That year had been rough on Zena. Not only did she lose Sylas but her father only months later. She opted out of college and took up the alpha role. Since she had been so busy keeping Red River floating, she never got to date again. Sylas remained the first man she loved and laid with.
“Come here,” he invited with outstretched arms.
Zena smiled and gladly hugged her old friend. She doubted romance would ever spark between them again. Sylas had changed a lot over the years. He obtained a degree in law and now played a large role in human politics. He was a strict anti gay-marriage advocate. She wasn’t sure if he was religious. All she knew was that while she respected his opinion, she couldn’t be with a man who wanted to hold happiness away from the world.
The memories were sweet. But they would remain as memories and wouldn’t be relived.
“You look beautiful,” he smiled tenderly. His grey eyes zeroed-in on her pink lips.
She laughed. “Tell that to Zya.”
Sylas chuckled and offered her his arm. She intertwined hers with it and they walked into the brightly lit room.
Zena received welcomes from all directions. Alphas, betas, friends, pack members.
“Hey boss, looking good,” Gerald nudged. She smiled and tried to dramatically curtsey but ended up stumbling. Sylas was quick to grip her arm to stabilize her.
Beta Gerald laughed. “You can survive a plane crash but not a curtsey. You are something else, Zena,” he teased.
She stuck her tongue out. “I’m a mess because you haven’t gotten any liquor in me yet. Where’s the wine?” she demanded.
Lukas stepped out of the sleek limousine and onto Adrian’s land. Without taking the time to inspect the large house they parked in front of, he turned and offered his date his hand.
Ophelia was a mixed woman, half black and half white. While her beauty was undeniable, it wasn’t her milky brown eyes and curvaceous hips that attracted his attention, it was her reputation. She ran the daycare in his territory and was loved by werewolves of all ages.
She met all of the requirements for the luna position. She was someone he wouldn’t mind the world seeing standing beside him
Lukas didn’t know much about her. Just that she was reserved, liked to cook, and was fuckable. He hadn’t bedded her yet- or any woman for that matter since he discovered Zena was his mate.
He wondered if being sexually inactive for over 10 months is the reason for his odd behavior. Maybe he just needed a quick rut.
The only reason he steered clear of women was that it was dishonorable to sleep with others while mated to another werewolf. He wouldn’t respect this tradition forever, though. The day Zena officially rejects him is the day Lukas will find out if Ophelia is as submissive in bed as she is in public.
“Thank you,” Ophelia said softly and slipped her tanned hand into his large palm. He gently helped her to her feet and then intertwined their arms before guiding her toward the entrance. Talking wasn’t Ophelia’s strong suit. When he asked her to be his date for the event, she smiled shyly, glanced at her feet, and nodded. The car ride had been riddled with silence but Lukas didn’t mind.
He made eye contact with Adrian and noticed that the man’s eyes shifted to a deeper green. Eva smiled and did a much better job at hiding her distaste than her mate. “Welcome, thank you for coming!”
Ophelia smiled back at her and shifted her eyes to the male alpha standing beside her. He and Adrian exchanged a stiff handshake but no words.
Lukas nodded respectfully at Eva and moved into the house. No music was playing but the place was vibrating with chatter. He saw familiar faces and greeted them half-enthusiastically.
“Welcome, Lukas. I didn’t think you would make it!” Gerald greeted. His hooded eyes gave away the fact that he had become familiar with one too many glasses of alcohol.
“I didn’t either but here I am,” Lukas shrugged. It was the truth. Two weeks ago if he was invited to a party he would’ve said no, claimed he had more important things to do, and then kicked you out of the office- possibly literally, for suggesting the ridiculous proposition.
And then Zena somehow managed to get lodged in his memory and his raging hatred for the uncontrollable woman began to simmer down. So here he was, trying to re-spark that flame of hatred.
Speak of the she-devil.
Lukas looked away from the beta and located Zya near the back of the room. Her face was twisted with fury. One hand was clenched and the other was holding out her soiled black dress. A substance was leaking from it and judging by the empty cup in Zena’s hand, she was the culprit.
“Sorry sis,” she laughed.
And there it was. The fucking smile he had been picturing for the past few days. His mind hadn’t done her any justice. The real thing was brighter, wider, and a hell of a lot more distracting. Her teeth were white and beautifully contrasted against her dark, coffee-bean colored eyes.
He was man enough to admit that while she had traits he found undesirable, such as her temper, she was gorgeous. The blue dress she wore was exactly the same shade as the one she wore for her 21st birthday; the day they discovered they were mates. Lukas was surprised that he remembered such a small detail.
Her hair was tossed into a neat bun on top of her head. He didn’t like the style. He preferred it when it when the strands framed her face and whipped around with the slightest motions. He liked when it tickled his chin when she laid her head on his bare chest.
He moved his eyes south and his breath hitched at the sight. Her cleavage was on display, arousing not only his most sensitive organ, but a primitive protective sensation he wasn’t at all familiar with. He wanted to pry his jacket off his shoulders and place it over hers.
It’s just the mate bond. He told himself.
“I did you a favor. Wine adds more character to the dress,” Zena tried to reason with her murderous sibling.
“A black eye will add more character to your face, should I give you one?” Zya snarled.
“Ladies calm down before luna Eva gives you a timeout,” Sylas chuckled.
Lukas immediately sized the stranger up. He was more boy than man, sharing his height but lacking the muscle. His black hair was gelled backward and his grey eyes focused on Zena. His face was probably as smooth as his rear, completely free of facial hair. Lukas wondered if he was even capable of growing it.
