Chapter 1 - Cameron
A mental command thrust Cameron out of bed with enough force to crack his head open on the floor. Had he not been a werewolf and the floor covered in his clothes from last night, he could have very well been knocked out cold.
Clutching his head, he peered around the plush, carpeted hotel floor and gathered his bearings.
He grinned as he pushed himself up and peered over the mattress.
...was a night I’ll never forget.
He couldn’t wipe the shit-eating grin from his face as he gazed upon the female he found less than 24 hours ago.
Not just any female though—his soulmate. His moon-blessed gift from the Goddess above.
With his twenty-second birthday in a few weeks, he was beginning to worry if he’d ever find her and could barely contain his excitement when he did.
Olivia had just finished showing a cozy beach house to a young couple in love and was about to head back out to the big city some fifty miles away when he stopped her and managed to ask her out to dinner.
Well, it took a little more coaxing than that.
He stood there on the side of the road staring at her, unable to move from the spot, and she thought he was interested in the house.
She didn’t have any other plans and offered to show him the house for sale, which then led to her showing him the beach, and walking along the beach while talking about the house, the town, the investment itself and future prospects. With everything she told him, he tried turning the conversation toward finding out more about herself—her hopes, dreams, and plans for the future.
She was a human and didn’t understand the pull of the matebond and the strong and unprecedented attraction was she experiencing. Becoming increasingly flustered, she tried to steer the conversation away from herself, only for him to turn things back around and ask her out to dinner. Or more precisely, he asked her to suggest a good restaurant and then invited her to join him.
Secretly, he knew the beach town like the back of his hand but he wasn’t about to let her know that.
Aspen Beach was founded roughly a hundred years ago and home to a few hundred humans who owned and worked the shops and lived in the spaces above them. Some commuted to the big city for work but most of them were dedicated to the love and prosperity of the tourist town.
Cameron’s pack, the Zhooniyaa Miskwi Pack (Silver Blood Pack), traced its roots back to an ancient line of Ojibwa people, who harnessed the spirit of the wolf within. His pack had occupied the territory that Aspen Beach was built on for hundreds of years. Everyone in the pack visited it in the summer months for a day trip of fun in the sun with pups or a weekend getaway for rest and relaxation. No one had been there that day and he was surprised to find himself there, if not for the knowledge that his soul led him there on its own accord.
He could picture himself spending many days there with her and their pups like he had with his family growing up.
The thought of their future brought a smile to his face over dinner as the conversation grew more intimate.
He found out Olivia’s parents divorced when she was eight.
Her father up and left her and her mother for some hot young thing overseas. The divorce was messy and drawn out over four years. It would have been longer, she said, if it weren’t for the fact his girlfriend got pregnant. Then he quickly wrapped up the divorce proceeding in a nice little bow so he could marry the woman and her family wouldn’t ostracize them for having a child out of wedlock.
Her mother, unsurprisingly, cultivated a deep-rooted distrust of men and never remarried nor sought out the affections of another man to share her life with.
Olivia trailed off at that point, looking away with a mixture of sadness and concern marring her beautiful face.
He reached over and put his hand over hers, sending sparks of the matebond to fire off between them. She was startled at first, while he couldn’t hide the smug-ass grin from his face.
He invited her out for another walk along the beach after dinner, talking and walking barefoot across the expanse of sand and through the waves that lapped across the shore and over their feet.
He watched the setting sun turn her auburn hair into a wild ball of flaming red as a gust of wind tried to throw the skirt of her sundress over her head.
Laughing as she pulled it down, her freckled face was a radiant beet red.
Taking this chance, he swooped in for a chaste kiss that turned into a series of heated ones, leaving them both breathless, flustered, and aching for more.
Upbeat music from the nightclub lured them in off the street to have another drink. When he excused himself to take a leak, he called the only hotel in town to book a room. He didn’t know if he had a shot with her tonight or not, but at least he had a room booked for her. He didn’t want her driving alone back to the big city after midnight and risk an accident.
When he came out of the washroom, she dragged him onto the dance floor and all her inhibitions slipped away to the beat of the music and the swaying of their bodies.
He fought a losing battle—unable to tear himself away and hungry for her lips on his, the taste of her flesh, and the delicious friction igniting between them.
Though the alcohol had diminished her inhibitions earlier, he denied shots when she suggested it. While he burned through alcohol quickly, he didn’t want her under the influence any more than she already was. He wanted her to experience these moments with a level head so she knew everything was real and not simply intoxication.
After an hour or two of dancing and flirting, he could sense her wearing out and invited her back to the hotel room he booked where she could have his bed and he’d take the floor—but when they arrived, the heat that thrummed on the dance floor hadn’t simmered down an iota.
His memories were cut short as another booming command from his alpha interrupted the replaying of images, calling everyone to a breach in the northern border.
Cursing under his breath, he looked back at his mate sleeping peacefully, her auburn hair splayed out around her and the sheets tangled around her naked body.
The sun was barely breaking over the horizon and he didn’t have the heart to wake her. He didn’t know what was going on at the northern border, nor any idea how long he’d be gone.
Hastily, he pulled on his wrinkled clothes from yesterday and scribbled a note down on a pad of paper on a small desk next to a phone.
His alpha’s voice blared in his head once again, demanding all warriors to the breached border immediately.
He winced, clutching his head and signed his name in a scribble at the bottom of his note and hurried out with his key card and wallet.
He booked the room at the front desk for another night and ordered room service to be delivered to their room at nine before high-tailing it out of there.
He couldn’t be there for breakfast but that didn’t mean he couldn’t still provide her with food when she woke up.
Sprinting as fast as he could to the edge of town, he hid his clothes, wallet, phone, and key card under a bush before shifting into his wolf and racing to the northern border.
Adrenaline-fueled, his muscles softened as his bones and ligaments shifted position before hardening and pulling everything tight in place. He lifted his nose up to the sky to sniff the air as his jaw elongated and sharp, pointed teeth pushed through his gums. Fingernails hardened and lengthened as his hands transformed into large wolf paws that kicked up dirt underneath him as he charged north.
The sun peeked up over the horizon between the trees on his right and cast long shadows across the forest before it disappeared the deeper he ran into the thickening woods.
[I’m on my way, Alpha! Be there as soon as I can!]
[Where’ve you been, slacker? Knock yourself out when Alpha gave the order?] his best friend, Andrew, chimed in with a chuckle.
All wolves could telepathically communicate with each other within the borders of the territory while in wolf-form. Only the alpha and luna and soul-bonded mates could telepathically communicate in human form.
[Har Har, very funny. I’ll tell ya all about it later,] Cameron replied, the pounding of his paws echoing within his ears.
[You better. Shit’s about to go down and—Oh damn! That was close!]
[What’s going on?]
[We’re being attacked!]
Cameron picked up his speed, weaving among the trees and jumping over exposed roots. [Hang on, I’m almost there!]
The wind pushed him forward as he gritted his teeth. He wouldn’t be able to pick up anyone’s scent ahead, but they’d get a good whiff of him coming a mile away.
A foul stench of sweat and dirt met his nose a split second before the enemy rammed into his side. Teeth ripped through his shoulder as he was thrust to the left and pain ricocheted through his ribs as he hit the earth. Before he could even register what was happening, white-hot pain exploded in his head as a loud crack echoed off the trees before his world went black.