Flames on white snow, a sight that Selena never thought to see. Everything in front of her burned to the ground, including the stone steps that she threaded on almost every morning, was charred with the smell of gas and burning wood. Her pack was reduced to nothing.
They might have won, but at what cost?
Dozens dead and every building in her sight was now only a blackened reminder of what had happened here.
A trembling of the ground made her shaky, completely deterred like an orphaned doe in the woods.
She braved herself to look over her shoulder and saw a man almost twice her stature casting a gloomy shadow above her head while holding a bloodstained cleaver. He had angry gray eyes, the same color of ash that fell from the sky.
The man didn’t do or say anything and yet, Selena could feel the surge of power and electricity coming from his body. That wasn’t just his presence. It was something else entirely.
“Stand.” He commands.
Shakily, she gathered her strength to pick herself up. Her raven dark hair blocked half of her vision, but she could see his pale complexion dripping with crimson-red blood.
“Do you know what you are to me?” The man asks while flicking off the blood from his cleaver.
“I-I don’t.” She murmured.
She did or at least she thought she did. Nothing could prepare her for what she was feeling.
The man groans in disappointment, causing her to jolt unexpectedly. How many lives has this man taken? That was the only thing in her mind as he reached for her chin, inspecting her face. His hands were calloused, rough, and very inquisitive. He trailed his fingers down the side of her jaw, frowning when she recoiled from him.
“Everyone who stands here listens now. This woman is my tribute, my prize for helping you defend your pack. Those who oppose, speak now before I take her as mine.”
Selena’s blue eyes scoured her surroundings, trying to find one sympathetic eye that wanted to help her. Disappointment and dread wrapped her heart like thorny vines once she realized no one wanted to help.
Not one whisper could be heard. Everyone she knew was immobilized with fear and only the whispering wind that played with her hair could be heard swooshing.
No one wanted to give Selena away. Their sadness and silence were proof enough of that. As she turns her head left and right, trying her best not to crumble, all she saw was forced silence, not one speaking their minds.
“No?” He bellows, eyeing the area with a scowl on his Adonis-like face.
Just when she was losing hope, someone stood up.
“Wait! Please, don’t take her away.” A man with a quaking tone spoke.
Selena’s heart pulsated with an unfathomable speed, causing her to tense and become a petrified stone. Her lips moved to say a warning but she failed to make a single sound, too afraid to anger the beast who held the bloody cleaver.
“And who are you to her?” The giant turned to the person who was brave enough to speak.
“I am Talon Highcliff.” The person answered.
“I asked you who are you to her, not your name.” The giant angrily growled, clearly impatient.
“She is my little sister, I am her brother and the Alpha of this pack.” Talon threaded the space between them and slowly approached.
Cautiously, Selena watched in silence as her brother bravely put a false facade of strength.
“Explain to me why I shouldn’t take her away.” He said with a daunting tone.
Talon straightened his back and cleared his throat. The two of them were already at a disadvantage and if this was going to end bloodily, Talon’s missing right eye had already caused him a defeat.
“I have no more to offer you but I ask you to see in your heart to give her time. She is only nineteen winters old and she does not know her way of the heart.”
Talon’s pleading voice shot a spear right through Selena’s chest. Never once had she seen nor heard her brother like this, it only meant that he was desperate.
“Nineteen?” The giant spoke. “She is old enough then. Her inexperience is no longer my fault, it is your people to blame.”
“There must be another way. Again, all I ask you is some leeway.” Talon lowered his head, his right knee kissed the cold snowy ground.
The sight caused a cacophony of gasps and whispers to echo in the air. Her brother was desperate to keep her in their pack enough to taint his image as the Alpha wolf.
“No.” He coldly states. “In any event that your pack will be under siege again, I will be here to defend it.”
Talon gulped noisily while he considered completely lowering his forehead to the ground. But before he could do so, the giant bent his body and offered Talon his hand.
“Your loyalty and love for your family are admirable and for that, I grant you a seat on my council though I will not let you take away the piece of me that I just found. You would have to kill me first. Do you understand me, Alpha Highcliff?”
