Chapter 1: The Howl
As the sun sank low in the sky I inhaled and the forest filled my senses. This was my favorite place, sitting in the lush green grass with the wind blowing my hair and the smells and sounds of the peaceful forest all around me.
My dad hates that I come here because it’s so close to the pack border but that’s why it’s so peaceful, no one comes here. Of course, the danger of the pack border never escaped me. I knew very well what would happen to me if I crossed the border. The wind shifted and sent a chill down my spine. Yes, this border was the more dangerous of the different packs we bordered, this was the border of the Blood Moon pack.
The Blood Moon pack was known for its brutal leader, fighting prowess, and attractive men. As much as I wanted to see the men they produced the leaders were what scared me the most. Fighting prowess was impressive but not unexpected especially with a male-dominant population but the leadership was everything.
And I should know I have first-hand knowledge. My father is the head of training and border control. That happens to be the Omega’s job. Just below Beta. I’ve been witness to many pack leadership meetings. And I would know a lot about fighting because not only my dad’s position but I’m the youngest of 6 and the only daughter.
Yes my friends I have 5 older brothers. They’re all very protective over me and never let me be one of the other pack females. Meaning I got taught all the self-defense techniques the females get taught but I knew actual fighting techniques. And not just that but when we did family runs, I had to keep up so instead of being bulky I became fast.
I prided myself on my speed. I could outrun almost anyone in the pack, the only ones who could either pass or keep up with me were the Alpha, Luna, and their only son Mark. Mark and I had grown up in the same circles and since we needed babysitters, we were just lumped together. Of course, we’d either become enemies or best friends and thank the goddess that we became the latter.
Of course, that’s why I was here. The minute he turned 18 he began to be groomed for the position of Alpha, I supported that 100% of course. But the minute I turned 18 his parents started in on me being Luna.
There were only 2 problems with that; 1. We only looked at each other as friends minus the occasional sex. The minute that the word ‘Luna’ and ‘Audrey’ started being put into the same sentence we had a meeting just the two of us and we agreed that neither of us wanted that to happen, of course, if we’d been mated then that wouldn’t have been a problem but we weren’t. Which brings me to 2. What happens when Mark and I find our mates? We wouldn’t be able to be Alpha and Luna because his mate would be Luna.
But whether or not we wanted it to happen I was due to start Luna training tomorrow and there was nothing I could do about it. Only my mate coming out of the woodwork would save me from the flattering yet daunting title of Luna.
And believe me, I tried. I’ve gone to every training session, hung around my brothers and their friends, and even spent a whole week circling the training grounds during the mandatory training week in my wolf form. Apparently, in wolf form, you’re more sensitive to the mate bond, which is actually how I found this place.
I had been leaving my brothers and dad in the dust when I caught a whiff of the most wonderful scent and changed my direction to follow it. Sure I’d been 14 and you normally are numb to the mate bond till 18 but both my wolf and my human body had developed early.
And when I lost the scent it had ended here. And it sure was a beautiful place. A peaceful and mostly untouched lake with a lush green meadow surrounding it. I then dubbed this my personal favorite place.
Of course, my dad had to go and ruin it telling me that I was not allowed to come near here again since it was so close to the Blood Moon pack. Of course, being the rebellious teenager I had to be, I didn’t listen to him. My brothers, being the protective type always check here first when they can’t find me and they don’t tell my father where I was.
I inhaled again and this time there was something else in the air. It was musky with a hint of fresh-cut wood and the added scent of having been by fire. I stood slowly and moved my long hair from around my face, tucking a few strands around my ear.
The wind changed directions suddenly and It became harder for me to smell the scent but I was sure it was coming from the direction of the border.
After a few moments, there was a howl in the distance and my wolf stirred. I suddenly had the urge to shift and respond but I pushed it away and took a step closer to the border. I’d never been closer to the border than the middle of the lake. But another howl from the other side of the border made my feet keep moving forward.
The third howl tugged at my heartstrings. It sounded so urgent and lonely. The kind that made you want to hold whoever it was.
I walked more carefully as I got to the place where the grass stopped. Ahead of me was just a dark, thick forest. I had about a few feet before it came to a cliff where it dropped. I walked a bit towards the edge to look over to see how far it went down.
It dropped down about 10 to 12 feet with jagged rocks at the bottom. I was about to take a step back when I saw something move. It was so dark that I couldn’t tell what it was and I wasn’t sure I wanted to draw attention to myself since I was dangerously close to the border.
Suddenly an arm grabbed me around the waist and another hand covered my mouth and dragged me backward. “Don’t struggle” a voice whispered into my ear.
I didn’t cause I recognized that voice.
He dragged me back into the meadow and to the other side of the lake and turned me to face him. He had the same face as my father with the icy blue eyes and the light brown hair, the angular jaw as well as having light facial hair from not shaving for a while.
“What do you think you were doing over there?” he hissed keeping his voice low and kneeling in front of me so he could see my face.
“Nothing,” I muttered.
“Audrey,” he said, shaking my shoulder a bit. “Why were you crossing the pack border?”
“I wasn’t.” I said my temper flaring, “I was just looking.”
“How many times have you been ‘just looking’?” he insisted.
“That’s the first time. God, what’s your problem?” I glared.
Brad stood up and grabbed my wrist, “My problem,” he said beginning to walk towards what I assumed was the house, “Is that, that was the call of an unmated male from the other side of that border you were ‘just looking’ at.”
An unmated male who might have smelt my scent since I was so close to the border. That makes sense why he’s being so ruff on me. I was the baby of the family and it’d be in his protective nature to want to protect me. Brad, my oldest brother, of course, it had to be him who found me it couldn’t have been Rob or Devon.
I turned my head around and looked back towards the woods on the other side of the lake. No wonder the howl had sounded so sad.