“Is that an order? You do know that I out-rank you, right?” Zena challenged with a raised eyebrow as she fought back a smile.
“Forgive me, boss. Please do punish me with your god-awful dancing,” Sylas teased and stepped closer. Only a wavering foot stood between them.
“There’s no music playing. And my dancing isn’t that bad!” she argued.
“You stepped on me so many times on prom night that I limped back home,” he threw his gell-slobbered head back and laughed at the memory.
The right side of Zena’s lips tugged up. Sylas didn’t break eye contact and moved a hand to her waist.
Zena didn’t step back.
Lukas didn’t like that.
His legs pulled him away from Ophelia’s side and to Zena’s. He wasn’t sure when he gave his body the green light to move, but this seemed like an ordinary thing nowadays. Zena was bewitching all of his body functions. First his hand in the cave, then his thoughts, and now his legs.
Once Zena noticed a shadow cast over her, she spun around. “Lukas!” she raged.
“Zena,” he replied blandly.
“So you don’t show up for important council meetings but you come to parties,” she snarled venomously and crossed her arms under her ample chest.
“Alcohol is more exciting than paperwork,” he shrugged.
Zena rolled her eyes. “Speaking of which, I need more wine. But since you’re here, I’m going to need to mix whiskey and a little bleach into it,” she hissed before walking off.
Zya had disappeared to get napkins, leaving him with Sylas.
The werewolf outstretched a hand politely.
Lukas fought back the urge to smack him hard enough to knock the gell out of his stupidly styled hair.
He managed swallowed down his temper and gripped the other man’s peace offering.
“Alpha Lukas Clark of Mountain Hill,” he replied nonchalantly and shook Syla’s hand with an extra touch of unnecessary strength.
He usually didn’t share his entire title so obnoxiously since most werewolves recognized him. But he didn’t like Sylas and wanted him to know that he was below him. This was a dick measuring contest that Lukas was determined to win.
He suspected that Sylas was interested in Zena and that didn’t settle too well with him. Zena was his until the mate-bond was disconnected. Since she hadn’t rejected him yet, they were still mates.
“Nice to meet you,” Sylas nodded and averted his gaze. He didn’t like the man’s furrowed brow, ridiculously formal introduction, rough handshake, balled fists, or the unfriendliness in his tone.
The attention was moved to the two Rhee women when Zena jumped on Zya’s back and hugged her tightly. Zya growled and struggled to push her off, still angry that her beautiful dress was now more liquor than cloth.
Sylas laughed. “She’s something else, isn’t she?”
“Yeah,” Lukas replied as he also took in the view. Zena somehow managed to be as lethal as a cobra yet innocently childish. She was interesting. He came to terms with this the day he spotted her in her baby blue dress on her birthday.
“She’s intriguing.” Lukas continued thoughtfully, not looking away. It surprised him that she hadn’t noticed the intense gaze of both suited men.
“And she’s still mine. Until the rejection is through and done with, she’ll remain mine. I need you to stop chasing her skirts and sniff after someone else,” he warned darkly.
Sylas turned and stared wide-eyed. “You’re her mate?”
Lukas nodded. “The one and only.”
“With all due respect, Alpha Lukas, I know she’s rejecting you and I have full intention to start something with her. She’s an incredible woman and I would be a fool to let her go a second time,” the skinnier wolf vowed with a firm voice.
Lukas snorted. He wasn’t sure if the little boy had more bravery or hair gell.
“What was your name again?” Lukas asked as he safely stored his aching fists in his pockets.
Montgomery. He recognized that name. Sylas’ father was a talented businessman. He owned a company that dealt with nanorobotics concentrated on the eastern US.
“Is your father around?”
Sylas frowned at the question but nodded nonetheless.
Lukas walked away then and looked for Montgomery senior.
Sylas looked away from Zya when his father ran to his side red-faced, sweaty, and breathless. “Sylas!” he called out shakily.
“What’s wrong?” he asked worriedly.
“Nothing! Everything is fucking fantastic! I just... I just sold a massive chunk of the company for two million!” he said excitedly and ran his tongue over his dried lips.
“That’s great! To who?” Sylas asked.
“Alpha Lukas Clark! I told him the company wasn’t nearly worth that amount and that I would settle for less but he insisted. Goddess, he’s either crazy or generous,” he ran a shaky hand through his receding hair.
Sylas’ temper flared astronomically. He rushed away from his hyperventilating father and found Lukas observing him by a wall.
“What are you thinking? You can’t do this!” he declared hushedly, not wanting to attract the attention of the couples around him. Who did Lukas think he was to play with his family’s company?
Sylas knew he was screwed. His father would probably disown him if he asked him to cancel the business deal because it would give Lukas too much leverage and they were fighting over Zena. His father wouldn’t give up two million so Sylas could win over a woman.
“This what happens when you don’t listen to men with bigger cocks and bank accounts than yours. Stay away from that crazy, bantering female alpha or else your daddy’s company will go down the drain.”
Lukas didn’t have a single interest in nanorobotics but if he had to use money to keep Sylas in his place, then that’s what he’d do.
“You wouldn’t do that! You would lose millions if the company went under!” Sylas tried to reason desperately. He didn’t want to lose Zena but he didn’t want to be the fall of his father’s life work either.
Lukas offered a sinister smile. His eyes shifted to a darker shade of blue when his wolf surfaced, loving the amount of dominance they held over the weak pup.
He gave the fuming werewolf a cocky smile. “I’ve got a couple of dollars to burn.”