Selena felt ultimately doomed. Now there was no way of escaping the perilous hands of the wolf that towered her. Her eyes caught a glimpse of despair in Talon’s eyes which caused her to whimper.
“Yes, Alpha Stormwind.” Talon seceded.
The giant who made her cower in fear was the most powerful wolf in all the land. He was also the wolf who wanted to take her away from her home. Selena couldn’t blame their fright to speak up.
He was simply too powerful.
He turns to her, gray eyes shining with lethal intent melted her legs. Selena’s mouth quivered as she gazes upon his lips, his knife-edged nose, and strong formed jaw.
“Show me your neck.” He said.
There was so much power in his tone but Selena stood her ground. Somehow, she managed to gather enough energy to look him in the eyes.
“I will not let you rule me.” She spat.
That was when he leaned closer, so close that Selena could smell the sweat and blood on his skin. His scent was remarkably foreign and yet she had never smelled something so oddly familiar before.
He reaches for her face and cupped her tear-covered cheeks. No one in their right mind would stay put like what she was doing. They would all fall on the ground and ask for forgiveness even though they hadn’t done anything wrong.
But from where she stood, the idea of lamenting was out of the picture. No. From where she stood, lament was no longer a word. For standing in front of the Northern Alpha was not something to regret about. And to belong to him was something else too.
“Do not make me bare teeth on to you.” He warns.
“And what if I do?” She seethed through her teeth and coldly glared at him.
He leans to her ear. “You will find the flames of hell a bothersome breeze once I’m done with you.”
This situation was already hell for her. The warmth of his breath on her nape made her momentarily forget the events that lead everything to this exact moment. She inhaled deeply, taking a whiff of his wondrous scent.
“You’ve already made my brother fall to his knees, do you really wish to deepen the cut by marking me here?”
He chuckles dryly.
Selena panicked, thinking that he might have had something terrible planned. But he didn’t. Instead, he draws himself back.
“The Moon blessed me with a woman of her own ground.”
Did that mean he was rethinking his decision? She hoped it was enough to sway him from his initial decision.
“Am I free to go, Alpha Stormwind?” Selena searched his eyes.
His gaze narrowed only to her.
“I am Nathaniel to you.” He says. “And you are never to use my title.”
“I can’t call you by your name.” Selena could not afford to do so.
Saying someone’s title was an easy task, but their name was a different story. She could not allow herself to say his name and get used to it. No. Getting comfortable with him was the last thing on her mind.
“That’s your choice.” He simply shrugs while putting his weapon back to its sheath. “And what should I call you?”
A moment of contemplation marked her. She finally spoke as soon as she regained her composure.
“Selena.” Was her brief answer.
She completely piqued her attention.
“Selena Highcliff? The moon above on a high cliff.”
“What?” Selena was in complete disbelief.
“The meaning of your name, is that not it?” He cocked his head.
Yes, it was. Her now-deceased parents named her after being birthed on a full moon inside their packhouse that sat on top of a rather high cliff. But no one knew that except her family.
Selena shivered from the wind, prompting Nathaniel to remove his coat and draping it over her exposed shoulders. The heat brought Selena was nerve-racking. It was a confusing emotion.
“Your home is no longer here.”
There was no other option. She had to submit or else he might rethink his decision about marking her.
She was forced to nod, her lips twisted into a deep frown when she lowered her head.
Denying the capacity of Nathaniel’s power was impossible and the rumors of his masterful art of combat was not a myth or an exaggeration. She saw him thrive in blood and dirt. His thirst to kill was unquenchable and it made her wonder, why would he bat his eyes on her now?
Before Selena realized it, Nathaniel lifted her and carried her into his arms.
“Mate,” he places his lips behind her ear. “I am your only home now.”
Hi! If you read all through here, thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned for more. Please consider leaving a like and a comment.
P.S. — English is not my first language and I am aware of my terrible grammar. So please bear with me.
Love you all,