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“I had a whole speech planned out, I was going to talk about how amazing my dad was...” I started. “But, you all know that.”

“You all know the type of man he was,” I said.

“So, I’m going to tell him how much he meant to me...” I hesitated, “One last time.” I turned around, facing Tristan he nodded and moved to the side.

I slowly stepped up to his coffin and laid my hand gently on top. I can’t believe the last time I saw him was 3 years ago... I’m so selfish. I should have come back, I had the protection of my necklace.

“You were my hero,” I said, looking at the photo of him on top of the coffin. “You gave me everything I could have ever wished for.” I sniffled, tracing the lines on the coffin.

“You was... you... ” I stuttered, trying to catch my breath. I hung my head, letting the tears fall freely.

I felt two warm arms wrap around my waist, sending shock waves and tingles throughout my entire body. I leaned my head against Rhydian’s chest, inhaling deeply, taking as much of his scent as I could.

"You don’t have to continue." He whispered through the link.

I turned my head slightly. glancing up at him. “I’m going to continue,” I nodded. He smiled at me, moving to my side. He laced his fingers through mine and squeezed gently.

“He had a hard time with me growing up.” I took a deep breath, “He not only had to be there for his pack but... he had to be mum and dad to me.” I uttered.

“I don’t know how he managed to stay sane.” I chuckled, “I wasn’t the easiest growing up.”

“But he did it.” I beamed, “He gave me the best childhood.” I remarked proudly.

I heard a snorting sound come from the crowd. I narrowed my eyes at the group of she-wolves sitting where the sound came from. “When I left, my dad was nothing but supportive,” I said, staring at Selena.

“My only regret is not coming back sooner.” I turned to look at his coffin. “I love you, so very much, papa,” I whispered.

“I’ll miss you every day.” I glanced back at the crowd and bowed my head. “Rest in peace, Alpha Eric,” I said.

“Rest in peace, Alpha Eric.” Everyone chorused.

Lucas patted the seat next to him for me to join him but I didn’t want to see the rest of the ceremony, I’ve said my goodbye. I sauntered down the aisle between the chairs, keeping my head high.

I reached the end of the aisle, standing at an entrance to the forest. I took a deep breath.

You ready to go for a run?

Aurora howled as I felt the beginning of the shift. “Amaris!” My Aunt Georgie called after me. I spun around and looked at her. “Don’t you want to finish the ceremony?” She asked, looking nervous.

I shook my head and crouched down. I shifted until Aurora appeared, laid on the ground. She stood up slowly, padded the ground before holding her head high.

Gasps could be heard throughout the crowd, she eyed everyone before stopping on Rhydian. His wolf was fighting to be free, I could see the struggle clearly on his face. Aurora turned and took off into the forest.

After running for half an hour, we headed back to the packhouse. Aurora stopped in her tracks as a huge wolf came into view. I automatically knew who it was.

His wolf was mesmerizing, his fur was a shiny grey colour with patches of crimson. He had dreamy blue eyes, that were staring at me with so much emotion.

He watched us as Aurora stuck her snout in the air and inhaled. She growled playfully and sat down.

He crept slowly towards us, Aurora cocked her head to the side watching him. As he got closer, she backed up a little. He whined and cowered to the ground.

"We aren’t going to hurt you," Rhydian spoke softly through our link.

He watched us, slowly standing. His eyes showed so many emotions, I couldn’t handle it.

"What’s his name?" I asked through the link.

His ears pricked up and he stared at us intensively. “Ryder." Rhydian voiced proudly through the link.

Ryder... Suits him.

"He’s stunning." As soon as the words left my mind, he stood taller and proud.

And he’s all mine.′ Aurora barked happily. Ryder loosened his stance and seemed to relax.

Ok, have at it. You're in control.

I gave Aurora full control. I may not trust Rhydian... yet, but she wants to meet Ryder. There’s still that doubt that he isn’t my mate and he’s tricking me, so I’ll keep my wall up for now. If it turns out he isn’t, I’ll be there to pick up the pieces for Aurora.

Aurora went over to Ryder slowly. She circled him, watching him closely. She went to nuzzle his neck but as soon he leaned into her, she growled playfully and ran around him, heading into the forest.

Ryder howled happily and took off after her. As soon as he was catching up, she pushed harder, leaving him behind. They did this for a while, Aurora teasing him.

When he caught up, she stopped in her tracks and spun around. He tilted his head towards her, looking a little confused. She sauntered towards him, playfully. When she reached in front of him, she licked the side of his face earning an approving growl from him. She took off again, losing him.

She kept running, twisting and turning... scattering her scent everywhere before she saw a fallen down tree, she backtracked on herself and hid behind the tree.

You’re so clever.′ I laughed, praising her. It’s going to be fun watching him look for her.

After a few minutes, Ryder went running straight past us. I giggled as Aurora peered over the tree looking at him.

He was walking around with his snout in the air. Aurora quietly moved out from behind the tree and prowled over to him. If anyone would have seen, I swear it’d look like he was her prey and she was getting ready to pounce.

"Amaris, this isn’t funny. Where are you?" Rhydian’s voice sounded full of panic.

Aurora jumped up, pouncing on top of Ryder, knocking them both over. He growled as he went down, once he realised who it was, he whimpered and licked her neck.

She moved back, allowing him to stand up. He stood up and motioned his head for her to follow him. They set off in the direction of the lake. They walked side by side. He kept glancing at Aurora, gazing at her lovingly before looking back ahead.

See, this is our mate. The others didn’t look at us like Ryder does.

I sighed, he does look at us like we are the only she-wolf in the world.

But so did Noah in the beginning...′ I whispered.

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