A/N> Remember that this is a stand-alone book so you don’t have to read anything before starting it.
=Zya clapped loudly. The obnoxious sound was followed by Bella’s whistle. Their childish reactions earned them Zena’s famous eye-roll.
She stared at her reflection and wondered if it was too late to rip the golden dress off and cave herself back in her office.
Her pride was both a gift and a curse. After hearing Zya’s complaints for multiple days, she became aggravated and determined to prove that she wasn’t hiding from Lukas. She agreed to accompany Zya and Bella to Canada for Nathaniel’s event.
“You look great!” Bella complimented, flashing a bright grin.
“Yea sis, if Lukas doesn’t want to smash after seeing you in that tight little thing then I’m sure all the unmated wolves at the party will be glad to do so,” Zya snickered.
Zena huffed at the crude comment and walked into the bathroom to slip out of the dress and back into her comfortable jeans. Once outside, her happy-go-lucky sister shoved strappy heels into her arms, nearly driving their needle-like ends into her windpipe. The fashionable weapons were golden, meaning that they were supposed to complement her dress.
Her snicker punctured holes into Zya’s excitement. “I don’t know why you even try anymore. I’ve told you a million times that I won’t ever wear those contraptions.” She then walked to the corner of her room where she placed her trusted white vans.
Zya scoffed distastefully at the sight of the shoes she planned on wearing. Zena would look absolutely ridiculous but the stubborn alpha simply didn’t care.
Zena looked warily at the awaiting jet. She gripped her cellphone tightly, mentally debating for the umpteenth time if she had made the right decision.
Zya picked up on her hesitation and pushed her toward the awaiting steps. Bella was already inside on the pilot’s seat, preparing the plane for the flight.
With a grumpy groan and heavy feet, she managed to get inside and strap herself into a seat. After multiple minutes, Bella had them in the air. Zena stared blankly as the green mass of American land they were flying over got blurred by thick clouds. After dragging her eyes through endless white, she welcomed sleep.
They arrived in Manitoba, Canada after multiple hours.
Zena was currently daydreaming about work. She knew that the pack would be fine with Beta Gerald in charge but since she had locked herself in her territory for ten long months, it felt strange to be so far away from home.
“You’ve said that about 7000 times already, woman. Yes, it’s cold. This is fucking Canada, not the Bahamas!” Zena scolded.
Zya simply groaned in response and wiggled her body closer in an attempt to steal warmth.
“I’m getting tired of seeing that frown on your face, Zena. Smile!” Bella encouraged.
“You two need to get off my case,” she barked moodily.
Bella’s smile widened when their car came to a stop. Zena rebutted her cheerfulness with a silent curse. She examined the mansion they were parked in front of. Marble steps guided guests to the inside of the house which was surrounded by flowers and a large fountain that emitted soft-hued lights. The laughter stringing out of its wide entrance promised a night full of adventure. Perhaps she’ll be able to enjoy herself after months of relentless grumpiness.
Alpha Nathaniel stood by the door to welcome guests inside. His brown eyes widened at the sight of her. A warm smile was quick to replace his surprise. “Zena, I haven’t seen you in almost a year!” he exclaimed.
“Well it’s good to see that I was missed,” she replied amusedly.
“You sure were. It’s great to see all of you here. Please, come in,” Nathaniel nodded and flashed a smile to her company. The three women returned his kindness and then made their way inside. Zena looked past the elegant decor and scanned the room for a pair of electric blue eyes. She blindly followed Zya with proud and steady steps. Although she recognized some alphas and betas, none of them owned the calculating eyes of her soulmate.
She introduced herself to a glass of wine and mingled with the girls for a few minutes. When they picked up the topic of hairstyles, her brain hoped on the first ferry out of there. She sailed to a much more captivating topic- the finances of Red River.
When her friends Alpha Adrian and Eva appeared, she joined them in the ballroom. Tables surrounded the room, leaving a large opening in the center. Multiple guests stood in the middle of the hall, swaying to the soft classical music that was dictating their steps.
Their table buzzed with laughter but Zya’s joy was short-lived when her eyes made the unfortunate decision to locate Alpha Lukas. His short hair sat messily on his head unapologetically and his lips were set on a permanent frown.
Once his cold eyes locked on Nathaniel, he made his way toward him. He shoved his hands into his pockets as he strolled inside, not noticing Zena or her friends.
Zya kept her eyes trained on his broad shoulders, feeling her heart rate pick up. She moved her eyes to her sister and found her glowering with her arms crossed over her chest. Wanting to find out what triggered her sour mood, she followed her eyes. Zena wasn’t worked up over Lukas’ appearance, but rather a young couple on the dance floor.
A young man drifted his hand from his partner’s waist to her bottom. The female was quick to grip his wrist and guide it away from her rear. He then immediately reached down again to cup her. Her subtle movements gave away the fact that she wasn’t trying to attract any attention but the discomfort on her face spoke volumes.
“I’ll be right back,” Zena spat menacingly. She slammed her hand on the table and rose to her feet. Zya watched her grab a fork before walking in the direction of the couple. She gulped fearfully, knowing that something was about to go down. Everyone on the table watched as she boldly approached the male, gripping the utensil in her hand with enough force to bend it.
The blonde man turned around, surprised to find Alpha Zena standing before him. “Hello, Alpha Zena,” he smiled respectfully and removed his hands from his partner’s waist.
“Who are you?” Zena interrogated.
The beta’s eyebrow arched with disbelief. “I’m Beta Jace. We met a few times before...”
“What pack? Who’s your alpha?” Zena cut his blabbering short. She didn’t have a single clue of who the pup was and she didn’t care enough to hide this fact from him.
