Never Ago (Book 1)

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Behind Blues

Ezra sprawled out on the black leather couch lazily and shook his head, laughing at the misery of the warriors training under his friends command.

"Seriously, I can't get over the fact that I made it to the sub-commander rank before Ezra became Alpha." Cole took a swig of his beer. His bronze hair bled the red and blue under the lights of their bachelor pad.

Cole, Gabe, Madeline and Zeke spent most of their free time messing around with the pack members and then boasting about it during their get together at Ezra's place in the pack. Among these friends was Kyne too but he only hung out with them during the day. They always made fun of how his mate keeps him under her thumb but it never fazed Kyne.

Despite being the alpha, where he could easily have lived with his parents or in the packhouse since most of his training rooted from there, Ezra was stubborn enough to secure his privacy.

As often and as regular they hung out and got drunk in that pad, it could almost be considered their hideout. Madeline was never a part of their group. Ezra only let her mingle with them a few times now because he was certain he had made his choice.

"Only because I allowed it, Cole." Ezra said, "Dad said I can chose who works with me after the announcement of my title. It was me who insisted it's better if I have to deal with less problems when the pack is on my shoulders."

Madeline settled beside Ezra, proud of her own position in the pack. The future Luna.

"Dude," Cole slurred, his head swaying slightly as he stamped his glass of vodka down on the counter at the bar. "What about the bait- the beta... your beta?"

Gabe dropped down on the love seat beside Ezra and graoned. "Please, tell me you're not going to settle for that Marie chick."

Ezra scoffed, "Absolutely not. And she has an older brother, dimwit."

"She does?" Gabe peeked at him with one eye. When he realized he had met him, in fact, talks to him on a daily basis, his mouth formed an 'O'. "I'm feeling like death and puke."

Ezra ignored Gabe melting further into the couch and shifting to sleep on it. "Luke should have known better than getting his hopes high. Even if he won the competition, my word is going to be the last judge of his fate."

Madeline rolled her eyes. "Don't think your father will allow you to misuse your title. He's still going to be your father if not the Alpha."

"This is where you lack the energy to match me, Maddie." He stroked her hair over her shoulder. "Strategies are game changers."

Madeline tilted her head to look up at him, "You have something in mind, don't you?"

Ezra smiled down at the blond beauty draped over his arm. She was physically fit, could fight well and even had blue eyes to match his. Her looks, her confidence and her ability to demand attention even from the blind was all that mattered to him. There was no doubt she was the most gorgeous girl in the pack so far.

A trophy for show. Nothing more. Something less.

Only if she was wicked. Like me.

"Maddie," Ezra smirked, "When are the wheels not turning in my head?"

Madeline widened her eyes in mock understanding and turned back to her phone. Boys.

"I'm back!" Zeke announced, receiving a pained groan from Gabe, the finger from Cole and defiance from Ezra.

Madeline sighed, "You went to the bathroom, Zeke."

Zeke made an ugly face at her comment and settled beside Gabe on the love seat. Cole also came over with his beer bottle and took a seat on the recliner opposite to them.

"Shit," Zeke rubbed his face,"I'm hammered. Remind me to never drink again."

Gabe stabbed him with his elbow. "Shut your hole and we're not your mates."

Ezra paused playing with Madeline's hair. His mind flashed with brown eyes and a blushing face. Mate. He was too focused on his cigarette smoke to realize that amazing lavender scent could belong to someone made for him.

He scoffed. As if. He wasn't a fool. The mate bond was all a game of obedience. He had seen people chose strong mates, have powerful children and still lead a life without misery. Just because the Moon goddess tricked you into losing your control, falling for her scent and clouding your head around a certain someone, didn't mean you can't live without them. It was her way of proving her point of having her way but he had another point to prove.

"I met my mate today."

The atmosphere in the room stilled. All the profanities and banter died in the room along with Madeline's interest in her phone. Gabe couldn't be more sober and Cole's jaw couldn't drop faster.

