Chapter 1: The Cycle
“So, how do I look?” Evander asks, gesturing to his outfit. He’s wearing a button-up Hawaiian shirt with big pink flowers and green leaves on the white fabric. The color of his pants matches the flowers, and he wears obnoxiously large shades to accompany the whole look.
“You look ridiculous.” I mock, grabbing the collar of his shirt and folding it down so he looks like less of an asshole. “You know, one day, you’ll have to start dressing your age.”
“I thought you wanted me to stay young for you, babe?” He asks, grabbing my hip and yanking me towards him, his hand running down my body and cupping my ass. “Did I mention that you look incredible?”
I blush, looking down at my sparkly tight white dress with a cowl neckline that shows off my large breasts. I knew it would catch his eye, but hearing him say it still feels special.
“You’re such a creep,” I tease, pushing him away reluctantly as I turn around to grab my heels off the ground. “We have to get going; the others are waiting.”
“C’mon, eight years isn’t that much of a difference,” he jokes, pinching my sides as he walks behind me.
“Just wait until you find your mate.”
He sighs, kissing my neck, freezing me in place. “What if I don’t want to find her? Who cares who the Moon Goddess says is destined for me anyways? Can’t I have a choice?”
“Stop it, Evander,” I say half-heartedly as his hands rake up the side of my body, cupping my breasts gently. “You know we shouldn’t be doing this.”
“You say that every time, yet we keep doing it.”
“Because you’re insistent.”
“No. Because you want me just as badly as I want you,” he replies, his husky voice tickling my ear. I shiver.
“I’m a witch, Evander,” I insist, pulling away from him again. “And you’ll feel differently once you meet her.”
“My father is half human, and my mother was possessed by an evil spirit,” he retorts, running his hand through his short obsidian hair. “It’s not like this pack is opposed to odd mate pairings.”
“The Moon Goddess chose those pairings. That makes a big difference.”
“I’ll tell them you are my real mate, then,” he replies matter-of-factly. “I don’t fucking care at this point. I’m twenty-nine. I would have found her by now if my mate were out there.”
“Well, maybe if you quit shacking up with me and actually went out looking, you’d find her?”
He scowls, sending me a disapproving look with his icy blue eyes. I gulp, taking him in as he peels off his shirt, his lean muscles straining as he lifts his arms. He’s not a large man, but he’s fit in a very scrappy kind of way. His skin is pale, like his mother, but his face is nothing like hers. He has a rectangular face with a strong jawline, a prominent nose, and dark, bushy eyebrows. He’s clean-shaven and has long thin lips. He doesn’t look his age. He could probably pass for twenty-two, which would only be a year older than me.
He pulls a more respectable black golf shirt over his head and asks, “Better now?”
I smile, nodding my head. “Much better.”
“Perfect, let’s head out then.”
I follow him out of his room and down the steps where the others are waiting in his mansion’s atrium, the one passed down to the next Alpha when the previous one steps down. His parents live in the other wing of the house, while his sister, Chloe, is part of another pack with her mate Mia. They serve as the Lunas of that pack, the first ever in history.
Evander and Chloe’s little brother, Seamus, who also serves as Evander’s Gamma, lives in a house only about a five-minute walk from here with his mate Georgie. It’s strange that Seamus, who is twenty-one, the same age as me, found his mate before his brother. Granted, Georgie and Seamus have known each other since they were babies since Georgie’s parents were his parents’ Betas, so that’s how they found each other so young. But still, it’s not normal for it to take so long to find a mate.
Not having his mate has taken a toll on Evander, even though he won’t admit it. But I know I’m only temporary. A placeholder until the true love of his life comes along. It’s too bad my heart doesn’t understand this concept because I love him as if he were attainable.
“Well, look at you!” Georgie gasps as she pulls me in for a hug. “You look incredible.”
I blush, curtseying in my dress.
I first came to the River Run Pack when I was eighteen, freshly aged out of the orphanage that raised me and in need of a home. I got into trouble with the High Warlock, Patrick Marcellus, of Ilium, a large city on the east coast of Lupania south of New Lycan, when I tried to steal from his house for a bit of money. He was interested in me, as most men are, and I took advantage of that.
Not the most brilliant idea to piss off a warlock of his status, though.
I fled, trying to find anywhere that would take me in and protect me, and that’s when I met Evander. In a public bathroom of all places.
He was at a conference in New Lycan, where I fled, and I saw one of Patrick’s men tailing me. I booked it into the closest building I could find and went into the first unlocked door, unaware that it was the men’s bathroom. That’s when he saw me, literally pants down.
He asked me what I was doing, and without much to lose, I explained. He informed me that his pack needed a warlock since their old one had retired, so he asked me if I wanted to come with him and live in his pack. He’d give me a place to live and keep me safe from Patrick in return for my services. Without any better options, I quickly said yes.
Turns out, it was the best decision of my life. Everyone here has become family to me and accepted me with open arms. I don’t know what my life would have been like if Evander and I didn’t find each other, even if our relationship, or lack thereof, has caused me a lot of heartache.
“Thank you!” I reply to Georgie. “You look stunning, as always.”
She is a beautiful girl with long black hair, dark skin, and bright amber eyes. Seamus and her make a charming couple.
I turn my attention to True. Her mate is Michael, Evander's Beta. I say, “And you’re looking gorgeous as ever!”
She blushes, wrapping me in a friendly hug. “It’s been a while! I’m sorry I’ve been so busy.”
“Oh Goddess, no need to apologize,” I tell her. “I’ve got a lot on my plate as well.”
“Oh, yeah, what’s the progress on repairing all the wards?” Georgie asks.
“I’m slowly working through it, but it’s a tedious process since this place is huge. Luckily, none of them look damaged or vulnerable, so it’s just routine maintenance.”
“No talking about pack stuff!” Evander scolds, wrapping his arm around my waist. “We’re having fun tonight! Alright?”
I roll my eyes, leaning into his chest as the others look at us disapprovingly. I understand why. They know it will only end in heartbreak for me when Evander meets his mate, and it’s delaying his ability to find a Luna, which the pack desperately needs.
I feel bad. I don’t want to hold him back, but I also don’t know what I’ll do when I lose his affection, given how strong my feelings are for him.
“Whatever,” I grunt, standing straight and heading for the door. I need to get my head together. I say that to myself every time.
Yet the same thing always happens.
Over and over.
A cycle that may never stop.