“Alpha Matteo...” the beta replied awkwardly as he made an effort to discretely wipe his sweaty palms on his pants. Sweat which was intimidated out of his pores by the heated glare the woman was giving him.
“Alpha Matteo recently obtained his title. I’m guessing you did too,” Zena concluded and he nodded his confirmation.
“Use your words,” she ordered.
The beta blinked repeatedly. It was clear that the female alpha was angry. He couldn’t fathom what he did to upset the woman but he knew he had to come to terms with her. Red River wasn’t an enemy you’d want to have. Zena may be young but she was no fool. She would look for a way to drive you under if you gave her the motivation to do so.
“Yes, that is correct...” he drew out, now contemplating to bolt mid-conversation.
Zena moved her slender hands to her hips and shifted her weight to her left leg. At 5′10, she was taller than most females. The beta stood a few inches taller than her. He could see the tempting view of her cleavage from his peripherical vision but he knew better than to drift his eyes in that direction. Zena wouldn’t think twice before punching him blind.
“Do you know what the leading cause of pack downfalls is, Jace?” she quizzed spitefully while offering the most venomous glare she could muster.
“Excuse me?” the beta croaked and then coughed multiple times when he realized his voice had become thick with emotion.
“It’s corrupted officials. When the power gets to the heads of the alphas and betas,” she took a step closer to him.
“I’m sure your cock and ego have been telling you otherwise, but let me have the honor of clarifying that you’re absolutely nothing. You’re simply a hormonal pup that can easily be replaced by the next guy.” The fork in her hand glinted brightly once it got hit by the light of the chandelier that sat above them.
The beta’s jaw trembled from shock and terror once he spotted the item. He knew Zena was more than capable of shoving the weapon into his body.
“I don’t understand...” he started and took a step back, shying away from her.
“Yes, you do. If you think you’re man enough to assault a woman in a place that is full of important officials, then you’ll be man enough to apologize to her,” Zena challenged, attempting to keep her temper in check.
The beta attempted to reply and failed. His mouth opened and closed repeatedly but the words were locked in his throat.
“Your alpha will be hearing from me. You have disgraced your entire pack with your disgusting behavior. And you.” Zena stopped and turned toward the girl, seething.
“Stand up for yourself. Next time a man tries to shove their hand up your skirt, drive this through their neck. Aim for the sides, you’ll sever an artery and make them bleed out faster” Zena finished with a sinister smile. She placed the bent fork in the girl’s shaky palm and then moved her hands back to her hips.
“Well? I’m waiting,” she urged the beta.
“Right, right. I’m sorry for disrespecting you, Alana. I’m sorry for offending you, Alpha Zena. You both have my most sincere apologies,” he quacked. His eyes cautiously observed Zena’s reaction. He hoped she was satisfied with what she heard because if she wasn’t, he would likely return home in a six-foot box.
Zena wordlessly dismissed him by turning and leaving. Zya, Bella, Eva, and Adrian watched the entire exchange curiously. They kept their eyes on her as she joined them on the table.
“What?” she questioned when they stared.
They quickly looked away and continued their conversations. Zena looked at Zya and found her nervously fidgeting. “What’s up with you?” she asked.
As she gnawed on her bottom lip, Zya looked over her shoulder.
Now curious, Zena turned and followed her sister’s gaze. All the oxygen in her lungs evaporated when she made eye contact with two pools of blue. The embodiment of arrogance was carelessly leaning against a wall with his arms crossed over his wide chest, looking as handsome as he had looked all those months ago. How could there be so much somberness beneath those bright eyes, lively pink lips, and radiant skin? How is it possible for a man in his prime to carry a hatred so potent that it would take centuries to brew?
Both alphas forced a stoic expression on their face, not exposing what they were feeling.
Eva and Zya both quietly watched the two mates, half expecting them to launch themselves into the air and start swinging. The silent tension easily thickened, casting an invisible shadow of suspense in the left corner of the brightly-lit room.
A small smile made its way to Eva’s face when her brain started scheming. Lukas was an undeserving asshole who deserved to be tormented.
Now jittery with mischief, She gingerly reached for her purse and retrieved her cellphone. Invite me to dance she sent the text to Adrian who immediately reached into his pocket when he felt an eager vibration.
He looked at her with confusion when he read the text and Eva stared back expectantly. He stood up from his chair and offered her his hand. “Want to dance?” he questioned as instructed.
“No thanks. I’m feeling a bit lightheaded. Oh, why don’t you dance with Zena?” she smiled innocently. Adrian raised an eyebrow, sensing that the little human was up to something.
Adrian made his way to Zena. “Zena, care to dance?” he asked politely. Zena turned to look at him. She was about to decline the request when she realized a distraction from her staring competition with Lukas was exactly what she needed.
Eva watched amused as Adrian placed his large palm on Zena’s exposed back and pulled her closer. There was just something about seeing your mate in another man’s arms that drove male alphas insane. She learned this a couple of months ago when she joined her cousin for a dance. Adrian didn’t recognize him and shoved him to the floor.
She knew Lukas was too overbearing to march over to Adrian and rip Zena out of his arms. Doing so would declare that he felt jealous. He was the kind of man that believed getting swayed by a mate bond was a sign of weakness.
Eva subtly looked back at him. His calm expression had chipped away a tad. His eyes stared at Adrian’s hand which was pressed into Zena’s back. Long locks of her hair brushed his hand as she moved.
Eva watched satisfied when he dragged his eyes away and turned to walk out of the room, not missing how his fists had clenched. He made it ten feet away before he stopped and turned around, headed in Zena’s direction.