"Am I officially dead or did I just hear Ezra met his mate?" Zeke queried, still not believing the lightness of Ezra's tone. "I'm dead? Ok. Ciao."

"I did," Ezra sipped his drink slowly, his gaze jumping from one face to another. "Earlier at school, I was with the guys when she came running to me. I'm going to be honest, my senses and wolf took over for a good minute but I reminded myself who calls the shots here."

Madeline steered away from Ezra and sat stiff as a board. "Does that mean-"

"No." Ezra declared. "It doesn't mean anything."

"Pardon?" Gabe cut in. "Dude, you met your mate. You know what you're saying, right?"

Ezra finally got serious and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand before he pushed himself up and towered over all four of them.

"My decision of choosing Madeline as my Luna won't change. I'm not stupid enough to get under the spell of the mate bond and give someone weak the opportunity to stand beside me. You can guess very well what that can lead to, my downfall."

Madeline was at lost for words just as Cole was. The only hype Ezra received was seeing how thrilled Zeke and Gabe were.

Cole opened his mouth, then closed it and leaned back into the recliner. "I bet my lungs your mind won't change no matter what we say or do."

The dimple casted a shadow on his cheek under the neon lights in the room when Ezra smirked. He had chosen his friends wisely.

Gabe stumbled over to his side and tried standing in front of him. "I still think this is a bad idea. She's going to love you-"

"Love?" Ezra's brows shot up. "You of all people should know love is bullshit. I haven't seen you twice with a girl."

Gabe frowned. "That's because I don't want to catch feelings when I know I'm going to meet my mate someday." Pointing out, he added,"Doesn't mean love is bullshit."

Ezra burst into a fit of laughter whilst grabbing his shoulder. "Love is bullshit. I'm not saying it doesn't exist, especially not now after meeting my mate. Just looking at her makes it clear that her dumb mind has been loving me, her mate, for I don't know how long. What I'm saying is, it's your mind tricking you into depending on someone. Giving someone the upper hand over you. It makes you blind because you let it. I, specifically, am not going to fall for it or let a bond wrap a bandage over my eyes."

Madeline cleared her throat. Her distress was closing up her air passage. "Did you reject her already?"

Zeke spread his legs on the coffee table. "I'd like a ticket of the live show."

Ezra ignored him. "Not yet but soon. As of now, I'm interested in seeing what a mate bond can lead you to believe. She's dumb enough to think I'll love her too just because she's my mate."

"You're going to play her?" Madeline stood up abruptly. "What's the point?"

"The point is simple. Either you control your mind or it controls you."

Cole felt like it was going too far. "Don't play her, man. If you don't want her then let her go. Someone else will take care of her but what you're doing a bit too harsh, don't you think?"

Ezra felt slightly dizzy with all the sappy emotions swirling in the room. "Is she your mate? No. She isn't. Besides, I'm not the one who asked her to fall in love. She's a grown woman. Her decisions are her responsibility."

"You're bending the truth here. Give her a clear picture of what's happening then expect her to make a decision."

Ezra groaned and walked over to the bar. Grabbing a bottle of scotch, he noisily poured it into a glass. "Chill, Cole. It's not going to kill her. She's going to learn a lesson out of it. In addition to that, she's going to receive the benefit of being my mate even if it's for a few days."

Zeke and Gabe agreed to it enthusiastically whereas Cole was slightly cautious.

Madeline suddenly had a bitter taste in her mouth. "You're going to be with her and be with me at the same time?"

Swirling his drink in the glass, Ezra threw her a bored look. "If you can't handle it, just tell me. I can find someone who can. It's not that hard for me."

This had her biting back her tongue. The tension in her body grew tremendously. Before she could ruin Ezra's mood, he asked her to meet him tomorrow. In short, get out.

"You're challenging your mind, Ezra." Cole warned him. "The bond exists for a reason."

Ezra shared a laugh with Zeke and Gabe. "Then watch me prove it to you, Cole. The bond is useless. Wanna bet?"

Cole looked down at Ezra's outstretched hand to seal the bet but he only smiled, relaxed and said, "No."

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